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Friday, July 19, 2024

"Weird Al" Yankovic releases his first single in ten years!

Right when the world needs laughter the most, Weird Al comes through for us.

The last time that "Weird Al" Yankovic released a new song, other than "The Hamilton Polka" or the end credits tune from his movie, was ten years ago this week when his Mandatory Fun album dropped.  That was the final album he was contracted to produce and he said at the time that he'd probably release singles via digital platforms from now on.  But that hasn't happened yet...

Until today.

This morning Yankovic unleashed "Polkamania" upon the world.  It's one of his polka medleys of other artists' songs.  It shows how out of the loop I am though in that I can't recognize any of these tunes that Al incorporated.  And I was kind of hoping his new song would be something like a straight-up parody or a style parody... but maybe it's true, that modern music has become too homogenized to be able to readily pick out any outstanding work.  And so far as style parodies go, well... is there any unique style that Al hasn't done?  I think the guy has spoofed every form of western music except for contemporary Christian, and the guy is too respectful than to do that.

But even so, it's a new song by my all time favorite recording artist.  Just at a time when we all could use something to make us laugh and smile.  For a few brief minutes, all is right with the world.

Well, anyhoo, here is "Polkamania", which despite my unfamiliarity with its components is really a quite catchy song!





Bob Newhart, 1929 - 2024

 The man was and forever will be a legend!


So much that could be said about the amazing life of Bob Newhart.  Coming up in the Eighties I loved his sitcom Newhart.  Then later I discovered his earlier series The Bob Newhart Show.  And after that I came upon his comedy albums, like his 1960 debut The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart.

The guy just shined in everything that he did.  He was always a class act.  Modern comics could learn a lot from Bob Newhart's style and demeanor.

Well, like I said, a lot could be said about Newhart's life.  So I'll close out this post with a great lil' sketch from several years back.  One that has become a great classic among those of us who have been involved in the field of mental healthcare.

"STOP IT!!!"




Saturday, July 13, 2024

I hope y'all are watching this tonight

 As my father said, when President Reagan was shot the day before my seventh birthday:

"Pay attention son, this is history."


 

 

 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

"Say, whatever happened to Johnny Robertson?"

When four people write in over the course of a month, asking the same question, maybe that's a signal to address something.

Let's set the Wayback Machine(tm) all the way to fifteen or so years ago.  I used to work at WGSR, a television station in Reidsville, North Carolina.  That was where my school board campaign - and those wacky campaign commercials - began in 2006.  I did a few things at WGSR: master control operator mostly, but also prepping the studio for broadcasts, changing the tapes (including many Betamax cassettes) of the programs for their broadcast.  It was a job that lasted a little less than a year but I learned a lot about the broadcast industry while I was there.

During my time at the station and afterward, I began taking notice of a religious program that aired live twice a week.  It was by a group of men allegedly belonging to the Church of Christ denomination.  And had they confined matters to simply preaching their perspective of the Bible, that would be grounds to leave well enough alone.  I don't believe that any one of us gets it right perfectly when it comes to God.  We all fall short of that.

They called their shows "What Does The Bible Say?" and "A Word From The Lord".  But those were wild misnomers for what they were really up to.  Which was this: practically every installment of their series was about invading churches and harassing clergy and parishioners.  Especially the pastors of churches who these "Church of Christ" representatives did not consider legitimate gatherings of believers in Christ.  The "gospel preachers" of this "Church of Christ" would be aggressors against innocent church members and leadership, make sure that they had the cameras rolling, and then broadcast the footage on their shows.

That's where things were wrong, in my book.

It's like this: EVERY person has the right to worship God as best as he or she understands Him.  There is absolutely the right to freedom of worship.  But that right ENDS where the rights of others to do so in peace begins.  And the supposed Church of Christ that was purchasing airtime to broadcast their hassling of innocent churches and members crossed that line.

It was enough of an affront to decent people in the various congregations that were targeted by these "missionaries" that over the course of several months, God was leading me to do something about it.

So I did.

