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Stories by Walter Mencken

Droids not drones

General Dynamics inks historic brand partnership with Disney for line of Star Wars-themed unmanned vehicles.

WHERE THE MAGIC KINGDOM MEETS THE EVIL EMPIRE, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HERE AND BURBANK — "The problem with drones has always been largely one of perception," says General Dynamics Head of Brainwashing Dan Vader. "People love ...

Navy initiates "Hey, Sailor!" recruitment campaign in effort to stem tide of sexual harrassment on ships

Navy Spokesman Brett Pupdek: "It was bad enough when we had to boot Captain Greg Gombert off the USS Cowpens after he made his onboard sweetheart, Lt. Cmdr. Destiny Savage, the 'acting commanding officer,' whatever ...

Ex-mayor Filner expresses support for embattled Carl DeMaio

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner made a surprise appearance today at a press conference organized by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. Reporters had shown up expecting to hear DeMaio respond to allegations of sexual harassment ...

Apple Selects San Diego for introduction of latest product

New iConsent released in conjunction with passage of California's "Yes means yes" law.

Hello, San Diego. I'm Apple CEO Tim Cook. When we here at Apple saw that even schools like UCSD and USD were reporting steady rises in sexual assault reports over the past two years, we ...

Sweetwater's new safety school

GETTING OUT IN FRONT OF THE STORY, CHULA VISTA — "Let's clear something up at the outset," said District Superintendent Harry Mudd at the outset of his press conference. "We are all about keeping kids ...

Breaking down the Gates

Madden '15 adds injury tracker for more realistic gameplay.

In real life, Antonio Gates is having an amazing late-career resurgence. Sportswriters are calling him the second-best tight end of all time, right behind Tony Gonzalez. But in Madden '15, the newest version of EA's ...

"$22 Mil is not DeAnza."

"How much should the City pay us?" is DeQuestion.

Press release from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith: "Why did the City Council vote in closed session to approve a $22 million offer to the residents of Mission Bay's DeAnza Cove mobile home park in exchange ...

In venue dispute, Rock Church insists that attendees at services aren't "going to church."

Local megachurch asks, "What's in a name?"

DANCING ON THE HEAD OF A PIN, EL CAJON — "Jesus didn't die on the cross to establish a Sunday service," says Miles McPherson, lead pastor of The Rock megachurch. "He established a Body that ...

San Diego County Fair Announces Theme for 2015

Fair Organizer Farley McFerrin: "It took weeks of research and debate, but ultimately, we decided to go with the title of a 1957 romantic weeper. It just fit with our desire to commemorate the 100th ...

NFL Officials Strain to Explain Brain Pain

"Leaked" internal report points to "troubling rise" in "off-the-field" concussions.

SOMEWHERE IN CYBERSPACE — When you hear somebody mention "4Chan," "leak," and "pro athlete's girlfriend," the first thing that comes to mind probably isn't head trauma. But in a largely overlooked story, 4Chan user "footballsux" ...

Zoo officials report newly captured albino cobra is "significantly smaller" than darker snakes of the same species

ASKING YOU TO PLEASE STOP THAT SNIGGERING, SAN DIEGO ZOO — Scientists today released their initial findings on Willy, the albino monocle cobra captured in Thousand Oaks and transported to the San Diego Zoo two ...

Neighborhood (Meme) Watch

Police credit viral Internet meme with arrest of North Park assault suspect.

Move over, Strutting Leo. Slow it down, Happy Keanu. Grab a seat, Prancing Cera. Earlier this month, San Diego Police released a surveillance photo that they thought depicted the man responsible for six assaults on ...

"Ozymandias" wins annual Labor Day U.S. Sand Sculpting Competition and 3D Art Challenge

DRINKING HEAVILY TO NUMB THE PAIN AT THE HEART OF EXISTENCE, EMBARCADERO — "I can't remember when we've had a field this strong," said U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge chief judge Chris Nihil. "I don't know ...

Planned Parenthood protests possible prosecution of marriage-marring Marine for multiple murders

Statement released following the news that Christopher Lee, the ex-Marine arrested on suspicion of killing Marine wife Erin Corwin and hiding her body in a mineshaft, may be prosecuted for a double homicide if it ...

Guest editorial: It's hard out here for a playa

Troy Rampant is a senior at a San Diego high school. Man, back in the day, it was just easier, you know? My mom, she didn't know what she wanted to do when she got ...

