Stories for July 2003

Thursday, July 31

Fun with Ralph: Excerpts From a Busy Man's Calendar

When did he dine and whom did he dine with? That variation on the famous query from Senator Howard Baker about the culpability of Richard Nixon can today be asked — and now answered — ...

Presto Change-O, You've Been Duped

La Jollan Alfred Louis "Bobby" Vassallo claims that he knows President Bush well, mowed Ross Perot's lawn as a lad, and was personally feted at the Monaco Grand Prix by none other than Prince Albert. ...

Follow the trace of the Elsinore Fault through San Diego County's mountains and desert.

Like a subterranean knife-wound, the Elsinore Fault slices across the heart of San Diego County's backcountry, promising an earth-shaking jolt or two during the next few centuries. Sputtering movements over geologic time along its opposing ...

Fido sucks a little face

Hey Matty: Why does my dog lick my face? It is because she loves me, or does she just love the salt and oil on my face? Does she do it because she just licked ...

Red, green, stop, go, why?

Red means stop. Green means go. Why? Why? Why? -- L., Leucadia You'd prefer maybe a nice Navajo white and, say, maybe a deep mauve? Spare us designer traffic lights, please. If you want the ...

Name that phobia

My man, Matt: Is there a phobia named for fear of going to the bathroom in public? -- Mr. Zip-it, the net Jeez, not even the French pee in public anymore, Zip. Pissoir phobia's what ...

Kangaroo poo

Dear Matthew: I recently saw a documentary about kangaroos. When they're first born, they're very tiny and they crawl into the mother's pouch to drink milk and grow. They said the baby spends about six ...

The sound of silence in Mission Valley

Heymatt: Do you know about funny noises? Whenever I get on the I-8 in Mission Valley, my car is much quieter. Why is that? -- Robert Frantz, the net Perhaps your car is tiptoeing through ...

(hack! coff!) El Centro! (hack! coff!)

Dear Matthew: Could you please tell us if the huge, thick, gray, billowing clouds of smoke that seem to be two to three miles from Interstate 8, between Seeley and El Centro, are set on ...

Thursday, July 24

The Lost Powerdresser

Love of music creates communities — usually short-lived communities, called “scenes” — that can change lives and, if the circumstances are right, change the world and the course of history. When I moved to Encinitas ...

Bury Me Near the 15th Tee

A wealthy San Diego developer wants to construct what appears to be a first in American history: a private family cemetery on a public golf course, specifically designed as the final resting place for a ...

Hike to Eagle Rock, a sandstone outcrop in Topanga State Park.

Topanga -- "The place where the mountains meet the sea." That simple and descriptive Gabrielino Indian name aptly applies to both the famous canyon near Los Angeles and to the big state park sprawling along ...

Whither the turd?

Hey Matt: Where did the giant turd go? I used to enjoy including Scripps Clinic on local sightseeing tours. What work of public "art" can possibly take the place of this goofy installation? -- Bob ...

Thursday, July 17

Attracted to Oblivion

“I had the idea of an average San Diego guy, with a baseball cap, you know, and flannel shirt and Levi’s and burritos. He watches the Padres, and he’s a bouncer at a topless bar.” ...

Opera Buff Hornswoggle

In late 1983, U.S. troops invaded and quickly routed the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada on fears that it would become another Cuba. Today, Grenada is known as home of the most malodorous offshore banks ...

Family business

The wife of embattled San Diego data-processing chief Roger Talamantez, under an ethics cloud for his campaign- fundraising work on behalf of city councilman Jim Madaffer, who has in turn tended Talamantez's job-related interests, is ...

Cruise the back roads of Julian by bicycle.

Summer is settling in at last upon the hills and dales of Julian, bringing with it the toasty smell of sun-dried grass and the cool, vanilla-like fragrance of Jeffrey pines. Bicycling is a good way ...

Hog heaven -- in Poway?

