Stories for March 1999

Thursday, March 25

Kidnapped!

An heiress vanishes.

“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t give any information.” Speaking from his Coronado Cays home, Miguel Crespo sounds tired and shaken. His wife, Georgina, was kidnapped over a month ago. “All the family are concerned about ...

Garden of Dry Delights

Don't replace your lawns and hedges with a native-plant garden to eliminate watering. "It is relatively low-water gardening for the amount of plants, but not no-water gardening," says Encinitas native-plant landscaper Dave Buchanan. Tearing out ...

Taking Stock of the Web

To Jay Lacny, it was a simple plan designed to promote his new financial website and "raise the eyebrows" of his online competitors. The effort succeeded in raising eyebrows, all right. Unfortunately, they belonged to ...

Genuine Monica

Popular online-auction company e-Bay is currently offering a made-in-Tijuana, $50 black-velvet painting of Monica Lewinsky. "I am auctioning off this Black Velvet Painting of Monica S. Lewinsky," says the pitch from the Los Angeles seller ...

Wednesday, March 24

South Fortuna Mountain

Climb to South Fortuna Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park via Oak Canyon and its trickling stream.

Hike in Mission Trails Regional Park

In the aftermath of 1998­'99's anemic and spotty rainfall, the pale green sheen now covering San Diego's wildlands surely won't last long. By June the natural vegetation of the coastal region may look uniformly brown ...

What is an Irish pearl?

Dear Mr. Alice: Top of the Mulligan t'ye! Can ye be tellin' me what be an Irish pearl? I am the missus of the leprechaun who hoards that legendary pot o' gold at the rainbow's ...

Why do fingernails grow faster than toenails?

Matthew: Why does my fingernail grow faster than my toenail? I smashed one of each at the lumber yard last August, and the fingernail's grown back but the toenail hasn't. -- Bob, telephonically The science ...

Why are there so many Jacks in fairly tales?

Dear Know-It-All: Why are there so many Jacks in fairy tales (Jack Be Nimble, Jack & Jill, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Sprat, etc.). -- Not Jack, the net Hey, Joe/Bud/Mac/Bubba/John Doe. See? Lotsa general, ...

Thursday, March 18

When Everything Was Lost

Tragedy pays a call on Bompensiero.

I don’t know how in the first months of 1955 Frank Bompensiero managed to get himself out of bed to face the day. I don’t know how he slept at night. Frank and Thelma and ...

Just a Country Boy

Wasn't that ponytailed Gateway Computer billionaire Ted Waitt, currently La Jolla's most famous resident, seen loading the family aboard his executive jet parked at Lindbergh Field's private terminal last Friday night? He pulled up to ...

A trek up rugged Flat Cat Canyon, near Anza-Borrego's visitor center, tests hikers' mettle.

Flat Cat Canyon is the curious name given to a rugged gorge southwest of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitors' center and not far outside the town of Borrego Springs. Park rangers once found a ...

The Magdalenas

It's eight o' clock on a Wednesday night. Outside Tijuana's cathedral, the priests close the giant doors. The street darkens. The beggars pack up. But in a nearby shadowy parking lot the light shines out ...

Cattle to Stomach

The American symbol-turned-subculture, the cowboy, owes its existence to beef. Before they wore tight jeans and gaudy shirts and played concerts in Central Park, cowboys were men who herded cattle across the great open spaces ...

Here We Go Again

Contra Costa County library officials were all set to hire political consultant Fred Register to run their campaign for voter approval of a new library tax, but that was before the defeat of San Diego's ...

Thursday, March 11

A Fateful Check at the U.S. Grant

Bompensiero as bagman.

When 44-year-old Frank Bompensiero awakened at 5878 Estelle Street on the first morning of a new decade, he must have felt optimistic. He must have felt hopeful. He padded on his bare size-ten feet into ...

What is the product being advertised on the building at 800 W. Ivy?

Matmail: I have passed a building near the corner of India and Ivy for years that has this painting on the wall and have wondered forever what happened to this product. -- Bob, downtown The ...

Do fish fart?

Dear Matthew Alice: Do fish fart? -- Ian Lewis, age 7, San Diego A mighty fine question, and one that could only have come from a 7-year-old. A kid will imagine what might be and ...

Can you make fire with ice?

Matt: Here's a question that might give you fits. Can you make fire with ice? (Good luck.) -- Doubtful Tim, Shelter Island We suited up half the elves in parkas, half in flame-retardant pajamas and ...

A loop for mountain bikes near Warner Springs takes riders on a combination of sandy fire road and pavement.

Where can you go to do some fat-tire bicycle riding after the winter rains come? Certainly not on many of the county's backcountry dirt roads and trails, which turn slippery when wet. Instead, try out ...

L Stands for Losers

Proposition L, the quarter-percent increase in the sales tax that would have been earmarked for libraries, is dead and buried. And for the county's business, political, and newspaper establishment -- which until Prop L had ...

Big Mac Attacks

Mark McGwire, the Cardinals slugger who hit a record 70 home runs last season, isn't scheduled to visit San Diego until mid-May, when the Padres host St. Louis in a three-game series. But McGwire's lawyers ...

Audrey's Quandary

Just in time for what would have been Dr. Seuss's 95th birthday last week came the latest controversy over his widow Audrey's marketing of the late child author's image and work. During his life, Seuss, ...

Thursday, March 4

I Wouldn't Notice if They Nailed Babies to the Wall

“They’re like squiggles with different colors.” Anita, from Nashville Tennessee, is squinting into the middle distance of Horton Plaza trying to summon an image of exactly what was hanging on the wall of her room ...

What is that structure next to Mercy/Scripps Hospital in Hillcrest?

To: Matthew Alice: Every time I drive down Sixth Avenue to 163 north, I see a strange pinkish building on my left on the grounds of Mercy Hospital. It's strange because the highest five or ...

Why did my cup explode when instant coffee was added?

Your Mattness: The other day I was reduced to making myself a cup of (ugh!) instant coffee. I put a cup of water in the microwave, zapped it for a couple of minutes, took it ...

A walk along Santa Ysabel Creek near Ramona reveals the site of the never-built Pamo Valley Dam.

After flowing across the pristine, oak- and sycamore-dotted Pamo Valley north of Ramona, Santa Ysabel Creek cuts southwest down a steep gorge and finally emerges on the flatlands of San Pasqual Valley. In the '70s ...

Stop the Presses!

Anyone who has passed through the San Diego Union-Tribune during Gene Bell's stint as publisher has heard the mantra, the talk of management's intention to take things at the paper "to the next level." Harmless ...

They Kill Dolphins, Don't They?

Moscow, Helsinki, Stockholm, Minneapolis; these are the places that come to mind when one thinks of fur clothing, places where the temperature can drop below zero and stay there for weeks. But since last April, ...

Editorial Discretion

When John Simpson, a 53-year-old vacationing music teacher from Birmingham, England, was found strangled to death last month in his room at La Mesa's Rodeway Inn, the Union-Tribune was most circumspect. The paper's plea for ...

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close