Stories for January 2005

Thursday, January 27

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Norma Damashek keeps tabs on City Hall.

Norma Damashek is not a household name. A longtime citizen of La Jolla, graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, mother of three, and married to a prominent physician, she is largely staying clear of ...

American Way

California attorney general Bill Lockyer wants San Diego developer Irving Okovita to stop suing three forest-service workers and an environmentalist who have stymied his efforts to build luxury condos in a bald-eagle habitat near Big ...

The Champ

He understands a ballad is not an opera.

Kudos have come raining down on Clint Eastwood in monsoon proportions. If these are perceived to be a little excessive for his latest directorial venture, Million Dollar Baby, it would be hard to begrudge him. ...

Always Answer

“I loved diving into a tank and having to scoop out 8000 pounds of expired must.”

Waiting for the Ball to Drop

When New Year's Eve rolled around, I was surprised to not be inundated with party invites. I did get one from a woman named Sally, whom I'd known back in my junior-high days. Then on ...

Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America

Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America (George Gund Foundation Imprint in African American Studies). University of California Press; January 2005; 472 pp.; $29.95 FROM THE DUST JACKET: Paul Bontemps decided to ...

Back When

Thirty Years Ago My estranged wife Dot and I, along with our two young sons David and Andy, boarded her old Chevy station wagon at 2:30 a.m. one cold January morning to see the famous ...

I've Never Seen the Desert So Green

'The Borrego Valley is a harsh place to make a living," says Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's Brian Cahill. "Creatures have to be opportunistic to survive." For wildflowers, a two- to six-week window of opportunity comes ...

Family jewels (2)

In November, UCSD announced that 56-year-old Judith L. Swain had been named the first director of the College of Integrated Life Sciences (COILS) at a reported starting salary of $275,000. According to a university news ...

Explore San Dieguito River Park's South San Pasqual trail system for close-up looks at native greenery and long views to the ocean.

The San Dieguito River Park's San Pasqual (a.k.a. Clevenger Canyon) trail system east of Escondido visits canyon slopes already as green as Ireland's and likely to be greener and more fragrant with blooming wildflowers during ...

A Lot of People Get Electrocuted

Fifteen or 20 miles east of downtown Tijuana, on the toll road to Tecate, neighborhoods of roughly paved streets and concrete houses give way to dirt roads running amid shacks made of pallets, plywood, and ...

EEEK!

San Diego's "EEEK" shriek was not, unfortunately, the "EEEK" heard round the world or the country or county or city or even city hall, where it should have set off a cry, "The Red Ink ...

Throwing My Friends Away

Abraham Lim, a senior at Mt. Carmel High School, arrived in San Diego from New York in May 2003. How has your lifestyle changed? “When I first came to San Diego, I was actually extremely ...

For the Early, For the Late

"Someone compared us to Urge Overkill- I have no idea what that's supposed to mean."

Bud-Weis Art

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. -- Oscar Wilde Watching Catherine shift her weight from foot to foot, I rejoiced in my decision to wear practical shoes. It took only ...

Christ Lutheran Church, Pacific Beach

Denomination: Lutheran Founded locally: 1946 Pastor: Interim senior pastor Paul Thomton Congregation size: 750 members Staff size: 5 full-time, 3 part-time Sunday school enrollment: 15 Annual budget: $700,000 Weekly giving: $13,500 Singles program: third Sunday ...

Mower Drummer Dan Harper

Mower drummer Dan Harper has been found after being missing for five days. The Oceanside Police Department said Harper has been found and is at Tri City Hospital. Sergeant Rick Favela would not disclose Harper's ...

"The Only F-Word I Wanted to Say was 'Freedom' "

"The only F-word I wanted to say was 'freedom,' " says Mojo Nixon in response to KGB exec Mike Thomas's quote in the San Diego Business Journal January 10 about why KGB lost its afternoon-drive ...

