Stories for May 2003

Thursday, May 29

Hear That Whistle Blow

When it was announced in March that Kristin Shott, a 36-year-old welder at the Naval Air Depot on North Island, had won an award for blowing the whistle on a long history of faulty welds ...

Slime Pays

'Anything Goes." Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics. But it became San Diego's theme song. We don't yet know if any city councilmembers solicited bribes or improperly took money from strip-club operators wanting looser ...

Tijuana's Elderly Orphans

Last winter's rains have greened the empty fields and rutted the dirt roads of La Gloria. The area, on the southern outskirts of Tijuana along the free road to Ensenada, is an odd mixture of ...

Big Pyramid Kills Special Forces

The spirit of Special Forces remains the same and, for the most part, so does the organization. However, minor changes have had far-reaching effects and serve as brilliant examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences. ...

Connected

San Diego First District city councilman Scott Petersis set to throw a lavish campaign fundraiser for himself at his La Jolla mansion tonight, but some members of the honorary host committee listed on the invitation ...

Get soaked at the La Jolla Indian Reservation's water park and riverside campground.

Eyes shut tight to ward off the stinging spray, wet hair plastered to your head, you hurtle blindly on a straight trajectory toward a sinus-filling finale. Flat on your back, you slip through roller-coasterlike curves ...

On the menu, Tang and Spam

Matthew: My question is about TANG, the space-program-induced instant drink mix from the '60s. Is TANG an acronym for something? Like I had always heard that SPAM stood for "shoulder pork and meats." -- Mitch ...

Why do I have to walk through the lingerie department to get to the table saws?

M.A.: Department stores like WalMart, Target, Kmart, et al. are laid out in a fashion that seems to vaguely discriminate against male shoppers by putting the "guy stuff" (automotive, hardware, sporting goods) at the rear ...

Thursday, May 22

The Secret Life of Teachers

They’re young, most of them, and love teaching. They’re also hurt, many of them, and mad. They are the hundreds of teachers in San Diego County who have been laid off. This spring over 1400 ...

Get a Huge Bump, Make Millions

One week ago, shareholders of Poway's deeply troubled computer marketer Gateway blew an opportunity to rein in one of capitalism's ugliest abuses: cheap insiders' stock. In initial public offerings (IPOs), company founders -- executives, venture ...

Dear God, What Do You Want Us to Do?

Valley Center growers are feeling the financial squeeze caused by the Mexican fruit fly infestation discovered in November 2002. Lisa Schostag, a third-generation farmer and a native Californian, farms land within the quarantine area. "The ...

Special Forces, Then and Now

Awhile back, a friend asked me what the differences are between the Special Forces of my day and this generation of Green Berets. After careful thought I have decided that the spirit is identical, the ...

Juris prudence

Last Friday, San Diego city councilman Jim Madaffer was testifying before a federal grand jury in the matter of the city's Cheetahs strip-club scandal; at the same hour a few blocks away in state appellate ...

Hike the Laurel Canyon loop in Orange County's new Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Development continues in the remaining open spaces of southern Orange County -- so fast that a few years ago Orange County bumped San Diego County from its former rank as the second most populous county ...

Looking up Marilyn's skirt

Oh Explainer of All Things Mysterious: You know that famous scene in The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn Monroe stands on the subway vent and enjoys the warm air blowing up her dress? Well, she's ...

Has anybody seen Channel 1?

Matt: I have hundreds of channels on my TV. The only one missing is Channel 1. Has there ever been a Channel 1? If so, what happened to it? -- Leslie, Rancho Bernardo Poor old ...

Thursday, May 15

My Skin is a Museum

Natasha Monahan Papousek is not Iranian. She is not Lebanese, Moroccan, Indian, or Pakistani. She lives in La Mesa, she has the red hair and pale skin of her Irish-Czech-Norwegian-American parents, but she’s a henna ...

Domestic disharmony

San Diego Symphony president and CEO Douglas Gerhart, whose take-no-prisoners style is credited by many with pulling the once-bankrupt organization from the jaws of financial oblivion, is in hot water with his wife of 17 ...

A total lunar eclipse graces the evening sky on May 15, 2003.

On average, total lunar eclipses visible from any given locale occur about once every two years. Luckily for us, the year 2003 features two of them. Both eclipses take place (coincidentally and auspiciously) during the ...

Spider in the Middle

Almost a decade ago, David Thatcher, chief financial officer of Peregrine Systems, was effervescing superlatives about his boss, John Moores, then considering purchase of the Padres. "He's interested in doing things top-notch," enthused Thatcher, pointing ...

Shoot 'n' Loot

When cities and countries fall, looting is common. Students of history can cite the Rape of Nanking, the Sack of Rome, the burning of Atlanta. The difference between these conquests and the fall of Baghdad ...

