Overview

There is a lot going on in the A.I. world, and we discuss only a portion. Starts off with weather and predicting it since Alan is watching that for his flight.

We talk about the wondrous glut of Christmas albums and music that we’ve been listening to and recommending.

Recommendations

Raspberry Pi Sensors – https://amzn.to/3HUHFRo

Chat GPT – openai.com

Midjourney

ProgJect | The Ultimate Prog Rock Experience

Christmas Groove

YouTube

Transcript

Stephen: Hey Allen. We both got snow escapes.

Alan: Exactly. It’s, and it’s funny, here in California where I currently am, there was only lots of rains that, of snow. But from what I understand, it’s sweeping across the nation.

Stephen: We had a little bit of snow yesterday, but it didn’t really last.

Alan: It’s I’m flying in and out of Denver tomorrow to get home.

And so I was really hoping that wouldn’t coincide with exactly when they were getting buried. We’ll see,

Stephen: we’ll see. , you can turn into one of those comedy Christmas travel movies.

Alan: Exactly. It stranded in. Let’s see. I’m gonna, I don’t even know how I would get outta Denver. Like you can’t really hop on a bike or a, I’m sure I get a car and then be stuck in the following the snowplow route out of the mountains, that kinda thing.

Stephen: And you mentioned about the weather, talking about it, the apps and the tracking and all that. funny and I’ve had this discussion with Colin. They are definitely better. I like AccuWeather. That app seems to be pretty good. It’s the farther out you go, the less accurate they get.

They can pretty much predict today and really close to tomorrow, but you get 2, 3, 4 days and it might as well change. It will change by the time you get there.

Alan: Exactly. I That’s traditionally been one of those. There’s so much chaos involved in the interactions of huge systems that you Exactly.

As you get further out, it becomes less and less reliable. But what I’ve noticed, and also I use AccuWeather as well, from what I understand, they tap into the national Weather services. They have weather monitors all around the United States, every airport, every city, et cetera. And what I’ve been using sometimes is It’ll come on my phone and say, the rain is going to stop at eight 11 and it’ll be stopped for 45 minutes and it’ll start up again.

And so it’s if I was going to go out and run errands where I don’t want my mail to get wet or move the trash cans outside, or whatever else it might be, it’s just amazing to me that they can have it so pinpoint accurate. And I like, they have now where you can actually watch from the weather maps, things sweeping across, here’s the frontline.

Yeah. And all that kinda stuff. And it’s, I guess that’s the power of big data. That’s the power of really great algorithms. From what I understand a lot of those things were not only come up by huge government labs, there’s all kinds of amateur meteorologists that have put together the algorithms the way of dealing with data and that it’s really been a collaborative effort to get to this level of stuff.

And not only if you will, individuals in the government, but all kinds of companies really care about the weather. Like ev every trucking company cares about what’s it gonna cost me to get across, and how much of a delay or even stoppage might there be, right? Every airline, every insurance company, et cetera, et cetera.

So the fact that there have been some data battles, like when somebody collects data, how much are they obligated to share it with the rest of the world? But apparently a lot of those things have been ironed out and there’s not seven different repositories for the accuracy of ocean water.

And as you might imagine also, right? So climate change has had a whole bunch of how are we going to deal with this? And one of the first things that was done was we don’t have accurate data going back to 1888 and so forth, and people start. Proving that they do, but there’s also proprietary interests in, Hey, I’ve been using that data to actually, I don’t know, plant plan for crops or something like that.

Like the poor Richards Almanac quotes database might not be what you tap into, but there really are people that have taken core samples and regular readings for years and decades and centuries and stuff like that. So I just, I’m impressed at how a big problem like that has been solved and how much it helps me, when I.

Planning on travel, I could actually say, what’s my chance of getting in and out of Phoenix? Pretty good. Denver maybe not ,

know,

Stephen: not at least at this time. It could also be, you know what though? They’re saying it’s go clear up by six o’clock tomorrow evening. Let me call the airline and see if I can switch to a different flight.

And,

Alan: exactly that was always, for weather, for seismology, always the grail was can you make an accurate enough prediction that people really could act on it in real time so that wow, there’s an earthquake coming. Get to safety. Don’t just hope, but actually act on it.

And then what’s disheartening about that is we have perfect weather forecasting. We know that Florida’s gonna get hit by a hurricane. Here’s exactly what it’s gonna happen. And people are still sitting in their lawn chair outside , right? They just decided, I don’t believe in that sciencey stuff.

Stephen: hold my arm around.

But you mentioned about lots of amateurs and stuff have done it. I know I’ve got a whole collection of sensors that I can tie into my raspberry pie program too. So you got a barometer you’ve got a temperature, you’ve got a light sensor. So it can detect, oh, it’s, the light is fading and the barometer’s going down, so it’s probably gonna snow or, you can program that all yourself now.

All the programmers and tech people know you can’t just plug all those in and com, your computer does the Starship Enterprise and it tells you all of it. You actually have to program it and make it work. But there’s a lot of open source apps, which we’ve talked about before and stuff. And it’s not that expensive.

You, it’s very difficult to find a raspberry pie. Now they’re almost impossible to find because of all the metal shortage and production costs. I hadn’t thought

Alan: about that. Even though it’s an open source device, just the creating of them still has limitations. Yeah. It takes chips.

It takes metal. Yeah.

Stephen: Wow. But the collections of sensors, it’s 50 bucks and you get 80 sensors. The whole weather kit. Exactly. The whole Wow. Yeah. That’s fun. And I’m, I wonder though, you mentioned about the data and having all this data and collecting all the data, what’s the new like G P T four and five and the new AI stuff, I wonder how that’s going to.

Make any difference. It, are they going to be able to pull that data for hundreds of places for hundreds of years or whatever and make better predictions?

Alan: That’s, I what there’s so much, not just anecdotal, but statistical proof that says no matter how smart you are in your lab working diligently, you’re not as smart as if you release it to the public and just let all the various different odd ideas pan out.

There’ll be a whole bunch of crap science and it’ll get disprove just like it should from peer review and so forth. But you just, you can’t match that open source ish idea of a hundred thousand people trying whatever comes to their mind. And the little germs of big ideas often start there, so in, in the way that you’re talking about, I let’s say I, We’re seeing some very cool, and I’ve just started to brush the surface of it myself.

AI experiments now with, it used to be the touring test, right? If you can’t tell in typing away on a computer, the difference between the computer and the human being, does that simulate intelligence enough natural or ma machine, however you wanna term it. And boy, they’re blowing the doors off of things that we used to thought were just the province of humanity.

Now we’ve got the AI chat bots that really are amazing. Yeah. And we have art creating song, creating things that are really amazing. And it’s funny, almost all those, there’s like a little curve that you can see happening where they say, oh here’s the first results and it. Phony and stilted, but that’s when you see a baby, a toddler taking its first steps, you don’t see the Olympic runner in him already and you don’t dismiss them because everybody starts somewhere.

The art that’s being created is amazing and scary because that is one of those things that we for a long time have said art requires us full art requires real creativity. And like many things that I did long ago with Gambit, that was my AI-based intelligent trading systems. You can simulate.

Creativity and intelligence by just having something, try a million different things and putting in a survival function that says, doesn’t matter how you start, but keep learning, keep getting better, right? Keep just starting the things that don’t work, and embrace the things that help you collect resources, survive longer.

Sprout more possibilities instead of less so that you don’t get yourself to a statistical saddle a plateau, but that you just ever expanding outwards, and not I’ll tell you, seeing this, even the early stuff that says, gimme a painting in the manner of Gogan and, make it a beach scene, and it’s wow I’m looking at some of.

