Good, For A Probable Language Choice Model

My homily for tomorrow touches on Romans 7 and Matthew 11:16–30, so for a lark I asked Chat-GPT to compose a sonnet on Matthew 11:19. This is what the LLM returned:

In wisdom’s realm, where noble words reside,
There shines a truth from Jesus, wise and true,
“Vindication rests in deeds,” He did confide,
A precious teaching, shared for me and you.

For words, though sweet, are like a fleeting breeze,
That oft may blow and fade into the night,
But deeds, like sturdy oaks, bend not with ease,
They stand the test of time, in truth’s respite.

Wisdom, a jewel that sparkles in the mind,
Reveals her brilliance through her righteous ways,
By actions noble, selfless, and refined,
Her worth is proved in deeds that earn our praise.

So let us strive to live with wisdom’s grace,
And let our deeds the light of truth embrace.

Now, I know that this is just a probabilistic concatenation of plausibly-connected phrases, but for an algorithm, that’s an impressive result, with good rhyme and satisfactory meter and a moderately intelligible point. I won’t be using it in the homily, though.

Darn Hot

A startlingly warm morning — it was 16° at daybreak, up from 9° just two days ago — but my legs were wooden until the very last stretch, under clear skies and with very light breezes. Two miles, anyway.
Today we breakfast with Nate at Rick’s, then I will apply myself to writing a homily for tomorrow’s Mass at Fairacres, and rejoin Nate after his conference day.

Two Renew

Beautiful clear skies, warm again (13°), a wobbly start as my knees and ankles took time to settle into limber rhythm, but a good pace and a satisfying two miles.

Grief Remote

To start with: I didn’t know Dooce, I never exchanged a digital word with her, and I’m confident that she didn’t know I exist. By no stretch of the imagination am I in a position to talk about her life or death as a human person, as Heather. On the other hand, I knew her (one-sidedly) richly, intimately, as Dooce, a literary figure, someone who wrote herself into existence on the web (to appropriate David Weinberger’s lapidary insight). I began reading her blog very early on (I don’t remember whether I started before she was fired, or afterward and then read backward) and continued up to this year, through some pretty bitter periods, through her recovery and [apparent] relapse, right up to her last posts. I don’t let go of people easily once I’ve begun taking them seriously as human beings, and a lot of what turned readers away in her post-megastar interval seemed to be part of her persona all along, albeit played in a dissonant key. I sympathised with her even when I didn’t like her, and then she won me over again, and then…

So when a link to her memorial event popped up in her Instagram feed yesterday, I felt an obligation to watch. (I have a strong conviction that the cultures I inhabit pay too little respect to the dead; I suppose they’re no longer economically productive, no longer consumers.) My heart ached for everyone, real people and not just literary characters now: Ranger, September, GEORGE!, her mum and dad, and especially Leta and Marlo and Jon and Pete. I wept over and over. It’s a measure of Heather’s brilliance as a writer that so many of her readers felt themselves to know her. Its aftereffect, the sense that we could help her, or (now) her family, seems a dangerous but almost inescapable illusion.

I have some theological, and pastoral (and some informally clinical) thoughts, but the world doesn’t need to hear those. More important, I think, to remember how many people at the event said that she saved their lives, and to consider that there must be more who couldn’t attend (or address the gathering) who would say the same. And if I have anything relevant to say about depression and suicide, let it simply be that both are very real, very powerful, and that we can’t just out-think or out-manoeuvre or out-love them, and that’s not our failure but an inbuilt dimension of what being human entails. Some people survive depression, some keep suicidal thoughts at bay, but that’s not testimony to their virtuous strength but to other contingencies. God bless them by all means, and sure, celebrate their resilience I guess, but don’t you dare question the strength or generosity of spirit or moral fibre of people who don’t escape those powers. (The higher the stakes, the greater the attraction of fundamental attribution error.) More people than we can know are dealing with more malign forces than we can know, and those forces are more powerful than most of us can tell — in part because people who see the full power of these malignities very often succumb to them.

Don’t blame people. Don’t beat yourself up for not being strong enough or wise enough to do what no one could have done in the first place. Be kind, not just ‘nice’, and choose compassion. Ask for help. Trust your friends. And God bless us, every one.

Two Legs Bad

This morning, I just couldn’t get my legs bouncing — the whole distance felt as though I was running in wooden limbs with rusty joints. I even tried stopping to take photos of flowers for Margaret — which step often gives my legs a chance to relax and start to swing — to no avail. 9° again (but getting warmer this weekend, according to the BBC), very light overcast, and two sluggish miles.

Two Much, Really

Down to 9° this morning — , in what will probably turn out to be the hottest summer in history — and clear skies, so that the sun sears down the south-east facing roads on which I run and threatens to blind any already-myopic early-morning runners. My legs felt all right, pollen was annoying but not in any way disabling, and my pace was agreeable, so I turned in a prompt (if not by any means rapid) two miles.

I didn’t mention this last week, I think, but Margaret and I went to see the new Indiana Jones film, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. If isn’t up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark or Last Crusade, it’s certainly not down there with the one I prefer to pretend doesn’t exist. (I’m lukewarm on Temple of Doom, which is the only one whose title I remembered properly when I was writing this post.)

Two Fresh Two Cool

Light rain this morning, but will that stop me? Ha! I laugh at light rain! 13° (but felt lower, as I was distinctly wet), not as limber, tweaked a knee partway through, satisfactory pace, and eventually got home after two more miles.

Nate will come to Oxford for an academic conference tomorrow, so we’ll have a chance to catch up with him between sessions and days. I was going to say that I hadn’t been turned down for a job in a while, but then I remembered that I put my name in as a dark horse (a really, really dark horse) (a horse so dark ‘You can hardly make out its shape… light just seems to fall into it!’) for a post, and was advised yesterday that my application was unsuccessful. No surprise there.

Given the number of deployment officers and HR personnel in the Church of England who have wished me ‘every success in your future career search’ in the past year, I’m obliged to conclude that they aren’t very good at wishing.

Two Cool

11°, clear skies, legs felt surprisingly good (it seems as though it’s the lifter-upper muscles that make the big difference, when my knees or heel aren’t aching), and a satisfactory pace indeed. Two more miles.

Extension in Space

Somehow, the morning two miles has seemed particularly lo-o-o-o-ong for the last few days. It may be my relative non-limber-ness, or a certain tedium or the combined effect of the overcast skies and my own internal overcast. In any case, this morning’s 15°, stiff, dull, humid run produced two miles anyway (no protraction bonus).