"The Five Stages of Beer"

"The Five Stages of Beer," a locally made film airing at the second annual Park City Film Music Festival this week, includes music by locals CLA (Steve Foth, Sam Chammas, and Dennis Borlek), Mercedes Scalzitti ...

Java Joe's is Closing

Insiders say Joe Flammini, whose Ocean Beach coffeehouse played an integral part in launching the careers of Atlantic recording artists Jason Mraz and Jewel, has sold his latest business, Java Joe's Pub. The California Alcoholic ...

Until Recently, 4th & B

Until recently, 4th & B was controlled by Pacific Entertainment LLC, which had 15 owners. Now one of those owners, Ali Nilforshan of Del Mar, is buying out the other 14. Nilforshan was not available ...

Our Guitar Player, Mason Boogie

"Our guitar player, Mason Boogie, borrowed his roommate's pink girl's bike. He went to the store in OB to buy food. He got pulled over by the cops, and they said they had a report ...

U2's 2005 Worldwide "Vertigo" Tour

U2's 2005 worldwide "Vertigo" tour will open March 28 at the San Diego Sports Arena, with tickets going on sale January 29, says the January 21 issue of Billboard magazine. It's called the Vertigo tour ...

When I Asked Al Kooper

When I asked Al Kooper if he would be selling shirts at his show (which was a couple of weeks ago at the United Methodist Church as part of their Acoustic Music Series), he said ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

The counselor at my first drunk-driving school said the word "sometimes" with a space between the two words: "some...times." His shaved pate showed the marks of a raucous youth. The length of his salt-and-pepper beard ...

Intimate Photography

Even when I score a victory in the bulge battle, age and children do their work -- a stretch mark on the hips, a sag in the belly. My best gal pal Bernice and I ...

Southern Comfort

This restaurant is closed.Mardi Gras always makes me hungry for Louisiana cooking -- not that I require a special occasion for that craving. For months, my partner and I peeked through the windows of a ...

Juice Rule

“Never combine peach with papaya. It causes trouble.”

Thursday, January 20

Those Big Fish Are Gonna Get You

Welcome to Scam City.

WALL STREET is predicting that 2005 will be a year of corporate marriages and initial public offerings of common stocks, and the Street is rejoicing. No doubt for Wall Street, resumption of both kinds of ...

Remake, Sequel, Original

Movies reviewed this week: Assault on Precinct 13, Elektra, and In Good Company

All-Star Bar

“They don’t drink any white wine, and they don’t drink any cheap wine.”

Lost (and Found) in Translation

It was a mellow Christmas season for parties -- for me. That was good, considering I was sick for almost two weeks around that time. There was a bris I found out about, but the ...

GI Jews

GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation. Harvard University Press; 368 pages; $25.95. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Whether they came from Sioux Falls or the Bronx, over half a million Jews entered the ...

Back When

Thirty Years Ago I was supposed to stay overnight at the City Rescue Mission on Saturday. But when I got there at 7:30, the doors were closed. "Sorry, Full House Tonight." So I decided to ...

The Treasure of Our Tongue

W e best learn the meanings of words by their context. Yet Charles Harrington Elster, known to San Diegans for his five-year stint on the KPBS radio program A Way with Words, recalls a lesson ...

Red cash, blue cash

The Washington Post is drawing heat for giving $100,000 to the Bush Inaugural '05 committee, which has already raised a record $20 million or so toward its record goal of $40 million from private donors, ...

Why Not Allow Us to Help the Homeless?

'A major complaint we get," says Captain Trish Poochigian of the Salvation Army, "is that the homeless cross the street illegally in the middle of traffic. So I told the clients, 'If you want to ...

City Promotes Financial Clowns

'The foxes are being promoted," says attorney Michael Conger. "You can't take seriously anything the city says about cleaning up this mess as long as they keep giving promotions to the chief architects of the ...

L.A.'s Porter Ranch district features trails overlooking the wide San Fernando Valley.

Residents of the upscale Porter Ranch district of Los Angeles enjoy open spaces and neighborhood trails overlooking the vast San Fernando Valley. These are publicly accessible trails, so you don't have to be a resident ...

