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  • Holiday Adventures with an AI Chatbot

    So in my continuing experiments with artificial intelligence, I decided to ask Claude, the chatbot created by AI startup Anthropic, to help me with some holiday gift-giving, specifically for my wife. I highlighted some of her interests, including her newfound love for pickleball as well as her longtime love – reading. Claude offered up that…

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  • What Happened When I Asked ChatGPT to Write a Short Story About a Pepper

    Like so many other writers/editors, I’ve been playing with ChatGPT. Generally, as I’ve asked it to do very purposeful tasks, I’ve found it to be capable, though lacking insight and vulnerable to enormous gaps of understanding. My advice is, Use it … very, very carefully. So recently, I brought in some of the fall harvest…

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  • 2 Very Different Parent-Daughter Movies

    We went to two movies this weekend. Surprisingly, they were both about parents and children. Other than that, they were wildly different. (Spoiler alert: I’m about to say things about both Everywhere Everything All at Once and Aftersun. If you care, stop now.) Everything Everywhere All at Once is an Oscar contender, starring Michelle Yeoh,…

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  • 6 Things I Learned from Wordle

    Like a lot of people, I played Wordle a lot this past year (see below). It’s ingenious, both simple and complex in the way that can remain intriguing over time. Six guesses to come up with a five-letter word sounds simultaneously super-difficult and pretty easy. Six seems like a lot, until you’re looking at S-A-E on…

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  • Let’s celebrate play, together!

    A while back I grabbed the website domain and launched a little project I called Playful, on the media platform Medium. I invited folks to play along, and some folks (most notably, my friend Bill Clinton) did. Within a year, though, I ran out of creative and physical energy for the project and it…

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  • The Most Amazing Person I’ve Ever Known Has Died

    My family moved one town over, from Hazlet to Matawan, in 1973, when I was in first grade. It was a “made-it” kind of move, in 1973 terms. We moved from a modest home, where the dormer walls of my room slanted inward, to the model home in a newly built neighborhood. We had a…

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  • Some ‘Mountain-Climbing’ Advice from Writer George Saunders

    Listened to George Saunders’ first collection of short stories, Civilwarland in Bad Decline, this summer and all the things I enjoy about Saunders’ writing were there. But the real treat was his writer’s note at the end, where he shared his experience as a not-so-young writer who pursued writing while living a middle class existence with…

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  • 6 Thoughts on Jerry Maguire, 26 Years Later

    Virginia and I continued on a torrid pace of movie-watching, this time watching Jerry Maguire with friends on New Year’s Night. One couple had never seen it. I hadn’t seen it in more than a decade, maybe closer to two. Anyway, I reacted to it a little differently than I did back in 1996. Some thoughts —…

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  • My Not-So-Wild Wild Life

    My Not-So-Wild Wild Life

    My minister asked us this morning to think about how we experienced nature early in our lives. Here goes. I grew up in suburban New Jersey and, as a kid, my wild place was behind our house. We lived in the first house into our neighborhood, a busy road on one side of our home,…

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  • Mouse Mind

    Mouse Mind

    We’ve had a mouse problem. It started with a text from Virginia on my Monday morning walk that said “Mouse! Come home!” I came home, seemingly trapped it in a bathroom and went to get some mouse traps. By the time I returned, it was gone. But we set our traps and the next morning,…

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