Artificial Post

person reaching out to a robot
Photo by Tara Winstead on

There has been a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence lately. I’m sure it has been in use for a long time but it is now going more mainstream. I spoke to a woman recently who said she uses it regularly to make her work emails better. So I looked into it a bit and discovered it is being used all over the place. AI self published books on Amazon. So I thought – why not AI blog? I asked it to write a paragraph on third culture kids. Then I asked it to write a short story about it. And a poem.

They are actually pretty good in a mainstream, very positive, very Disney kind of way. The poem actually made me laugh –
“Oh, Third Culture Kid, a soul so bright,
You’re a constellation in the night,
Your journey shapes a tale to tell,
Of how diverse hearts together swell.”

Obviously not my style but interesting. I can see why it is popular. Why it will rule the world. Why we will become the robots. Is it the end of civilization as we know it? What do you think?

Write a paragraph about Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are a unique and fascinating group of individuals who have spent a significant part of their developmental years living in cultures different from their parents’ or their passport country’s culture. As a result of this cross-cultural upbringing, TCKs often acquire a distinct identity that combines elements from multiple cultures, creating a “third culture” of their own. These global nomads are skilled at navigating diverse environments, adapting quickly to new situations, and embracing diversity with an open mind. While their upbringing offers enriching experiences and a broader worldview, it can also bring challenges in terms of forming lasting connections and a sense of belonging. Nevertheless, the resilience and cultural competence that TCKs develop make them invaluable assets in our increasingly interconnected and globalized world.

Write a short story about this

Title: Roots of the World

Once upon a time, in a small, bustling town, there lived a young girl named Maya. Her parents were diplomats, and as a result, she had spent her childhood traveling from one country to another. Maya had grown accustomed to saying goodbye to friends and embracing new cultures with each move, and she had become what was known as a Third Culture Kid.

At the age of ten, Maya found herself in a picturesque village nestled among the Swiss Alps. As she explored her new surroundings, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder and excitement. The village was filled with colorful houses, friendly faces, and enchanting traditions she had never experienced before.

Despite her natural adaptability, Maya sometimes felt a sense of longing for a place she could call her own—a place where her roots could grow deep. Nevertheless, she embraced each day, eager to learn about the world from different perspectives.

One day, while wandering through the local market, Maya stumbled upon a quaint antique shop run by an elderly woman named Agnes. Intrigued by the unique artifacts on display, Maya struck up a conversation with Agnes. They quickly discovered that they both had a shared love for adventure and exploration.

As the weeks passed, Maya and Agnes developed a deep bond, akin to a grandmother and granddaughter. Agnes had lived her entire life in the village and was enchanted by Maya’s stories of far-off lands and diverse cultures. She saw in Maya the spirit of a true adventurer, someone who cherished the beauty of each unique place she encountered.

One snowy winter evening, as they sat by the crackling fireplace, Agnes shared a heartfelt story about her own youthful dreams of traveling the world. Fate had tied her to the village, but she found immense joy in living vicariously through Maya’s adventures.

Moved by Agnes’ story, Maya realized that she didn’t need to have a single, fixed place to call home. She understood that her experiences and the connections she made with people around the world had become the roots that anchored her to the essence of humanity.

As the years passed, Maya continued to explore new countries, gaining wisdom and insight along the way. She would visit Agnes whenever she returned to the Swiss village, and their friendship remained as strong as ever. Maya cherished her upbringing as a Third Culture Kid, embracing her unique identity with pride.

In time, Maya became a renowned journalist, using her understanding of diverse cultures to bridge gaps and promote understanding worldwide. She wrote about the beauty of unity in diversity and the importance of embracing one’s own roots while celebrating the roots of others.

Maya’s story resonated with people from all walks of life, inspiring them to be more accepting, empathetic, and curious about the world around them. And as she continued her journey, she knew that her heart was connected to all the places she had been, for they were the roots of the world that made her who she was—a true Third Culture Kid.

Write a poem about this

In a world of wanderers, a soul takes flight,
A Third Culture Kid, in the vibrant night,
With roots that span the globe’s embrace,
In each new land, a sacred space.

From distant shores to mountains grand,
They roam with wonder, hand in hand,
Their heartstrings tied to many lands,
A tapestry woven by diverse hands.