Excites Me Mad

"When I woke up, I walked over to the piano and played it like I never have before."

One Woman’s Trash...

Buy! Buy! Says the sign in the shop window. Why? Why? Says the junk in the yard. -- Paul McCartney Is it cold out? At 9:00 a.m. the sun wasn't exactly beating down on us, ...

Eighth Church of Christ Scientist

"[As Christian Scientist nurses] we do not give medicine, take temperatures, or read people's pulses," said Betty Miller. Miller works at the Lynn House, a Christian Science nursing facility in Encinitas. The Christian Science treatment ...

The Local Band 3against1

The local band 3against1 has won the Best Unsigned Band competition held by the Zippo lighter manufacturer, beating 1200 other entrants hoping to win free equipment and a chance to perform for Island Records. Votes ...

Veteran 91X DJ Steve West

Veteran 91X DJ Steve West is open about his upcoming prostate cancer surgery. On a recent Resurrection Sunday show, West told his listeners why he would not be on the air in February. He expects ...

Unwritten Law Fans

Unwritten Law fans will receive one free ticket to the February 1 SOMA concert (while supplies last) when they preorder Here's to the Mourning at either Lou's Records in Encinitas or M Theory Records in ...

"We bounced Willie"

"We bounced Willie." Hindquarter owner Joe Ellis says he has decided not to invite promoter Willie Carter back after a December 17 show at his restaurant on Miramar Road featuring D.I., American Made, and the ...

San Diego Native Jenn Lindsay

San Diego native Jenn Lindsay, at 26, has released five independently produced albums. Her newest, The Last New York Horn, contains the song "Uncle Sam," concerning George W. Bush's re-election: "Alone in a room with ...

A New Belly Up Tavern

A new Belly Up Tavern is set to open in Aspen, Colorado. The lease was signed December 10 by Michael Goldberg, whose brother Steve owns the 30-year-old Solana Beach sister club. The new Belly Up ...

Concerts by Blink-182

Concerts by blink-182 grossed more last year than tours by Kiss, the Eagles, Norah Jones, or Bob Dylan. Proving that backyard Poway parties may not be a bad place from which to launch a career, ...

Former Ratt Singer Stephen Pearcy

Former Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy performed before 5000 sailors on the world's largest aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, December 17. His backing band consisted of crew members who learned Ratt songs "You're in Love," "Lay ...

When Dionne Warwick

When Dionne Warwick performs at Sycuan today, Thursday, January 20, her dressing room requirements include a TV ("21 inch, color"), a telephone, six hangers ("wooden"), a full-length mirror, six ashtrays ("glass"), and a "private toilet." ...

You Wanna Know the Truth

"You wanna know the truth about all these clubgoing people?" says Zippy the cabdriver as he takes me deep into the Gaslamp on New Year's Eve. "I always do." Zippy is a short guy in ...

Fried Jungle

“Hey, I’m sorry for what your country suffered in the tsunami. Do you have relatives there?”

Local Boy Makes Good

'What seems most remarkable in all this is that you're hosting a network TV show." Conway Bowman says, "Yeah, tomorrow morning is the first show of the season." Bowman, 38, a San Diego native, is ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

Isaac Leedom pissed on my VCR. Isaac wasn't technically my friend, he was my brother's, so I hold no responsibility for the incident. My dad contends to this day he's never had a VCR that ...

Umbrellas

Before rain overwhelmed my windshield wipers as I drove through a shopping center parking lot, I noticed a 40-year-old woman cringing beneath a tiny pink Hello Kitty umbrella. The umbrella was barely big enough to ...

Rinse, spit, hurl!

Heymatt: I haven't been to the dentist in a while and am due for a cleaning. Over the weekend I got sick and puked a few times. I swear the stomach acid in the vomit ...

Local Bars

The Japanese art of sushi was bound to change once it reached the Americas and American-born chefs and diners took it up. How many aspiring local chefs would put up with the rigors of Japan's ...

