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A Human Is Writing This – We Swear


Despite the brief “Olly Olly Oxen free!” respite the weekend provides we’re spending it absorbing national news and keeping an eye on our neighborhoods.

Things have been kind of rough, we don’t have to tell you. Unless you’re one of the “I Live Under a Rock and That’s The Way I Like It”-people out there you’re aware that things aren’t exactly going as they should.

Older men allegedly upset by perceived slurs and signs of disrespect went for their guns and killed Californians in numbers usually seen only in combat After Action reports. A fresh generation of young addicts appears hell-bent on ingesting potentially lethal drugs once marketed by American companies who hired doctors like call girls to push their wares. And, just to top it all off, the nation is once again aghast as a street gang dressed in police tactical gear administers a Rodney King-style beatdown to a man stopped for a traffic violation – killing him.

Pretty grim stuff. Top it off with video of the hammer assault on the obviously disoriented husband of the former Speaker of the House by a clearly demented intruder and the week ground to an unsettling conclusion.

“Don’t worry, you’ll all be out of work in a few years anyway,” one helpful wag wrote, drawing a line between us and the AI dialogue language model ChatGPT, which is meant to make scribblers  redundant and as disposable as a henchman in a John Wick movie.

“Pshaw, no way… pooh and bawsh,” we said, (and, yes, we really talk like that,) “who are the autocrats going to demonize; the cops going to pepper-spray; and the slack-jawed rabbit holers going to send their horribly misspelled and overly punctuated hate mail to when we’re gone?”

We mean, the earth will stop spinning on its axis without us. But, just to hedge our bets, we’re stepping up construction of The Fourth Estate (the last of the four major homes of our lifetime) and were gratified to find a design+builder who did not balk from our unusual list of household requirements. That drawbridge is going to be kinda tricky, though.

Flipping through our kept list of “brights,” those often humorous snippets of daily life we collect like chefs collect recipes, we notice that newbie neighbors are (in our best Inspector Renault voice) “shocked, SHOCKED” to find that coyotes and other critters live among us; that discarded hamburger looks nothing like human remains; and that it is entirely possible for a grown, alcohol-addled man to run from police with his pants down around his ankles.

Consummate observers of the Human Condition, we reckon we’re not doing very well right now. Too many distractions, not enough focus. We can do great things when we put our minds to something and pull in the same direction but we’re spending quite a bit of time arguing amongst ourselves and that doesn’t bode well for our collective future. So we sketch out rough plans for water reclamation systems and plastic recyclers and wait for the confident timbred voices of fresh new leaders to rise up out of the jumbled chorus of discontent.

An interesting development in the local housing front came to a head Saturday when city officials in Concord rejected an initial plan to develop the old Concord Naval Weapons Station property posed by a group owned by Seeno Homes.

The property’s 5,046 acres presents a tempting opportunity for developers, with room enough for 13,000 units of housing and millions of square feet of commercial space. With the door open for future proposals the area is certain to spark a land rush unseen in Contra Costa since the Navy left the site in 1999.

So, some of us are looking for land, schoolteachers are looking for suddenly erudite pupils using AI to write their term papers, police chiefs are looking to distance their organizations from a rogue street crime enforcement team, and we’re all looking for a definable, constructive future and someone to lead us there.

Let’s hope we all find what we’re looking for.


  1. “I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.” – Hal

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