Moab: more climbing, more hiking, more fun

Those who climb the Kor-Ingalls Route of Castleton Tower, a classic adventure on a coveted desert tower, face a choice on the third pitch. There are two ways to scale…

Illustration by Lily Carrell

If the NRA ran our schools…

During our national search for answers following the Sandy Hook massacre and the United States’ spike in mass shootings, the National Rifle Association contributed this surprising revelation: what schools need…

Donaldson MJ

Donaldson gives and takes for Athletics at third

In his first full year with Oakland, Josh Donaldson has shown what he can give the club. Time after time, the third baseman has delivered clutch, run-scoring hits in crucial…

Plaintiffs Sandy Stier and Kris Perry defeated California's Prop. 8 gay marriage ban.

Supreme Court shows its value in marriage rulings

Like a starting pistol, the buzzer sounded at 10 a.m. and nine robed justices entered the chamber. Chief Justice John Roberts immediately called on his colleagues to announce the court’s…

El Cap, Half Dome

Journey through time on forgotten Yosemite road

Dawn arrived on a clear and chilly day, revealing a gentle stream, wooded hills and a dirt road that extends beyond the horizon. From this spot beside Bower Cave in…

Kaep mj

Super Bowl XLVII: Kaep faces loss like a champ

NEW ORLEANS – In a span of three months, Colin Kaepernick rose from an unknown backup to a starting quarterback to a postseason sensation, leading the Forty-Niners to exhilarating wins…

Couchsurfing helped me make new friends in New Orleans.

Super Bowl XLVII: Niners lose but hospitality wins

NEW ORLEANS – Looks like I should have paid that street magician who promised to fix the game with a spell, but though the Niners lost the Super Bowl, the…

Football fans flooded New Orleans prior to Super Bowl XVLII.

Super Bowl XLVII: Fans let loose

NEW ORLEANS – Under normal circumstances, this city runs to wild. In the lively French Quarter, street performers, musicians, adult entertainers and free-flowing alcohol entertain tourists from all over the…

Matt cleaning route mj

Yosemite’s “Little Big Wall”

My turn to lead on Yosemite’s Washington Column arrived about halfway up the 1,100 foot rock face. The climb’s sixth pitch was a suitable choice because it’s the easiest segment…

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Some Republican ideas won in 2012

President Obama’s re-election and the Democrats’ generally good showing at the polls have caused the GOP a good deal of despair and anguish. But Republicans should take heart that many…

Brian Wilson

Wilson: great player, better person

Giants of recent glory years are even better people than they are players, General Manager Brian Sabean says. Share this:

Giants mj

Zito at the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant as the Giants left the Bay. They trailed the Reds by two games in Division Series play. But they rallied in game three; in game four…

no on 32

Don’t fall for deceptive Prop. 32

Coming soon to California schools near you: larger classes, fewer courses, and an end to sports and arts programs. All of this and much worse could come to pass after…

true tea party

True Tea Party endorses President Obama

Tea Party activists have made history in recent years and our movement will continue to shape the nation’s future. To fully promote our conservative principles, the True Tea Party wishes…

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Rafting the Tuolumne: “Each visit changes your life forever”

As we headed towards a raging Clavey Falls, I took a deep breath and gripped my paddle with white knuckles. During the biggest runoff in a decade on the Tuolumne,…

Mary Hayashi met The Castro Valley High School Olympian.

Hayashi interview provides teachable moment

Kids love field trips and this one proved more memorable than most. Strange as it was, an interview with Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi produced interesting lessons for all involved. Share this:

Robin Fahr

Matt’s interview with Robin Fahr

Robin and I talked about Yosemite, the Giants, more Giants and more Yosemite. Share this:

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Beware Death Eaters, tea partiers and other extremists

Lord Voldemort killed Harry Potter’s parents and tried, many times, to slay him. Draco Malfoy only broke Harry’s nose and the two eventually made up. There’s a lesson here for…


Americans, Germans ponder political future

Though separated by a language barrier and an ocean, Germany and the United States have both common political ground and varying challenges in a time of great political change. Such…


Help win education’s STAR Wars

Forcing Carl to focus through a week of STAR testing was harder than beating Darth Vader in a light saber duel. Share this:

Graphic by Yoon Jung

How to love your job

Noelia could always make a teacher’s day, so I was glad to do the same for her. A 17-year-old who moved to the country just recently, she told me she…

rainbow flag

“Don’t ask” repeal offers hope for greater equality

Rousing hymns, stirring prayers, a candlelight procession and blissful smiles filled one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever attended. Happiness permeated the recent ceremony in Oakland  for my wife’s…


Before winning golden trophy, Giants gave golden memories

I’ve felt out of sync since the World Series ended, like a hitter swinging late at a fastball. Now that my pulse has finally slowed from a month of heart…

Paragliding from the Wetterstein Range

Peak bagging, paragliding highlight Bavarian trek

Though we’ve climbed our share of mountains, we’d never ascended one like this. Instead of trudging uphill for days in boots and backpacks, my brother Dan and I didn’t even…

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This crazy Congress shows courage

When the government bans homework, lowers the drinking age and prohibits senior citizens from driving all on the same day, there can be only one explanation: those yahoos in Congress…

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Walk back in time among ancient pines

A great attraction of touring the mountains is their sense of timeless beauty, offering visitors a window into the land’s distant past. California’s peaks and valleys have changed little since…

Canyoneering in Egypt 2

Utah: Desert, sandstone, canyoneering and polygamy (sort of)

Zion National Park boasts awesome scenery, like Yosemite Valley painted cherry red. But for climbers, sandstone doesn’t compare to Sierra Nevada granite, and the desert sun burns hot enough to…

Captain Kirk for equality

Warp speed for equality

When Captain James T. Kirk, the most heterosexual man in the universe, agrees to perform a gay wedding on the Starship Enterprise, the future bodes well for equality. As Mr….

