Stories for March 2001

Thursday, March 29

Mother Tongue

“I even speak Yiddish with a Mexican accent. I can’t help it.” If you call the Institute for Jewish Research in Manhattan and ask to be referred to a Yiddish speaker in San Diego, you’ll ...

Can you reprogram your cell phone with a different service provider?

Question: I have a dual-band Motorola StarTAC phone I got from Sprint PCS. I canceled my service with them because of NO service whatsoever. Is the phone dead now, or can it be reprogrammed to ...

Why is it that when English guys sing, you don't notice their accents?

Hey, Matt: Why is it that when English guys sing, you don't notice their accents? For example, when Liam Gallagher from Oasis speaks, the accent is so thick I can barely understand a word he ...

Enough News, Too Little Cash

In November 1999, the Daily Californian, a 108-year-old newspaper serving East County, shifted from daily printing to a twice-weekly format. Thus ended a run of 36 years in which East County had its own daily ...

Hellfire from La Jolla

With all the trouble in the Balkans these days, you'd think that the Predator, that unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, produced by La Jolla's General Atomics, owned by billionaire brothers Neal and Linden Blue, would ...

Hacking It in Baja

I know this guy -- call him Dave -- who spent much of February and part of March searching San Diego stores for a set-top receiver compatible with the DirecTV system. He had no use ...

Thursday, March 22

Wirecutter

Chapter One It was always night in the Hillcrest Club, one of those Southern California cocktail lounges with the red vinyl booths, artificial plants, Formica bar, and no windows. Anyone coming in off the street, ...

For big tires, when the rate of speed increases, does the difference in my speedometer vs. actual speed increase, decrease, or remain the same?

MA of Reader: I have a Toyota truck that has a lift on it and tires that are a little bigger than the factory tires were. The other day I passed one of those radar ...

How does the Mint make a profit?

Hey, Matt: Recently the daily paper published a letter from the director of the U.S. Mint defending the issuance of the so-called "Golden Dollars." He indicated that the Mint generated a profit of $800,000,000 (that's ...

With Friends Like These

If they think of him at all these days, most San Diegans probably remember Allen Glick as the Mafia puppet, thinly disguised as “Mr. Green,” in Martin Scorcese’s movie version of Casino, a book by ...

With Friends Like These

If they think of him at all these days, most San Diegans probably remember Allen Glick as the Mafia puppet, thinly disguised as "Mr. Green," in Martin Scorcese's movie version of Casino, a book by ...

Revenge of the Union-Tribune

Sixth District city council candidate Peter Navarro is making headway in his investigation into how those huge Union-Tribune signs got on the back of Qualcomm Stadium overlooking the busy I-15 and I-8 interchange in Mission ...

Hike up the Merigan Fire Road in the Cuyamaca Mountains for a bit of solitude.

Standing apart from nearby peaks, Viejas Mountain can be seen from many parts of metropolitan San Diego as a dusky, obtusely triangular feature along the eastern horizon. A faint, partially overgrown trail Fed by countless ...

Thursday, March 15

In Passing: Water and Heaven

To help pay for San Diego’s first publicly commissioned outdoor sculpture, a small bronze statue in honor of Ellen Scripps, the mayor asked schoolchildren to donate their pennies to the purchase fund. Now, 80 years ...

Are people's birthdays distributed evenly throughout the year?

Matthew: Are people's birthdays distributed evenly throughout the year, or are there clumps of birthdays in certain months? -- Mark Holmes, Del Mar Heights Birthdaywise, we're a very clumpy country. Mostly we're busy birthin' in ...

What purpose does "gleeking" serve?

What purpose does "gleeking" serve? Where is the word derived from? And do you even know what I'm talking about? -- Brian, Clairemont As if things weren't crazy enough around here, we're wearing rain ponchos ...

Why do we only smell odors when we breath in?

The Big M: How come when we breathe in, you can smell odors, but when you breathe out through your nose you cannot? Do the odors we smell while breathing in disappear in some odor ...

Does the DA Have No Choice?

Before most people knew the shooter at Santana High School's first name was Charles, not Andy, District Attorney Paul Pfingst announced his intention to try him as an adult at a news conference three hours ...

Moola, Moola

Insiders say it isn't surprising that the San Diego Taxpayers Association has endorsed the city's latest ballpark-financing scheme, even though it's heavily subsidized by city taxpayers. Association president Mary Ball, whose name appears below the ...

Take a nippy dip in the shallow pools of Cuyamaca's Harper Creek.

On a bud-bursting spring day, Harper Creek's shallow, jewel-like pools invite tactile exploration — with more than just the fingers. Slide into one of the pools this month (assuming we get a decent amount of ...

Witness fault action in freeze-frame at Devils Punchbowl Natural Area in Los Angeles County.

Tens of millions of years in the making, Devil's Punchbowl is certainly Los Angeles County's most spectacular geological showplace. When looking down into this 300-foot-deep chasm, you sense the enormity of the slow yet inexorable ...

Thursday, March 8

No One Ever Dances

By all accounts, it was Dan Siskowic who conceived the idea of creating a place in cyberspace for the Mission Bay High School Class of 1975. Dan did this in January 2000. He and a ...

What is the story behind the Proctor Valley Monster

Hey, MA: For years I've heard stories of the Proctor Valley Monster. Proctor Valley is northeast of Otay Lakes. Some say it's a deranged cow and others say it's San Diego's version of Bigfoot. Can ...

Who built the big concrete teepee on top of a hill near Escondido, and why?

Dear Matthew Alice: I remember a long time ago there used to be a big concrete teepee on top of a hill near Escondido. You could see it from all over. Can you find out ...

Forever Money-Hungry

Campaign fundraising in San Diego County never ends. Immediately after election day last November, politicians of every stripe were out, hat in hand, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a host of wealthy donors ...

Busted

Ex-San Diego city councilwoman Valerie Stallings, forced to resign in January after admitting her failure to report a raft of gifts from Padres owner John Moores, has filed her leaving-office financial-disclosure statement as required by ...

Red Rock Canyon, reminiscent of the cinematic Wild West, lies hidden within the Santa Monica Mountains.

Scenic Red Rock Canyon hides amid the scruffy slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains, not far from the San Fernando Valley communities of Woodland Hills and Calabasas. Slabs of cavernous sandstone and cobbly conglomerate tilted ...

See Kitchen Creek Falls in the Laguna Mountains at its seasonal best.

What San Diego's backyard mountain ranges lack in terms of scale and grandeur is outweighed by the sublime and circumspect beauty to be found in some of its remote canyons. A case in point is ...

Thursday, March 1

Drag's Not For Sissies

To walk through Horton Plaza at lunchtime on a gorgeous day in late spring with a flamboyantly beautiful woman on your arm is a sure way to snag a lot of looks — quick, long, ...

Has Gaslamp Lived Up to Its Promise?

The Downtown Information Center, a service of the Centre City Development Corporation, occupies the ground-floor lobby at 225 Broadway. The center exhibits sketches and charts detailing the area's redevelopment. Its showpiece is a 200-square-foot model ...

Why do people cry when they are sad, and when they are happy?

Hey, Matt: Why do people cry when they're sad? I can understand tears when you've got something in your eye. But crying when you're sad doesn't seem to have any biological purpose. -- Boo-hoo, the ...

Tijuana's Troubled Families

'Go to the border between 5:00 and 7:00 in the morning, and you can understand something about my patients' lives. At that time in the morning, the border is crazy. People honking, yelling, fighting for ...

Murder beat

There are two local connections to the grisly murder of two professors at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. San Diego's Hannah Essery is the 80-year-old grandmother of James J. Parker, one of the two Vermont ...

Hunt for obsidian and view volcanic mud pots near the Salton Sea

About as fast as toenails grow, the Imperial Valley continues to widen in an east-west direction. As fast as fingernails grow, Imperial Valley's west side shudders northwestward relative to territory farther east and north. The ...

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