Thirty Years Ago
May we introduce you to Burl Stiff, bon vivant, man-about-town, who’s sitting at the moment in the Whaling Bar at La Valencia Hotel? You recognize the face, which tops Stiff’s Union society column — the frosty hair, the dapper beard, the twinkling eyes framed by stylish glasses. But here he sits in the flesh, clad in an elegant three-piece suit by Bill Blass, sipping judiciously on well-mixed bourbon. The bar is dark compared to the bright sun on Prospect outside, but luncheon patrons spot Burl regardless; every few moments the bright smile, the breezy little wave, the saluting eyebrows switch on.
— CITY LIGHTS: “I COVER THE WATERCRESS,” Jeannette De Wyze and Neal Matthews, February 15, 1979
Twenty-Five Years Ago
RICHARD (Alias Captain Sticky)! I lost your phone number. Please call me at work. Nikki. I’m at the Kearny Mesa location.
FOR STEVE who works for insurance courier services, part 2. Handling the mail to me, our hands touched. In remembrance, I smiled all day.
THE READER PERSONALS are forever safe from the plethora of lonely hearts club misfits. Finally a place for wit and wisdom to be appreciated. I-5 Ringer.
DALTONS, MISSION VALLEY, high noon Sunday.
POWAY. Dear Brown Eyes — these messages aren’t for you. They’re meant for someone whose eyes are blue. I’m sorry you misunderstood. North Park.
— CLASSIFIEDS, February 16, 1984
Twenty Years Ago
Once upon a midday dreary,
strollers gathered, looking cheery,
At the gates of a place where
San Diegans sleep forevermore —
In Greenwood, where the dead are napping,
slowly there arose a tapping
Sound of strutters gently stepping,
stepping gently past death’s door.
’Twas some visitors, dear reader, peering into local lore —
Only strollers, nothing more.
— “UPON YOUR SOLES,” C.E. Elster, February 16, 1989
Fifteen Years Ago
James Robert Mosley was a founding member, vocalist, bass guitarist, and songwriter with Moby Grape, the legendary San Francisco band whose 1967 debut album was filled with the bluesy idealism of that so-called Summer of Love. Released just two weeks after the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s, the record featured five-part harmonies and a unique blend of folk and soul.
Today, Mosley, 51, a native San Diegan, is said by his mother to be homeless and living under various bridges and railroad trestles in the Rose Canyon area, near the Price Club on Morena Boulevard.
— CITY LIGHTS: “TROUBLED EX-ROCK STAR REPORTED HOMELESS HERE,” Jamie Reno, February 10, 1994
Ten Years Ago
Gulf Coast Grill reminded me of some of my funkychic favorites in New Orleans: maybe a cross between dilapidated Uglesich and the elegant Dooky Chase. So when I walked past it one day, turned around, entered, and announced I’d work for free for the experience, I only mildly surprised myself. But I may have startled the two men sitting at the bar, one of whom turned out to be the manager. He turned to the goateed guy sitting next to him and said, “That’s illegal, isn’t it?”
— “TWO SPINACH SALADS, THREE TARTS, SIX MORE SHUCKED OYSTERS,” Allen Adler, February 11, 1999
Five Years Ago
The three San Diego city councilmen under indictment in the Cheetahs strip-club scandal have been raking in money for their legal-defense funds. Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who picked up $106,000 — relied heavily on old and familiar sources to pay for the services of his criminal defense attorney Michael Pancer. Most of them gave the legal maximum of $350 each. There was labor czar Jerry Butkiewicz, fresh from his high-profile bid to keep the Chargers in town. There was port commissioner and Jaguar dealer Steve Cushman, along with his onetime colleague, developer Peter Janopaul.
— CITY LIGHTS: “FREEING THE CHEETAHS THREE,” Matt Potter, February 12, 2004