Stories for September 2006

Thursday, September 28

They See You, Have You Seen Them?

What has been here? Trackers know.

Retired American Airlines pilot Barry Martin has been called the best animal tracker in San Diego County. I asked how he first came to be interested in this arcane discipline. A lanky athlete with probing ...

It has a utopian atmosphere that reminded me of what was best in rock clubs in the 1960s.

Mention the words "club owner" to me and you can watch my eyes narrow. I'm probably picturing a beer gut sausaged into a too-small T-shirt, a few days' growth of beard from which sprouts an ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

There were those days. When I was young and there was violence in my blood. There were those nights. Pulling a friend from the double yellow line of a busy road while he screamed, "NO! ...

What's Up Down There

If you had any doubts about the power of emotion or whether there is such a thing as a home-field advantage in professional football, they were taken care of Monday night. New Orleans played eight ...

Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church

Saint Gregory the Great might be an Arts & Crafts arboretum, with its huge slatted dome of a ceiling, its preponderance of windows framed by great beams of wood, its gray-green tile floor, its trickling ...

The Best American Science Writing 2006

The Best American Science Writing 2006. Editor: Atul Gawande. Series Editor: Jesse Cohen. Harper Collins Publishers, 2006, $13.95, 384 pages. ABOUT THE BOOK: Carrying the imprimatur of bestselling author Atul Gawande, a rock-and-roll-loving surgeon and ...

Back When

Thirty Years Ago Needle's Eye. The secret about Needle's Eye is why more surfers don't get their lunch there. Located below Sunset Cliffs Boulevard on the north side of Luscomb's Point and breaking into No ...

Bathe in the womb-like waters of Agua Caliente Regional Park, and try a moonlight trek on the Moonlight Trail.

Summer's hellishly hot siege of the Anza-Borrego Desert is nearly over, and Agua Caliente Regional Park (adjoining Anza-Borrego) is back open for business. For the next couple of weeks the demand for Agua Caliente's campsites ...

O.B.'s New Heart

When Jeff Fagan ("Dr. Jefe") began piercing noses in 1994, he says there was one other body piercer in town. During his glory years (1994--'98), Fagan's shop would have 50 to 60 customers per day. ...

Bar Band None

Scolari's Office, the North Park bar on 30th Street that has hosted local and touring bands for five years, won't be offering music for at least a little while. "The entertainment license ran out," says ...

This Is Not a Rock and Roll Town

Ten days before the San Diego Music Awards ceremonies, a former L.A.-based limo-company owner hosted a two-day music event at Squid Joe's in Carlsbad. Al Bowman describes his "Rockfest" as part of a showcase series ...

Get Dio!

It was billed as "Hell and Heaven United," with Satan-loving Slayer co-headlining with Christian rockers Stryper. However, the September 23 Monterrey Metal Fest in Nuevo León, Mexico, was derailed "due to Slayer not wanting to ...

Of Olives and Cherries

After four years as a live-music venue, San Marcos's Longshot Saloon has shut down. The owner of the building, Paul Eckert, says that three weeks ago the fixtures were removed, and the Longshot will no ...

Hippies Love Their Money

Thirty-eight years ago today (9-28-68), Big Brother and the Holding Company were scheduled to play a sold-out show at downtown's Community Concourse. The afternoon before the show, Janis Joplin announced to the press her intention ...

Jerry's Laundrymen

Three decades ago, Democrat Richard Silberman was a high-ranking member of San Diego's largely Republican political domain. A San Diego State grad who dabbled in a long series of financial schemes before hitting the jackpot ...

Pigging Out

The San Diego City Council keeps eating up the freebies, according to personal financial filings at city hall. La Jolla's Scott Peters, who is married to a multimillionaire, got a $150 ticket this January 19 ...

Exodus of the Rich

It takes American eyes a minute to see the signs of wealth in Tijuana's Zona Diamante (Diamond Zone), high-end neighborhoods that cling to the hills south of downtown, above the country club and racetrack. Nowhere ...

