On the Brighter Side of Things

After yesterday’s post on violence, and a friend’s comment about it, how about we now feast on something compelling and uplifting?

Yes: how about something more on the bright side of life?

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Let’s start with the stock market: it’s doubled since March 9, 2009. So, if you’ve been socking away some money every other week during the past three and a half years — like people do when they have a 401k or other auto-invest program running — why, then, you’ve made a lot of money on those sock-aways, maybe something on the order of 50% (very roughly non-calculated). Nice, eh?

Anyone who did so would have (a) invested 94 times during that period, and (b) made money on every single one of those investments (note for the detail oriented: the market is a smidgen off — half a percent or so — from its recent highs, so you could be down on one or two recent transactions, but as for all the rest? Like buttah).

And let’s take that bigger and get a little rahrah: dating back to, I think, November of 2000 (could anything short of war be appreciably worse than a presidential election that for all intents and purposes ended up tied — a coin flip where the coin ended up on its side — and was then called on account of time by a politically divided SCOTUS?) and continuing on, through to the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, and then onto the March 19th, 2003 invasion of Iraq, and then on through to September the 15th of 2008 (the night they drove ol’ Lehman down), and then onto the not-at-all-great Debit Ceiling Debacle, and on and on and on, we, all of us, have been going through, to say the least, a very rough patch.

Yet here we all are and the little spinning, whirring top that is the American economy, by which we all put clothes on our backs and food on our tables, and then ensconce all of that within the warm confines of a happy shelter, keeps on keeping on very nicely, all things considered (to stay uplifting and compelling, for one day, and one day only, I’m ignoring the exceptions!).

And then there’s real estate: it’s looking up and, for a few lucky folks, it’s even back to its 2007 bubble-highs (must . . . ignore . . . exceptions . . . ).

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And then there’s the Bay Area (sorry, readers from afar: I’m going to talk up my hometown and area here). I remember that, when I was very young, I had heard about Silicon Valley, but I didn’t really understand where it was, and that, all of a sudden I at some point realized (we are all so very stupid when we’re young, aren’t we?) that it was just down the street from San Francisco. How nice, I thought, that’s a great thing to have nearby.

That was decades ago. Now that thing has spread itself into the East Bay and up here into the Little City, and to even a bit up north of the city, into Marin and way down south, down 101 some, to where farmland still rules the roost (note well: to-date, Silicon Valley has *not* been spotted spreading to the west, which we around here like to call the Pacific Ocean).

Twitter is moving into Mid-Market. Facebook has taken over the now-fully-fallen Sun campus near the Dumbarton Bridge. Zynga has put up an ugly sign on that ugly building near the 8th Street circle that you can see from the freeway. And then there’s LinkedIn, in Mountain View near Shoreline Amphitheater; it’s the social networking company that, being about business social networking, has an obvious revenue model. And eBay in San Jose keeps on keeping on (oh, if Meg had just bought PayPal the first time she looked at it . . . ).

Closer to home, there’s Genentech, hidden away on the Bay in South City, which has decided, finally, to brand — in an exceedingly exuberant way — its buses that ply the city, taking its folks to and from work at all times of the day and night (due to the nature of this post, I will not criticize the 100% blacked-out, perfectly-clean, always-sinister-looking, often-idling buses with which the other wealthy tech companies foul the city — Grey Poupon, anyone?).

And then there’s Apple in Cupertino. What more need be said about that?

And then there’s Lucas in the Presidio.

Oh, and thinking of all the lusciousness in the Presidio reminds me: nearby there’s also Napa, Sonoma, Marin, the Coast, Big Sur, Carmel, the Sierra . . . and the list just goes on.

And look up: these days there are construction cranes throughout the city — downtown and South of Market and at Mission Bay, as well as, of all places, along the Market Street corridor west of Van Ness, where the concept of urban infill is taking hold bigtime, to take advantage of the Market Street public transpo tunnel.

And then there’s my current fave crane: the one atop the lovely, Roaring-Twenties-era Pacific Telephone building, behind the MOMA, on New Monty. Did a helicopter put it way up there?

And, last but not least, there is the new Bay Bridge that is, after a decade of construction, and nearly 25 years after Loma Prieta got the whole thing rolling, starting to look like a real, honest to goodness, bridge.


It’s a beautiful city in which we live, inside of a wonderful country, residing on a beautiful planet, and, what’s more, we’re all here, enjoying all of it, at the very best time humans have ever known. And I thoroughly believe the same thing will be true tomorrow as well as a year from now and ten years from now: It’s Getting Better All the Time.

We are, all of us, very, very lucky to be alive.


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