Thursday, January 13

More or Less Sudden Mountains

Tom Deméré reads our rocks.

Rocks are for climbing, collecting, throwing, building. They're also full of information, if you can read a rock. Scientists who become fluent in rock — geologists — peruse these old, hard texts and interpret them. ...

Light into Darkness

New Year's resolution: resist the hype. Ignore it. Pay it no heed. Don't get sucked in. As we buckle up for another annum of stunning masterpieces and electrifying thrill rides, it could do no harm ...

The Fog Thickens

In a booming James Earl Jones voice: When we last left our hero, he had successfully crashed a Pee Wee Herman party. As he walked briskly across the street to another party, he saw the ...

Happy Triggers

“Nothing is complete — things are chopped off, or they run off the edge of the canvas.”

High-Income Housing

Superintendent Alan Bersin has finally sold his Point Loma house and moved into a manse down the hill in La Playa overlooking San Diego Bay. The controversial school honcho got $1,250,000 in September, when he ...

Crooked Shooters

The editorial board over at the Union-Tribune lost more face last Tuesday with the defeat of George Stevens, the old Southeast San Diego pol, minister, and ex-city councilman whom the paper had endorsed over Tony ...

Pink Steam

Pink Steam. Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004; 190 pages; $16.95. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Pink steam rises from the vats of melting goo in the Vincent Price 3-D horror classic, House of Wax. Railroad buffs know ...

Executive suit

San Diego Regional Airport Authority board member Bill Lynch is getting more than a bit of personal education in the pitfalls of running an aviation-related business. Back in November 2001, according to a recently filed ...

Banner Year

As recently as eight or ten years ago, "when things were gritty in the Gaslamp Quarter," says downtown's Golden Pacific Art owner Catherine Wall, artists could rent small work spaces for $60 per month. "A ...

Unkind Cut

Tonya Jamois, a housewife from San Marcos, leads an international grassroots movement battling the medical establishment. Dressed in tennies and a raspberry-colored velour track suit, she sits in a purple armchair in the corner of ...

John Moores's Mississippi Nightmare

A tsunami originating in the little town of Clinton, Mississippi, could soon whack the larger town of San Diego, California. Clinton was the home base of WorldCom, an $11 billion accounting fraud in the telecom ...

Last summer's flash flood in Borrego Palm Canyon paved the way for easier access into the canyon's upper reaches.

For now and for the next several years, the normally slow and painstaking trek ambitious hikers make into the middle and upper reaches of Borrego Palm Canyon will be considerably easier. Much of the impeding ...

Tranquil Trip

"You're gonna go wacko if you're just listening to Enya over and over again."

Madonna, Bono, Sting, Cher

"Madonna, Bono, Sting, Cher. None of them are here, but in the great tradition of one-name stars like those, there's a new one about to burst on the music scene, and you're lucky enough to ...

We Used to Play Acoustic Delta Blues on the Corner of Prospect

"We used to play acoustic delta blues on the corner of Prospect and Herschel. We would put on really nice suits and shine our shoes and look like we didn't need the money. But we'd ...

Deep Cleaning

Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me. -- Alice Walker 'You know how I can tell this is an elegant place?" I ...

"I Just Want My Money or My CDs Back"

"I just want my money or my CDs back." The owner of a local record label says he was burned by the abrupt closing of a CD store that operated for five months out of ...

There Was a Long Line to Get Into L5

There was a long line to get into L5 for its last hours on New Year's Eve. Two cops stood by and made sure no one got too rambunctious. One guy was yelling on his ...

"Twenty-Two Days [in Jail] is Not Enough Punishment

"Twenty-two days [in jail] is not enough punishment," said prosecutor Jeff Dort to the court. "I'm not an advocate for breaking up families, but I am an advocate for the rights and safety of children." ...

The Associated Press' "Overlooked Albums" of 2004

The Associated Press' "Overlooked Albums" of 2004 includes a review of Tom Waits's Real Gone which says the one-time local nightclub doorman "has thrown dice in the back alleys of music before and found perfection ...

