|Artwork by Jaime Cervantes|
I grew up in New York (Long Island, technically), and really grew once I moved to the SF/Bay Area in the early 1980s. I am married and have two young children.
I am a life-long opponent of the capital punishment and, as a lawyer, I represented inmates on California's death row for more than 23 years. However, in late 2012, I became so frustrated with the dysfunctional, broken process that, to paraphrase Justice Blackmun, I decided to no longer "tinker with the machinery of death. I joined a civil -- a far more civilized -- practice.
I am eternally hopeful about and therefore continually disappointed in the Democratic Party's ability to effectively convey and meaningfully pursue a progressive agenda. I guess I fit what Hendrik Hertzberg recently characterized as the disillusioned left. ("Perpetually disillusioned because it has such an ample supply of illusions;" "scorn for 'the system,' but "an implicit naive faith in the workability of the mechanisms of American governance.")
My favorite political blogs are listed here.
I love baseball and agree with Jim Bouton who said, "you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." I am a chronically, perhaps clinically, obsessed New York Mets fan. More disillusionment, I suppose.
My music tastes range from Jazz (especially the straight-ahead hard bop variety of the mid-to-late 1950s and early 1960s) to Indie/Alternative Rock, and much in between. Here's my list of my favorite 50 jazz artists/albums. Here are pieces on Ray Charles and Anita O'Day. I've also written about Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, and Yo La Tengo and Wilco.
My desert island book: The latest incarnation of the Baseball Encyclopedia.
My favorite modern authors include Russell Banks, Don Delillo, Kevin Baker, David Mitchell, Richard Price and Jonathan Lethem. Lethem and Price led me to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James Cain, and they led me down the dark road to other hard-boiled crime novels and noir fiction that continue to consume my reading hours.
As for movies, I've previously written about westerns and World War II films. Then there are the Marx Brothers and, of course, The Pink Panther movies. That's a modest start to a very long list.