Maybe this is a, an interesting way as a human being, I look at some art and say, I could do that cuz it doesn’t seem that sophisticated. I’m so much not an artist, I really am like a stick figure guy, but I think I could dobb like an impressionist. Maybe not. I’m so full of shit. You know what I mean? To be able to capture the play of light and shadow and substance and movement in a still image.

It’s an incredible skill. Yes. But when the computer can simulate, I kept dobbing until it looked like a sailboat out on a little inlet and enough so that it matches whatever their criteria are. For most people looking at this one now, see a sailboat that’s just amazing. That , that it’s not self-aware necessarily, but it’s, it satisfies the function of like an impressionist thing.

I see. Trees with leaves on it of various different shades. And it really isn’t that. It’s just little if not pixels, bls of color. And yet isn’t that, down to the various styles of art, pretty soon you’re gonna have gimme a cubist thing that isn’t meant to be realistic. It’s meant to take a set of known shapes and do what it can to say if I want to have something that looks like a horse, what does a horse really consist of?

And I’m looking forward to. , all the ways in which people play with it and produce things that are like, unnervingly, human . Yeah.

Stephen: It, it’s crazy. We started the year off with the whole AI thing being on the borders and, oh, not much you can do with it, but it looks interesting, blah, blah.

And now, like you said, we’ve got chat, G P T, which we’ll talk to you and answer a million questions. Mid journey, which does pictures. And I know a lot of authors that are using Mid Journey to create book covers and they, instead of

Alan: being a human being, yeah, really unnerving. But it’s like the more, if you have an idea of what you want it to look like and you’re creative control is more satisfied by running a whole bunch of different things.

And I guess humans are really good at this. I don’t know what I want, but here’s some parameters and then it spits out a hundred different images. And you look at a 10 by 10 grid and you say, dink, that’s the one that I wanted all along. Or

Stephen: even, I didn’t even know it until I saw it. Or even, if you have an artist or someone, that graphic designer does a book cover they may spend two or three days, they’ll get back to you and here it is, you’re like, eh, I don’t know if I really like that.

It’s gonna take ’em another two or three days to do something completely different. At some point they’re like, Hey I’m, I said I’d spent five hours, I’ve now spent 10. You owe me more money. Or you say, yes, I like this one, but it needs a few changes. You got two or three more days. The mid journey thing, like you said, you get a hundred pictures, you choose one and it say modify it, it gives you four more pictures based off of that one and keeps fi 20 minutes and you’re done, as opposed

Alan: to a couple days.

You can do something totally new or you can do something like get me incrementally closer. I like that, but I want it to be even darker. I want it to be even, I maybe, like many things in life are, it’s not only a matter of skill, it’s a matter of understanding your tools and your environment and how they all interact.

So in the future and not in future. Right now, there already are people that the reason that they make good computer art is because they understand using a computer pen and the various different ways in which you can program textures and fills and all that kind of. They don’t have the hand to oil to pet to canvas skill anymore, but they don’t need it.

They’ve developed a new set of skills and so when someone is really good at I can knock out an image that you’re looking for, just gimme a few parameters. Kinda like being a police sketch artist that is realistic enough, satisfies instead of being perfect, we’ll get to real close really quickly.

That’s itself an amazingly cool skill to be able to like manipulate parameters and say, how about this? How about this? And continually hone in on right by questioning a human being. So wow, I’m, I like here I am. I’m not looking for a new career, but I would love that. That’s kinda if you’re in music, you not only understand music, but when you’re in a ranger, you understand all the various different instruments, capabilities and how they interact.

And you want to have three strings here, but 10 woodwinds here or in and more in a rock context. But. That’s just very cool to like abstract your way away from the individual single doing of it to be able to see it at a bigger picture and be able to work in multiple media and. Amen. It’s just fascinating to me.

Yeah. So maybe that’s something I need to start playing around with, knowing that I’m gonna fall down the rabbit hole knowing that I’m gonna be like, what? Why is it three in the morning? What happened

Stephen: there? Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s, , I was playing with the, my phone and I got the location thing working.

So it’s oh, now what can I do? Oh, can I do this? Oh, what about this? And I think I made a comment about that. I’m like, yeah I may be up late. And that’s the fun. It’s, I watched last night, Vicki and I watched a new Christmas movie on Hallmark, and it was your typical Hallmark movie, through the whole thing.

But we were like ripping it apart, but making comments and, I’m saying here’s what’s, got introduced to everybody. I said this person’s gonna do this, and she’s I’m like, because it’s the template. But the part that really impressed me was they had a 13 year old girl that was a techie that was doing programming and.

She talked correctly, she said the right words in the right way at the right time. And I heard, there was a movie I watched where they said why don’t we use SQL to bring down the database? And I’m like, nobody would say that, right? We know it’s sequel, but it’s but she used everything.

And I was like, wow. I’m pretty impressed with that. And before I forget,

Alan: I like that too. If they’re gonna have, science in a movie, it’s nice that it’s not. Science words babbled out. Really is, from what I understand, like big bank theory, every single equation that ever appeared on every blackboard, they were all checked by the real deep, heavy physics people.

Yes. And they really were, representative of those kinds of things. Not actual, they were good stuff

Stephen: anyways. Yep. Do you remember back in the day, and we’ve come so far away in from this, do you remember Eliza back in the Yes. Eighties, the big

Alan: one, one of the first chat bots? Yes. One

Stephen: of the first.

Yeah. Yeah. And we’ve come so far from that, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen anybody put up an Eliza bot. Maybe they have. Maybe I just haven’t found it. Because that was a thing. Oh my God. Eliza’s talking to you. No, Eliza’s going on a few keywords, that are programmed in oh, this

Alan: boy, this is gonna go.

A weird rabbit hole and maybe get weird quickly. So I’m out here visiting with my mom, and my mom has, regressed. She’s no longer the fully intelligent, mature human being that she once was. So part of communicating with her is what does she get? She seems to understand most things, but doesn’t re reply back to where, if you’re in a conversation, you say things to let them know what you heard them say and then how you would reply, how you would emphasize or I don’t know, negate what they’re, all those kinds of things.

And so I’m learning that new skill of how do I kind of work with an Eliza, a chatbot that I know that I’m getting simulated conversation or real conversation because sometimes she says things that it sure seems that she knows what’s going on. And other times, and maybe also it’s the memory thing, I, I.

Expect, I guess the persistence of something when Colleen and I talk she remembers everything. She’s un uncanny in, in, I guess in a way that I am, but I have a pretty good memory, as do you. And so it’s shocking when I say things to my mom and then the next day she doesn’t remember anything that we talked about, or five

Stephen: minutes later, sometimes even five.

Alan: Exactly that. And so at first it was troubling, but now I’ve, I guess I have survival skills. I don’t want to only be frustrated or sad or angry or any of the ways in which I could be pursuing this. It’s more now I have an experiment. How do I let her know that I

Stephen: love her? Alan is doing human experiments on his mother psychologically.

You sound like Sheldon . Sorry. It’s, I know that’s not what you’re doing. Yes,

Alan: it’s right. It’s my own coping mechanism is I have to make this into something. Kinda like humorous and interesting to me because otherwise I know that I would be nothing but frustrated and crying out in the parking lot,

Stephen: You know what I mean? So plus, I think everybody does that in their own way. Maybe not thinking of it, but that’s how our brains work. Theoretical the logical, the database that you know that’s right.

Alan: You something and look for the reaction, and you learn from that

Stephen: interaction. Yes.

That’s what other people are doing too. But with what we were talking about, and this is like the crazy sci-fi storyteller here, what about we’ve got these, co helmets that are AI infused, that interface with your brain and. Connect all the pieces that aren’t connecting because of the Alzheimer’s, so that you do have your memory and it keeps it going, or nanobots injected into you that network over your nerves that are defraying or building up, I think is what they do.

