Getting Started on ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence

You might not even know what ChatGPT is YET, but I asked it to write tonight’s introduction for the show. Here’s what it had to say:

  • “Welcome to Torg Stories! On tonight’s episode, we’re diving into the world of Artificial Intelligence and getting to know ChatGPT, the language model trained by OpenAI. As we explore the fascinating possibilities and potential pitfalls of AI, we’ll be asking ChatGPT some tough questions and finding out just how smart this machine really is. So, grab a cup of tea, settle in, and join us for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion on AI and the future of technology.”

Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT are the topic’s on this Sunday, March 19th edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

Image created by Deep Dream Generator
Click above for podcast audio. Episode recorded March 19, 2023.

Show Notes Below

Two things to explain first:

  • The company OpenAi: founded 2015. One of the founders was Elon Musk. In 2018 Microsoft made a 1 billion dollar investment. In Jan of 2023, Microsoft added a second investment of 10 billion.
  • One of the things OpenAi did was to develop something called ChatGPT. As of today, you can go to the ChatGPT website, register, and chat away in a text box.
  • @OpenAI on Twitter.
  • I asked ChatGPT some questions to set up today’s podcast.

I asked ChatGPT to summarize what it is in 3 sentences or less as if I was a 6th grader:

  • Hi there! I’m ChatGPT, a computer program designed to talk with people like you! I can help answer your questions, chat with you about anything you like, and maybe even learn a few things from you too!

I asked ChatGPT to explain to me in 3 sentences or less what is meant by artificial intelligence:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer-based technology that makes machines think and behave like humans. It involves using algorithms to analyze data, recognize patterns, and make decisions. AI is used in a wide range of applications, such as voice assistants, self-driving cars, and robots.

Okay Anne, let’s make our way through these articles:

“A Conversation With Bing’s Chatbot Left Me Deeply Unsettled” by Kevin Roose in the New York Times. Click here for article. @KevinRoose on Twitter.

  • What do you remember about this one, Anne?
  • I’ve marked two passages to read.

The podcast had as a guest Kevin Roose from the article above. “Bing Chatbot Gone Wild and Why AI Could Be the Story of the Decade,” a Ringer podcast hosted by Derek Thompson with guest Kevin Roose. Click here for episode link. @KevinRoose and @DKThomp and on Twitter.

  • Thoughts from the podcast?
  • Passing tests and earning high IQ scores
  • Is this real?
  • Forget the “woke” themed battles on the textbook front. What your ChatGPT box tells you is the new frontier for those debates.

“This Changes Everything,” an opinion piece by Ezra Klein in the New York Times. Click here for article. @EzraKlein on Twitter.

“OpenAI Plans to Up the Ante in Tech’s A.I. Race” by Cade Metz in the New York Times. Click here for article. @CadeMetz on Twitter.

“How A.I. Can Help” by Lauren Jackson in the New York Times. Click here for article.

“ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now” by Susan D’Agostino. From Inside HigherED. Click here for article. @susan_dagostino on Twitter.

Click here to for page where you can sign up and use ChatGPT.

Click here for Deep Dream Generator website.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Torg Stories Podcast. We appreciate you!

Anne Breaks Her Leg and David Sedaris’s collect of essays HAPPY GO LUCKY

Click above to listen to the podcast.

Ok Anne, set the scene for us. Where were you? What day of the trip? How was the snow? Give us as much as you can before the minutes before the broken leg.

Anne, what did you know about Sedaris before reading this book?

