Stories for December 1999

Thursday, December 23

Final Notes on the Only Century We've Got fo

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After an arduous drive into Anza-Borrego's Coyote Canyon, explore the waterfalls and grottos of Sheep Canyon

Hard-to-reach Sheep Canyon, secreted in the remote middle reaches of Coyote Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, features some of the most rugged yet beautiful terrain in San Diego County. The canyon has two main ...

Television News: The View from Tijuana

If you ask Vicente Calderón, San Diego TV news is mushy. "It tends to be extremely superficial," says the veteran Mexican television journalist. "You [in San Diego] feel you have to connect with the people, ...

On-Demand Santa

'Subjected to the rational teachings of others, the child only buries his 'true knowledge' deeper in his soul and it remains untouched by rationality; but it can be formed and informed by what fairy tales ...

The Case of the Pandering Pimp

A 36-year-old "business executive" who allegedly ran a nationwide call-girl ring out of his two-bedroom La Jolla apartment has pleaded guilty to federal wire-fraud charges in Kansas City, ending a case that for a time ...

End of the Year Quiz from MA questions, 1999.

You know the drill -- #2 Ticonderoga, no cheat sheets, no whining, no prizes, so don't even bother to ask. Wisdom is its own reward. This is all stuff you didn't know a year ago. ...

Thursday, December 16

Alex Spanos and the Stadium Sham

Three years ago in a letter to the San Diego City Council and city attorney dated December 24, 1996, Bruce Henderson warned that the council had made a grave mistake in May 1995 when it ...

Seek out and find the elusive green flash, visible at sunset or sunset when the skies are clean and clear

Crystalline skies are here again, as Santa Ana winds swoop down intermittently from the northeast, as cold winds blow from the north, or as high pressure invades the county and lingers here for a day ...

Young Men, Ship Takedowns, and Property Values

I've been thinking about brave young men and ship takedowns since that Marine helo crashed into the Pacific off Point Loma last week. Six marines and a sailor died. During my 16 years as a ...

Juiced Up

San Diego-based Sempra Energy is in big trouble with New Jersey utility regulators. Energy America, a joint-venture between Sempra and Direct Energy Marketing Ltd. off Calgary, Canada, has been accused by the New Jersey Division ...

In a nuclear accident, is it safer to say in your house or skip town?

Dear Matthew: During a nearby nuclear accident (like the ones recently in Japan and Korea), is it safer to stay in your house until the authorities say it's okay to leave, or should one skip ...

In the event of a disaster like an earthquake, what would happen to legal records, financial records, etc.?

Matt: In the event of a disaster like an earthquake, what would happen to legal records, financial records, etc.? If a bank were destroyed, would records of my balance be destroyed along with it? What ...

Is there really such a thing as spontaneous human combustion?

Hola: This subject came up in casual conversation. Is there really such a thing as spontaneous human combustion? -- A.V., Golden Hill Like, if we survive Y2K maybe there's still a chance we'll be sitting ...

Thursday, December 9

The Zen of Flop

This is exactly the room I’ve been afraid of all my life. A place where I have landed in middle age. Somehow I have failed, this time thoroughly. I find myself on a hard mattress ...

Venture along the Pacific Crest Trail near Kwaaymii Point for hundred-mile views through transparent winter air

When late-autumn Santa Ana winds blow across San Diego County bringing 80- to 90-degree temperatures to the coast, people visiting the 5000- to 6000-foot elevations of the Laguna Mountains are surprised to find the temperatures ...

Are there dual citizenships for US citizens?

HA, WET CLIMATE (a Matthew Alice anagram): To settle a bet, I called the INS to see if there is such a thing as dual citizenship for a U.S. citizen. Ha ha ha. Hope the ...

What's new in the art of using critters to fix up injuries?

Yo, Matt! When I was a kid, for $2 we could rent a leech from Gregory Peck's dad, the pharmacist at Ferris & Ferris, Fifth and Market, stick it on your black eye, and voilá, ...

Vote for Me I'm an Attorney

On a clear November morning, Judge Dick Murphy can see most of San Diego from the corner of his backyard. On a hillside in the saint-named streets behind St. Therese Catholic Church in San Carlos, ...

Not That Liberal

When Martin Luther invented Protestantism, he created anarchy. Luther's unmooring of Christianity from centuries of Church practice and teaching generated ironies and contradictions that remain unresolved. Reverend Cindy Witt is a recent orphan of the ...

Inside Baseball

Padres slugger Tony Gwynn is shooting it out in court with Seltzer, Caplan, Wilkins and McMahon, one of the town's most well-connected law firms. According to a legal malpractice claim Gwynn and wife Alicia filed ...

Thursday, December 2

Jesse "The Great Pretender" Ventura

Shortly after the 1998 gubernatorial elections, everywhere you looked on TV he seemed to loom from the screen: that great domed head anchored by a linebacker’s neck to a professional rassler’s torso. And you heard ...

Shoot Time

If there’s anything worse than getting up at 2:45 a.m., it’s getting up at 2:45 a.m. only to be pulled over by a policeman at 3:00 a.m. But cracking out early and tickets from bored ...

What happens to dead ants?

Oh, Matthew Alice: My gears turn in wonder when I see ants and one of them has a dead fellow ant in its jaws. Why do they carry away these dead ants? Where do they ...

What if I am deaf, blind, and in a wheelchair and for some reason I end up getting 10 to 20 at Sing Sing?

Dear Matthew Alice: Please activate your criminal mind to answer this: What if I am deaf, blind, and in a wheelchair and for some reason I end up getting 10 to 20 at Sing Sing. ...

City of Artless Politics

The San Diego Convention Center board of director's vote was tied Friday, November 19, three for Nancy Rubins's proposed Harbor Drive sculpture -- the 102-foot-high, 100-ton arch of 60 cabled-together fiberglass boats -- and three ...

From Sewage to Art and Back Again

If any artist could be considered rough and tough enough to take on San Diego's city hall, it's probably big, bad Chris Burden. The famed L.A. performance artist and sculptor first made his name back ...

Bob Filner and the Playmate

Could Democratic congressman Bob Filner be brought down by a Playboy centerfold? Apparently, state Republicans thought so. No, not that way. The plan, however implausible, was to import ex-Playmate Patricia McClain, a 43-year-old legal secretary ...

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