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?