Stories for August 2002

Thursday, August 29

A Tall Steeple Pastor Confronts His Fall

Solana Beach Presbyterian Church members felt hurt and betrayed and outraged and surprised when they learned that for more than ten years their former pastor, a trim and handsome married man, had been sexually intimate ...

Who started the wave?

Hey Matt! Just who started the wave, and why won't it end? -- Rico, the net People are actually fighting to claim the title of Father of the Wave. More amazing, one of the candidates ...

Can you really get kidney dialysis for aluminum pop tops?

Heymatt: What's up with collecting aluminum pop-tops for kidney dialysis? Someone at work asked me to start saving the pop-tops from aluminum cans because each little teeny piece of aluminum was supposedly worth one hour ...

What band started the tradition of holding up lighters at concerts?

Howdy. How and when did the practice of holding up lighters during rock concerts come about? I have a friend who insists that this practice began in 1972 at a Neil Diamond concert during his ...

Climb Cowles Mountain, highest peak in the city of San Diego, by way of an eastern approach.

Cowles Mountain, whose 1591-foot summit is noted as the highest elevation in the city of San Diego, is served by more hiking routes than most people are aware of. If you tire of the popular ...

Thursday, August 22

Show Me Your Tongue

It’s karaoke night at Hennessey’s Tavern in Pacific Beach, and Erin Grimmer is feeding ice cubes to her pet plant. The plant is named Phyl, short for prophylactic, since they found him next to the ...

Upstart Daily Rankles Tijuana

In mid-July, Tijuana's newest newspaper, Frontera, a daily with a circulation of 18,000, was involved in an incident that in many ways symbolizes the three-year-old paper's standing in Tijuana. "We had some problems with distributors ...

Car Talk

Since September 11, the most frequently seen bumper sticker in San Diego is the American flag, often shown with slogans such as "United We Stand" and "God Bless America." Other popular stickers include sports stickers, ...

Where's the Land of Lost Socks?

Dear Mr. Matt: Is there really a black hole that rebellious socks escape to when you're not looking? Is there someplace in this world where an enormous pile of lost $20 bills collects to discuss ...

I have ants in my pants. Real ants. Really.

It's about the ants, Matt: They're everywhere inside my house. Looking for water, I hear. I understood when they hung out in the kitchen. I bought one of those ultrasonic pest repellers and that seemed ...

Where did "shave and a haircut, two bits" come from?

Dear Mr. Alice: Everyone is familiar with the knocking pattern that's often associated with "shave and a haircut, two bits." I was recently in Europe and noticed that it is also used there. Can you ...

Accept the day-long (or days-long) challenge of climbing Southern California's highest peak: San Gorgonio Mountain.

The barren 11.5K-foot summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest elevation in Southern California, is a classic destination for San Diego hikers. The century-old Vivian Creek Trail route to the top from the south is ...

Thursday, August 15

Bad Knees

Sometimes I wish I could slice open the skin that covers my knees so I could poke around inside a bit. Without pain, of course. Without spilling any blood or other vital juices. And only ...

What About Hodges?

To San Diego County residents who drive Interstate 15, Lake Hodges has been their drought meter. Since the rainy El Niño year of 1998, they've watched the lake's edge slowly recede from a mile east ...

Darn these dimples!

Dear Mr. Alice: I have dimples and I want to know what they are. Where do they come from? -- Christopher, age 8, San Diego Tired of all those adults pinching your cheeks and cooing ...

The explanation for turkeys.

Dear M.A.: I brought up the "fact" that there is some sort of chemical or substance that is found in turkey which, when consumed, makes one sleepy. My cohorts either think I'm making this up ...

How can I enjoy a Big Mac without actually leaving the house?

Dear Matthew Alice: A number of years ago I read about a woman who had written a book of recipes she had developed that supposedly replicated the taste of the items of a number of ...

Hike, bike, or skate a car-traffic-free five miles around Sail Bay in Mission Beach.

A decade's worth of improvements totaling millions of dollars have smoothed the way for pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters traveling along the curving shoreline of west Mission Bay and its upper extremity, Sail Bay. Generously wide ...