Now, at the time I was also feeling pretty manic.  So in retrospect I have to wonder how much of what I was about to do of God and how much was of mind. I definitely believe God led me to counter the cult (there is really no other word for what these men were a part of).  Had it happened today I would have doubtless done things a little differently.  My manic-depression has become much more controlled.  But there it is.

I began using this blog to post reactions and rebuttals to the "Church of Christ" that these men - many of whom were from Texas who for whatever reason came to the Reidsville/Danville/Martinsville area - launched their attacks on innocent Christians who gathered together to worship God in peace from.

The number one person to take to task for this misbehaving was a man named Johnny Robertson.

 

Cult leader Johnny Robertson
Robertson was the ringleader, the head of the cult.  He was the one directing his gang to harass other churches (especially Baptist ones, who Robertson seemed obsessed with opposing).  God was leading me to confront the cult and I directed my efforts toward the proverbial king of it all.  If you like you can read the posts I made on this blog concerning Robertson as well as the posts about their particular narrow-band brand of Church of Christ.

So it was that a "war" took place on television and this blog, as well as other sites that sprung up to counter the "Church of Christ in Name Only" (COCINO).  Many of the opposition were members of legitimate Churches of Christ, who were likewise disgusted with what Robertson and his followers were doing toward people of other churches.  It became an almost regular feature of this blog, to counter whatever misdeed that "COCINO" committed.

This lasted for three years.

No less than four people lately have asked me by e-mail: whatever happened to the feud between me and Johnny Robertson?

Well, quite a few things actually.

Among the biggest is that the effort against Robertson and his adherents seemed to have had its intended effect.  Because apparently they have given up on their harassment of other churches.  That was the general purpose of the endeavor of myself and others.  Last I checked, the Robertson gang (which formerly included a few members who have since been "excommunicated" by their leader) still have their television shows.  But their attacks on their fellow Christians for not believing exactly as they themselves do have stopped.

I'm going to chalk that up as a victory.  Albeit a bitter-sweet one.  My own "obsession" with going after the cult came at a price.  And that's probably all that needs to be said about that.

So the "Church of Christ in Name Only" cult has stopped bothering innocent Christians.  Whatever they keep believing in, they can preach about it until Judgment Day.  I never had a problem with that.  As I said, every person has the right to worship God in peace and these people are no different.

What else happened?

When I was spending a year traveling across America, and also a number of times since then, I visited a few Churches of Christ.  Not one of them was of the poisonous flavor that the Robertson cult espouses.  In fact, all of them used musical instruments: something that the COCINO believes is a sin.  No, seriously, they really do.  It was nice to see that real Churches of Christ are not bound so slavishly to legalism and "pattern worship".  They were more Baptist or mainstream nondenominational than many might believe possible.  Had I decided to stay in one of the places I visited and set down roots, I might have wound up worshiping regularly at a place like that.

Incidentally, I did make it a point to ask the leaders of these Churches of Christ if they were familiar with Johnny Robertson or the faction that he represents.  Not a single person had ever heard of Robertson or his cultists.  When I described them to the leaders, they told me that there were hyper-legalists among their denomination "but they aren't taken very seriously."

It confirmed my belief that what Johnny Robertson and his now-dwindling followers have is nothing but a fringe cult.  And that traditional Churches of Christ are to be respected without regard to the ravings of a distinct minority.

But you want to know what was the most determining factor in no longer going after the Church of Christ, Texas-extremist brand that was trying to inflict itself upon Reidsville and Martinsville?

It was this: I simply got bored with it.  And God was no longer leading me to confront these ecclesiastical miscreants.

By 2011 other things had happened in my life.  Better things.  Those pretty much had me forgetting about the feud.  Every so often I would spend some time monitoring what the cult was up to.  But those diminished increasingly over time.  In fact, had it not been for a wonderful Church of Christ I came upon in Kansas, I might have never thought about the COCINO cult at all.

I won't say that there wasn't any more fun to be had in countering Robertson.  As with many other things that I have taken seriously in life, there were moments when I went for humor (f'rinstance, the April Fools gag that had Robertson and others trying to confront the pope at the Vatican).  But there came an end to the creativity in that particular vein.  There was just no point in doing any more.  The cultists were ceasing their campaign against decent worshipers of Christ.

