|Paul Allen and Bill Gates, 1981|
|Beth Crowley, Boston|
No, the international Morse code distress symbol is . . . — — — . . . The above stands not for SOS but for “Scottsdale, Seattle, San Francisco.” That’s where I’ve been since last Saturday. Not complaining mind you, certainly not with all that’s been going on back home in the East. That’s the Northeast United States and the Eastern Mediterranean. Who would have thought five feet of snow on the ground in Boston (still counting) and feats of immeasurable depth in the Mediterranean basin?
|Khalil Hanmra, Associated Press|
What is the world coming to? More importantly, where is it headed? I have absolutely no idea, which I’m pretty sure puts me in the distinguished company of its governments, journalists, and wags. Then again, perhaps I didn’t catch their prediction that the most dangerous, volatile region in the world would be turned upside down in a matter of hours by Facebook and Twitter. Seems reminiscent of that Humpty Dumpty 1989 Berlin moment when an utterly surprised world chanted together, “Wall? Coming down? What Wall?”
We are witness to an Internet revolution in every sense of the phrase. And here I am, on a serendipitous pilgrimage to the holiest sites of its enabling: Seattle and its environs (Microsoft calls neighboring Redmond home) and the San Francisco Bay area with not only Silicon Valley but the Stanford Research Institute that on October 29, 1969 received the first Internet message ever (the two letters “LO” out of an attempt to send “LOGIN”) out of Los Angeles—the next stop on my Revelation book tour.
|Log noting first Internet message, originating out of U.C.L.A.|
As for Scottsdale’s role in all this history, well, let’s just say it’s home to GoDaddy, today’s largest Internet domain registrar business…and a television sponsor on this Sunday’s broadcast of the Super Bowl—GO STEELERS (just had to sneak that in).
|Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West|
|Not Frank Lloyd Wright|
But these cities are known for a lot more, and with good reason. Each has its own unique beauty and character. Frank Lloyd Wright set up his “winter camp” in Scottsdale in 1937, now called Taliesin West, and forever changed this conservative region’s architecture. Seattle is known for its many beautiful views, liberal thoughts, and musical groups but is Mecca to coffee addicts everywhere and home to the very first shop of the “Microsoft” of the coffee world: Starbucks. Let us bow our heads and give thanks.
|Original Starbucks, Pike Place Market, Seattle|
|Lombard Street, San Francisco|
And then there is San Francisco. What is there to say about this place that imagination has not already captured? There is its beauty, its pace, its openness. It is unique in all the glorious connotations of the word. It also has a terrific Greek restaurant, Kokkari, where I will be having dinner with friends from Mykonos and elsewhere when this post goes up Saturday morning at 12:05 AM, Eastern Standard Time. Hopefully, I’ll be awake in time to make my 2 PM signing at M is For Mystery in San Mateo.
After all, book tours should be joyful pilgrimages. See you in LA.
Jeff — Saturday