Stories for February 2002

Thursday, February 28

Will Booze Billboards Buy City Hall?

It was a last-minute law, passed by a lame-duck San Diego City Council in the waning days of Mayor Susan Golding's term, a troubled era in the city's history when the Chargers ticket guarantee and ...

This Cart Belongs to Squeegeeman

It's one of those February mornings in San Diego when the sun doesn't break through the clouds until nine o'clock. The visible moisture on cars and plants will disappear soon, but downtown air retains a ...

Lost Amelia

A plan to hunt for Amelia Earhart's long-lost airplane by using a deep-sea robotic submarine outfitted in San Diego has produced a lawsuit. Earhart was on one of the final legs of her attempt to ...

Can I bleach my teeth and my underwear at the same time?

Hey, Matt: Even though I know it is not safe to ingest bleach, I was wondering if pure bleach would harm your teeth? Trust me, I know how absurd it sounds, but it is so ...

We've got sea gulls on our nuclear reactor.

Hey, Matt: I was recently driving by the Dolly Parton memorial (San Onofre), and I noticed that the sea gulls and all other types of flying things are clustered on the north dome, and it's ...

Whither the Scooter Pie...

Hey, Matthew! I have a lot of memories about favorite snack foods from when I was growing up, none of which are on the market today. My strongest memory was Scooter Pies, a lot like ...

Easy-to-reach Cottonwood Creek Falls channels snowmelt and runoff descending from the Laguna Mountains.

Hidden in the apex of a valley just below Sunrise Highway, near the town of Pine Valley, a small stream has worn its way down to the metamorphic bedrock that underlies much of the Laguna ...

Thursday, February 21

Follow Me

On a hilltop playground in City Heights, a woman in a pink wraparound apron and straw hat is walking. She looks like an American mother of a certain period — before feminism and dual careers ...

They Laugh at a $1000 Fine

Edmundo Batista Rivera and Conrado Gaxiola Val, though business competitors, greet each other as old friends. Batista rises from his table at Azulejos restaurant in the Hotel Camino Real in Tijuana's Zona Rio, and the ...

Neon signs

Following a mention here two weeks ago about his failure to disclose, San Diego State University president Stephen Weber has amended his official statements of economic interest to reveal the acquisition date of his stock ...

Aliens Use My Social Security Number

We all assume that if there is one thing that's ours alone, it is our Social Security number. And everyone who's ever offered you a job, a loan, or a line of credit has assumed ...

Why do dogs' back ends sometimes drift to the side when they run?

Ahoy, Matt: I've noticed that many of our canine friends seem to walk, um, well, sort of sideways. It's like their hind legs are going faster than the front ones and are catching up. Usually ...

Saltine crackers: 13 holes? 16 holes? What's the story?

Hey: Do the Keebler elves have names? Are they related to your elves? -- Skitch, Solana Beach To Matthew Alice: Recently I bought a box of crackers, specifically a 16-oz. box labeled Krispy original. The ...

Death of a lightbulb: the full story.

Matt: Why does a lightbulb burn out just as you turn it on and never when it's been on for a while? -- LLN, La Jolla As a lighted bulb glows away, minute bits of ...

Dribbling with runoff, Newton Canyon Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains lies hidden below a major roadway.

Although they slice only about six miles inland from the Pacific shoreline near Point Dume in Malibu, Zuma Canyon and its tributaries harbor some of the deeper gorges of the Santa Monica Mountains. Winter rains ...

Thursday, February 14

Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

Christie Ridgway’s 11th published novel, This Perfect Kiss, opens with the heroine, a vintage-clothing dealer, heading for an afternoon appointment. She’s dressed in a tight-fitting, flesh-colored chiffon evening gown out of which her voluptuous breasts ...

Cops Question Database

In November, superior court judge William Nevitt denied a coalition of seven San Diego County police officers associations -- plus an association of district attorney researchers -- access to a database that they claimed the ...

Cheeze Biz

Jules Wesselink's cheese operation, Winchester Cheese Company, couldn't have been smaller when it started. "I went to Holland in 1995," says the Dutch immigrant, "for the 50th anniversary of our liberation from Germany. My relatives ...

Krishna conscience

The Washington Post is reporting that 12 of nearly 50 Hare Krishna temples in the United States, including one in San Diego, are set to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month due to a ...

What's this light show in my eyes?

OK, I got a question for ya: What are those weird patterns and designs and colors you see when you close your eyes and push on your eyeballs with your hands? What is that? How ...

Can you flash your car lights and turn the traffic light green?

M-Alice: Returning home from Lindbergh Field late at night, the taxi driver stopped for the traffic light at the corner of Laurel Street and India. He began to flash the taxi headlights on and off. ...

Help! My legs fall asleep when I'm on the toilet.

Wizard of Alice: How come my legs fall asleep when I'm on the toilet but not when I'm working at my computer? -- RV, the net I really don't want to know any more about ...

Silica gel. Good to eat?

Hey, Matt: Inside my new VCR box I found a small pouch labeled as silicate for desiccation, and it also said "Do Not Eat." Not that I would ever eat silicate, but what exactly would ...

"Big" Black Mountain outside Ramona offers a unique perspective of central San Diego County's geography.

San Diego County's "big" Black Mountain (not the smaller one looming above Rancho Peñasquitos) rises gently to an elevation of 4051 feet outside Ramona. A fire-lookout tower once stood on Black Mountain's summit, taking full ...

Thursday, February 7

Stealth Candidate

Who is Johnnie Perkins and Why Does He Want to Join the School Board?

With the future of San Diego Unified School District superintendent Alan Bersin and his once-vaunted blueprint for educational reform hanging in the balance, the race to replace outgoing school-board member Sue Braun — who caused ...

Survival T-Shirts

Mad Engine produces T-shirts for department stores, designer clothing lines, and specialty stores in the U.S. and 17 other countries. In 2000, they shipped $27 million of T-shirts worldwide. That number has dropped to about ...

Your Dad Arrested My Dad

For most people who live "down the hill," as San Diego's backcountry residents refer to everything west of the mountains, the thought of living "on the mountain" usually ends when the subject of work arises. ...

Moores and more

Add another local big shot to the growing list of those who got in on a sweet stock deal with Padres owner John Moores. San Diego State University president Stephen Weber lists an investment in ...

How do they make the sound of a punch in the movies?

Mattmonger: Growing up on television and movies, I was continually presented with one man hitting another man in the face with a closed fist. It always had this distinctive noise: a sound somewhere between meaty ...

Collectible china puppies -- are they worth anything?

Quick, Matt! Need an answer ASAP! My wife wants to start buying those sets of china dog figurines sold by the Franklin Mint. You see the ads in Parade magazine. Are they worth anything? Does ...

Why do I bite my nails?

Hey, Matt: I have this really gross habit of biting not only my fingernails but the skin around them. I've been doing this since I was a little kid and have been told it's a ...

Visit a surviving remnant of open space at south Orange County's Riley Wilderness Park.

Orange County's Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park -- a wilderness in name only -- spreads over 475 acres of rolling hills and oak-lined ravines and includes about five miles of trails open to hikers, equestrians, ...

Wednesday, February 6

What was the final bill for the Boston Tea Party?

Hey, Matt: How high were the taxes when the colonists finally got sick of it and dumped the tea in the brine and overthrew the British government? What would the equivalent be today? -- Herman ...

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