Heat to blast SoCal: Fire Weather

It’s going to be crazy hot the next couple of days here in Ojai (112 on Friday they say) and in coastal Southern California this weekend. In the words of Weather West (aka climate scientist Daniel Swain): …in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, especially, the heat from Fri-Sun will be extreme due to theContinue reading “Heat to blast SoCal: Fire Weather”

SoCal is losing its cool (the clouds)

On the eve of a hellacious heat wave — up to 110 this weekend they say — here’s a new fact to contemplate about life in Southern California. We’re losing our cool. Physically, that is. We’re losing clouds and fog in summer over our heads, according to scientific studies and meteorological observations. Here’s the lead from aContinue reading “SoCal is losing its cool (the clouds)”

“The fire had me fully terrified” — T.C. Boyle on the Thomas Fire (and more)

For the Ojai Quarterly [pdf], yours truly had the opportunity to talk to T.C. Boyle about the Thomas fire, debris flows, climate change, and other scary realities of the 21st Century. The interview also motivated me to catch up on some past works of Boyle’s, and boy was that worth the reading. Check it out:Continue reading ““The fire had me fully terrified” — T.C. Boyle on the Thomas Fire (and more)”

Visiting winter in the Topa Topas after the fire

Though it’s been three months since the Thomas Fire, those of us in the burn zone can still see the blackness on the burned hillsides all around Ojai, all the way up to the ridge of our local mountains, the Topa Topas. Every winter for twenty-five years I have gone up to our mountains afterContinue reading “Visiting winter in the Topa Topas after the fire”

Home versus the Mountain

One of the acknowledged great non-fiction pieces of our time is John McPhee’s Los Angeles Against the Mountains, from l988, an uncanny and alarming foreshadowing of the disaster in Montecito this month. It’s one of those astonishingly thorough and appalling pieces of writing, almost beyond journalismn, and to my mind can hardly be overpraised (butContinue reading “Home versus the Mountain”

December 8th in Ojai, CA 2017

Picture from a photographer, Stuart Palley, who in the last couple of years has found a calling in documenting wildfire and the crews that fight it. The Thomas Fire has been an overwhelming event, plus it ate my office (and musician friend Taylor‘s studio and barn). Did publish a story about the start of theContinue reading “December 8th in Ojai, CA 2017”

The biggest problem in California: Housing

State Senator Hannah Beth-Jackson came to Ojai recently, and visited with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, where I volunteer, and met with the board of directors. We discussed many topics but ended up on the issue that has been dividing the state: housing — affordable housing — and the lack thereof. The New York TimesContinue reading “The biggest problem in California: Housing”

Nerve gas for Ventura County, thanks to the Trump EPA

As Lily Tomlin has pointed out, “No matter how cynical you become, you can’t keep up.” Especially in these days of Donald Trump. Last week (was it only last week?) a meticulously sourced story in the New York Times by Eric Lipton (Why Has the EPA shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Calls the Shots)Continue reading “Nerve gas for Ventura County, thanks to the Trump EPA”

The Lions of Ventura County

Let me post (with some pride) my cover story this week in the Ventura County Reporter, on mountain lions, which benefitted enormously from pictures donated to the cause of the cougar by the National Park Service. Here’s the cover: How could you not love P-19? And here’s the story. THE TRUTH ABOUT BIG CATS |Continue reading “The Lions of Ventura County”