Stories for August 2003

Thursday, August 28

San Diegans Abducted by Extraterrestrial Aliens

There are people in our community who have been abducted by extraterrestrial aliens. This is what they report, and when you meet them you see no reason to doubt their veracity. You wouldn’t hesitate to ...

Rednecksville

With red ink splashing all over state and local government budgets, and services being slashed deeply, any California city that would pour a subsidy into a professional sports facility is probably doomed to becoming the ...

Electric Water, Shocked Fish

The gate below the dam at San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside is closed when I arrive just before 10:00 o'clock on a late-April morning. The lake is closed to recreational fishing today. But I'm here ...

Discover hidden beauty in Clairemont's oak-lined Tecolote Canyon.

Rustic signs along some of Clairemont's major streets call attention to one of the oldest designated open-space parks in San Diego: the 900-acre Tecolote Canyon Natural Park. Using the park's network of service roads and ...

Handbasket destinations

Mr. M.A.: Where the heck did the phrase "going to hell in a handbasket" come from? It's bad for business. -- Handbasket Makers of America The original place people were inclined to go in a ...

Smell sells

To Whom It May Concern: Why can the smell of popped popcorn be smelled farther away than any other food? Is there a fact behind this question, or is it just a phenomenon? -- JS, ...

The inquiring pooch

Dear Matthew: Why do dogs cock their heads to the side when they are confused or intrigued? This is a serious question. A puppy did this to my wife recently when she spoke to him ...

Thursday, August 21

A Soldier's Pay

It may be the ultimate irony of the conflict with Iraq that to glimpse the difficult home lives of our soldiers, their spouses, and their children, America needs a foreign war. And even as those ...

The Tax Haven Follies

If you are going to squirrel ill-gotten money in an offshore tax haven, you need the mental acuity and swiftness of a mountain lion -- not a squirrel, or in the case of a married ...

Scan distant horizons from the Lightning Ridge Trail atop the Angeles Crest.

On the eastern Angeles Crest, not far above the L.A. Basin's smoggy blanket of air, lies Big Pines Recreation Area -- a designated year-round recreation zone in Angeles National Forest. Blanketed by a heterogeneous mixture ...

Sleeve buttons -- why?

Hey, Einstein: Why do I have three buttons on the sleeves of my sports jacket but don't have three buttonholes or any possible reason to want three buttons on my jacket sleeves? Let's see you ...

The cool side of the pillow

Matthew: Why do we always turn the pillow to the cool side? -- Snoozer, the net Sorry, Snoozer. That's not the name you signed. We put your question under our pillow to see if the ...

No checks, please

Matt: Can you tell me why people get into the 10-item-or-less line in the grocery store, right under the big sign, the one that says "No Checks," then put their 15 items on the counter ...

Shall we paint the cave mauve?

Hey Matt: I remember reading somewhere that primitive people didn't have as many names for colors as we have today. Was everything I olden times less colorful than it is today? -- M. Cook, elsewhere ...

Let's Save Sunset Cliffs

When Steve Scatolini walks through Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, it becomes home. He knows the vegetation by smell, taste, and name — buckwheat, coastal sage scrub, California sunflower, ladyfinger, lemonade berry, and acacia. Scatolini has ...

Sunday, August 17

Catch a cool evening breeze while scouting the 2000-acre Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve near Poway.

Sycamore Canyon Open-Space Preserve sprawls across more than 2000 acres of granite-ribbed mountains southeast of Poway. About ten miles of old ranch roads, fire roads, and newer trails presently lace through the area. For a ...

Thursday, August 14

These Women Can Paint an American Flag on Your Thumbnail

“I believe in Buddha. I have a Buddha who is always smiling. Every morning when I come early, I drink coffee and ask him, ‘Buddha, make me lucky today.’ ” Tuanh (Ann) Nguyen, manager of ...

A Stalled Recall

First District city councilmember Scott Peters won't be recalled this year, but his cozy relationships with developers -- and their possible behind-the-scenes role in fighting the recall -- could provide anti-Peters fuel if he runs ...

Explore a new link of the Trans County Trail in Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Work on the Trans County Trail ("Pines to Spines" Trail) between the pines of Torrey Pines State Reserve and the spines of the Anza-Borrego Desert continues. Some 70 percent of the trail's segments have been ...

The car-bug connection

Dear Matthew Alice: Say I trap a fly in my car when I go down the highway going 70 miles an hour. Why doesn't the fly get smashed against the back window, assuming flies can't ...

The late, lamented Five Points

Hey Matt: The Mission Hills residential area south of Washington to about Chalmers or Vine is sometimes referred to as "Five Points." Is Five Points technically part of Mission Hills or just an informal name ...

Send my absentee ballot to the county lock-up

Mighty Matt: We have an election coming up. Which gets me to wondering, can felons vote in California? — Good Citizen, Vista When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus ...

Thursday, August 7

Reina's Story

In April 2001, 15-year-old Reina was leaving her home in Tenancingo, a high-plateau town west of Mexico City. She was happier than she’d been in a while, traveling north to Tijuana, in the company of ...

The Attraction of Etc.

For many years, those all-purpose letters, "Etc.," served Anthony W. "Tony" DeSio very well. He built Mail Boxes Etc. into a highly successful national chain that managed to compete with the post office and also ...

Local Growers Leery of Year-Round Fruit

In late June, officials from the United States Department of Agriculture lifted a ban on picking Hass avocados that had been imposed on growers in Valley Center since Mexican fruit flies were found in the ...

Discover Dollar Lake, a sparkling tarn near the summit ridge of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Sparkling and silvery like a freshly minted silver dollar, Dollar Lake lies cupped amid a talus-frosted natural bowl, not far below the highest summits of the San Bernardino Mountains. Snow lingers late on the steep ...

The No-Swimming Hole

Hey Matt: When I lived in Northern California there was never a problem with people swimming in the lakes and reservoirs, but down here I find that it's illegal to swim in our lakes and ...

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