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Thirty Years Ago
NED AND NEDDER: Happy new habitat! With so much love to keep you warm, isn’t that fireplace superfluous? Kandee in Klairemont.

FARRELL’S: Waited on me 6-28. I’d like to know you. Reply through Reader. Plenty of Salad or, simply Janice.
— CLASSIFIEDS, July 12, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Dear Matthew Alice: While enjoying a spicy dish of tamales in Mexico, I got to wondering. Why should Mexican food be spicier than what we think of as “American”?

Take your tamale in one hand, your Carta Blanca in the other, sit back, and consider this thought: people make use of the food that is available to them. Take a look at the countries in which two major spices, chili peppers and cumin, originate. You’ll see Mexico, India, and China, countries that serve fiery dishes.

The conventional explanation for the phenomenon you note says that the use of spices aids in preventing or slowing food deterioration and in disguising any rancidity. The hotter the climate, the faster food spoils; supposedly the addition of cumin, ginger, chili, et al., mitigates this process.
— STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, July 12, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
[Joan] Kroc’s penchant for secrecy collides with her proclivity to do things in a big (read: expensive) way. How do you hide a 15,000-square-foot mansion with two separate two-bedroom guest houses, each averaging 2000 square feet; a swimming pool; a pool cabana and spa; a fountain; an 833-square-foot exercise room; and a tennis court, with its own designated parking spaces on a 13-acre hilltop view lot?
— CITY LIGHTS: “BIG PLANS FOR PATTY PALACE,” Matt Potter, July 13, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Let me see if I can’t sort out my current feelings about videos, after having come through one of my irregular stretches of watching some.

Downside: You get what you pay for. For the time being, let’s note that what you get with a video rental is substantially smaller than what you get with a movie ticket, though it would not be quite fair to attach a proportional value based exclusively on size. Say, 250 to 1, so that if a movie ticket goes for seven dollars, a video rental ought to figure out to three cents.

Upside: No people to distract you. No talkers. No heads in front of you. No late-comers. No candy-wrapper rustlers. No seat-kickers. No baby-nursers.

Downside: Telephones, doorbells, lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, car alarms. Or in other words, people after all.
— “UPSIDE, DOWNSIDE,” Duncan Shepherd, July 7, 1994

Ten Years Ago
I’ve been killing off so many characters in my novel that I’m surprised when I sit at my computer not to find sticky fresh blood smears on the monitor screen. I’m surprised when I type that my fat fingers don’t dribble gore. My doorbell rings; I’m surprised that two policemen aren’t waiting, one with a drawn pistol and the other, clanking handcuffs. But, given what a bad person I often fear myself to be, I’m surprised I’m not pacing a barred cell in a stinking women’s prison. Why should I be surprised? Since childhood I have been prisoner to my own jailer, I have chained myself with my own chains.
— “DEAD GUYS,” Judith Moore, July 8, 1999

Five Years Ago
“The venue is a working-class neighborhood,” says Maria Teresa Riqué, organizer of Tijuana’s first Festival Opera en la Calle. “That’s because we didn’t want to have it in a conventional place. We are doing it in the street.”

The street is in the Libertad neighborhood: It will be “transformed” into an Italian village for the occasion.… “We will also use three opera sets — from The Barber of Seville, I Pagliacci, and Romeo and Juliet.” They’ll be erected in front of the old Libertad theater.

— CALENDAR: “MEAN STREETS ARIA,” Jeanne Schinto, July 8, 2004

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