Stories for October 1999

Thursday, October 28

Let Us Deprive Death of Its Strangeness

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

Listen to the pitter-patter of falling acorns along Palomar's Fry Creek Trail.

The beautiful but sometimes hard-to-follow Fry Creek Trail circles the head of a densely wooded drainage on Palomar Mountain, reminding anyone on it (at least at this time of year) that vivid autumn colors really ...

Soccer Parents Join Mayor's Race

On the day Judge Dick Murphy officially announced his candidacy for mayor of San Diego, a lazy Santa Ana wind meandered through Mission Gorge. In the main parking lot at Mission Trails Regional Park, a ...

No Thanks, It's Legal

What if you threw a party and nobody showed up? How would you feel? Or, worse, what if you threw a party and the only people who showed up weren't invited and you had to ...

Padres Gold

Padres owner John Moores is delivering on his million-dollar fundraising promise to Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley by getting some of San Diego's most well-wired business types to open up their checkbooks for the ex-basketball ...

What the heck is the difference between Dead End, No Exit, Not a Through Street, No Outlet, No Way Out?

Dear Fountain of Wisdom and Truth: What the heck is the difference between Dead End, No Exit, Not a Through Street, No Outlet, No Way Out, and all the myriad ways to tell drivers that, ...

Why does the sun bleach things and what are the laws that cops have to follow?

Matthew: Two questions that plagued me on a drive home from LA a couple of days ago. First of all, I have this blue pad of paper on my dashboard, and during one of the ...

Thursday, October 21

City Hall's Shell Game

Mayor Susan Golding loves to hate Scott Barnett. Not that Barnett, the 37-year-old executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, hasn't backed some of the mayor's biggest pet projects. Last year, Barnett even ...

Hike into a box canyon by way of Anza-Borrego's Palo Verde Wash.

With midday temperatures declining into the 80s this month and next, the vast spaces of the Anza-Borrego Desert are again becoming attractive places to explore. For the following hike up Palo Verde Canyon in the ...

A Sub-Society of Greatness

'Build it and they will come," the proverb tells us. Today, however, disciples of the precept have little use for its noble motivational message; they prefer instead its promise of material reward. Build a mall, ...

Sign of Cash

City councilman Juan Vargas is pulling out the stops in his effort to get elected to the state assembly seat now held by soon-to-be-termed-out Denise Ducheny. To raise funds for the effort, Vargas is putting ...

Why are two horns worse than one horn, and what happened to the old vampires?

Matmail: Q#1: Who decided that having two horns (example, a devil) was a Bad Thing, but having only one horn (example, a unicorn) was an okay Good Thing? and Q#2: What happened to all the ...

Is there a metric unit for time?

Matt: Is there a metric unit of time? -- Matty, San Diego Yesish. That's new elf shorthand for "the answer to your basic question is yes, but as usual nobody could leave well enough alone, ...

What happened to the death row man that was forbidden to eat chips?

Dear Matthew Alice: Some time ago, I read with interest a story about a condemned prisoner in Washington state (I believe) who was forbidden from eating potato chips on death row because it was discovered ...

Thursday, October 14

Three-D San Diego: The Closest Thing to Time Travel

I am sitting in a house overlooking the ocean in Solana Beach. The woman who lives here, video and computer artist Vibeke Sorensen, has just been complaining about the military helicopters that regularly fly into ...

Trailmaster Schad's best picks for outdoor roller skating.

Joining the long-time joggers, walkers, and bikers on our county's recreational pathways are increasing numbers of recreational skaters, especially those using fast, sleek, in-line skates. Certain paved footpaths, bike paths and sidewalks, plus a few ...

She Spoke As If She Lived in a Movie

Barbara Payton died in San Diego — on the bathroom floor of her parents’ Mission Hills home at 1901 Titus Street — on May 8, 1967. Her death certificate listed cause of death as “acute ...

The Lakeside River Irregulars

To get to Lisa Roger's house in the Eucalyptus Hills area of Lakeside, you have to drive past the sand-mining operations, tractor-repair yards, and prefab concrete outfits that line the San Diego River in this ...

Rave City, U.S.A.

Wings are everywhere. One girl wears white, feathery wings as she dances -- they call it "flowing" -- to the ON-OFF ON-OFF ON-OFF electronica music at UCSD. Gossamer wings grace the backs of another young ...

Playola

City-planning commissioner Geralda "Gerri" Stryker last year cochaired the "Yes on C" ballot campaign that convinced voters to approve the downtown stadium deal. Two weeks ago, after three out of seven planning commissioners disqualified themselves ...

What happened to the idea of pigeon-hole parking?

Dear Matthew Alice: Whatever happened to the idea of "pigeon-hole" parking? Sometime around 1954 there was a hotel in downtown Spokane that had a large framework built up against the side wall on a lot ...

Will cats get jealous and harm babies, and are violin strings made from cat guts?

Dear Mr. Alice: Are "cat gut" violin strings made from actual cats? Does this explain why a poorly played violin sounds like a puss in pain? -- Lisa, Hillcrest Dear Matthew Alice: I'm about to ...

Thursday, October 7

All Summer, All Winter

For hundreds of thousands of San Diegans, the Pacific Ocean is a pulsing, vibrant backdrop for our lives. It’s our watery backyard. The progenitor of cool sea breezes. A seemingly limitless source of our seafood. ...

The One-Legged Professional Firefighter

He goes by both. Whether “Buddy,” the two-syllable synonym for pal, or the more mature-sounding “Bud,” the single-syllable term for what is young and unfinished, both fit. Bud McElroy, at 39, seems easygoing and uncomplicated. ...

Discover unauthorized public art on San Diego's trails.

Coming soon to a vandalized scenic overlook or trailside destination: public art of ambiguous intent and questionable legality. Art scaled to the exact dimensions of missing historical plaques and interpretive markers. Art with a cynical, ...

A Ton of Bricks and Ten Pounds of Baloney

When La Jolla architect Jeffrey Shorn met with San Diego Gas & Electric Co., officials in downtown's East Village in early 1997 to discuss becoming a consultant, he was impressed by the utility's decades-old offices, ...

Winners Can Be Losers

When Karin Winner, the top editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, issued a memorandum in September discouraging newsroom employees from attending media parties because she said the events compromised the U-T's integrity, bullshit detectors went ...

Reality Bites

Back in September 1996, the city attorney's office announced formation of a "Public Integrity Unit" to clean up local government. "The Public Integrity Unit will serve a valuable function, and not only in handling election ...

What is the penalty for not having an ID and phone number at the top of faxes?

Dear Matthew Alice: I recently got my fax machine (as you can see) and the instruction manual says that under penalty of law that a phone number and identification title be at the top of ...

What are the Ts for on highrise buildings?

Dear Matt: I work in a highrise downtown and on some of the windows there are these Ts on the outside of the glass. I look out the window to a nearby high rise, and ...

Why do the wild-animal trackers always use such big tracking devices when there are much smaller ones?

Dear M.A.: Whenever I watch a wild-animal documentary such as those on KPBS or the Discovery Channel, I'm appalled at the huge size and awkwardness of the radio collars they snap around the animals' necks ...

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