"You Need to Get Laid!"

"You need to get laid!" a drunk woman in a tube top yelled at the police officer arresting her. "What's the matter, haven't you ever [expletive] a pretty girl before?" This is according to SDPD ...

The Way Christian Church

"More than nine out of ten people go to counseling because they do not have a close meaningful relationship in church. Many people will go their entire life and struggle to find a good friend. ...

Chargers Wrap-up

There's a reason why Marty is 5-12 in playoff games. Defense, an excellent quarterback, and a good front line can get you into the postseason, but once in, you need to take risks; be assured, ...

Coffee Ice Cream

I've crash-landed into the post-holiday wasteland. The parties and planning are over. Where needed, gifts have been returned or exchanged. The Christmas tree has kept its date with the wood chipper, and the holiday decorations ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

My first script "Hello, a lot of folks with diabetes are having a tough time eating right. Well, now there's -- goddamnit!" Wilford Brimley is interrupted by a series of loud bangs. "It's bad enough ...

When a cow joined the band

Hi Matt: I was recently doing some deep thinking on the origin of the cow bell (as a musical instrument). I can't figure out if it's the chicken or the egg. Did we put the ...

Witness Security program? What Witness Security program?

Heymatt: If my best friend or uncle entered the federal Witness Protection Program, would I even know it? I mean, would he and his family just disappear? What explanations are given, if any, to friends ...

Fire hat stickers

Dear Matthew: Why do people have those firefighter stickers on the back of their cars? I figure the driver must work for the fire department. But why are they advertising it? Is it in case ...

Whither Social Security

Hi Matt: Articles have been written regarding the uncertainty of the future of the Social Security system. The system is nearly 70 years old and they probably add thousands of people each day. My question ...

Velvet Flame

“This place is just like Tijuana. And it’s clean. Try the tripe.”

Thursday, January 6

What's Going On at City Hall?

Only Murphy and his intimates know the real story.

Of all the bad things said about Dick Murphy before 2004, he was never thought to have been a crook. If the word "corruption" was ever associated with his name, it was a small-c kind ...

Cream of the Cream

Retracing my steps, I have stumbled upon a subjective new measurement for an unexciting year of movies. There was exactly one new release in 2004 -- I am almost shocked at the realization -- that ...

Watery Grave

The demise in the great tsunami of Poom Jensen, grandson of Thai king Bhumipol Adulyadej, brought a torrent of local press coverage last week. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times described the dead 21-year-old as ...

Pee Wee and Me

"Julia" was always one of my favorite Beatles ballads. Now it would be one of my favorite party people. She called to invite me to her Pee Wee Herman party. I refrained from making a ...

Cabernet Paint

“I was drinking these great bottles and saying to my wife, ‘This is out of control!’ ”

Stadium Drum Beat

When the Union-Tribune gets that old special-interest bit in its mouth, it seldom lets go. Witness the recent spate of stories the paper has run about how decrepit the once-mighty Qualcomm Stadium has purportedly become. ...

Abbey’s Barbecued Pinto Beans

By Athena Shlemon, Owner/Chef, Abbey's Real Texas Bar-B-Q — Mira Mesa I'm a rice person. Rice and beans are my favorite things to eat. I mix them up and eat them together. Anybody can make ...

Open House: Of Family, Friends, Food, Piano Lessons, and the Search for a Room of My Own

Open House: Of Family, Friends, Food, Piano Lessons, and the Search for a Room of My Own. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 272 pages; $24. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Open House gathers observations, reminiscences, anecdotes, and ...

Conspiracy of Deliberate Ignorance

City government's culture of secrecy has bred something worse: a culture of deceit. The history of the 2002 ballpark bonds proves the point. Federal and local investigators, in their criminal and civil probes into the ...

Friends in high places

He's been an aide to Democratic ex-congressman Lionel Van Deerlin, top lieutenant for onetime Republican city councilman Uvaldo Martinez, local functionary for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and executive director of Democratic ex-governor Gray ...

