Stories for May 2000

Thursday, May 25

Mexican Landscapes in San Diego

The average person in Southern California doesn’t know what Mexican architecture is. It’s like putting jack cheese on something and calling it “Mexican food.” There’s no jack cheese in Mexico. The same thing happens with ...

Music for Bare Skin

"People put stuff in your drinks,” said Angela, a topless dancer with Jagger lips and Parton breasts. “It happened to me once. It wasn’t enough to knock me out, but I could tell something happened.” ...

Long Gray Line

Growing up in rural Massachusetts in the late 1940s, David Valley had only one serious goal: "To get the hell out of small-town New England." When he was 17 years old, he got his chance. ...

Militarizing the Border

Brian Bilbray has no doubts: It's time to send in the troops. All along the border. "We need to send a very clear message, almost in the tone of John Kennedy, when he said, 'We ...

Obscure

Citizen watchdog Mel Shapiro has won yet another court battle in his never-ending crusade to pry open the obscure machinations of local government to public scrutiny. The latest victory came last week, after Shapiro and ...

Is McDonald's really the largest purchaser of cow eyeballs?

Dear Matt: Is McDonald's really the largest purchaser of cow eyeballs? -- Jason, Mission Beach Yeah, I know I said I'd had my fill of obvious urban legends. But with this tall tale I figured, ...

What the heck is the female announcer saying on the Baja, California Mexico commercial?

Hey, Matt: I keep hearing what I think is a commercial in a foreign language on several of the local radio stations. It goes something like this. "Icky, socky, ramey, afamey, Baja California, Mexico." What ...

Have you ever heard of rats chewing the wiring in a car engine?

Dear Matt A: Have you ever heard of rats chewing the wiring in a car engine? Rats are eating my car! What I'm wondering is, why are they doing it and how can I stop ...

See some of San Diego County's tallest and fattest trees on Middle Peak in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

If you like big trees, Middle Peak is the place to go in San Diego County. Middle Peak's cone-shaped form is capped with some of the largest coniferous trees in the Cuyamaca Mountains and in ...

Thursday, May 18

Dear Daddy Warbucks

When it was announced two weeks ago that John Moores had pledged $20 million toward construction of a $75 million cancer-research center at the University of California San Diego, Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry ...

The 300 Million Dollar Bouquet

The winter flower fields in Carlsbad are brown swells of plowed soil planted with ranunculus seed. By February the green sprouts appear, like carefully placed tufts of bright yarn across an undulating quilt. March through ...

What Happens When a Doctor Makes a Mistake

“She’s contracting every seven minutes and liquid is coming out.” It was a Sunday morning in early March, and I was the doctor on call for family practice and pregnancy-related matters. This call from a ...

The Battler

Joe Mazares, at 57, still has the trim, muscled body of the lightweight boxer he once was. "I boxed," he tells me, "under the name 'Joey Vincent' during the late '60s and early '70s. Most ...

Mark Chapman's Bane

On the evening of December 8, 1980, Kristy Mundt, a cashier at Vons, was relaxing in her Lemon Grove home, watching the Miami Dolphins play the New England Patriots at the Orange Bowl. When Howard ...

Wired

The intrigue surrounding the relationship between city councilwoman Valerie Stallings and the Padres grew last week with the release of telephone records from Stallings's office in response to a California Public Records Act request. According ...

What is the meaning of "CE?"

Dear Matt: Every once in a while I run across a rather cryptic notation, this being a "CE" inscribed on a product in a rather curly, Phoenician-type script. I've seen this on everything from Vuarnet ...

What is the meaning behind "simulated picture," referring to ads for television sets?

Hey, Matt: In newspaper ads for television sets I often see, in tiny print, "simulated picture" or something to that effect. Is there some obscure consumer law that requires the notation? -- Verve, the Net ...

Visit the "Bridge to Nowhere," deep in a roadless section of Angeles National Forest.

Born of snow-fed rivulets, the many tributaries of the East Fork San Gabriel River gather together to form one of the liveliest mountain streams in the San Gabriel Mountains. At a spot called "the Narrows" ...

Thursday, May 11

Just a Boy

A couple of days before Christmas 1990, my family and I boarded a plane in Oakland bound for San Diego, a.k.a. Grandparentland, where we usually spend the holidays. My wife and I both graduated from ...

