Content for Wednesday, December 30, 2009

News & Stories

The little pills that sent me on my journey

Every time, the pharmaceuticals win.

I take my chances with a bottle of small blue pills. They’re intended for my grandfather, but since he isn’t here anymore, he won’t mind sharing a couple, maybe three or four. Ten minutes into ...

Black Gold: Oil City, Pennsylvania

Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Oil City might just be the most relevant small town in the world today. Here lie the remnants of the world's first commercially successful oil wells, dating from the 1860s. ...

Amsterdam, Holland

Amsterdam is a maze. Each hour, my friend Billy and I lost ourselves in alleys, canals and cobbled streets. The lanes connected at odd angles; they changed texture, defied logic. Where we expected to find ...

December 24 Crossword Contenders

Sheila Agahan-Price, Oceanside, 13. Thanks Reader for a great year! Woody Anderson, Carmel Valley, 13. This healthcare legistration in the senate is making me sick! Martha Awdziewicz, Clairemont, 13. Evelyn Bowser, Hillcrest, 13. Love to ...

December 24 Sudoku Contenders

Evil Joe Arbusto, Rancho Penasquitos, 13. Hmmmmm.... Barack-DEMS were 4 PUBLIC-OPTION be-4 they were against it? Paul Brugger, Downtown, 13. Would sudoku streak survive? With Jan's help its still alive * Joseph Ciprian, Little Italy, ...

Magic Kingdom

There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out. — Lou Reed Heading north on the 163, I yawned and blinked my eyes. It was nice to have the road ...

Squirrel Nut Zippers

JamBase.com says that L.A.’s KROQ aired the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ 1996 single “Hell,” a giddy calypso thing with Sunday-school overtones, as a joke. But “Hell” became a hit. “Now the d and the a and ...

New Year's Resolutions

“I’m not looking back — I’m looking forward,” Nancy proclaimed. “I try not to think of the resolutions that I have broken. My main problem is I make a resolution and then there is a ...

Year-End Quiz

Grandma Alice is pretty happy to have Christmas done with. She says we’ve taken all the fun out of it. Shopping for the elves is always a chore. This year they asked Santa for their ...

The Plaintiff Knew Nothing

‘If I am guilty of anything, it’s of being a good lawyer and advocating for the rights of the disabled,” proclaims Lynn Hubbard III of Chico, who has filed, by his own reckoning, 2000 lawsuits ...

Nonprofits Nonplussed

At the Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista, things are humming along as they have since the center was founded in 1932 as a settlement house for families of Italian and Portuguese fishermen. Having moved ...

The Year in Restaurants

Famous Chinese curse: “May you have an interesting life.” It’s been an interesting year, the financial weather a perpetual windstorm batting restaurants around along with the rest of the economy. Newspapers are flapping in that ...

Mount Zion Loop

On the Mount Zion loop hike, you get to discover plenty of wild territory tucked back into the steeply rising “Front Range” of the San Gabriel Mountains. Why Front Range? Because these fortress-like ramparts form ...

Conceptus, Monkeys in Space, City Limits

Artist: ConceptusSong: “Which Way” (from myspace.com/conceptus)Heard by: Lorenzo Ochoa, North ParkIt reminded me of the Mamas and the Papas. It seems influenced or inspired by them. It has a soft melody to it. The guitar ...

Intensive Care

On December 20, Long Beach indie-rock band Crystal Antlers arrived at the North Park home of 24-year-old Matt Kelly with their gear ready to play a show that Kelly, former guitarist of local punk trio ...

Tackling Local Radio

A decimated radio business has triggered the fire sale of three radio stations to a former NFL linebacker who an insider says might take one of those stations out of music and into sports. John ...

Letters

Christmas Coauthor The name of Thomas Reifer, coauthor of our December 24 cover story, “This Is Christmas, Damn It! What Happened?,” didn’t appear in the byline. We apologize to Mr. Reifer for the omission. Thomas ...

Over a Billion Served

Pathology’s newest singer, Pascual Romero (Strangled by Strangulation), marks the metal band’s third vocalist this year; Mason Gregory left in early ’09, and Matti Way departed in September, coming after the previous defection of singer-guitarist ...

Night Marchers

A few years ago, San Diego punk-rock hero John Reis decided that he was tired of playing in two or three bands at the same time. He disbanded both Rocket from the Crypt and Hot ...

Revive the Vibe

“We’ve been planning a Big Mountain album,” says singer-guitarist Quino McWhinney of his dormant reggae band. “But what it’s gonna be, we’re not sure.” McWhinney and his brother James have remained the nucleus of Big ...

Two Stories

I’ve been scrapbooking 2009 sports stories. Let’s see…Yankees win the World Series, A-Rod admits taking steroids, Michael Vick signs with Philly, Kobe wins one without Shaq, and so on. Here’s one that might entertain: Serena ...

In Sum

One thing seems clear. The surprise announcement in June of the expansion of the Oscars’ Best Picture category to ten nominees, a virtual Ten Best list exclusive of foreign films (not just second-class citizens but ...

Standouts

Greatest achievement of 2009: though double-teamed by a rotten economy and the swine flu scare, our theaters survived, though many by the slimmest of margins. Many of 2009’s finest productions were ensemble efforts: each actor ...

The Vegan Word

“This place is run by a ‘Supreme Master’?” says my buddy Lee. He’s driving us to a vegan eatery with an innocent name, “Loving Hut.” “Yeah,” I say. “But we’re cool. It’s the food. Good ...

El Cajon Wesleyan Church

Sunday was assistant pastor Dave Holmquist’s last at El Cajon Wesleyan. After the opening worship — a singer/guitarist and a bongo player alone on the vast, spotlit, blue-green stage — he took his place down ...