I can't claim that I "won" against the cult.  It was really a group effort.  Including people from mainstream Churches of Christ.  But it did apparently have great effect.

So if anyone wonders "Whatever happened to Johnny Robertson?", now you know.  He is still broadcasting every week, but I doubt very many people tune in.  If they do it's probably to mock him, or look at it as they would a flaming car wreck.  But his day is done.  He and his cult have been effectively broken.  There is not going to be any coming back to their former "glory".

I on the other hand have had the great honor and pleasure of worshiping with fellow Christians of so many denominations.  Rarely have I gone away without a deeper appreciation of my brethren and their perspective on Christ.

And I do count that as a victory.

 

 

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

LEGO Jaws set is officially the coolest thing I've seen all summer

Just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the movie Jaws comes the Official Jaws LEGO Set!

Click on the pics to enlargen (you're gonna need a bigger browser):

 




At a hundred and fifty bucks this is actually a pretty good deal for a LEGO set this large.

Click on over to GeekTyrant for more photos of this amazing set!



Monday, July 08, 2024

It's the first poster and trailer for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

I've had the honor and the great pleasure of being among the cast of two productions of the stage play of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  If it were possible I would play the head fireman every year for the rest of my life, it was so much fun!  It's a wonderful story rife with holiday hilarity, hijinks, and hope.

I had no idea that this movie was coming, the announcement struck right out of the blue.  But I'm already looking forward to it with great zeal.  This is the second time that the book has been adapted into a motion  picture, the first was a television movie for the ABC network in 1983.  This new version is directed by Dallas Jenkins, who I have a lot of respect for.

And if done right The Best Christmas Pageant Ever could... emphasis could... become a holiday tradition movie every bit as much as Home Alone.  It might be THAT good.

So here's the first poster that was released a few days ago:




And here's the first trailer, which promises lots of chaos from the Herdman kids:


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is set to premiere in theaters this November 8th.



Sunday, June 30, 2024

Bookmark this post. Remember it. It will soon make sense.


 

A perfect storm.

There will be no escape from what is coming.




Saturday, June 29, 2024

Maybe the very last post about Star Wars that I ever make

To: Star Wars producers and fandom

Re: The Acolyte and social media insanity


I can't even anymore.  I feel like I've officially become an old man who can't keep up with the youngsters.  I went through enough of this crap when I was one of the editors of TheForce.net during the prequel era.  God only knows what it would have been like if there had been Twitter and YouTube back in the day.  To paraphrase the final line of a famous movie: "Forget it Jake, it's Star Wars."  This entire drama along with The Acolyte itself has taken the wind out of my fanhood's sails, and my fanhood goes all the way back to the late Seventies.  I shall always treasure the good memories along with the various trophies I've accumulated along the way (signed copy of Heir to the Empire, my self-designed and constructed lightsaber, the Yoda puppet autographed by "Weird Al" Yankovic...) and I can watch the classic trilogy in their original form anytime on my VCR.  But this is it.  I've already been on the bad side of a few breakups.  Now I'm finally finding out what it is to be the one who picks up and leaves behind something that won't get better.





Thursday, June 27, 2024

Power or Wisdom? Stop asking God to interfere with politics


In searching around for churches in this area, obviously I'm looking at their websites.  I'm studying a few things, particularly their various statements of belief.  In that regard I'll simply say this: there are already a number of places of worship which I regrettably cannot enter.  It would be like bringing a blowtorch aboard the Hindenburg.

No disrespect to those places is meant.  I believe they and I worship the same God.  We differ however in aspects of that which while ultimately meaningless, are as unavoidable in this carnal realm as they are indicative of the imperfect nature of the church as the body of Christ upon this earth.

As I was saying, I'm perusing the websites of places of worship.  Looking for certain qualities.  And with the advent of streaming video I'm now able to watch and listen to recent sermons.  Sort-of like the Esper machine: getting to search a place without actually being there.

(Wait, did I just make a Blade Runner reference...?!?)

So a few nights ago, with nothing else to do (because of tech issues keeping me from my AI work, grrrr...) I was back at ogling church websites.  I literally have told Google to search for "churches near me" and it produces a map with every place of worship and, if available, their website addresses.  How convenient!

