Category Archives: writing & Such

Chatbot fantasies

Spend enough time with ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots and it doesnt take long for them to spout falsehoods.

Described as hallucination, confabulation or just plain making things up, its now a problem for every business, organization and high school student trying to get a generative AI system to compose documents and get work done. Some are using it on tasks with the potential for highstakes consequences, from psychotherapy to researching and writing legal briefs.

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Dog Days Diversions — Nursery Rhymes: A Scholarly Sampler

Washington Post — archive

Humpty Dumpty. Jack Horner. Miss Muffet. You knew them as a child, and if you have youngsters of your own, chances are they know them, too. Mother Goose and her nursery rhymes are old friends. Seems as if they’ve been around forever, and with the tenacity of Golden Oldies, they’ll stick with you for life.
But where, you might wonder, did the fragile Humpty and the arachnophobic Miss Muffet come from?
Like many nursery rhymes, they are centuries old.

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Maybe The Best Column I Never Read; Plus Many of the Best Typos

Washington Post

From, “Behind a pseudonym, literary provocation”

James Campbell’s ‘NB by J.C.’ brings together the columns of an incendiary cultural critic. . . .

By Michael Dirda
 –  May 12, 2023

James. Campbell, aka J. C. In N. B., in the TLS.

Even before catching up with the latest scholarly kerfuffle in the Letters column, readers of Britain’s Times Literary Supplement turn first to its last page. There, one can find a weekly feature somewhat enigmatically titled NB, the Latin abbreviation for “nota bene,” which could be translated as “pay close attention.”

Overall, NB might be loosely described as a gossip column for the erudite, but during the first 20 years of the present century, James Campbell made it into something more — a uniquely personal miscellany of wit, weirdness and waspish provocation. Continue reading Maybe The Best Column I Never Read; Plus Many of the Best Typos

The Island of Two Stories: Part Four of Four

FOUR: Bringing Them, Home, and Bringing It Back
While on the island, I managed to draft about sixty pages of my Nantucket novel, and several episodes of the quilt story, before cash ran too low for more room rent. Than I had reluctantly taken the ferry back to the twentieth century, presented my carefully stashed return bus ticket, and jiggled and scribbled my sore butt back to Baghdad on the Bay.

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The Island of Two Stories: A Four-Part Mini-Saga

Part ONE
Once long ago, in late 1976, I set out to write the great American Quaker novel.


Or at least, a page-turning historical potboiler.

It was to be be about Quakers on the island of Nantucket, during the American Revolution. Two of them in particular: the gruff but pious William Rotch, — who was the wealthiest Quaker on the island. He carried the double burden of a large fortune balanced against a tender pacifist conscience in . And a woman Friend, Kezia Coffin, with no fortune but boundless ambition and strong passions.

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