Stories for November 2005

Thursday, November 24

Butt dot?

Dear M.A.: Getting personal, I have a small blue dot on my butt, and I'm told my mother and brother do as well. My mother has always said it was a "Mongolian birthmark." She says ...

Concentrating monkeys

Matt: Something that I've wondered about for years is why people stick the tips of their tongues out of their mouths when they're concentrating on something. I've seen my kids do it and adults do ...

Wednesday, November 23

The Late Long-time Queen of the Cafe Critics

A life in food and literature remembered.

One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam," made ...

Inzunza's Hideaways

It turns out that National City mayor Nick Inzunza, recently the subject of a Union-Tribune exposé about his plans to take an extended holiday vacation from his mayoral duties, owns a getaway in the San ...

Writers: Photographs by Nancy Crampton

Writers: Photographs by Nancy Crampton; introduction by Mark Strand. The Quantuck Lane Press, 2005; $40; 224 pages. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Here are more than a hundred wonderful and sensitive duotone portraits of our major ...

Don Squirreleone

If you have any doubts, go to the emergency room. Don't worry about embarrassment -- it's better to be embarrassed than dead. -- Richard Stein 'Wow, look at all of them! There's so many," I ...

If You Hold It, They Will Defile It

The Pacific Beach Block Party is over, according to Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of Discover PB, an association that includes 1200 PB business owners. Discover PB was granted the party permit by the city for ...

No Jiving -- Sister Fannie

James Brown, 71, did his thing for almost an hour and a half last week at 4th & B (no encore, but no one seemed dissatisfied). Before the show, at his merchandise table, a woman ...

Will Rock for Clothes

"We picked up a sponsorship with [shoe company] Osiris," says Flight Risk singer Jesse Blanton. "They kicked us down some shoes, shirts, and jeans. They said they'd get us on all the [2006] West Coast ...

The Cops Killed Francisco

"The cops killed Francisco, plain and simple, and they'll probably put me in jail for saying so," says Hoover High student Amanda M. She claims she was arrested for "obstruction" after being questioned about her ...

San Diego Audiences Still Suck

North County band Faceles was named Best Hard Rock Band at the 15th annual L.A. Music Awards last Sunday. Vocalist Roger Baca says Faceles plays twice a month in L.A. at either the Roxy, the ...

As the Fog Lifts

"Hey, I know that guy from somewhere," a dude at the Casbah claimed last Wednesday night. He was talking about Ted Washington, onstage with his group Pruitt Igoe (more "performance art" than rock and roll). ...

You Are What You Eat...

When Fiona Apple appears at the House of Blues on Monday, November 28, her contract states she "presents an extremely dynamic, yet subtle show and consequently will require a state-of-the-art sound system." She wants her ...

Breathe in the Jazz

'Our vocal group at school had been offered the opportunity to record an on-air spot at Jazz 88.3 for a festival at City College," says La Mesa resident and jazz vocalist Karin Carson. "I went ...

New Life Presbyterian Church, La Mesa

"Christians can't fight battles of sin alone. I failed miserably when I tried to deal with sin on my own. I felt alone. I was fearful of sharing my struggles with others," said Jim Allsop, ...

In the Fragrant Harbor

“Man, you are so woulda-coulda-shoulda. You can’t enjoy anything anymore.”

Ramble through an artificial yet salubrious native-landscape-in-the-making at Orange County's Talbert Nature Preserve.

All along Orange County's north coastal region (Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach), formerly environmentally abused wetlands and floodplains are in the process of being restored to some semblance of an original condition. Talbert Nature ...

The Big Fix

Last week, San Diego County sheriff Bill Kolender announced he was running for his fourth four-year term. The 70-year-old candidate boasts the full support of the local Republican establishment, including all five members of the ...

A Gritty Dilemma

Around 9:30 p.m., on Friday the 19th of August, 22-year-old David Silverman of Jacumba and two female friends were cruising south on Buckman Springs Road toward Campo when they found themselves stuck behind an 18-wheel ...

