Stories for November 2004

Wednesday, November 24

When Dinner Was 50 Cents

What we served.

Food's as old as we are. It's impossible to tell whether people have shaped foodstuffs more or food's done more to shape people. The Irish and potatoes, Mexicans and corn, Asians and rice, Norwegians and ...

Penne a la Vodka

We created this recipe here in the restaurant a long time ago and it is our most popular dish. We get calls from people who want this recipe to serve at parties. I really love ...

Geek Thrill

“I am not, repeat, NOT fortysomething,” I shot back.

Believe It or Don't

The recognizable face of Tom Hanks is something of a distraction.

Yesterday's Lemons

'All of my music is in playlists - the album format is out, as far as I am concerned.'

Twist of Fate

This restaurant is closed.I have a love-hate relationship with Trattoria Acqua. I love the chef's creativity and the staff's generally competent cooking. I hate the evil twist of fate that compels the kitchen to serve ...

Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church

Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. Alfred A. Knopf, 2004; 435 pages; $27.95. FROM THE DUST JACKET: In an attempt to understand the growing influence of the Christian Right, sociologist and documentary ...

Hike and step your way up Ladder Canyon in the Mecca Hills of Riverside County.

Ladder Canyon is the informal name given to a slotlike ravine incised into the sedimentary strata of the Mecca Hills near Indio. Several wooden or aluminum ladders have been placed at strategic spots within the ...

The Vertex

"We've tried a number of ways to reach out to people in the community. We've tried TV, parades, door-knocking; all of this didn't work. Creating the additional service is the best outreach we've ever done," ...

Putting It Off

"One thing that's good about procrastination is that you always have something planned for tomorrow." -- G.B. Stern With the active social life I lead, it's difficult to choose only one aspect of an entire ...

Immigrant Dagger

"Some people obsess on Mexican immigrants and are virulently against them," says North County Times columnist and former KOGO radio talk show host Raoul Lowery Contreras. "They cite the problems illegal aliens cause -- and ...

Sweet 50?

I always liked that old technique of starting a story with a famous quote or song lyric that fits the subject. When I got the invite to go to a girl's Sweet 16 party, my ...

"It's Only Open to the Campus"

"It's only open to the campus," says Judy at UCSD's University Events Office about the Unwritten Law show Friday, December 3. The show is free, but Judy maintains that you can only get in if ...

The Sky Is Falling

RE: Pistons/Pacers Hoedown. What they didn't tell you after broadcasting the riot video 10,000 times. It was black players and white fans. And it was an ongoing fight. When Pacers Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson ...

"I Got This the Day I Got Fired"

"I got this the day I got fired." In a packed sushi restaurant, former Unwritten Law drummer Wade Youman pulls up his shirt to show a huge "FOR THE KIDS" tattoo that spans his chest. ...

For Local Kids to Get to Soma

"For local kids to get to Soma, it's a good 45-minute drive." Accident Experiment drummer Ernie Longoria said he and his business partner came up with a new business plan for music-starved Alpine kids: instead ...

It Wasn't Advertised at All

"It wasn't advertised at all. We only e-mailed a few friends about 48 hours ahead," says Tell-Tale Hearts bassist Mike Stax of the group's surprise reunion performance, their first in over ten years. About 30 ...

"Peter Fonda is One of My Uncle's Best Friends"

"Peter Fonda is one of my uncle's best friends, so I've known him all my life," says Bridget Brigette when asked about the photos of her and the famous actor on her website, "and I ...

Slightly Stoopid's

Slightly Stoopid's third album, Everything You Need, came out last year on the deceased Sublime singer Brad Nowell's Skunk Records, but it was just released in October in the U.K. on Encinitas's Surfdog label. One ...

Ironing Fragrances

My mother was a crack ironer. My mother-in-law could have a man's dress shirt pressed in four minutes. She ironed sheets, undershirts, even underwear, watching cooking shows as she pressed away. My friend Shawn, always ...

They Tried to Cut The Roof with an Ax

Colombia was the world's foremost vehicle-armoring country until about ten years ago when Mexico rose to prominence in the field. That's how Luis Cano Salazar, owner of a Mexico City-based armoring outfit called Total Shield, ...

