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!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Authors' Intellectual Property Rights in the Age of Google

Authors Guild general counsel, Jan Constantine, stands on a chair at Two Sisters Bar and Books in San Francisco. The New York based attorney just testified before Congress about the challenges authors face in the world of the Internet.

It was a stunning day to visit San Francisco, April 7, 2014: the high was a very unusual (for April) 77°F, and there was not a visible cloud or a finger of fog to be seen. But I wasn't there entirely to enjoy the weather, nor the fascinating street scenes of this place we peninsula residents just call The City. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meeting Mickey Rooney: The Larger-Than-Life Talent

Mickey Rooney in his prime was the most successful actor in Hollywood.

I was in the newsroom at WESH-TV, Orlando, Florida, when we got the news that actress Ava Gardner had died. It was January 1990, and I was working then for a man who really understood news: news director Steve Ramsey, whom we fondly called Rambo. One of us--and it might have been me--noted that Ava Gardner had once been married to MGM star Mickey Rooney and that Rooney himself was in town with his hit Broadway show "Sugar Babies."

While I anchored the 5:30 PM newscast, the producer called his hotel to see if he would be available for an interview. Available? Were we bringing a camera? He just happened to have an opening in his schedule.