New Centre City Chief Plays Ball

'I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with Nancy Graham," barks Joel Daves, who followed her as mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida. Good advice. Graham, who was the first chief executive after ...

Self-Mutilating Toddlers

'Parrots are very vocal animals. In the wild, the way they keep in contact with each other is by yelling back and forth," says Bonnie Kenk, founder and executive director of the Parrot Education and ...

Holiday Inn

Down Mexico way, El Biz is pronounced "Elvis," and that's the kind of star power you'll find in El Bizcocho's dining room. Like the King, it's both charismatic and oddly elusive. To reach the restaurant, ...

Stress the Vines

“Irrigation comes from the river that runs down from the mountains, bringing minerals to the soil.”

Back When

Twenty-Five Years Ago Kid was on his way to the beach. Drove his folks' 1970 Mercury from his home in El Cajon to the Grand/Garnet exit in Pacific Beach. It was after eight on a ...

Ho Down

Pimp 'n' Ho parties have been popular for years. Someone asked me if I thought it was because Julia Roberts's character in the movie Pretty Woman glamorized prostitution. I think it's because of the hip-hop ...

Michael Manske in Slovenia

Open Letter Dear Nikolas, It's been a few days since your fast and furious birth. Despite the fact that I once nearly passed out watching a dog get neutered (effectively ending my nascent veterinary career), ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

"Fourth down and one. Chargers need to convert here to put themselves in field goal range." Sparkling graphics prance across the screen with stats on how many points the San Diego kickers scored this year ...

Lobster

"No turkey," said Patrick. "What?" "No turkey. I've never really liked it. And as long as there isn't going to be any big family shindig this year, why don't we do our own Thanksgiving feast?" ...

Thursday, November 17

Top Dogs: San Diego's K9 Unit

To serve, protect, and scare the hell out of crooks.

Bobby looks like a black Labrador, except that his ears stand upright, forming two stiff peaks. They're quivering now, as Bobby crouches, ready to lunge at me. He's not making a sound, but his body ...

The Lost Painting: The Quest For a Caravaggio Masterpiece

The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. Random House, 2005; $24.95; 250 pages. FROM THE DUST JACKET: An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

"Do you ever watch Arrested Development?" John asks. "No," I answer. This is where most conversations with me go. When the "How have you been doing?" greetings are over and we've stared at our mimosa ...

Confident Clan

Fearless minds climb soonest into crowns. -- William Shakespeare 'What if they laugh at me? Or even worse -- what if they don't laugh at all? I swear to God, if I say something I ...

Poltz's Gamble

Of local recording artists, not Switchfoot, Jason Mraz, or Louis XIV get the most radio airplay. For two years, Steve Poltz has gotten more radio exposure than anyone. His commercial jingle ("Minutes away, miles apart...take ...

Heavy Metal Liability

"To this day, people come up and say, 'I heard you wrecked the Rock [105.3] van,'" says James Welch. That's a rumor, but Welch lost his job at the station almost five years ago subsequent ...

A Pro for the People

John (not his real name) worked for Staff Pro from the mid to late '90s. "My favorite place to work was at Hospitality Point," he says. "During the Summer Pops, there was gnarly amounts of ...

Phantom Dad

"It turns out [my father has] been living in San Diego, and he even knows about the band," says Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor. He says his mother never told him who his father was. "My ...

Yesterday Is Here

Thirty-two years ago today (11/17/73), Tom Waits played at Folk Arts Rare Records, then located in Hillcrest at 3743 Fifth Avenue. "He did our open-mike nights back when he was still at Hilltop High," says ...

Belly Up To the Arizona

'Let's call Mel. Let's see if she'll come down," people said. "I don't want to wake her up," they said. "It's awfully early. And, Sunday. She probably wants to sleep in, but it'd be cool ...

