Thirty-Five Years Ago
Re: Review of my movie, Taxi Driver.
You are dead wrong in your cheap, mindless review. If I weren’t so busy putting together half a dozen film packages with my friends Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, I would personally fly my Learjet down to San Diego and bring a drill down on your soft head until I hit something hard.
True, the script was overintellectualized. But so what? Did anyone ever criticize Shakespeare, Celine, or Rimbaud for overintellectualizing?
Yours, full of anger at 30, and a really big somebody, Paul Shrader, Beverly Wilshire Hotel
— LETTERS, May 20, 1976
Thirty Years Ago
Flour, sugar, salt, and sometimes rice used to be staple food items in every kitchen, and all of them were white. Nowadays the flour is often unbleached whole wheat, the sugar can be substituted with honey or even frozen apple juice concentrate as well as with saccharine, salt just might be out the window with tamari taking its place, and brown rice is sold even in Oriental food markets. Only one white food remains incomparable and irreplaceable, and that is vanilla ice cream.
— “DULCET TONES & ICE CREAM CONES,” Amy Chu, May 21, 1981
Twenty-Five Years Ago
[B]etween April and October, when lobsters are out of season but tourists in Mexico are definitely in season, many unsuspecting gourmands trek down to Puerto Nuevo, the lobster capital of Baja, to eat what they believe is genuine Mexican langosta. Sorry, gringo...during the summer months, the majority of the restaurants in Puerto Nuevo have to serve lobster imported from Australia, New Zealand, Honduras, or the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
— CITY LIGHTS: “IMPORTED FROM NUEVA ZEALAND,” Neal Matthews, May 22, 1986
Twenty Years Ago
Gayle McCandliss might have been homecoming queen, so warm was her reception from the parade of local townsfolk passing in her wake. At age 36, she had just been elected mayor of San Diego County’s second-largest city. Only a few burblings of dismay were to be heard when the mayor-elect, her full frame wizened, her bell-like voice oddly cracked, requested assistance to walk a half-block from Chula Vista’s election central to a restrained victory party across the street.
Ten weeks later, McCandliss was dead of cancer.
— CITY LIGHTS: “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: CANCER MAY RESULT IN COWARDICE, SKULLDUGGERY, AND A RUTHLESS LUST FOR POWER,” Elliott Blair Smith, May 23, 1991
Fifteen Years Ago
Bill Evans started venturing into Baja’s backcountry in 1979 and throughout the ’80s. “I felt absolutely secure,” he asserts. “I never had any reservations about where I went, where I left my vehicle.” But Evans says his complacency was shaken on a backpacking trip in the fall of 1992, when he was scouting an area known as Carrizon Canyon in preparation for leading a Sierra Club group there. When he emerged from the canyon mouth, he found that the car he had parked there was “a burned-out hulk. It was completely destroyed.”
— CITY LIGHTS: “RUN FOR THE BORDER,” Jeannette De Wyze, May 23, 1996
Ten Years Ago
Reverend W. James Smith was warming to his Mother’s Day sermon.
“Aren’t you glad your mother didn’t have you washed down some sink? When the midwives disobeyed Pharaoh, it was the first spark of a freedom movement, of a tremendous liberation. Because the midwives disobeyed Pharaoh, Moses, a great leader, was born. And Moses led the slaves out of Egypt.”
— SHEEP AND GOATS, Abe Opincar, May 17, 2001
Five Years Ago
An abandoned glass...fell from a narrow ledge by my shoulder and shattered at my feet.... I deduced it was the resonant bass line that had knocked the glass from its precarious perch. A moment later, two of the girls from my group made repetitive hand gestures indicating a desire to perform fellatio. Remember who you’re with, Barb, I told myself. These are good girls, not like the kind you used to party with. I smiled and followed the six women to the bar to fetch the drinks for which they’d actually been gesturing.
— DIARY OF A DIVA: “Mr. Bling,” Barbarella, May 18, 2006