Powerless: Ain’t Got No ‘Lectricity

When I heard that PG&E was going to turn off power in my part of the world my first response was denial. I thought that if I told myself that, it was no biggie. After all, I’d gone without power when I lived in rural Sonoma County and when powerful storms would knock down wires […]

A Lost Poet’s Voice Revived

If he’s still alive, Lew Welch would have celebrated his 93rd birthday Aug. 16, 2019. A Reed College graduate and one of the half dozen or so poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, who emerged from the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s, Welch was a misfit even among the Beats. For […]

Mendo Marijuana Grower

“I’ve been lucky,” the tall, thin, energetic pot farmer tells me on a hot day in September. “I grew my first crop at 17 and now 30 years later I’m still growing it. At 22, the DEA raided my garden in San Francisco. I was part of the underground movement that provided cannabis to HIV […]

Barred from Viewing Controversial SF Murals

Sometimes San Francisco really sucks. It sucked one cold, foggy day last week when I tried to get into George Washington High School to see the controversial murals painted in the 1930s, under the aegis of the New Deal, by a commie named Victor Arnautoff. The friendly Samoan security guard told me “No Way. No […]

A Whale of a Time on the California Coast

“Save the Whales!” Who hasn’t heard the cry that’s now timelier than ever before? It’s not only the commercial hunting of whales that’s to blame for the decline of the species, though there’s still much of that. Despite a 1986 ban that made whaling illegal worldwide, hunters from Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to kill […]

I Am the Target of a Hate Group & You Might Be, Too

Last month I wrote an article about the 1970s group, Weather Underground, which was published in Tablet magazine. It prompted a response from Daniel Greenfield, which appeared in FrontPage, a right-wing political website, edited by David Horowitz and published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Greenfield libeled me and targeted me, too, as “a stooge […]

Why I Write Murder Mysteries

The other day at Peet’s Coffee on Broadway in the town of Sonoma, I had a conversation with a young woman I have known for years, but have never really gotten to know. Let’s call her J. She is white, tall, fit and single, though her hard-working parents live close by. J has four jobs […]

Paul Krassner, American Satirist

“He’s gone. Feel free to spread the word,” Michael Simmons said in an email that went out to a few dozen or so of the usual suspects, including Wavy Gravy, Judy Gumbo, Larry (Ratzo) Sloman, Jim Fouratt, Rex Weiner, Aron Kay, Kate Coleman, Jeffrey St. Clair, and Barbara Garson, some of whom had been Yippies, […]

NORML’s Deputy Director Speaks Volumes

The National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)— which was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup and that now has 135 chapters nation-wide and 550 lawyers ready to serve — is still going strong as the bulwark of the marijuana cause. There’s much more to do, though a great deal has been accomplished […]

1969 & All That Weird Stuff

When my friends ask librarians to recommend a novel by a local author that’s set in Sonoma County they suggest Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights and Jack London’s The Valley of the Moon. They rarely if ever point readers in the direction of The Girls by Emma Cline. Some of the settings are vague, but Cline mentions Petaluma, East Washington Street, Adobe […]

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