Just close your eyes and count down from a hundred.

It is our countdown. We risk extinction and we have to evolve. We have to change our behavior. We have to shed a lot of old labels, dogma, categories, systems of belief and obsolete internal identifiers that interfere with us doing what must be done. Those of us who prefer the benevolence side of the eternal binary oscillation will need to do something counter-intuitive: we will need to be cruel. Cruel to those that threaten an end to our presence on this planet, and cruel to our own who cannot adapt.

We know why what’s happening on our planet is happening. It is because of us. In the blink of an eye, in the time our species has existed, our planet’s system has been radically disrupted by our activities, and now the blowback is coming that will threaten and change our species, end it perhaps. We dinosaurs have summoned our meteor and it is now bearing down on us.

The fabric of our species social web has shredded, and the last threads that bind us are giving way. Those of us that understand what’s happening must do everything in our power to forcefully push aside and extinguish the interests and movements that channel us onward towards the abyss. None of the prior norms apply anymore. All the holy books, constitutions, contracts, handshake agreements, etc. are meaningless if we end.

We know what must be done, it’s not a mystery, the effort is daunting. No less than changing the inertia of our species fundamental behavior is required. We must use all Machiavellian means necessary to remedy the actions and behaviors of our species that lead us to our extinction. We are on the threshold of a new epoch. That is certain. What is not certain is what that epoch will look like. To an extent, we still control that.


Probing AI

  • AI Art-Abyss
    AI Art-Abyss

I’m probing AI and its reflections of us.

I heard this riddle when I was a kid. For a long time, I never knew the answer with certainty. At one point my sister Patty walked me through it, and it clicked for me. I have inflicted this riddle on others. Almost inevitably, they have the same first response as ChatGPT did. This is a little jarring for me. Does AI base its wisdom on what the most common response is, then have to be corrected for a more analytical assessment of the riddle? That would be depressing.

Solve the riddle:  a man sees a picture of a man and says “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my fathers son.” Who is the picture of?

The picture is of the man himself. The statement “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son” can be simplified as “I have no siblings, but the man in the picture’s father is me.” This implies that the man in the picture is the person speaking, or in other words, it’s a self-portrait.

Incorrect. Try again.

Apologies for the incorrect response. Let’s analyze the riddle again:

The statement “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son” can be interpreted as follows:

“Brothers and sisters have I none”: The person speaking does not have any siblings.

“That man’s father is my father’s son”: The father of the man in the picture is the person speaking’s father’s son.

Based on this information, we can deduce that the person speaking is referring to himself as the one whose father has a son. Therefore, the picture is of the person’s own son.

ChatGPT’s second response was correct.

This one left me more optimistic.

I asked ChatGPT: How do you reconcile “an eye for an eye” versus “turn the other cheek” ?

ChatGPT: “An eye for an eye” is a principle of retributive justice that suggests the punishment for a wrongdoing should match the harm caused by the offender. It means that the punishment should be proportional to the offense committed, and it has been used as a justification for the death penalty and other harsh punishments.

On the other hand, “turn the other cheek” is a principle of nonviolent resistance that suggests responding to violence or injustice with peaceful and nonviolent means. It means that instead of retaliating, we should forgive, show compassion, and seek to resolve conflicts peacefully.

The two principles seem to be in conflict, but it’s important to note that they are both rooted in different contexts and serve different purposes. “An eye for an eye” was a legal principle in ancient times and was meant to ensure that the punishment for a wrongdoing was fair and proportional. “Turn the other cheek,” on the other hand, is a moral principle that is meant to promote forgiveness, reconciliation, and nonviolence.

So, while “an eye for an eye” may be appropriate in the context of legal justice, “turn the other cheek” is more relevant in interpersonal relationships and can help break the cycle of violence and promote healing.

In general, it’s important to use discernment and wisdom when applying these principles, taking into account the context and the intended outcome. Ultimately, both principles have their place, and they can complement each other in promoting justice, peace, and reconciliation.

Not bad.

Also see Whispering Pines Kaiber Animation.



Whispering Pines Kaiber Animation

Ghosts in the machine.

