Stories for October 2003

Thursday, October 30

Disguise Masters

When the trick-or-treaters show up on your doorstep tomorrow, notice how few are wearing flimsy plastic outfits with heat-sealed seams. Plastic costumes onces were ubiquitous, and their disappearance is a fact for which Bob Pickens ...

Crapshoot Park

If you're looking for a quiet spot to contemplate the great mysteries of the day -- such as why the current stock market is so speculative -- you might take a seat at San Diego's ...

Too Close

San Diego Municipal Code section 141.061 states, "Adult entertainment businesses shall not be established, enlarged, or undergo a transfer of ownership or control if the structure housing the business would be located within 1000 feet ...

Ex-con makes smart lobbyist

What do ex-convicts do when they get out of the joint? In the case of one famous San Diego money-laundering felon, he becomes a lobbyist for a big San Diego defense contractor angling for a ...

Ride or hike Bedford Road up the east side of the Santa Ana Mountains to the view-rich "Main Divide."

The so-called Main Divide, or summit ridge, of the Santa Ana Mountains straddles the boundary between Orange and Riverside Counties, definitively separating the L.A./Orange County urban sprawl from inland communities such as Corona, Lake Elsinore, ...

Thursday, October 23

City Hall's Mystery Lady- The Emails of Elena Cristiano

Charles Steinberg has had a pretty good year. Until last week, the one-time Baltimore dentist and his lawyer pal Larry Lucchino were riding high on this season's storybook success of the Boston Red Sox, of ...

Spit take

Mattski: My impeccably mannered girlfriend from the Far East has one flaw, and it's a doozy. A matter-of-fact throat-clearing operation that punishes like a stealth fighter hitting a cheap window. My nerves being that cheap ...

Climb the conical summit of Iron Mountain, which rises over the mists of North San Diego County.

Poway's Iron Mountain thrusts its conical, chaparral-clad summit nearly 2700 feet above sea level, a height that is frequently well above the low-lying coastal haze. On many a crystalline winter day, the summit offers a ...

Liars

In Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeomen of the Guard, the strolling jester, Jack Point, convinces the head jailer and assistant tormentor, Wilfred Shadbolt, to tell a fat fib about an escaped prisoner. Together, Jack and Wilfred ...

Best Bounces

There must be some discrepancy. Word on the street has it that bouncers come big and dumb, like unnecessary monsters set on ruining our nights out. "Bouncers only get those jobs because they're naturally violent ...

Fair and foul plays

As the clock ticked down this summer on the final campaign for Gray Davis, the embattled California governor turned to some old friends from La Jolla for some last-minute financial support. Campaign-disclosure records show that ...

Thursday, October 16

Under Our Perfect Sun This Man Finds Trouble

It’s an August midafternoon in El Cajon. It’s 100 degrees, and the sane people are in the shade, keeping still. Not Mike Davis. For an hour, the most famous social historian of Southern California has ...

Honey, I shrunk the sheep.

MATT!!! We work at Ogden's Dry Cleaners. We spend most of our day cutting things out of the Reader and doing crossword puzzles. We have been very disturbed by this question for a while. We ...

999-999-9999

MA of Reader: I just got a phone with caller ID. About once a week I get a call from (999) 999-9999. That number never leaves a message, and once when I picked it up, ...

The truth about cats and dog doo.

Heymatt: Is there a law against owners dumping their dog's waste in other people's trash cans? Most evenings one of my cats gets chased down the street by a dog, while its owner looks on, ...

Pick your way over boulder mazes on the Wonderland of Rocks traverse through Joshua Tree National Park.

Millions of years of tectonic uplift, weathering, and erosion created the maze of monzogranite boulders in the Wonderland of Rocks section of Joshua Tree National Park. Wherever you look in this region, your mind is ...

Who Ran Zandria?

On December 6, 1998, attorney B. Roland Frasier III, who resides in Rancho Santa Fe, was touting his book, Asset Protection for Everyone: Secrets to Legally Safeguarding Your Hard-Earned Money, Home & Business. "I never ...

Wartime Flares

Rodolfo Anguiano, member of the Playas de Tijuana environmental organization Grupo Gaviotas (seagulls), wears a pair of latex gloves as he holds the gray metal cylinder, about a foot and a half long and three ...

