Monday, October 30, 2023

I Rubbed The Genie's Lamp And Out Came Shaun Cassidy Instead Of John Schneider

Most of you probably aren't old enough to remember the TV series The Hardy Boys Mysteries from the mid 1970s, but I am. Ah, the 70s, when guys had feathered hair. My hair was never feathered. Instead, I looked like a scrawny Art Garfunkel on a bad hair day.

There's another reference you probably don't know.

At any rate, I've really been going to town with ChatGPT / Dall-E, creating characters for my stories. I want my Southern, teenage philosopher-sleuth Bobbylee to look like John Schneider's Bo Duke character from The Dukes of Hazzard, so I uploaded a photo of Bo Duke to ChatGPT and asked it to create a prompt in Dall-E to generate an image just like it.

Swing and a miss!

I played with the prompt and kept generating new images until, much to my delighted surprise, I got teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy from The Hardy Boys.

Perhaps the very biggest drawback to Dall-E is that you can't replicate a character in a subsequent image. I asked it to give me that person standing in front of a dirty, rusty old pickup and I ended up with someone completely different. Argh.

Still, It's a ton of fun to see your characters. You recognize them as soon as you see them. Truth to tell, however, that one still doesn't say Bobbylee to me. I think that will be his younger brother, TJ.

I also had it generate an image of the impish Grandmama, an old woman who is constantly causing mischievous trouble in my Arthurian stories and it did really, really well with her.

You can just see the wheels turning inside that venerable head as she plots and plans ways to stir up drama just for fun at court.

Again, much to my sorrow, I can't get Dall-E to take that same character and put her in different situations and emotional states.

I'm very optimistic, however. ChatGPT's fiction efforts are miles better than they used to be. The Dall-E I'm using today will be the worst version I will use from here on out. I have no doubt that my problems with repeatable characters and complex action scenes will be solved in the future.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Aztec Gold

So, apparently, the statue of Robert E. Lee that was at the heart of the Charlottesville kerfuffle was melted down for ... something or other. I think it had to do with appeasing the Elder Gods or maybe it was an offering to Gaia. Whatever it was, I asked ChatGPT to create some images suggesting various aspects of the event and, for the most part, it refused.

At first, I pondered what the great general might have done to win modern approval and asked ChatGPT to generate an image of a Confederate infantry unit charging across a meadow, carrying both the Palestinian flag and the pride-progress flag. It refused, but did generate a thoroughly confused image of a Confederate cavalry charge where the Palestinian flag, a semi-rainbow version of the rebel flag and a whole bunch of American flags were present.

Now you understand what I've been telling you about trying to create scenes from Le Morte D'Arthur where more than two characters are present. Chaos. Pure chaos.

Next, I asked for an Aztec feast day celebration where they are flying the Palestinian and pride-progress flags. Again it fussed about the pride-progress flag, so I asked it to give me the Palestinian flag and have the Aztec chiefs and priests wear the pride rainbow prominently.

You're welcome.

Anywho, if we're melting down Confederate statues for scrap, I suggest we form the resulting slag into statues of Montezuma, sell them to the SDSU Aztec glee club and send the proceeds to the government of Wakanda.

It seems only fair.

Friday, October 27, 2023

ChatGPT Now Creates Illustrations And They Are Awesome

 ... plus it's absolutely addictive. Here's an image it created of Bobbylee Johnson and his old pickup truck, the Rebel Rambler. He's standing in the parking lot of the McDonald's in East Weevil, Indiana.

ChatGPT is now bound to the AI image-generation program, Dall-E. The interface, being ChatGPT, is light years ahead of the horrid chat-session interface for Midjourney. You can go back and forth with ChatGPT creating a prompt for it to create an image before actually doing so. The AI is helping you use the AI.

Having said that, the AI gets confused as soon as there are more than 2 characters specified in a scene. It can't figure out the positioning at all and the costumes get blended sometimes as well. I'm still playing around with Arthurian fanfic and the prose and dialog are much, much better than they used to be. Sometimes, if there's a part of the story for which I want an illustration, I ask ChatGPT to generate a Dall-E prompt to create it. If there are one or two characters, Dall-E typically nails it in a few tries. More than two characters and you might as well just quit.

