Thirty Years Ago
I never returned to graduate school. Nor did I ever become Marcuse’s student in a formal administrative sense. But I became a student of his ideas and character.
I attended most of Marcuse’s lectures around San Diego to find what new textures he wove from customary philosophical terms. Once he spoke about a poem by Rilke and was a poet himself, painting the two women on a rock more impressively, more appealingly — more beautifully — than the author.
I last met Marcuse privately as he walked along the beach at Torrey Pines with his son (and grandchildren?). He still expected something, if not graduate school: “It’s been such a long time. I’ve been waiting. Where is your manuscript?”
— “ON THE DEATH OF MARCUSE,” Greg Grubelich, August 16, 1979
Twenty-Five Years Ago
THAT BRASS BIMBO, her tubby hubby, and your sleazy Point Loma–bound coworker agreed you’re “an SOB with a bad attitude.” Didn’t you belch enough?
KISS ME! KISS ME! Kiss me!
WONDER WHAT PERSONALS were like in the good old days? Unbroken run of Reader from Summer 1978. Highest bidder takes. Boxholder, Box 16348, San Diego, 92116.
— CLASSIFIEDS, August 16, 1984
Twenty Years Ago
In late June about 20 divers headed down to Mexico for their annual trip to Punta María, about 400 miles below the border on the Pacific side of Baja. Some of them have been going there for 15 years, and the area has always been loaded with abalone, lobster, and clams. “This year, there was nothing,” reports Steve Smith, a physical therapist in San Diego.
“First of all, we thought the Mexicans had done it. But then when the Japanese were mentioned, it made more sense.
— CITY LIGHTS: “LET THEM EAT SUSHI,” Neal Matthews, August 17, 1989
Fifteen Years Ago
Kokomo’s was my kind of place, rather seedy and with the ambiance of a Fellini bachelor party. It was right across the street from the Roxy.
Then, through the door walked a white Panama hat, sunglasses, and the thickest mustache I’ve ever seen. The face belonged to Leon Redbone! He sat down three feet away from me! We drank a beer together, talked for a few minutes, and had a couple of chuckles. When I told him about all the crap I’d been through to see his concert, he laughed out loud and slapped me on the back.
— “THE NIGHT I WENT TO JAIL,” John Olson, August 11, 1994
Ten Years Ago
My parents’ marriage was an error. I was a product of that error. I was remainder from and reminder of what went wrong between them. If the marriage was a gala party, then I was the sodden canapés and crumpled cocktail napkins. Once the party was over my father and mother looked at each other and said, “Now, who’s going to take out the trash?”
— “OUT OF EGYPT,” Judith Moore, August 12, 1999
Five Years Ago
There are about 50 or so of them, in their late teens or early 20s, Japanese who carry surfboards instead of cameras. They are all students, usually from wealthy families, who have come to America. These young Japanese, in their stone-washed jeans and Jimmy Z Surfwear, come to San Diego out of a restlessness that does not fit the image of homogenous Japanese.
None of them knew the others in Japan, but now they are friends. They surf together, each buying two or three $300 surfboards that would sell for $1200 each in Japan, trying out every spot along San Diego and Mexico. They come to San Diego because Japan, in all its pristine surfside beauty, generally breaks poorly. According to Ken, who has surfed all over the Japanese coast, the only good places to bag waves are off the coast of Yokohama and up north among the ice floes.
— “RISING SUN AND BREAKING WAVE,” Michael Ahn, August 12, 2004