Matt: Where did the term "hog heaven" come from? I have heard that it has to do with breeding pigs, that when the hog reaches sexual bliss, it lasts for several minutes. Can you clarify? ...

Wrong-way driver…

Dear Ma: I recently took an online traffic school course. Is it true that newer vehicles must have their lights on in the daytime? And our local recycling guy objects to my bare feet. He ...

An uplifting discussion

Matt: Some ladies I work with have been discussing which bra straps give the best support. Some say regular, some say racerback. Can you help? I know which I prefer… -- A Guy in the ...

Thursday, July 10

Cowboys

During mid-April of last year, a large group of cowboys came into the Branded Oak restaurant on Maine Street in Lakeside. They had come from the rodeo grounds several blocks down the street, where tryouts ...

Chargers Ready Taxpayer Fleece-Fest

The city and the Chargers are in secret kiss-and-tell negotiations. True to historical precedent, the city is kissing the Chargers' rear hip pads and not telling anybody. The Chargers, meanwhile, are openly telling people their ...

Smoothie

Though he kept a low profile, the late Barry Eugene White, that purring bass-baritone king of disco who died in Los Angeles last week at the age of 58 of complications from high blood pressure, ...

Gape at the view from Twin Peaks, high atop the San Gabriel Mountains.

The "top of the world" views from Twin Peaks ridge are among the best in the San Gabriel Mountains. Sometimes in summer (and often in winter) you can look south over a low-lying blanket of ...

Jack LaLizard

Matt: Lizards aren't bodybuilders. Why do they do so many pushups? -- Greg G, San Diego They're yelling, "Hey, look at me! I'm big and tough and if you don't get out of my territory, ...

What's the point of eating corn?

Matt: I know this is going to be a little gross, so let me apologize in advance. Is the human body simply incapable of breaking down corn kernels? I can't even seem to chew corn ...

Angry bee attacks watermelon!

M. Alice: While hefting candidate watermelons at the market, my wife said that the way to pick a good watermelon is to look for bee stings on them. "Bees don't sting watermelons." "Yes, they do. ...

Thursday, July 3

Surfer Girls

Some women have always surfed. Three hundred years ago, Hawaiians of both sexes rode the waves, and when the sport moved beyond the islands, when the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 traveled to Australia to ...

San Diego's Boiler Room Barons

Bouquets to Ronald Duane Brouillette Jr.: He could spend more time in the pokey than his nationally notorious mentor, Harold Bailey (B.J.) Gallison. The latter is scheduled to be sentenced early this month, and the ...

Invasion's End

A couple of weeks ago Jay Leno did a gag about how the Japanese had offered to send troops to help out in Iraq. "Great timing," he said, the message being that the Japanese had ...

Tale of Two Papers

This week's big story about the Barona Indians attempting to buy water influence in Sacramento came in for distinctly different treatments by the Union-Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. The U-T began by saying, "The Barona ...

ArfArfArfArfArfArf!

Hi, Matt: Do dogs ever get tired of barking? Is there a record for the longest consecutive bark? My neighbor's dog must hold that record. I'm sure a normal person couldn't talk that long. Even ...

Maybe he should have yelled "Aft!"

Hey Matthew: A friend of mine just lost eight teeth in a golfing accident with a buddy, which makes me wonder, why do people use the word "Fore!" when stroking the ball as a warning ...

Cosmetology for the dead

Dear Matthew Alice: My co-worker and I are having a friendly discussion. It's my understanding that after a person dies, their hair and nails continue to grow, at least for a short time. My co-worker ...

Hi. Is Garfield there?

Matt: Why does my cat bug the heck out of me when I'm on the phone-- rubbing against me, purring… -- Beth, San Diego Outside chance she'd like her own phone. But more likely she ...

You're never too young to be a geezer

Dear Matthew: At what age does one qualify to be called a geezer? Most dictionaries just say "an old man." I was wondering if you could define the chronological age at which the term geezer ...