Dear Pop,

Don’t apologize at all, I’m glad that you and mom enjoyed your vacation. The two of you needed time away from NYC and a change of scenery. Boston delivers on many fronts and I will return to visit the city at some point in the future. The Golden State is okay for the most part. Problems are still around us and a signficant number of people have left the state. The cost of living is still high and I don’t know what will happen next but serious issues are hurting the state and San Francisco.And like Portland, New York, Los Angeles, and even Vancouver, drug use and mental illness have combined to turn streets into tent cities where drug use is rampant, violent crimes take place and citizens are afraid to pass by. It reall is sad to see what is happening in the country. For me, work is going well and there’s plenty of it. But there are some days where I am exhausted due to the high volume of projects we have. I haven’t hiked much although I do plan to get more outdoor activities in now that spring is here. To prepare, I am putting together a “outdoor” kit full of small supplies in case I do get the chance to have a full day with nature.

I’ve been paying more attention to current events outside of America and the world is scary. In Lebanon, the local currency has bottomed out and in Argentina, inflation has made life impossible for the average person. As I see these things Pop, I have to wonder, how did we get here?  And where go we go from here? I know there are no easy answers but for the sake of humanity, how do entire countries see their economy collapse at such freefall speeds? In a video about Argentina, I saw that people have resorted to sleeping in a local airport because they have nowhere else to go. Each day brings a new set of challenges, hopes and disappointment. I cannot imagine how life feels to them right now.

Good luck to mom trying to get Jax in line. I tried the entire time I lived at home, the cat has nerves of steel. But, did you try sprinkling the item with catnip? Maybe a long short but worth a try. I always loved how Jax would take a full bath after every meal. I always thought how could a cat get that dirty just from a meal? He probably wonders why humans don’t do the same after we eat.

Hmmmm…the Tik Tok issue is interesting and complex. If it was banned, it wouldn’t be the first time similar has happened. For America it would be unsual but maybe beneficial?  Or maybe a better compromise is age regstriction, which is something the state here is contemplating. But, we know they’ll get around it somehow. Pop, do you think at times that with technology, the genie has long been out of the bottle? Maybe we can’t go back no matter what? I think regulation is a good idea but I also think we’re past the point of no return with social media and it is here to stay. True, it’s always how we use it that matters but I can see how damaging it is for young people. Funny, I think my generation was the last to live life before tech took over. I can’t image being a kid today, in our youth, just being outside playing was the highlight of the day. We couldn’t wait to run out the door and go down the street and call out our friends. I always think of the movie ‘Stand by Me’ and reflect on why it is such a good film. Childhood should be cherished and enjoyed.

I think affordability is major issue. Construction seems to be booming but if people can’t afford to live in the buildings then that’s a whole other problem. Also, there are those who prefer to live on the streets. I don’t think there are any easy answers but the American Dream is not always what we’ve been led to believe. But I understand people on the streets in California. It may be outside but at least you won’t freeze to death on the sidewalk like New York in the winter. Israeli diplomat Abba Eban said in 1967 that “men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources”. Haunting words but true. I hope we learn before it’s too late. The country has seen tough times before but things are a bit more tense right now. On the other hand, maybe a reset is what we need to correct course. Just throwing some things out there……I’m sure these issues must puzzle even the most experienced officials.

I agree about MH370. We’ll most likely never know the full story and it is surreal that a commercial jet vanished in that way. I too do not think it was an accident but the result of deliberate actions. Exactly by who remains mysterious. I think the disappearance ranks among the most popular next to Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Earhart. Speaking of mysteries, when you can, look into the Dyatlov Pass, that’ll keep you going for a bit.

In other news, I may head up to Seattle for a quick wekend trip but I’ll let you know for sure. Tell everyone I said hello. Did Alvera go to the car show this year? I hope she did as EVs are slowly phasing out the engines she’s come to love. Give eveyone my regards.

Love, Junior.


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