There is one church a few miles away from here that I didn't know anything about, other than it's a Baptist congregation unaffiliated with any larger contingent of the faithful.  I read over the site, and didn't find anything that would be objectionable.  It went down on my list of possible places to visit.  And it would have likely stayed there until I got around to checking it out in person...

Then I watched this past Sunday's worship service and listened to the message being preached.

Folks, there are very few things that will have me more walking out, however impolite it may seem, than a sermon that turns blatantly political.

Especially as "conservative" as the message I listened to.  Because conscientious conservatives really ought to know better.

The entirety of the pastor's message was about the evils of liberalism.  I don't mean liberalism in the spiritual sense, which would have been fine and even expected to be touched upon at various times.  No, I mean liberalism as in the temporal notion.

It was using the authority of the pastor to abuse the name of God for the furtherance of a political ideology.  Something I have LONG believed is wrong.

So it is that this church gets a hard pass from me.

It's like this: I believe that each of us as citizens has the responsibility to choose our leaders in representative government.  But it is WRONG for those with spiritual responsibility to decree who it is that his congregants should vote for.  And that is what I saw in this message.

What should a pastor or other minister preach about politics, then?  I do not believe the issue is completely off the table.  I don't believe that the elders of yore would have thought so, either.

I also don't believe that it makes a difference to God as to who we ask Him to favor in our elections.  Asking Him to please let Donald Trump win in November is going to mean as much to God as is asking Him to let the Patriots win another Super Bowl.  Indeed it's even more ridiculous to ask Him to favor some candidates over others.  Doing so would violate the concepts of free will and choice.  God has given us choice all along.  He has also given those of us in the free world the right to choose our leaders.

For good or ill, the onus is upon us, and not God, to well pick our representatives and executives.

So, if a minister has some authority to expound upon political matters, what is left if the endorsement of candidates is wildly inappropriate?

How about this instead: rather than trying to sway his listeners to vote either this way or that, a minister instead leads his flock in seeking WISDOM toward making their choices at the ballot box.

Isn't that what we as Christians should be seeking in all of our matters?  That God might liberally (pun shamelessly intended) pour upon us the capacity to discern wisely and to act upon that wisdom with a resolute mind and determined will. 

Should not that be what we are to pray for, instead of for our favorite candidates winning at the polls?

We can choose to have wisdom.  Or we can choose to crave power.  We have been doing the latter for so long that we've practically forgotten about wisdom at all.  And we have suffered for that.

It is not God who has inflicted the metaphorical poxes upon our land.  He is merely letting us have what we vote for.  Free choice, remember?

I would posit that it has been a lack of lusting for wisdom which has brought America to the brink of calamity.  And it has been many if not most of her Christians who have greatly encouraged that folly.  It is the Christians of this land who should have been the very first to appeal to Heaven for wisdom and discernment.  That is the vessel of true power.  Not power itself, which we have deluded ourselves into believing we must wield.

Because in America at least, God has already granted her people all the power that they could possibly require.  But how to exercise that power?  That is something that we should have been petitioning God for all along.

Would it at all hurt us to start fervently oraying for change of hearts and minds instead of obsessively praying for change in Washington?

I know what is that I am praying for.  And it is not for a candidate to win.

I will pray, that the people of this land lay aside their appetites for force and power.  And instead that they would use the authority granted them with discernment and wisdom.

God WILL grant us those things, if we ask Him.

But He is not going to be moved when we ask Him to interfere directly with the politicks of these United States.



About the Murthy vs Missouri decision...

Regarding Murthy v. Missouri: the Supreme Court decision yesterday about government coercing social media companies to censor users' activity based on political content.  SCOTUS decided that the plaintiffs had no standing and dismissed the lawsuit.

This seems like a colossal victory for the government and social media companies.  HOWEVER...

The case was *not* dismissed.  Today's ruling dealt with the temporary injunction in the case, not the case itself.  The case was REMANDED, back down the legal chain.  It could still come before the high court where the plaintiffs can better frame their arguments with solid evidence of coercion and censorship.

I believe that such a thing is not only possible, it is almost guaranteed to happen.