A Jew? Who knew?

On August 24, the San Diego Chargers played a preseason game in San Francisco, and Chargers radio announcers Hank Bauer and Josh Lewin were there to cover the event for KIOZ. Toward the end of ...

Brown tide rising

TALKING FUNNY BECAUSE I'M HOLDING MY NOSE, RANCHO SANTA FE — At about 2:30 this morning, a ruptured sewer main sent a great mass of human waste spilling into the streets of this super-wealthy enclave. ...

SeaWorld renews commitment to the welfare of its investors

GREAT IDEA, GLAD WE THOUGHT OF IT, SEAWORLD — Following the news that its stock's value had been savagely shredded by an attack from Blackfish, the documentary that criticized its treatment of both orcas and ...

Sketchy behavior?

Following a sharp uptick in the number of sexual assaults by people whose police sketches look like celebrities, the San Diego Police Department has brought in Celebrisketch Consultant Dirk Brogan for insight into the workings ...

If it Squeals Like A Pig…

LAMENTING A METAPHOR GONE BAD, EAST COUNTY — Two men are dead and a third is in police custody today following a shooting at the El Capitan reservoir. The victims were enjoying a day of ...

Horse Branding at Old Del Mar

A special guest editorial from Del Mar Racing VP of Marketing Greg Dodo: In 2001, I was tasked with beating a dead horse back to life. The glory days of the Del Mar Racetrack seemed ...

Maybin may have been distracted

Initially, San Diego Padre Cameron Maybin accepted his 25-game suspension for amphetamine use with grace and even gratitude. "I want to assure everyone that this was a genuine effort to treat my condition [of Attention ...

CEO Darbeau is no pro

"If everybody's naked, then nobody's wearing a wire."

PINING FOR THE DAYS OF THE SMOKE-FILLED ROOM, DOWNTOWN — Port of San Diego CEO Wayne Darbeau was recently relieved of his position after what several of his fellows on the Port Commission called "a ...

NASCAR king Jimmie Johnson thanks El Cajon hometown at ceremony

"I'm putting this whole town in my rear view."

From this day forward, June 17 in El Cajon will be known as Jimmie Johnson Day, in honor of the six-time NASCAR Spring Cup Series champion who spent his childhood there. Mayor Bill Wells made ...

Beachfront Benghazi?

Hillary Clinton denies involvement in raid on Mitt Romney's La Jolla compound.

Former Secretary of State releases statement for the press: "Look, if some overzealous taggers get busy on a property that's already been slated for destruction, I don't think that's any of my business. It's simply ...

Tony Gwynn, "A hero for our time, er, town."

Faulconer calls Gwynn "a pretty good ballplayer for a pretty good city."

Remarks from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a free public ceremony honoring deceased Padres star Tony Gwynn, Petco Park, June 26. "Tony Gwynn was a consummate gentleman, a team player to the end. His ...

San Diego Recruits Bear Grylls as Water Conservation Spokesman

As part of its ongoing campaign to encourage water conservation, the San Diego Public Works Department has partnered with Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls, who famously drank his own urine on an episode of ...

Armed robbers hold up La Mesa donut shop

MEDITATIVELY MUNCHING ON A TIGER TAIL, LA MESA — "The donut business is a tough business," says La Mesa Yum Yum Donuts manager Tim Tomake, whose shop was held up on June 18. "Profit margins ...

OB Marshmallow Party?

LISTENING FOR THE FIFE AND DRUM, OCEAN BEACH — "Ocean Beach has always been about freedom," says Ocean Beach Citizens Brigade Confectionary Sergeant Ralph Wegmans. "And now a tyranny — once benign, but now malignant ...

Special interactive feature: help us choose the drug-related cop joke

Dear Reader readers: We just couldn't decide which was the better aspect of the Officers Charpentier case: the (alleged) fact that married police officers needed to sell hydrocodone to supplement the notoriously low pay offered ...

Padres notch 50th moral victory of the season on day of Gwynn's passing

Following their 5-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on June 16, the day Tony Gwynn died, the San Diego Padres' record fell to 29-41, making them one of only three teams in the Major Leagues ...

SDSU appoints Tony Gwynn Statue to take over Tony Gywnn's coaching contract

The tragic death of San Diego baseball great Tony Gwynn came just days after he signed a one-year contract extension for his position as San Diego State's men's baseball coach, which he has held since ...