St. Anthony's Orthodox Christian Church

"Most people have no idea what the Orthodox Church is. When I joined the church, my [Protestant] family was perplexed. They thought I had joined the Catholic Church, and Protestants are Rome-a-phobic," said David Hunt. ...

A Star is Born

I order the gumbo. And just to be sure I fill ye olde gut, a side of sweet potato fries.

SEC Nails Shell Game Master

In August of last year, San Diego stock swindler Ronald D. Brouillette Jr. -- trying to get sprung from jail -- told a judge that he had a bundle of bucks stashed offshore. It wasn't ...

Breaking Stories

Business as usual In the campaign's closing days, some interesting names appeared on the donor list of San Diego's Lincoln Club, a local GOP group that backs pro-business Republicans, including mayor-elect Jerry Sanders and city ...

Turkey With No Toil

If you want to have a toil-free T-Day turkey (or ham, filet mignon, whatever), numerous restaurants will cook your Thanksgiving dinner for you -- to eat in, or, increasingly, take home. This year's list is ...

Climb to the top of Corte Madera Mountain, and survey a world of ocean, islands, and inland mountain ranges.

On a clear late autumn or winter day atop Corte Madera Mountain, you can see forever -- or at least as far as Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands to the west, and the mile-high ...

Prelim Match-Up Of The Century

Fresno, California, is a Class B drive-through town. Class A drive-through towns are located on an interstate highway. Think Gallup, New Mexico. Gallup, and all other cities in the Class A category, offer the innocent ...

Fab Photos Of Fave Raves

'While you're in front of my camera I love you, you're the most important person in the universe; it's a bit like being an uptown hooker," says photographer Mick Rock. "I can overcome any difficulties. ...

A Wine That Refused to Die

“Stalin loved one of the Georgian varietals. He had to have it with dinner.”

Matches and Mismatches

Movies reviewed this week: Bee Season, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Pride and Prejudice, and Walk the Line

Back When

Thirty Years Ago WANTED: Women who worked in or led liberation movement, to help me in a liberation movement for myself, as I can't alone. I am hypnosis-controlled, trying to hold reversed. -- CLASSIFIEDS, November ...

Freeway thrashers

Dear Matthew Alice: What's up with the musicians I occasionally see under the bridge over Friars Road at the end of Mission Center Road? I don't get it, are the acoustics that great there or ...

Surf Memorial

This past summer I went to a party at San Elijo State Beach campground in Cardiff. I was told you have to reserve sites six months in advance there. The parking lot was full, so ...

Small-Town Hypocrisy

The Voice of San Diego is the cleanest play I have ever participated in. Pure news reporting. No sponsor, no advertising, no boardmembers who want to dictate anything to anybody. — Neil Morgan, senior editor, ...

Michael Manske in Slovenia

Slovenes Are Americans I've always found it amazing that Slovenia, a tiny alpine country with a population the size of greater Milwaukee, could support so many television and radio stations. According to a recent count, ...

Light Beer

"I put on too many pounds this October," moaned longtime pal Bernice. "Most of the calories were from beer, I'm afraid," she added. "The Oktoberfests killed me." Bernice and her husband Frank are avid Oktoberfest ...

Thursday, November 10

Where Cartoons Aren't for Kids

The rise of Japanese Anime.

In Roman times, the word "animare" meant "to give breath to." In the Biblical record, the first act of animation was performed by God, who created Adam by breathing life into a lump of clay. ...

James Agee: Film Writing and Selected Journalism, Volume One; James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, Shorter Fiction, Volume Two

James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, Shorter Fiction, edited by Michael Sragow. Library of America, 2005; $75; 748 pages; 818 pages FROM THE DUST JACKET: VOLUME ONE: A ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

"It's a polar bear," a statuesque woman on the little black screen breathes huskily while posing for the camera. "Wait," I blurt. The DVD is paused. "The plane supposedly crashed in the tropics. Why the ...

Potty Princess

The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them. -- Frank A. Clark The phone was ringing again. "Your turn," I said to David. He dropped the ...

