A Place for Mom : A Shack for Dad

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Down at A Shack for Dad™, we’ll get your ol’ man hooked up with a one room shack equipped with a single cot, electric hotplate kitchen and a built in combination: shower-toilet-sink & mirror. He’s going to love it! The walls are not too thick so he’ll always be chilly, so sweaters are a must. The shacks are stacked right up next to each other, like a shanty-town, just right for a curmudgeon like him to meet other ill natured souls.

We’ve got a single level meal plan which most tenants find quite appealing. Beans, eggs, wheat bread for toast, potatoes and an assortment of protein provided by our resourceful gamekeeper. All designed to keep those arteries gummy.

Your Dad will have lots to do: relearn the art of chewing tobacco, horseshoes, whittling (with Barlow pocket knives, a favorite), bocce ball for the European sort, and craft classes that nearly every Dad tries once, gives up and resorts to cussin’, spittin’ and returning to what makes them happy—weather-talk and politickin’.

Of course, there will always be something to complain about, but amenities are sparse enough to never have him grumble about you spending too much money on an “old man like him.”

Electronic gadgets are allowed, however we no longer have a tech-geek available so, your ol’ Pa is on his own.

If you’re worried about his health we have a full medical staff onboard who are poised to shock barrel-chested men, perform elective podiatry, and as a special treat, on loan from the Cadillac Ranch, a fleet of comely nurses skilled in the art of prostate exams.

At A Shack for Dad™ we’ve got all the basics covered. Our spartan setting, level walkways (very few stairs), historically accurate nutritional program, quintessential entertain package and exhaustive therapeutic and remedial line up will entice even the most content father or father-in-law into “joinin’ the ol’ boys” for some rip-roaring debates and down-home pastimes.

For additional information, please navigate to http://www.old-geezers-rule.com/AShackForDad.

Image created with https://scribblediffusion.com/

Aging’s Diminishing Returns

I recall a conversation I had with an older gentleman (older by a generation) who adamantly declared that, as he aged, he was more and more entitled to some cache of healthcare privilege. As if by aging he was warranted a greater piece of society’s pie.

I suspect many of us think this way. That by age 70 or 80, if we make it that far, we should be due the expense of whatever healthcare we require. That we’ve accrued some virtual healthcare-credit. That we are owed.

I countered this fellow’s argument with the notion that, as far as society was concerned, his healthcare would be money poorly spent. His usefulness was nil. That if anything, society should take the money spent on him and spend it on a newborn. That would be a much wiser investment. That that child represented a potential 50+ years worth of contribution to society. Your potential? Zip.

He didn’t like that much.

I pointed out that in every other social species, elders who could not keep up were a liability and were shed from the clan, the group, the colony. “Your final gesture to the health of the tribe would be to sacrifice yourself to the predators trailing behind us.”

Of course, his position could not be shifted. He’d paid into this imaginary bank and was dead-set on withdrawing his balance. Yeah, he was a total Republican.


There’s this public speaking futurist and political analyst, Peter Zeihan, who I can’t quite tell if he’s a charlatan or prophet. A bit of both is my take. He tries to use statistics to his favor, but, we all know how that works out. He’s not like Hans Rosling who didn’t try to prophesize, or sensationalize this theories. Rosling’s Ted Talks are worth watching (elevate women is his theme).

Zeihan has (through youtube) been harping on the global fertility rate—most recently, China’s which stands at 1.3:


We all prolly know that a country needs 2.1+ to retain their current population levels. That the world, as a whole stands at 2.3 (population is still going up). The fact that this number is that high is almost entirely due to African & Middle East nations having 4+ rates. But, the rest of the world’s countries have far lower rates. Japan’s, also at 1.3 and South Korea’s at 0.8? Is societal collapse on the table?

That’s what Zeihan might have us believe. Elon Musk as well. Malthus was wrong.

And here comes the tie-in…

The elderly, across the globe—myself included now, can’t possibly think they can sit back and collect on some fanciful reserve of goodwill they’ve garnered over their lifetime. They have no choice but to continue to be productive in a society that cannot afford to let them retire and luxuriate in repose.

So, get back to work, you old geezer!

(Of course, if the promise of total labor automation comes along soon, as I’ve predicted in other posts, we might all be saved from having to work until our minds fail, our hips crack, our fingers curl in arthritic claws incapable of gripping a kitchen spatula.)

Are we the aliens & AI evolution

Are we the aliens?

There’s a Neil deGrasse Tyson concept that goes like this:

Of the billions of species that have evolved and thrived on the Earth for half a billion years, why did higher intelligence only evolve once? The corollary being, intelligence like ours must not be a prerequisite for a successful species.