Getting Back Can Be Tricky

“It’s not against the law for Americans to travel to Cuba. It’s just illegal to spend any money on Cuban businesses,” Michael Dessen says, laughing. Dessen, trombonist with local avant-jazz band Cosmologic, is talking about ...

Blurt

“That’s the value of a brand. They’ve got the domain name.” Like MP3.com’s Michael Robertson, James Gambale runs a San Diego-based Internet music-distribution company. But unlike Robertson, Gambale has a much harder task to bring ...

Cider House Dreams

For some people, charity begins someplace else -- anywhere but home. As children, Joy Warren and Roberta Arredondo found it at San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency when their parents could not properly ...

Battle of the Bodegas

The brown-robed monk leads the way down into the crypt. "In 1791 the Mission of Santo Tomás de Aquino was founded by Dominican friars, south of Ensenada. Along with the mission, they brought grape vines...." ...

Do as He Says

The former minister of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church has been put on trial by the national Presbyterian Church for allegedly committing "sexual abuse" and "misuse of his office and position" in connection with his involvement ...

Why is it that every time I go through the airport metal detector, the buzzer goes off and I am taken aside and checked by a hand detector?

Dear Matthew Alice: Every time I go through the airport metal detector, the buzzer goes off and I am taken aside and checked by a hand detector. I am ordered to empty my pockets, which ...

How many players have played major-league baseball since the beginning of time?

Dear Matt: Please help us. A die-hard baseball fan and I have a dispute to settle, and we know only you (and the elves) can help. How many players have played major-league baseball since the ...

Is it true that ancient Egyptians circumcised slaves?

Dear Matt: I have read that ancient Egyptians circumcised slaves. Moses kept the practice to remind Hebrews of that episode. I have also read that Egyptian rulers practiced the same rite. Are you knowledgeable if ...

Ships and Salsa

“They were throwing up on the boat, and no one was there to clean it up,” said one employee of the Clear Channel radio group about a “Ships and Salsa” radio promotion April 21. Clear ...

Hike under a 400-foot-high bridge carrying I-8 traffic over the gorge of Pine Valley Creek.

Starting from the spacious Pine Creek Trailhead outside Pine Valley, the Secret Canyon Trail weaves and bobs its way along the canyon of Pine Valley Creek, finally emerging some 15 miles later at Horsethief Canyon, ...

Thursday, May 4

Crankshaft Carburetor Engine Block

Support your local junkie,” read the bumper sticker. “Ahh, Marion, do you have to?” said the police in Barrio Logan. The junkie is Marion Martinez, part-owner of Mini Truck Dismantling Center, what used to be ...

The Mouse that Roared

Is the Clinton administration developing a conscience on border pollution? When Energy Secretary Bill Richardson comes to San Diego May 11 to host the energy conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, he will be ...

A Special Kind of Destiny

At the Carl's Jr. on Clairemont and Burgener, Michelle is on top of everything. Conscious of every customer, she double-checks the cleanliness and efficiency of the staff. Although not the manager, the other employees treat ...

Drip drip drip

Democratic state senator Steve Peace has been fighting hard for Western Water, formerly Yuba Natural Resources, the company once run by ex-felon Dick Silberman, one-time husband of San Diego mayor Susan Golding. Before Silberman went ...

Don’t try to make out in the front or backseat of a ’78 Volvo, especially if you’re over 40.

“The drive-in still had light, but the light came from the projectors and the projectors didn’t seem to have any source of electricity. We were surrounded by a blackness so complete it was like being ...

Is it true that there used to be a town at the bottom of Lake Hodges?

Matthew: I like to fish Lake Hodges, and a pal told me that somewhere at the bottom of the lake there is a town that existed before they built the dam. Is this a fish ...

What would be the proper way to pronounce a computer mouse plural- mice or mouses?

Heymatt: I was at Office Depot the other day and felt like a fool for asking them where there "mice" were, as in a mouse for a computer. Is there a way to pluralize this, ...

Do convicts still make our license plates?

Dear Matt: Do convicts still make our license plates, or was that all a big story told to us by our mothers? -- Charlie B., San Diego I see the cars a-comin', Rollin' 'round the ...

Visit the lush recesses of Cold Creek Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The extravagantly lush Cold Creek Canyon Preserve is a crown jewel set in the patchwork of public lands known as the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The preserve lies in a steep, north-facing bowl ...

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