The Game Was Rigged

One misguided belief today is that if we lower tax rates of corporations and the rich, there will be less tax avoidance and evasion. Money stashed in offshore havens will float back to the U.S. ...

Paper airplanes

The election isn't until 2006, but the campaigning, at public expense, seems to have already begun. Late last week, a slick, full-color brochure, headlined "Fly into the Future," showed up as an insert in the ...

Resurrection

“I can afford it every day because I’m not married. Most of the guys have families. They can’t come as often as me.”

Thursday, November 18

We Won!

Out-of-towners meddle in school-board politics.

History was repeating itself. What happened in 2002, and before that, in 2000, was happening again. Big bucks began to show up in San Diego. Much of this money came from wealthy out-of-towners. Where this ...

51 Flavors

“It’s really fun for us to be able to play with them.”

A Reoccurring Nightmare

'The record is ending and you go to your crate and it's the "weird crate" you leave at home with the Frank Sinatra records.'

Descend on the Jasper Trail from Anza-Borrego's cool, western margins to the warm desert floor.

The 11-mile-long Jasper Trail-Grapevine Canyon route takes hikers and all sorts of wheeled travelers -- on mountain bikes and motorcycles, or in off-road-capable vehicles -- down a series of inclines from Anza-Borrego's cooler western margins ...

Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote

FROM THE DUST JACKET: Truman Capote was hailed as one of the most meticulous writers in American letters — a part of the Capote mystique is that his precise writing seemed to exist apart from ...

Sour Pickle Soup

In the aftermath of World War II, small Jewish communities came to life again in Eastern Europe. The Jews who rebuilt them had survived the Holocaust by using aliases, escaping concentration camps, or fleeing to ...

Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington

"Each year 3500 churches die. Most of these churches are liberal churches or from traditional denominations," remarked Pastor Mark Driscoll. Mark Driscoll is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, where the congregation ...

Piano Passion

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself." -- J.S. Bach It was all so dingy ...

"We Put Two 18-foot Slip N' Slides Together"

"We put two 18-foot Slip N' Slides together, so it ended up being 36 feet long. Then we poured 25 bottles of rubbing alcohol on it. We lit it on fire, and our friend Pinner ...

Blink-182 Drummer Travis Barker, 29, Married Former Miss USA

blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, 29, married former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, 29, on Halloween eve, in a ceremony inspired by Tim Burton's cult film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The gothic theme is in step with ...

"If You Notice, We Don't Have Much Local Music Right Now..."

"If you notice, we don't have much local music right now.... Jesse got married." Belly Up Tavern owner Steve Goldberg says his Solana Beach showcase is actively looking to hire someone to replace Jesse Gilholm, ...

Dragon’s Blood and Ballistic Missiles

I went to two different parties on the Saturday before Halloween. The first one was in Imperial Beach. Lea, who invited me, told me most of the people attending were employees of the UCSD Medical ...

Local Acts Recently Reviewed in Other Cities

Local acts recently reviewed in other cities: When the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower played the Talking Head near Washington, D.C., they "took the stage in their pseudo-fascist uniform of black, button-down shirts ...

Madame Zora

Madame Zora, a 40ish mother of four, usually works behind a card table in Balboa Park. "I had to get a license downtown," she tells me, "which I did not know at first. I just ...

House of Blues

House of Blues executive vice president Kevin Morrow oversees the booking at all eight HoB nightclubs nationwide. He recently announced the launch of the HoB Club Network, which would hook up a national sponsor for ...

When Metallica Plays the Sports Arena

When Metallica plays the Sports Arena next Wednesday, their 14-page backstage rider assures they'll put aside widely chronicled differences long enough to play a full set, barring "sickness, inability to perform, accident, fire, failure of ...

Midseason

'You are bidding on an early-1980s San Diego Chargers Huddles pin. Features the throwback Chargers mascot in a rare pin. Pin measures approximately 1.5 inches tall and condition is very good, no scratches or marks." ...

Son of Siam

“The Thai believe that in a time of weather, seasonal changes make a person vulnerable.”

