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Thirty Years Ago Not that I'm putting Las Vegas down. Anyone is entitled to a descent into a neoned hell where women dressed in mink coats sit in air-conditioned Cadillacs counting nickels held in Dixie cups. Based and predicated on the clink of coins -- even dollars are converted from paper to silver -- the town is classless. Whether you are an illiterate or an intellectual, a person with reputation or not, your past and your future have no relevance. -- "GOIN' TO LAS VEGAS," E.J. Rackow, July 10, 1975

Twenty-Five Years Ago Guadalupe Island -- Mexico's westernmost possession, 250 miles southwest of San Diego and about 160 miles off the coast of Baja California -- has been called an ecological tragedy. Once a natural laboratory for the manufacture of unique birds, plants, and seals, it is dying. In spite of the island's considerable size, it is only part of the original massive volcano, and it is crumbling into the sea. -- "DEATH OF AN ISLAND," Gordon Smith, July 10, 1980

Twenty Years Ago One day this past January I walked into Children's Hospital to see my infant son, born three months prematurely. The two nurses seemed to forget me as I slipped into a side alcove to pump some breast milk. One nurse, blonde, delicate, groomed, was saying if she were pregnant and she started to go into labor early -- very early -- she would stay home. She would choose almost certain death for her baby rather than bringing it to the hospital. -- "THE BABY CAME EARLY," Stephanie Murphy, July 11, 1985

Fifteen Years Ago Do as I do, do exactly as I do and load up, gas up, check coolant, tires, oil, bring along someone you love, like, or at least c'n stand being with for 48 hours (consec.), get on 5, drive, get off at Elm Ave. at 2:30, 3:00 on a Friday p.m., go west till it ends, park, unload, lock and check into room two five oh of the Ocean Manor Motel. Fully open curtains, ogle the fantastic sea view, piss, flush, unpack and go down for a drink. But before you go drink go and check out the beach, down the railed three- or four-leveled stairway afringe with flowering ice plants, over pebbles as large as your fist to the sandy strip (narrow) dissolving in seamist to far left and right, note the bearded old cuss in the bathrobe with two empty teacups, the bracing aroma of ocean and whatwhat. -- "TOO CARLSBAD FOR WORDS," Richard Meltzer, July 12, 1990

Ten Years Ago So on that Sunday, young [Richard Henry] Dana -- a stripling tar, 20 years old -- walked into San Diego wearing a blue jersey, duck trousers, and a straw hat. He and his friend Stimson headed to a "grog-shop" -- liquor was one real (12 1/2 cents) a glass -- and after a few drinks with other shipmates ("if you drink with one, and not with another, it is always taken as an insult"), they rented horses to ride. "Horses are the cheapest thing in California; very fair ones not being worth more than ten dollars apiece, and the poorer being often sold for three or four." -- "CALIFORNIANS ARE AN IDLE, THRIFTLESS PEOPLE," Alexander Theroux, July 6, 1995

Five Years Ago The Internet is perhaps the most consequential scientific innovation ever that is usable by anyone. It has made the vocabulary of technology part of our vernacular. But one problem with the Web is that discussions and debates about it -- about e-mail viruses, privacy, the latest plug-ins -- exhaust the average person's curiosity about science and technology. After a day downloading the latest Internet software, who has stamina left for thinking about emissions, biotechnology, or genetics? Haven't you noticed an ebb in the environmentalism that surged during the '70s and '80s? Scientists have. -- SIGHTSEER: "WEBBY WINNER," Justin Wolff, July 6, 2000

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