Earning my Wonderful Life wings

Pacific Continental Bank in my home town of Eugene has an interesting requirement for all new employees going through their orientation: they must watch It’s a Wonderful Life from start to finish. “The message in that film is the message … Continued

The best 25 columns of all time

A WHILE BACK, Ed Russo, a Register-Guard colleague, suggested we read a book called Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns and each choose our favorites. Great fun. Great inspiration. And a great sense that old-school columnists may have done it … Continued

New book came easier than ‘Nightingale’

Some books come hard. American Nightingale had a longer gestation period than a camel. Information only came grudgingly. In my third day of trying to get Frances Slanger’s 1930s school records, I got transferred to a janitor in the Boston … Continued

Farewell, Andy Rooney

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Longtime “60 Minutes” curmudgeon Andy Rooney died Friday night, exactly one month since his last show. Here’s a piece I wrote on him after a brief “one-on-one” with him in 2003: TUCSON, Ariz. – On the roof of the Sonoran … Continued

My favorite columnists/essayists

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WALDPORT — Amid 50 mph winds, sideways hail and all sorts of other fun weather, I spoke here Saturday. My book, “American Nightingale” (Atria, 2004), had been chosen as their “Waldport Reads” selection. Anyway — or as sub-30-year-olds like to … Continued