Through bustling streets and tranquil dells,
They gather stories that their heart tells,
From desert dunes to oceans blue,
They find the beauty in what’s new.

They bear no burden of fixed abode,
For in their heart, the world’s bestowed,
A mosaic of cultures, rich and deep,
A treasure trove they’ll forever keep.

In every smile, a tale unfolds,
Of friendships formed and dreams that hold,
A legacy built on bonds so rare,
In lands they’ve loved, they’ve left their care.

They know that home’s not just one place,
But rather, a feeling they embrace,
In every corner of this earth,
They find a sense of joy and mirth.

For in their soul, they’ve come to see,
The unity in humanity,
A bridge between the worlds they stand,
A beacon shining through the land.

Oh, Third Culture Kid, a soul so bright,
You’re a constellation in the night,
Your journey shapes a tale to tell,
Of how diverse hearts together swell.

Embrace your roots, both near and far,
For in their dance, you’ll find your star,
In every culture’s tender grace,
You’ll weave a world, a boundless space.

Facebook Remembers

Nine year ago I spent an idyllic week in a villa on Lake Como in Italy. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. It was transformational. This week Facebook keeps digging up photos of that week to show me in my “memories”. How thoughtful of them. (??) Anyway, I ended up picking out a few.

We had been to our school reunion in Lugano, Switzerland and five of us decided to extend the trip by renting a villa in Lezzeno, right on the lake. We took the bus to Bellagio. We rented a boat and cruised up and down the lake hovering at George Clooney’s place and the Villa D’Este hotel where people pay $1,500 to stay. We swung by the Villa del Balbianello where they filmed Star Wars. And watched sea planes land outside Richard Branson’s villa. We rode up the Funivia to Pigra and took in the view. A local chef fed us dinner. It was perfect.

The shops in Bellagio

Villa D’Este

I even made an attempt to copy that last photo in needlepoint form. The flowers surrounding the villa really impressed me.

An unforgettable time.

Back on Land

The night before we docked in Longyearbyen, Norway, we all toasted the Captain and crew and thanked them all for a wonderful trip. Earlier in the day I watched about twenty people take the polar plunge. They all survived.

Night or day the views were the same.

Once we docked in Longyearbyen, Norway we boarded a bus that took us to the airport. On the way we passed the entrance to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

I had an uneventful overnight in Helsinki and it was on to London the next day. I opted for a slower pace and stayed in Windsor for my last few days abroad. The castle wasn’t open on the days I was there but I managed to see a few sights. It really is a lovely town. With Eton right next door.

Windsor Castle was originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Eton College was founded in 1440 by Henry VI. You will need $56,000 per year to send your teenage boy there. No girls, please.

Jan Mayen

The ocean is vast

Leaving Funningur, the captain announced rough water ahead. We needed to make sure everything was secured so it wouldn’t move around. I took my pill but not soon enough. I went to bed at six and my pill kicked in about an hour later but it was so rough, I didn’t want to try to walk around. I just stayed in bed until 6 am. From then on it was fairly calm.

From Faroe Islands we went directly north with Iceland to our left. After two days of sailing we arrived at Jan Mayen. During those two days we had lectures on whales, seals, Vikings, birds, as well as nature documentaries about the area.

During our whale lecture an announcement over the loud speaker directed us all to head on deck as Orkas had been spotted. We all rushed out and saw about six Orkas swimming around. Then we went back to our whale lecture. It was kind of magical.

Later that day we crossed the Arctic Circle. We all had a glass of champagne and a short celebration.

We arrived in Jan Mayen in the afternoon. We had hoped to land and take a walk but conditions were such that it was not possible. We were in the middle of nowhere. Jan Mayen was discovered by a Dutch whaler, Jan Jacobsz May, in 1614. It is basically a 7470 ft. high glacier-covered volcano that last erupted in 1985. The volcano is called Beerenberg and is the world’s northernmost sub-aerial active volcano (as opposed to under water or under ground). The island is 34 miles long. In the past it was a major whaling area but is currently a Norwegian military base and weather station.

We sailed all along the coast with lots of photo opportunities.

