Jonah Raskin

You Don’t Know Jack: On the road with Jack London

A new guide book for the San Francisco Bay Area offers dozens of exhilarating walks, hikes and historical sites for locals and tourists. A People’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area mentions Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, a socialist fable disguised as a dog story, but it doesn’t locate any of the places associated with the author. That’s a pity. For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Bay Area was London’s stomping ground. In his heyday, he signed his letters, “Yours for the revolution” and added his alias, “Wolf.” A social animal and also a loner, he blazed a literary trail that Hemingway, Kerouac, Cormac McCarthy and others followed.   No 20th-century writer dug deeper roots in the Bay Area than London. And no writer captured its essence more fully than he did, in books ...

Up in Smoke Again: The looters arrived and the call for help went unanswered

Illicit weed, black-market weed, flooded Oakland’s streets and suites before looters robbed cannabis and cash from local dispensaries during the riots following George Floyd’s murder. Now, the city is even more saturated than ever before with illicit weed. Looters not only hit dispensaries, they also hit cannabis gardens, distributors and manufacturing centers. Reeling from the violence, Oakland and its citizens are haunted by the police department’s failure to protect private property. Something’s rotten and stinks like the Bay at low tide. “Marijuana businesses are accustomed to being hit,” Dale Sky Jones tells me, during a long, one-sided phone conversation that might be called a rant. The Chancellor at Oaksterdam University—the world’s most prestigious institution devoted to the study ...