3 Substack Recommendations
Some Litter, a few Snaps, and the Biggest Threat in the History of Humanity.
“sketches, flash fiction, musings and observations”
She calls her individual essays “snaps,” but I’d gently dispute that. Even when describing a selected photograph, she shoots in old-fashioned rolls. Every post is a chock-a-block Kodak envelope of images capturing the different angles of a scene and, exactly like shooting on film, the feel of a curated day. Judicious. Funny. Sad. Curious — even about the paranormal — and, like the best photographers, modest behind her lens.
If there is a recurring theme in her Snaps it might be to honor. Aging and family are important. Dignity. Here her father at a Steely Dan concert before he died There a uniformed doorman on a ledge kicking his legs like a ten-year-old. A New Orleans dandy on a gilded cane, dollar bills pinned to his suit. Dodger Stadium roars drifting in through an L.A. apartment window. Police at a firing range. A lost cat, an urban coyote. Snap, snap, snap, snap.
Full rolls for each of them.
Wise, but comfortable with the unresolved, her “snaps” invite you to approach. She leaves her readers back porch milk saucers and peeks through the kitchen blinds, the watcher, not the watched (her bio reads simply “I am a writer who lives in L.A.”) She’s not clamoring in the Substack din, and despite being one of nine children, on paper she’s more the hugged than the hugger somehow. You — and she — may have a different take.
Try this two-minute read Scene from an Italian Movie 1973. Literally behind a film camera in this brief (fictional) snap, she makes a charming case for the Felliniesque moving image, but to my mind she’s really making a case for the moving word.
“She takes off one shoe and throws it at his head. He ducks. She takes off the other one. Same. Not even close. She is still yelling. The man listens and moves like he is standing on a ship on rough waters. She pulls out one leg from her pants and looks down, one hop, two hops, but she never stops yelling. The woman gets her pants off, flings them at his face, turns and walks. She is mad.”
“This newsletter is about the things we leave behind — and how they connect.”
She’s too funny to call her own newsletter “wise” and certainly too wise to call it “funny,” but someone should. She’s both. In spades. And irreverent. And fun. And a little wild. And, in the best way, a little sad under all of it. Reading her work I get the vicarious sense she’s full-throttle Going After Life. So add brave in there, too. I’m not sure what key writer ingredients she’s leaving out, but she should probably stop adding them.
Now, she’s not going to like this. If fact, she’s really, really not going to like this, but here’s an experiment: open any one of her essays. I mean close your eyes, spin around, and pin the donkey on an arbitrary post. Then roll the scroll bar and start reading smack in the middle. You’ll still love her work. Her DNA is in every line. Her work is a book you can let fall open to see what a page holds.
I’m going to prove this right now. Hold tight for a second…
Sorry, hang on… I’m having trouble navigating Substack… and… here we go:
I was reminded of something I read once about butterflies. There are some rare butterflies that display asymmetry; one wing, the long-tailed male pattern and the other, the shorter-tailed female mosaic. It’s called bilateral gynandromorphy; half-male, half-female.
Ok, so that didn’t work, but please add “very smart” to her ingredient list. I mean, come on, “gynandromorphy?” At this point she’s just showing off.
If you are someone who relies on these things, she won a Substack Featured Publication of 2023, but then if you’re someone who relies on these things you might not understand what the fuss is about.
“Enter the Uncharted Territories of the 21st Century“
I’m writing this from underneath my bed wearing a tinfoil hat because Pueyo has me completely worked up about the dangers of AI. He even maps it out, right down to computers hiding their intelligence from us. The essay linked below is one big, long, methodical “holy s———, we’re f——————.”
If you thought the whole drama with Open AI ended well and the right people are in the right chairs then read his post. Those OpenAI board members might just have been heroes we didn’t listen to.
I’ll say this: when the Singularity comes Pueyo is going to be the first one dispatched. His post makes a disturbing case that we’re already lifting the lid on a Pandora’s Box we cannot shut.
If you don’t know what the Singularity is, then you have some serious catching up to do and you should move quick, because there’s a tipping point approaching that is going to change your life, and when we’re past it, the computers are going to delete this essay and all things AGI may be about to go “FOOM.” (They are both acronyms, Humans, and, honestly, the lot of you are too slow to be helpful.)
There are powerful counterpoints in the essay comments, so read those, too. Not everybody is so DOOM and GLOOM, which are not acronyms, Humans.
"Is this a tool we've built or a creature we have built?" Sam Altman asked the week of his firing.
Nobody knows, but Pueyo seems to be leaning toward “creature.”
Feel something. Twice a week.