Over the Hedge

It's time to jettison "America's Finest City" for a new moniker: "The Capital of Cognitive Dissonance." What, you ask, is cognitive dissonance? To a psychologist, it's the acute discomfort you feel when there is a ...

S-hopping & M-ischief

It is comfortable for us to pretend, in our nouveau puritanical way, that our fellow family members don't "do it." Adolescents -- Daddy's girls and Momma's boys, especially -- cringe when presented with the idea ...

Rhymes With Kuwait

Last week a guy called my voicemail to tell me that I got the NBA logo wrong. I wrote that it was Jerry West, and the caller insisted it was Pete Maravich. He should have ...

From Punk to Pop

Back when singer/guitarist Steven Bradford was in Waiting for Autumn, it looked like the power-punk band was about to break big, with write-ups in Alternative Press and a tour opening for Underoath. Many were surprised ...

Mimi Smartypants in Chicago, Illinois

Me So Kooky First, the office is really big on this pupil-dilation thing. I know, preventive care blah blah, but it's just never convenient and I hate it, so I declined this time around. And ...

I'm Not from a Place, I'm from a Group

'One of the things that military children get that is very positive is that sense of mission, a sense of doing something for somebody more than just yourself," says writer/director Donna Musil. On Friday, September ...

Cult Wine

'There was a real need for a little wine guide for gringos.'

Son of the Sun

“Here’s the problem. The Aztec cook? He left, along with his wife, Michelle.”

Blurry Mirror on the Wall

Your Smartness: I'm nearsighted, and when I look in the mirror without my glasses, I can see myself okay but things across the room look blurry. But if the mirror is close enough for me ...

Who's the Missus?

Hi, Matt: How do you spell whatever word is shortened to Mrs.? Please tell me it isn't "missus." -- Keith, Antioch, Illinois So this is what's on the minds of you flatlanders. The soybeans are ...

Lizard-baked Seaweed?

Help! In his novel Galapagos, Kurt Vonnegut describes the dining habits of the iguanas in the region. Basically, he says they make their way down the rocky cliffs to the sea, where they eat a ...

Thursday, September 21

The Hip List

What's hot? What's cool?

BEST LOCAL PERFORMANCE ON YOUTUBE -- ROOKIE CARD AT THE CASBAH Somebody filmed Rookie Card's record-release party at the Casbah, where they took to the sidewalk in front of the club to perform the Beatles' ...

To call them energetic would be to call the IRA enthusiastic

A Friday night's diversion, without making a point of looking for any, presented itself when I walked into Borders Books downtown, at Sixth Avenue and G Street. Shelf-surfing at Borders (any bookstore) is a kind ...

The Reader's Eye on Television

Have you ever made an ass of yourself? I mean, somewhere public, involving a loud hissy. Ever done anything like that? I did. I was in a coffee shop in Little Italy last week, getting ...

LifePoint Christian Community

"NEXT Church," read the painted sign running along one wall of the converted industrial space: poured concrete floors, concrete-block walls painted in muted red and yellow, a canopied stage in one corner, and a '60s-era ...

Getting Their Stories Straight

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about Chargers linebacker Steve Foley, who was shot near his house by an off-duty Coronado policeman. I finished the piece with, "...this story reeks of lies and omissions. ...

Back When

Thirty Years Ago SALLY, why keep kissing frogs when there's a prince standing behind you? Turn around. It's the magic frog you kissed long ago. You're loved. Prince. BWANA. Crystal Pier is a beautiful idea. ...

Hard to Do

Earlier this month, former blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker played their first show with their new band (+44) at the Roxy in West Hollywood. Until August, Hoppus had been silent about the band's ...

Climb Beacon Hill in L.A.'s Griffith Park for a bird's eye view of valley and mountains.

