Drama in the Bahamas: Remembering Ali vs Berbick

Thirty-five years ago today, Muhammad Ali fought his last boxing match against Trevor Berbick. He had retired twice before and no one believed he would never enter the ring again. But Ali was 39 and his body was failing him;…

Waltzing with Robbie Robertson

Earlier this week I braved rush hour traffic to go see Robbie Robertson, one of my great heroes. He was in town to celebrate the release of his memoir and the 40-year anniversary of The Last Waltz, the farewell concert…

Recent Reads – November 2016

A Whole Life – Robert Seethaler This book reminded me, in a positive way, of one of my all-time favorite short novels, Denis Johnson’s TRAIN DREAMS. Like that book, A WHOLE LIFE covers the life (duh) of a man who…

Recent Reads – September 2016

 Fat City – Leonard Gardner There’s much to love and admire about this book. The writing is exquisite, the dialogue very sharp and often very funny, plus it takes place in the Sacramento River delta, an area I know well….

Looking for Wyatt Earp

I went looking for the grave of Wyatt Earp. Turns out, he’s buried around the corner from the Volkswagen dealership just south of San Francisco — an unexpected place for a legend to end up. Sure, plenty of California luminaries…

The Greatest Adventure of My Life

After 15 years of living in the States, this Dutchman recently became an American — just in time to vote against a certain loudmouth presidential candidate… But seriously, why did I adopt American citizenship? Not for the right to vote…

Recent Reads – August 2016

How Great Science Fiction Works – Gary K. Wolfe It probably isn’t fair to say I “read” this. Some of these lectures I watched, others I listened to, but since my reading these days increasingly consists of audiobooks (try reading…

Two Nights in Galt

On a regular San Francisco morning – gloomy, temperature in the low sixties, fog hugging the edges of the city – I drove to Galt, a town half an hour southeast of Sacramento, where I’d rented a cabin to devote…

Recent Reads – July 2016

The View from the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman This book restored my faith — not in Neil Gaiman, but in my ability to love Neil Gaiman. I was a fan of his early work — particularly NEVERWHERE, AMERICAN GODS,…

Recent Reads – June 2016

Nora Webster – Colm Tóibín This book is exquisite. The writing is pitch perfect, like a finely-tuned instrument. This is only the second book of Tóibín’s that I’ve read (after The Blackwater Lightship), but based on these two books I…