If Muddy Waters had written Yesterday…

With minimal prompt crafting, I got ChatGPT to spit out these lyrics. We live in amazing times.

Yesterday, by Muddy Waters:

Yesterday, I was sittin’ all alone
Wondering why my baby had flown
Now I’m lost, and don’t know what to do
Yesterday, love was good and true

I used to be the man, with a heart of gold
But now I’m just a fool, oh so old
Why she had to leave, I’ll never know
But I’ll always miss my baby, oh so low

Now I’m sittin’ here, with a bottle in my hand
Trying to forget, but it’s hard to understand
Why she had to go, and leave me all alone
Yesterday, love was mine to own

But now I’m just a man, with a broken heart
Wishing we could go back, to the very start
Yesterday, love was ours to keep
But now it’s just a memory, that’s oh so deep

I’ll never forget, the love we shared
But now it’s gone, and I’m left unprepared
For a life without my baby, by my side
Yesterday, love was a beautiful ride…

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How to sound like a Sumerian


For people reading Broken Tablet out loud (including audiobook narrators, hint, hint) here are some guidelines for pronouncing Sumerian words.

Your go-to resource should be the Sumerian Lexicon by the amazing John A. Halloran.

The vowels may be pronounced as follows: a as in father, u as in pull, e as in peg, and i as in hip.

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Writing longhand

I’m starting a new longer project, and doing so longhand. I have a 100-sheet notebook (graph paper, natch) and am beginning to densely fill the pages. I counted 634 words on one side of one sheet, which means an entire novel-length piece can comfortably fit in one notebook.…

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On the impact of Dune

I’m reading a charming, well-loved 1965 Book Club edition of Dune from the local library. We take Space Opera for granted today, but observe how it needed to be described back then. Inside flap copy, after some standard stuff about Duke Leto and the great rival house of Harkonnen: (italics are from original source are shown in bold here)

A page of medieval history?

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“We very rarely bloviate”

Quite a wrought sentence from this article.

We very rarely bloviate, although there are often exceptions to that rule.

Speaking on behalf of tech journalists, the author clames they “very rarely” bloviate, as long as one overlooks “often exceptions”.…

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Extraordinary claims; extraordinary evidence

The great Carl Sagan famously popularized the saying:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I’ve always disliked that saying. It was intended as a shout-out to objectivity, rationalism, and healthy skepticism, but it has the opposite effect for me. Any writer will tell you that overuse of adjectives will actually weaken the point the writer is trying to make.…

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Micah Joel

Purveyor of things geeky