Thirty Years Ago From the window by my desk I can see a sign advertising an auto dealership. I can also see it from the bedroom window, the kitchen window, and the rear balcony. To merely say that I can see it understates the matter; dominates my view would be more accurate. It soars well over 100 feet into the air, illuminated by thousands of yellow and turquoise bulbs. About half of them blink. I am forced to live with the thing. Day and night it perseveres, standing guard over its four-wheeled kingdom. -- WRITING CONTEST WINNERS: "NORTH PARK," Elliot Swill, December 2, 1976
Twenty-Five Years Ago Dear Matthew Alice:
Can you please find the address of Allen Ginsberg or a way that I may be able to contact him? It is about a manuscript of poetry that I would like him to see.
La Jolla The latest Who's Who gives the home address of the poet as Box 528 Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009; the office address is c/o City Lights, 761 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco 94133. -- STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, November 25, 1981
Twenty Years Ago Let me get this straight. The time is fast approaching to settle upon some New Year's Resolutions, otherwise known around Reader editorial offices as the Annual Job Performance Review, and I want to be sure I understand what must be done in order to make myself over into a nearer likeness of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert -- apart from (as the case may be) ripping my hair out in sodlike clumps and rolling half-a-dozen marbles across my tongue or increasing my calorie intake five-fold and laying in a supply of primary-color pullovers. -- "SELF-IMPROVEMENT," Duncan Shepherd, November 26, 1986
Fifteen Years Ago In mid-August, American customs agents stopped a southbound car at a checkpoint near the Mexican border. The car belonged to Jorge Hank Rhon, owner and operator of Tijuana's Agua Caliente racetrack. Hank's driver was at the wheel, and in the passenger seat was the nephew of Hank's sister Ivonne, who had been spending time in one of the family's homes at the Coronado Cays. In the back seat of the car was a playful white Bengal tiger cub. Asian tigers are listed as endangered by the UN's International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, which tabulates the world's official endangered species list. -- CITY LIGHTS: "TYGER, TYGER, SLEEK AND BRIGHT -- WERE YOU STOLEN IN THE NIGHT?" Neal Matthews, November 27, 1991
Ten Years Ago Noting that [Mayor Willie] Brown also appointed Malcolm to the California Coastal Commission, the [San Francisco Examiner ] resurrected remarks reputedly made by erstwhile Democratic moneyman Dick Silberman to FBI agents who arrested him in a 1989 money-laundering sting. Silberman, according to an agent's notes, called Malcolm a "bagman" for then-state assembly speaker Brown. Malcolm denied wrongdoing and was never charged with a crime. Silberman, ex-husband of Mayor Golding, was found guilty of several felonies and served more than three years behind bars before being quietly paroled to San Francisco. -- CITY LIGHTS: "TALE OF TWO MAYORS," Matt Potter, November 21, 1996
Five Years Ago I weigh more now than I've ever weighed. If human physiology is, as scientists tell us, similar to a pig's, then I'm a culinary goldmine. If I were butchered like a pig, fat from around my kidneys would produce a large quantity of "leaf lard" -- the best for making flaky pastry. The fat from my back, also good, could be used to wrap pâtés, or, as is done in southern Europe, salted, cubed, and used to flavor stews. Once rendered, my buttocks could serve as the frying medium favored in parts of China. -- TIP OF MY TONGUE: "LARD," Max Nash, November 21, 2001