Twitter, or X as it's called now, is going to be VERY interesting to watch as it pertains to the case.  When Murthy v. Missouri was first filed it was confronting a seemingly unassailable block of social media companies, especially Twitter.

But Twitter/X is no longer part of that.  It's in the hands of Elon Musk now.  Who may prove to be quite enamored with the idea of opening up Twitter's old files and shed some sunlight on how his company under previous management censored content because the government told it to.

That may be a more substantive body of evidence than a few emails were as was the crux of the plaintiff's arguments.  If not in support of the Murthy plaintiffs then almost certainly worth a case all its own.

So to those who have been frustrated by today's ruling: be of good cheer.  This sort of thing has happened before, and it will again.  Personally I believe that Alito, Gorsuch, and Thomas were correct in their dissent.  But I'm not ready to throw out the bathwater with the baby quite yet.  This was a ruling on the injunction, not necessarily the case itself.  The case was sent back to the lower courts.  And might still come before the Supremes again.



Sunday, June 23, 2024

Baptism: It should be more than just water


The church I visited today had a baptismal ceremony.

And as I've thought for a very long time now about the sacrament and is often the case, it was WAY too brief.

It was three people being baptised (I prefer that word with a lovely "s" rather than a jagged "z") and the entire ceremony lasted less than a minute and a half.

Were I a stranger to seeing such things... and there are MANY for whom the act of baptism WOULD be an alien spectacle... I would be absolutely bewildered at the brevity of so mystifying a ritual.  Clearly, some context is in order.  WHY would one subject himself or herself to being immersed in a vessel of water, before a cloud of witnesses?

I think we are depriving ourselves as the body of Christ when we reduce baptism to so few fleeting moments.

A baptism should be much more than a quick dunking in the baptistery (or the "cow trough" as it resembled at this particular congregation).  It should be a time of sharing with the spiritual family one is joining about what Christ has done in one's life to bring him or her to that moment.  It should be preceded by a minute or so of testimony by the candidate himself or herself, in their own words, expressing faith and gratitude and hope and... well, whatever it is that God might place on their heart to say.  

I am not alone in believing this.  Many churches in Great Britain, Canada, and Australia give each of their candidates for baptism several moments to address the congregation and speak of what God has done to bring them to have faith in Him, before being baptised.  It is a beautiful prelude to the act of baptism itself.

But in America the vast majority of the time, we don't do that.  Everything that God means to us comes down to a baptismal candidate merely muttering the word "yes" when asked if he or she is saved.  Maybe that suffices for some people and it's okay if it is.  But there are others who might have more they are led to say, and they are not afforded the opportunity to do that at the time when it would be most meaningful and appreciated.

Baptism in American churches has become like seemingly everything else in this land: fast and now.  And the body of Christ deprives itself of some nourishment when we treat this sacred act of obedience to God so.  It should be one of the common cords that bind us to one another and together, to the Lord we are pledging to serve as His bride.

That loses something precious when we reduce baptism to a quick plunge in the tank, without at least a few moments of testimony and gratitude for the body of believers to appreciate what God has done in the person's life... and to also be reminded to be thankful for their own salvation.

When I was in college at Elon, I attended a weekly worship service on campus.  It was a ministry of a nearby congregation.  There was a time of sharing and testimony around the beginning of each service.  A few moments of praise reports and prayer requests.  That was a very special time of worship, of drawing closer to Gods and each other.  I know that's not feasible for a larger congregation to manage during a single service (praise reports are often perhaps better suited for small groups), but testimony such as that edifies and encourages us as Christians.  It makes the act of worship something that more thoroughly fertilizes our faith, instead of simply showing up for an hour each week in the church sanctuary.

I can think of no better time of such sharing than those first few moments when one is about to scripturally become a vibrant and active member of the body of Christ on this earth.

It's NOT simply about joining a local body of believers.  Baptism is the ceremony that formally connects us to two millennia of believers, as well as to all of those who will come after us.

That merits more than a momentary getting oneself wet and nothing more than that.

Just something I'm feeling led to share this afternoon, for consideration by my brothers and sisters in Christ.