Aliens in Peril

'Things may change in Iraq between now and June 18," says Judge Ignacio Fernandez in reference to the next date Ayad Fawsi Suliman is due in court. "Should we have an asylum hearing?" The judge's ...

1 Girl Scout = 8756 calories

Dear Matt: Well, it appears Girl Scout cookie season has finally come to an end. How many calories did the Girl Scouts unleash on America this year? -- Craving Cookies in Ocean Beach You realize, ...

The dreaded dotter

Heymatt: As my husband and I drove down several San Diego freeways recently, we noticed that there were tufts of orange cotton-candy-like fluffy stuff growing on the bushes along the freeway. What is it? -- ...

Dimes: too small, too thin

Dear Matthew: Why is a dime smaller than a penny? A penny, nickel, quarter, half dollar, and silver dollar are each progressively larger. The dime is out of sequence! This is definitely driving me nuts! ...

Thursday, May 8

I Am Your Loving Daughter Clara Clemens

In 1940, the recently widowed and wealthy Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch bought a small estate in the Hollywood hills and sought counsel from a medium named Sardoney about her love life. Known also by his epithet ...

Discover pictographs at the El Vallecito archeological site near La Rumorosa, Baja California.

Dozens of sites featuring Indian pictographs (painted figures on rock) and petroglyphs (carved designs on rock) can be found in greater San Diego County, but only one is served by a freeway exit named for ...

Council's Stinky Days Numbered?

When former port commissioner David Malcolm -- long known for mixing business with politics -- pleaded guilty to violating state conflict-of-interest laws last week, establishment members sighed with relief, "It's behind us." Sotto voce, they ...

Justice Knocks

On January 26, 2000, Oceanside police entered DeAnn Sutton-Griffith's home with neither search warrant nor permission and confiscated her dog. Preceding the home invasion was a dispute Sutton-Griffith had with the woman who sold her ...

Already a Hero

It's been a rough year for old heroes. So far, within the past 365 days, I've lost Ed Thomas, my old team sergeant, and Command Sergeant Major Bill Edge, who was probably the smartest man ...

Rich and infamous

Ex-port commissioner David Malcolm, who pleaded guilty last week to felony conflict-of-interest charges stemming from his dealings with port tenant Duke Energy and agreed to pay $249,000 in restitution, has been unloading some real estate. ...

Mmmmmm! M&Ms

Mat A: How do they get those little Ms on M&M candies? Disenfranchised elves working for Mars, Inc. at minimum wage? Or some esoteric new-fangled tenth generation computer gizmo? Or perhaps just some mundane mechanical ...

Finger wrinkles ironed out

Dear Matthew Alice: While contemplating the universe in the tub the other day, I suddenly wondered why my fingers and toes get all wrinkly when I contemplate the universe in the tub. -- Pruno, in ...

Donovan knows his invertebrates

Dear Uncle Matthew and Aunt Alice: We all know that our garden variety of snails leave a slimy trail on leaves when they move around. Buy why, when they traverse a cement sidewalk, is the ...

Thursday, May 1

What's Nick Inzunza Got That You and I Don't?

Richard Russell makes no bones about it. He feels like an old man these days, though he won't say quite how old. The same goes for a lot of what Russell says about himself and ...

Leap Fat Cats Trouble Analysts

An "All You Can Eat" business strategy might work if you don't try to swallow too much debt in expanding rapidly. And when the losses soar, it's wise to slice top-management pay quickly, particularly when ...

Big Bridge Jolts Drowsy University City

During the past year, the monthly meetings of University City Planning Group, which once drew only a handful of community members, have become raucous three-hour affairs attended by as many as 700 people. The root ...

It's Not Your Father's M16

'If you think the M16 is bad in the jungle, you should see it with sand in it," said my friend Samir. The topic under discussion was why he carried an AK47. He was showing ...

Before or after visiting Palomar Observatory, ramble along the nearby Observatory Trail.

After a visit to Mount Palomar's famous observatory, I enjoy introducing friends to the delights of the natural landscape right below the telescope's looming dome. In a kind of reverse pilgrimage, we follow the Observatory ...

On a Budget

San Diego State University president Stephen Weber was out traveling a bit last year, according to his recently filed Statement of Economic Interests. On March 9, Weber reports, he accepted a free private plane ride ...

Pigeon headaches revealed.

Matt: When pigeons eat birdseed off the sidewalk, do they bang their beaks on the concrete? -- Mission Valley Ken Peck. Ouch! Peck. Ouch! That's kinda how a pigeon's day goes. Well, not that bad, ...

When you star on "Americas Most Wanted," you get a paycheck and a rap sheet.

Hey, Matt: There are crime-solving reality shows that use actors in the recreations who look a lot like the real criminals. Have you heard any stories in which those actors were spotted on the street ...

Sea salt scam?

G'day Matt: I was hoping you could confirm a suspicion I've got that the culinary elite are trying to dupe us or that there is a serious case of the Emperor's New Apron going on. ...

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