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Thirty Years Ago The attraction tonight -- as it has been for the past seven and a half months -- is Rocky Horror Picture Show, a rock opera chronicle of innocence, transvestitism, and science fiction. The attractions on the street, however, feature the spice of variety. Tonight, 30 or so patrons turn out in costume (glitter, garter belts, and Rocky Horror make-up are part of the scene), but a fire-breathing newcomer with lighter fluid, matches, and a cast-iron mouth is entertaining the hordes. -- CITY LIGHTS: "I LIKED THE MOVIE, BUT THE SHOW WAS BETTER," Jeannette De Wyze, August 11, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago To Chris Paopao: at least John D'Agostino takes time to explain why he hates the things he hates. I refer to your letter (August 5) in which you describe the recent Elvis Costello concert as a "very stupid show." Your attitude reminded me of the concert: a group of jolly drugged boys sitting behind me. During the quiet numbers (there were lots of them) their plaintive cries: "This sucks." "This guy really sucks." "The show so far has sucked."I wanted to stab and kill them; more realistically I wanted to ask them, "Why, then, the hell are you here?" -- LETTERS: "DECIDED LUMP," Mike Keneally, Alpine, August 12, 1982

Twenty Years Ago In late 1984, both Cookie and Carol were introduced to the 11,000-pound Ranchipur in the bull [elephant]'s separate yard. "It seemed," said Hromadka, "that Carol and Ranchi had the better thing going, so we kept them together for over six months. Their relationship seemed to develop, but then it went the other way. They got bored with each other." -- "CONNIE'S STORY," Judith Moore, August 13, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago I still remember, precisely, making a left off Orange Avenue in National City and glimpsing, for the first time, that elegant Mercedes-Benz. At first glance, the vehicle presented a particularly manly squat, sunning itself on smooth asphalt like a napping Leopold tank.I thought, Now here is a brute with some heft to it. It was a '65, so it had the enormous chromed grill, set off by the mark of the beast, the Benz triangle hood ornament perfectly balanced by discreet tail fins. Lord, how it called to me. -- "FAREWELL, NAZI HARLOT," Patrick Daugherty, August 13, 1992

Ten Years Ago But only a half mile farther, toward the end of Hollister, the road becomes rural, and the suburban milieu gives way to dusty brown land and small ranches, some with homemade wooden signs. One sign tells me in Spanish and English that I am now entering the Tijuana River Valley and "no dumping is permitted."What holds the small community together is horses. This is not horse country the way Del Mar is horse country. -- "YOU'RE ALWAYS THE COWBOY," Bay Anapol, August 7, 1997

Five Years Ago Shadow Mountain Community Church is of course where Reverend Tim LaHaye, of Left Behind fame, made his name. Now under the direction of Reverend David Jeremiah, the church's 9:00 a.m. service is broadcast live on the Web. As if the TV-studio cameras and lighting, as if the "live webcast," weren't selfish. As if all of it weren't silly. While Reverend Jeremiah prattled on about prayer, I couldn't help thinking about the sweet and earnest elderly men and women, the church's official greeters, who'd met me in the parking lot and lobby. I couldn't help feeling that despite their sincerity these people had somehow been duped by Shadow Mountain Community Church's ostensible conservatism. What Shadow Mountain Community Church does isn't "church" or "worship" by any definition. What I saw felt like television. After the service I watched a hundred or so people line up to have Reverend Jeremiah autograph his new best-selling book, My Heart's Desire. My skin crawled. -- SHEEP AND GOATS, Abe Opincar, August 8, 2002

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