How crazy is that little flax developing stuff? Exactly. Yeah. To think of using the AI in a couple generations that is actually, mimicking your brain that, we could do Michael Crichton’s scanning and send you through the quantum realm or star trek’s transporters, because we scan down to every memory in your brain.

Yeah.

Alan: It boy that’s been a science fiction topic for a long time. You know what I mean? Yeah. What is the mind versus the brain and how does it work chemically versus what are the holographic or, it’s hard to. Go into something of such complexity and not immediately go to the mystic, we, and you don’t fully understand something. It’s easy to say that’s the sole part. You can’t, but the more that we experiment and find out what we were limited by was the quality of our tools. We only had a pick up electrical impulses and so forth. So I read all the time about brain stuff because I’m curious about how my mind works and of course now about how mom’s works or doesn’t, and what are the de deteriorating factors and stuff like that.

I remember there are some people, as I do not have a photographic memory, it’s not like I remember every incident of my life. Maybe I did is a better way to put it, or everything I’ve ever read. I don’t understand necessarily how my mind works in terms of why did it remember that? I’m always amazed at how much it does.

Remember when I didn’t consciously, actively say, remember that address? Remember that exact line of dialogue from a movie? All that kind of stuff. I’m, when people do have that, that they really can tell you, what did you have for breakfast 38 years ago? That kind of thing. It’s amazing, but it’s scary cuz I wonder how would I function?

Is my mind part of how your brain works? Is it does like chemical cleanup each night to make sure that you reinforce the memories that you need and get rid of all the clutter, if you will, and. , and I don’t know if I had nothing but clutter, it’d be hard to get to pattern finding, or at least that’s my image of it.

Maybe it wouldn’t, your brain just is really good at making the connections and at maintaining them, and it just doesn’t lose anything. So whatever those little chemicals are that do that cleanup routine, you just have less of the, brain away . Yeah. You

Stephen: know, stuff like that, and what if the AI did track and keep all the thoughts that your physical brain is getting rid of, and then like your mother with the Alzheimer’s that it would detect, oh, it’s not making the connection and it would like, inject it back into you and you wouldn’t even notice a difference.

You, you’d, that’d be living with the Alzheimer’s without it even affecting, Exactly. Crazy to say and think about, but why wouldn’t it? Talk to the chat bots and stuff on AI now. What’s it gonna be 20 years from now?

Alan: Yeah. I’ll, we live in a very interesting time in that in the United States.

Unfortunately, over the last couple years, we’ve actually had our life expectancy go down on average because of climate change and covid and various different things where we’re kinda like shooting ourselves in the foot. But my theory has always been and it’s proven out as you get older, every year you get older, your life expectancy actually goes up because you’re showing yourself to have whatever those interesting resilient genes are that don’t let your telomeres get too short where you go into apoptosis and programmed death and you stay vital enough where your main systems, you’re breathing and you’re digesting and all that kind of stuff.

They’re still working correctly nominally instead of is the wrongness of cancer or the wrongness of just mis miswiring somehow. And so I’m hoping that in my lifetime, it’s not only that I was blessed with good genes, most of my parents made it to their late eighties. I want it to be that, hey, science is gonna come along.

And that’s always how I talk about, come on, nanotech. I want the guys that are gonna go in and like continually monitor my body and stop the cancer and stop the disease and, anything that is not in line with my living a long time. I don’t wanna be old and decrepit, a little husk of a guy.

I want to be vital and be able to like, take a walk. So I gotta maintain my balance, I gotta maintain my, all that stuff it. But I’m hoping Colleen and I have laughed for a long time and we wanna make it to 1 41. By that mean and one forty three, I was born in fifty fifty nine hundred fifty seven and I don’t wanna just make it to the one turn of the century.

I wanna make it to the next one. I wanna make it not only to 2000, but to 2100. That means I gotta be around for 141 years and. Not, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, right? We’ve got people naturally living to the one Twentie s nowadays, and they’re studying the blue areas of the earth as to what is it that lets you make it that far.

It’s the right lifestyle, the right amount of companionship, the right, di diet and exercise. The miracles of diet and exercise. It doesn’t have to be NATO tech. It just has

Stephen: to be take care of yourself. . If we would get the right people in charge to help support some of these things, instead of the wrong people that are making things so great by being greedy and selfish and corporate.

We might have some things happen. And I think you remember the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon wanted to make it to the singularity. So he made the robot with the face and all that. Yeah. I think instead of that one particular time, that’s just going to be boom, it’s probably gonna be a slow progression.

We’ve got the AI stuff, there’s gonna be some new stuff with that, it changing this, that, and the other thing. And 10 years from now, if we really look at it and look back, it’ll be like, oh, wow. Yeah, that affected this and it went to this and did, it, that’s what’s gonna happen.

And we won’t even notice 20 years from now all the changes because they just kept going and crept up on

Alan: us. Exactly. I’ve been I’ve if you will, been a futurist for a long time and one of the things that the futurists say is that, the future’s already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

And so those things that you see that there’s this, there’s a breakthrough in material science and in mind science and in, you know what I mean? We will start to see those things interact and maybe what you just said, we’ll be able to trace back when we finally get to the singularity, oh, here’s how it came to be, but while it’s coming at us, it’s going to it’s not necessarily predictable.

That’s and a big stretch here. Gould talked about the idea of punctuated equilibrium in e evolution that things don’t follow a nice upwards curve. There’s all kinds of, ups and downs as to something fills in its perfectly, but then there’s an environmental disaster and that you can see from the course of the fossil record and so forth, how we got to really good, stable state, an explosion, the preamp explosion of various other things.

And then things happen to curtail that, and it’s the survival function more than the foun function that matters more than anything else. We’ll see that happen, I think in humanity, that as we get more and more people working on more and more things, and there’s breakthroughs in. Energy and of food production and whatever else it might be.

Will we get to teleportation? That might not even matter. You know what I mean? It, and it’s kinda when we usually put together our little list of what do we wanna talk about today one of the ways in which humanity kinda like it, it does, it’s speculative fiction to say, what would a world be like that in the future?

And let’s go to the good version of that, not the bad version of that. And so the multiverse idea has exploded outwards. The fact that we might be not in one universe, but in multiples, and that it’s by choices that we formed those new universes. I was, I used to call that alternative, the alternatives of all the, that kind of ever branching thing, but they portray that now.

So interestingly then, instead of just being a concept, we, I saw a movie called Everything Everywhere, all at Once. You know where Michelle Yo is it’s really well done where it’s not a science fiction movie. It’s just a movie, but it portrays all the ways in which her life might change.

And are there, is she actively doing that or are there active agents working on doing that because they’re the time variance authority and they want a certain future to come to be. And she figures heavily into it. And we saw that in Dr. Strange and all various different whole universes. We saw that in, Kang the next big bad in the Avengers movies.

And I go to comic books cause I’m so familiar with them. There’s been all kinds of ways in which we’ve thought, how could the future play out like that? I’m loving seeing that it’s no longer the big concept movie that we’re just now seeing it as a regular way. Honestly, since why am I not getting, what’s the name of the movie with Jimmy Stewart that everybody watches at Christmas?

It’s a wonderful life. It’s a wonderful life where, Clarence, the angel shows him here’s what the world would’ve been like without you in it. So we are, it isn’t just new. Now, all throughout history, they probably had that question of, what if your son had never been born? What if this disaster? You know what I mean?

They talked about what’s the different things that can happen and choosing more actively to make the good instead of the bad happen. There’s a place called the Global Business Network that actively did that, was a big consultant for, here’s the scenarios that we think might happen in the world.