A few details from me related to Sedaris:

  • I was given Sedaris’ book Me Talk Pretty One Day by Matt and Allison Smith in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was around 2000 and I think I was given it pretty shortly after its publication.
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day was the 4th of 14th books
  • story goes Ira Glass (second time he has come up in this podcast) heard him reading from his diary in a club in Chicago

Two other things that come to mind for me about Sedaris:

  • Interesting writing process that appeals to me: He’s changed his writing process to where he works on drafts of the essays as he reads them to audiences. And then after the “tour” is over, then the work is ready to be published. I remember in my doing readings experiences of how much I could see new to change after I’d read a part of one of my books several times.
  • Prodigious walker: At least at times, he is a prodigious walker, something we identify with. Here’s a link to an article in the New York Times about Sedaris’s walking called “Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go.” Sedaris was walking up to 20 miles a day and conducted the interview while pacing (getting steps recorded on his Fitbit) in his NYC apartment.

Observations and Questions for Discussion:

  • Sedaris is even more candid: the essay about the little French boy who keeps grabbing him inappropriately. Writing even though he’ll be judged: take the BLM protest down to 23rd. The way he writes about his father, the pandemic, or elections.
  • He can take anything, and make it a funny story for publication. Far less than we’d think we need for our own story to be published.
  • His mind has obsessively accepted the assignment to look for stories. Nick Hornby saying, “A song for Ben Folds.”
  • Sparked my own idea for a story: Jennifer chases down a woman in Charlotte to tell her to get her dog off the hot pavement.
  • The story of Megan’s mom’s funeral.
  • We all experience our parents getting older, and getting older ourselves. He’s visiting his dad in the nursing home.
  • I liked his advice to the graduates. + his father’s comment, “You should have invited Amy.” (the way that parents talk about their kids) Write Thank You Notes. Our mom, transactional.
  • My story of arriving to LA. What we’re doing here now…

The 18 Essays in Sedaris book Happy Go Lucky:

Active Shooter

  • David and his sister go shoot guns Winston Salem.
  • Pet owners. Lady with a monkey. His sister thinks everyone abuses their pets. (Jennifer story)

Father Time

  • Dad fell and moved into assisted living.


  • Partner Hugh bought a home in France. Sedaris learned the French word for “bruised” first.

A Speech to Graduates

  • He received a bachelor of arts when he was 30.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.

Hurricane Season

  • beach house destroyed by hurricane. Emerald Isle.


  • About his sister Amy and her as a performer.
  • One. When it comes to scented candles, you really need to watch it.


  • His dad is dying. He’s pretty hard on his dad and unloads a lot of his frustrations in this essay.

Themes and Variations

  • Actually seeing people. The themes on his book tours. Taking your bra off. Giving money to strangers.
  • “And there’s no point in me doing anything if I can’t write about it,” I continued. “It would be like…walking ten miles without my Fitbit on—a complete waste. I mean, I do do things I don’t commit to paper: I use the bathroom, I have sex. But I try to be quick about it.”

To Serbia With Love

  • Traveling with the wrong person.

The Vacuum

  • the arrival of the pandemic to everyone’s life. First went the toilet paper.


  • his relationship with Hugh. That they bought the apartment upstairs so Hugh could play the piano with no one watching.

Fresh-Caught Haddock

  • As he did all his walking, he also joined Black Lives Matter protests. I’ll take the BLM down to 23rd Street.


  • Opens with family visiting their dad at assisted living.
  • When Trump was president I started every morning by reading the New York Times, followed by the Washington Post, and would track both papers’ websites regularly throughout the day.

A Better Place

  • Essay on the passing of his father.
  • What if sixty-four years of constant criticism and belittlement were enough, and I’m actually fine with my father and me going our separate ways, him in a cooler at the funeral home and me here at the kids’ table?

Lady Marmalade

  • His dad had some strange tendencies, such as let me see your butthole if David had a stomach ache. David’s sister claimed abuse.

Smile, Beautiful

  • David gets his teeth fixed. He tried to fix someone else’s teeth but they didn’t accept.


  • His dad’s funeral.
  • They could have easily driven to the service from their homes, but instead we all checked into a hotel, a very expensive one, in the town of Cary, and really pushed the boat out, charging everything to the estate: room service, drinks—the works.


  • Looking ahead to the 72 city tour.

Thanks for checking out the podcast!

