TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // The Sphinx by Oliver Herford

She was half Lady and half cat–
What is so wonderful in that?
Half of our lady friends (so say
The other half) are Cats to-day.
In Egypt she made quite a stir,
They carved huge Images of her.
Riddles she asked of all she met
And all who answered wrong, she ate.
When Oedipus her riddle solved
The minx–I mean the Sphinx–dissolved
In tears. What is there, when one thinks,
So wonderful about the Sphinx?

 

by OLIVER HERFORD (1863-1935)
Public Domain Poetry

BUT IS IT ART? // Dot Girl

TONY: So, we’re gonna talk about art again. Would you like to pick the piece this time?

TATI: Again? Why don’t we talk about cryptocurrency mining for once?

TONY: Crypto—what?!

TATI: Oh, dear me… Tony, it’s 2021 outside! The sixties are long gone. Wake up!

TONY: Already?! Damn. Time sure flies when you’re an anachronism.

TATI: Yes, your shoes and hairstyle are proof of this.

TONY: Ahem… ANYWAY! What are you going to choose?

TATI: Okey-dokey, but you should brew me some coffee if you don’t want me to fall asleep during our discussion. And where should I look? In your Instagram?

TONY: Sure! Why the hell not?

TATI: Hmmm. There are pictures here that I like, and there are others that I don’t. But I can’t question they’re art because you’ve clearly put time and effort into them. Your creativity is quite evident.

TONY: Aw, shucks!

TATI: In short, there are no bananas taped to walls.

TONY: Well, I’m not much of a fan of bananas taped to walls anyway. Actually, I’m curious as to which of my drawings you don’t like. Care to enlighten me?

TATI: Are you sure? Promise not to cry like last time?

TONY: Hey, it’s not my problem if a man expressing his emotions makes you uncomfortable.

TATI: Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Well… I think this is one I like the least out of everything you’ve posted.

TONY: Interesting! Truthfully, it isn’t one of my favourites either. May I ask why this is so for you?

TATI: Maybe because I can’t see the ‘story’ behind her. She looks dull. I don’t know who she is but nor do I care. She doesn’t make me curious to learn more about her.

TONY: So, you like drawings that give you the feeling of an underlying narrative?

TATI: It’s great but not necessary. I am also fine with simple, cute things. Even if they don’t tell a story. Even if they don’t arouse your imagination. It can still be pleasant to view them.

TONY: So… this drawing doesn’t do even that for you. Is that what you’re saying?

TATI: Yep.

TONY: Erm… okay.

TATI: Tell me her story, Tony. Make me love her.

TONY: I don’t know… Hmmm… She got her face stuck in a dot matrix printer and so that’s why she looks like this? It’s quite a tragic to-do.

TATI: Hee hee hee! Why has she done this?

TONY: Well, she didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident. Perhaps she was trying to fix it instead of asking her butch lesbian lover to do it.

TATI: Why are they using a dot matrix printer in the twenty-first century anyway? Are they printing invitations for a sixties style LGBT party? Pray, do continue!

TONY: Why not? Even chic gals and their butch lesbian partners deserve to get down and boogie once in a while.

TATI: Oh, come on! Don’t tell me you were so smart that you knew dot matrix printers were invented in the sixties, and therefore you made that connection! I bet you just found a fancy filter in Photoshop and decided to use it!

TONY: Of course I didn’t make the connection! And of course it was just a filter I used! And anyway, I thought we were both doing some sneaky ‘backwards engineering’ here!

TATI: You old pervert! Don’t you ever dream about ‘backwards engineering’ with me!

TONY: Hey, your mind went there. Not mine!

TATI: About engineering… What if she was standing near a hydraulic press right after she smashed her husband’s head in?

TONY: What the fuck?! How does this even suggest that horrific scenario to you?!

TATI: Don’t you like the scenario?

TONY: It’s just that… well… I just hadn’t realised you were so bloodthirsty!

TATI: Oh, come on! Don’t be such a boob, Tony! Stephen King, by the way, included this film in his list of most notable horror movies from 1950 to 1980!

TONY: Smashed in heads. Boobs. Horror movies. What kind of conversation have I walked into here?

TATI: You started it all!

TONY: Oh, that’s just rich! Fine. I’ll never draw again.

TATI: But you know what, Tony? Funnily enough, you have finally done it!

TONY: What do you mean by ‘you have finally done it’?

TATI: You have made me love her! I like this drawing now! Oh, what if we have a sixties style evening? Some good old horror classics and piles of popcorn all around? Your shoes would be welcome!

(Tati rushes out of the room to make preparations.)

TONY: Cryptocurrency mining with the current price of electricity… are you kidding, Tati? To make such an evening profitable you would have needed to have it back in the sixties! But crypto art? Now that is quite a different story…

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

SPAM® Sushi #17

 

Certain components of those plants are eaten uncooked, and the teeth and lips are often used to peel the pods and bulbs. In my opinion, my format expertise have improved quite a bit since I was last engaged on Marvel initiatives.
ThorusOscindy

So, what is the name of this latest Marvel initiative? Might Morphin’ Cabbage Patooties? And shall we guess the scenario you’re describing here? Oh! An army of toothy, fat lipped mutants have devoured all vegetable life on Earth, spifflicating buds and bulbs with extreme cruelty! And so the resulting massive fart attack has ruined the ozone layer, hence why you’re equipping your Mjölnirarses to fart back at them. Does that sound pretty close?
Tati & Tony (Superpowered Mentors of Overpowered Flatulence Universe)

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // A Minor Poet by Stephen Vincent Benet

I am a shell. From me you shall not hear
The splendid tramplings of insistent drums,
The orbed gold of the viol’s voice that comes,
Heavy with radiance, languorous and clear.
Yet, if you hold me close against the ear,
A dim, far whisper rises clamorously,
The thunderous beat and passion of the sea,
The slow surge of the tides that drown the mere.

