Stories for September 2004

Thursday, September 30

Football Scandal Rocks State

Booze, fraud, porn, strippers, and other collegiate sports.

For years, lurid stories about the program's culture of booze, strippers, and kinky pre-game sex, financed by wealthy team boosters, have been making the rounds. ON THE WEBSITE OF THE SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S ...

Local activists in Serra Mesa are rehabilitating Ruffin Canyon, a finger canyon of Mission Valley.

"Think globally, act locally." The Friends of Ruffin Canyon group in Serra Mesa have taken this slogan to heart by launching a prototypical effort to preserve one of San Diego's several dozen undeveloped urban canyons. ...

Don't Say Anything Bad

Everybody knows what happened on 9/11/2001. Very few know that on 9/26/2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission told American municipalities that when they issue bonds for public projects, they should voluntarily "go beyond the limits ...

Blood On the Water

Summer 1999: Local spearfisherman Mark Bucon paddled his kayak three quarters of a mile out into the Pacific from the Children's Pool in La Jolla. Trailing him in a second kayak was a reporter researching ...

Smoke gets in their eyes

The annual "Excellence in Journalism Awards" will be handed out next Friday at a fancy banquet to be held by the San Diego Press Club at the posh Loews Coronado Bay Resort. But this year's ...

Memories of Beavis and Butt-Head

O Great God of Useless Information: On a recent Beavis and Butt-Head Show, our two favorite metalheads are at a tractor pull. One of the tractors goes out of control, knocking over outhouses and releasing ...

Chinese flies

Matt: In school there was a rumor that Chairman Mao convinced the population of China that everyone should participate in the Great Leap Forward and kill ten flies every day to help rid the country ...

Thursday, September 23

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Scientists tackle sleep.

The next time you lie in bed fuming over your inability to doze off, you might think of Randy Gardner. In the realm of sleeplessness, Gardner once made San Diego the center of the universe. ...

Explore Weir Canyon Park, an open space preserve bordering Anaheim Hills.

Weir Canyon Regional Park forms a belt of open space along the south edge of Anaheim -- not the familiar Disneyland/convention center/stadium part of that city, but the Anaheim Hills section, where new and newer ...

Sanitized History

Early this month, Kevin Starr, history professor at the University of Southern California, was reading the New York Times. He saw a headline referring to San Diego as a kind of Enron-by-the-Sea. Starr confesses muttering ...

Red Neighborhood, Blue Neighborhood

With the election approaching, I went looking several weeks ago for bumper stickers that might signal the way San Diego is leaning in the presidential race. My investigation got its impetus from an August 30 ...

Harmony Ron

What do a Santa Monica developer, a ritzy new subdivision proposed for North County's formerly sleepy Harmony Grove, and the San Diego mayor's race have in common? The answer is county supervisor Ron Roberts, who's ...

Mmmm�toenail tacos!

Matt: I left some toenail clippings in the sink, and when I got home later, there was a stream of ants trying to carry them off. Usually they go for things like Popsicle sticks and ...

D�j� vu, d�j� vu, d�j� vu, deja vu

Hey Matt: Just wondering, is there any scientific explanation for having d�j� vu? -- Julia, the net Hey, Grandma, haven't we answered this question before? Sounds familiar. "No. And I told you no the last ...

The Case of the Disappearing Dimples

Hey Matt: You answered a question once about what dimples are. I have dimples I my cheeks, and my fried said they could disappear. I don't think that's possible, but I was honestly wondering. I'm ...

Thursday, September 16

Hive Mentality

Beekeeping runs in families.

I love honey. I love honey! Like the bears. All day long my coffee has honey instead of sugar. My cereal has honey. My toast, honey on it. Always honey." David Rojas of San Marcos ...

How to get started in competitive eating

Dear Matthew Alice: I've been wondering about the current, regular winner of those eat-as-much-as-you-can contests on Coney Island. He's a skinny Japanese guy. Yet year after year he stuffs away more hotdogs into his gullet. ...

