Quite the World, Isn't It?


Waves big and small

September 24, 2010

Unusual circumstances -- krill close to shore -- have brought magnificent blue whales for a protracted stay in the channel between Los Angeles and, well, the Channel Islands. So last Sunday Margaret and I on a whim took a whale-watching boat from Newport Beach to Two Harbors on Catalina Island, and back.

The marine layer was thick on the way out, and we only saw a pod or two of dolphins -- which is pretty cool, but we were looking for blues. The water was a little rough -- at least three people got sick that we saw -- and I couldn't shake from the back of my mind Susan Casey's book The Wave, which I reviewed for the LA Times.

But we made it to Two Harbors without incident, had lunch and a nice little walk around (saw a couple of buffalo), then boarded the boat under brilliant blue skies for the return trip.

And saw the whales. Magnificent. This is the best of the photos I was able to take. And this links to a Flickr stream of some of the others.


This is what The Fear Within will look like

September 21, 2010

Tags: writing, history, nonfiction

This is always a fun moment in the life of a writer: Getting to see the cover of the next book. The design folks at Rutgers University Press did a very nice job with a difficult art element, an array of mugshots. I think it works very neatly. Still awaiting word on official pub date but it's looking like sometime in March.


Wondering if this is a measure of success

September 21, 2010

Tags: writing, teaching

I have to admit, I laughed when this popped up the other day. And I assume it means my first book has cleared some sort of hurdle -- an online site that sells essays to college students has done one on Blood Passion.

Of course, these pre-packaged essays are crap, and I hope any professor who receives one fails the offending student (I've already failed two students and severely reprimanded a third for plagiarism issues, and I'm only on my fifth class).

But as a barometer, I guess this means enough labor and history profs have assigned the book (thank you very much) that these vultures think they can make a profit by selling essays about it.
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About me


A third-generation journalist, I was born in Scarborough, Maine, and grew up there and in Wellsville, New York, about two hours south of Buffalo. My first newspaper job came at age 16, writing a high school sports column for the Wellsville Patriot, a weekly (defunct), then covering local news part-time for the Wellsville Daily Reporter.

After attending Fredonia State, where I was editor of The Leader newspaper and news director for WCVF campus radio, I worked in succession for the Jamestown Post-Journal, Rochester Times-Union (defunct), The Detroit News and the Los Angeles Times, where I covered presidential and other political campaigns, books, local news and features, including several Sunday magazine pieces.

An active freelancer, my work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Sierra Magazine, Los Angeles magazine, Orange Coast magazine, New York Times Book Review (books in brief), Buffalo News, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center), Solidarity (United Auto Workers) and elsewhere. I teach or have taught journalism courses at Chapman University and UC Irvine, and speak occasionally at school and college classes about journalism, politics and writing. I've appeared on panels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the Literary Orange festival, moderated panels at the Nieman Conference in Narrative Journalism and the North American Labor History Conference, among others, and been featured on C-SPAN's Book TV.

I'm also a co-founder of The Journalism Shop, a group of journalists (most fellow former Los Angeles Times staffers) available for freelance assignments.



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