Stories for January 2004

Thursday, January 29

What Makes Larry Smarr Worth $244,000?

Taxpayers subsidize a wealthy genius.

By almost any measure, UCSD's Larry Smarr is a superstar of science and technology. Hardly a week goes by, the record shows, when the onetime astrophysicist-turned-Internet-guru isn't out jetting around the country, speaking before trade ...

Geronimo! Splat!

Dear Matthew: The other day my wife was recounting her childhood story of how she leaped from the garage roof with her self-made parachute. She survived the crash landing but not without getting "the wind ...

Happy 420, everybody!

Heymatt: Where does the term 420 come from? Does it refer to a term used by California state patrol to signal pot smoking in progress? Also the term marijuana-- I know it's a girls name, ...

The myth of the white chocolate bean

Dear M.A.: What�s the deal with white chocolate? Chocolate gets its brown color from the cocoa bean. Are there white cocoa beans? -- Garret from San Diego but living in Mexico Ya know how places ...

Discover "The Slot" and colorful Hawk Canyon at Borrego Mountain in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Amid the windswept wastelands of the Anza-Borrego Desert, Borrego Mountain's twin buttes (the East and West buttes) rise with low and broad profiles. From a distance they may look unremarkable, but at close range they ...

We Have Mortgaged Our Future

Michelangelo, no. Mundane, yes. Although there is no money in the till, most San Diego politicians still talk about prodigious projects as if they were a painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, rather ...

Goodbye, Pines

Wait six months. That's the message native vegetation experts seek to convey to backcountry landowners itching to replant and reseed the scorched shrubs and wildflowers and cut down the blackened trees on their properties. "That ...

Twice burned, never shy

San Diego's District Three city councilwoman Toni Atkins, who's up for reelection this year, has been picking up some interesting campaign money from out-of-town contributors. Particularly noteworthy: a series of at least nine $100 checks ...

Thursday, January 22

What Insiders Eat

Restaurant staff gab and gobble.

Food = joy…guilt…anger…pain…nurturing… friendship…hatred…the way you look and feel.… Food = everything you can imagine. —Susan Powter Tim Klepeis, the chef at Adams Avenue Grill, spoke hesitatingly at first. “I think the greatest reward is ...

Drive the Ortega Highway and circle the San Juan Loop Trail in the Santa Ana Mountains.

From San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore, two-lane Ortega Highway (Highway 74) stretches like a snake over the midriff of the Santa Ana Mountains, giving road warriors a taste of southern Orange County's wild east ...

Debt Stench

San Diego's massive pension deficit and retiree health-care liabilities have created two warring political camps: the roses and the garlics, or stinking roses. In coming months, it should be clear that the garlics have the ...

Police Disappear While Lincoln Park Bleeds

Sooner or later, according to Bill Farrar, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, tragic events will expose how understaffed the city's police force is. At 1.65 per 1000, San Diego has one of ...

Family life in the barrio

National City mayor Nick Inzunza filed an amended personal statement of economic interest after a complaint to the district attorney last fall from local government watchdog Mel Shapiro. Inzunza had failed to list a raft ...

Thursday, January 15

Broadcast Booth Confidential

Everyone wants Dick Enberg’s job.

If you’re any kind of sports fan, you’ll have to admit you’re at least a teensy bit jealous of La Jolla resident Dick Enberg. And why not? You sit in your living room, watching the ...

Who's got the key to the SST?

Heymatt: Do jumbo jets have keys? If so, has anyone ever lost them and delayed a flight? -- Jay, waiting on the tarmack We have so many other, more annoying ways to delay flights these ...

I want my music video

Yo Matt: Why can't I buy music videos? I'd like to own Thriller and some others without waiting to see them on TV. Can you help? -- Lisa, San Diego Lisa, you're just so discouraged ...

The mysterious Mrs. Goofy

Matt: Why is Goofy Mickey Mouse's best friend, but Pluto's his dog? Shouldn't Pluto be his best friend, by definition? And Goofy has a son named Max, but they never mention Max's mother. Who is ...

Hike past tidepools to the La Jolla Caves during the lowest of low tides.

South of the broad, gently shelving beach at La Jolla Shores, the shoreline quickly changes character, becoming rocky tidepools, a fringe of wave-tossed boulders and cobbles, and steep cliffs. Just offshore, the deep, submarine La ...

