Stories for April 2003

Thursday, April 24

More Than Support

I first started to notice breasts when I was ten years old. Not my own, because I didn’t have any yet, but my mother’s. I had seen my mother dressing often enough; she was small-framed, ...

Robber Barons

Recently, Padres owner John Moores complained of "a huge streak of populism in San Diego" that, he claimed contemptuously, had contributed to ballpark delays. Similarly, in early 1997, when Herbert G. Klein, then top editor ...

El Cajon Mojo Master Lectures Spielberg

It was no accident, said San Diego clairvoyant Dr. James Capers, that movie mogul and occult aficionado Steven Spielberg attended his lecture in February, when Capers demonstrated his "spiritual gifts" at the Los Angeles Conscious ...

Language Problems

In Special Forces, the ideal is that every soldier is fluent in one foreign language and able to limp along in two others. But in a standard infantry company it wouldn't be unusual for no ...

Full spin ahead

The Union-Tribune, apparently intent upon shoring up the eroding credibility of San Diego schools chief Alan Bersin, gave a hero's sendoff to Veronica "Ronne" Froman, who abruptly left her lucrative job as Bersin's chief financial ...

Climb Inspiration Point for a view of Will Rogers State Historic Park and much of the L.A. metropolis.

Drive up a short mile from the speedway known as Sunset Boulevard in West Los Angeles toward Will Rogers State Historic Park, and you'll instantly leave the rat race behind. This secluded spot on the ...

Thursday, April 17

Savage Beauty

“I can tell you up front, it’s not an addiction. Everybody says it’s an addiction, and I don’t believe that at all. It’s a sickness. Seriously.” Gary Pierwola is speaking. A retired National City cop, ...

Cocktail-Party Corruption

San Diego's ballpark misadventure is a textbook study of a public and private leadership structure that is utterly incapable of challenging a fatuously unworkable and wholly unethical idea. Those in the establishment who knew the ...

Left in Hell

"They were careless people...they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the ...

Report from the front

Inside word has it that retired Rear Admiral Veronica "Ronne" Froman, hired back in August 2001 as chief financial sidekick to San Diego Unified School District superintendent Alan Bersin, will shortly be departing the district. ...

Tijuana's Missing Poet

Fear of kidnapping has long spurred the upper classes in Tijuana to build high walls around their homes and mansions. Some even purchase insurance policies that will pay ransoms. But the literary community, never feeling ...

Listen for the melodious sound of falling water at Tenaja Falls in the Santa Ana Mountains.

With five tiers and a total drop of about 150 feet, Tenaja Falls is the most interesting natural feature in Cleveland National Forest's San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. In late winter and spring, water coursing down ...

Expired water?

Hi MA: Why does my bottle of Aquafina have an expiration date on it? What would go bad, the H or the two Os? -- Mort Schwartz, San Diego I think your Hs and Os ...

We pulled an all-nighter to answer this one.

Hey: Settle an argument with my friend. He says cramming for an exam doesn’t work. I say staying up all night studying and going right into the exam makes the information fresh in my brain ...

Why ants don’t need floaties.

Hey Matt: After watching a few serious downpours earlier this year and noticing long lines of ants along my driveway when it was dry, I wondered how they don’t drown during a big rain storm. ...

Give it up for the clap!

Matt: Why do they call it the clap? Personally, I wouldn’t clap if I found out I had it…yikes! -- Gretchen, La Jolla Let’s hear it for the French! They gave us the clap. The ...

Thursday, April 10

Too Close for Comfort

North Island Naval Air Station is impressive from the sky — 2600 acres dotted with buildings and trucks and cars. Looking at an aerial photo taken when 4 of the U.S.’s 12 aircraft carriers were ...

The profits they'll make

San Diego Housing Commission director Betsy Morris is throwing a free lunch today for city council staffers. Insiders say the main topic on the agenda is the commission's proposed swanky new office tower at 11th ...

Nerds Fleece Public

The meek have not yet inherited the earth, but the nerds have taken over the world's financial system. Without meaningful reforms, the meek should refuse their inheritance, according to a superb new book, Infectious Greed: ...

War and Journalism

When I see an embedded reporter like, say, the late David Bloom of NBC (a great reporter and sorely missed), green in night-vision light, crouched behind a berm, whispering into his mike while guns and ...

Sins of the Father

Early in his murder trial, David Westerfield received a vote of confidence from his former brother-in-law Johnny Neal, who said he was sure that the accused was innocent. The following day, June 12, 2002, Alex ...

Glendale's Deukmejian Wilderness Park reaches high into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Not many small- or medium-size cities can boast of three mountain ranges within its border, but Glendale, California, does. Stretching east and north from the San Fernando Valley, the city takes in substantial parts of ...

Geriatric dinosaurs?

Hi Matt: Dinos got really, really huge. What was their life span anyway, on average...say, for a full-grown T. rex? They must have lived a long time to grow as gigantic as they did. -- ...

"Mene, mene, tekel, parsin." And I mean it!

Mattster: What does the handwriting on the wall say? Who wrote it? What wall is it on? Is it in pencil, crayon, spray paint? Why should I care what it says? -- Pardon Me, San ...

Thursday, April 3

Maybe When the Fedayeen Have a Gun to Your Baby's Head

The first rule of counterguerrilla warfare is never set a pattern. This is so because the guerrillas are always watching for a weak point to hit. You can go anyplace and do anything two days ...

Developers Eye Sleepy Descanso

It's only 35 or 40 minutes from downtown San Diego to the junction of Interstate 8 and State Route 79. And just a couple of minutes north of there lies the rural town of Descanso. ...

Military board complex

When Richard Perle decided to step down last week as chairman of the Pentagon's influential Defense Policy Advisory Board, the move drew fresh attention to the shadowy organization. It turns out that two members of ...

Stroll along a silvery brook at Oak Canyon in Mission Trails Regional Park.

Oak Canyon, tucked into a relatively pristine corner of Mission Trails Regional Park just west of Santee, has come alive with a thin stream of gurgling water, owing to the recent decent (if not quite ...

Is there an old-fashioned photo booth in town?

Hi Matt: There used to be a picture booth in the arcade inside Mission Valley mall-- one of the good, old-fashioned ones that printed a vertical column of four successive shots. My little sister and ...

I love you, you love me.... I love you, you love me.... I love you, you love me...." Earworms!

Dear Matt: What's the deal with this knack we humans have for hearing a song, especially a really annoying one, and then going around with it playing in our heads all day? And why does ...