Unfortunately clouds were covering the summit but otherwise it could not have been a nicer day.

Faroe Islands

Sailing from Fair Isle, Shetlands to the Faroe Islands we came across some nasty weather. People who have been working on ships for 15 years were sick for the first time. I was very sick. It was a very unpleasant night. But by the time we arrived in Torshavn things had calmed down and I was feeling okay. I did contact the doctor, however, and got some pills to carry me through our next leg of the trip.

Torshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands. Faroe means sheep so they are the sheep islands. We took a walking tour of the old town down by the harbor, Tinganes.

The village of Kirkjubour is an important historic site with a church dating back to the 12th century and an old farmhouse from the 11th century. There is very little wood on this island as well so they relied on shipwrecks and driftwood to build and furnish the farm house.

From October to May the sheep stay in town and in the warmer weather from May to October the sheep go up to the hills to feed. There are about 80,000 sheep and about 50,000 people on the islands.

The next day we sailed to Funningur.

Funningur is the oldest village on the islands. Irish monks arrived in about 625AD. The Norse (Vikings) arrived around 800. Today the Islands belong to Denmark. During WWII Denmark was occupied by Germany and the Faroes were occupied by Britain. So the Faroes had to have their own flag on their ships in order to distinguish them from the Danes.

Funningur is a village of about 40 people on Eystory Island. We took the zodiacs from ship to shore and the whole village came out to show us around, provide some history, feed us fish soup and pancakes, and in the afternoon we all danced traditional dances and sang hymns in the church. Plus they made a promotional film about it all since they are hoping to attract more tourists. Quite a day!

On our way north…

Fair Isle, Shetlands


Fair Isle from the ship.

Arrived at Fair Isle in the morning. A lot of rocking and rolling on the boat overnight. Big swells. Up at 6:45, breakfast at 7 am and then to the zodiacs at 8:15. When it was my turn to board the zodiac there was a huge swell and I ended up to my knees in water. The attempt was aborted and I had to go back and wait for the next boat. I managed to get to land but had to wait for a dry pair of boots.

Since I had such a traumatic experience and had a late start waiting for dry boots, everybody was taking care of me and I ended up in a car that took me to the museum. For most people it was an hour walk. So I had a bit different experience but it was very interesting nonetheless. The woman driving was originally from the Netherlands but lived in England for many years and moved to Fair Isle about 16 years ago.

The museum was in a one room stone building and run by a Fair Isle native who said her family moved to the island in the 1600’s. Since there is no wood on the island much of the furniture was made from or was actually recycled from shipwrecks. There have been a lot of shipwrecks over the past 200 years.

The island has about 70 inhabitants and is known for its knitted woolen sweaters and hats. Sheep were everywhere. It also has a large puffin colony. From the museum we went to the town hall where knitters and artists had displayed their items for sale.

The landscape was stunning.

Rounding up Scotland

Random snaps of Aberdeen (click for larger view)

The sculpture garden

Dunnater Castle outside Stonehaven. Built 1400-1600. In use until 1718. I had to hike down a million steps and then up half a million steps to get there.

Falls of Feugh

Inside the Cairngorms National Park. Braemer is home to the Scottish Highland Games.

Linn of Dee

Muir of Dennet Nature Reserve

Loch Kinord

It was raining on the gates to Balmoral Castle.

Bye bye

Dundee and Alyth, Scotland

V&A Museum Dundee

See London to Dundee if you need background.

After 10 hours sleep, I woke to a rainy day in Dundee. Still dragging a bit, I went off to see the Victoria & Albert museum down by the river Tay. Architecturally it was a beautiful, interesting place with a large open interior.

I learned that Scotland exported ceramics including Asian themed plates to Asia in the 1880’s. Also the Scottish Imp, made by Chrysler in the 1970’s had tartan seat covers.

The Imp

But the best part was the cafe. I had a delicious pea mint soup and a scone. All while enjoying a view of the river. After lunch it was pouring rain so I went back to bed. I lucked out the following day. It was sunny and perfect for exploring. Dundee is a city of about 150,000 with several good museums, three shopping centers, and a university all in the center. It is very walkable and the people are friendly and helpful. In the morning I was out before anything opened so walked around and found a lot of public art.