There’s 15 different big factors, and if you want the world to be filled with more democracy, more food availability, less disease, yet don’t have to make super big changes, but you keep on steering away from the worst and towards the best. And because you can’t understand all the complexity of it, you at least tweak wherever you can.

And in fact, there’s, yeah, there, there’s even a book series of books called The Incrementalists that are like that, that they aren’t. I know I’m all over it. I’m just so like when we talk about going back in time and, oh no, I stepped on the butterfly and now we’re all dinosaurs because it changed.

The people need to embrace that concept for you’re living right now in a time where every choice you make might have some impact, so make nothing but good choices. As much as you can choose infinite diversity and infinite combination don’t envelope yourself down into the one thing you have left.

Keep letting the possibilities emerge and know that’s a much healthier way for the universe to be, is to continually well experiment and expand and find joy. You know what I mean? We,

Stephen: we, we talk a little bit about the quantum stuff. That’s kinda one of the philosophies. Of that too, that, if you’re, if you imagine good in the world, it actually helps create good in the world.

It’s kinda that same thing and what you said about people controlling and doing best, the guys that are like controlling the things you gotta watch. That’s how Tony started the Civil War behind people’s backs. He thought it would be better this way. And, that caused the whole Marvel Civil War that got started.

Alan: Exactly. It the fact that we, there really are people that are trying to manipulate things, and seemingly what you just said, really, it’s for a prophet, it’s not to make the world a better place. It’s not to make a better future. It’s not to

Stephen: save more lives. It’s to make my thing better, but it’s very insubstantial and materialistic.

Alan: And what I always hope is that because there’s multiple people that are trying to do that, and they have to be at odds. It can’t be, there’s not, I don’t, Cabals can’t exist because someone will always cop to what’s going on behind the scenes. The reason there’s not really an illuminati is because we would’ve found out, and as much as they attempt secrecy, but I discount on the fact that there’s going to be competition of those various different visions for the future.

That we won’t go to one world order because not everybody agrees with the one world order. There’s, and you can’t do it by force. It’s such a combinatorial explosion of things that are going on that in the big scheme of things, we’ve had terrible dictatorships in place for 10 and 20 and 50 years, but in 5,000 years of human semi civilization, nothing has lasted to where it didn’t eventually break down.

Entropy, kicks in human nature, kicks in the crazed leader, they aren’t immortal. They eventually die, and nobody else is as crazed as they are. They try to keep it in the family, if you will, but yeah. I have some confidence that those things will fade and It will fade for Putin, it will fade for Kim Jong, et cetera.

Stephen: They will, but human nature just means there’ll be the next new different one to rise up somewhere and take their place. And it could be

Alan: that, but I’m hoping, like I, we just had the big G seven meeting where it’s said, know, these are all what they call liberal progressive democracies.

Because right now, so far as we’re able to judge, that’s the best way to run the world. To allocate resources, to keep the most people safe, to let them continue into where their ideas can impact the future. It isn’t from a brutal dictatorship. It is, you’ve seen the horrible, t-shirt, where it has the slavery gets shit done.

Ha. You know what I mean? Wow. We have, I haven’t seen that. Whatever we’ve attempted with terrible slavery. Wow. Cause that’s all that they have to show for. It is big piles of rock, that it hasn’t created. It’s a losing game. Even though some people will perpetually play that game because they can’t have to, their minds are screwed up and they are that dark triad of narcissism and ma, like they,

Stephen: But even even saying, this is the best model, keeping people happy in doing this. You get the certain people that then see that as power and they take over and then you run into the same issue, what we control and who we think should have it, and you bow to us or you don’t get this.

I’m being very cynical with that, especially now a week before Christmas, but, It’s a’s human nature too often. I don’t think it’s everybody. And that’s the other problem is you see this, and especially now with seeing the bad news all the time, is we think that’s what everybody’s like.

That’s what the whole world’s and it’s really not you still run into good people and be that, do the right thing, but it’s more of a micro scale locally because they don’t focus on it at the macro level. That’s

Alan: one of the things you said human nature being what it is. It isn’t only that there are that set of megalomaniacs that are determined to take over.

There’s all kinds of people that are determined to, they believe in the concept of democracy, the concept of representational government. And it’s funny the really nasty cy. Call that they, there’s such a tendency towards coming up with a bad name for a good thing. So they call that the deep state.

And mostly what that is, oh, you mean the people that are determined to do a good job despite the crazies that occasionally get into power? There was just an, a fascinating article and I either Wired or the New Yorker or Atlantic about the transition between Trump’s team and Biden’s team and as compared to how everything had gone from Obama to Trump, where, we have 200 plus years of the American system that says it happens this way.

We don’t have armed insurrection and revolution as a way of transferring government. We turn over the reigns of power. Cleanly and fully and we continue our

Stephen: system. Until the last

Alan: time. Until the last time. And the Trump regime did everything that it could to screw things up, but it didn’t do everything because they can’t do everything.

There were people within government that said, I don’t care what you’re telling me to do. I’m going to maintain the records. I’m going to make sure that the things are done legally. You are not a dictator. You are a hired hand that runs by the Constitution. And what the constitution and the body of law says to do is, we are gonna maintain these records.

We’re not going to. So despite what did Trump do? Pull Trump troops out of ar various different places that put us at terrible disadvantage compared to what we had built up to that point as being a peacekeeping force and withhold information on. Boy, nuclear stuff, weather stuff. It destroyed data and so forth.

Stephen: He overturned, right? He overturned good rulings just because Barack did it well. A, we’re overturning that. It didn’t matter what it was. How, how many pristine Parklands have we lost recently years because of that? But it made somebody rich, not us .

Alan: Yeah. There was a great, cartoon, one of the, one of the ways in which that came out was that Trump started to do that, Hey, we’re selling all of our national parks so that somebody could go do mining.

And then they had, a little cartoon of a lady Forest Ranger getting that order in the computer and going, Nope. That they understand what’s really at stake. They understand the con continuation of this is a resource that all the American citizens have the right to, and that we’re not vacating the office and we’re not stripping the land of all of its beauty.

And I have confidence of that, that for every person who tries to erect that big engine of destruction, there are people that are inside of it making sure that good things keep happening and that they are maintained, and that when that aberration goes away, they’ll emerge from their little, foxhole.

They had to take the shelter in and say, don’t worry. I did indeed hold onto these things. I didn’t break the law. I stopped the law breakers from getting away with it. Yeah. You know what

I

Stephen: mean? Here’s a si, here’s a slightly different tangent, but something I’ve looked at a little bit, and I’ve said this before, that part of our reaction to things isn’t always the best, isn’t the smartest thing to do a lot of times.

To fix a problem. The way we as a culture seem to react is the exact opposite. E extreme. We don’t

Alan: pendulum swing instead of the incremental,

Stephen: right? Yes. And I just saw this at Kirk Cameron, you remember him back in the day TV show and stuff. He wrote a friendly kids book, very Christian based, but he can’t get schools, libraries and whatever to let him do an author visit and to talk about it.

Cuz oh no, we don’t want that Christian stuff anymore. We’ve got, we’ve, we focus on L G B T Q stuff and we can’t have both. So instead of, okay, we can do both and for the people that want this, they’re like, Uhuh we used to not do L G B T all Christian and now we’re doing the exact opposite and you can’t.

And I myself, wouldn’t go to his book signing to meet him and get his book. It, with it being that heavily Christian based and messages pounded in your head, that’s not me. But I’m like, so what if somebody else wants to go to it? Let ’em. But on the flip side, do those people then have to say I’m not coming into your library if you are L G B T stuff, , we, this is my problem.