Sometimes, it gets close, but refining it to get exactly what you want is beyond frustrating.

In that scene, the knights were wielding daggers and their armor should have shown signs of a furious duel. The blue knight was supposed to be dead. That image was as close as I could come to it.

When Dall-E generates an image, it tells you the modifications to your prompt that were used to create it. When you ask it to generate, it will typically create four, performing slight alterations to your prompt. You can then pick your favorite and ask for modifications to it. For that scene, Dall-E was convinced that the blue knight was dead and they had been using daggers at the end of the fight. It also thought their armor and surcoats were torn and soiled by combat.

Further refinements of that image resulted in bits of armor all over the meadow, extraneous characters in the background, the princess wielding a sword or wearing armor and all other manner of excrescences just short of space aliens and circus elephants.

So far, two characters in a scene can get you the image you want in a few iterations, but beyond that, Dall-E cannot figure out the geometry, costumes or expressions to save its life. Either that, or I don't know how to write the prompts properly. That's entirely possible.

Having made all those complaints, the thing is an absolute marvel. I love seeing my characters come to life in illustrations. For Bobbylee, I wanted something much closer to Bo Duke, but I ran out of time last night to continue refining it.

John Schneider as Bo Duke.

Dall-E also has some other interesting limitations. It refuses to create images based on historical figures or celebrities. I guess this is to prevent deep fakes. I asked it to generate an image of Robert E. Lee wearing sunglasses and smiling and it wouldn't do it. It also is sensitive to what it displays. I'm not allowed to ask for bloodstains in my Arthurian images nor a rebel flag for the Rebel Rambler.

Oh well. What do you expect for $20 a month?

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Listen When They Talk

Oregon has decided that graduation should not be tied to competency, for reasons that will surprise precisely no one.

High schoolers in Oregon won’t need to demonstrate basic competency in reading, writing or math in order to graduate for at least five more years because, according to education officials, such requirements are unnecessary and disproportionately harm students of color.

In case you were wondering if they really are motivated by race, the answer is yes.

Board members said the standards were unnecessary and harmed marginalized students since higher rates of students of color, students with disabilities and students learning English as a second language ended up having to take the extra step to prove they deserved a diploma, The Oregonian reported.

If you recall what we learned from Chris Rufo's excellent book, the fate of the actual students of color who are not expected to learn to read, write or do math, matters not at all.

For all of their faults, Davis, Cleaver, and black revolutionaries at least grappled with and appealed to the black lumpenproletariat. The critical race theorists, on the other hand, treat them like lepers—the lumpen class is nowhere to be found in their work, except as symbolic justification for their abstractions. 

This is where the critical race theorists reach the final impasse. Their program has become a form of empty professional-class aestheticism, designed for manipulating social status within elite institutions, not for alleviating real miseries or governing a nation.

On Twitter today, Daily Wire god king Jeremy Boreing asserted that the progressives want blacks to be illiterate and unskilled so they can be manipulated. I usually agree with Jeremy, but this time he's wrong. All you have to do is listen to the left and you'll hear why they do what they do.

The world is unfair because straight, white men made it unfair to maintain their power and oppress everyone else. The inescapable first step in making the world just and fair is the destruction of all the structures created by straight, white men. That includes standardized testing. Students of color do poorly because straight, white men designed the tests to make sure they did poorly.

The best solution, therefore, is to do away with competency requirements while the progressives finish destroying all the structures of society.

That they don't show up for school hardly matters.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Tuesday threatened to report parents of students habitually skipping school without an excuse to the Jefferson County District Attorney for prosecution for truancy, and even possibly to the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, which could endanger their subsidized public housing.

Speaking to the Birmingham City Council meeting, Woodfin said the truancy situation in Birmingham City Schools has become unacceptable...

“I want to narrow this down and talk to you all about what’s happening in third grade,” Woodfin said. “A student is truant if they have seven or more unexcused absences. Out of 17 Birmingham schools, that’s elementary, K through 8th combined, well over 50 percent of third grade students are currently truant.