Others with subtle hands may pluck the strings,
Making even Love in music audible,
And earth one glory. I am but a shell
That moves, not of itself, and moving sings;
Leaving a fragrance, faint as wine new-shed,
A tremulous murmur from great days long dead.

 

by STEPHEN VINCENT BENET (1898-1943)
Public Domain Poetry

SOAPBOX TNT // Do You Love Me?

Dear Readers,

Today we present to you a new feature that we hope you’ll love. (Time will tell, eh?) We’ve decided to call it ‘Soapbox TNT’.

We usually avoid posting our personal opinions on stuff. We strive instead to make Unbolt Me a kingdom of unfettered creativity. But sometimes the real world is a crazy dystopia that goes far beyond even our wildest imaginations. It’s fascinating (and kinda scary) to realise that something we read in books and watched in movies just yesterday has become reality today! The world is a strange place indeed.

So, this is what our new feature is all about. It is us discussing various subjects from our own perspectives, and in an attempt to reach some mutual consensus that we can perhaps even learn from. As such, we hope you’ll forgive any ignorance on our part. Feel free to weigh in on what we discuss. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts! The more the merrier!

In short, don’t be shy about joining the discussion. Tell us if you agree or disagree, and educate us when education is necessary. And, above all, let’s be respectful and have fun!

 

 

TATI: Tony, have you seen this video that’s been trending on YouTube?

TONY: Oh my god! That’s amazing! Truly sophisticated engineering right there, don’t you think?

TATI: Yes, to be sure!

TONY: I recall reading an article many years ago about how making bipedal robots with a stable centre of gravity was an incredibly difficult engineering challenge that had not yet been overcome. I guess we now have robots that can stay on their feet without toppling over, huh?

TATI: I see you are rather excited with this, aren’t you?

TONY: Hell yeah! It seems we may be nudging closer to the day I can ride around in a robot that transforms into a tank. No more parking problems ever!

TATI: I have mixed feelings, to be honest. Yes, the robots in the video look cute and funny, but they’re a little scary too. And I don’t mean their appearance. I mean their behaviour. It feels like a mockery of humans a little bit. Presently, real human beings are scared, restricted and locked down… but these robots are making a happy ‘Do You Love Me?’ dance.

TONY: I remember you once telling me that robots do make you a little uneasy…

TATI: Here… Let me show you another video.

 

 

TATI: Do you see how it tries to get through the door and how that man tries to hinder it in different ways? That robot is smart and persistent enough to stick to its task, and goes ahead anyway. But if it’s also a real AI, how long will it take before it realises that the real barrier to completing its task is the man? And maybe push him away? Or worse?

TONY: It’s something I’ve considered too.

TATI: I was watching this and thinking… damn, it will attack the man now!

TONY: It’s strange but I was also thinking that! But here’s the thing… for the robot to realise that the real barrier is the man, it would first have to be self-aware, wouldn’t it? It would have to possess some form of consciousness. But as it’s just a manmade object then of course it doesn’t possess these qualities. But intelligence doesn’t equal sentience, does it? Those are two different things.

TATI: Yes, but it’s a coin with two sides. You see, they don’t have reason. They have a program. Even a maniac can be reasoned with. Not so with robots. Robots perform code. They just follow commands laid down in their programming that dictate their moves. One moment they’re dancing but add some changes to the code and they will do something different the next. And I don’t think it needs ‘self-awareness’ to distinguish a human being from a wall. We’re still just another object in the robot’s way.

TONY: It could be argued that this is also the best thing about artificial intelligence, that it isn’t truly self-aware, sentient. And while it will never deviate from its programming it will also… well, never deviate from its programming which means that it can only ever act predictably… which also means that we human beings will always be able to stay one step ahead. Well, as long as we continue to think outside of the box, I suppose. That’s the hope!

TATI: ‘This means that it can only ever act predictably…’ Sometimes even I can surprise myself with silly and irrational decisions. Can you speak so confidently for other people? Have you not seen what is happening in the Capitol now? Does it still make you proud to be a human? Do you still think you’re a ‘step ahead’?

TONY: One could argue that the president’s assault on democracy is entirely predictable given his past statements, and that some of his followers would take these statements to their logical extreme is also predictable. But I do take your point. Robots will never act with conscience because they are not self-aware. We, however, have no such excuse so the onus is always on us to act responsibly.

TATI: I put an equal sign between humans’ behavior and robots’ behavior. I can’t believe in robots’ decency because they’re made and programmed by people. Have you heard about the Three Laws of Robotics?

TONY: I have! My father introduced me to Isaac Asimov’s robot stories when I was a child. ‘A robot may not injure a human being’ and that kind of thing.

TATI: Do you think that the Three Laws of Robotics work in the real world?

TONY: Well, no, because I don’t think anybody’s using them in the real world at the moment. Robots aren’t quite that sophisticated yet, not ‘human’ enough where such laws would be necessary.

TATI: I believe it’s not far off…

TONY: I guess it’s wayward presidents I’m more worried about for the moment, but you make a good point. There was a video game called Horizon Zero Dawn that tackled these very themes. The story really blew my mind. I love robots but I do go a little quiet when I think about a world where robots not only take over everything but also consume anything that is organic—including human beings. A bit of a horrifying thought if you ask me.

TATI: And do you still feel safe and easy when you watch dancing robots?

TONY:

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021