Thirty-Five Years Ago
Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are the best of the bunch, because they devote a reasonable degree of attention to the cinematic style of the genre under inspection. Not many moviegoers would care to join me, perhaps, but I am personally more amused when [Mel] Brooks introduces Castle Frankenstein by way of a phony painted backdrop and then dissolves to a studio set of the great wooden portals of the place, than I am when, a moment later, he bends over backwards to get a routine, vaudeville double entendre out of the word “knockers.”
— “PELL-MELL BROOKS,” Duncan Shepherd, August 19, 1976
Thirty Years Ago
It’s indicative of a concert lull that the shows which will not be presented this week should seem more interesting subject for commentary than those which will, in fact, take place.... Just this week, we have yet another cancellation by Kenny Rankin, who is forging a new and unique career as an absentee artist; a cancellation by Janis Ian, whose performance here would have been her first in a long, long time; and a cancellation of the Sam and Dave Show — one which I figured would be a huge success due to the Blues Brothers shtick and current soul music revival. Oh, well.
— READER’s GUIDE TO THE MUSIC SCENE, John D’Agostino, August 20, 1981
Twenty-Five Years Ago
On the three walls and door that enclose the toilet stall, outside the stall, between and across mirrors, on paper and cloth towel and sanitary napkin dispensers, women write everywhere. Hieroglyphs, onomatopoetic attempts to reproduce bowel and lovemaking sounds, the ubiquitous happy faces, nosegay-wreathed swastikas: all bump and collide. Loop cursive poems descend the walls, while mildly nasty riddles trail lopsidedly in descending lines across smooth tiles.
— “POETRY OF THE STALLS,” Judith Moore, August 21, 1986
Twenty Years Ago
Let’s get this straight: rain does not kill fish. Contrary to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the thousands of catfish, carp, and shad recently found belly-up in the San Diego River did not die from the “natural effects of an unusual summer rainstorm.”
Unless massive, man-made changes to the river’s ecosystem can be called natural.
It happened in a flood-control channel called Fizzdrip — the First San Diego River Improvement Project. Fizzdrip is a $29 million, 1.3-mile stretch of river between Jack Murphy Stadium and Highway 163. Right where the fish died.
— CITY LIGHTS: “RAIN EXONERATED IN DEAD-FISH STORY,” Colin Flaherty, August 22, 1991
Fifteen Years Ago
Stop any Average Joe on the street and ask for the name of Carter’s secretary of state, you’ll get a blank stare. Then ask what the inventor of Post-it Notes got from 3M, and he’ll immediately tell you, “The shaft.” Somehow this Post-it factoid has spread through the country faster than measles on a playground.... Of course, as “common knowledge” it’s only vaguely related to the truth. But as a paradigm for the heartless corporation biting the humble employee in the butt, I guess the story will live forever.
— STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, August 22, 1996
Ten Years Ago
Jim Benson, founder of the world’s first private space-exploration company, has a knack for coming up with slogans. “We put the ‘Pow’ in Poway” is one.... Poway is where Benson’s enterprise, SpaceDev, is located, and for almost a year, SpaceDev employees have tested rocket motors in a large bay next to the company parking lot on Stowe Drive. In the future, Benson says, the local facility will direct prospecting missions to the near-Earth asteroid belt that will make him and his stockholders rich.
— “RiCH MAN IN HEAVEN,” Jeannette De Wyze, August 16, 2001
Five Years Ago
San Diego three-piece “bill” prefers to have their name spelled with a lowercase b. “Happens to be two of our dads’ names and can be spelled on your right hand,” says bass and sax player David Marciano.
“Besides the fact that our dads are named Bill, the name’s simple and memorable,” says drummer and pianist Jonathan Coyle. “There are so many bands who are named, like, ‘the Razor Light Symphonic Turtle Doves.’”
— “MUSICAL SPACE,” Michael Hemmingson, August 17, 2006