Big Ten and ACC Women’s Basketball Conference Tournaments

My sis Anne and I talk about the women’s college basketball conference tournaments, that Indiana women’s team couldn’t beat the Ohio State press, and Anne’s proclivity to vacation alone.

This episode of the Torg Stories Podcast was recorded on Sunday, March 5, 2020.

Click above to listen to the audio podcast.
Anne snaps a selfie on the slopes during her vacation to Park City
From left to right: Bill, Charlotte, Izzy, and Megan at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro

If you enjoyed the podcast, please consider telling someone else about the show. Thanks for listening!

Coaching Your Kids in Sports

That I coach my daughters in basketball is the topic of this Feb 26, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

I’ve had a busy week as an assistant at Watauga High School in Boone, NC where I’m assistant in that we won state playoff games on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and I’m in the midst of prepping for our 4th round game next Tuesday. With so much to do, I offered my podcast partner (my sister Anne) the option of either cancelling this week’s episode or else her interviewing me about a topic that would require minimal preparation on my part. So what topic did we come up with?

Coaching Your Kids in Sports

Click above to listen to the podcast.

If you enjoyed this episode, consider taking a moment to tell someone you know about Torg Stories. We love it when you share and tag us on social media. If you’ve got your own stories about coaching your kids or being coached by a parent as a kid, we’d love to hear them.

Thanks for checking out the episode!

Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling

Welcome to the Sunday, Feb 19, 2023 Edition of the Torg Stories Podcast. My sister Anne and I discuss Eric Nuzum’s book, Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling.

We at Torg Stories are an Amazon affiliate which means we profit if you click here to purchase Nuzum’s book Make Noise.

We begin the episode by sharing some “homework” that Nuzum assigns to readers:

  1. Write a high concept praise for the podcast.
  2. Write a 10-word description of what the creators of the podcast are supposed to be doing.
  3. Find an avatar for a listener or potential listener and write a bio for that listener.

A Nuzum inspired question for you Dear Listener…

  • If you enjoy listening to our podcast, would you send one person you know a link to an episode you think they would enjoy OR would you just tell someone to check out the Torg Stories Podcast?

My homework assignments completed:

Write a high concept phrase that describes our podcast. On page 21, Nuzam explains, “High concept is an immediately and strikingly clear idea,” and he gives examples of the film Snakes on a Plane oand the TV show American’s Funniest Home Videos. My three high concept descriptions of our podcast:

  • Torgs (what we in the Torgerson family are called) reading, watching, telling, or asking for stories and then discussing them.

Write a 10 word description of what we are doing or what we could be doing or both. Describe it in a way that would distinguish it from any other show. 

Examples we were given p. 33:

  • Ask Me Another: An hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia.
  • West Cork: An unsolved murder exposes the underbelly of a rural Irish town.
  • Invisibilia: A narrative journey through the invisible forces affecting human behavior.
  • TED Radio Hour: Fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create.

Find an image to be an avatar for a listener and write a description of them: 

In this exercise you are going to go to an image search engine ( is a great place to start), enter some terms that you think describe your target audience, and find that perfect picture of your listener—the one person who is your avatar. One picture. A photograph of the one person who represents your audience.

This reminds me of Stephen King talking about writing for an ideal reader or perhaps a few ideal readers. I choose a mix of real people I’ve heard of, know, and made up some fake names for images of people I found online:

  • Danny Ainge. When I searched using terms common to our podcast, it was the former Celtic whose face came up first! Checking in with the average fan. Leadership. 
  • My real cousin Kristin! college grad. Kids swimmers. Daily walker. Sports fan. 
  • Karen: My friend and former co-worker at what was then Vance High School in Charlotte. Duke tennis. AD / Coach. Athlete. Exercise. Family. Sports
  • Ronnie. I made this name up. He’s a broadcast major. Writes about sports. Wants to write a novel related to sports. He is starting up a podcast and found us on the Apple Podcast App.
  • My co-worker Cayla. She was just telling me about some podcasts she wants to start. She’s working on a novel. She’s a singer, artist, writer, and writing teacher.
  • I know Kenny because he and I have coached our daughters. He once told me he listened to an episode. Retired postal worker. Musician. Basketball coach. Kids play sports. Sound production. 

