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Thirty Years Ago Who among your readership knows enough about such obscure references as a "vacant Tunisian landscape" or "Hawks's (movie) His Girl Friday of 1940" or the "genteel fiction of Eudora Welty" to make their inclusion any more than typewriter jack-off?

-- LETTERS: "BRICKBATS," Steve Austin, February 27, 1975

In the reference to the Tunisian landscape, the description "vacant" supplies a slight clue to anyone in the dark; in the reference to Welty's fiction, the word "genteel" functions likewise; as for the one to His Girl Friday, I will risk a blind guess that practically no movie critic in the country, when reviewing The Front Page, refrained from mentioning the earlier version by Howard Hawks.

-- LETTERS: "AND MORE BRICKBATS," Duncan Shepherd, February 27, 1975

Twenty-Five Years Ago You don't see schleppers in cowboy garb at Mr. A's. You really have to have a special Mister A's outfit -- for men, suits and ties, and for women, short dresses that cost more than one hundred dollars. You wouldn't want a dress that costs less than the meal, would you? Perilously high heels for women are almost mandatory; women in Birkenstock sandals should be forewarned.

-- RESTAURANTS: "SHOW AND GLOW," Eleanor Widmer, February 28, 1980

Twenty Years Ago Dear Matthew Alice: Well, what is the steepest street in San Diego?

I was waiting to see how many people would fall for the obvious and nominate Laurel Street, between State and Union, or Ash Street between Sixth and Seventh, or B Street near Twentieth. Nobody was able to come up with the identity of the real champ -- Poe Street, just north of Evergreen, in Loma Portal.

-- STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, February 28, 1985

Fifteen Years Ago On February 12, the council members wasted 20 minutes of meeting time debating the merits of revising the section of the municipal code that regulates bonfires on city beaches....

Mayor Maureen O'Connor then jumped into the debate, asking Henderson to repeat his concerns even though he'd stated his positions at least three times. After being briefed on the debate, O'Connor sided with Henderson, pointing out that she had a fire ring in front of her house when she lived at the beach and recalling that most beachgoers were very considerate of residents. "When we had a problem, it was because they'd had a little too much to drink or had a little too much marijuana," recalled the mayor, who now lives in the Point Loma hills.

-- CITY LIGHTS: "RINGS FINGERED," Paul Krueger, March 1, 1990

Ten Years Ago Maybe it was hearing Joe Garagiola say the word bitch frequently and casually that made the dog show so strange. Maybe it was hearing Joe Garagiola, an ex-catcher, exclaim again and again that he was a "small-dog man." (Garagiola expressed what can only be called an unwholesome enthusiasm for the "toy" breeds. He seemed taken with the way the dogs' hair moved as they were paraded before the judge.)

The Westminster dog show raised more questions than it answered. Why, for example, do almost all the young female handlers have very thick ankles? Why is it that the wives of the owners are almost all rail-thin, pathologically nervous women? Why is it that certain of the breeds displayed in the show were allowed to survive?

I'm referring to the toy poodles.

-- AS SEEN ON TV: "BOWWOW," Abe Opincar, February 23, 1995

Five Years Ago Only, where can one get the pure stuff, the stuff uncut by sobering stories on politics, legislation, and -- downer of all downers -- zoning? Dominick Dunne only writes about rich people who die. The glossies only cover Hollywood people who die. Isn't there a more democratic vendor of bad news? Fox Television doesn't count because Jennifer Love Hewitt dilutes all of its bad news. CyberSleuths (www.cybersleuths.com), however, has all it takes to be a leader in this growth industry. This website, which gets updated several times a day, compiles only the most gruesome stories from the headlines of America's leading dailies. The result is an exhaustive yet current catalog of crime news.

-- SIGHTSEER: "BASEMENT EVIDENCE INCINERATIONS," Justin Wolff, February 24, 2000

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