Sanitary Bathroom 101

Call me strange, but the holidays make me think of germs. Every year, we have our Thanksgiving feast with husband Patrick's side of the family. The patriarch's home, where the dinner is usually held, crawls ...

How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

San Diego is in meltdown, but don't expect the backers of that alpha-male measure, the strong-mayor initiative passed by the voters, to hammer out a rescue plan. The corporate- welfare parasites behind Proposition F are ...

I Felt a Fear In My Gut

Late in 2003, Hawkeye Management Company, hired by the city of San Diego, began calling residents of De Anza Cove mobile-home park on Mission Bay. They wanted residents to sign contracts specifying terms of departure. ...

Titanic flack

When Susan Golding was mayor of San Diego back in the '90s, she developed a reputation for having a revolving-door staff. One of those who bucked the trend was Ric Grenell, a GOP operative and ...

People soup

Hey Matt! When I'm in the hot tub, my head perspires�. Does the bod do the same under the water? Eewwwwwww! -- Bobby T, Hillcrest Yo, Bobby. Wake up and smell the chlorine. You're sweatin' ...

Who lives in the Second World?

Matthew: I think we live in the First World, and I'm pretty sure places like Haiti are in the Third World. That must mean there's a second world, so what's the deal with that? -- ...

Putting the lava in your lamp

Mr. Alice: They're back. Lava lamps. I thought we were rid of them 30 years ago, but a friend of mine just bought one. I have no idea why. After trying my best to ignore ...

Thursday, November 11

Could I Be Hypnotized?

Look deep into Steve Piccus’s eyes.

Some people believe God to be the first hypnotist: He put Adam to sleep and took out a rib to make Eve. It's a leap, but today hypnotism is used as an alternative to anesthesia ...

Baby Sips

“They start saying, ‘I’m going to drink some young, and I’m going to cellar some.’”

Hot Zone

"I'm told they'll let me be Miss USO San Diego until either the troops don't like me anymore or I can't sing."

Boulder hop along a rugged stretch of the Palos Verdes coastline in Los Angeles County.

Forged by local uplift of the seafloor roughly two million years ago, today's Palos Verdes peninsula lay surrounded by the ocean for hundreds of thousands of years. Later, the alluvium that covers today's Los Angeles ...

Thanksgiving on the Town

Is Thanksgiving the new New Year's Eve? Increasing numbers of folks, from empty nesters to newcomers far from home, are opting to have restaurants cook their feasts. Many of you start e-mailing me as early ...

A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books

A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004; 208 pages; $20. FROM THE DUST JACKET: While traveling in Calgary, Alberto Manguel was struck by how the ...

Mess Pros

'It's a chess match -- with guns," says Pure Promotions director John E. Favourite. From each team, seven players carrying paintball guns get seven minutes to grab a flag a little over halfway across a ...

La Mesa First United Methodist Church

In the 1960s, 1500 people attended La Mesa First United Methodist Church each week. Today, Reverend John Fanestil remarked, "a typical Sunday would be just over 200. There is a long-term demographic challenge that all ...

After Seven and a Half Years as the Morning DJ

After seven and a half years as the morning DJ at R&B oldies station Magic 92.5 (XHRM-FM), Greg Cook was released from the station October 29. The Magic 92.5 is now without a live morning ...

Girls Going Wild

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. -- Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde Bachelorette Party (B.P.) -- An event at which a bride-to-be drinks excessive amounts of alcohol and ...

"I Can't Do This. I'm Sorry."

"I can't do this. I'm sorry." In an emotional plea to his fans, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard cut a live radio broadcast short on 91.1 FM, saying he could not continue to ...

Five Thousand Copies of the New

Five thousand copies of the new Reeve Oliver EP CD were bound inside the November issue of Surfer magazine. "Not many indie marketers have been able to pull something like this off," says Devin Johnson, ...

Mike Kamoo's

Mike Kamoo's (of the band Static Halo) homegrown label, Earthling Records, recently signed as a subsidiary of Boston's Wishing Tree Records. Wishing Tree distributes nationally to over 15,000 retail outlets. The first three Earthling CDs ...