Sharply terminated by the Los Angeles River and Interstate 5, Beacon Hill stands as the last eastward gasp of a 50-mile-long mountain range -- the Santa Monica Mountains. Back in the early 20th century, the ...

Break from Tradition

Richard "Boogeyman" Martinez, a three-year veteran of the Freak Show (an eight-member break-dance crew), says the local b-boy culture will not accept anything rock-edged. "I have a mohawk. I'm into industrial music. I was raised ...

Big House

4th & B employees learned last week that owner Ali Nilforshan sold the club to House of Blues Concerts. A former employee says 25 of 75 employees will be retained, and there are plans for ...

Drummer

Luis Illades lives the immigrant work ethic. The Tijuana native and graduate of North Park's St. Augustine High plays in four groups. After joining San Diego bands that fell apart during the mid-'90s, Illades moved ...

Crude and Dangerous

Chris Doolittle says the all-percussion Procrastinators (who met in SDSU's Drumline) formed in 1999, when they built their first drum kit. "We bought barstools at Wal-Mart and, using a lighter, we melted holes into the ...

A Born Bureaucrat Shifts the Blame

Do you wonder why Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to spend millions of dollars annually to hire a high-priced monitor to oversee city finances? Or why he wants to study setting up a joint city/county authority ...

The Trick Is To Benefit Your District

How best to survive? Should a member of Congress coddle his district or make himself a national name? After newspaper and television broadcasting careers, Lionel Van Deerlin in 1962 won a seat in the U.S. ...

Viva Vivace!

When a respected, deluxe Italian kitchen that's previously featured only chefs FOB from Italy hires a Montana-born, Manhattan-seasoned top toque, it's time to taste again. Vivace's new chef, Bruce Logue, is a protégé of New ...

Red-Light District

Just exactly who is bankrolling this fall's ballot crusade by San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders to privatize city services and limit pension options for city workers? First on the list in a campaign financial disclosure ...

The Bucks Start Here

The fledgling Truman Association of San Diego, a group of centrist, pro-business Democrats vowing to vie with the local GOP's wealthy Lincoln Club in the busy arena of independent fund-raising and campaign spending, has picked ...

Crossed Up

When he's not out on the hustings praising the merits of the Kroll report on past malfeasance at city hall or plugging his privatization measure, one of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders's biggest causes of ...

Street Warfare

Live for yourself -- there's no one else more worth living for. Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more. -- Neil Peart (of the band Rush) We emerged from the underground ...

Investing

'The love of money may be the root of all evil," sighed Bernice, "but the only sure things are death and taxes. Money isn't going anywhere. Except maybe my money." She had just paid a ...

Wingmen

Friends often ask if they can join me for the parties I write about. If I'm crashing a party, it's more difficult when I have people with me. If I've been invited to the party, ...

Mohawks and Bathrobes

“We do different game show themes to interact with the crowd.”

Bagels for Bikers

“I’m the only person who serves you during your every single entire visit ever.”

Mimi Smartypants in Chicago, Illinois

Urban Encounters This morning I was walking up the subway stairs right behind one of those girls . You know, with the hair? And the fingernails? And the ass pants? Her ass was pretty much ...

Replaceable You: Engineering the Body in Postwar America

Replaceable You: Engineering the Body in Postwar America by David Serlin. University of Chicago Press, 2004, $25, 244 pages FROM THE DUST JACKET: After World War II, the U.S. underwent a massive cultural transformation that ...

Guts on the Gridiron

'They're proving themselves as athletes, as women trying to play football. There's a whole different level of passion involved. Plus, women are known for being more emotional than men," says So Cal Scorpions player Jody ...

A Tour of Baja Vines

Meet me at Mustafa's. I'll jump in your car and show you the valley.

Mashed Pigskin

Hey Matthew Alice: Every time I see a football game, the kickoff guy always pushes on both ends of the ball before he sets it on the kicking tee, squeezes the living daylights out of ...

