Stories for January 2003

Thursday, January 30

Tijuana Songbird

When Ginny Silva began her singing career, Tijuana’s Avenida Revolución was infamous, a raunchy place of strip clubs, where hookers and drug pushers worked in the open and where we young fellows went if we ...

Dirty Bay Self-Cleans

Two researchers, Dr. Derek Lovley, of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Dr. Dimitri Deheyn, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, have conducted research in San Diego Bay that challenges some prevailing wisdom ...

Scandal Bridge

The three lanes of Torrey Pines Road between the state reserve of the same name and Del Mar crown a half-mile sand berm separating the Pacific Ocean to the west and Los Peñasquitos lagoon to ...

Fall of the mighty

The most notable politico missing in action during last week's Super Bowl buildup was Susan Golding. When she was San Diego mayor, Golding devoted much of her time to serving the needs of Chargers owner ...

Ramble above the water's edge at low tide, from White Point to Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.

Pressed hard and fast against the densely populated Los Angeles County community of San Pedro, the rocky ribbon of coastline between White Point and Cabrillo Beach looks out over a 20-mile watery gap separating Santa ...

Just ring the bell if you're not really dead.

Hey, Matt: So over the holidays, I'm back East sitting with my folks and my sister's family (all dr's and rn's) and the topic of graveyard shift comes up. They all say that this term ...

Hey, what's swimming in my water dish?

Dear Matthew Alice: I am puzzled by my kitty's habit of sloshing his drinking water around with his paw before drinking it. I have tried coloring the water, theorizing that he is unable to see ...

Thursday, January 23

Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Play Football

The life of a National Football League player's wife can have its highs and lows. Huge player salaries are often spent on dining, travel, gifts, cars, and expensive homes. On the other hand, when the ...

You Think I'm Guilty of Something?

On February 4, 2002, two days after the disappearance of Danielle van Dam, the San Diego Police Department's polygraph expert Paul Redden administered a lie detector test to David Westerfield. The test could not be ...

Super busts

Two months ago, FBI agents swept into San Diego's Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, armed with warrants to search for evidence that the institution had been paying off doctors to refer new patients to the hospital. ...

Check out the green, soon-to-blossom Anza-Borrego Desert vegetation on the trails near Yaqui Pass.

Throughout the Anza-Borrego Desert, the expandable tissues of native barrel, beavertail, cholla, fishhook, and hedgehog cacti may soon become as bloated as they ever get. Flush with supplies of water they can hoard for months ...

Beach Boys puzzle old car freaks.

Matt: An old Beach Boys song goes, "It happened on the strip where the road is wide/ Two cool sharks sittin' side by side/ My fuel-injected Stingray and a 413/ Revin' up our engines and ...

Chutes and Ladders, a game for wussies?

Matt, you snake: What's up with the kids' game Chutes and Ladders? In Mexico it's called Snakes and Ladders. Did they change the name in the U.S. because people here are afraid of snakes and ...

We used to be where the moon is now.

To Them That Runs the Ship: A long time ago I had a friend who kept Hubble telescope photos on the walls at work and just generally "knew stuff." Anyway, one day he walks up ...

Friday, January 17

They Hit My Windshield with a Baseball Bat

Something about me must say "gringo" to the dozen taxi drivers awaiting as I emerge from the clanking turnstiles that lead in to Tijuana. Though I'm surrounded by others crossing on foot at about 5:45 ...

Thursday, January 16

Lakeside's Big Man

There are roughly six million boys between the ages of 16 and 18 living in the United States. There are approximately 26,400 high schools and close to that number of starting centers playing on high ...

Addict Magnet in North Park

Since July 18, 2002, every other Thursday night at 6:00, a motor home has pulled up to the curb on the east side of 15th Street just south of F Street, across the street from ...

We Look Like Arabs

After graduating from Southwest High School in South San Diego in 1997, Roberto Hernandez went off to study at UC Berkeley, where a successful undergraduate career has led to his acceptance into the school's Ph.D. ...

