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Stories by Various Authors

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 ...

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

A family doctor I didn't ask for, doctor war stories, UCSD med school admissions, ER doc see abused baby, San Diego cardiologist up close, hard economies

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

San Diego Burgers: Here's the beef

Nice hambies, juicy beasts, and the redonks

That Sacred Union of Beef, Bun, and Other Junk — Chad Deal The Sort of Meat You'd Expect to Find at an Upper-Tier Butcher Shop — Ambrose Martin Gateway garnishes — Mary Beth Abate Football, ...

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

Mom explains it to kids, ex-SEALs re-think hijacking security, San Diegans react, SPAWAR, SAIC protect plants, San Diego's Black Muslims speak out

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 ...

Manual labor: I sweat right in front of you

House cleaner's dirt stories, appliance repairman propositioned, amazing baseboard tales, tension in Mt. Soledad, intellectual plumber, Reader writer as janitor

Here to Clean Up Bruce’s departed tenant had left telltale signs of the "young bachelor" — a floor so encrusted with dirt in places that I had to chisel it off with a knife, a ...

Near desert places

A changed Jacumba, the little towns of Highway 80, and the drama of Warner Springs

A Quiet Street and an Old Hotel He smeared my whole body and face with mineral oil and began rubbing it around with a machine that whined and felt warm. A cord led from his ...

Abortion as a moral conflict

Bombers of Family Planning Associates interviewed, family prays outside clinic, where San Diego fetuses go, man's and woman's abortion stories, priest goes to jail, Womancare head kills self

Truths and Consequences We absolutely didn’t have a clue about what we were doing, but each one of us were self-motivated. It was like if you want it done, you do it yourself. That’s kind ...

That Seventies vibe

San Diego covens, the More House commune in Rancho Santa Fe, whither the San Diego peace movement, pyramid selling, radical chic in La Jolla

Eye of Newt, Toe of Frog San Diego covens. Force claimed he had played a role, witchwise, in the indictment of San Diego's former Mayor Curran and his staff, in the Yellow Cab scandal. By ...

Beach life: 1981-1991

OB hippies, San Diego oceanfront lots, Sunset Cliffs deaths, Pacific Beach gangs, the girls of summer

Low Tide at OB Today, although drug traffic is still heavy, the overall crime rate for serious offenses – including rape and other sex crimes, assault, burglary, robbery, grand theft, auto theft, and petty theft ...

A Padres retrospective

"Most people remembered the Padres’ Bircher contingent as 'Eric Show and those other two guys.'"

Clinton-and-Brown-Loving, Rich Texas Liberal Seeks Date with Padres Most of the money Moores gave to the Clinton camp came through the Democratic National Committee. “Federal law limits individual gifts [to presidential candidates] to $1000 per ...

Music of the 1980s

The Tubes, the Beat Farmers, Psychotic Waltz, and when rap and norteño entered the scene

My Son the Tube When the Tubes appeared on the Cher TV special in April of the next year, I was almost overcome by a fit of the whips and jingles as I waited for ...

San Diego's place in world history

Spanish Civil War vets, Contras and drugs, Sandinistas, Korean War vets, the Chosin Few

Never Say Retreat "Almond ordered the Marines north behind Faith to the Chosin Reservoir. Winter had now arrived, and things were getting weirder and weirder — irrational. It was on November 15 that General Oliver ...

San Diego high schools in the old days

San Dieguito strife, Poway wrestlers, Morse gangs, Helix football, Mission Bay reunion, Waldorf nurturing, Top 10 schools, and unusual homeschoolers

SD’s Top 10 High Schools “I think my eyes were opened freshman year [at Torrey Pines]. People think that when you go here, you’ve got this, like, perfect life made out for you, and, you ...

History of San Diego: 19th Century

Butterfield stage line, geology of San Diego, who was San Diego, and what was Serra’s route to San Diego

Beaver Trails to San Diego Governor Echeandia of San Diego “looked upon the Americans as being worse than thieves and murderers.” He tore up their passports and put them in a dungeon. One of Pattie’s ...