You wouldn't think Mayor Woodfin was a tool of white supremacy, but apparently he is.

Monday, October 23, 2023

An Army Travels On Its Sleeping Pills

 Our youngest son and I have been in Alabama over the weekend, primarily to see the Bama - Tennessee game. The game was fabulous, but the travel has been exhausting.

It started at 0830 on Thursday morning. The flight was supposed to get us into Mobile at 1730, just in time for a delicious meal in Mobile and an easy check-in to our VRBO in Summerdale.

We sat on the tarmac in San Diego for over an hour because, according to the reports, there was bad weather. In San Diego. On a perfect day. Other outlets said there was a screw up in their air traffic control software, which was far more believable.

Thus the first domino fell.

We missed our connection in Houston, spent 5 hours at IAH, caught the last IAH-MOB flight and landed at MOB around 2230. From there, we got our car and by the time we hit Daphne, the only place open for noms was a Waffle House. Waffle House at night is quite the experience.

After a meal seasoned with strange goings-on behind the counter, we got to our VRBO around 0020. The electronic door lock didn't work. We couldn't get in and calling the owner did nothing but get an answering machine. We ended up finding a Marriott near the Wharf in Orange Beach and got to bed around 0115.


Things developed from there. It was actually a fun trip, but totally exhausting. More blogging later when sanity returns to life.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

The Jews Control The Media

 ... or so I've been informed by right-wing antisemites.

Here's the media parroting Hamas' nonsense claims about the Israelis bombing a hospital in Gaza.

Lots of Jewish propaganda outlets news media sites ran with this. AP, UPI, WSJ, WaPo, a bunch of them. The story was debunked by photos of the hospital, still standing, but with a parking lot of wrecked cars from where a Palestinian rocket had hit after going badly off course.

And yet, for some on the right, the antisemitism marches on, claiming that "the Jews" are some monolithic force for global domination that controls what we see, hear and read. If that's true, then they're no risk to anyone because they are simply awful at their jobs as you can see from all the news media sites pushing Hamas lies.

Meanwhile, on the left, the antisemites hate the Jews because they are white-Christian-adjacent. Hamas, being darker-skinned and following a different religion, are clearly the good guys even when they paraglide into a music festival to slaughter and rape.

I suppose that if you want badly enough to hate someone for their race or religion, you're going to do it and no amount of logic and data is going to stop you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Evil Shouting While We Plug Our Ears And Hum

If you watch some of the videos captured by the Hamas butchers as they slaughtered and raped in Israel last week, you can't help but see the face of evil. It's not explainable as anything else, no matter how hard the Palestinian apologists try. You can see the same thing, at a lower volume, when you watch doctors talk about mutilating children in the name of gender-affirming care. These days, evil is speaking its mind without a filter. A lot of us don't want to admit it.

The Nazis were real people. They existed. They did real things. So did the Japanese soldiers in Unit 731. They weren't characters in a superhero movie, they were real. So are Hamas. So are the doctors at the gender clinics.

I worked part of a men's retreat weekend on Thursday and Friday and heard another "God loves you" sermon. In light of what had happened in Israel and what is happening in our own children's hospitals and then the protests on campuses supporting both, that sermon was an obscenity. It's taken me a while to figure out what it is that makes them inappropriate and tasteless. I've come to the conclusion that they are childish. Not innocent and naive, but sickeningly infantile and weak in their blindness and dishonesty.

One of the priests who was on the retreat saying Mass has a habit of saying, "It's x o'clock and you are loved" with a simpering smile. I've always felt that to be a little creepy, talking to me like I'm an anxious child. This time it was sickening.

We're at war. Evil is no longer talking in euphemisms. It is livestreaming its rapes. It is shouting and dancing about its abortions. It is marching in the streets chanting, "Gas the Jews!" It is flashing swastikas from its cell phones at Jews in the streets. It is proudly talking about genital mutilation and mastectomies for children.