"This is the First Time We've Done This"

"This is the first time we've done this," said Chuck Perrin, manager of Dizzy's, a jazz club in East Village. The Seventh Avenue venue -- a converted trucking warehouse that was also the first stage ...

I Just Want Other Bands to Know

"I just want other bands to know they should stay away from Talent 2K, period." Homegrown blues guitarist Paul Alvarado, 49, says he has been playing music for over 30 years. But last year he ...

When Actress Juliette Lewis

When actress Juliette Lewis played the Casbah a year ago, the show sold out. It only lasted 20 minutes, but there was a fight in the crowd, and cops showed up, so that made it ...

Harmonium

Harmonium, the nonprofit group that runs the Epicentre/San Diego Regional Teen Center on Mira Mesa Boulevard, has let Brian Witkin, 19, owner of Real 2 Reel Records, operate a store in its building, which will ...

Word Around the Downtown Club Scene

Word around the downtown club scene is that Tuesday nights at Martini Ranch's upstairs space, the Shaker Room, may discontinue because of a lack of patronage. (The Shaker Room is usually open Wednesdays through Sundays, ...

Top O’ The Muffin

I didn't get invited to a single party on Halloween. Maybe that's because it fell on Sunday and everyone had their parties on Friday and Saturday. I went to about ten different ones and figured ...

It�s Me Or Him

I've developed a feeling of revulsion for the L.A. Lakers. I hate their arrogance, hate the gaggle of 25-year-old millionaires who refuse to play hard -- or play as a team -- until the last ...

Social Security Is A Pyramid Scheme

How many economist/lawyer authors create prose that sparkles, twinkles, zings, has you chuckling? Maybe only one: Solana Beach's Todd G. Buchholz, with degrees from Cambridge and Harvard Law School, whose books, such as New Ideas ...

The Worst 30 Days Of My Life

On August 14, 2002, elevator doors opened to let Neil Rico into the lobby of the Comerica Bank building in downtown San Diego. As Heritage Security Service's supervisor in the building, Rico figured he knew ...

Last Stands

Is a Union-Tribune editorial endorsement now equivalent to a political kiss of death? That's what some local insiders say, judging from the results of last week's voting. The biggest blowout came in the races for ...

Getting help with errands.

've been thinking about buying time. Between the kids, the house, the bills, the cooking, the cleaning, and all the rest of it, I seem to arrive at bedtime well short of checking off everything ...

Swamp Ghost

“The whole place is only 300 square feet, so that limits us. But we make it work.”

This is weird. Last year I was sitting right here in this ancient Wild West shack in Old Town, in the selfsame squiggly wrought-iron seat, drooling over English tea and crumpets, waiting on dusk for ...

Thursday, November 4

Funeral Blues

Grief tourism

Bouquets of roses and daisies stand on either side of the casket. The left half of its lid is open. Overhead, eight-inch stained boards slant toward the crest of the ceiling. The Cypress View Chapel ...

No major actor need stoop so little to impersonate a nerd.

Movies reviewed this week: The Incredibles, Ray, Saw, Sideways, and Surviving Christmas In bare outline, Sideways would look like a hundred other buddy comedies. Jack is getting married in a week. Miles, his freshman roommate ...

Nothing Left, Just Dust

"The day before, we had dropped off the masters to a new CD we were working on."

Ramble along the beach below the Leucadia and Encinitas sea bluffs.

Some of the most geologically instructive vistas in San Diego County can be seen by walking the narrow strip of sand and/or cobbles below the Leucadia (northern Encinitas) sea bluffs. If you want to avoid ...

Inner Voices and Paper Trail

Inner Voices: Selected Poems, 1963-2003 Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004. 420 pages; $35. Paper Trail: Selected Prose, 1965-2003 446 pages; $35. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Inner Voices: Selected Poems, 1963-2003: The poems of Pulitzer Prize-winner ...

St. Francis and St. Tarcicius Old Catholic Church

"There are two groups of people who attend Old Catholic churches. The first are those who are not happy with the Roman Catholic Church and the second group of people were not attending any church ...