We can’t go to either extreme, we, where can we find some middle ground? And why do people have to get so upset that somebody is doing something different? This is freaking America. Everybody does something different. Unique. And that’s the point. Yeah. I don’t

Alan: get it. I think it it really is, it’s funny.

once wrote a post about, how many of our problems could be solved just by going back to those silly little rules, kindergarten rules you learned when you were in . Exactly. Kindergarten is that You share, you know what’s good for the goose is good for the gander that you don’t set up that double standard.

And but they don’t, in the same way that we don’t want our libraries to have Kurt Cameron coming in to do his Christian book. He also, the churches really aren’t volunteering to have the creationism and evolution talk in their church. And so I guess not everything has to be everything to all people.

It’s okay. As you said, they have all those, the various different variety out. But it does seem that there are places that insist on intruding instead of, we got our thing, you got our thing, it’s equal. Let’s go with that. So that’s why we had to have actual court cases in Dover, Pennsylvania, talking about creationism now wrapped up as intelligent design, another great naming choice, an utter lie, and they proved it. They said, this has no, not enough scientific basis to be taught in a science class. And I guess that’s the whole point. If you’re gonna call it a science class, you have to stick with how does science work? It’s provability, it’s reproducibility, it’s

Stephen: the high, and that’s my big problem, is they’re not just look, this is what I believe.

Let me tell you about it. This is why I believe this. It’s no, if you don’t believe this, you’re wrong. And we’re going to. Everything possible to make your life miserable and cut out anything that I don’t. How many books get put on the band list every year? Because one Christian parent said that, that should be banned.

I’m offended. I’m gonna sue. And this a and they banned like a whole slew of books because of that. It’s

Alan: one of the joys of that situation is, boy, that cat is out of the bag for 30 years. Now, by that meaning you can’t ban a book anymore. I can go to the bookstore and get it. I can go online and get from my library through hoopla.

You know what I means? The people are fighting the last war. If they really think that taking a book off of a shelf and throwing it on a pile and burning it, which is a shocking, they’re doing that for the shocking image of it. But there’s no way to stop the spread of information. No matter how hard they try, they sure can get in the way.

They sure can make a big I’m happy to see that in opposition to those people. There are the Brooklyn place that says, Hey, everybody in the United States can get a library card with us. We’ll give you that book. Your child gets to read whatever they want. The parent gets to decide for the child, not somebody else’s

Stephen: parent.

Exactly. That’s right there. That’s the bottom line.

Alan: And the first time that I heard that, it’s shouldn’t each parent decide for their own children? That never seems to slow down. The people that are sure that they know what’s right for everyone, even though they can’t know everybody’s life circumstances.

They it, whatever. That virtue crap. Pardon me.

Stephen: Bless you. Three.

Alan: There we go. Three, you’re done. . Yeah, but I, it doesn’t slow ’em so it’s take care of your own kids. You know what I mean? You’re the ones that can judge whatever you want. And the fact that we, society makes allowances for those who wanna do homeschooling or those who want to control what their kids are reading.

It really is, I’m religious and so I’m going to judge what’s right for my faith. Sounds great. I’m religious, so I’m gonna judge what’s right for you. Go to hell. You don’t,

Stephen: you can’t say, this is a public you can beat me with. You can’t say this is a public school for all the kids when we’re just doing what one small group of people want.

That’s not how that works. Yeah. And then you can’t say if you don’t like it, you can go elsewhere. Why don’t you?

Alan: Absolutely. I, it, I don’t know that is unfortunately let me think how to say this. The ways in which things are available throughout the United States has both helped and hurt the cause of free information.

At first when they started to have the internet, oh no. Naughty things might be available. And they had big rules that said, if you expose a child to that is its own crime. Because you can go on the internet and not be aware of where anything is. They started to have people in Kentucky, maybe the.

Illiberal conservative places, suing people in California for hosting something on their website that they didn’t stop their child from getting to it. They didn’t put their own filtering software on, they wanted it to cease to exist, and so you had Kentucky rules applied to California, which is on the face of it, ridiculous.

Having said that, whenever you hear that fight for state’s rights, it’s wow. Every time I hear a state’s rights invoked, it doesn’t seem to make things better. It makes things worse, and for your significantly large definition of whatever, better or worse is, but if it really is access to information a learned populace that knows enough to be able to vote correctly and stuff like that, faith rights always seems to be about narrowing those choices, not expanding them.

And I’m looking for good counterexamples to that because I don’t find many, it seems to be the ruse that says, I’m gonna be able to exert influence locally and then expand that nationally, whether it’s court cases or school cases or whatever else it might be. It and just, I’ll tell you, I don’t think that we are this way because it’s my philosophy, my politics, it’s because I’m a geek that I understand that more information most often makes for better choices.

Learning how to process that information and throw away the outlier values and get to the most probable, the highest certainty choice. That’s how a geek’s mind works. And every time that someone proposes an aberration to that, I demand that this be true, no matter the level of proof.

It doesn’t meet the level of proof . No, thank you. You know what I mean? Come to me with what I am affected by how I think things work and we’ll have that discussion. But I don’t wanna go into your. , whatever your thunderdome is of, because I can yell louder because I can be more intolerant.

I win. No, I am not going there and I’m gonna do what I can to prevent you from expanding your thunderdome. Yes. To affect more things because it’s because progress comes from science and better future for humanity comes from science. And it’s not only between science and faith, it’s just how your mind works as to do you make a decision and then find facts to support it, or do you look at all the facts and come to a conclusion.

And I like the latter. It has to be that way to get to where if you want to have people understand and agree, it has to be those things that we can all understand and agree on. And if from the word go, this is provably false. Your first statement, your tentative of your belief isn’t sufficient to get other people to believe as you do.

I don’t know. I don’t care whether it’s. True or not, the odds of it being true are so small. You know what I mean? I don’t go with the long odds Bet. I go with the high probability bet and I like reality. I don’t like the super nature. I like nature. You know what I mean? I,

Stephen: oh, and I’ve said this in the stupid extreme is I don’t want anyone talking about football because that triggers me.

It makes me have bad feelings from the football players picking on me in high school. So don’t talk football and I don’t want my kids top football because I think that’s teaching ’em the wrong thing. So take it out of the schools, where do we draw the line? They’re saying, oh, we can’t have these books.

We can’t teach this certain thing because, oh, it’s against our. What if I don’t believe in what we’re doing with sports? Oh, nobody listens to me on that. So who decided that nobody should listen to me. . Hey, you mentioned the the library. I got an email from the library. It’s a hundred year celebration.

They’ve got three special library cards that you can pick up. That’s cool. Okay.

Alan: So I have a, an existing one. I’ll have to go for the, one of the anniversary guys and get a replacement. Exactly. Yeah. Nice. It does happen, kinda like when we go into this hibernation mode, I really tend to go visit libraries and say, gimme the stack of comic books that I didn’t read this year, of the graphic novels that have been collected.

I just did that and one library, Lakewood is a really good library, but it’s not enough. So then I venture out to Rocky River has its own and a different selection and so does Westlake and so does the Cuyahoga Valley Library System and the Cleveland Library system have all kinds of different outlets and.

I have to keep at one point they, I could return ’em all to Lakewood Public Library and they had a library InterExchange system that they would get them back to where they belonged. and then unfortunately like twice now, I’ve had, Hey, we’re gonna done you because you never returned this book.

It’s I did, and like within a week after checking it out. But apparently it got lost in the system that it’s not at Lakewood, but it’s also not where it should have gone. And so now I gotta pay 22 bucks. So now I have to plan my little route of, okay, keep the Rocky River in a separate stack and when I’m done with Rocky River, take ’em back to Rocky River.

