Type: RamsayWrites

I have seen the enemy and it is…

Words. An odd thought from someone who lives for them and earns a livelihood from them.

But while we’re all still fighting over fake news and free speech and truth and consequences, less than two months ago on November 22nd the San Francisco company Open AI released its latest generation writing bot called Chat GPT. It is to the revolution of thought what wheels were to roads.

Given the initial media response, ChatGPT will either shutter universities, vaporize teachers and homework, and eliminate rational debate, or usher in a new age of enlightenment. But as with many new technologies and bad drugs, the early days ChatGPT is fun and often magic. You ask it a question; it gives you a lengthy, thoughtful, nuanced, and often chummy reply. From 50 words to 5,000. Kul!

Meanwhile…

I’m not wild about Harry.

Like most people who come from a family, I cringe for the Windsors whose prodigal son gives fresh new meaning to the idea of zealous indiscretion. And we haven’t even heard yet from the really offended party, Harry’s wife, who lived for some years in Toronto at 10 Yarmouth Road.

Perhaps we can turn our heads, then, to the matter of Royal Warrants. These are granted to companies that provide goods or services to the Royal Household. Everyone is waiting for Charles to be crowned so that an entire new generation of companies can put on their jam jars: “Supplier of jam to King Charles III.” You, too, can apply!

Meanwhile…

“Most successful people are just a walking anxiety disorder harnessed for productivity.”

Andrew Wilkinson’s idea won’t leave my head as I scratch it to come up with any successful person it doesn’t describe. Which got me to thinking about that other earwig, Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem anxious, except maybe this week he finally will, as New York Attorney General

Letitia James filed a 222-page lawsuit claiming he and his kids have engaged in massive fraud over many years. The document makes astringent reading. And speaking of reports, Wachtell Lipton’s on the racist and misogynist actions of Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA Phoenix Suns, exemplifies how law firms are now policing workplace misconduct. But the most shocking of this week’s reports comes from the US Congress which revealed just how much energy companies have misled Americans on the industry’s role in climate change. 

Meanwhile…

“A Canadian citizen is a British subject.”

I’ve read this for decades on my passport, feeling even today that we enjoy special privileges in far-off lands. But it’s a testament to how fast things change now that one week the Queen dies, and the next, the King is having to shore up membership in the Commonwealth. Maybe Charles will be a different kind of King. As The Guardian notes, “Prince Charles is eccentric, impassioned, impatient, indiscreet — which, while manageable faults in a prince, are difficult ones in a king.”

Here is this week’s Omnium-Gatherum…

“A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.”

Wole Soyinka‌ said this to remind us that “all hat and no cattle” is the true plague of our age. So I was surprised to see that “hating August” is an excellent reason to make bad choices or delay putting them off until the one we’ve just begun.  

And speaking of the Fall, the death this week of Mikhail Gorbachev recalls how quickly after the fall of the Soviet Union he became a capitalist.

Here’s to the start of Fall….

Femfiring.

There’s a scientific reason the Dog Days of Summer describe these hot sultry days. There’s also a market reason; a movie reason; and of course now is when Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. As Noel Coward wrote: “…though the English are effete, they’re quite impervious to heat.”

Meanwhile…

Dog Days

There’s a scientific reason the Dog Days of Summer describe these hot sultry days. There’s also a market reason; a movie reason; and of course now is when Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. As Noel Coward wrote: “…though the English are effete, they’re quite impervious to heat.”

Meanwhile…

How to.

Yes. Although the end is getting easier. You can choose the time and place of your exit. You can memorialize your life more memorably. You can demystify death by filming it. You can put death at one remove with the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. If you live in Chicago, where “no one gets shot just once anymore”, you can walk out of the ER. You can even turn one of the most enduring touchstones of music and popular culture, Don McLean’s American Pie, into a movie, The Day the Music Died.

Meanwhile, back among the living…

Does death still have dominion?

Yes. Although the end is getting easier. You can choose the time and place of your exit. You can memorialize your life more memorably. You can demystify death by filming it. You can put death at one remove with the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. If you live in Chicago, where “no one gets shot just once anymore”, you can walk out of the ER. You can even turn one of the most enduring touchstones of music and popular culture, Don McLean’s American Pie, into a movie, The Day the Music Died.

Meanwhile, back among the living…

If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future.

Lao Tzu said this in 525 BC when anxiety didn’t yet define an entire age of human existence.

But as temperatures boil over actually and politically, what has us in its thrall isn’t anxiety, but high anxiety. How else to describe Umair Haque’s mordant prediction that We’re Not Going to Make It to 2050. Or even the “best of times, worst of times” predictor, Max Fisher writing in The New York Times, who asked: “Has the world entered a time of unusual turbulence, or does it just feel that way?”

The outrage after the outage.

H.L. Mencken said that for every complex problem there’s an answer that is clear, simple and wrong. It’s tempting to link the problems of Rogers, Air Canada, and our hospital emergency units to this epigram. Just ask anyone who’s actually had to find “more staff” or to “fix tech” how hard it can be. But what is glaringly clear in these failures is how badly they’ve been communicated and how easily all of us could have been told the bad news sooner and better. In the same way that “it’s not the crime, but the coverup,” it’s also not the crisis, but the follow-up that dooms you in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, a site to check that your network/flight/ER or credit card company really is down.

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