Drizzle in the early morn = lousy traction. Fun drive to the airport! But short enough. The advantage of living close. The plane noise means nothing by now. When someone leaves or arrives by Terminal 2, formerly Humphrey, there's a back door route that's always empty.

And quite scenic, as you see above.

This had the effect of pushing everything forward an hour. And the weekly staff meeting was switched from two to one. So I hit the gym at noon. The entire schedule! Wrong! Doesn't matter. What counts is getting home at the time the dog expects me to get home. How's that work again? Your scent, whatever it is, diminishes to a level they associate with the return from the terrifying, mysterious Land Beyond the Den. They detect a certain absence in the air, and that sends a message that something should happen soon, and it'll be good. Marvelous thing, dog noses.

Or, they hear the garage door open. Marvelous thing, dog ears!

As you can tell, I’ve been playing around with AI art. I’ve used several platforms, and the results vary from crap to miraculous. I asked one to give me a picture of a skyscraper in the style of Hugh Ferriss.

  Coming right up, sir!

Not quite right; lacks the romantic sfumato, but I did ask for extra realism, the way one asks for extra hot sauce on a taco. Let’s remove that request.

Now it's Ferris through a haze of tears.

Dreamstudio got the request all wrong, which is a relief.

Hey, how about a logo for a diner in a 50s style?


Dohn Dieser Dies

Reap Reer


Limitations are obvious: it can’t generate copy, but again, I didn’t ask it to, so it makes up place-holding words that remind you of a German robot whose hard drive has a bad sector.

Oh, and there's that color again.

I thought it would make a logo, period, and didn’t expect that it would struggle to fill it up with words. Why did it do that? Because my prompt wasn’t good enough. But what’s interesting is that this is not really 50s. This is what the notion of the 50s has become. So the AI is working off interpretations, not source material. It doesn’t know what 50s means. Yet.


Or, more likely, I don't know the exact arrangement of words to use.

Oh, and there's that color again.


How about a 50s office interior?

It’s wrong, but it’s specifically wrong, not generally wrong. It didn’t miss the mark by decades or a century. It didn't put a computer monitor on the desk. But it populated the image with things that do not exist and did not exist.

Oh, and there's that color again.


This time we do have a computer monitor, a lamp that never existed, and a lit-up panel instead of a door handle.

Oh, and there's that color again.


This was all inevitable. It can’t be stopped. Whatever the AI produces will end up as gospel, because who knows otherwise? All the art of the past will be mere source material for the machine-made combinations of the future. That matters to the artist, but it does it matter to the person who beholds the art? If the object is aesthetically ravishing, does the source matter?

If art is a transaction between the hand of the artist and the eye of the beholder, yes. But no one really thinks about the bio of an artist when they’re looking at a work.

We’ll make a million little excuses to go along with all of this.

Will? I mean we already are.


It's paywalled, but I did read enough of his twitter feed to get a sense of the fellow, and I don't think he's a philistine or a rah-rah-tech guy who applauds "the democratization of creativity," as some might call it. Perhaps more like someone who thinks the automatic accord given to the undeserving is overdone.


The tweet touting the column had some people defending AI art because they had a disability, i.e., they couldn't draw.


The argument and counterargument in a nutshell.


It's possible he means he's physically unable to draw, which is regrettable. But just because one is interested in a medium doesn't mean one has a right to demand that actual creatives regard prompt-created works as the equivalent of human-made art.



That's where this ends up, because redditors who have no grass to touch will make galaxy-brain neckbeard arguments for The Primacy of the Machine, partly because they want it to generate very specific types of porn.

Accessibility is a virtue, like sustainability, a word that washes away any objections.


As I said elsewhere about AI writing, you'll be able to tell human-created work because it's worse. While we were paying artists to make ugly junk like this . . .

. . . someone else was training machines to make something like this.

One more thing.


If you've been around this place for a long time, you know this guy.

I know him. Of all the pictures the AI generated, I thought this was the one. I added the logo to the samples case.

The foreground objects are visual gibberish, but the picture has an indistinctness that lets you invest and imagine what you wish.

The problem, alas, is the temptation to hit the button that refines the results. The moment you do that, the AI blows away your ability to infer and imbue.

That's a different man.

Am I sure it's not him?

I really don't know.

It's still off and wrong in many ways - the bedside light fixture is wrong, there's an extra hat, the foreground items are still nonsensical.

The more I look at it, the more I think it is him, and I didn't expect that.

I shouldn't have written that prompt.



It’s 1920.

Standard paper for the year. Hoover news. Peace treaty. Versailles, still being discussed two years on. Anything unusual?

Frank Vanderlip did not like the way things were going.



Influential guy - not on this issue, though.

Vanderlip is known for his part in founding the Federal Reserve System and for founding the first Montessori school in the United States, the Scarborough School and the group of communities in Palos Verdes, California.

During the Teapot Dome Scandal hearings in 1924, Vanderlip testified about what he believed to be a scandal during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Because he spoke out vigorously in defense of the public's right to know about various issues, Vanderlip was forced to resign from the boards of directors of almost 40 companies. He subsequently led a quieter life at his homes in New York and California.


Well, that’s one way of putting it.



So more than one bullet, then.

Here's the parents' address, by the way. Drive by and gawk, why don't you.

No other hits on the kid in the paper, so he either pulled through, or the paper didn’t print the news of his death.


  When jury instructions don’t go as planned.

People were expected to get the reference.

The subhead says “Wilson’s position termed ‘Worse than pitiable,” and that the public would receive a “final writing to hair splitters.” The treaty would not be ratified by the United States. Article 10, which gave the League of Nations the ability to wage war without a Congressional vote, was the deal killer, and Wilson was a fool to think it wouldn’t be a pill too big to swallow.

  On the editorial page, a pro-Scout essay.

Not controversial, then. The editorial noted that more Scouts could help everyone dismiss any fears about the future of the country. Why? Because of this.

  I know, I know! Brainwashing, right? These silly people and their fear of Bolsheviks.

The editorial that preceded this one discussed the new Estonia-USSR treaty, and noting that the Estonians were nervous that the Russians might ignore it when it suited them. The treaty said:

In consequence of the right of all peoples to self-determination, to the point of seceding completely from the State of which they form part, a right proclaimed by the Socialist and Federal Russian Republic of the Soviets, Russia unreservedly recognizes the independence and sovereignty of the State of Estonia, and renounces voluntarily and forever all sovereign rights possessed by Russia over the Estonian people and territory whether these rights be based on the juridical position that formerly existed in public law, or in the international treaties which, in the sense here indicated, lose their validity in future.

Uh huh.


Finally, a comic - one of those indistinguishable efforts that populated the pages.

It’s by H. J. Tuthill. Believe it or not, it would go on to a long, long run - and we know it better as “The Bungles,” the name it took in 1924. It turned into something that set it above the rest - Art Spiegelman said the strip was "one of the darkest visions of American life this side of Nathanael West."

In the mid-1930s, Tuthill serialized exotic adventures and introduced a large supporting cast over the next several years—moves that were accompanied by a huge surge of public interest in the strip. Around this time, Tuthill began incorporating fantasy and time travel into the strip.

It got wild and dark, and eventually didn't look like Briggs as much as it did here.

Now two ways to chip in!

That'll do. Now it's time see what the floors looked like in the 50s.


(BTW, yesterday has the Etiquette answer. I've been remiss. It's a lot to keep track of and I'M ONLY ONE MAN)



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