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Thirty Years Ago Shotgun Tom Kelly, voted the nation's number-one Top-40 DJ last year by Billboard Magazine, is almost a parody, a flesh-and-blood caricature of what a disc jockey is supposed to be. At some of Kelly's rival San Diego stations, they're whispering: "Nobody's told him yet that he's extinct." But what they don't understand is that Shotgun Tom has it all figured out. Underneath the veneer of bushy monster beard and ranger hat, he has arrived at a shrewd and important conclusion: to be hip in the '70s, one must be square. -- "THE LAST OF THE SCREAMERS," Richard Louv, September 29, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago How did San Diego Opera general director Tito Capobianco cotton to the recent cancellation of the 1983 Verdi Festival? He furrows his eyebrows, which shoot up like flames on his creased forehead. "It was like a deep wound," he says through his nearly impenetrable Argentine accent. "Like killing one of your babies." -- CITY LIGHTS: "TITO TOTTERS?" Neal Matthews, September 30, 1982

Twenty Years Ago Ten years ago, Al Arffmann was devoting hours every day to cleaning up the streets of La Jolla, his neighborhood, which he did as an act of public service. Back then Al confided his dream of opening a natural foods restaurant, an aspiration that, for a 60-year-old man in uncertain health, seemed exceedingly ambitious. But Al's unorthodox establishment, christened the Pearl, opened its doors in March of 1980, and Al toiled to serve patrons both lunch and dinner in the tiny restaurant tucked away behind La Jolla Produce on Pearl Street. Then, in August of last year, the Pearl closed. What had happened? Arffmann then explained, "I underestimated, due to my lack of experience, the time and energy that would be required to keep her functioning." -- CITY LIGHTS: "AN UPDATE ON AN OLD FRIEND," Jeannette De Wyze, October 1, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago What titles other than the Bible were most likely to be filched from Hunter's? The manager sighed. "The Thomas Guide for San Diego County. We keep them behind the counter." Fashion Valley's B. Dalton store manager said that Terry McMillan titles were in great demand but were not leaving the store as stolen goods. But Thomas Guides, whose San Diego version sells for $15.95, were always a problem. Also reference books and dictionaries. "The Waldo books, Shel Silverstein's books, and big photo essay books are particularly high loss items." -- CITY LIGHTS: "BOOK THIEVES TERRORIZE LOCAL STORES," Judith Moore, October 1, 1992

Ten Years Ago For years I have been made to feel like a communist, a foreigner, a child molester or worse, all because I can't stand football. I watched part of a game yesterday anyway -- or I tried. I sat naked in the sweltering heat, wondering why football season begins in the middle of summer. I know very little about the game; I am not, for example, clear on what a "down" is, though I assume it's not terribly complicated. So, if you're a fan, unless you want to work up your blood pressure, seek me out, and kick my Nancy-boy ass, I wouldn't read any farther. -- CITY LIGHTS: "WHY I HATE FOOTBALL,"John Brizzolara, October 2, 1997

Five Years Ago "Rick had a rather large domestic automobile. It was a convertible. And Mr. [Paul] Pfingst would call it the Jew canoe. He refused to ride in it. "I asked him one day why he has this antipathy towards Rick, why he doesn't like Rick, why does he pick on Rick, and his response to me was that I wouldn't understand because I was from Southern California. And he told me that when you're from New York, you learn to hate Jews. Mr. Pfingst is from New York." -- CITY LIGHTS: "THE PFINGST TAPES," September 26, 2002

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