. So I, it was cause the liquid library, as it’s like a block and a half from my house. If I do a real good Frisbee throw, I can boomerang it into the bo the book return slot . You know what I mean? I was getting really spoiled by that. I’ve had to adjust my behavior

Stephen: And luckily we, with such a good system, all those books that are banned, you can probably find them in the library system.

Alan: also, Colleen and I, you we did, we talk about this last time, I’m not sure we regularly make up a, another thing you get when you go into kind of new year mode is . like to be it’s what I’ll be talking about at the end of this month. Drinking from the fire hose. There’s so much out there, there’s so many options.

I don’t want to just guess, I don’t mind having there be people that are knowledgeable about very, about film, about books, about games, whatever else it might be. Help me to get through the good stuff so that in the course of my lifetime, my average for quality stuff is high. And there’s all kinds of stuff that even on Netflix, they don’t have everything anymore.

It’s hard to find. I don’t know. All of an artist’s work when I’m trying to watch all the Hitchcocks, we only, we’re probably still 10 away from watching all the Hitchcocks, but they’re in the unknown part of the Netflix queue. They don’t have a DVD to send me anymore. They don’t stream it cuz it’s not.

The dots, the bits on their servers dots. I can’t believe I said that. Isn’t that funny? , it’s like their movies are made of very

Stephen: little dots. It’s that candy that you look off the little paper. Exactly.

Alan: But it gets the impression. So we’re hoping that because libraries now have hoopla and overdrive and stuff like that, that libraries have old d v d, maybe even v h s copies of things.

If I fire up the v h s tape, it might be that it’s a little crackly, it’s been watched 200 times, but that I’m going to actively pursue using the inter-library exchange program to try to bring stuff to me and say, let’s finish off the Woody Allens, let’s finish off the Alfred Hicock the Steve Soderberg, whatever we have as our directors that we like to watch or.

it. I want to be a little bit more active in my choices. Make the big spreadsheet, make the big database , and check things off as I get through them. It’s a very satisfying thing to say. Yep, .

Stephen: That’s how Reese gets some of the horror movies from overseas and other countries, or lasagna. Exactly.

Might take a while, he’s gotten stuff from like Thailand and Bulgaria and like three horror movies ever made in Bulgaria and he had to request them and get ’em shipped and find, that’s part of the fun. It can be done. Hats off the, our library system and all

Alan: of that.

Honestly, it, like I said, because I can’t find them in the easy way. They’re not on Netflix and Amazon, they’re not available, to buy easily. I really am going who would hold onto things no matter what, and libraries are getting their own pressures now to say, Hey, if something hasn’t been checked out, In 20 years, maybe we really will sell it at the library book sale or something like that.

And maybe that’s true for movies now. It used to be that every VHS was a novelty and then D V D came along and pushed those kind of the end of the queue. I don’t want them to just go into the landfill. There should be somebody that goes to that library book sale and says, I’ll be the vault. I’ll be the guy that maintains these things.

And for VH s I just gotta make sure that they’re like temperature and humidity control so they don’t turn into glue or,

Stephen: or, or digitize em.

Alan: Yeah, exactly. I mean that, that’s what I know that there are places that are doing exactly that. HP has a big foundation in California that’s determined to digitize all kinds of old movies.

That there’s three copies left in the can. The three reels that used to be able to put onto a projector in the theater, and they really are getting like nitrate, right? It deteriorates and can even like burst into flame and whatever the other. Non archive quality things, they’re trying to get it to that next level of archive quality.

Exactly.

Stephen: So you mentioned also about coupons and all. So we do, oh, it’s holiday season and more and more people are shopping online. And I think you, you may have seen my post that I ranted a bit about why Amazon is winning. It’s because the other places just can’t compete how good it is,

Alan: That’s right.

Things arrive on time without fail at a good price.

Stephen: And before I, I say that

Alan: return system can be terrible if it’s not winning. Yes.

Stephen: I, Walmart was horrible. Amazon is wonderful. Before I say that, I almost forgot I was going to get you for Christmas the back for blood game so we could play online cuz it’s cross platform.

Me, my cousin, you, whoever. But it doesn’t work on Max. I’m like, what the heck? This is 20, 22 folks. Max have powerful machines. Why are we not putting

Alan: it on there? I do run Windows 11 under emulation. I have parallels. I don’t know if that’ll do for that because I don’t play online games, or I’m worried about lag, lagging latency.

I usually play like civilization, like we’ve laughed about, that I’m just, I go, but you have

Stephen: a much better internet than I do .

Alan: I do, I have gig internet, and I do have, my M two Mac mini is like the fastest personal computer in the world, even with the overhead of. That emulation, it really might be.

So even if it’s only available for Windows I might be able to run. We should try it as long as if what’ll happen is the few things that I’ve not been able to run have been, it specifically checks for graphics boards certain characteristics of the machine that I emulate at a high level, but it might not be exactly what it’s looking for.

And so I might still have installation and execution issues. We’ll see what happens, . Okay.

Stephen: Sounds good to me. Cause I think that’d be fun. Those games are awesome. It’s the, okay. The successor from some of the same people have left for dead. So very cool. Yeah. Very cool.

Alan: Yeah, I have, when you’ve mentioned it, it’s oh hell, I’ll give that a try. Okay. .

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. It’s more about just, chatting with everybody online and playing cuz it’s cooperative, not competitive. I like that cuz I’m no good. My, my kids were beating me at competitive f p s when they were eight.

Alan:

It’s, it I had a good friend Dave, who, when they, the first person shooters came out. He just had the thing where he had the incremental movement, that pixel by pixel movement with a mouse, that he was so much a better, a sharp shooter, a running gunner, all those things that I just wasn’t as good at.

And so after a while it was like you can take me on a pu run, but I’m gonna slow you down. I’ll, I never had done this before. I would just watch him once in a while because he was so good at handling the multi-tier, round, the corners listening. And I just, I couldn’t keep up. And it was frustrating to be like, all right, pick up my body again, , you know what I mean? Please don’t loop me. You know what I mean? .

Stephen: So the, anyway, the shopping you mentioned the coupons and all that, and I chuckled because right before you sent that message I had purchased something online and then I got an email saying, Hey, you’re getting so many reward points or whatever through Microsoft system.

And I’m like, oh, great, okay. But I laugh because we have so many people learning to be fearful about their security and their privacy and all that. But then they’re like, oh, coupons. I can save $3. Let me give you all my information. ,

Alan: right. Track my movement, all the web and in order to get safe. So I have, I.

I had honey and it has been so useless in comparison to what I thought it was going to be, that I’m thinking of turning it off multiple things. I bought a T-shirt and I’m thinking there might be for this particular company, coupons out there, so I’ll just go into the browser and put in, lithograph, it’s coupons and.

Where the places they send me to, I’ve had really bad luck with none of the coupons days. Sh should work in December, don’t work. It’s various different character strings. One in particular said, Hey, we’ve got 10 different coupons. We’ll try them for you automatically and find the best one. And then that’s the one that says, let us in install this at like the deepest level of your system so that we’re tracking everything that you do with your keyboard.

It’s that doesn’t sound too suspicious. Maybe I don’t really care about $3, like you were just saying . So I of want that to be a cool feature that I could summon it, Hey, I’m just about to buy a bunch of stuff from Amazon and maybe it’s available somewhere else. Or maybe I’ve gone, of course, other than Amazon and the, we.

Check, check to see if I don’t know it, but this candy place or this book place or whatever else might have a coupon out there. And I want it to be that I pulled the trigger instead of it automatically running in the background all the time. I’m looking for that and I’m not seeing it

Stephen: necessarily.

