The other day I was listening to some guys on the radio (yep, I still listen quite a lot to the radio, but that's because we've got a great one here in Dallas - The Ticket). Go to TheTicket.com and download their app so you can stream it free.
They were talking about the sweet spot of being on the planet. Artificial intelligence prompted the conversation which had started because of an article that talked about an AI-driven robot defeating 6 players at Texas Hold 'Em poker. The machine had played trillions of hands and learned how to win through deception, which is a big component of winning poker (so I'm told).
Then this past week that face app was all the rage with people taking selfies that could project, with alarming realism, what they may look like when they're old. With my face, I don't need no stinkin' app! I've got the real thing.
The phrase "deepfake" is now in our consciousness. The question being debated by the morning radio guys was, "How are we gonna ever know if what we're seeing is true or not?" Technology is allowing us to manipulate reality with convincing evidence.
Some think the robots - armed with AI capabilities beyond what we may be able to currently imagine - will destroy us. That prompted the notion that being a Baby Boomer is likely the ideal. Those of us born to the World War II vets between 1946 and 1964 fit that bill.
I'm one of them, born in 1957 in Ada, Oklahoma - a town not known for much of anything really until Blake Shelton hit big. He even released an album featuring the town water tower in 2014 entitled, "Bringing Back The Sunshine."
My family left Ada when I was in the 3rd grade moving to Louisiana. But I've lived in Texas far longer than any other state. I'm still an Okie. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. And along the way let's see if I can bring you some value as you figure out who you are because that's really the subject. Self-awareness. Self-identity. And the realization that somewhere, deep inside, we're still the little kids we once were. Roots run deep for most of us. And it's not just place that follows us the rest of our lives, but it's also time. The time when we grew up. And how.
So feel free to think about your childhood. Consider the days of your youth. Reminisce. I hope your memories are mostly good, but whatever they are - I hope you find a way to leverage them to make your future better.
Willis Alan Ramsey is a local DFW guy who grew up in the grand privilege of Highland Park, the wealthiest section of Dallas. He released one brilliant album in 1972. On it was a song about another Okie, Woody Guthrie..."Boy From Oklahoma."
The chorus goes like this...
Just a boy from Oklahoma
On an endless one-night stand
Wan'drin' and a-ramblin'
Driftin' with the midnights and
He played the blues and the ballads
And all that came between
His heart was in the Union
And his soul was reachin' out
For the servant's dream
I really grew up in Louisiana and I have a special fondness for the culture, music, and food of southern Louisiana, but I have always felt more connected to Oklahoma.
Sooner football was important early. I recall playing in the leaves in our yard in Ada tossing a football to myself, pretending to be a star athlete wearing the crimson and cream.
Sooner state born people were always on the radar. Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench (even though I was not a baseball fan), Tony Randall, Dale Robertson, James Garner, Ron Howard (hey, Opie) and of course, Will Rogers, the state's favorite son. These were the Okies of my youth.
Merl Haggard wrote and sang "Okie From Muskogee" but he was from Oildale. A city in California. But both his parents were Okies who migrated like tons of others during The Great Depression. I wonder what California would be like today if it weren't for The Gold Rush and The Great Depression. Anything with "the" in front of it is a big deal.
Well, all these Okies stars of my youth would be joined by country music...