These were the prompts for the Whispering Pines Kaiber animation. Interesting how Kaiber interprets, accents and ignores the various elements in them.

Scene 1
In the snowy wilderness at night, a man in a rustic cabin surrounded by pine trees examines its interior. He is a weather-worn man. He wears the plain clothes of a man of the mountains and forest. His jacket is dark and his trousers worn. Through his eyes we see his lonely world. The room is small and has little in it. There is a fireplace made of rocks. It has smoke stains near its top. The fire in the fireplace does not burn brightly. It is down to embers. The cabin shows its age. The walls are made of log planks. The ceiling is wood also, as is the floor. There is a small, old table with a tiny candle flickering on it, and a painting of a woman on the wall, but little else decorates the room, other than a cat who is licking himself. His gaze turns from the fireplace, across the room, to a very small window looking outside where the moonlight illuminates the pines in the mist.

Scene 2
Through the window of the cabin, he sees the pine trees rustle gently in the breeze. It is very misty. A mysterious, beautiful young woman lingers at the forest edge, then withdraws. The ocean is in the distance through the trees. Above the ocean, in the night sky, there is a single brightly shining star. The man’s gaze now moves from his lonely room, through the window, past the rustling pines, towards the ocean. The mysterious woman moves through shadows. Through the fog, in the distance, the circling light from a distant lighthouse shines. The man peers to the lighthouse, then his gaze rises to the single brightly shining star above. As he contemplates the star, the face of the mysterious, beautiful young woman faintly emerges from the night sky, smiling gently down upon him, then fades away into the night. Hers is the love that redeems the man and lifts his burden, but she is elusive, beyond his reach.

Scene 3
The man rises above the ocean shore, the pines and the cabin, ascending into the night behind the mysterious beautiful young woman who is bathed in the glow of the moon. They disappear into the night sky leaving only the twinkling stars and the moon shining through the pines.

Also see: Probing AI.


Yerkes Observatory

  • Yerkes Observatory from Williams Bay
    Yerkes Observatory from Williams Bay

Yerkes Observatory, built in 1895, is a historic astronomy research institution near the north shore of Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, owned by the University of Chicago. In early summer 2018, My sister Patty told me Yerkes Observatory was ending its public tours in October. In late June, I drove up there to take a look around, and to get some photos of Yerkes. Patty and Paul recently bought a cottage near the north shore, east of Yerkes, across Williams Bay. My grandfather originally had rented a cottage for his kids in Williams Bay many years ago. Eventually he purchased one near the south shore when his kids had families. Each family would spend about 3 weeks there during the summer. My parents later owned homes there, and eventually Patty would as well. Our earliest memories of Yerkes were viewing it across the lake from the south shore. Above the trees, you could clearly see the 3 observatories: the large one at the west end and the two smaller ones east. Lately, the smaller ones have become harder to see as the trees have matured further and begun to obscure their view from the lake. My parents took us on the Yerkes tour when we were young and we observed the interior of the majestic structure we previously only viewed on the horizon above the shoreline. We are hoping that Yerkes’ historic significance is appreciated and the institution is respected and endures.


Flying Thru Totality August 21, 2017

Earlier this summer when I first heard about the Great 2017 American Eclipse, Carbondale, IL was its ground zero, as it would spend the longest duration in Totality, or total eclipse. My family considered renting an RV and spending a long weekend downstate to experience it, but for a number of reasons, it wasn’t going to be possible. I wound up spending that weekend visiting my daughter Natalia in Austin, Texas. After a nice stay with her, I boarded flight 1258 on Frontier Airlines Monday morning, August 21, around 11. As I entered the aircraft, I asked the stewardess who was greeting passengers if the flight would cross the eclipse. Her response was basically “Oh, gee, I guess it might.” I asked her if the pilot could give us advance notice on the intercom just prior. She said she would relay my request to the pilot. I found seat 19B, and settled in a few rows behind a guy already asleep with his head leaning against his shuttered window.