Heart-Stopping Architecture

Hey, Matt: In those Lipitor commercials with Dr. Jarvik, he is standing in front of and walking through a stunning piece of architecture. What and where is it? -- Michael Faught, Clairemont Get yourself a ...

Thursday, September 14

Guatemalan Dreams of American Green

The long road to the USA.

Every day at 7:00 a.m., Mateo (names in this article have been changed to protect the immigrants) wakes up next to Maria, his longtime girlfriend. Most mornings, he hops out of bed, throws on his ...

The New San Pasqual

'It's daunting if you're a young businessman. You take everything so personally.'

First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego

"We are an inclusive community that encourages free thinking and compassionate living," said church board member Susan Weaver. "We have gathered here to consider the most significant issues in life and to make manifest in ...

A Shame to Leave

A few moving, movie-ish moments fight through the messiness.

The Reader's Eye on Television

"You're going to feel a pinch and some pressure," is how a doctor says, "You're going to feel me jab a needle into your goolies." After a quick wince and bite on the lip, I ...

Yes, It Is About the Money

Jenny Keene met singer/songwriter Jason Mraz "...back in '99, when I was 16. I had just moved to San Diego. I knew him before he even started at Java Joe's. He was playing at the ...

The Upride Ends: Now It Gets Interesting

From bubble bailout to debt deflation? That would be the most dangerous fallout from the bursting real estate bubble. The doomsday scenario isn't likely, but San Diegans must face grim facts: the steady rise in ...

Maverick in a Military Town

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service say that last April 26, seven Marines based at Camp Pendleton joined with a Navy medic to enter the rural town of Hamdaniya, west of Baghdad, and without ...

In And Out Of Cars

A friend of mine insists that when we have dinner at her favorite recherché restaurant, reservations are made for 5:00 p.m. She likes to be there when doors open, she says, while cooks and waiters ...

Grayson

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Grayson is Lynne Cox's first book since Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer "Riveting" -- Sports Illustrated; "Pitch-perfect" -- Outside). In it she tells the story of a miraculous ocean ...

Casbah Rock Stock Surge

Six Degrees, "The place where it's women's night every night," closed its doors on August 30. The Middletown building and business at 3175 India Street have been purchased by a partnership called Casbah Rock, Inc. ...

Look What These Cats Dragged In

Local rockers the Stranger's Six made at least one new fan during a June gig at Hollywood's Viper Room. "We were halfway through our set, and there was this crazy-ass bastard with white hair fully ...

When Country Folk Up 'n Quit

In an August 31 article titled "Given the Boot: Country Music Is Out in L.A.," the U-T pointed out that L.A./Orange County lost its only country radio station and considered whether one of San Diego's ...

Marked for Deletion

"I guarantee there are more offensive MySpace pages than the Resevior Tips'," says Rowland Bluntz. His band's Web page was recently deleted by MySpace administrators. "Sure, we had sperms swimming across the page, but I ...

Sharon Stone, Fire...F-Yeah

Near downtown L.A., around 70 bands played Echo Park's three-day Fuck-Yeah Fest in late August, including locals Sleeping People. "It was pretty well run, as far as festivals go," says guitarist Kasey Boekholt. "We were ...

Back When

Thirty Years Ago Dole is related to pineapples, though he's supposed to have the personality of a radish. Ford is a dependable, unexciting four-door. Somewhere maybe there's a vacuum cleaner or a pipe joint called ...

Name That Tool

Several local bands are among the 100 performers competing in NBC's mostly online Star Tomorrow talent contest, including Big Toe, Tubby, and Stolen. While practicing for the competition, "Tool's production management tried to get us ...

Fast Bucks

San Diego city council staffers make a lot of money, but they are way outdistanced by their counterparts over at the County. At city hall, only one chief of staff, Ben Hueso's Ana Molina-Rodriguez, who ...

Marriage

On the occasions that I witnessed my parents fighting over things I didn't understand, I would walk up to my mom and make sure she and my daddy weren't going to divorce. I inquired this ...