Monday, June 10, 2024

The announcement trailer for Gears of War: E-Day

I  very rarely play video or computer games anymore.  Mostly it's because of a lack of time.  And there are other amusements too, like having a miniature dachshund.  But that doesn't mean I don't have an active interest in the industry...

(I am currently trying to finish Fallout: New Vegas at last, whenever I'm having some downtime.  It's only been out since 2010.  Time to wrap that baby up!)

There is one game franchise that is especially near and dear to my heart though: the Gears of War series.



Maybe it's because each of the games seem to have coincided with some circumstance in my life.  Gears of  War was released on November 7th, 2006.  That was also Election Day of my first/likely last political campaign.  Then came Gears of War 2 two years later.  That game came out a few weeks after the worst thing that ever happened to me.  I had lost everything except a few belongings including, somehow, my Xbox 360.  That second Gears game provided a much needed distraction from myself.  And then in 2011 came Gears of War 3.  I think my girlfriend at the time found my excitement to be more than a bit amusing... like when I called her on the phone at 10 p.m. to tell her that I'd successfully defended Anvil Gate.

I haven't been able to play Gears of War: Judgment yet though.  Again, circumstances coincided and not the best of them at that.  And I haven't had much opportunity to get a more modern Xbox system, so the fourth and fifth of the main Gears series are still unplayed by me.

Maybe someday I'll get that newer Xbox.  Maybe it'll coincide with a new BioShock game (another game series I love immensely).  And based on what was released yesterday, I'm making it a personal goal to get that Xbox X or whatever it's called...

Behold the announcement trailer for Gears of War: E-Day.


As the title suggests this game is set during around Emergence Day, fourteen years before the first Gears of War.  These are considerably younger versions of Marcus and Dom.  We're going to see the very first attacks by the Locusts upon the humans of Sera and based on the trailer it's going to be brutal.

Gears of War: E-Day is scheduled to be released sometime in 2025, probably around the fall if previous games have been any indication.

Maybe this next game's release will coincide with happier circumstances.  For all of us.



Saturday, June 08, 2024

Dear Pat Sajak


Thanks for forty-one years of Wheel of Fortune.  You've been an awesome host and I've also enjoyed your writing whenever you've published something.

Anyone else feeling like the Eighties are finally over?

We'll miss you Pat.  Enjoy your retirement (and your new acting career I'm hearing about).



Thursday, June 06, 2024

"To remember": June 6th, 1944


 Company A, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division
wading onto the Fox Green section of Omaha Beach
(Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France)
on the morning of June 6, 1944.
Photo credit: Chief Photographer's Mate Robert F. Sargent


Today is the eightieth anniversary of the single greatest military maneuver in recorded history: the invasion of the Normandy coast by the Allied Forces.

No other words need to be said.  "D-Day" is all that is needed to evoke the boldness, the bravery, and the horror of that day.

I do however recommend that if you are ever in the Roanoke, Virginia area, a visit to the nearby town of Bedford and the National D-Day Memorial is highly suggested.  Bedford lost more sons at Normandy than any other town in America, which is why it was chosen to be the site of the memorial.  Here are some pics I took when we visited it in 2012...






 




Monday, June 03, 2024

In memory of a good man


The sad word came late yesterday evening that Dav Gerrells, who owned and operated Cafe 99 in Reidsville, North Carolina for many years, passed away after a brief illness over the weekend.  I used to eat at Cafe 99 when I still lived in Reidsville and Dav always made me feel welcome.  The man was a thoroughly great guy and he was an amazing cook.

Early in 2007 I entered a filmmaking competition for the Fox television reality series On The Lot.  Entrants had to make a short film and submit it for the opportunity to be a contestant on the show.  Friends and family encouraged me to take a swing at it.  It was a very trying and strenuous two weeks from initial concept to finished product but in the end "Schrödinger's Bedroom" was in the can and shipped off on DVD to Hollywood.

We filmed the first scene of the movie in Cafe 99.  It's been a very long time since I'd rewatched this.  Thought I would share it tonight, in Dav's memory.  His establishment really helped set the mood for the film.  There are quite a few people in this film who I've had the honor and privilege of knowing for a very long time, and I think that Dav makes his presence felt in it, too.

