Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Let the Israeli Prime Minister Be Heard

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As a television reporter in Washington D.C., I was sent one day to interview the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Israel's new embassy had just been completed, not far from our newsroom, near Connecticut Avenue NW and Van Ness. I remember thinking how much the place looked like a fortress.

More surprising to me, in those days when nobody even glanced in my handbag as I walked into the U.S. Capitol, the security at the Embassy of Israel was even more imposing than the building.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Remembering Rod McKuen (And a Tale Not Yet Told)

Rod McKuen, seen here in a 1960s photo taken for Life Magazine, died this week at the age of 81.

More than a year ago, I came across a copy, on one of my bookshelves, of Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows, a very successful book of poems by Rod McKuen. Curious about this once-famous man, I started nosing about on the Internet to find out what had happened to him. It appeared he was living in quiet retirement in Southern California in a home he shared with his brother. I thought it would be an absolutely delightful thing to find him and interview him again with the idea that his life story would make a fascinating book. 

As often happens with creative impulses we don't pursue, the moment has passed. Rod McKuen died this week at the age of 81. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

William Randolph Hearst: Time to Take a Second Look

This biography of William Randolph Hearst was published in 2001. Amazon now has nine pages of books about this larger-than-life character. 

In the popular media, big almost always equals important. In the world of journalism, publisher William Randolph Hearst has long been considered a giant. Born in 1863 in San Francisco he died in Los Angeles in 1951. And still his legend seems to grow. 

His fortune was big, his empire was big, his family was big. His famous house, Hearst Castle, was really, really big and filled with what may be the largest, most jumbled, most ferociously acquired collection of art and architectural antiques the world has ever seen. A man like this just has to be important, doesn't he?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

CALIFORNIA APRICOTS at the Sunnyvale Historical Society


I wanted to make sure all the readers of my blog in the region south of San Francisco, knew about this upcoming event at the Sunnyval Historical Society. You don't have to be a Sunnyvale resident to attend: the talk is about the orchards of the region, not just the town of Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale, however, has done a great job of preserving its history. The city has a heritage apricot orchard, a museum and a wonderful historical society. I'll be signing books at the talk with the proceeds going to support their programs.

So,  I wanted to make sure I spread the word. I'll be speaking at Sunnyvale's Heritage Park Museum, Monday, June 9, 2014, 7:30 p.m. at 570 E. Remington Drive, Sunnyvale. And here's a link to the Society's web site for more info. We're expecting a good crowd so come early!


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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crazy Time at UC Santa Barbara


I am an alumnus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I got my undergraduate degree before going to UCLA for my Masters.

There was a shooting rampage at UCSB this weekend that has devastated the school. This message, from the UCSB Chancellor, went out to all of us this weekend.  Very sad story indeed:

Friday, May 23, 2014

B-17 Crews--From the 91st Bomb Group--Gather to Remember

Ace Johnson and Don Freer flew B-17s over Germany during World War II. They visited the Moffett Museum as part of their reunion.

Members of the 91st Bomb Group gathered at Moffett Field this week for a reunion. The men and their crews flew B-17s over Germany, out of Bassingbourn, England, during the toughest years of World War II.  

All of them, on this Memorial Day Weekend, remember the men who didn't make it back.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Powerful Book For Our Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The latest book from the pen of Doris Kearns Goodwin is very much a story for the 21st century.

There is so much talk these days of big, important people in America living by one set of rules while the rest of us are forced to live by another, that the history of the early 20th century is truly a timely tale for the modern reader.

This is just the story told by the talented Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her new book with the unwieldy title: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. How she managed to fill this 750 page book with such important details, got it out so relatively soon after her Lincoln book, and still is able to make all those television appearances, is a question for the ages. (I'm going to guess that like Winston Churchill, she gets some help with her research!)