Not So Crazy

Po Pazzo What would make someone open another restaurant when he's already got three of them -- including two just down the street? In the case of Joe Busalacchi, owner of Po Pazzo on India ...

Fury Under the Sun

When Franke Lauria said, "Click on the 'My Computer' icon," he says, the customer told him, "I'm a Protestant and I don't believe in icons." "Why don't you click on the little picture called 'My ...

Greg Shaw, Founder of Bomp Records

Greg Shaw, founder of Bomp Records, died from heart failure Tuesday, October 19. "The man single-handedly saved San Diego's music scene in the mid-'80s," says Shambles guitarist Bart Mendoza. "He signed the Tell-Tale Hearts, Crawdaddys, ...

"The Club Felt it was too Risqué"

"The club felt it was too risqué. I mean, we're talking about pasties and a G-string. People wear less than that on the beach in San Diego." Sean Suicide is the tour manager for the ...

"There Won't Be an Interview, I'm Afraid"

"There won't be an interview, I'm afraid," said Courtney Love's stage manager, a young, skinny guy with glasses named Chris. I met him and my photographer at the west-side entrance of 4th & B on ...

Bohemian Salad

“If you don’t like it, you pay nothing. If you do, you pay double.”

Encinitas-Based Switchfoot

Encinitas-based Switchfoot is at the front of the pack when it comes to sold-out concerts. According to Pollstar magazine, which monitors box office receipts on a week-to-week basis, venues across the country are reporting 100 ...

"Some of the Functions Have Moved to New York"

"Some of the functions have moved to New York," said Danny Stein, CEO of eMusic, explaining why half of the local staff of eMusic will be moving to the other coast by the end of ...

Reviewers at PitchforkMedia.com

Reviewers at PitchforkMedia.com have featured three local bands on their website -- Pinback, Hot Snakes, and Castanets. Pinback is Rob Crow (formerly of Thingy and Heavy Vegetable) and Armistead Burwell (a.k.a. Zach) Smith (formerly of ...

I'd Say 30 to 40 Percent of the Touring Bands

"I'd say 30 to 40 percent of the touring bands I deal with use samples or some type of prerecorded tracks." Sound tech Larry Ashburn, whose Audio Design provides the sound system at Soma, is ...

Acoustic Blues Band Dudes on Diesel Get No Respect at GarageBand.com

Acoustic blues band Dudes on Diesel get no respect at GarageBand.com. Their band info lists San Diego as their hometown; they are currently ranked 124 out of 135 in the category of "Blues." Their "signature ...

Cavities and Costumes

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! --Cornish prayer My key twisted in the door and I leaned on the handle. Enough time ...

Fast Times at Clairemont High

A round the time of my ten-year high school reunion, two movies about reunions came out (Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion and Grosse Pointe Blank). I always thought writing about a reunion would be ...

Tennis, Anyone?

Presidents and sports. It's a strange topic in the sense that anything having to do with presidents is strange, so you start from a place that has little resemblance to ordinary life. Figure there's 300,000,000 ...

City Hall's Rats Run Free

The national accounting firm of KPMG must feel like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, now tootling around San Diego. KPMG's mission is to rid the town of rats. But in two cases, the firm hasn't ...

Identity theft

Scripps Health, the county's medical giant -- with 5 hospitals, 12 clinics, and 10,000 employees -- has settled with an Encinitas man who accused the nonprofit health-care operation of using a bogus name to collect ...

All that a mother needs.

Baby Peter has made his appearance into the family. He's my niece Maria's first baby, and the family is in a baby blue twitter. For a baby gift, I want to put together a basket ...

Pigeon in a neck brace

Mattster: Consider this. Could a pigeon walk if you put his neck in a brace? I say no. -- Birdman, San Diego Of course the elves couldn't resist this one. They headed out with Grandma's ...

Disappearing egg nog

Matthew: It's coming up on holiday time again, and I can't wait until egg nog is back in the dairy case. Why don't they sell it all year round? -- Waiting, the net Eggnog in ...

Do you go through customs on your way to the moon?

Dear Matt: How high up over a country is international air space considered to begin? -- J.K., Leucadia Can't pull any official treaties or international agreements out of the hat to answer this one. Before ...