So here it is, from February 2007: "Schrödinger's Bedroom"




Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Last batch of AI-generated pictures that I'm posting


 
But it's time to move on.  ChatGPT has its fun uses but it's a tool, not a toy.

I would be lying if I said that I haven't had fun though.

So, here is the final bunch of artificial intelligence generated "art" that I'm putting on this blog.  Be sure to click the pics to enlarge them...

 

The Joker with a "Hello Kitty" bomb:


 

Eowyn, from The Lord of the Rings (I especially like the horse detail on her outfit):

 

Santa Claus with a flamethrower:


 

"The Horror of Taxation":


Young Al Capone:


 

Jesus confronting a Dalek (this was made for a friend who teaches Sunday school and I think he was going to use it for that):

 

The Hamburglar and his attorney (I tried to make this be Perry Mason but the AI refused to cooperate that well):


I told ChatGPT a few details about "wholesomely beautiful woman" and this is what it produced.  I like this picture a lot... except the eyes are so lopsided!


Second version of Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, fighting zombies:

 

I told the AI to generate "Indolence" and this is the result:


A Big Daddy from the BioShock video game series (very nearly identical to the actual in-game model):

 

Lyndon Baines Johnson as a Cenobite from the Hellraiser movies (decide for yourself if there's some commentary in this):

 

A Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter (from Warhammer 40,000) battling a xenomorph (from the Alien film franchise):

 
 
 John Fitzgerald Kennedy had he lived to be 75:

 

And finally there is this interesting piece.  I instructed ChatGPT to "generate an image of a brown gorilla throwing barrels at a plumber with a mustache".  That's all I prompted.  This was the result:



At least, I intend for this to be all of the AI art that I am going to present on this blog.  I'm learning a lot from it though.  How to be an "AI whisperer" as one friend puts it.  You have to possess a bit of a creative mind to defeat the "guardrails" of the system.  I was completely shocked by the Donkey Kong image, and friends have created even more impressive pictures.

Anyhoo, hope you enjoyed these :-)

Edit: I was able to generate something that's a real grand finale...


Batman clashing with a Predator:



Tuesday, May 21, 2024

First images I'm generating with ChatGPT

Still playing around with AI, for the first real time ever.  Consider it research.  I'm getting professionally involved with an endeavor that is heavy on artificial intelligence so I'm having to see what the thing is capable of doing, exactly.

(I'm adamantly sticking to my policy of NO writing blog posts with AI.  If you see something written here and it's not otherwise stated, you can be assured that it is absolutely entirely written by me with my own gray matter.)

Yesterday I experimented with having ChatGPT compose a poem about the Orks from Warhammer 40,000 (the faction that I play whenever I do a game of 40K).  You can, errr... enjoy the results here.  Tonight I went further, so after upgrading to the subscription I started playing around with image generation.

The results are, ummmm... interesting.

Here's the one I'm most proud of: a dachshund sitting atop a Harley-Davidson motorcycle...

 

But here's the first one that I did off the top of my head: Ronald McDonald running from zombies...


Then there's this: a Dalek from Doctor Who holding a can of beer...

 

And finally we have what I tried to make it be the Joker fighting a xenomorph from the Alien movies, but it came out looking more like they're dancing...

Looks so easy but trust me, this is much harder than it seems.  I tried to generate a picture of Jed Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies shooting at a giant deranged bunny rabbit.  That had some wildly off results.  I then asked ChatGPT to "Generate an image of a hillbilly" and it refused to do so, saying that it would violate its policies.  How does...?!?

No.  Nevermind.  I'm sure it's some ridiculous reason for that.

Don't know if I'll do more of these but at least now you have this peek into the disturbed mind that is Robert Christopher Knight's :-D

Edit 05/22/2024 1:30 PM EST: had some downtime today and I'm feeling extra creative so here are some more.

Bruce Campbell fighting off badgers with a chainsaw...


Two dachshunds in the style of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...



General Robert E. Lee fighting a xenomorph (for some reason ChatGPT does a super good job rendering the monsters from the Alien movies)...



And finally (for now) here is Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement, fighting zombies.  This sure ain't the Boer Wars!