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Thirty-Five Years Ago
These days, one can wander into the Santa Fe Depot, downtown San Diego, and feel like a ghost. The imagination of a train buff can easily supply the atmosphere of a busy center of rail transportation, the hub of a city’s activity, the place where so many dreams once began and ended. But one who enters the depot without imagination in high gear is faced with the cool, lofty emptiness of an aging masterpiece of architecture (dated 1915), outmoded and underused through the fault of nothing but the changing times.
“GREAT EXPECTATIONS,” Rich Donnelly, March 18, 1976

Thirty Years Ago
It took a moment for the import of Aunt Bertha’s words to register. Despite her weight loss, if she were ever hired for a Calvin Klein jean commercial, the company would go bankrupt in a month. She is currently slimmer, but not enough to warrant sending her CARE packages with food or plying her with sweet potatoes and peanuts the way some African tribes do when they want to fatten up a bride for her groom. That Aunt Bertha described herself as a Sexual Threat was yet another example of human optimism.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: “AGAINST THE GRAIN,” Eleanor Widmer, March 19, 1981

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Fearless predictions for Oscar night: (a) There will at some point, and possible at more points, be a standing ovation. (b) Someone will crack a joke about the inordinate length of the proceedings. (c) Some male presenter will feign embarrassment standing next to a female presenter in a low-cut dress. (d) Some recipient will express gratitude to someone referred to as “babe.” (e) I won’t win any money on wagers.
“LITTLE BOY BLUES,” Duncan Shepherd, March 20, 1986

Twenty Years Ago
Six years ago the Mentors were momentary occupants of the moral hot seat when their song “Golden Showers” was a highlight of the Rev. Jeff Ling’s congressional testimony during the infamous record label hearings.

Of course the Mentors, a near-mental trio with a male-domination fetish, are offensive. Obviously they’re a joke — moronic vocal delivery can only be perceived by the perceptive as parody. Is the joke funny? I don’t even find them as entertaining as GWAR, who have interesting costumes with things on them. GWAR proponents point out that band’s elaborate stage show as reason for their existence. The Mentors can claim nothing beyond a few good riffs.
OF NOTE: “MENTORS,” Mike Keneally, March 21, 1991

Fifteen Years Ago
I wondered if [Quentin] Bell recalled what his aunt, Virginia [Woolf], gave him for birthdays when he was a child.

“I can’t remember her actually giving me presents. I expect she did, but I can’t remember what they were. She was extremely kind to me. She was very good with children, to young people altogether. When I heard, ‘Virginia’s coming to the house,’ it was like being told that we were going to have a treat. It was so wonderful. We wrote absurd books together. I did the pictures and she did the text. Some day these may be published, although I rather hesitate.”
READING: “BLOOMSBURY RECALLED,” Judith Moore, March 21, 1996

Ten Years Ago
There are few national holidays celebrated so widely outside of their country of origin as St. Patrick’s Day. Every American is Irish on March 17. In fact, America celebrates St. Patrick’s Day more wholeheartedly than Ireland does — which is surely related to the fact that there are about as many Irish pubs in San Diego as there are counties in Ireland: 32, plus one English-Irish inn for good measure.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: “THE STATIONS OF ST. PAT,” Naomi Wise, March 15, 2001

Five Years Ago
I don’t think I’ve been bored since childhood. Early on I learned there are so many interesting alternatives (including getting in trouble) that it really hasn’t come up. In adulthood I’ve spent so much of my time vacillating between what Woody Allen calls the two basic conditions of man — the horrible and the miserable — that boredom becomes appealing in its sheer elusiveness.
T.G.I.F.: “MY RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF,” John Brizzolara, March 16, 2006

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