Kerouac Meets McCarthy on TV

Think of the 1950s and it’s hard not to think of the bomb, blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Beat Generation writers and that all-American ogre, Senator Joseph McCarthy who burned himself up and burned out quickly, though not soon enough for those who feared him and detested him. Jack Kerouac, the King of the Beats, […]

The Promise & Perils of Hemp

Tony Linegar, the former Mendocino Agricultural Commissioner, is in his eighth year as Sonoma County Ag Commissioner. Not surprisingly, he’s not fading quietly into the sunset, not with yet another controversial crop on the horizon. “Solving the challenge of how hemp can fit into the agricultural landscape will be a balancing act with many opposing […]

What’s Eating San Francisco?

If you drive around San Francisco and go up and down its many hills, you will notice long lines of people standing on the sidewalk looking bored. Nine times out of ten, they are not waiting to get into a bank or a bordello, but into a restaurant, a bakery, a café, a taqueria, a […]

Mary Fuller: Knocking On Heaven’s Door

One day before too long, a journalist will craft an obit about the artist known as Mary Fuller who lived much of her life on Sonoma Mountain with her husband and fellow artist Robert (Mac) McChesney, an abstract expressionist, a printmaker and lots more. Also, one day a wordsmith will write a biography of Mary […]

Introducing Judge Faulder

Is there anything that Judge Keith Faulder can’t do in a courtroom? No, probably not. After all, he’s been a crusading lawyer for the defense and a crusading lawyer for the prosecution. For eight years, he served in the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, including a stint as the interim DA, after the death, in […]

MLK Day: The Legacy of the Man & the Myth

Long gone are the days when white American radicals turned their collective backs on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), and embraced Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. In those heady days during the late 1960s, King sounded, at least to young protesters against the War in Vietnam, like a reformer who belonged to the […]

A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism

It’s getting to be that time of the year in northern California when some of us, often called “spiritual sluts,” celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, which I enjoyed in Hanoi for the first time twenty-years ago. I have often celebrated all of those holidays, one after the other, because I’ve felt like I […]

Jack London: A Mess of Seething Contradictions

The anniversary of Jack London’s death on November 22, 1916 is near. In honor of the occasion, which I will observe, we might revisit some of his ideas and take another look at his life. For decades, literary critics and cultural historians knew where the American author, Jack London, (1876-1916), stood on the political spectrum, […]

We Are The People Of The Fire

Wildfires are old news. They’ve been old news for as long as humans have told stories about wildfires and tried to tame them, along with almost everything else that was wild. As soon as there was private property and then cities like Athens, Rome and Damascus, fire was regarded with fear. It was turned into […]

World Napafication

Fly over Napa County, California, and what you see below are vineyards and industrial buildings for the mass production of wines. Roads crisscross the valley and climb into the hills and mountains. They also carry tourists from hotels and motels to vineyards, wineries and restaurants where they’re told that they’re seeing and tasting the real […]

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