Fallen heroes

The sad and untimely death of San Diego Padre great Tony Gwynn on June 16 from salivary gland cancer caused by a lifetime of dipping tobacco while playing baseball should in no way bring to ...

San Diego Zoo Safari Park issues clarifying statement on Tiger Power

Following the alleged horrific stabbing of a Wisconsin girl by two 12-year-old classmates who were seeking to prove their dedication to the fictional character of Slender Man, and following the horrific Isla Vista shooting spree ...

Petco seeks home field advantages

"It's often been said that the hometown crowd is a kind of tenth man," says Petco-Padres liason Des Perate. "As the San Diego Padres continue to struggle this season, we here at Petco have been ...

With apologies to William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night How did you end up in there, Trapped beneath my vacant stare? Am I supposed to quake in awe At thy claws, thy fearsome jaw? ...

Low voter turnout blamed on lingering Malaise Layer

"Mayor Faulconer is the face of the good-ol'-boy establishment," said Area Man as he cracked a fourth Dos Equis while sitting on his patio and watching his grass wither on Election Day. "District Attorney Dumanis ...

San Diego joins effort to clean up nation's airports

In 2012, the San Diego Airport Commission removed the huge mural of Charles Lindbergh that had adorned the San Diego Airport Commuter Terminal for 15 years. In 2014, they replaced the mural with Jari "Werc" ...

RACIST group proposes new name for San Diego Padres

"We know that it's more helpful to propose solutions than it is to simply complain about problems," says Samantha Serious, community organizer for Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams (RACIST). That's why we here at ...

Twitter suspends #YOLO hashtag following tweet from San Diego arsonist

Twitter spokeswoman Tammy Twiterrier today announced the social network's first-ever hashtag suspension, after a user posted a tweet that seemed to take credit for starting the Cocos fire near San Marcos. The as-yet-unidentified user, posting ...

The Wizard of SpanOz

SOMETHING SOMETHING GASLAMP GASBAG — Fans attending last Thursday night's game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Dodgers might have been forgiven for believing they'd come down with an unseasonal case of ...

Padres = Bad Dads?

"The Donald Sterling scandal has had one good effect," says Samantha Serious, community organizer for Rename All Culturally Insensitive Sports Teams (RACIST), "the first serious, ownership-level discussion about racism in professional sports since the Atlanta ...

Chargers' Owner Spanos: "Loose Lips Sink [Clipper] Ships"

An audiotape has recently surfaced in which a man tentatively identified as San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos chides former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for talking "about anything that matters to a woman." ...

Found: another proposal from the now-disbanded Balboa Park Centennial Group

San Diego, then and now

From the minutes of the December 2013 meeting of the Balboa Park Centennial Group, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and a fifth of Glenlivet: Mr. [REDACTED] noted that, during the 1935 Expo, ...

Undeleted City emails reveal Balboa Park Centennial Group proposal for 2015 XXXPosition

SLOWLY COUNTING TO 2.6 MILLION IN AN EFFORT TO MAINTAIN CONTROL, BALBOA PARK — The combined decisions to halt the deletion of City emails and to audit the now-defunct Balboa Park Centennial Group have produced ...

ZIMMERMANHANDLED

On March 4, Shelley Zimmerman was confirmed as the new Chief of Police for San Diego. Hopes were high that the new chief — the first woman ever to hold the position — would bring ...

UCSD and SDSU Engage in Social Drinking Contest

ALL HANDS MANNING THE STOMACH PUMP, LA JOLLA — The battle between established party paradise SDSU and the upchucking upstart UCSD has officially gone public, thanks to the social networking platform Twitter. Two weeks ago, ...

San Diego Opera Director Ian Campbell brings down the final curtain

San Diego Opera Director Ian Campbell is being sought by police after allegedly igniting a blaze that consumed the San Diego Civic Theater during an onstage address to attendees at what may have been the ...

The real reason Zimmerman got the SDPD chief gig?

In the day following ex-SDPD Chief William Lansdowne's February 25 announcement that he would retire, politicians, pundits, and police experts pronounced pious platitudes promising prolonged public participation in the process of picking a replacement. The ...

Coming Soon: The Wizard of Opera

The Wizard of Opera tells the story of Dorothea, a sweet girl from Rolando who dreams of singing for an adoring and appreciative audience. But when a terrible financial maelstrom forces her home underwater, she ...

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