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Thirty Years Ago Jack Nicholson is heir apparent to the middle-age actor role vacated by the romantic comedians of black-and-white days, the epitome of the lawyer, doctor, journalist, or fugitive from the Mann Act. Jack is pure American: taciturn not shy, necktie sagging from the collar-band, hair left disheveled, jack-of-all trades, jackpot, jack-tar. Nicholson is slightly intellectual, perhaps a year of Oxford, reticence suggesting mystery, a herringbone suit too well-tailored for a '40s private eye.... -- "A NEW MR. RIGHT," Derek Dewees, August 14, 1975

Twenty-Five Years Ago Gustavo Romero, who played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in three concerts with the San Diego Symphony last week, is a child prodigy. Now 15, he is an accomplished pianist. What the interview with young Romero on KFSD-FM revealed was an amiable adolescent, mild-mannered, respectful, with no unusual traits of personality and nothing interesting to say about his music making. -- "FIFTEEN GOING ON FIFTY-EIGHT," Jonathan Saville, August 14, 1980

Twenty Years Ago Seth would say, "Let's go to Cuyamaca for a minute," or "Let's get a bottle of Mount Gay." He'd shout, "Let's go to Borrego for lunch!" and they'd go. "Let's go to Mexico!" And they all wound up in the Tecate Brewery. Once Seth drove a truckload of kids up to La Costa to the big hill and then they all skated downhill at 55 miles an hour. "There's more to life than just hammering nails," he'd keep reminding them. -- "THE ULTIMATE FUN HOG HAS BAILED," Sue Garson, August 15, 1985

Fifteen Years Ago Three days after she began serving her 44-month state prison sentence for pandering, "Rolodex Madam" Karen Wilkening wrote a letter to the editor that was published last December in the San Diego Union.... Among those who responded was Nita Van Heest, a Vista woman who has criticized conditions in the San Diego County jails. Wilkening and Van Heest now correspond, and Van Heest has agreed to share Wilkening's letters because she wants "to let the public see that Karen is a real person." Almost as far from the stereotype as I was as a MADAM is C.I.W. [California Institute for Women -- San Bernardino County] as a prison. I am finding it a healthier place to be than sardine-packed San Diego County jail. Jail is NOT the same as prison! I am learning from some of the 2500 women here from throughout California that there are vast differences in how jails are run. (But that's another newsletter....) -- CITY LIGHTS: "CORRESPONDENCE FROM KAREN," Paul Krueger, August 16, 1990

Ten Years Ago If there's a single plant that'll send me over the edge, it's oleander. No good reason for a Nerium oleander in every third yard in San Diego, but look around and you'll find one. They're one of the dominant flowering plants visible as you drive the canyons. Come down the grade on I-15 from Escondido to North County Fair, and they form a wall between the northbound and southbound lanes. Drive down San Diego Avenue or walk through the state park, and you'll see them turned into flowering trees. There's an impressive group along the eastern shoulder of 805 North, from Balboa up to 52. People like them so much that horticulturists developed a dwarf version. --"IN THE LAND OF SHARED GUILT," Allan Peterson, August 10, 1995

Five Years Ago The wall is situated on the north side of a commercial car wash located on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. I've paid $13.00, removed the aboveforementioned items from my truck, and am on hold until said grimy machine makes its way through the car-washing tunnel to a large flock of towel-waving humans. This is the outdoor version of the grocery store check-out line, the Friday afternoon bank line, or the year-round California DMV line. -- SPORTING BOX: "BUTTERFLY AGATE,"Patrick Daugherty, August 10, 2000

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