Hmm, I thought, a contextually external analysis of historic and current life on earth would look at humanity as an aberration. Millions of species evolved and survived for tens of millions of years with effective but primitive brain capacity and then along comes this new creature with mental abilities that vastly exceed the minimum required of any species thus far.

Our overly large brains are an evolutionary oddity. An expensive and energy wasteful appendage.

Maybe humanity’s boosted intellectual power is the result of alien manipulation. Aliens exist – and we are they.

(I don’t believe such nonsense, but the theory would make an interesting short story.

AI Evolution

In opposition of the above but in conjunction with the concept that evolution requires hundreds of millions of years to finally produce a being capable of recognizing itself as the, up to now, superior species, is the thought that AI will need to endure a similar, lengthy evolutionary progression.

If what we’re experiencing today, the GPT chatbots, Level5 driving agents, Go players and image generators are the equivalent eucaryotes of the age—the primitive creatures that stewed and brewed and developed into more and more complex organisms resulting in us—what are we in for with regards to the mutated AI species that will quickly follow?

If ChatGPT is a trilobite, what will be the corresponding Tyrannosaurus Rex? The Bengal tiger? The mountain gorilla? The Us?

Yes, we are at the “knee” of AI’s exponential growth curve, the rapidly bending slope that eventually shoots straight past the Moon, out to the core of the galaxy. Exciting times, for sure.

Sam Altman has a revealing talk recorded a few months ago. It’s worth watching. Note the part where he mentions asking AI about AI, using AI to solve its own alignment problem. Uh, that works until it doesn’t, right?

Post Holiday Blues: Mourning what could have been

“Use it or lose it”, the company I work for said about vacation time. And they were serious. Seems I didn’t pay attention to my accrued time over the last couple of years, so, whoosh — 80 hours gone.

That was back in September and involved 2020/21’s accumulation from multiple acquisitions. “Well, shit. I’d rather be working than sitting around waiting for the cat to die, but, OK. I’ll take what time is left.”

So, I sat home all last week, yeah, waiting for the cat to die. It’s a 19 year-old PITA that screams all night for food or because it’s cold or it’s constipated or fuck, who knows? “I’m lonely, is anybody there?” I have a cache of rolled socks I throw at it. I wanted to get a high powered squirt gun but the spouse frowned mightily at that.

I wasn’t idle. I tried to piece together various ideas. But, I wasn’t productive either. It seems my inner critic has ensconced himself just over my shoulder. After a few words, his toxic breath freezes my fingers. Stutter-writing is no fun. At this rate I’ll never get anything completed.

Right this instant, I sit here, Youtube loop videos playing, reworking one paragraph over and over. Turns out, there are post-holiday music compilations that help wean us of our shroud of holiday tunes. Coffee house jazz: guitar, piano, cello, each with accompanying fake snow falling over a “Where’s Waldo” or “I Spy” scene. It helps. Even I used to enjoy the holidays: the anticipation, the potential of I-don’t-know-what building, and the memories of better times spilling over.

Then after. Decorations that mock us, the occasional exposed gift that didn’t get put away, mainly because you don’t quite know what to do with it. And the emotional hangover that lingers for weeks. It’s like mourning a dead, distant friend. Or the end of school-age summer, squandered or filled with adventure; back to school we go—whether we like it or not.

My writer’s mind in chaos mode: (Dall-E)

Nostalgia nags like a scab to be picked

The weight of Christmas Past pulls at my mind, a melancholy anchor I drag around. In its wake an odd mix of bitterness and joy. Joy at the memories, bitterness at the fact that such memories won’t stay buried.

The Season demands pleasant greetings—though false and egg-shell deep, subject to crack as soon as the revelers drift behind me. I’d as soon skip to March or April, avoid all of this. Yet there exists this tug at the wire that wraps my heart. There is a yearn to recall past holidays and the happy frolic they no doubt enjoyed. It’s the music, mostly, like that of a syringe full of boiled smack, I slap my forearm and stab the dial. “O Tannenbaum… It’s beginning to look… Dashing through the snow…”

Maybe that’s what I need, a long bump of snow and a shot (or twenty) of heady aquavit. Or ouzo. You know I love that licorice-anise flavor. And screw you if you don’t. But, an endearing, merry screw-you, you know?

But hey, it’s Christmas, right? Or rather, the Holidays—gotta be Politically Correct. I favor Saturnalia, the death of the old year the birth of the new one, full of empty potential.

Here’s some AI imagery for you. May our future AI Gods award us an equally cheerful season, if nothing more than to keep us, their human servants, jolly, dulled by alcohol and nostalgic thoughts of the past.

A joyous forest christmas scene full of christmas trees, presents, beautiful colored lights, in the foreground is a devlish imp, in the style of Dali

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