Thursday, June 24, 2021



Next morning, Carmel-by-the-Sea, armed with pen and paper, over coffee in Terry’s Bar, I try to make sense of everything I'd witnessed in Silicon Valley

Terry Melcher's song Happy Endings fills my head:

Bring back happy endings,
Where the good guys always win.
Give me Santa and the Easter Bunny,
Make me smile again.

Bring back happy endings,
Where the good guys always win.
Like Peter Pan in Never-Never Land:
Make me smile again.

This may be what we all need. Please take a few moments to hear it...

Bouncing along 101 south, home to Santa Barbara, I want to visit a bar in Lompoc called Jasper’s, which made Playboy's "Ten Best Dive Bars" a couple of years ago.

With Van Stein at the wheel, I configure The Tablet for precise directions. 

The Google Map marks Jasper’s, but actually tries to directs us five-and-a-half blocks off course to an unspecified site.

“You realize we have to go there,” says Van Stein.  “That’s where The Message awaits us.”

“I know.”  I shrug with resignation.  “But let's do Jasper’s first.”

The colorful dive bar obliges with shots of aged Jack, on the rocks, a lotta rocks. 

And then, only then, steadying ourselves for The Message, we let Mr. iPad Devil take over as we drive to whatever place it wants us to visit on North C Street.

The address is a church. 

Spanish colonial architecture. 

Stark white. 


I’d never heard of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel before this moment.

There is no one around.  

Not one person.

These are the words inscribed on the wall:  

People Matter to God.

I tweak it:  

People matter, not the data.

Says Van Stein, “Maybe someone deep inside Google figured out what’s really going on, is having misgivings and sent us here.”

Or maybe it was God. 

Or the devil.

Or maybe we’re nuts.

But whether this is divine or demonic, or mad, the only answer is disconnection from so-called social networks (of the virtual kind).

Snap out of it.

Break loose.

Return to family and friends, flesh and blood. 

Be real.    

Lose yourself from the kings of connectivity before it's too late.

Sniff the ocean in an oyster.

Read a book.

Adopt a dog.