Thursday, August 8

Good Life in Sabre Springs

Dad leaves for work. Mom stays home. Kids ride their bikes in the street. Dogs run free across the green lawns. Flowers grow even from the street drains. One homeowner confessed that her biggest problem ...

Our Saintly Namesake

By rights, San Diego should be called St. Miguel or Iago City. And if a rather ghoulish miracle hadn’t occurred, and a particular pope hadn’t been in power, our Diego may never have become a ...

What are those Terminator glasses some old people wear?

Matthew: Who makes those funky looking Terminator-style shades that kind of make everybody look like Ah-nold Schwarzenegger, and is it a conspiracy or odd coincidence that only senior citizens seem to be wearing them? Do ...

Why doesn't The New York Times go tabloid?

Hey: Does size really matter? I think it does. The long ones always flop over unless you hold them up just right. I prefer the shorter ones because you can hold them up straight easily ...

Continental breakfast: sounds fancy, looks puny

Dear Matt: Where did the term Continental breakfast come from? It sure sounds big for something so small. -- Keith, the Net The name comes from the us-and-them distinction that Brits love make. There's Us ...

Hike amid the shade of coast live-oaks at Orange County's Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Pint-size Santiago Oaks Regional Park, in the city of Orange, was pieced together from two former ranch properties acquired by Orange County's parks department in the mid-1970s. A small Valencia orange grove and many acres ...

Friday, August 2

Promise Breakers

How long is forever? As it turns out, forever is about two years, or so people in Chula Vista were recently surprised to discover. In March 1996, the County of San Diego and the City ...

Thursday, August 1

Friday Night at Dad's

When you drive along Mountain Pass Road in suburban Sabre Springs and you go by the two-story van Dam house, it’s difficult to believe that a few minutes before 8:30 on Friday night, February 1, ...

San Diego remembers the deluge

LATE PLIOCENE: 2.67 million years ago, continental glaciation began in the northern hemisphere. During the Late Pliocene, and episodically since then, Pacific Beach was underwater, part of a large bay extending south to Tijuana. Coronado ...

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There

Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is probably not what you think goes on here. I don’t know what, exactly, I thought the ...

Can I be buried with my implants?

Heymatt: So all my friends were wondering, when a woman with breast implants dies, do they remove them or bury them with her? -- Ashley, the net The elves have had a great time speculating ...

What's that other setting on a stapler for?

Dear M.A.: Why do staplers have two settings on the base plate for the direction in which the staple bends? Everyone (I know of) uses the settings that bends the staple inward. What is the ...

A world full of nothing: It makes more sense than a world full of something.

So, Matt: Why is there stuff in the universe? Why is there anything instead of nothing? If there used to be nothing, it makes more sense that there would still be nothing. Can you help? ...

Why do ventriloquists' dummies all look alike? And so dorky!

Why do ventriloquists' dummies all look alike? And why do they look so goofy? -- No Dummy, North Park Ventriloquists' dummies look like Alfred E. Newman on day three of an amphetamine jag. Enormous heads; ...

More Pedophile Priest Follies

Father Paul Shanley, the Roman Catholic priest who lived in San Diego from 1997 until his arrest in May of this year at his Hillcrest apartment, is currently awaiting trial in a Boston jail on ...

Julian Waits for Disaster

It's a muggy 93 degrees as I steer my car up the winding, climbing driveway of Buzz Machey's property in Julian. Near the top of the drive, I swing left to avoid a ten-wheel diesel ...

Sausage in the making

A bill by San Diego assemblywoman Christine Kehoe to allow the San Diego Unified School District and the city to tear down hundreds of houses in City Heights is facing tougher than expected sledding in ...

Hike, bike, or skate Lake Miramar's paved perimeter path -- but not across the dam itself.

Not all San Diegans flock to the beaches on sunny summer days. Some gravitate toward inland recreational spots like Lake Miramar, which offers a spacious venue for pursuits such as walking, jogging, biking, and in-line ...