Posts

Are Writers Obsolete?

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 I wanted to write an article about the Cord 812 automobile for this anthology. I’ll tell you the reason why later in this piece, but I ran into a major block. I just could not find the words to express what I was feeling. One of the most common topics at Writers Anonymous is artificial intelligence (AI). We all wonder how it will affect us. When will it replace us? Despite having talked about it for months, I had never tried it. So, I went to Bing’s ChatGPT tool on my Windows machine and typed in the following request: “Write a 750 word article about the Cord 812 automobile.” This is what it returned, in less than a minute . ***** Here is an article I wrote about the Cord 812 automobile: The Cord 812: A Classic Car with a Futuristic Design The Cord 812 was a luxury car that was produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was one of the most innovative and distinctive cars of its time, featuring a front-wheel drive system, a

Fiction: Culture War

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  “What is wrong with people?” I was checking returned books in, flipping through them looking for damage. “What are you whining about now?” The voice came from the opposite corner of our small library. I couldn’t see her, but I knew it was Jackie. She was a regular, doing research for her next book. “Ketchup and mustard!” I yelled. “People are pigs,” she responded. We were the only two in the library. It was a Tuesday evening. We closed in an hour and I didn’t expect a crowd this late, especially with a November snowstorm starting. Jackie and I would hop in our Jeeps and get home just fine, but most people wouldn’t venture to the library in this weather, this late. To my surprise, the front door opened. I didn’t recognize him. He was a typical northwoodsman. The hiking boots, flannel shirt, canvas coat, and beard would have been perfect for our town’s tourist brochure. He walked straight to me. “Hi. What can I help you with?” I asked. “Where is the gay porn section?” I l

Fall Trees

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It is a stunning day here in Illinois. Unseasonably warm, sunny, blue skies... Perfect fall day. The trees are beautiful - with leaves or without!

Pictures and Birthday

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Pictures Quite a while ago I bought a new camera: a Fuji XF10. It was compact. That was important to me because I prefer to travel light. According to the reviews I read it was supposed to be an excellent camera in low-light situations. I wanted to take pictures at events (Water Street Writers, concerts at the Venue, readings...). What I did not know before buying the camera was that it did not have stabilization -- so any tiny movement caused the picture to be blurry. Even with my monopod, I struggled to get a clear shot in low-light environments. Just recently I decided I must not be doing something right. I'm know; I'm a bit slow. I did some research and realized I needed a very fast shutter speed to make this work. The same article recommended I set the camera to black & white, which I like anyway. I went to Kiss the Sky on Sunday, November 12th, to watch the jazz trio Luxure. I set the camera to black & white and a shutter speed of 1/320 of a second. I let the came

I'm Retiring from Print Book Formatting

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  Beginning in 2024 I will no longer format any self-published print books. I have two reasons. First, I find it far more tiring to work on a screen for too long. Even as little as last year I was able to work for three to four hours at a stretch. I can’t do that anymore. My eyesight starts to give me problems and it’s hard to keep going. Second, I am convinced that paper books are worse for the environment primarily due to deforestation and enormous fossil fuel use in the creation and distribution of paper books.  We use a lot of fossil fuels to cut logs down, haul the logs to the paper mill, produce the paper, haul the paper to the printing facility (along with the inks and solvents used in the printing process), move the heavy printed books to distribution facilities, move the heavy printed books to bookstores, and finally to deliver a book to you. Not mentioned in most analyses of this: The millions of road trips individuals take to visit a bookstore to buy paper books. You can

Super Blue Moon Night

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There was a super blue moon tonight. It's the second full moon in a month (hence the blue moon) and it's super because it's about 20,000 miles closer to the earth than normal. There won't be another one for 14 years and who knows if I'll be around to see that one? So, we drove out west to Dick Young Forest Preserve to watch it rise and try and get some pictures. None of my moon pictures turned out, but I did get one of a tree that looked pretty cool. Even though my pictures flopped, it was a gorgeous night and it was worth it just to sit there among the crickets and frogs to watch the moonrise.

Geneva Car Show

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 On Sunday I attended Geneva's Concours d'Elegance car show. (Stupid name in my humble opinion, but a pretty great car show) The weather was perfect and even though I got there a half hour before it officially opened, there was already a big crowd. There were a lot of really expensive cars in the show: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls, but I tend to gravitate to the American cars and quirky little sports cars.