Thirty-Five Years Ago
San Diegans are meeting in churches, recreation centers, and living rooms, hoping that somehow, some way, they’ll make it through the night without a chocolate milkshake.... Most of them are fat...not just pleasingly plump or chucklingly chubby, but fat, with double and triple chins, bulbous arms and legs, potbellies, and distended rear ends. But that’s only part of their problem, only a symptom of their greater difficulty; they are addicted to food.
— “A SAD STORY BUT A TRUE STORY,” Judith Lin, August 26, 1976
Thirty Years Ago
Jack Doherty, an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff in 1978, is president of the Stamp Out Crime Council, which has published a pamphlet called the “Snoopy Parents’ Handbook.”
Snoopy Parents at Home: “Visit your child’s room, especially when the door is shut. Marijuana has a strong odor, smelling like cooking herbs. It does NOT smell sweet. The odor can be masked by incense. Check for piles of matches. Pot has to be constantly relit. Check on babysitters, too. Look for the tell-tale pile of matches.”
Snoopy Parents in the Garden: “If your child SUDDENLY takes up gardening, find out what marijuana plants look like.... After you check your garden, take a walk around the neighborhood. Go through alleys, canyons, parks, vacant lots. Keep a list of suspicious plants, then get it to the police.”
— “KNOW YOUR LOCAL BONG,” Donald Harrison, August 27, 1981
Twenty-Five Years Ago
With the rise of feminism in the early ’70s, it suddenly dawned on the publishing industry that it was not only okay to publish women writers, it might also be lucrative....Today, while we wait with growing impatience for our senior male novelists — Gass, Barth, and Mailer (whose last book, about ancient Egypt, should have been called Mummy Dearest) — to put the finishing touches on their alleged masterpieces, a new generation of women writers has emerged that threatens to knock the old geezers off their pedestals.
— “ALL SHE WROTE,” Jeff Smith, August 28, 1986
Twenty Years Ago
A dark figure approaches, a stranger in a new country, sweating, stinking from a day’s work as a gardener, painter, concrete mixer, or bricklayer. The stranger carries a plastic grocery sack and the $20 he has earned for the ten hours he has worked.... [S]ix pairs of eyes watch him pass by.
They leap out from behind the eucalyptus grove. They identify themselves as the Border Patrol. They demand money. They want mota, Mexican slang for marijuana. The Mexican stranger drops the grocery bag and sprints into the valley.
— “BEANER BASHERS,” Eric Eyre, August 29, 1991
Fifteen Years Ago
It’s the sort of thing that God of the Old Testament would have caused the earth to open up and swallow. I’m talking about InStyle (“Celebrity + Style + Beauty + Fashion”) magazine. It panders so blatantly to the old-fashioned sins — vanity, pride, greed — that I can only think of it in the coarsest biblical terms.
— AS SEEN ON TV: “WRATH TV,” Abe Opincar, August 29, 1996
Ten Years Ago
You don’t read much about San Diego State men’s basketball in this space. But then, you don’t read much about SDSU men’s basketball anywhere else, either. This is what 43 consecutive losing seasons will do.
However, I’m willing to speak up when human life is on the line...and human life is on the line because, come November 17, our scrappy Aztecs will go up against the Texas Tech Red Raiders led by zero-tolerance fugitive Bobby Knight. That’s right, pilgrim, the Evil One lives.
— SPORTING BOX: “SAFETY CHECK,” Patrick Daugherty, August 23, 2001
Five Years Ago
A tall building takes a sizeable square of land and transforms it into multiple cubes of habitable space — story after story rising — converting once-empty sky into a series of interior chambers and environments.
The high-rise is, as you might guess, an American invention. Which means that Americans brought together into one form the crucial developments that made it possible: steel frames, reinforced concrete, glass, water pumps, the elevator, modernist patriotic hubris.
— “MACHINES FOR LIVING,” Geoff Bouvier, August 24, 2006