Stories for March 2003

Thursday, March 27

Back Room Deals

In an interview published in the Reader on December 16, 1999, former San Diego city councilman Bruce Henderson put his finger on the trigger clause, a loophole in the city's 1995 contract with the Chargers. ...

Shrunk

Del Mar psychiatrist Gerald E. Nelson, author of several books about bipolar disorder and an ex-faculty member at UCSD, has finally had his license lifted in his home state of Minnesota, reports the Saint Paul ...

Wrong Turns

That new AAA Auto Club headquarters planned just north of Interstate 8 at the Taylor Street off-ramp has just gotten a heads-up from city hearing officer Tracy Elliott-Yawn, who ruled last week that the project ...

Jittery Scenario in the Big Apple

For many years New York led the nation in crime. We boasted the highest rates of serious felonies. Toronto would record 30 homicides a year; New York, 2000. Public buildings looked like something creepy out ...

Door-to-Door Death

Here's the bottom line on urban combat. You don't want it. When the Israelis went into Beirut in '82, I was one of an army of correspondents who went with them. At that time the ...

Stages of corruption

Former Old Globe managing director Doug Evans, who stirred controversy here when he touted popular drama over the traditional Shakespearean fare expected by local audiences, is causing consternation in his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. Under ...

Hike or bike oak-shaded El Moro Canyon in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park.

Crystal Cove State Park preserves one of the last large, undisturbed parcels of open space along the Orange County coast. Besides containing a three-mile stretch of bluffs and ocean front, the park reaches back into ...

Earthquake in an elevator.

Hey Matt: I was in a new mid-rise office building in Mission Valley the other day and noticed a button on the elevator marked "earthquake." So if I felt an earthquake I should push the ...

The baby that started the boom.

Dear Matt: Now that we baby boomers are rapidly turning gray and seeing the other side of 50, I got to wondering. Who are the first and last of the boomer generation to have been ...

Make that a beer with a Visine back.

Hey, Matt! Rumor has it that if you put Visine in somebody's drink it will give them major cramps and Montezuma's Revenge for about 24 hours. George might want to slip some in Saddam's drink. ...

He was bitten by a hairy dog.

Dear Matt: Why does the "hair of the dog" theory work for hangovers, and where did the expression come from: -- Dog-bit Don, El Paso, TX Howdy, stranger. Physicians speculate that a hangover is just ...

Thursday, March 20

Pothole Time Bomb

No one seems to know where San Diego’s worst potholes are. A pothole is forgotten unless it’s driven over frequently, and then it is instinctively avoided. Drivers swerve into the next lane, then back again ...

Baby Killers

Last week I wrote a piece called "Chimps with Nukes." When I had a draft I e-mailed it to a bunch of old soldiers to see if anybody thought I had left anything important out. ...

Prehistoric Gas Station an Eyesore?

Published on March 20, 2003 Prehistoric Gas Station an Eyesore? By Ernie Grimm Drive east out Interstate 8 through the mountains and down the long, winding grade into the desert, and the first manmade structures ...

Payoffs (2)

In the aftermath of a student walkout sponsored by disgruntled parents last December at Johnson Elementary School, ex-San Diego Unified School District board member Shirley Weber has bagged a retroactive $10,000 "consulting" contract from the ...

Domestic Spy

I have been going to open houses for some time now. I do not go looking for a place to move; I rarely visit places I could ever hope to afford. I do not go ...

Bring the kids along for a mini-hike at Stelzer County Park, tucked amid the bouldered hills near Lakeside.

Stelzer County Park features 314 acres' worth of trails, campsites, picnic tables, and a small "Nature Studies Interpretive Center" set alongside Wildcat Canyon Road northeast of Lakeside. The park's core area was designed to accommodate ...

It's raining hats and frogs

Dear Matthew: In the movie Magnolia, it rains frogs near the end. At first I thought this was preposterous. Then I fond out that this actually happens. How does it rain frogs? -- Mrs. Ingrum, ...

How many times can you recycle paper?

Hey Matt!! My seniors have two important questions. How many times can you recycle paper, and is there dirt in Antartica, or is it all ice? -- Linsey Kitchens, Grossmont High School Hey Linsey!! Can't ...

Bluey, greeny, purpley lobsters

Hey Matt: I'm from Maine, and every good Mainer knows live lobsters are a bluey, greeny, purplish color. Why do lobsters turn red when you boil them? -- Mystified Mainer, the net The red pigment ...