Kids lose when schools cut sports

Before the big race, my teammates and I huddled together, stacked our hands and cheered like the pumped-up teenagers we were. Twenty-five years later, I still hear the echoes. Castro…

Cyclists set out from Tioga Pass.

Cycling through snow in a Yosemite spring

Exploring Yosemite’s snowbound high country, quiet and deserted, richly rewards hardy trekkers who labor to reach it in winter. Though there’s also much to like about the easy access mountain…

Juan Uribe

Uribe lifts team with bat, heart

In the annals of major league pranks, the “silent treatment” is a classic. When a batter hits an exciting home run, his teammates ignore him in the dugout, as if…

John Bachar in June of 2009

Bachar lived with risks shared by many

Ascending a sea of knobs on the steep west face of Yosemite’s Fairview Dome, John Bachar was enjoying a fine autumn day, cool and quiet without another climber in sight….

yankee stadium ge 3

The House that “Lowlifes” Built?

When the Yankees opened their new stadium and pinstriped stars like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera ran onto the green grass for the first time, the cheers of delirious New…

Photo by Cliff DeYoung

Imperiled rock climb offers lessons for state crisis

Near the top of Mt. Diablo stands a challenging rock climb called Amazing Face. Climbers who wish to scale it had better go soon, as the state may close the…

Danny Watzmann

German mountains, culture reward visitors to Berchtesgaden

Even before the party started, our Bavarian trek was proving worthwhile. Few mountain ascents feature hot sausages and cold beer in a comfortable cabin, but my brother and I ordered…

Photo by Dan Johanson

Actor’s shows bring Muir to life

John Muir never wanted for words when it came to protecting the wilderness, especially his beloved Sierra Nevada mountains. But what would the father of American environmentalism say if he were alive today?

“I’m back, and I’m really ticked off!” Muir might roar. “I’m back to track down Lord Man, to make him a better beast, because California, the home that I love, is on the brink of being lost.”

Photo by Malena Bell

Protect marriage … from straight people

As homosexual marriage spreads state by state, everyone knows the struggle is far from over. Now Americans must speedily unite to ban the unholy unions of … straight people. Share…

Photo by Cliff DeYoung

End the tyranny of hiking fees

An awesome view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range rewards visitors to the summit of Mt. Whitney in Sequoia National Park. Each time I visit this treasure, it rewards and…

Photo by Dan Johanson

Young-at-heart veteran strengthens A’s bullpen

To Alan Embree, the years have been kind. Nearly two decades of professional baseball have made the friendly Athletic a well-traveled veteran, an October star and a World Series champion….

Dr. Ludwig Ries has measured increasing carbon dioxide levels. Photo by Dan Johanson

Climate change fight heats up in Germany

Getting world leaders to recognize the incremental effects of global warming has challenged environmental leaders for decades, but Frank Huber doesn’t have to look far to see evidence that his…

gbr turtle

Sea life attracts divers to Great Barrier Reef

Two gray reef sharks glided effortlessly across our path, their razor-sharp teeth gleaming in the beams of our flashlights. In that moment, nothing else was visible in our pitch-black underwater…


To save education, scrap BTSA

Teachers face no shortage of adversity, from high-maintenance kids and parents to high-stakes tests and false fire alarms. Sometimes the good news seems rare, so this article tacked to my…

johnny fever

Bring on the phone cops

Fans of the television sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” may remember Dr. Johnny Fever’s funniest moment in the series. After he smashed a telephone to pieces in a fit of rage,…

Photo by Cliff DeYoung

Avoiding epics from Yosemite to Mammoth

Four days into a 50-mile winter trek, our team reached a steep and formidable ice slope. We quickly recognized that this grade was our most hazardous obstacle so far, because…

Barry Bonds

A Giants fan dumps Barry

Last Christmas I gave my friend Aaron a Barry Bonds “babooshka” doll. Aaron is only a casual fan, but he dabbles in the mystic arts, and I asked him to…

GTA collage

The hidden morals of “Grand Theft Auto”

I picked up some bad habits lately: running over pedestrians for their pocket money, incinerating enemy gangsters with Molotov cocktails, and blowing up cops with a rocket launcher. But starting…


Student election theatrics mirror national politics

Campaign posters blanket the walls each election week at the high school where I teach. This year, some posters reflected a more unscrupulous election than usual. Share this:


“It’s like impossible”

Anyone who spends much time with teenagers has noticed their unfortunate use of the word “like” outside the parameters of affection or comparison.

Death Star

Don’t wish upon a STAR

Aaron and Travis didn’t even try to fake it. When the test started, they started bubbling in their answer forms without even reading the test questions. Choosing answer “A” for…

scientology ad

Germany, Scientology trade charges of tyranny

To explain the furious hostility between Germany and the Church of Scientology, German officials might point to the story of a young man from Braunschweig named Jürgen Behrndt. Share this: