Stories for October 2001

Wednesday, October 31

Visit Imperial County's Pumpkin Patch, where stone pumpkins dot the barren desert landscape.

Stone pumpkins numbering in the hundreds, baked beige and reticulated by exposure to the summer desert sun, lie in a patch of several acres at the Imperial County site known as Pumpkin Patch. The spherical ...

Thursday, October 25

Did Bin Laden's Brother Live a Secret Life in San Diego?

"He showed me a catalog full of pictures of beautiful flowers, and I ordered a huge amount, great big beautiful daffodils, like the kind they grow up in Puyallup, Washington. I also ordered some wonderful ...

Blame It on the Budget

Crispina Lopez de Galliano sits with her husband, Dean, writing a résumé at the Employment Development Department. Galliano, 37, is angry. She believes she lost her job as a cashier at the 32nd Street Commissary ...

Spam Buster

We all get them and we all hate them: unwanted e-mails advertising cut-rate life insurance, low-interest mortgages, get-rich-quick schemes, debt-consolidation services, ink-jet cartridges, and cell-phone accessories. One might live with these annoyances, if they weren't ...

Spooky

The highest-ranking retired CIA operative in La Jolla has been spurned by the Bush administration, reports the Washington Times. Duane "Dewey" Clarridge -- founder of the CIA's counterterrorism center and ex-chief of the agency's Arab ...

Snoop around the Dawn Mine, hidden deep within Millard Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Millard Canyon's happily splashing stream, presided over by oaks, alders, maples, and bigcone Douglas firs, flows out of the San Gabriel Mountains and down into the urban flatlands of the Los Angeles Basin. The six-mile ...

Thursday, October 18

They Make Their Home by the River

We heard him screaming even before he broke out of the underbrush, crashing through the giant reeds on either side of the narrow path. The sun had just set, and the riverbed area was no ...

Middle-Aged and Unemployed

Michael Davis is unemployed, but his motivation is contagious. At 52, he's seen jobs come and go, and he's out of work again. "I was working for the San Diego Unified School District through a ...

Tijuana Dream Tracker

'Just like Florence, just like Rome, Tijuana, too, has its monuments." Professor Julio Rodríguez steers his blue Ford through Zona Rio, gesturing at one statue after another. "And what are monuments? What do they represent? ...

Fear of flying

A retired rear admiral, ex-SEAL, and military special-ops expert who lives in Coronado has found himself in the middle of the controversy over the nation's airport security. Cathal "Irish" Flynn, who saw two tours of ...

Why do fish jump out of Mission Bay?

Dear Matt: My boyfriend and I recently had a post-sunset picnic at Mission Bay. We observed fish jumping out of the water (really!). I thought they were jumping out and flipping down to scratch themselves. ...

Climb Morena Butte's three-peaked summit for great views of Lake Morena and the border region.

Morena Butte's three-peaked summit plateau presides over a diverse landscape of V-shaped canyons, rock-strewn ridges, and grassy depressions known as potreros (pastures). All three peaks are attractive photographically, as they consist of great slabs and ...

What does the YKK stand for on my zipper?

Yo Matt: What does the YKK on my zipper tab stand for? Company logo, material, brand...what? -- A concerned fly-opener (and -closer), San Diego Yoshida Kogyo Kabushibibaisha. Roughly:Yoshida Company, Inc. Tadao Yoshida started making zippers ...

Why doesn't the dirt in my flowerpots disappear?

Dear Matthew Alice: Plants grow because you give the good soil and water them, right? So why doesn't the level of soil in the houseplants that I've had for years gradually subside? Aren't the minerals ...

Thursday, October 11

Belly

The 24 Hour Fitness center on Midway Drive is in a large strip mall with a Vons and a Sport Chalet. It is a two-story club with a weight room; two aerobic studios; two large ...

Who Will and Won't Fight and Why

Many San Diego stores display the American flag and patriotic slogans, such as "United We Stand." Many draft-age men wandering in and out of those stores, however, don't seem ready to join the fight. Loc ...

Strange company

Arizona officials have yanked the racing license of Jeremy Simms, the real estate magnate and ex-car dealer whose close connection to one-time Las Vegas casino owner and fellow La Jollan Allen Glick have raised questions ...

Are there any exceptions to the law that a person can't be tried twice for a crime?

Hey, Matt: I know we have a rule of double jeopardy saying a person can’t be tried twice for the same crime. But are there any exceptions? What if someday O.J. Simpson breaks down and ...

Why does the Reader print six consecutive pages of body-scultpting ads, microdermabrasion ads, laser eye correction ads, etc.?

Dig this, answer guy: The Reader now prints six consecutive pages of body-sculpting ads, microdermabrasion ads, laser eye correction ads, varicose vein removal ads, and have-a-youth-obsessed-brain-leech-grafted-to-your-skull ads, with half a page of actual text squeezed ...

Can you help me dress in drag for Halloween?

Dear Matt: After seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I’m inspired to go full drag this Halloween. The problem is, I have no idea how to start! As a straight male who’s never dressed up ...

Thursday, October 4

You’re Worth Over 800 Million Dollars. Is it Enough to be Considered Old Money?

I have a friend who’s lived in San Diego for more than 20 years but grew up in the Old Money enclave of Washington, D.C. I’ll call him Andrew. He claims his parents weren’t Old ...

One Percent Innocent

While "innocent until proven guilty" may be the basis of criminal law in America, convicted felons find that it works in reverse when appealing their cases. Appealing a conviction is a long, arduous process, and ...

Mayor's Mysterious Money Mavens

In January, San Diego mayor Dick Murphy gave his first "State of the City" speech, in which he set forth ten goals, including fixing sewer spills, building a downtown ballpark, and finding money for a ...

Crash and burn

During the late dot-com stock-market boom, the once high-flying stocks owned by Padres owner John Moores and his JMI Equity venture capital investment company were the envy of the high-tech world and helped Moores become ...

Toe Jams

"I like myself a great deal, and I'm afraid that if God gave me arms, my ego would have been out of control," says Mark Goffeney, the armless guitar player and lead singer of the ...

Drive and then hike to Toro Peak, the pinnacle of the desert-bordering Santa Rosa Mountains.

At 8716 feet Toro Peak crowns the Santa Rosa Mountains, an elongated complex of ridges running for some 35 miles between Palm Springs in Riverside County and Borrego Valley in San Diego County. Perhaps nowhere ...