Life Without Porpoise
And none of my Substack will be written by ChatGPT, I promise. None of it! None!
I’ve been kind of distracted with flute making and winter ennui the last few months. I have yet to edit my post about the power grid terrorists which I might just purge instead. The one that I just sent out about the Svoboda Peppers was out of commitment and necessity as Saltwater Seeds has a link to it on their now active webpage (sales for this year’s growing season just started). I still have much to add such as pictures from previous growing seasons, as well as some links and biographical information on Tom Svoboda and his wife Jana Demartini-Svoboda. Also I have a wealth of data from Calabria on similar Pimento peppers and what the Calabrians do with these. Otherwise I haven’t been writing much. I’ve been churning flutes out the door when I have the energy for it and am less than a week away from sending out a quartet of keyed flutes.
I will write about my TikTok addiction and other tragedies in a later post, soon. I also have some potentially very exciting irons in the fire for this summer which is giving now me a new sense of purpose and drive. Visitors from Galicia and some potential travel plans in late June. FiddleTunes and Lark Camp even. Gangspil from Denmark coming up in February on their West Coast tour.
By now you have been horrified or delighted by all this new AI technology such as Dall-E and ChatGPT and several others. More about some of the new musical directions for this soon. Earlier on, I ran a few thoughts by Jaron Lanier about these new kids on the Virtual Reality block (Jaron coined that term) and he did have a few interesting things to say - basically that humans are still more or less in charge. However, as Microsoft’s Scholar in Residence he’s actually in the thick of OpenAI’s platform and cannot really write any more at this point. A little more about Jaron below.
I’ve been occasionally playing with ChatGPT as it develops. I am actually finding some utility with this tool in developing a theatrically difficult libretto. I might use it to recode my website as I simplify that. One more year at expensive GoDaddy and then I’ll probably port my website somewhere as a somewhat static page as I slow down my flute making.
The other day I saw an amusing article about ChatGPT at The Onion, declaring that their articles are still written by humans. If I find that article I’ll post a link in the comments. But then I thought of trying to write an article in the style of The Onion. The following was the result. Enjoy!
Note: in the real world the Vaquitas are holding on by a slim thread. It will be amazing if these can be saved. I changed the name of the scientist. Ken Norris was my dear friend Suzy’s father - and was one of the world’s leading cetacean biologists. Thus his fictional relative Kevin…
««ChatGPT Prompt: write a satyrical article in the style of The Onion about how the inevitable extinction of the Vaquita porpoises in the Sea of Cortez is their own damned fault»»
"Experts Confirm Vaquita Porpoises' Extinction is 100% Self-Inflicted"
The Vaquita porpoise, the world's smallest and most endangered marine mammal, has officially been declared extinct - and experts are laying the blame solely on the shoulders of the porpoises themselves.
According to a new study by marine biologists, the Vaquita's demise can be attributed to their stubborn refusal to change their ways and adapt to the rapidly changing environment in the Sea of Cortez.
"These porpoises had every opportunity to survive, but they just refused to listen to reason," said lead researcher Dr. Kevin Norris. "They kept getting caught in illegal fishing nets, even though we repeatedly warned them about the dangers. And they refused to diversify their diet, even as their primary food source, the totoaba fish, became increasingly scarce."
The Vaquita's stubbornness was not limited to their behavior in the wild - they also refused to participate in captive breeding programs, despite the fact that such programs have been successful in saving other endangered species.
"They just seemed to have a 'live fast, die young' mentality," said Dr. Norris. "They were too busy partying and having a good time to worry about the long-term consequences of their actions."
In a statement, the Vaquita porpoise community expressed their disappointment with the findings of the study. "We are disappointed but not surprised by the results of this study. We have always known that our extinction was our own fault. We refused to change our ways and now we have to pay the price for it."
In the end, the Vaquita porpoises' reckless and irresponsible behavior has led to their tragic downfall. But perhaps their story serves as a cautionary tale for other endangered species, who would be wise to learn from the Vaquita's mistakes and take action before it's too late.
Regarding Jaron Lanier, check out the recent article in the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/27/jaron-lanier-tech-threat-humanity-twitter-social-media
I’ve known Jaron for some time, via my dear friend Mickie Zekley of Lark Camp and Lark in the Morning fame. Besides being a scholar on things involving computers, Jaron’s also a musician, composer and instrument collector. I made him one of my alto flutes in A and he wants one of my glass flutes when that happens. We have had the pleasure of having him and his lovely family at our table.
I recently noticed how much he resembles the Mona Lisa. Jaron is famous for coining the term “Virtual Reality”. I pointed out these similarities and he mentioned that this was not an original observation. In fact the very first issue of Wired Magazine has a painting of Jaron as the Mona Lisa. My guess is in reality, Jaron and Mona are identical twins, and that his sister simply wanted to go back in time and hang out with Leonardo da Vinci, eating stuffed and roasted Calabrian Pimentos called “Christmas Peppers” and now called “Svobodas” here on the Pacific Coast. At some point in the past these two brilliant minds invented the Time Machine, which at the core was powered and controlled by Windows Vista.
One of my favorite TikTok creators is @hairbuddha. He would love Jaron’s magnificent dreadlocks.
Sadly, Mickie passed away in the fall. For years he has been a huge supporter and booster of my flute making and his presence in the world fueled my passion. Suddenly he is no longer the wind in my sails and for several weeks I wondered why I even would bother any more and what is the point of doing anything out in the workshop. Physically my body is worn out from 40 years at the lathe bench and a big part of me is ready to call it a day - or throttle way back to maybe one or two flutes a month.
Eventually I drifted out of these doldrums with the wind coming from many of my clients and other musician friends filling my sails, and the fact that my flutes will provide joy and music for centuries long after we are all gone. It will be nice to be remembered for these instruments I suppose, but it is the future joy that these will bring which is more satisfying.
During the Pandemic, Mickie and I would call each other on the phone or Facetime weekly or more often, usually starting out with admitting that neither of us had anything new to say or any news and that this was true for everyone else. But then we would hang up sometimes 2-3 hours later having said a lot.
Unfortunately and annoyingly, he hasn’t said a single word or called me up or texted me since he passed away. This is true for a few other friends, including some who still show evidence of life.
Mickie is ghosting me apparently….
Here we are playing a “Courting” flute - actually 2 of my Folk flutes with a connecting joint at the bottom. It will work, until both players close all 6 fingerholes per flute. At that point, the air is rushing in the bore in both directions and the players are rather intimate with each other’s exhaled breath. GLORP!!!! We were both totally grossed out by this - and totally amused to the point that we were literally gasping for air! I am so happy my daughter Lila captured this photo. This was from one summer where we could only attend Camp for a day and this was within minutes of our arrival. This was at Camp 3.
Everyone grabbed this photo for their eulogies without crediting Lila’s photography or my Facebook page - and usually edited me out of it! Mickie and his wife Beth would play this instrument at the Friday Night Talent Show at Camp One. I really miss him!
Note - comments are allowed. Be nice people. This isn't TikTok or Truth Social.
WOW! This is my 93rd post!