Dark Times

Dear Pop,

All is well here on the West Coast but I’m sure you’ve seen the news regarding the bank closures. There is still a sense of shock and one of gloom. People are rightly nervous, but I have hope that things will work out. There were blizzard warnings, but nothing compared to what Buffalo experienced at the end of last year. The storms are not yet done but the worst seems to have passed. But some people would say a financial storm is now brewing. I can’t argue that one based on the news this past weekend. The craziest part is that a few days before collapsing, one bank posted on social media that it was happy to be recognized as a leading bank. Whomever posted that one is probably not a happy camper right now. Bank collapses are unusual for America but not to foreign nations. I see this as a wakeup call to America that we are not impervious to anything. The Republic can fall if we do not pay attention. Anyhow, how are you mom doing? Sam and Alvera? And the emperor himself Jax? 

Pop, I gave in and started following Mom on Tik Tok. And I have to say she’s a natural in front of the camera! Of course, your opinion might differ as you’ve known her longer than anyone on social media, but mom is entertaining. But does she really have to tell stories of when I was being potty trained?  And don’t get me started on the clip about Alvera’s first date. Oh well, such is life, I guess. I’ve taken your advice and have learned to put the devices down. At night I set the do not disturb so I can sleep soundly. So far so good. It has made a world of a difference in my mental health and energy levels. Val is old school for sure and keeps his life as simple as possible. He has the right personality for it and to the surprise of many, he keeps up with current events just fine. I admit that I am sometimes jealous of the peace he has without notifications, alerts and constant ringing but that is the price I pay for falling in love with information technology.  But there are days when I wish the circus was still around and hiring. 

Hmmm…the “new normal” is not exactly normal. In fact, things are still off Pop. And I don’t know when they’ll change for the better. Human nature is interesting, and the times when we are confronted with our own mortality tend to be the times where we make the biggest changes. People realized that Covid was a sign that life is too short and if you want to be happy, sometimes you have to make drastic changes. But I agree, the economy needs workers. Chat GPT scared me as well and I work in tech. It’s a whole new monster I’ve never seen before.  I watched that episode of the Twighlight Zone and was speechless afterwards. It’s literally a blueprint for what can happen in the future. My biggest fear is that these platforms, which are artificial intelligence, have the ability to learn on their own, and that also means it can be “self-aware’. But does that also mean it can then make decisions and calculations as to how much human input is relevant or needed? Anytime I probe these issues, I get flashbacks to the Terminator series. Of course, it’s Hollywood fiction, but I have gotten chills down my spine watching Chat GPT in action. 

I did cover half the tab at dinner with Arthur and Jean, and it was such a good time. They’re old enough to remember how things were before technology began to dominate all aspects of life, and they’ve been in California for nearly five decades. They’ve seen so much Pop, from the Night Stalker, Rodney King, O.J. Simpson, Rampart, etc. I’ve been taking time to learn from them about California and what issues we have in the state. There are no easy answers but its glaringly obvious that there are serious issues which need a solution. For the first time, more people left the state than moved in. That is never good. There may be dark times ahead, and though I believe we’ll be okay, things may get a bit rough overall. I’ll keep you posted on what I see and hear as I move around the Bay Area. Enjoy Boston, the two of you need a break! But please go easy on the Red Sox fans, you know how tense the rivalry is. Strange though, the times I visited New England, I ran into New Yorkers left and right. Well, we are everywhere I suppose. 

I haven’t read the book on Huey yet but will soon. If you get a chance, there’s a new docuseries on MH370 which disappeared in 2014. It’s hard to believe that nine years later and there’s so much we don’t know. While I do not think we’ll ever know everything that happened, what we do know is bizarre on its own. What’s your take? 

Please give everyone my regards and keep an eye on your finances. Who knows what is coming next? There is never a dull moment Pop. But please write soon and get the fishing rods ready, spring is around the corner! 

Love, Junior. 



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