She Left Her Hair In the Bushes

When Bill Howell and Judy Alvarez team up to take visitors on hikes in Mission Trails Regional Park, they have the group look on the path for stink beetle butts. That allows Howell to talk ...

Enjoy a panoramic view of the San Gabriel Valley from the top of Santa Anita Ridge.

Winding its way lazily upward onto a ridge of the San Gabriel Mountains, San Olene Fire Road leads to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the San Gabriel Valley and much of the Los Angeles Basin. The ...

Manhood Challenge

“It became a catering business. Soon, she couldn’t fit it all into our kitchen.”

Local Pyle

"Area bands are seeing a renaissance in all the attention they're getting."

Local Clothing Company Sik World Productions

Local clothing company Sik World Productions is attracting media scrutiny over its new line of "Sik Kidz" baby clothes. Selling for around $16 retail, shirts for tots are emblazoned with logos like "I'm the Baby ...

A New Tijuana Music Venue Called Voodoo House

A new Tijuana music venue called Voodoo House opened three months ago. It is booked by Mario Velasco, a longtime Ensenada promoter who moved up to Tijuana to run the Voodoo House with partner Pedro ...

The Planet

The Planet (103.7 FM) and its sister station, soft-rock KYXY (96.5 FM), are installing the Audio Vault system, where songs and commercials are digitally stored as computer files. Presently the Planet and KYXY depend on ...

A Waterproof iPod Case

A waterproof iPod case manufactured by a local company, the SV Mini, gets a poor review from the Modesto Bee (12-27-04): "The folks at San Diego--based H20 Audio have come out with a sealed waterproof ...

After Putting Out

After putting out No Cover magazine for seven years, Mark Rasmussen suspended publication of his free all-music magazine in July. Now No Cover is back with a new format (all glossy), a price ($2.99), and ...

"My Back's Still Killing Me"

"My back's still killing me," says jazz wind instrumentalist Chris Klich, "but I managed to mow the lawn today." "What happened to your back?" "Threw it out...and rather than getting better, as it usually does, ...

In an Article at CNN.com

In an article at CNN.com entitled "The Best Albums You Didn't Hear," Pinback's Summer in Abaddon is called "quite possibly the most intriguing album recorded in 2004. The San Diego duo has stepped beyond its ...

Before As I Lay Dying

Before As I Lay Dying played Las Vegas venue The Joint December 28, an area periodical wrote, "Tim Lambesis, vocalist for rising metalcore act As I Lay Dying...has watched bands that were once underground darlings ...

According to an Aversion.com CD Review

According to an aversion.com CD review, "Two-thirds of the San Diego--based pop rockers Reeve Oliver (get it?) ["revolver"] met while working at Sea World, which would be just a cute, icebreaking story for their press ...

Diva Claus

Karen: "Grace, it's Christmas, for goodness sake. Think about the baby Jesus, up in that tower, letting his hair down so that the three wise men can climb up and spin the dreidel and see ...

Politically Correct Christmas

Federal agent John Parish entered the room with local Internal Revenue Service territory managers. The casual meeting was off-site during the holiday season. "Merry Christmas," Parish greeted his coworkers. Parish's supervisor corrected him, "It's Happy ...

Fresh Start

I've stepped out of the darkened cave -- or, more precisely, have exited the animal den known in another life as my living room, to stroll in fresh air and reconnect my chakra with living ...

Cold Weather Beverages

Margaritas are the signature cocktail of the Kelly household. As hot days turn to warm evenings from April until Halloween or so, we often sit with friends on the deck, slurping down the slushy, limey ...

Delayed Whomp

I spent all last summer without a lick of barbecue crossing my lips. So by late fall, the craving for the taste of smoke reached a crisis. I began a quest for new "Qs" and ...

The mystery of the four-way stop

Heymatt: Clockwise, beginning with the car furthest to the right of all others, one at a time. What is so difficult about that? Apparently, roughly half of the drivers in San Diego (according to my ...

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