Dear Gmail: Please Stop Putting Worms Words in My Mouth

In what I’ll characterize as AI run amok, this past spring Gmail (Google, that is) snuck in a little auto-suggest module (called ‘Smart Compose’) ostensibly to help compromised Gmail users—I mean, what other explanation is there, gentle reader? I understand the temptation to do this: so many folks these days struggle to cobble together a … Continue reading Dear Gmail: Please Stop Putting Worms Words in My Mouth

Rainbows and Unicorns: Trolling for Utopia

If an alien visited earth and happened to tune in to any public radio station in America he might get the impression we’re building Utopia somewhere. The adverts for the corporate and foundation sponsors promise all kinds of rainbows and unicorns—equality for all, an end to hunger, obliterating disease everywhere, stamping out global violence, et … Continue reading Rainbows and Unicorns: Trolling for Utopia

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?

Life promises nothing. And everything. An earnest young man named Tristan called me Wednesday night on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s Arts and Sciences Annual Telefund, he said. I found a mailer from my alma mater in the P.O. box last week, so I knew this was coming and already planned to give. Perfect … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?

Idling in Vermont

Some forty years after its publication Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia is still considered a pivotal and authoritative piece of travel writing about this 400,000-square-mile South American region. Ferdinand Magellan called the tall aboriginals he encountered there Patagones after a mythic character, it is rumored, hence its name. Straddling two countries and claiming most of a … Continue reading Idling in Vermont

Simple Living versus Excess (or How Not to be Insufferable)

It's dang cold in Vermont. Last week's record-breaking warm temperatures were but a tease: we woke up to 2° this morning. Still, I managed to run with Scout on Friday after work in frigid air with a bitter wind in my face (his ears were all aflap). On a positive note, I captured the moment he discovered a … Continue reading Simple Living versus Excess (or How Not to be Insufferable)