Walk narrow, curving byways to the top of East County's Mount Helix.

As day breaks on many a September or an October morning, cone-shaped Mount Helix floats like a desert island above the cool, sopping-wet marine layer. While walking up along the mountainside on mornings like these, ...

Pols Sabotage Coronado Train Plan

A funny thing has been happening to the old Coronado Branch Railroad on its way to recognition as a historical landmark. The California Historical Resources Commission designated the rail historic in the fall of 2001. ...

John, George, Alex, and Sol

As John Kerry and George W. Bush conduct campaign warfare over their respective service records and how they are portrayed by those so-called Section 527 political action committees, monied forces on both sides show no ...

Thursday, September 9

Do we not know how to PARTY?

The high cost of diversion.

What do people spend money on when they go out Saturday night? I went to a variety of locations to ask a variety of people. I hit Horton Plaza downtown, the Belmont Park roller coaster ...

A garden for squares

Hey Matt! Why do they call Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden? It certainly isn't a garden, or square. Shouldn't they call it Madison Round Arena or something? Or maybe name it after a bank ...

Pardon my Danish? Pardon my Latvian?

Heymatt: Excuse my French, but why the f*** do people say "excuse my French" when they swear? -- DLJ, the net Everything naughty is French, yes? Well, the British think everything naughty is French. French ...

Stop staring at me from that bowl!

Hey: Do goldfish blink? -- Maria, Escondido Now Maria, you haven't been doing that Three Stooges eye-poke at your pet, have you? Tsk-tsk. Fish don�t have eyelids. No eyelids, no blinking. To make up for ...

High-altitude flies

Hey Matt: One day I was daydreaming out the window instead of working, in a high-rise building downtown. I noticed a fly parked on the widow outside. Being as I was on the 33rd floor, ...

Mountain Lion Hype

When reporters call him, says Bob Turner, he often thinks they have run out of airplane crashes. "The news media love mountain lions," he says. "They can hardly wait for attacks." So Turner wasn't surprised ...

No More Fun

Few spirits have flown as high and low as those of former employees of the now-deceased San Diego legend, Pacific Southwest Airlines. On September 24 and 25, alums of the old airline, known as PSA, ...

Cocktails at six

Mayor Dick Murphy, who's had much better luck staying ahead in reelection polls than building his long-promised new $150 million-something downtown library, is throwing an exclusive high-society bash tonight to hype yet another expensive design ...

Friday, September 3

Hike through oaks and pines from Idyllwild all the way to timberline atop San Jacinto Peak.

The San Jacinto Mountains, like many other mountain ranges in far Southern California and Baja California, are characterized by gradually sloping west slopes, and more steeply plunging east faces. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway lets ...

Thursday, September 2

Looking at Her Is Like Looking at Me

Is there a dark side to being a twin?

"A lot of people ask, 'What is it like sharing the same physical attributes?' I always look at my brother and I think that's what people think of me. We'll be going out, and I'll ...

A billion by any other name

Hey Matt: I know that a rose by any other name is still a rose, but why are a billion roses in the U.S. 999,000,000 fewer roses than I'd get if I asked for the ...

Climb Black Mountain in Rancho Peñasquitos for an inclusive view of San Diego's ancient marine terraces.

Black Mountain's triangular profile is a familiar sight to residents of Rancho Peñasquitos, Mira Mesa, Sabre Springs, Carmel Mountain Ranch, and Rancho Bernardo. The cluster of microwave antennas at its apex testifies to the mountain's ...

Too Smart For Their Own Good

In the 1940s, there was a satirical radio quiz show in which panelists were stumped by questions such as, "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" That show ennobled the words, "It pays to be ignorant." ...

No Right to Plant Cactus

One house stands out on the 3200 block of Galloway Drive in University City. While most of the houses are Cape Cod or ranch style and feature traditional lawn and shrub front yards, 42-year-old Anthony ...