Thursday, March 13

Slave Soldiers

"I live a perfect life,” Lester Tenney told me. “I’ve been a very fortunate man.” We were sitting in the sunshine on his patio on Mount Soledad. Betty, his wife of over 40 years, had ...

O.B. Bong Baron Takes Hit

As he dashed into downtown's federal courthouse for a hearing last Tuesday afternoon, Ocean Beach's Shea Artis McComb didn't appear to resemble a hardened kingpin of the narcotics underworld. But the lanky, 31-year-old McComb, attired ...

Chimps with Nukes

In Jared Diamond's book The Third Chimpanzee, he points out that we share about 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, which is not much greater than the difference between chimps and bonobo pygmy chimps. ...

Not just San Diego

The federal government has kicked out all the tenants and boarded up the old Hotel San Diego, which now looms over lower Broadway like a ghost ship. It's supposed to be the site of a ...

Explore native grasslands and climb Mugu Peak at Ventura County's Point Mugu State Park.

Up the coast, past Malibu and into Ventura County, Point Mugu State Park sprawls across more than 15,000 acres of ocean-facing hills, valleys, and canyons -- all of it emerald-green in the wake of the ...

Is it a couch? Is it a sofa?

Hey Matt: What's the difference between a couch and a sofa? -- Jay, Bay Park Oh, maybe a hundred bucks. Actually, to Pa Alice they're pretty much the same thing, since he can easily fall ...

Did Prohibition prohibit sacramental wine?

Heymatt: Was Communion wine affected by the Prohibition? -- Ike, downtown Yes. Prohibition made it extremely popular, since it was one of the few forms of alcohol not banned by the 18th Amendment. Between 1923 ...

A squerble of eggs.

Hey, Matthew: I've been a long-time fan of your work, particularly the literary devoice of the Elves and Grandma. Here's my two-part question. Why is a baker's dozen actually 13? I'm guessing something along the ...

Many, many nose problems.

Dear Matt: I read somewhere that a good piece of fruit smells like it should. A peach should smell peachy, for example. The other day I was browsing the produce aisles in Henry's, sniffing the ...

Thursday, March 6

Who Wasted Your Money and How They Did It

It was supposed to be a showcase for the dot-com era, dedicated to the proposition that students from kindergarten to 12th grade didn't need a "brick and mortar" school with old-fashioned teachers but instead could ...

Sandy Valley Showdown

Perhaps because it started as Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio and still reports to shareholders as an insurance business, PICO Holdings of La Jolla doesn't like to answer questions about water-resources development. The firm refers ...

District Bulldozer Crazy, Foes Claim

Viewed on a street map, the 32nd Street canyon, as locals call it, is a patch of blank page interrupting the north-south grid of Golden Hill between Cedar and C Streets to the north and ...

Virtual fundraising

Ex-San Diego city councilman Byron Wear, at least temporarily sidelined from electioneering after copping a plea to ethics charges over his campaign-funding practices, is keeping his hand in local school-board politics. He and wife Bridget ...

Seek out waterfalls and fire-following wildflowers in Anza-Borrego's upper Borrego Palm Canyon.

The remote and rugged upper reach of Anza-Borrego's most famous "palm canyon," Borrego Palm Canyon, has suddenly become much easier to explore. Last summer's mammoth Pines Fire, which originated near Julian, swept many miles north ...

How do I get to GLBTville?

Heymatt: Boys Town, Chicago; the Castro, San Francisco; Greenwich Village, New York; Hillcrest, San Diego. How did these communities become Shangri-Las for the Fa La Las, in other words, GLBT? I would like to start ...

Does a bone marrow transplant make a good alibi?

Heymatt: I am male, over 50 years old. I know who my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were. That's easy. What I don't know is whether any of the actual cells, molecules, or tiny atoms of ...

If Scripps Institution owns the ocean floor, how do they mow the lawn?

Hey, Matt: My new Thomas Guide, page 1227, identifies the ocean just off Scripps as "Scripps Institution submerged land area (private)." Can Scripps actually own the ocean bottom? If I dove there, could I sue ...

Speed records: Sneeze, cough, fart

Hey: Which of the following expels air from the body fastest, hardest: sneeze, cough, or fart? What would happen if you did all three at the same time? -- Dave from Arkansas Another big thinker ...

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