Stories for March 1998

Thursday, March 26

Hunger Sculptor

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

Who is the girl in the Frank Toyota commercials?

Matt-o-Matic: At the end of the Frank Toyota commercials that have been airing in the mornings on KOGO, there is a little girl who knocks on some sort of wood and asks, "Is that you, ...

Why do the seagulls always fly south at sunset in M.B. and Sunset Cliffs?

Dear Matt: I've lived in Manhattan Beach and San Diego and noticed the same thing at sunset at both locations. The seagulls always flew south at sunset in M.B., and the seagulls and pelicans do ...

What is in the "natural flavoring" ingredient in ketchup?

Dear Mr. Alice: This conspiracy theory-addled, vegan-activist dork I work with tried to tell me the item called "natural flavorings" in ketchup/catsup is pig's blood. But "natural flavorings" are in so-called vegan ketchup too. Would ...

When toasting a single piece of bread, why does it matter which slot you put it in?

Dear Matthew Alice: I've recently purchased a lovely new toaster from my neighborhood Target. My toaster has two-slice capability, but I noticed there is a designated slot for the toasting of only one slice, and ...

Butterflies

Matmail: I'm afraid you'll have to fire the elf who told you that butterflies are called "Milchdieb" in Germany. I've lived there most of my life and never heard that expression. The German word for ...

Ticket to Tecate

It's eight o' clock Saturday morning at the Tijuana train station, and the locals gather to gawk at 250 gringos, most outfitted with expensive cameras and video gear, waiting for a ride. The Tijuana station ...

Cyber-Prisoners from Hell

To recap from last week: I wrote 108 state and federal prisoners who had posted personal ads on the World Wide Web (www.pennpals.com/, www.inmate.com/, and www.cyberspace-inmates .com/). What follows is the text of my letter. ...

Spin of omission

A Sunday story by Union-Tribune reporter Phil LaVelle on Proposition A, the taxpayer-financed convention-center-expansion measure on June's city ballot, left out a couple of key facts. The U-T story insisted that "the plan calls for ...

Thursday, March 19

Diary of a Sewer Repair Part Two

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

No Cure for Chaos

I knew now that I couldn’t believe anything she had told me. Ever.

If a female ballet dancer is called a ballerina, what is a male ballet dancer called?

Matmail: If a female ballet dancer is called a ballerina, what's a male ballet dancer called? I've always wondered. -- J. Sorensen, the Net I hope you have a new wonderment waiting offstage, because you ...

Why does the volume increase when a TV commercial comes on?

Dear Mr. Alice: Why is it that when a TV commercial comes on, the volume is automatically raised to a seemingly ridiculous level? What is the network's position on this? Are there stations that will ...

How do you pronounce Nagano?

Dear Matthew: All the TV commentators made it abundantly clear that Nagano is pronounced NAG-a-no. In my Random House Unabridged, 1971 edition, the verdict: Na-GAN-o. Merriam-Webster dictionary on the Internet, the verdict: Na-GA-no. I have ...

Larry's Best Gal

Larry Lawrence, the late owner of the Hotel del Coronado and Bill Clinton's one-time ambassador to Switzerland, achieved posthumous ignominy when it was revealed that his purported wartime service in the Merchant Marine was a ...

Love on the Rocks

My computer monitor lights up with a picture of a bare-chested, buffed-up, tattooed male, maybe 30 years old, with black hair and mustache. Alongside the photo is a headline announcing "Jeff Rendall's Personal Message to ...

Bleak outlook

When La Jolla-based Copley Newspapers this past weekend suddenly shuttered the Santa Monica Outlook, the move set off rumors among staffers at the Union-Tribune. Ever since the San Diego Evening Tribune was merged with the ...

Wednesday, March 18

Is it possible that the American Military is being screened for willingness to attack other Americans?

Dear Matt: I got the enclosed editorial from the House of Onyx, which, incidentally, makes its profits from selling gems to well-heeled anti-government types. When I read it, I got a twinge of concern for ...

Thursday, March 12

Diary of a Sewer Repair Part One

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

Three Caltrans questions:

Oh, Almighty Matt: I noticed a great dip in the fast lane about half a mile from the I-5/805 split. What's the reason for that? Did they run out of dirt to fill in the ...

Where did the word, "butterfly" come from?

Dear Mr. Alice: My mom and I were watching a butterfly and I asked her why they're called butterflies. They fly, but we couldn't figure out where the butter comes in. Can you help us? ...

Why do people toss coins into fountains?

Dear Matthew Alice: We all know that people like to toss coins into fountains and other artificial bodies of water, but why? To make a wish? How did this practice of throwing money away into ...

Blood on the Mall

Two weeks ago, on Saturday night at around 8:30 p.m. in Plaza Bonita, three janitors mopped blood off the tile floor beside a golden carousel that spun and thundered "You're a Grand Old Flag." Mr. ...

Walt, Monica, and Bill

A few weeks ago, Tony Perry, a reporter for the L.A. Times who knows I love Walt Whitman's poetry, called me on the telephone. "What would Whitman make of the fact," he asked, "that Bill ...

Thursday, March 5

When the Rains Came

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

End of the Line

Is it on line or in line? At the bank, the post office, the DMV, are you standing in a line or on one? With the Internet, of course, online has come to mean something ...

Crop News

Now it can be told. Now the growers of the top-ten moneymaking crops in San Diego County for 1996 can gather 'round, take a look back over 1997, and weigh in with their judgments. They ...

How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?

Greets, Matt: We recently read about the fellow trying to circle the globe in a balloon. This raised a serious question for us. Uh...what does he do with his #1 and #2? Moreover, how do ...

Why do restaurants serve Diet Coke as their only diet soda?

Dear Matthew Alice: Why do restaurants serve Diet Coke as their only diet soda? A lot of us prefer Pepsi (diet). Personally, I find Diet Coke rather gross tasting. Maybe it's easier to water down? ...

What are the lyrics in song #2 by Blur?

Hi, Matt: Since you are the knower of all good and evil and everything in between, my daughter, age 11, and I thought we would ask you about a song. "Song #2" by Blur has ...

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