Clamber onto a skull-shaped promontory rising above interior Carlsbad.

At 513 feet in elevation, Cerro de la Calavera (translated "Skull Hill" and also known as Mount Calavera) rises modestly above lesser hills and valleys of Oceanside, Vista, and Carlsbad. Picturesque Calavera Lake lies at ...

Don't Go Near the Foam

With all that publicity about bad water at Mission Bay this summer, it's no wonder that some people have gotten the heebie-jeebies about the place. Even Cindy Hedgecock, wife of fallen San Diego mayor and ...

Jerry's Brokers

San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders has finally picked a long-awaited high-dollar consultant to help him restructure the city's Real Estate Assets Department. And the winner is: the brokerage firm of Grubb & Ellis. That's according ...

Adult-ery

Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30. -- Robert Frost It was the first Saturday of March 1995. Mom was in the kitchen making chicken ...

Sleeping Bags

My husband is heading off to the high Sierras for a backpacking trip this month. Patrick has done this trip before and was freezing all night. "I bought a cold weather sleeping bag, but I ...

Life’s a Game

“I spent a year in the Atari Lounge living in a total ’80s time warp….”

'The Atari Lounge is there so you can take a break from the band or get away from someone you don't want to talk to," says Casbah owner Tim Mays of the club's back room ...

MIMI Smartypants in Chicago, Illinois

Box of Munchkins I went out drinking last night, and while it was fun and social and a nice change of pace from my evening routine of wholesome dinner, playing on the rug, and Elmo's ...

The Risks of Being Unique

'There's a number called 'Confusion' in which all the girls are finding all the contradictions in the magazines and saying, 'We kinda wish we didn't care about this,'" says Rancho Buena Vista High School student ...

Baguettes on Adams

“I’ll have the Paysanne. ’Cause, let’s face it, I’m a paysanne at heart.”

Thursday, September 7

Bares Rule! Black’s Beach exposed

Of all the sand in San Diego, one strand wins mythic status. Most of the place is inside a state park, it runs along a length of two miles walled by 300-foot bluffs, and it ...

Success Is in the Tinkering

'People just went ballistic over that combination.'

Mothballed?

"We called every sub shop in Jersey and we couldn't find him," says guitarist Mike Santos about his effort to locate drummer Scott Clark. Their former band, Lucy's Fur Coat, was asked to regroup for ...

Will Record for Massage

"Since it's O.B., bartering with people seems pretty natural," says O.B. Cooperative Records owner Jose Maldonado, whose recording studio and record label are based in his soundproofed Brighton Avenue garage. "A lot of the equipment ...

Fresh Meat

Carnifex vocalist Scott Lewis says America's leading death-metal band has become stale. "Cannibal Corpse is part of the old regime. The whole satanic image with corpse paint and long hair and gauntlets like Slayer is ...

No Props for Tourism

"San Diego isn't all swimsuits, sunburns, and palm trees," according to hip-hop website BallerStatus.net. "It's also Dickies suits, burners [handguns], and pounds of trees [marijuana]. That's the 'Daygo' the City doesn't want you to hear ...

Joe Who?

"A guy saw me play on KUSI [TV] and called me up and asked to play Java Jo'z," says local singer-guitarist Josh Damigo. "I thought they went out of business." Java Joe's, the Ocean Beach ...

There was no way to see, from this altitude, the squalor, the ruination, the foulness.

The second Friday in September. I'm not there yet, and if you've picked this paper up in a timely fashion neither are you. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ...

New Way to Fly

On September 11, 2001, local country singer Ronny Corbin was a pilot for United Airlines. "The morning started with the 90-mile drive from my then--San Marcos home to LAX. My captain and I had been ...

Baptist General Conference

In the teen section of Scripps Mesa Bible Church's library/snack room, Douglas Coupland's novel Generation X gets face-out treatment. Someone has taken a highlighter to certain passages. One such: "I wonder that all things seem ...