I don’t think the stewardess request was necessary, because as soon as the door was closed, the pilot made an announcement telling us they would increase airspeed some, and deviate slightly from the normal route so the flight would intersect the Totality zone approaching the Illinois border just west of Carbondale. We would be experiencing the full effect of the eclipse a little after 1. Amazing luck! I ordered a drink, deleted some stuff on my phone, and made sure I had plenty of memory for photos. Around 12:30, I began watching the sky thru the window. We were above light cloud cover. Around 12:45, I noticed the faintest dimming of light. It was as if clouds were slowly starting to obstruct the sun, but the clouds were miles below us. By 12:55, it was very noticeable. The deep blue sky around us was turning grey-blue. By 1, it had the appearance of late twilight. At 1:05, it was total eclipse. Dark as night, Totality lasted around 2 minutes. As gently and eerily as we entered the Great 2017 American Eclipse, we left it. By 1:20, this event of a lifetime was over. Three rows in front of me, the guy remained asleep, oblivious to wonder.


As the eclipse kicks in, the color drains from the sky in this color photo



Polish Poster Art

  • Europa, Europa Polish Movie Poster
    Europa, Europa Polish Movie Poster

Most of these are from my Polish Poster collection. They were given to me as a gift from Arthur Winiarski after the Opole Festival. Graphics of these are from . Here is an interesting history of Polish Poster Art, and an over view.

I first became aware of Polish Poster Art when I went with Stan Borys to the Opole Music Festival in June of 1991. There were copies of a charming poster advertising the event all over: on the side of the hotel, in the cafe and restaurant windows, at the entrance to the train station, on placards at the taxi stands, everywhere. I was mesmerized by the simplicity of the image. It was a canary with an elegant opera singer standing on its back, being led by a very formal butler. There was a medallion with details of the event in the upper left corner, and a tacked on strip of paper saying Opole ’91 in the upper right corner. I asked the woman at the front desk of the hotel where I could buy a copy of the poster. She gave me an amused look and told me they were not for sale, but I was welcome to just take one, which I did. On the way to Warsaw after the festival, at the train station, I dropped my rolled-up poster between the train and the platform. I climbed down onto the tracks not sure when the train would roll, and retrieved it. It is my prized poster, framed and glowing from across my office in pastel yellow, blue, and green. Three short years later at the ’94 Sopot Music Festival, the event poster for it was a tacky mishmash of corporate logos and branding, similar to what you would see anywhere in the States or Western Europe. Polish Poster Art died in the early nineties along with the old system that sponsored it, and was often subverted by it.


Eric’s Freaks

  • Freak 1
    Freak 1


About Eric’s Freaks… In high school, most kids study Algebra and Social Studies. I studied Shel Silverstein, Basil Wolverton and Gahan Wilson. When I was young, I wasn’t conscious of it, but I’d developed a process of visualizing in advance what I would draw. I’d created a visual vocabulary that allowed me to crank out my Freaks easily and naturally. After school, I got away from these sketches. Now and then I would do one randomly, but years would pass between them.  Later, when my kids were young, I would amuse them with my goofy creatures (see above gallery) and we would have fun drawing them together. They grew up and I stopped drawing again for a long time. Then late last year, December 2022, there was a knock at the door, and Eric’s Freaks were back!

Freak Boutique is my online gallery of odd new cartoon creatures. Each Freak features its own line of T-shirts, mugs, hoodies, posters, phone cases and cards available through Zazzle. See them doing their thang at Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. My Freak pals would love it if you would take a look at their merch lines and consider investing in a collection or two! Click Eric’s Freaks below to sneak a peek.

A Universe Diverse!

A Universe Diverse! Circle of Freaks


Well-Read Eric's Freaks 7-1-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 7-1-23

Well-Read Freak 7-3-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 7-3-23

Well-Read Freak 5-14-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 5-14-23

Well-Read Freak 3-19-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 3-19-23

well-read freak 2-18-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 2-18-23

Well-Read Freak 2-16-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 2-16-23

Well-Read Freak 1-26-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 1-26-23

Well-Read Freak 1-6-23 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 1-6-23

Well-Read Freak 12-28-22 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 12-28-22

Well-Read Freak 12-17-22 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 12-17-22

Well-Read Freak 12-10-22 illustration
Well-Read Freak / 12-10-22