Outreach, Inc.

In 2005, churches will mail over 50 million direct-mail postcards created by Outreach, Inc., the largest provider of Christian outreach products and services in North America. In addition, churches will hang 200,000 Outreach door hangers ...

A Chomp Down Memory Lane

“José was so…genteel, so sophisticated. Not like the oafs I was hanging out with.”

Waterproof Grooves

Jimmy Pettit is a 40-year-old construction project manager. He and his family live near San Diego State University. He owns an MP3 player made by iRiver, along with a waterproof housing and submersible headphones designed ...

Fudged Circulation Figures

The Union-Tribune has two problems with its circulation: quantity and quality. The numbers are sinking, but they're also artificially bloated, according to two Wall Street media analysts. The analysts rate 50 major metropolitan newspapers for ...

School vs. Ball Field Re-Ignites Skirmish

After a two-year cease-fire, shots are again flying in a battle between San Diego City Schools and some Golden Hill residents. The battleground is a section of the urban grid bounded by 32nd and 33rd ...

Breaking Stories

It's only money When you're the president of a big taxpayer-funded state university in California, you get plenty of perks. Take the case of San Diego State's Stephen Weber, who has gone on more than ...

Walk on the wild side of L.A. by climbing to mile-high elevation in the City of Los Angeles.

From the top of Mount Lukens, the high point in elevation within the city limit of Los Angeles, you can peer over a vast and spacious urban plain -- coastal haze and smog permitting. During ...

All Hands Hoay!

You've probably read or heard the story. Seabourn Spirit, a German-built, Bahamas-registered, Miami-based, Norwegian-crewed cruise ship of 10,000 tons and six decks, carrying 208 passengers and 160 crew, was attacked by pirates 100 miles off ...

Poway Has Rep For Roots

'In Poway, it was either sports or bands, and I don't do sports," says Sean Barrett, guitar player for the Perils of Being. "Poway is just a small town, a city in the country. There ...

The Latest Generation

Movies reviewed this week: Jarhead, Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic, and Zathura

Back When

Thirty Years Ago The first time I saw B.B. (BeBe) was 1967; she was in a white corduroy jockey suit and cap. She reminded me of a 90-pound white rat on speed. Later at an ...

K.O.'d TVs

HeyMatt: Is there a doomsday for analog type TVs? Seems that I read that on January 1st, 2006, that 8 to 10 million televisions will go blank due to new FCC rules and all TVs ...

Happy Birthday to the Hill Sisters

HeyMatt: I was thinking about restaurants and how the wait staff all have clever versions of the "Happy Birthday" song. I've heard all the talk about how copyrights won't allow them to sing it. So ...

The Hair’s the Key

I was invited to several Halloween parties this year, among them a "goblin gathering" in Spring Valley, a haunted house in Chula Vista, and the Halloween Ball at the Prado in Balboa Park, which I ...

Monster Dudes

Monster Dudes made a return visit to the Ché Café on October 25. The Boise, Idaho, quartet features five-year-old drummer Venec, his dad Jeremy, their friend Mike, and newly acquired banjo player Amy Vecchione (of ...

Are You Sitting Down?

During his 13 months editing Fahrenheit magazine (published from May 2003 until July 2004), Portland, Oregon, transplant Adam Gnade formed a lot of opinions about local performers. Today he says, "Right now, most San Diego ...

West Coast Devils' Night?

An October 31 blaze destroyed Darrin DiMichele's recording studio and four of his band-practice rooms in Vista. The fire caused $600,000 worth of damage to his Goblin Studios. DiMichele's band, Sic Waiting, had to cancel ...

Michael Manske In Slovenia

The Slovenian Chestnut Conspiracy You know it's autumn in Slovenia when the ice-cream stands disappear and are replaced by barrels of roasting chestnuts. Losing the ice-cream stands is tough. The scoops are luscious and creamy ...