No. Those are very sketchy things and I know somebody the other day said, oh, you should sign up for this app. Why should I sign up for that app? All you do, every time you buy something, you take a picture of your receipt and put it in the app and then you get money back. Why would they do that? That’s what they do.

Why would they do that and what information are they getting from it? What am I giving them that is they don’t, they just give you money.

Alan: Not the home address, not the credit card number. Not the total fucking keys to the kingdom. Exactly.

Stephen: That’s funny. Yeah. So Microsoft Edge, which I’ve been using more lately, okay.

Has a kind of building coupon thing that, that’s the new way Microsoft is making side money is through affiliate and coupons. Cause I think I mentioned, I got an email, an Microsoft Xbox newsletter email, here’s what’s upcoming, here’s what’s on sale, here’s how many hours, all that jazz. But then it had affiliate links in there for Apple Music.

Alan: , are you kidding me? Like they acknowledge that their efforts have not proven successful in that regard. And if you’re gonna offer music, maybe it is time to go to the market leader or whatever,

Stephen: but Spotify I don’t disagree with them, but why did they use that instead of Spotify or so, or Pandora or somewhere that they could, Hey, let’s partner up against Apple.

That just seems like what they would think, but it

Alan: Nope. I think because that rivalry is old news. Yeah. Back when it was Windows versus Mac boxes that might have really mattered. It hasn’t mattered in a long time. Now it’s not a lot of browsers and phones and apps and, that there was always a fren ofmy aspect to that, that Jobs and Gates knew that they needed each other in order to keep advancing, growing the field of computing. And so I think it’s still some part of that, that it isn’t, Like I said that’s an old rivalry. Yeah. Yeah. Management has changed and they don’t have the same enmity towards each other that they might once have in competitions.

Stephen: Microsoft’s Point, gates did whatever back in what the nineties helped save Apple right at that time. And I remembered, man, that was a huge deal with Jobs, was making

Alan: Microsoft Office available, and it really was, that was one of the most demanded things. And him saying, I will continue to do this and, we’ll invest in you guys.

And it’s and it’s of funny. Gates and Jobs were the figureheads, but I think he was more a Ballmer. He was the Yeah. Hardest Nails businessman that regularly tried to, there’s no deal you’re gonna make with Microsoft that doesn’t have them. Coming out on top, embrace, extend, and extinguish, as I recall was the Borg like

Stephen: that, but yeah, yeah I’ve seen the coupon things too, and I’ve avoided ’em just because I’ve never seen one that doesn’t look sketchy or that doesn’t trigger my antivirus security

Alan: and stuff like that, so when I found a coupon that works, occasionally it’s, I don’t even, I can remember it, it’s handy to save 10%, but even then it’s okay, now I’ve got a relationship with these guys that, for once they help me get slippers for a better price.

And I, it’s funny when I get their emails, I’m like, , boy, I, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I needed you for that one purpose. And I don’t know that I’m gonna be buying slippers again or your stuff again and

Stephen: again and again. It’s like Kohl’s. Whenever you buy something, Kohl’s, you get Kohl’s cash and it’s $10 to use only at Kohl’s, but only on these certain days.

But then when you go and use that, now you’ve got more coals guys. So they get the, in that cycle of always coming into coals, and

Alan: know, They tend to refuse that. Because they’re trying to get me addicted. You know what I mean? I and also I really hate when they did have some kind of loyalty program and then they canceled things.

Oh, there’s gonna expire this year. It’s wow, you haven’t stopped flying. I haven’t stopped flying. Why in the world would you say those were only good for a certain period of time? And in fact, books a million is one of the. , they give you like a card, when you sign up for their book club, I buy enough books that it’s worth doing it for that thing.

But then they give you like a freebie, a five or $10 thing that expires in like a month and wow, it seems you’re encouraging me to know that you are not trying to really give me a gift. You’re giving me a time bomb. You know what I mean? There’s an attitude involved as to we don’t really want you only as a repeat customer.

We want, we’re gonna have this go away. It was a fake gift. It was an Indian gift. Ooh, that’s such a horrible thing to say, but I’m gonna embrace that stupid . You know what I mean? Old term.

Stephen: Yeah. It’s because it’s the same thing with everything that there’s a majority of people that respond and. and they know how they respond and react.

So people like us that stop and think and look at it we’re not their target. We just happen to be on the list. They’re going out, they don’t care. They go after these 98% that are doing the other thing, which is how Trump, did his whole message . I, I hate bring all these back, but that’s what he really did.

He knew how to talk to these people to make them feel like, oh, I’m saving $10. .

Alan: It’s someone, it’s of funny, I just saw this meme, I’ve often talked about, it really distresses me to know that we’re going into some of these elections and it’s not just Trump. It’s been 20 different elections.

Yes. Where to me, the choice. Like the decent candidate and the Nazi candidate should be 90 10. Someone should club the other and instead they win like 51 49. It’s unbelievable to me that so many people have drank that Kool-Aid and are ready to screw the company country up. So if someone portrayed it, instead of my being, oh, rah statistics, it was, so here’s the choices from up in Canada that I see the United States perpetually making.

Everybody gets a puppy , 50.1% diarrhea forever, 49.9%. That’s how many people are willing to vote for the most horrible choice because of. Whatever the means are, whatever the manipulation is, whatever the appealing to hate and bigotry and Yeah, polarization and it’s distressing. You know what I mean?

I, how many, I can’t go south in Ohio without worrying about, I’m an enemy country, . I’m in a place where they perpetually vote against their self-interest. They vote against sense. Oh, I, it’s just limitedness a weird world. .

Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. a sad thing to wrap up on for the week.

So it’s almost Christmas. Finish shopping, but don’t use the coupon codes. Go to the library. , what else did we talk about? Play Back for Blood.

Alan: It is, it’s, everybody does this. When we’re out shopping, it’s Hey, that this person will really like this. Ooh, I would really like this too.

It’s the one for them, one for me, type thing. Yes. So I did it to myself a lot for Christmas music. I bought a whole bunch of new Christmas music that friends had represented was good to them. And, but then it was also like, as long as I’m out here I put certain things on my, I would my wishlist and stuff like that.

And there’s all kinds of things. I’m so omnivorous that there’s three times as many on my one list. Yeah. And it’s it’s really been three years since this was like released and this is a better price than when it was released. I’m, I might have to get this and then maybe I’ll give it to Colleen to give it to me, but maybe I’ll just have it and I don’t have to do that.

Colleen shops wonderfully. She’s amazingly perceptive and amazingly generous about, we really. It’s only the two of us. We shower each other with gifts. We don’t even have a cat or dog to give chew toys and cabinet too . You know what I mean?

Stephen: I always I’ve been getting Colin Rock, CDs, like classic rock, the best albums of all time.

Every year I get I say I’m gonna get three or four and I end up getting seven or eight cuz there’s just so many good ones I wanna give them. That’s good stuff. Yeah. So this year I went with the blues. I’m like, let’s go with the people that influenced all this classic rock. So I got like the best blues artists and I’m like, wow, I might have to borrow those CDs sometime.

And my rabbit hole this year I got sucked into was the little known guys, the little faceless, ILAs known guys. I was at a show and I was like, oh my gosh, that is a nom Grinch and a no, max the dog. I must have that , know? absolutely. And then I’m like, those are cute too. I’ll take that one.

And now I go everywhere and I’m like, one’s even cuter. I’ll take an ornament for that. So I fell down that

Alan: rabbit hole. That’s funny. We I noms don’t do, it’s funny action figures. All different kinds of little guys like that have never done anything for me. And if they had, I’m sure I would be crowded out of my office with how many things I would have.

Yes. But somehow that’s an addiction I’ve been able to resist. Don’t know how, but, and actually here will, I’ll close on this note. Oh, I went to see a band called Proje. They’re a progressive rock cover band, but it’s not just like a bunch of guys that know how to play Bar Rock that decided to take on some Yes.

