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With a title like The Golden Age Is in Us: Journeys and Encounters, Alexander Cockburn would seem to have finally surrendered to California, to which he moved near the beginning of the seven years recounted in the book. Rather than being another foray into self-actualization, however, the book is simply a selection from the Nation columnist’s journals, which turn out to be as acute and informed (and only modestly more rambling and idiosyncratic) than the prose he writes directly for publication. Cockburn appears today and tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 429-9272. (MJ)