Stories for February 1998

Thursday, February 26

District Fix Failure?

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

Brains on a Platter

'September 12 of 1993, when I collapsed at the bowling alley, the Vista Entertainment Center, that was the starting point," Jeff Olsen says. What started on that day was a new life for Olsen, who ...

Escondido's Forested Monk

He's been accused of pretty much everything that could destroy a religious leader: financial misdealing, heresy, lying, insubordination, sexual sin. Angry mobs have burnt chili and salt in a ritual effort to curse his name. ...

Cash vacuum

Hundreds of small arts groups may soon have to give up their traditional monetary handouts from San Diego city hall under a plan secretly making the rounds of upper-level city management. The arts subsidies, including ...

When you forward your mail from the U.S. to another country, who gets the postage money?

Matthew: A fine pal o' mine spending time here from New Zealand gets a newsletter from his yacht club in N.Z., postmarked in England, forwarded to Seattle, then here to San Diego. Aside from getting ...

What is the rationale behind computer coloration?

Sir Matt: We were slaying some word processing dragons round the office the other day when we made the following observation: Most high-tech electronic gizmos-- stereos, CD players, camcorders, etc.-- are tinted a Darth Vader-ish ...

What is the meaning behind your name "Straight from the Hip?"

Hey, Matt: What's the meaning behind your name "Straight from the Hip?" -- El Nio, Chula Vista Well, we'd considered calling it "Straight to the Dense" but eventually changed our minds.

The Eye of the Dolphin

It's diffiuclt to learn about dolphin training at SeaWorld.

When Hoffman tells us it’s time to get into our wet suits I think —Did she also tell me I’d be getting into a wet suit? When I mention this, her response is, well, neutral.

Thursday, February 19

Metal Dreams: Sledd In the Canyon of Envy

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

Pizza Man's Atrocity Hunt

A local novel heads for the big time

John Abatecola, owner of Pizza Bella in Old Town, is proud of his pizza and quick to tell you about the time he won a three-way bake-off on a morning TV show for the "best ...

Greasy Business

New ways to fatten cows - just outside El Centro

Fat is plentiful. Fat is cheap. What's more, it's "energy dense," according to Dr. Richard Zinn, a professor of animal science at the 280-acre University of California at Davis Desert Research and Extension Center just ...

Heavy silence

Are you known as a “Two-Ton Tillie,” “Big Daddy,” or “Big Whopper?”

The ad was a big mistake. It was meant as a call to overweight men and women willing to talk about what it means to be fat. Pot bellies, love handles, slow-spreading thighs — humdrum ...

Wife-beating pol from San Diego

Watch out Palm Springs, here comes Michael Schaeffer. The 59-year-old ex-San Diego city councilman (1965-1971) with a long rap sheet as a slumlord and wife abuser, has just bailed into the desert community from Las ...

Behold the Imp?

Where did cute baby go?

At eight months, Fin has taken a turn for the mysterious. Who can know the ways of Fin in his babyness? Who can know the source of the straight-faced, emotionless screams that fly from his ...

Alice McDermott's Child of My Heart

15-year-old Theresa on Long Island

Ms. McDermott writes in Child of My Heart a horrible, grisly, bloody scene with a cat. The scene was so well-wrought in all its bloodiness and horror that I found myself looking away from the page.

When was the first time San Diego appeared on an official map?

Hi, Matthew When was the first time San Diego appeared on an official map? This summer in Europe I bought a late-1700s French print depicting the North American hemisphere. It is quite detailed, but sunny ...

Why are the prices on gas pumps always in fractions?

Matthew: What's going on with the prices shown on gas pumps? They're always in fractions-- $1.29 9/10. -- No Name, faxland For this we'll have to fuel up the time machine and motor back, back, ...

Why don't the French like Americans?

Matthew Alice: Why don't the French-- or is it just their government-- like us Americans? Or is it just our government they don't like? Re: Several fugitive extraditions refused; murder, rape. Also prohibitions on use ...

Thursday, February 12

Go, speed racer! Go, speed racer!

Corvette owners are into them for show, so are Ferrari owners. But Porsche owners are purposeful people.

You have seen them, these Porsches — on highways, on city streets, in parking lots — and you have coveted. You have gazed at them as they passed you, stopped and walked around them when ...

The Ocean Has a Long Memory

Can malaria be predicted by changes in ocean temperatures? Can you foretell a dengue fever epidemic by reading atmospheric pressures? Does hantavirus disease follow El Niño? Are climatologists the doctors of the future? The answer ...


Before we get to the memorial held for writer Kathy Acker at the Spruce Street Forum in Hillcrest on Sunday, February 1, we need to go to Palestine or certain things won't make sense. Between ...

Bagmen to the stars

With a recent court decision to lift campaign-contribution limits statewide, members of the San Diego City Council are busy raising big money from local special interests, according to recently filed campaign-disclosure statements. Byron Wear, who ...

You can't dance with a princess if you don't have a tattoo

“When the tattoo is finally done, you wait for a minute for the pain to go down, then you yell. You blast up. You’re finished! You feel like you want to break everything around."

Cancer Isn't the Only Killer Stalking Randa

A cop's plate is too full

Randa’s blood pressure had risen again, and I needed to know why. An African-American police officer in her 40s and a single mother of three, Randa’s lips parted in a jovial smirk. “You really want ...

Red Sky

The 1970 Kitchen Creek-Laguna fire - Pine Valley fireman's report

In the fall of 1970, California caught fire. Between September 25 and October 3 that year, the U. S. Forest Service recorded 16 fires that consumed over 528,000 acres statewide. From Humboldt County in the ...

Thursday, February 5

They Feast on Flesh and Wood and Live Inside Your House

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

Coffins, Gardens, and White Folks

Mission Hills' weird history

Before Captain Henry James “Ninety Fathom” Johnston plunked down $16.25 for 65 acres of prime Mission Hills real estate in 1869, the area was a wasteland of weeds, scrub, and chaparral; a “hopeless tangle of ...

Hero Without a Country

Jody Gravett's American experience poses some pointed questions about national identity, about responsibility, about what a country does or does not owe the men who risk their lives in its service. But for the moment, ...

Thou Shalt Not Plow Under

School Board member Ron Ottinger doesn't want to be branded the "candidate who allowed them to bulldoze the park." In a dispute with the San Diego Unified School District that culminated in Normal Heights residents ...

Sex appeal

After a year of legal sparring, sex-club operator Thad Poppell's defamation suit against city Councilman Juan Vargas (D-8) is closer to trial. On January 6, a three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal ...

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