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 […]

Raconteur Gerd Stern Remembers

“He’s wasn’t a nice guy,” Gerd Stern said on a Saturday afternoon at the Sonoma Valley Museum in Sonoma, California, where Jack London once lived, farmed and wrote fiction and non-fiction. Stern was talking about Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, whom he first met in 1949 inside the New York State Psychiatric Institute where they were […]

Advertiser-Friendly Journalism At Sonoma Magazine

A polite term for it is “puffery.” It’s also known as “advertiser-friendly journalism.” It has often plagued the magazine industry and especially since the 1920s when President Calvin Coolidge observed that advertising was “part of the greater work of regeneration and redemption of mankind.” The editors and publishers at Sonoma magazine would agree. Advertiser-friendly journalism […]

Death & Dying on the Mendo Coast

Recently when walking in the woods above Point Arena, my pal Michael and I heard hammers banging away. We followed the sounds and came upon a clearing and a construction site. Rob, the foreman, and two Mexicans were building the visitor’s center for “Better Place Forests.” As the website for the company proclaims, “Create a […]