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Best of Reading interviews 2003-04

Geoffrey Wolff, Thomas Lux, Russell Banks, chefs’ favorite books, and more

Abe Opincar (Fried Butter) Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, invited me to talk with her about Fried Butter. I went to the Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square. I was ushered ...

Best of Reading interviews 2001-2002

Mark Halperin, V.S. Naipaul, Janet Malcolm, Alice McDermott, and more

JD McClatchy "And I think now in the last 10 or 20 years, there’s been a quite remarkable resurgence and readings and performances of high and low quality, from hip-hop or slams and whatnot, to ...

Unemployed and houseless

Alpha Plasma Center, sleeping in Balboa Park, camping in Mission Valley’s riverbed, how homeless spend Thanksgiving

What Do I Have to Be Thankful For? Reed: "I have no plans for Thanksgiving. Just be with good friends, like my family here and with Sister Winnie and St. Vincent's and the Salvation Army." ...

San Diego’s early modern Indians

Edward Davis, Manzanita and Ensenada tribes, Kumeyaay basket and lace-making

Women’s Work She said when she told Castaneda and Silva about the basket, they were excited and wanted to know if it was a fancy tamul basket. They were disappointed to find out it was ...

North Inland rural flavor

Valley Center elegy, Fallbrook’s airplanes, drilling and foreign plants on Mt. Palomar, end of Pauma Valley dairies

Drilling in on a Little Piece of Oregon “See those gouges, where the ponds are?” He points to what look like two giant tank-tracks through the middle of the valley. “Those are what happened here ...

Best of Reading interviews 1999-2000

Susan Cheever, Annie Dillard, Anita Brookner, David Sedaris, and more

Wallace Stevens I remember why I bought The Collected Poems. Stevens’s “Anecdote of a Jar,” from his first collection, Harmonium, published in 1923, was in an anthology I owned. I read and reread “Anecdote of ...

SD institutions: large business

PSA, Sheraton, Jack in the Box, Hotel Del, Oakwood, Frost Lumber Co., and cinemas of yore

Reservations But for all its civilizedness — this thing of history — I guess what was missing was a real sense of tradition, of classic history. You know, like when you see these names — ...

Medical Life: Doctors

Man vs MD Every patient, as well as every dog, has his day, and mine came. It occurred in the local hospital ward during my recovery from a rather serious illness. In this environment our ...

Poor, no job

The unemployment line, crashing at friend’s, San Diego SRO hotels, and the Adacia Imperial Mobile Park

I tell them my name is Ernie Klein, I'm 42 years old, and I'm unemployed Finally, after tapping her forehead with a pencil and then looking through a pile of papers on her desk, she ...

Large animals in the wild

Beaked and gray whales, dilemma of local mountain lions, wild horses in Coyote Creek, coyotes thrive in San Diego canyons

Mystery of the Beaked Whales By the time they arrived the tide had gone out and the animal lay dead on the sand. “There was a guy from the Navy already there. He was asking ...

San Diego architecture as covered by Susan Vaughn in the '90s

Bungalows in National City, Rancho Santa Fe mansions. San Diego’s best Craftsman and Victorians, the ugliness of Pardee homes

When the Bungalows Came to Town I drive down East Plaza Boulevard and at first pass a series of contemporary commercial buildings — a red Monterey-style Boll Weevil restaurant (“Home of the Steerburger!”); a glass, ...

Annals of San Diego gardens

Oceanside and Ocean Beach gardens, Pat Welsh in Del Mar, wisteria, moonflowers, Monterey cypresses as pests, and the therapy of gardening

The Julia Child of gardening “Chickweed is the main winter weed of my garden, and in a way I don’t mind because it’s edible.” She pulls up the tiny plant, its leaves not so feathery ...

Best of Judith Moore Reading interviews 1997-98

Anne Lamott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ved Mehta, Paul Theroux, and more

Czeslaw Milosz on Anna Swir Milosz explained that he set about translating Swir’s poems, “in order to repair injustice, because she was underestimated. I consider her a very important poet. But she was somehow in ...

San Diego characters in education and book publishing

John Theobald of SDSU, Roger Revelle of UCSD, book agent Sandra Dykstra, translator John Woods of Mission Hills, ex-spy D.G. Wills

What Greater Curse Than Life Without Verse Theobald opened a correspondence with Ezra Pound that lasted for years. Throughout this time, the poet was an inmate at St. Elizabeth’s mental hospital in Washington, D.C., having ...

Original ideas

Men imagine life as a woman, "Okie" as a racial eptithet, and same-name similarities (or not)

If I’d been born a woman Ask any man you know if he’d like to be a woman, you get an automatic “No.” Too messy. Too emotional. Too hard. Most men can’t imagine going through ...

The essays of John Brizzolara

A reacquaintance with the Italian rapscallion

Stand by your Buddy That men lead lopsided personal lives is possibly not an original observation but something worth mentioning. During my last excursion into romantic folly, I would turn down opportunities to spend time ...

San Diegans fighting radical Islam

SEALs in Desert Storm and Afghanistan, teens reflect on war, a blogger’s report

Triumph of the Swill “Schwarzkopf’s got a hard-on for special ops. He and General Stiner, who commands SEALS and Special Forces, can’t stand each other. Then there’s the rivalry between Army line officers —artillery, infantry, ...

Life after 9/11

Stories we ran in the aftermath of September 11

Where We Were “Tell them there’s been a terrible tragedy and lots of people have died and that we need to pray for the victims and for their families and for the horrible people who ...

San Diego Characters: Outliers

Woman logger, Josie Scripps, the Spaceman of OB, and Bill Gookin

Josie Scripps She reports that the county, for its size, is second only to an area in Africa. Larger areas like Brazil and Ceylon contain greater quantities of gems, she says, but none has the ...

Central San Diego before 1930

The San Diego trolley in the early 1900s, the elusive Putnam sisters, and someone who remembers the Marstons, Klaubers, and Colonel Fletcher

Clang, clang, clang In the summer you could get a fifty-cent pass for the whole week. ” She recalls passing her ticket out the window to a friend to squeeze two rides for the price ...

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