Stories for September 1994

Thursday, September 29

Chemo and Campfires

Six-year-old Michael Nava is as bald and brown as an almond. He is covered from head to foot in sunscreen lotion. A towel is draped around his shoulders, his swim trunks are comically baggy and ...


San Diego was a smaller town then, and the Road Ramblers used it as a racecourse.

"A lot of us guys had an interest in hopping up cars, and I finally said, 'Let’s get a little organization together.’ So we met in one of the guys’ garage. Armistice Day, the 11th ...

The real Saint Diego

And the miracles he worked for the kings of Spain

Dear Matthew Alice: I've read in James Michener’s book Iberia that the real source of our fine city’s name comes from a dead friar who wouldn’t decompose and who was granted sainthood. I’ve been to ...

The Elsinore Fault, Mercifully Quiet

Like a subterranean knife-wound, the Elsinore Fault slices across the heart of San Diego County’s backcountry, promising an earth-shaking jolt or two during the next few millennia. Sputtering movements over geologic time along its opposing ...

Thursday, September 22

Conviction of Things Not Seen

This cover story has not yet been posted. However, you can download the digital edition to view any story from this issue.

Save the songbirds!

Cats kill 1 to 3 million birds each day in the U.S.

Dear Matthew Alice: For two summers, mourning doves attempted to nest in our backyard. In both instances, a nest was built, eggs laid, and our family took care not to disturb the incubation process. To ...

Thursday, September 15

When Bridges Fall Down Engineers Lie Awake At Night

The spans of San Diego County

Pine Valley is famous among bridge engineers. The first prestressed concrete bridge in the U.S., built using a particular kind of cantilever technology, it appeared to defy gravity during construction. It is located near two earthquake faults.

The cockroach insecticide called “Chinese chalk”

Not yet approved by the EPA

You recently mentioned a cockroach insecticide called “Chinese chalk.” However, you didn’t mention what was in it that makes it so toxic that it was banned. I have used this stuff and it works great. ...

Elegy for Young Superman

A hasty kiss in Pacific Beach.

We later drove up Mount Helix and paced around the cross in the mountaintop park, staring all around, and every few minutes one of us would offer a reason why Eric couldn’t possibly die.

Sound waves from my coffee cup

UCSD-Scripps: "It’s air bubbles, you groveling squids”

Dear Matthew Alice: This has been bugging me ever since I started stirring hot beverages with a spoon, especially coffee. When I add sugar to my hot coffee and begin stirring it, my spoon taps ...

Thursday, September 8

Dalton's Luck: A San Diego Mystery

An unpublished novel about the Mexican border

The assassins spotted Dalton Lee in the Miami airport. Later after it was all over, he'd remember that moment when they locked eyes and he smiled like he smiled at everyone. Often he would doubt ...

Who Juan de Fuca Straits was named after

A Northwest Passage boaster

Dear Mr. Alice: I’ve sailed the Straits often enough to know most of the snags and shallows. I also spent some time in La Casa de Contratacion de Sevilla poring through Columbus reliquiae to gain ...

Training Wheels

San Diegans' first cars: Susan Golding, Nick Reynolds, Sandy Dijkstra, Bob Dale, and others

For me, first car was my parents’ car, a 1958 Hilman Lynx. This thing was a squat, 35-horsepower English import the size of a VW bug, except square. It had the aerodynamics of a grocery ...

D-Day and eggplant

The name explanations are so simple you won't be happy

Dear Matthew Alice: A question and a puzzlement: What does the D in D-Day stand for? Why is the eggplant called an eggplant when it has neither the shape nor the color of any egg ...

What the Ghost in White Shoes Knows

Everything you always dreaded to know about nursing

The father who abandoned Rashaad and his mother when Rashaad was three months old was watching that channel in a neighborhood bar. Hours later, Melvin Green showed up in the pediatric intensive care unit.

Thursday, September 1

In For the Kill: Duckville Memories

Hunters remember a wilder, bloodier San Diego

"Most of our hunting was in Mission Valley, where Fashion Valley is; there was the best damn duck shootin' you ever heard of. Along that river bottom there were a lot of potholes, just full of ducks."

Foreign Object Debris at Lindbergh Field and Africanized bees

Foreign object debris

Hey, Matt: Recently I landed at Lindbergh Field and noticed a sign on some building near the runway that read, “It must be FODfree." Huh? What’s FOD? What’s “it”? — Jim, downtown Sugar free. Salt ...

The Navy's full-body burials at sea

What happens if casket doesn't sink

Dear Matthew Alice: A friend and I recently got into a conversation about the details of how a sailor or anyone else who dies at sea is “buried. " We remember war movies where a ...

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!