We Are Underaged Men

When Devo was scheduled to play the House of Blues October 9, Joey Ugalde, 20, and Kaitlin Mattick, 18, of the Chula Vista-based new-wave band the Atoms, decided to hang out on Fifth Avenue and ...

KO'ed

Alicia Champion collapsed onstage at the San Diego Indie Music Fest Saturday night, November 5. The audience fell silent as security and staff rushed to her aid. One staffer said Alicia "hasn't eaten well or ...

Who Killed Bauhaus Show?

The band's first local performance in seven years was canceled "because of major safety issues," says Maurice Luque of the SD Fire Department. The concert would've been at 4th & B last Wednesday, November 2. ...

Cat Fight!

"I knew something was rotten in Denmark when I didn't see Joey [Harris] at the Beat Farmers reunion at the San Diego Music Awards [in September]," said Candye Kane. She performed at Monday's Casbah tribute ...

Grannies Rock

Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces released their second album of the year, Rehearsing My Choir, on October 25. It's a concept album based on the life of their 83-year-old grandmother, Olga Santos. ...

Gold Record

When local photographer Eric Rife was a clerk at Off the Record, he saw his share of valuable records. He now works at the San Diego Central Library. In late October, the library had a ...

Got His Own

I rarely rate restaurants at "excellent to extraordinary." As far as I can remember, I've reviewed only seven of that quality in the five years since I arrived in "America's finest city." It's no coincidence ...

Adult Reading Classes

I was attending a gardening workshop, plotting my vegetable placement. The woman next to me gave me a hesitant tap on the shoulder. "Could you help me write a thank-you card for the instructor?" We'd ...

Thursday, November 3

Salvation Mountain

An old man and Somebody Upstairs.

My friend Rex says, "You'll love the Slabs in August. Some would call you adventurous and brave, and some completely out of your mind." The Slabs are Slab City, three miles east of Niland, between ...

The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe

The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe by Paula Fox. Henry Holt and Company, 2005; 144 pages; $18. FROM THE DUST JACKET: In 1946, Paula Fox walked up the gangplank of a partly reconverted ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

"Guinness, please," I mumble to the woman behind the bar while I shuffle a handful of bills around. I start to feel human again with the first few sips. An Olympic-caliber hangover sat in my ...

Movie Madness

Theatergoing is a communal act, movie going a solitary one. -- Robert Brustein 'Are you ready?" I stood in front of the door, jiggling my keys. "The movie doesn't start for two hours ," David ...

Twelve Tribes Community, Vista

"If a Christian is a true seeker of God, they are better off reading the word of God at face value than buying into the traditions of mainstream churches. When a believer sincerely cries out ...

Growing Pains for Online Charity

The "M.D." in Harry E. Gruber, M.D., should stand for Mach Dollar. In the past, he has amassed dollars at Mach speed as companies he helped found went public and then were sold quickly for ...

Breaking Stories

Sand castle One of the most ostentatious houses on Del Mar's gold coast is up for sale with a hefty $50 million asking price. The 5200-square-foot mansion was custom built in 1999 along 120 feet ...

Breaking Stories

Sand castle One of the most ostentatious houses on Del Mar's gold coast is up for sale with a hefty $50 million asking price. The 5200-square-foot mansion was custom built in 1999 along 120 feet ...

Explore the winding tributary washes and canyons of Fish Creek, deep in Anza-Borrego's Carrizo Badlands.

Deep in the corrugated folds of Anza-Borrego's Carrizo Badlands, a trio of sinuous dry washes invites your slow and careful exploration -- first by truck or 4-wheel drive, and then by foot. Here, on the ...

Sleeping Aids

Sheep run uncounted in my mom's mind. She gave up on that sleep aid long ago. Mom's probably been awake for three-quarters of her life. Most mornings of my childhood, she would inform me over ...

170 Kids On The Field

Let's see, the University of Toledo football team was on ESPN2. Don't remember their opponent, being busy with newspaper, swilling coffee, and mindlessly rubbing bare foot against warm dachshund belly. I looked up and saw ...