Nuzum writes about something called The Full Schwartz Method. It’s a method for helping an interviewer help a guest tell a better story. We practice and have Anne tell a story about getting hurt on a trip to Hawaii.

(okay, this isn’t the Full Schwartz; it’s more of an almost half of the

Full Schwartz described in Nuzum’s book)

  1. Anne, I think you hurt yourself in Hawaii. Give us the basics of that…
  2. work with the subject to identify some key scenes in the story. Imagine the moment as if it were a photograph, and go over a lot of what was going on in that scene. While it is the subject’s story, it is really up to you to flag the pivotal moments in the story.
  3. In addition to describing the scene like a photograph, get the subject to focus on other internal details: What were they feeling at that moment? What were they thinking? Were there smells, sounds, or other sensations that stuck out to them?

Questions for discussion: 

  1. P. 27. The concept of voice applies to both kinds of podcasts, but in different ways. Anne, do you think you have found your podcast voice? 
  2. P. 103. BONUS EPISODE: Terry Gross Gives Advice to Novice Interviewers. Anne, you weren’t up for interviewing The Hawaii Vacation Guide. What made you not up for that? I’ve got a busy week next week. We’re going to try and give you the reigns and have you interview me about coaching my kids…maybe you can use this section for a few extras? “You should feel free to listen and ask follow-up questions, and follow the interview where it leads you, knowing that you have the structure to come back to, if and when you need it.”
  3. Near p. 164, Eric writes about forming a network of podcasts. I wondered, what would your podcast be if it was just you once a week? 
  4. Nuzam says this is similar to the “onliness statement” that author Marty Neumeier advocates in his iconic branding book Zag, where he challenges brand-definers to finish this sentence: “Our brand is the ONLY _____________ that _____________.” An example being “Our brand is the ONLY wheat distributor that sells grind-it-yourself wheat for the serious home baker.” It’s clear. It’s unique. It sets the boundary markers.

Golden Lines from the Book:

  1. What makes your project different? P. 181. I say Torg Stories is different every week. We’re talking about something that interests us in the moment, and it’s something that works well as a one off topic. You listen because of the variety and you listen because you enjoy our company.
  2. When we are bored, that’s one of the few times we allow ourselves permission to let our minds roam freely.
  3. I believe that you start with your destination and work your way backward from there. (John Irving yes and Stephen King no) 
  4. “When in doubt, leave the recorder going.” I certainly learned this in making documentary films. 
  5. For many years I have made a habit to praise. I try to send out praise to other creators at least twice a week. At times, I send a notecard to congratulate someone on work that impressed me. You’d be surprised how many people remember those notecards and mention them, even several years later.
  6. Ask the audience what they think and put as many decisions in their hands as possible. Ask them what features the service should have and how to make the service engaging, exciting, and fun. Have contests (with prizes) for those who suggest ideas that get implemented.
  7. “Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig likes it.” (My friend Sheila told me that one about twenty-five years ago and I say it to just about every person I’ve worked with.)
  8. “You are a victim of the rules you live by”
  9. A poem is never finished, it is only abandoned. French Poet Paul Valery 
  10. Know what you are making. Stick to it. 
  11. There is an old bromide in radio that tells announcers and disc jockeys to phrase everything like they are speaking to only one person.

Books Mentioned: (affiliate links below)

Other relevant links: 

Nuzam writes about the different kinds of podcasts:

  • People Chatting including rants, the opening monologue and questions and answers.
  • People Telling Stories including Seasonal Narrative such as the Serial podcast. Episodic Narratives in which each show is a single story. Multiple Narratives as in This American Life.

Thanks for listening to our podcast!