Stories for November 2002

Wednesday, November 27

Nowhere Zone: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Normal Heights

“I’d lie awake at night and think, ‘I am in hell.’ I’d get up in the morning and think, ‘I am in hell.’ At one point we had heavy trucks making 200 to 300 trips ...

Don't Let That Apple Rot

Despite the early hour, the group of seniors standing on the sidewalk in front of Ann Evans's home in Del Cerro joke, tease, and laugh with each other. It's 7:20 in the morning, and Natalie ...

Suicidal fundraiser

It's payback time for San Diego County district attorney elect Bonnie Dumanis, and almost everyone, it seems, likes a winner. Next Thursday, December 5, the county's new chief prosecutor is set to stage a "Retire ...

Southern Orange County's Caspers Wilderness Park beckons hikers with a view-rich hike on the rim of Bell Canyon.

Caspers Wilderness Park is the crown jewel of Orange County's regional park system. It is the county's largest park (7600 acres), the least altered by human activities, and the most remote from population centers. "Remote" ...

What does the bullfighter do with the ears and the tail?

Senor Mattolio: When a bullfighter has a particularly good fight, and the crowd awards him (or her) the ears and the tail of the bull, what does he do with them? I can't imagine! -- ...

Chucking wood, sucking sap, hatching nuts...

Matt and Alice: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? -- Wondering, San Diego Lots. And so, Wondering, how much ground would a groundhog hog if a groundhog could ...

Thursday, November 21

A Slap in the Face of the Past

NORTH COUNTY MONEY BUYS THE RUIN OF DOWNTOWN'S HISTORIC SANTA FE DEPOT What in the world is it? Some say it looks like an oversized version of the monolith in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space ...

EEK! It's a human arrow!

Hey, Mr. Alice: So I'm sitting at a stop light and I notice this disturbing trend of human billboards. You see them twirling those sale signs and doing a weird dance. My questions I have ...

Examined Life

Even with a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, tax legislation and judicial nominees could be blocked by a filibuster. How many votes are needed to overcome a filibuster? A. 51 B. 59 C. 60 ...

Fatal Shore

When two robbers with handguns ordered him to lie face down next to his pickup in Mission Beach, Paul Cullen refused. "I figured if they were going to shoot me," he says about the holdup ...

Whitewashed history

When University of California president and San Diego favorite son Richard C. Atkinson announced his planned retirement last week at the age of 73, saying he was returning to La Jolla, his hometown Union-Tribune provided ...

Tackle severe ups and downs on the old mining track through El Capitan Open Space Reserve near Lakeside.

If you have the fortitude to tackle some killer ups and downs, try the surprisingly challenging hiking route to El Cajon Mountain, a picturesque East County landmark. Your primary destination is the 3675-foot-high point along ...

How far away is the horizon?

You know, MA, here's a pretty simple one that I just can't answer for myself. Just how far away is the horizon? Seems pretty simple, right? But all the science books give all the math ...

Thursday, November 14

He Turns out Hometown Heroes

No local writer is more local than Ken Kuhlken. Born in Mercy Hospital on September 4, 1945, while celebrations for World War II’s end were still in progress, Kuhlken only rarely and for short periods ...

A plea for I Love You Day

Dear Matthew Alice: Do you know of any movement afoot to get January 4, 2003 designated "National I Love You Day" (1/4/3 = 143 = "I love you"-- get it?) How would one go about ...

Why do birds move that way?

Dear Matt I was staring out the window the other day at a bunch of birds. Most of the birds were walking around, but a couple of them were hopping. Does this mean something? -- ...

A booger by any other name...

Matt: Is there a socially correct or at least a medical term for, uhmm, nose goblins? Sinus boulders? You know. Boogers? We all know the correct terms for most of our body parts, pieces, and ...

Why no broccoli in a can?

Hey Matt: I was just doing my own thing when my phone rang this morning. It's my sister with another stupid question. Why is there no canned broccoli? I searched your archives for this but ...

Waking up with a jerk

Hey, Matt: Why is it that when I'm just beginning to drift off at night and fall asleep, suddenly, BOOM, in my dream I trip or fall or get hit by a bus, causing my ...

Fart Kills Man! Film at 11!

Matthew Alice: This showed up in our company email. "A terrible diet and a room with no ventilation are blamed for the death of a man who was killed by his own gas.... His diet ...

Ballot Box Blues

The day after the November 5 election finds some San Diegans sad, others elated, and many just indifferent. At the time these interviews took place, the race between Bonnie Dumanis and Paul Pfingst was still ...

Ink by the barrel

Once again, the first Tuesday of November turned out to be a dismal day for the Union-Tribune's high-profile editorial endorsements. The paper's choice for district attorney, Paul Pfingst, was beaten in an upset by Judge ...

Hike through the narrow cleft of Mosaic Canyon in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley's spaciousness is a big part of its appeal, but there's something here for claustrophobic individuals as well. In a few places, infrequent but powerful flash floods have carved narrow, sinuous channels into the ...

Thursday, November 7

The Death of Judy Huscher

The body lies in a position of repose, a 12-year-old girl in pajamas, on her bed, in Fallbrook, California. Her blue eyes, though open, see nothing, and for ten more minutes, no one sees her. ...

What happened to Roscoe Hazard's scary photos?

Matthew: As a Cub Scout, I visited the R.E. Hazard Museum in Mission Valley many years back. I recall an entire collection of photos of hangings. These were the real thing, all were extra grisly ...

The Vargas Girls cheer up tax day.

Matthew: My fiancée recently gave me some vintage Varga[cq] pinups, part of a series of drawings from a calendar, year unknown. For each month there is the expected hottie and a bit of rhyming verse ...

Is chili eating up my butt?

Dear Matt: I really like spicy food, but I don't like re-experiencing the spiciness the next day "down there." Could eating spicy food have a lasting damaging effect at my other end? -- matt, Vienna ...

Don't worry, be happy.

Matthew Alice: Someone told me that the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" actually was written by some Indian guru. Is this true? -- Rita, San Diego The mindless ditty, the musical equivalent of a happy-face ...

Gun Universe

On October 21, during the hysteria of the D.C. sniper attacks, the Washington Times reported that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer had hushed up a report by state ballistics experts that accurate ballistic fingerprinting is ...

U-T Drops Hawkers

In 1996, the San Diego Union-Tribune started its "Street-Side Hawker Sales Program" in which over 40 mostly homeless people sold copies of the daily newspaper directly to motorists at busy intersections from Mira Mesa to ...

Crockery

A member of the Spanish Village art colony in Balboa Park is making New York tabloid headlines. Thirty-six-year-old ceramic artist Lisa Karmazin -- who produces "colorful and whimsical cups, saucers, trays, and wall sculptures," according ...

Survey Escondido's new Mule Hill/San Pasqual Trail on foot, by bike, or on horseback.

With the opening of the ten-mile-long Mule Hill/San Pasqual Trail outside Escondido in June 2002, the projected Coast-to-Crest Trail leaped closer to reality. The coast-to-crest route, designed for hiking, biking, and equestrian travel, will eventually ...

Tuesday, November 5

Closing escrow on Neptune

Hey, Matt: If I wanted to own the moon or Mars or Neptune or some comets or something, who would I have to see to take care of the paperwork? -- JG, San Diego I ...