Thirty Years Ago
My personal critique of Hob Nob Hill: dinners are unimaginative and overpriced; an overkill of watercress (during the lettuce shortage) in their chef’s salads; no optional nonsmoker’s section; Dorothy’s forced, ingratiating greetings, alas, do not disguise the pressure under which she works. Why don’t she and Harold retire now, while they can still enjoy their energies and profits?
Positive factors: their breakfasts are good, especially those with ham; bakery goods are above average; the waitress staff is folksy (usually), and competent.
— LETTERS: “SEPARATE CHECK,” Shawn McCoy, August 2, 1979
Twenty-Five Years Ago
In the summer of 1967, when I first heard about El Picacho del Diablo, I was a smart-assed college student, with more daring than good sense, attempting my first wilderness adventures in the mountains of Utah and on the granite walls of Yosemite Valley.
Other climbers, some of them my mentors, told me about a mysterious mountain in Baja California that had acquired a reputation much larger than its actual size.... The mountain rises 10,000 feet straight up from the desert floor. It is the highest point in Baja and, many say, the most mysterious.
— “THE DEVIL’S PEAK,” Steve Sorensen, August 2, 1984
Twenty Years Ago
There are four of them. Four members of the heavy metal band Psychotic Waltz. They are seated around a living room coffee table in the heart of El Cajon. The house is part residence, part delicatessen. The drummer’s parents own the building and run the deli, Leggio’s Market, but now live elsewhere, bestowing the house as a sort of band headquarters.
The living room has been subject to heavy use. Its floor is an obstacle course of furled socks, fallen barbell weights, savaged comic books, dry beer bottles. On the wall, paneled with simulated wood, hangs a drum head autographed by Pete Best, the Beatles’ first drummer.
— “LIKE, HEAVY AND UNEXPLAINABLE: MEET PSYCHOTIC WALTZ,” Mani Mir, August 3, 1989
Fifteen Years Ago
Outside, where I would go to hang diapers, wind was so cold I couldn’t walk ten steps without mittens. Clothes-pinning Rebecca’s diapers on the line, even through mittens touching what touched her, my breasts blossomed milk. Out in that Arctic wind, I thought steam should rise from my breasts as if from a comic book Mother Wonder Woman.
— “TWO SPOON STORY,” Judith Moore, July 28, 1994
Ten Years Ago
The money sinkhole that is Ryan Leaf seized another victim over the weekend. This time, it was Leaf himself. Leaf, another Bobby Beathard first-round draft choice, was signed a mere 12 months ago. His five-year contract is reported to be on a par with the gross national product of Canada.
No doubt, sports-minded folk have heard that Leaf injured his labrum. More precisely, the anterior portion of said labrum. That’s the body part that steadies the shoulder joint.
The moral of this heartwarming tale is that Leaf’s rehab will take a long, long time.
— SPORTING BOX: “CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME,” Patrick Daugherty, July 29, 1999
Five Years Ago
At least one rich local Democrat won’t be climbing on John Kerry’s bandwagon anytime soon. Developer, ex–state horseracing boardmember, and former port commissioner Harvey Furgatch, who lives in a house on the beach in Del Mar, says he’s backing Ralph Nader and has already contributed $2000. “Nader’s the only one who’s talking about the issues that matter to the average American,” says Furgatch, who was campaign chairman of Democratic governor Jerry Brown’s 1980 presidential bid and a founding member of the San Diego chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union back in the mid-1950s. In 1987, he joined in the successful fight against a Del Mar ballot measure that would have banned smoking on the beach and other outdoor areas.
— CITY LIGHTS: “FIRST NADERITE,” Matt Potter, July 29, 2004