Dundee is home to DC Thompson and Co. comic book publishers so several comic book characters were featured around town as well as prominent figures like Queen Victoria who visited Dundee in 1844. My next stop was the McManus Art Gallery.

I really enjoyed the museum. It had art and artifacts from around the world as well as Victorian and Edwardian paintings. There were sections on natural history, history of Dundee and the history of the building itself. The inside of the building was very cool

Inside the gallery

I headed to the other side of town to see the Contemporary Art Museum near the University of Dundee. It was small and there was one in depth exhibit on a lighthouse on the Algerian coast. I bought some postcards in the gift shop and the guy who checked me out was from Wisconsin. Lots of people working, studying and visiting from other countries.

Another big attraction in Dundee was the Discovery ship. There was a museum dedicated to it and you could board the ship. Since it cost 17 pounds, and I was pretty museumed out, I decided to skip it. The ship was built in Dundee in 1901 and its first mission was to carry Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their successful trip to the Antarctic.

On Wednesday I stowed my roller bag at the Premier Inn hotel and caught a local bus to Alyth. The driver didn’t announce any stops so I was a little nervous I would miss my stop but after about 45 minutes we arrived at Market Square, Alyth. I found the guesthouse where I had reservations to stay but I got the times wrong. It was 3 pm and check in was not till 4.

I walked down the road to see the Alyth War Memorial and was taking it all in when it started to pour. I managed to find a bus shelter but not until after I was soaked to the bone. Back at the guesthouse I spent several hours trying to dry out.

See My Morning Walk for more on Alyth.

My Morning Walk

Alyth, Scotland

Enjoyed my time in Alyth. Stayed at the Tigh na Leigh guesthouse on Airlie street. Nice hosts, clean, excellent food. They serve breakfast every day and dinner three nights a week. I ate dinner one night at the Lands of Loyal hotel situated above town on Loyal hill. Nice views of the valley and good food.

It was a beautiful day so had a nice walk along the Den of Alyth.

I stopped at a cafe in town for a sandwich at lunchtime. It was the meeting point for the local ladies who lunch group. All with their walkers in tow.

In the center of town there is a small museum only open in the afternoon. The caretaker was very knowledgeable and interested in helping people with any questions they had about the history of the area. He spent some time with me working on genealogy questions.

London to Dundee

King’s Cross Railway Station

I arrived in London at about 8 am after an eight hour plane ride and a six hour time difference. There was a bright moon over the Atlantic. I took the Heathrow Express train from the airport to Paddington Station. Instead of messing with the Tube, I just hopped a taxi on to King’s Cross.

I enjoyed watching the masses of people posing for pictures at Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and 3/4. The line was very long. My train didn’t leave until 2 so I had plenty of time to watch them.

Trains are so much more enjoyable than planes. I had a six hour ride from London to Dundee. I met a woman who told me she had been a guest at the coronation the previous day. They had to be there early and by the time it was over they had been there six hours with nothing to eat or drink or access to toilets. It was kind of grueling but she thought it was very exciting. She saw all kinds of celebrities. She was most excited to see Kenneth Branagh. The railway gave each of us a Coronation Chocolate.

I was in first class and the guy in front of me was enjoying a free beer when the ticket lady came by. Not only did he have the wrong ticket but it was a coach class wrong ticket. She was very nice and tried to convert the ticket so he would only have to pay the difference instead of buying a whole new ticket but his credit card never did go through. Lucky for him he wasn’t going far.

The bright yellow crop growing everywhere is rapeseed which is made into oil. I was told it has an unpleasant odor.

We all took pictures of the Angel of the North. Located at Gateshead, the sculpture was finished in 1998 by Antony Gormley. it is the largest angel in the world. It is 66 ft. tall and has a wingspan of 177 ft. And it can withstand winds of over 100 mph.

There were lots of interesting buildings in Newcastle. Hard to capture them on a train. Immediately past Newcastle we ran into fog.

It was foggy off and on from there but lifted at intervals.

I checked into my hotel in Dundee, had a quick supper, drank a bunch of beer, watched the end of the Coronation Concert with Lionel Richie and Katie Perry and others. And then I passed out. I was up for 32 hours and then I was not. I’m just taking I easy today!