Stories for March 2004

Thursday, March 25

Faculty Row: Taxpayers Fund Million-Dollar Home Loans for UCSD Profs

UCSD brains live in fine style.

San Diego is one of the most expensive places in America to buy a house. But thanks to funds provided by state taxpayers, academics at the University of California are able to dip into a ...

Uberuaga Was Not the Problem

In late 1992, San Diego mayor Susan Golding proclaimed in her inaugural address that San Diego would be "the most business-friendly city in America," as well as "the first great city of the 21st Century." ...

Motorcycles For Everyone

On Boulevard Agua Caliente -- "El Boulevard," as tijuanenses call it -- a block west of the downtown bullring, stands the first and only Shineray motorcycle dealership in the Americas. Eight models of the Chinese-made ...

Kerry's crest

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, fresh from his snowboarding getaway in ritzy Ketchum, Idaho, is heading for the warmer clime of La Jolla Farms. This coming Tuesday he's set to have a fundraising luncheon ...

Boomers enter the weird-hair years

Matt: What is it with those bizarre hairs that sometimes seem to grow overnight on weird places of our body? They just appear as if they were fed Miracle-Gro. They're two or three times longer ...

Freeway flowers

Hey, Matt: What's the story on the bright yellow and orange flowers that always bloom along the freeways right about now? Someone told me that they are a result of truckers scattering flower seeds from ...

Descend from the high desert to low desert on Anza-Borrego's California Riding and Hiking Trail.

The old, never-completed California Riding and Hiking Trail, pieced out of dirt roadways and previously existing trails during the post-World War II years, has never quite disappeared from San Diego County. One branch of this ...

Thursday, March 18

A Vehicle Between Two Worlds

A Brit talks to the departed.

“I see a large empty whiskey bottle floating above your head” is how the Reverend Chris Meredith addresses Linda Hackett, who is on the other side of the aisle and closer to the little chapel’s ...

God's Scammers

Old-time religion and hard-time in prison seem to go together. Ask Pastor John Gillette of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon and Pastor Barry Minkow of Community Bible Church in Mira Mesa. Both masterminded ...

Madaffer's milk of politics

San Diego city councilman Jim Madaffer, whose campaign fundraising practices are already being investigated by the district attorney's office in connection with those tequila-drinking hijinks at the city-owned San Diego Data Processing Corporation, has been ...

The Santa Rosa Plateau near Temecula serves up a classic California landscape of oaks and rolling hills.

Wind-rippled grasses, swaying California poppies, statuesque oak trees, trickling streams, and a 39-acre vernal pool -- it's all there on a sunny spring day at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. The 8300-acre reserve lies ...

Thursday, March 11

Service Personality

Waiters tell all.

Dinner at Tapenade Restaurant is a memorable experience. The cordial ambience, the feel of that which is unmistakably French, and service like a brilliantly engineered heist: the help comes and takes you from your worries, ...

Best pols money can buy

In the final days before last week's San Diego city primary election, some last-minute big money was quietly delivered to incumbent mayor Dick Murphy and deputy city attorney Leslie Devaney (running to succeed her termed-out ...

City of Fools

The world's greatest writers -- Cervantes, Marlowe, Sir Walter Scott -- wrestled with this enigma: is the fellow who causes calamity a knave or a fool? When a promoter drives his investors into poverty and ...

Lifelike Tijuana

There are three wax-figure museums in all of Mexico. Two of them, Mexico City's and Tijuana's, owe their existence to Ricardo Parra Montes. "I was the director of tourism for the Mexico City government in ...

The clash of the roach coaches

Matolo: Who determines turf for industrial catering trucks companies? You never see two trucks there from different caterers. How do these folks decide who gets what company to sell to? I envision midnight turf wars�sabotage�caterlords�cement ...

Who invented skyjacking?

Heymatt: Who hijacked the first airplane? Just curious. Not planning anything. -- Nameless, of course Jetjacking is an art we've been perfecting for 74 years. The first recorded incident was in Peru in 1930, when ...

Earthquake, aftershock. What's the difference?

Matthew: I'm confused.What's the difference between an earthquake and an aftershock? Sometimes we have an earthquake only to be told it's an aftershock of an earthquake two years ago. How can they tell? -- Shaken, ...

Clover leaves

Matt: How rare is a four-leafed clover? Is there such a thing in real life? Why is it associated with good luck? -- S.L, P.B. A four-leafed clover is an occasional mutation growing amid the ...

Absolutely the last poop question we'll ever answer.

Heymatt: Why do we call urination pee and defecation poop? -- Too embarrassed to sign his name Okay, I swear this is the last poop question we'll handle until, well, until we get another one. ...

New growth is quickly overtaking the fire-blackened landscape in Crestwood preserve, just east of El Cajon.

Last October, the rocky, brush-covered slopes of the Crestwood Ecological Reserve, east of El Cajon, were swept by the same flames that devastated the communities of Crest and Harbison Canyon. Now, some five months later, ...

Thursday, March 4

Shoes

Fashionable young paws.

David Whittimore20College Area/SDSUDVS, $70 DVS. They’re a kind of skateboarding shoe. It’s been over a year since I bought them in some random surf-and-skate shop in North County. They’re all black, really comfortable, and they ...

It's a Horrible Idea

In a brazen daylight move -- shielded somewhat by cloudy legalese -- a San Diego biotech company is trying to reduce its current shareholders to near insignificance. But not long after the astonishing corporate moves ...

Red-Tape Roadblock

On January 1, 2004, a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect that lifted all tariffs on new cars bought in one of the member nations and imported into another. Now, ...

More From The Quizmaster

On February 2, while in sheriffs' custody at the downtown San Diego courthouse, Richard Tuite escaped for three and a half hours. Tuite is facing trial for what offense? A. grand theft B. murder C. ...

California close-out

The Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich didn't do all that well in this week's California primary, but he did get points from some for simply showing up in San Diego, which was largely ignored by ...

Sunflowers: east-west, east-west, east, east, east

Matt: Sunflowers always face the sun, which means they must turn from east to west every day. So what do they do at night? Do they shift back at sunrise or gradually through the night ...

Sage Ranch in the Simi Hills near Los Angeles shows its brightest shade of green this month and next.

The 635-acre Sage Ranch lies west of the San Fernando Valley in the scrub-covered Simi Hills. The ranch owes its name not to the predominant sage vegetation growing there, but rather to the former owner ...