In this environment, prancing around and saying, "It's 11:30 and you are loved!" is an obscenity. It is a denial of the pain and loss of the innocent. There is no pain, there is no loss, there is just gooey goodness and love all around. There is no need to fight and argue and stand for what is good because there isn't any existential threat around us. Evil is nowhere to be seen, we can all go back to our soft beds and go back to sleep.

Those who pretend evil isn't ascendant and we can love love love our way to success make it harder for those of us who want to stand up against it. I had a conversation over the weekend with a good friend whose highly respected in our community. For him, things are all normal and relaxed. He'd been lulled into a sense of security by everything he was being told.

I have more to say, but it's incoherent right now.

Meanwhile, here's a professor from Cornell, one of our Ivy League universities. You can find his CV here. It's perfectly predictable in its vicious tribalism.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Calls For Genocide Are Coming From Inside The House

Those who do not learn history are condemned to be replaced by larger, faster-breeding populations of savages. 

Dig this.

All of this was perfectly predictable and, in fact, predicted by people like Mark Steyn. There are more of them than there are of you and they have more babies than you do. If you open your country to them, they will take over.

What we're learning the hard way here is that Team Faculty Lounge's historical illiteracy, where they closed their eyes to any atrocities save those committed by white men, led to self-destructive behavior on the parts of the Europeans and, to a lesser extent, Americans.

"Diversity is our strength" is based on the nonsense notion that diverse cultures are only revealed in skin color, music and cuisine. In fact, diverse cultures are more distinctly manifested in violence, hatred and the thirst for power.

Well, we've got the diversity we were told we should want if we didn't want to be racists. I'm at a loss as to how to get rid of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Hamas Does Not Compute

 A day or two ago, it came to light that the Hamas butchers, as they slaughtered all of the inhabitants of a Kibbutz, had beheaded some of the babies. Many people reacted with skepticism about the claim. It was jarring to see that reaction. There was no doubt that Hamas had paratrooped into a music festival where they massacred and gang-raped, but the idea of beheading babies was questioned. It didn't say anything about the morality of Hamas, but it spoke volumes about the civilized world's ability to comprehend evil.

Ben Shapiro, in his show open yesterday, captured it perfectly.

All of this is so far out of our ken that we struggle to process it. Dig this promo video from Hamas, showing how they scavenge pipes and old artillery shells to make rockets to attack Israeli civilians.

They can't even make metal pipes. Foreign aid organizations, including the Israelis, provide them with water pipes and Hamas digs them up and fashions them into rockets. It's an incomprehensible level of hate and evil.

So much of what we're seeing from Team Faculty Lounge and the Vatican under Pope Francis comes from an intellectual bubble where this sort of thing doesn't exist. They cannot understand the depravity of the pedophiles grooming our children, the cartels bringing in fentanyl and the homicidal mania of Hamas.

You can see that when, after admitting the gang rapes at the music festival, they balk at the idea of babies being beheaded.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Infinite Resources

Infinite money. Infinite cultural cohesion. Infinite capacity to absorb damage. Infinite moral strength. We have all of those things, at least that's what I think I'm hearing.

As I've watched the Israel - Hamas War begin and seen the reactions all while the Church is holding their Synod on Synodality, I'm struck by the utter inability of our leadership class to recognize that we do not have infinite resources. I'm not going to embed tweets on this post. I'm sure you have either seen the ones I'll reference or equivalent ones. The same data points are available in many different forms.

Hamas' attack was different from what we've already been experiencing only in degree. As Ben Shapiro said on his Monday show where he didn't spare his viewers from seeing the most hideous videos and images, it was the face of evil. He was absolutely right and he was right to insist we see it.

You can, like the Synod, deny the existence of evil so long as you live in a world of infinite thingies like those listed in the first paragraph. You can talk about the children in Gaza being bombed by the Israelis as long as you don't see an existential threat. Moral equivalence is easy when you're safe and fat.

Hamas' attack was raw evil, played at almost the loudest possible volume, but we've tuned out raw evil up to now, favoring inclusion and forgiveness instead, as our children have been sexualized and mutilated, as our nation has been bankrupted and our borders overrun. Don't judge! There's no reason for it when you have infinite resources.