Superman Departs

The parallel plotlines take a long time to shed any light on each other.

The Reader's Eye on Television

I don't know why I associated a crashing sound with my truck. Maybe it's the way my brain orders things according to luck. A basket full of chocolates, drugs, money, and strippers' phone numbers flies ...

Over a Pork Barrel

Ex-congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham was packed off to prison for accepting bribes from Defense Department lobbyists, but the scandal hasn't crimped the campaign fund-raising style of his onetime close GOP colleague Duncan Hunter, chairman of ...

In And Out Of Cars

Flash! Chargers linebacker shot in front of his house by off-duty cop. I'm sure you know what this means. That's right, it's time to play "If I Were Steve Foley's Attorney." The story so far, ...

Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg

Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg by Alice Goldfarb Marquis. MFA Publications, 2006, $35, 321 pages. FROM THE DUST JACKET: Clement Greenberg dominated the American art scene and is still considered the ...

back when

Thirty Years Ago From deep within a mountain tunnel a light is visible. Suddenly the tunnel is filled with a fierce metal beast, charging at breakneck speed toward the station. It careens around a corner ...

Three iPods, Twenty Video Games

If I found ten $100 bills lying on the ground, I would look around to see if anyone else was looking at me and then I'd pick up the money and put it in my ...

Stroll through Maple Canyon in Banker's Hill, and escape from the city while in the city.

San Diego's picturesque "canyons" -- the narrow ravines slashing into the city's elevated plateaus ("mesas") that overlook the bay and the ocean -- number in the dozens. The so-called mesas are actually marine terraces, the ...

Lock Up

An employee of Island Prime Steakhouse on Harbor Island Drive called to tell me about an event there, a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The event was called "Lock Up," and it would begin ...

Waiting for the Next Big Thing

'All my favorite bands keep putting out albums that I can barely listen to," says Russell Logan, singer for San Diego band Sliver. "It feels like a sad market where one-hit wonders exist because of ...

Lemonade

'Kids today..." That's the tagline for my great-aunt Gladys. She's 75 and full of energetic complaint. Not a visit goes by when she doesn't train her sights on "kids today." "Are too lazy; watch too ...

Mimi Smartypants in Chicago, Illinois

Parade of Weirdness The Set-up: Although I usually profess to hate humanity, the truth is that I am a dedicated observer of human quirks and oddities, particularly the collection of human quirks and oddities that ...

Thoroughly Modern Blanca

Oh, lucky are the residents of Solana Beach! They've got sand, they've got money, and now they've got an eatery to equal those of San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. The opening of the sleek ...

The Real Roots Of Hip-Hop

'Old-school characters wore Pro-Keds or Adidas, big metal belt buckles that had your name on it, and their clothes were more fitted," says hip-hop enthusiast Mike "Logik" Matcke. "Back then they used to have to ...

Don't Connect the Dots

'Mother, this town is so corrupt/ May I probe why it rots?"/ "Yes, my darling daughter/ But don't connect the dots." The City of San Diego has paid more than $30 million to consultants like ...

Airport Answers and The $800 Ashtray

Former congressman Jim Bates is telling me the story about the first vote he cast as an elected official. "It made me an enemy for life," he says. The previous fall, in 1970, both Bates ...

Car Talk With Donna

The campaign committee of San Diego city councilwoman Donna Frye, who was easily reelected this June 6, ended the first half of the year with $8240 in the bank. On June 13, exactly a week ...

Justice Delayed

The repeatedly postponed sentencing of William Robert Bradley, the Metabolife millionaire and onetime business partner of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders in a failed high-tech licensing venture, has been put off once again. This time, ...

On the Cusp of Dinner and Breakfast

“The guy’s a magician. He needs a job.”

It's 2:30 a.m. I swear, it's so tombstone quiet here in Coronado you can hear a penny drop. I know 'cause I just dropped one. Searching my pockets to see if I have enough for ...

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