Outdoor life: fishing and hunting

Mission Beach, Salton Sea, Camp Pendleton, Cuyamaca, and San Pedro Martir

A Cast of One In spring in the surf, you are thinking of halibut. Everybody loves halibut. Fished for from shore, halibut offer all that is sporting in angling: a certain elusiveness, the confident strike, ...

Moral dilemmas

Euthanasia, sperm donation, racism, gold-digging and the right to die

Ten Grand a Dance One trouble with gold digging is that a girl only has ten years or so to make a go at it, and if she hasn’t struck a bonanza by then, or ...

Our local plant kingdom

San Diego’s palms, Engelmann oaks, endangered species, dangerous eucalyptus, oleander as cheap botanical thrill

The Oak Lady Ryan noted that she has also planted Engelmann oaks at Guajome County Park in Oceanside and at Felicita County Park just west of Escondido, at the Wild Animal Park, the Palomar College ...

Beach life: 1973-1978

Tom Wolfe, Mission Bay before dredging, Mission Beach Plunge, Moonlight Beach scene, Solana Beach lifeguard complaint, and La Jolla sharks

When men went under water “It started with the sharks who used to gather in the caves area in the southeast corner of what is now the underwater park in La Jolla. The war effort ...

Unusual pet fanciers

Pig, horses and women, dachshunds, pet cemeteries, pigeons

If I Had a Sledgehammer for a Nose, What Havoc Would I Wreak? I bought a pig because I wasn't ready for children. I wanted something small and helpless but something that wouldn't require college ...

Feast! The indulgence issue

Because it's not enough to say, "It was yummy!"

Restaurants worth treating as occasions — Where going out is still a treat. By Ian Pike It’s not news, but it’s love — Critics have to eat even when they’re not critiquing. By Ambrose Martin ...

Medical life

Nurses, med students, paramedics, and interns

What the Ghost in White Shoes Knows Burnt-out nurses seek revenge. Burnt-out nurses move slowly and resentfully through the hospital halls when a patient’s call light flickers on. Perhaps the patient’s IV bag has run ...

San Diego’s premodern Indians

Pictographs at Rancho Bernardo, controlled burns, and revolutionist Antonio Garra

A Curse Upon This Place J. Downey Harvey could now legally remove the Indians. There were five settlements: Agua Caliente, Puerta de la Cruz, San José, Puerta Ignoria, and Mataguay; about 215 Indians lived in ...

What we love chooses us

San Diego clubs: Star Wars, Mensa, mahjongg, go, chess, crosswords, cars, guns, bingo, gardening, stamp-collecting, dungeons and dragons

Mind Game Everett Boyer, a twenty-four-year-old computer programmer, controls a character of some renown in San Diego, the powerful Elrond. (The character appears originally in Tolkien’s The Hobbit.) This blond and sturdy elf has acquired ...

SD Characters: Sol Price, pioneer of Costco; Larry Lawrence, one of America's richest

Plus Andy Kay, Fletcher family, Blue brothers, and mafioso Alan Glick

To see more famous San Diego characters, click here. To see even more famous San Diego characters, click here. Larry Lawrence and the Greening of American Politics Much of the San Diego money that went ...

Neighbors battling Francis Parker goes back a long way

Plus fighting KFC in Golden Hill, a cabbie in Hillcrest, saving Victorians on Front Street, and quiet Olive Street

Mission Hills vs School Originally, a strip of public street called Plumosa Way, which runs 100 yards from Randolph Street to the edge of the canyon, was the northern boundary of the school. The street ...

Downtown San Diego before 1930

How IWW and the Wobblies were shut down (5 stories) and the gruesome Bennington explosion in San Diego Bay (2 stories)

How San Diego Took Care of its Wobblies Jack Whyte was one of the last wobblies to be convicted: “If the people of the state are to blame for this persecution, then the people...are to ...

Beach life: 1999-2004

San Diego Bay free anchorage, young women lying on the beach (what do they make of feminists), Yukon diving deaths, great white sharks in San Diego

All Summer, All Winter Is the Sound of the Sea “There have been remarkably small changes in the San Diego shoreline. Where you do see big changes is by the harbors where there was a ...