I saw a post from Sweden where a journalist said they now have 61 no-go zones and are seeing the use of child soldiers in the country. It's the African migrants they imported doing this, of course. Here in San Diego, I tried to visit a microbrewery downtown this weekend, but ended up skipping it because all of the parking lots had drug addicts loitering around in them. Another 15,000 migrants dumped on the streets by DHS ought to help that.

There have been pro-Hamas protests across Europe, North America and Australia. One of the Aussie ones featured calls for the Jews to be gassed. 31 student organizations at Harvard have issued a statement blaming Israel for the attack.

We haven't yet reached the stage where all of this causes a sea change in our Elites, either Team Faculty Lounge or the Vatican. They still feel safe and secure enough to dismiss it all with a wave of their hands and go back to worrying about Global Warming Climate Change, migrants and white supremacists.

How much longer will that delusion continue?

Super Special Bonus Tidbit

Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard, issued a statement saying how disillusioned he was with Harvard that the statement blaming Israel was released. That says everything you need to know. The guy who ran the place while it was decaying is surprised to discover that even dear old Harvard doesn't have infinite moral resources to absorb the filth and hate that was spewed by its professors while he was president. Even now, it doesn't seem like he realizes what happened while he was there.

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Diversity Is Our Strength

 ... any data that contradicts this is thrown away. Dig this sequence of tweets and notice the complete detachment from reality in our Elites.

Meanwhile, this is what we get from Team Faculty Lounge.

Warfare in an era of drones is a bit dicey for infantry.

Fortunately, our southern border is completely under control. Nothing like what is happening in Israel could happen here.

Friday, October 06, 2023

The Wave Is Hitting San Diego

 Dig this from San Diego Supervisor Jim Desmond:

Migrant update: On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to open a migrant center and allocate $3 million for services. This potential allocation for non-U.S. citizens is County tax dollars – money that should be used to address pressing issues within our county. Our community faces challenges such as homelessness, deteriorating roads, and mental health crises that demand immediate attention and resources. These issues should be the focus of county tax dollars as they directly impact the lives of San Diego County residents.

How does this solve anything? We've picked up 13,000 illegals in the last 3 weeks. The border is hitting new records every month. That $3M will dissolve instantly as we hit 25,000 and then 40,000 and then ...

To use one of the progs' favorite words, this is not sustainable.

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

What's The Point Of Having Laws If Trump Isn't Allowed To Break Them?

That seems to be the position of a bunch of law and order conservatives these days. Well, the MAGA crowd, at least.

Trump is going to NY to face fraud charges today. Because his current lawyer is a ditz and didn't check the box on the form asking for a jury trial, the case will be decided by the judge. All the good lawyers have bailed out on him because he's the worst client possible, never able to shut his mouth in public.

Anywho, one of the things at stake here is his control over his business properties in the state of New York. He is accused to mis-valuing them for his own gain. Again, plenty of reds are rallying to his defense, claiming it's all a political hit job. I don't get it.

We own rental property. It's been appraised for loan, insurance and tax purposes. The appraisals are done by independent, reliable firms. They are completely defensible in court. There's no way on Earth I would risk the penalties that come with fraudulent appraisals.

When I was going through my last divorce, I was living in a custom house I helped design and had built for my family. Everything about it was a work of art from the unique front door to the skylight dome in the center to the tree growing up through the middle of the house to the hand-blown glass sink in the downstairs bathroom. I will never see the like again.

At the time, I had a two-income mortgage I had to cover with one income. I also had to pay off my ex. I tried everything I could think of to afford the mortgage on my own, but no bank would lend to me until ...

Until I hooked up with a mortgage broker recommended by a family friend. This was before the 2008 real estate crash. He said he could write the loan documents and include a fantasy income property in Arizona on my income statement. "The banks won't look into it," he promised me.

It was tempting, but I knew it was fraud. I didn't do it and never worked with that crook again. Had I done so, I almost certainly would have gone bankrupt and the bank would have taken a loss. Getting a loan though fraudulent means is immoral. Period.

I guess it's moral if Trump does it. After all, he has Jesus on his side.