Honor thy Godfather

The late Johnny Alessio, who died five years ago at age 87, rose from shoeshine boy to czar of Tijuana's Caliente racetrack, as well as C. Arnholt Smith's bagman, friend of Richard Nixon, and border- ...

Thursday, October 9

Tiffany and the Optionals

At 5:25 on an early summer afternoon, the sun still blazed outside the big metal roll-up doors at Stars and Stripes Gymnastics. Inside the San Marcos gym, coaches’ commands and the squeak of the parallel ...

Web of mystery...

Hey Matt: This morning I walked out my front door to go to work and I nearly walked into a three-foot-diameter web with a big ugly spider in the middle of it. Somehow this spider ...

The outhouse moon

Mattie: Why in cartoons do you always see an outhouse with a crescent moon cut in the door? -- Gotta Go, San Diego Well, maybe because there were actual outhouses with crescent moons cut in ...

Red tide as a beverage

Matt: I recently (like two weeks ago) stated surfing and ended up swallowing a lot of "red tide" water... not that it will keep me from the surf, is it very harmful? I'm fine today ...

Catch the best autumn scenery on the one-way Kelly Ditch Trail across the Cuyamaca Mountains.

The 5.5-mile Kelly Ditch Trail, completed in 1985, is perhaps the most beautiful pathway yet built in the Cuyamaca-Julian area. This hiking/horse trail is routed partly along a century-old diversion ditch. You'll also tread over ...

Burger Rebirth

San Diego's fabled Jack in the Box is a curious company. When it dreams big, it flops. When it dreams small, it succeeds -- often brilliantly. Fortunately, it appears that recent bad corporate news will ...

Mystery Bug Hits Bay Jocks

Having a dip in Mission Bay is less difficult than wrestling ocean swells with the mighty Pacific: the pacified Mission Bay waters boast warmer temperatures, smaller waves, shallower beaches, and fewer rocks; and there are ...

Chapter 11

Is there a cover-up in the works over the strange doings of the city of San Diego's well-connected retirement board? That's the word among some skeptics in the wake of the appointment by Mayor Dick ...

Thursday, October 2

What Do Women Want?

It's been nearly a century since Freud asked his famous question about the nature of female desire, and very few men that I know are any closer to an answer than Freud was. In the ...

Makin' marshmallows

Hi Matt: Can you explain how they make marshmallows? -- Pat Paul R., the net Oh, of course I can. Did you even have to ask? They melt sugar, then they blow it up. Then ...

Where's the rest of my news?

Hey Matt: I watch CBS News real early in the morning Monday through Friday. Every morning at exactly 4:28a.m., whatever news story is on gets cut off and a commercial plays. Its been bugging me ...

Hoover Dam: They really got into their work

Mr. Alice: Are there really dead bodies permanently resting in the concrete of Hoover dam? It is said that workers fell into the wet concrete and couldn't be rescued, so they are still there today. ...

Five stupid things people believe

Dear Matt: Name the five most outrageous popular misconceptions that we Americans hold as self-evident truths. -- Mark Schimming, Oceanside Umm, well, there are people buried in concrete in Hoover Dam. That's a start. And ...

Faith Scams

Pursuing the almighty dollar? Forget business school. Enroll in divinity school. San Diego criminal court records suggest that increasingly, some of the most successful -- er, uh -- entrepreneurs have the loquacity and stamina to ...

Hike the trails — if not ride the rails — of the historic Mount Lowe Railway in the San Gabriel Mountains above Pasadena.

An engineering marvel when built in the 1890s, the Mt. Lowe Railway above Pasadena and Altadena lived a checkered past full of both glory and destruction. Before its final abandonment in the mid-1930s, the line ...

Dirty Water

Way back in English class they called it "situational irony." There in the tiny, tranquil breakers, almost waveless, pint-sized children frolicked. They scooped dark mud and tossed it, wrestled, and held each other's adolescent heads ...

Every Planet

Which Southern California amusement park had customers killed on a ride in September? a. Knott's Berry Farm b. Disneyland c. Magic Mountain d. Universal Studios 2. On September 15, the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ...

G-string air force

Federal aircraft registration records show that Cheetahs mogul Jack Galardi's LVA Management & Consulting owns a 1968 Falcon Jet, along with a 1984 Bell helicopter, and a Piper Cub. Shirle Galardi is registered as owner ...