And Genesis. These are guys from great progressive rock bands like Meridian SP Beard. They’re great players and they don’t just do then one group’s music. They do all the favorites that they wanted to learn how to play when they were little baby Proger. And now they’re incredibly accomplished at doing it.

So Mike Keneally, who’s played with Zep on a bunch of albums, can. Can play everything, but he’s fantastic on guitar and Rio Akimoto from SP Beard can play everything Emerson did and Wakeman and banks and, hear someone else just able to play some of this delightful, incredibly complex music and great remark.

Vanilla on guitar who played 20 years with Keith Emerson after e l p. So Jonathan Mover from Meridian on Drums and who am I missing?

Stephen: Pete. It’s like a Prague super

Alan: group. That’s a great way to put it. And so for two hours I just wallowed in, oh, they’re gonna do some Pink Floyd for me. Oh, they’re gonna do some genesis.

They’re gonna do some e l P, they’re gonna do some gentle giants, which, and I laughed. People play General Giant, just to prove that somebody besides General Giant can play General Giant, because it’s amazingly not just complex, it’s syncopated in every a

Stephen: time signature. Every, it changes 10 times in a song.

I think uh, people do that with Muse also. They play at the, if you’ve ever listened to Muse.

Alan: So I sat in the back and I, nobody was behind me. So I could actually like, I hate being the guy, I was not gonna be the guy that my phone is blinding somebody else in the place. But I just like, because I was their solo trench coat show, Colleen, who was not with me, I like, commented while it was going on.

It’s oh, now they’re doing have a cigar. Oh my God. That, yeah, that’s on a volcano in Los Endos and. I walked out of there grinning my face, tired from nice. How much I was singing everything and playing the back of the chair in front of me with my air keyboards, I just had the greatest time and they had a great time.

They loved playing that music. They loved the fact that they can share this with the audience. And so it was like a, I dunno, maybe a 300 seat place in downtown Escondido, California. Total luck that I even found out that this, that they exist, that this place exists. I had seen Project one time before, but it’s actually a different lineup because people of go in and out of this thing.

I, I just, that’s my Christmas gift to myself was nice. How I got to wallow in hearing Great. Yes, music and great. Oh man, it was great. Great. .

Stephen: Yeah, it sounded like it. I saw you posting and I’m like, oh, he must really be enjoying it if he’s posting like every song. .

Alan: Exactly. We’re good. Especially, when you see a band and you have expectations of what that band’s most often played.

Things are, and once in a while you get a wonderful surprise. There was no predicting what I was going to hear that night. It was like, what are they like? And of course, any Prague song like hearing ’em do first or fifth and having it sound great. Wow. Oh man I it really was, I guess what makes it a concert is part of that.

You don’t like when you go to hear a complete album once in a while, that’s not as much fun for you because I know the album, listen, I know exactly what’s gonna happen next, and it’s satisfying, but it doesn’t have that dopamine hit

Stephen: of, oh, they’re playing. You know what I mean? I want a live show. I don’t want a recreation of what the album sounds like.

I can listen to the album. I want something different. You know that Exactly. I say that about Poison a lot is they’ve done the exact same show for the last 20 years, , so 25 or 30 years now, so it’s yeah,

Alan: they did these songs like they sound just like they should, but just enough vamping and just enough, improvisation and just enough different intro, outro that it was, everything was surprising and yet high quality.

So hats off to them, man. I, know, nice. I think Jonathan Mover is the prime haha mover behind getting this all together. And so it’s very cool that he’s connected up in that world that he can go to these great players and say, Hey, you wanna do a little two month tour playing all your favorite music?

Stephen: Okay. . Yeah. Nice. I love that, man. Were you all, you know what? I can’t, I didn’t look ’em up on Spotify. I’m gonna see if they have anything up on Spotify.

Alan: might have captured some of their live stuff. I don’t think they have

Stephen: any. An album.

Alan: Album. Yeah. You know what I

Stephen: mean? But Yeah. But anyway, I went to a thing at the Akron called Christmas Groove, and it’s a bunch of local Akron musicians and it’s all Christmas music.

But they were fantastic arrangements. They did a great job. These are professionals, not just some hacks. They involved the community and some of it, they had the local drum line band and the, I just, it was great. It was like two and a half hours of music with a 10 minute intermission. Wow. And it was all to raise money for the local food bank.

They didn’t get paid, they didn’t take any money.

Alan: You canned goods as donations and stuff. See, that’s

Stephen: very cool. Yeah. So I’m like, you know what? This would be Easily at the Civic $30 ticket. So there you go. There’s my ticket price, put it to the food bank. I bought a cd, and it was just, I’m like, I’m going next year.

Yeah it’s says it’s free, but I’ll make sure, bring ticket price money to give to them for what they’re doing.

Alan: You do that in Chicago, they called it like Toys for Tots or something like that. And the donation requested was a toy that they were gonna give out his Christmas gift. And I went to that every year.

Stephen: Yeah. The Goodyear Blimp hanger, they put up lights and stuff, and they have toys for Tots. The Marines collect it and you give ’em the toys, and Santa was there and we, he had a wonderful outfit and they had the blip there and it, everything was lit up. Cool. We used to do that in martial arts.

We had a kickathon where people would give us 10 cents per kick and we would do 500 kicks within an hour or something like that. And they were different types, and we’d raise money for toys for Tots. Yeah.

Alan: Very cool. That is, like you said, to end on a good note, there’s all kinds of beautiful things going on at Christmas.

People really are generous. They really are willing to share their talents. It’s, I, Colleen and I’m heading home tomorrow and then I’ll have all the way through Christmas, with, without having to make another trip to California until January. And I’m just looking forward to, let’s go to the neighborhood and see the pretty lights.

Let’s go to the Christmas concert, let’s go caroling. Let’s see if anybody wants to go caroling. And we’ll go to, I don’t know, I’m, I really enjoy the Christmas season and I’m glad that it’s not there. Colleen and I have both had times in the past where we worked up until December 23rd and a half jobs were tough.

Travel was tough. It’s nice to have. Like in the maturity of our careers that we don’t have to do that. We’ll have shopping time, we’ll have goofing off time. So looking forward to it, man. A week and a half left. Nice and, oh no, we might get snowed in and have to like, binge watch something while sipping hot cocoa.

Oh, no. Cuddling on the couch. Oh no. So we’ll see

Stephen: what happens. We’ve been watching the Santa Clauss on Disney, the nude Tim Allen Santa Claus TV show based on the movies, and it’s been okay. It’s not been bad. Okay.

Alan: I’ll have to, like you said, I’m gonna look into the Hallmark movies and see. Even if they’re a lot the same, there are some that are better than others.

And so I’ll see what I can find,

Stephen: Yeah. I can send you, we, I’ll put up a list of a couple good ones that I like . Okay. Because there’s only a couple ,

Alan: we gotta watch Diehard. It’s a Christmas movie. I

Stephen: already did, and I watched Lethal Weapon while I was wrapping presents. I always do that. So there we go.

I, and then Polar Express. I’ve been watching that on Christmas Day lately. .

Alan: That’s great. Colleen. As a gift for a friend, just made a Christmas ornament. That is Hans Gruber falling out of the tower. You know this. Oh, you know that one? . So

Stephen: it’s . It’s a in a Harry Potter movie because you got Bruce Willis going around a tower being chased by Alan Rickman.

That’s the joke I saw going around. That’s very good.

Alan: Yeah. Alright, man. As all as a pleasure, Steven, take care. Yep. Talk to you later. Have a

Stephen: good week. Okay.

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