Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   framing the core joke
Thursday, June 22 2023

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

This morning I was thinking about an amusing joke that has become part of the unique "culture" that Gretchen and I have developed: that anyone who dies becomes vegan, since it's impossible to consume animal products once one is dead. What adds to this joke's humor is that people who have no interest in veganism are nevertheless rendered forever vegan the moment they die and there is nothing they can do to stop it. True, there are a lot of other categories that the dead fall into that they didn't while alive, but in the vegan subculture (which this joke is gently mocking), where veganism is everything, that they're vegan seems like something of special note. As I was thinking about the joke, I thought that it would funny to make a country music song about a manly meat-eating man from a red state who is rendered vegan by a tragic (and very country) accident. In the past I'd just write these ideas down in my ideas.txt file, probably never to consider again. But then it occurred to me: ChatGPT has changed everything. I could use it to do the grunt work of actually writing the song; all I'd have to do is tell it what I've just told you, and it would cheerfully act as my song-writing intern. So I typed the following prompt (with my original errors) into ChatGPT:

me and my wife have a joke that people who die are now "vegan" because they no longer eat animals products (or anything else, for that matter). can you compose me a country music song called "He's vegan now" about a good ole country boy who eats lots of meat who falls off a four wheel ATV and becomes "vegan" in this way?

Chat GPT immediately came back with the following:

(Verse 1)
Well, I'll tell you a story 'bout a country boy,
Who loved his meat and lived life full of joy,
He rode his four-wheel ATV through the day,
But one fateful ride took it all away.

Now he's vegan now, up in the sky,
No more barbecue or chicken thigh,
He's a "vegan" in a different way,
No more meat to fill his plate each day.

(Verse 2)
He'd hunt in the woods and fish in the streams,
A true carnivore, or so it seemed,
But that four-wheel ride took a dangerous turn,
And now he's gone, but his legend will burn.

Now he's vegan now, up in the sky,
No more barbecue or chicken thigh,
He's a "vegan" in a different way,
No more meat to fill his plate each day.

His buddies gather 'round a campfire light,
Telling tales of his meat-eating might,
They raise their glasses, toast to his name,
Laughing and remembering his meat-loving fame.

(Verse 3)
He used to eat ribs with a barbecue glaze,
And feast on steaks that would leave you amazed,
But life can change in the blink of an eye,
And now he's "vegan" up in that great blue sky.

Now he's vegan now, up in the sky,
No more barbecue or chicken thigh,
He's a "vegan" in a different way,
No more meat to fill his plate each day.

So raise your glass, sing a bittersweet tune,
Remember the cowboy who met his fate too soon,
He's "vegan" now, a legend in his own right,
A good ole country boy, taken out of sight.

It's not perfect (for example "Now he's vegan now" is just stupid phrasing), but it's serviceable, and does a great job of framing the core joke: that no matter who you are, you become vegan when you die. That joke is an entirely human creation, and what ChatGPT does is crank out the musical context without taking away from the joke at its core. Any clever and pithy idea that needs greater context to flourish could benefit from a similar application of ChatGPT.

At noon today, I drove out to the abandoned bluestone quarry, where I found there had been a large calving event from the mine-face (the cliff at the edge of the mine) since I'd last been back there. This had produce a lot of large beautiful flagstones. I mostly gathered smaller pieces suitable for making stone walls (since I have a plan to perhaps hide the cabin's propane tank behind a bluestone wall), but I also wrestled a massive two-inch-thick piece measuring 39 by 18 to 27 inches. It was too heavy to lift, but I found I could roll it like a big rectangular wheel and then tilt it into the back of the Forester.

I didn't have to pack up much stuff before leaving for the cabin, as Gretchen had told me there was no need for food there. I just needed my work-issued laptop and a few little things I'd collected (or had shipped to me) for the cabin, including a three foot extension rod for the Ryobi pole saw and another ass-blaster bidet hose, this one for the downstairs bathroom at the cabin.
At left at 4:00pm and experienced fairly good driving conditions. Since I was in the Forester, I drove significantly faster than I would in the Bolt, and even so (and even with the air conditioning blasting and an enormous payload of bluestone as well as a fat chunk of tree of heaven wood from the Downs Street house), the dashboard display told me I was getting 26 miles per gallon, which is pretty good in that gas guzzler.
I cracked open a Rasputin Russian imperial stout road beer somewhere in Johnstown. That stuff is 9% alcohol and hits me pretty fast. Gretchen could tell I was somewhat altered (she detected a slight slur in my speech and a slight leer in my eyes) and was naturally concerned that I was driving in that condition. She'd made a meal of rigatoni with a sauce containing white beans and tofu, and we ate it together out on the east deck. It had been so sunny today that Gretchen was able to swim naked and get the Bolt charged to nearly an 180 mile range.

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