Tuesday, March 24, 2009

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jon Carroll, the San Francisco Chronicle Columnist

  • He doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree
  • During his two years at UC Berkeley from 1961-63 he was part of the crowd that surrounded the police car holding Free Speech activist Jack Weinberg. But he didn’t go to the follow up sit-in in Sproul Hall because he had a date with a hot chick.
  • He has worked for Oui, the soft-porn magazine and for Rolling Stone. He served as west coast editor for the Village Voice and edited New West magazine.
  • Part of his deal with New West made the magazine pay for his children to fly down from San Francisco to Los Angeles twice a month so they could visit their father.
  • His first job at the Chronicle was as vacation relief; at the end of his time then-editor Bill German asked Carroll if he wanted to write a column. He has been writing it now for 29 years.
  • His first column explored the idea of the universe as a guest on the Johnny Carson show.
  • One of his most recent columns explored “Jewdar.”
  • He is the last remaining five-day a week urban columnist in the United States.
  • He writes from his home in Oakland and has to meet a daily 4 pm deadline.
  • He loves cats. (But you knew that)
  • He doesn’t like dogs, not even the dog owned by his beloved granddaughter, Alice.
  • He is a recovering alcoholic (and says once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, even when sober.
  • He suffers from diabetes, but he doesn’t have to inject himself with insulin. He takes pills instead.
  • He lost 50 pounds in the last year by going on a gruel-based diet.
  • His favorite books are Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy about WWI; Nicholson Baker’s books “The Mezzanine” and “You and I,” and anything by Richard Powers.

All of this information came out March 23 when UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Cynthia Gorney interviewed Carroll in a benefit for Park Day School in Oakland. It was a terrific evening; Gorney was relaxed and funny and obviously has a lot of fun interviewing her old friend.

No comments: