Stories for February 2000

Thursday, February 24

UCSD, Big Money, and the Ball Club

When Robert Carr Dynes was named chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, in April 1996, he was said to be a man of humble origins. Born in Canada in 1942, the physicist who ...

View the Pacific from Emerald Vista, Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County.

On the most transparent winter days, the view from Emerald Vista Point in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park spans more than 200 miles of Southern California coastline. Far beyond Dana Point to the southeast, ...

Lessons From Cali

'My patient is Tijuana," says Dr. José Rubio Soto. "My hospital is city hall. These are the X-rays." He's peering at a computer screen filled with blobs. It's a map of the city. Tijuana looks ...

Porno and the Piano Teacher

Jean Winslow, a retired elementary schoolteacher in San Diego, doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be even remotely involved with Internet pornography. Her greatest passion is music. Winslow spends time with her ...

Born and Born Again

A former death-row inmate who beat an 18-year-old murder rap and ended up living as a born-again Christian in his mother's 19-foot trailer at the Mt. Helix View Estates trailer park in El Cajon has ...

Bullets and Broadway

“…down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.... He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common ...

What causes the "pop" when you pop your back?

Matt, you ignorant slut: I've talked to various experts about what makes the popping sound when you crack your back, and I've gotten a different definitive answer from each of them. So much for expertise ...

Wednesday, February 23

Marriage is Temporary, Dogs are Forever

Terry Wilson has won five Emmys for his television directing, producing, and on-camera hosting; he’s been a national martial arts champion; and his 1998 article on the Marine dogs of World War II won best-short ...

Thursday, February 17

What is Beauty to the Blind?

They were being murdered by the light. I watched and said nothing. When we began our lunch, the sun was just burnishing the windowsill. It was a hot day and Linda had left the window ...

Zero Tolerance in the Morning

Where does democracy thrive in Tijuana? Some say right here, in the Minaret Room of the Club Campestre. Of course, this is not really Tijuana. The Tijuana you know throbs and honks and grinds a ...

In Defense of the Ultimate Underdog

'Let's say that you're an American man, living in France, and you meet and marry a French woman. You decide to spend your honeymoon in America, and while you're here your wife discovers she loves ...

Sporting Law

A San Diego herbal medicine company has apologized to baseball's Mark McGwire and agreed to pay the Cardinal slugger $75,000 for unauthorized use of his name and photograph in a flyer promoting the company's pain-relieving ...

Discover some inner-city serenity in Allied Gardens Navajo Canyon.

Throughout the San Diego area, thin strips of canyon open-space break the symmetry of the urban/suburban continuum. Sometimes these shreds of natural landscape survive by design. In other cases -- in older neighborhoods especially -- ...

Who cleans up after car accidents?

Matthew: What's up with the broken glass on the roads after accidents? Whose job is it to clean up the mess? I've seen glass left in intersections near the beaches, Balboa Park, downtown, etc. I ...

What is the difference between 100% juice and less than 100% juice?

Dear Matthew Alice: I am puzzled by the labels on jars of fruit juice. Some boast that they contain 100% juice, while others state they are 25 to 35% juice. Yet upon examining the ingredients, ...

What is going on with the house in Allied Gardens at the I-8 exit?

Matt: Growing up in Allied Gardens, it was hard not to notice this funny little '50s-style tract house standing on its own at the bottom of Waring Road, right next to the exit to I-8 ...

Thursday, February 10

Janet, My Mother, and Me; Letter from Del Mar

LETTER FROM DEL MAR Pictures, maps, photographs, and paintings crowd William Murray’s Del Mar walls. Three images catch my attention. They interest me as much for divergence of style as for dissimilar content: a pencil ...

Lap-Dancing on the Web

Notebooks and pens in hand, the students file into a nondescript meeting room at a Mission Valley hotel. They include retirees, business managers, college-age youths, middle-age men, and tall, thin blondes who look like models. ...

Fox Populi

'Fox Fox Fox Fox FOX FOX FOX FOX!" You know who they're yelling about: he's the granite-jawed guy standing above everybody else in the hall. Vicente Fox Quesada. Over six feet tall -- and, some ...

Influence Peddler

Union-Tribune editor-in-chief Herb Klein has been advised by San Diego city clerk Chuck Abdelnour that he may have to register as a lobbyist. Klein, whose behind-the-scenes lobbying of city councilmembers on behalf of the taxpayer-financed ...

Hike or bike to sandstone-studded Rocky Peak, overlooking the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County.

In 1990 the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with acquiring land for parks in the Los Angeles area) entered negotiations with entertainer Bob Hope to purchase Rocky Peak Park -- a 4369-acre ...

Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are they so ugly?

Dear Matthew Alice: I've been a bowler for more than 40 years. And it's only last week that it finally hit me. Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are ...

If traveling at the speed of light, would your headlights shine?

Dear Matthew: Okay, here's one that keeps me up nights. If you were driving a car traveling at the speed of light and you turned on the headlamps, would any light project ahead of you? ...

Why isn't your column titled "Go Ask Alice?"

Dear Matthew Alice: Why isn't your column titled "Go Ask Alice"? You've never been ten feet tall? -- Chuck W, Oceanside If you pile the elves on top of each other, they'd be about five ...

Thursday, February 3

Wind, Water, A Rice Field

Murray Lee runs a finger across a family tree he’s displayed in the Chinese Historical Society Museum on Third Avenue downtown. On the left of the big white board, Lee taps at a solitary name, ...

Web of Confusion

It's all in the eye of the beholder. San Diego public relations representative Vicki Garcia regards her client's plan to perform surgery on the Internet as a "news event -- because it's never been done ...

Tijuana Plans Respect

A funny thing happened at Tijuana's cultural center the other day. As dozens of kids, teens, and parents lined up near the giant dome for tickets to the highest-tech movie showing in Tijuana or San ...

Million-dollar Secrets

KPBS, the radio and television station operation owned by the state university system and funded in part by California and federal taxpayers, is stonewalling public requests for information about its big private contributors. The KPBS ...

Hot Air Cowboys

“Wow” is all I can say when the engineless glider I’m sitting in springs from the runway into the sky above the Warner Springs Airport, several seconds before the single-engine tow plane lifts off the ...

Climb to the top of Anza-Borrego's Sunset Mountain, the peak that warmly glows in late-afternoon light.

Sunset Mountain stands lofty and somewhat isolated from the main ridge of the Vallecito Mountains in the center of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As seen from Borrego Springs and other far points to the west, ...

Are there "munchkin" houses built in La Jolla?

Matt: My mother-in-law swears that several years ago she went on a tour and saw a street in La Jolla (perhaps in the Mt. Soledad area), or even a block, of "Munchkin" houses. They were ...

Distinguishing between the new and old Harrison Ford.

As long as we're stumbling down Memory Lane, now's the perfect time to make our biennial phone call to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Walk of Fame division, to see whether the brain trust has ...