With a Grown Man's Allowance

Guys are so into gadgets and, I hate to say, unconventional stuff. Women are more practical buyers, and men go out and buy motorcycles and stuff," says Heather Cook, account executive at Spear/Hall Advertising and ...

Four of a Kind

Movies reviewed this week: Prime, Shopgirl, The Squid and the Whale, and The Weather Man

Back When

Thirty Years Ago "Gerald Warren is a good, fair, amiable newsman. Helen Copley was smart to latch onto him. If there is anything to be wary of now it's that element of small-town mentality as ...

Why the tie?

Hey Matt: Where and when did the custom of wearing ties start? When were they deemed important in social circles? What a pain in the ass they are. -- Bob, the net We traditionally blame ...

Witness this house

Dear Matthew Alice: I read that back in the 1920s, the Jehovah's Witnesses bought a house in San Diego. Is this house still here? Do the Witnesses still own it? -- DMH, San Diego They ...

Flattered and Scared

I attended a party that Jamison, a hairstylist, hosted at the Abbey Cafe in Hillcrest. I asked Jamison about his name, and he joked about his mother being drunk on Jameson Irish Whiskey when he ...

Head Wound City

Bass player Justin Pearson (the Locust, Some Girls) was struck in the forehead with a pint glass at North Park's Whistle Stop Bar October 9. "I was DJ-ing and that girl felt compelled to continually ...

How to Make It in L.A....

Two weeks ago in "Blurt," Guerilla Transammo said "never again" to L.A. gigs. A pay-for-play setup between the band and the Cat Club (and a snafu with their chartered bus) made for a bad experience. ...

No Joke

"Most people laugh at me," says Miz Liberty, a Jewish rapper from Rancho Santa Fe. "But once they hear me, then they stop laughing." Born Stacy Goldstein, Miz Liberty says she loves competitions. "I love ...

Define Pleasure

Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin spent the early '90s touring with the Pleasure Barons, featuring Mojo Nixon and Beat Farmers drummer/singer Country Dick Montana. Their rowdy stage show was chronicled on a 1993 concert album that ...

Horror in Hillcrest

"As far as I know, this is the only [club] in town that is run by a band," says Dorian Tucker, guitarist in Jezebel. With keyboardist/guitarist Nathan Everett and bassist Mike Croft, Tucker produces Suspiria ...

Grunt Out the Jams

Drummer Aaron Wade got that "not so fresh" feeling during Dmonstrations' performance at CMJ's New Music Marathon in mid-September. Playing at New York's Lit Lounge, Wade came close to pulling off a shocker reminiscent of ...

Better Off Def?

When Def Leppard plays the Sports Arena on Friday, November 4, "all cell phones, pagers, walkie-talkies, UHF repeaters, etc., must be switched off," including by any police, security, paramedics, fire officials, or staffers on-site. Such ...

Cheese It!

Twenty-five years ago today (11/3/80), the Police played Golden Hall with opening act XTC. The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta (and its first single, "Don't Stand So Close to Me") was in the U.S. top ten. The ...

Little New Zealand In P.B.

“Today in our time zone, tomorrow, yours. It’s gonna be a long haul, mate.”

Michael Manske In Slovenia

Don't Call Us Slovaks Here are some of the things that my current home, Slovenia, has been confused with: Slovakia, Transylvania, Siberia, Slavonia, Yugoslavia, and Sepultura. Well, maybe not the last one, but definitely the ...

Firefighters Union Chief Under Fire

District attorney Bonnie Dumanis has charged him with a felony, but members of the San Diego City Fire Fighters Local 145 apparently think Ron Saathoff is doing just fine. This past summer they reelected him ...

Sand castle

One of the most ostentatious houses on Del Mar's gold coast is up for sale with a hefty $50 million asking price. The 5200-square-foot mansion was custom built in 1999 along 120 feet of beachfront ...

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