19 years ago today, Andrew Cunanan killed Gianni Versace

Role of San Diego older gays, friends remember victim (Coronado's Jeffrey Trail), interviews at Gay Pride parade and at Bishop's School, Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair report

La Jolla Gentlemen and the Party Boy One of Cunanan's patrons has been identified as Lincoln Aston, who once owned the Pepita Way house that Blachford now has title to. Records show that in 1995, ...

San Diego voyages, 1987-1994

Deep hike with Jerry Schad, San Dieguito River, road trips from San Diego, El Cajon Mountain ruins friendship

Read more voyages in the Reader: bike ride to Milwaukee aborted, hitching with CBers, quest for San Diego River source, Dad and I in La Paz, who rides the Greyhound, scary sail from Newport Beach, ...

A look back at major league sports in San Diego

Stan Humphries' brain, Chargers vets, Nick Canepa’s “Sez Me” column

Why I Hate Football Working bars in New York, I had to keep the nightstick ready during Giants' games. I pried sports fans apart, called cops and ambulances. In Coronado years later, tending bar, a ...

The food chain

Fish farms, San Diego perfect for termites, feeding grease to cows, ostriches north of Escondido, duck hunt near Chocolate Mountains

And on This Farm They Had Some Fish It can get wet out there in the desert, especially when you're raising tons of fish. Like most people involved in aquaculture, Engler’s interest in the biological ...

C. Arnholt Smith, Mr. San Diego

He co-writes two cover stories for Reader, plus stories on Joe Brennan, San Diego's harbormaster and San Luis Rey Downs; Don Bauder explains the scams

Mr. San Diego: Born with the Century And Solar Aircraft — there’s another institution that we made. And that damn Herb Kunzel. He was president of Solar at the end, and he would eventually be ...

San Diego, war town

SEALS in Afghanistan, debate over M-16, SEALS in Iraq, Bob Kerrey and Ka-Bars, Rolling Stone

More Treacherous Than Vietnam "Several weeks ago, there was a story about a SEAL that supposedly fell out of a helicopter. His name was Neil Roberts. The helicopter took a few hits. He flipped out ...

Beach life: 1991-1996

San Clemente Island, Filipinos on the IB Pier, Chinese junk rescued from Glorietta Bay, dolphins as villains, Coronado lifeguards

Pier Group "They set seven to eight tiny hooks on a very fine line, put a small weight at the end, and tie tiny feathers to each hook. No bait. You drop the line in ...

Manual labor

Brawley cattle, La Jolla lobsters, San Diego tugs, circus workers, sea urchin divers, downtown highrise construction, shopping cart retrieval, truck driving

Sweet, Wet, Ugly, and Tough Culbertson fished out of La Jolla for years. “I was born in La Jolla; that was my home. I rented a two-bedroom house there for $75 a month. I fished ...

Encinitas before yuppies, the proposal to divide Fairbanks Ranch

Oceanside's secret French village and the University City bridge fight

The Most ideal of Provinces Rancho Santa Fe proposed an alternative plan, which called for preserving Del Dios as a two-lane road and, instead, extending and expanding San Dieguito Road (Route 728) such that it ...

Hike from the San Diego River source, La Paz with Dad, lost at sea off Mission Bay, Pacific Crest Trail, El Camino Real

Voyages, 1975-1986

Read more voyages in the Reader: trek with trail wizard Jerry Schad, San Dieguito River hike from Volcan Mountain to Del Mar, bike ride from San Diego to Minnesota, Amtrak from Oakland to New Orleans, ...

The Few. The Proud. All over San Diego.

Marine boot camp then and now, Chocolate Mountains ordinance, Camp Pendleton, Iraq War leftovers, Marines' Cobra Whiskey, Pendleton buffalos

The Boot For 30 minutes he puts me through the old tortures — Chinese Thinking Position, Elbows and Toes, The Chair — and ones of his own invention. Hanging from the top of a bunk-frame ...

Ring of fire

The cost of accidental fire, Bowles fire, Tecate fire, El Cajon Blvd. arson, firebug detectives, Cedar Fire holdouts and cost of choppers, post-fire wildflowers

Who gets burned? Although accidentally starting a fire is a misdemeanor violation of the state health and safety code (section 13001 — "causing a fire" — maximum penalty $500 and one year in jail), no ...

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