Artificial Inaccuracy
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Published Sunday, January 22, 2023 @ 9:28 AM EST
Jan 22 2023

While ChatGPT is an impressive achievement, it's far from perfect...

Q. What is KGB Report website?

ChatGPT: KGB Report is a website that offers news and analysis on business, finance, technology, and other topics. The website is named after the former Soviet Union's intelligence agency, the KGB, and has a focus on the economy and politics of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The website provides news and analysis on topics such as financial markets, international trade, and politics, with a focus on the countries of the former Soviet Union. The website includes articles, analysis, commentary, and data on a wide range of topics, as well as links to other sources of information. It is also possible that the website is not related to any official organization, and is an independent news source.

Q. What is www.kgbreport.com?

A. I apologize for the confusion, as I misunderstood your question earlier. The website www.kgbreport.com is an independent news and analysis website that focuses on the economy and politics of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, with a focus on the countries of the former Soviet Union. The website provides news and analysis on topics such as financial markets, international trade, and politics. It includes articles, analysis, commentary, and data on a wide range of topics, as well as links to other sources of information. It is not officially affiliated with any organization, but rather an independent source of news and analysis.


Categories: Artificial Intelligence; ChatGPT


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Whew!
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Published Monday, January 09, 2023 @ 9:37 PM EST
Jan 09 2023

Another bizarre obsession has been fulfilled.

"Whew!" was a now-obscure CBS Television daytime game show that featured Tom Kennedy as host. It aired briefly from April 23, 1979 to May 30, 1980. The game itself was simultaneously mundane and gimmicky, but its opening and closing theme songs induced in me an earworm of transcendent proportion.

(Parenthetically, the medical term for earworm is, among others, "involuntary musical imagery (INMI)". My three years of high school Latin- admittedly over a half-century ago- translates that to "involuntarium musicum imago", which is so close to the English version it probably wasn't worth the effort. Yet here we are. Sigh.)

The theme was written by Alan Thicke, who had a successful career as a television theme song composer in his pre-"Growing Pains" years.

That tune would leak into my consciousness every year or so, prompting me to search for it online. Various versions were available, but they were either cheesy imitations or lifted from aired episodes, and thus contained audience applause, the announcer's intro, and sponsor acknowledgements. No "clean" version was available.

According to lostmediawiki.com:

"The show's entire soundtrack had never been heard since the show's cancellation although numerous stitches and recreations of the soundtrack have circulated throughout the years, most notably the closing theme to the show was uploaded to YouTube by user Thewhammy83 on June 27th, 2010. Alan Thicke not only said he doesn't remember the show but also that he doesn't have the soundtrack in his possession. The show's executive producer Burt Sugarman also doesn't have a copy of the soundtrack but confirmed he has all 247 episodes of the show. There were rumors floating around that Thicke destroyed the master reels of the soundtrack after an ugly divorce, but the rumor has never been confirmed."

"In February 2009, the Museum of Television Production Music announced that they would be searching for the soundtrack. They tweeted 11 months later that Thicke had released the rights for the soundtrack to them. In late 2012, they announced that they had found the entire soundtrack and posted a picture on their website of the soundtrack's reels and track list. They restored it and made it available to their yearly subscribers as a renewal gift for a limited time until mid-2013." (I vaguely recall this, and the only reason I can think of for not subscribing was outrageous pricing. Or I stumbled across the offer too late.)

Anyway, I was wandering around YouTube today looking for information on the X-class solar flare that erupted on the sun this morning, and the site's mysterious, ineffable selection algorithm produced a sidelist of supposedly related videos which included:

These are undoubtedly violating someone's copyright, (despite the poster's "NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED!!!" disclaimer), but the files were posted over a year ago and YouTube hasn't taken them down, so if you share my inexplicable fondness for these tunes, I'd get them while you can. (It's now the ringtone for calls from my wife.)

Forty-three years. Wow. I guess the quest for the grail has ended.

I am reminded of Hans Gruber's observation in the film Die Hard. "'When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.’ Benefits of a classical education."


Categories: Earworm; Game shows; Music; Theme songs; Whew!; YouTube


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Throwback Thursday
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Published Thursday, January 05, 2023 @ 11:36 AM EST
Jan 05 2023

Ralph

TBT (1988) - Ralph was the dog with whom my kids grew up (1981-1995) and was, frankly, the only one who listened to me. We thought he was a mutt until the vet identified him as a Belgian Sheepdog.

I named him Ralph after the character on The Greatest American Hero, only to discover the name, derived from German and old English, means "Wolf-Counsel".

Ralph's ashes are under a bronze plaque in the back yard with the line "Our Sweet Beast." When I mentioned to my mother that Ralph's memorial, which had a raised sculpture of his head, cost significantly more than the plaque for my father's grave, she noted, "Well, Ralph was a good boy."

(Side note- with the total of 12 dogs and five cats that have graced us over the years, I think I have more remains on the property than John Wayne Gacy).


Categories: Dogs; KGB Family


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What happened to Southwest Airlines?
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Published Friday, December 30, 2022 @ 2:54 PM EST
Dec 30 2022

(posted by Larry Lonero on Facebook)

I’ve been a pilot for Southwest Airlines for over 35 years. I’ve given my heart and soul to Southwest Airlines during those years. And quite honestly Southwest Airlines has given its heart and soul to me and my family.