Scripps' Lerner Apes Moores

Call it the Florida flimflam. You would almost think that Richard Lerner, president of Scripps Research Institute, has taken lessons in snookering the public from his good friend, Padres majority owner John Moores. Scripps plans ...

Hired Bowser Drives Ducks Nuts

The old Le Meridien Hotel appealed so much to Roger Perez as the reception locale for his 1993 wedding to wife Renee that one day on his lunch hour last summer he went back to ...

Famous again

Ex-San Diego city councilman Bruce Henderson, who has already taken on two multimillionaires, Alex Spanos and John Moores, in his never-ending battle on behalf of truth, justice, and taxpayers' pocketbooks, now finds himself facing off ...

Sunday, January 11

Escape Route

Movies reviewed this week: Red Lights

Thursday, January 8

The Poor Man's High

Brian French has done his time.

When Brian French jammed the seventh round into the shotgun, it was the last shell he had. The first five he’d shot in warning. The sixth he’d fired 40 seconds earlier, and it had torn ...

At the beech

Hey there, Matt: Every so often, while walking barefoot on the beach for a sunset stroll, I'll look down to check out the rocks and shells and notice something that makes me put my flip-flops ...

Who can I hit on Boxing Day?

Yo, Mattmeister: What is Boxing Day? -- Jeff Foxmore, La Jolla The day we're allowed to punch out someone who's annoyed us most in the past year? Unfortunately, no. It's not even a U.S. celebration, ...

Sliced bread: the pinnacle of technology

Uh, Matt: If my invention is the greatest thing since sliced bread, how long would that be? If you get my drift. -- Curious George, San Diego Not sure I do, George, but why should ...

Behind Corky McMillin

A cork afloat on the ocean bobs up and down. By contrast, developer Corky McMillin bobs and weaves, to and fro, when discussing finances. It's time to uncork the secrecy behind the Corky McMillin Companies' ...

High Anxiety On Dunbar Lane

Lonnie Glasco shows off photos of a bevy of 18-wheelers and cars parked up and down his street, Dunbar Lane, in the East County community of Blossom Valley. Pictured also are vehicles strewn all over ...

Fantasy football

It was a banner season for Chargers star running back LaDainian Tomlinson -- who makes a reported $1.75 million or so a year and could get as much as $38 million over the course of ...

Explore the site of California's first gold rush: L.A. County's Placerita Canyon.

One of California's historic hot spots, Placerita Canyon Park hosted the state's first gold rush (1842), farming, oil exploration, and movie-making. You can contemplate these historical details as you visit the park's superb nature center ...

Tuesday, January 6

Paper folding fun

Dear MatAl: Long time listener, first time caller. Me and my cohorts were messing around with the age old mystery of how many times sheet of paper can be folded. We got as high as ...

Thursday, January 1

Frozen Drama

A poet learns more about ducks.

Donald, Unca Scrooge, Daffy — ducks who forgot their pants. I left out Daisy deliberately. In duckdom (as in most bird species) it’s a drake’s world; they get the color. There is something about ducks’ ...

Sons of Scam

The 3M Co. of St. Paul, Minnesota, is one of the world's best-managed companies. It is among the 30 blue chips making up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It makes Scotch tape and thousands of ...

House Glut Stuns Tijuana

Prospective home buyers in San Diego have waited for months for prices to stop their upward climb. In Tijuana, they're no longer waiting. Many Tijuanenses are leaving the city's colossal rental market and buying their ...

Do You Remember 2003?

1. San Diego's U.S. Attorney's office once had a staff of 122 prosecutors. How many have resigned in the past year? A. 15 B. 20 C. 27 D. 34 2. By losing to the Kansas ...

The Arts

The year 2003 was a busy news year. But more than a few interesting developments somehow eluded that bastion of the local establishment, the Union-Tribune: The Arts San Diego Symphony president and CEO Douglas Gerhart, ...

Explore the Easy-Going Trails of Wilderness Gardens Preserve near Pala in North San Diego County

Wilderness Gardens Preserve, a 676-acre jewel of county parkland near Pala in north inland San Diego County, encompasses the grounds of an old ranch -- the former retreat of Manchester Boddy, owner of a Los ...

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