Guns, bimbos, and booze

While San Diego's public is being offered a free fireworks show and the Disney-style NFL Experience, at $15 a pop, pricier and more macho Super Bowl events are being kept under tight wraps and reserved ...

Hike the west end of Santa Catalina Island, and survey the ocean from its high point.

The hike to the highest point on the west end of Santa Catalina Island -- 1804-foot Silver Peak --introduces you to its wild windward side. Spectacular views are the norm most of the way. Assuming ...

ABC gum. Disgusting! Especially in Singapore.

Hey, Matt: I have always wanted to know...why do people leave already chewed gum in public places. It is everywhere! It is disgusting! Could they be fined for littering? -- S.P., Spring Valley Was planning ...

What are pool balls made of?

Heymatt: What are pool balls made out of? I thought the might be made out of ceramics of some kind. -- Lea Dean, South Africa Before 1910 or so, ivory (from Zimbabwean elephants, in particular) ...

In downtown San Diego, why are First through Twelfth called avenues and the rest called streets?

Dearest Matthew: Why are only the first 12 numbered streets in downtown San Diego called "avenue," the remainder "streets"? My speculation is that rather than messing up traffic by eliminating the [bad luck] designation 13, ...

Food that even a gull won't touch.

Hey Matt: My family and I were picnicking at the beach when my daughter threw some biscuits for the sea gulls to eat. Out of curiosity, I threw some pieces of fried chicken their way ...

Thursday, January 9

Still Crazy After All These Years

Sometime in the next few months, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases will publish an article that describes an unusual experiment with newly diagnosed schizophrenics. This experiment randomly assigned young people with that diagnosis ...

La Bella's horde

The latest in a very long line of high-powered gigs for attorney Charles La Bella: helping the University of California get itself out of federal hot water over UC's mismanagement of the Los Alamos National ...

Traverse border-hugging Otay Mountain -- by truck, bike, or foot -- and chat with a Border Patrol agent.

Rising like a rumpled pillow from the eastern extremity of Otay Mesa, Otay Mountain offers unparalleled, integrated views of the bifurcated San Diego-Tijuana metropolis, the Coronado Islands, Point Loma, and San Diego Bay. Seen on ...

New Party, Same Filth

One detects a strange sense of pride mixed with despair and anger when listening to environmental activist Silverio de la Mora talk about Tijuana. Once an electrical contractor who worked on many government contracts and ...

Did Lingerie Barbie Trounce Micropet?

Designated Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge is the former governor of which state? a. Idaho b. Kansas c. Pennsylvania d. Maryland 2. On November 25, 2002, the San Diego City Council approved reinstating red-light ...

Thursday, January 2

DUI

I’m at a party in Point Loma celebrating the successful conclusion of a literary event that took a great deal of time and effort to put together. Everyone involved is letting go after months of ...

“Mah” means flax plant, "jongg" means sparrow

Not an old ladies' game

“They still play mah-jongg?” a New York native asks me. “I always wondered how an ancient Chinese game got into the hands of suburban Jewish women.” Mah-jongg’s American origins interweave two immigrant cultures — Chinese ...

Survey the Santa Monica Mountains from an old Nike missile site atop San Vicente Mountain.

Perched above the San Fernando Valley on one of the more prominent bumps of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Cold War-era Nike missile site at San Vicente Mountain has become a destination for hikers, mountain ...

Family money

Lawyer Lisa Foster, wife of controversial San Diego Unified School District chief Alan Bersin, didn't give any money to the campaign of Governor Gray Davis, who just appointed her a Superior Court judge, but her ...

Once You're Wet, You're Done

One night in 1999, eight illegal immigrants died during a spring snowstorm in the mountains of San Diego County. Such alarming statistics spurred the Border Patrol to expand its mission to form two teams to ...

Would you please read me the riot act?

Dear Matthew Alice: My wife has threatened on several occasions to read me the riot act, but she can't seem to find a copy of it. If she could find a copy of it, what ...

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