Many of you have asked what caused this epic meltdown. Unfortunately, the frontline employees have been watching this meltdown coming like a slow motion train wreck for sometime. And we’ve been begging our leadership to make much needed changes in order to avoid it. What happened yesterday started two decades ago.

Herb Kelleher was the brilliant CEO of SWA until 2004. He was a very operationally oriented leader. Herb spent lots of time on the front line. He always had his pulse on the day to day operation and the people who ran it. That philosophy flowed down through the ranks of leadership to the front line managers. We were a tight operation from top to bottom. We had tools, leadership and employee buy in. Everything that was needed to run a first class operation. When Herb retired in 2004 Gary Kelly became the new CEO.

Gary was an accountant by education and his style leading Southwest Airlines became more focused on finances and less on operations. He did not spend much time on the front lines. He didn’t engage front line employees much. When the CEO doesn’t get out in the trenches the neither do the lower levels of leadership.

Gary named another accountant to be Chief Operating Officer (the person responsible for day to day operations). The new COO had little or no operational background. This trickled down through the lower levels of leadership, as well.

They all disengaged the operation, disengaged the employees and focused more on Return on Investment, stock buybacks and Wall Street. This approach worked for Gary’s first 8 years because we were still riding the strong wave that Herb had built.

But as time went on the operation began to deteriorate. There was little investment in upgrading technology (after all, how do you measure the return on investing in infrastructure?) or the tools we needed to operate efficiently and consistently. As the frontline employees began to see the deterioration in our operation we began to warn our leadership. We educated them, we informed them and we made suggestions to them. But to no avail. The focus was on finances not operations. As we saw more and more deterioration in our operation our asks turned to pleas. Our pleas turned to dire warnings. But they went unheeded. After all, the stock price was up so what could be wrong?

We were a motivated, willing and proud employee group wanting to serve our customers and uphold the tradition of our beloved airline, the airline we built and the airline that the traveling public grew to cheer for and luv. But we were watching in frustration and disbelief as our once amazing airline was becoming a house of cards.

A half dozen small scale meltdowns occurred during the mid to late 2010’s. With each mini meltdown Leadership continued to ignore the pleas and warnings of the employees in the trenches. We were still operating with 1990’s technology. We didn’t have the tools we needed on the line to operate the sophisticated and large airline we had become. We could see that the wheels were about ready to fall off the bus. But no one in leadership would heed our pleas.

When COVID happened SWA scaled back considerably (as did all of the airlines) for about two years. This helped conceal the serious problems in technology, infrastructure and staffing that were occurring and being ignored. But as we ramped back up the lack of attention to the operation was waiting to show its ugly head.

Gary Kelly retired as CEO in early 2022. Bob Jordan was named CEO. He was a more operationally oriented leader. He replaced our Chief Operating Officer with a very smart man and they announced their priority would be to upgrade our airline’s technology and provide the frontline employees the operational tools we needed to care for our customers and employees. Finally, someone acknowledged the elephant in the room.

But two decades of neglect takes several years to overcome. And, unfortunately to our horror, our house of cards came tumbling down this week as a routine winter storm broke our 1990’s operating system.

The frontline employees were ready and on station. We were properly staffed. We were at the airports. Hell, we were ON the airplanes. But our antiquated software systems failed coupled with a decades old system of having to manage 20,000 frontline employees by phone calls. No automation had been developed to run this sophisticated machine.

We had a routine winter storm across the Midwest last Thursday. A larger than normal number flights were cancelled as a result. But what should have been one minor inconvenient day of travel turned into this nightmare. After all, American, United, Delta and the other airlines operated with only minor flight disruptions.

The two decades of neglect by SWA leadership caused the airline to lose track of all its crews. ALL of us. We were there. With our customers. At the jet. Ready to go. But there was no way to assign us. To confirm us. To release us to fly the flight. And we watched as our customers got stranded without their luggage missing their Christmas holiday.

I believe that our new CEO Bob Jordan inherited a MESS. This meltdown was not his failure but the failure of those before him. I believe he has the right priorities. But it will take time to right this ship. A few years at a minimum. Old leaders need to be replaced. Operationally oriented managers need to be brought in. I hope and pray Bob can execute on his promises to fix our once proud airline. Time will tell.

It’s been a punch in the gut for us frontline employees. We care for the traveling public. We have spent our entire careers serving you. Safely. Efficiently. With luv and pride. We are horrified. We are sorry. We are sorry for the chaos, inconvenience and frustration our airline caused you. We are angry. We are embarrassed. We are sad. Like you, the traveling public, we have been let down by our own leaders.

Herb once said the the biggest threat to Southwest Airlines will come from within. Not from other airlines. What a visionary he was. I miss Herb now more than ever.


Categories: Southwest Airlines


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Rich Idiots
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Published Saturday, November 26, 2022 @ 3:03 PM EST
Nov 26 2022


Categories: Adam Conover; Andrew Carnegie; Barre Seid; Bill Gates; Bill McKibben; Elon Musk; Facebook; FDR; FTX; Great Depression; Leonard Leo; Mark Zuckerberg; Meta; New Deal; Patagonia; Sam Bankman-Fried; Sam Walton; Twitter; Walmart; Walton Family; Warren Buffett; Yvon Chouinard


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