Stories for January 1998

Thursday, January 29

The Plain Old Grim and Gruesome

Oddities and mortality at the Museum of Death

THE MUSEUM OF DEATH can be described as a bit of Ripley’s Believe It or Not by way of Barnum and Bailey (with the emphasis on Barnum, as in P.T.), a dash of Madame Tussaud’s, ...

The District Attorney Is a Pretty Good Dresser

Lawyer duds

"You’ve got 12 people in the jury box, and all you need is 1 or 2 who don’t like you for some reason, and you may lose a case on that basis."

Smokey Joe's Ain't What It Used to Be

A darkened barroom with rows of men in snap-brim hats, women posed on stools checking out their reflections in the back bar mirror. A blue-white haze swirls in eddies overhead every time someone opens the ...

Hey, Hey We're the Monkeys with Herpes

The macaque monkey lets a golden stream tinkle from his perch on the upended tree trunk. Maybe he's nervous. He's five feet behind the fence here in the Sun Bear Forest area of the San ...

Big Vernon

Once again, scandal in the White House is bringing unwanted attention to Callaway Golf, the hugely successful Carlsbad golf-club maker run by 78-year-old Ely Callaway, longtime friend of Bill Clinton, who is frequently seen on ...

Wednesday, January 28

Essence of War

Fighting a war must be terribly different from the act of recalling it years later. The hours, days, and weeks of anxious tedium sporadically punctuated by the brutal experience of combat are not the same ...

Thursday, January 22

Amanda Gaeke: the Guy Who Killed Her and the Guy Who Didn't

Reader writer suspects his roommate.

One night, I heard a tapping on the glass of my bedroom’s French door and saw a shadow disappear around the corner. I pulled the gun from under my bed and loaded it in five seconds.

Bail Bait

'Never Mind the Dog, Beware of the Owner," reads the sign posted in a window near the front door of Nelson Buhler's home on Beagle Street in Kearny Mesa. The four-bedroom house is blue and ...

Super Déjà Vu

The all-too-familiar scenario of a Super Bowl team demanding a new stadium and threatening to leave town is being repeated in Denver, where, as in San Diego, the major daily newspaper is leading the charge ...

Free-Range Baby

Up on all fours and gumming goop.

He's up. Finian is up on all fours, rocking back and forth, mouth open, eyes alight with desire for Da's keys, just out of reach. He rocks because the legs are willing, but the arms ...

The Clara Barton of Arachnids

Love on eight legs

Six days later, another tarantula crawled into a friend’s house across town. His kitten stalked it and his wife screamed. By then we had learned that tarantulas are “beneficials” who kill insects in the grove.

When my friends and I are running around having a good time, are we raising "cane" or raising "cain?

Dear M.A.: When my friends and I are running around having a good time, are we raising "cane" or raising "cain"? The first makes more sense, but my friend insists it's the latter. Explain, please. ...

Thursday, January 15

Finding Family: Smoking Out Okies in San Diego County

Darryl’s Indian grandfather was sentenced to the “big house” (state prison) at McAllister for moon-shining. “Indeterminate sentencing" was an oxymoron for Indians in Oklahoma at that time, so he was in there for years.

M.F.K. Fisher: A Life in Letters

Interview with Fisher's sister, Norah Barr

I asked Mrs. Barr how it had felt, to read the letters her sister, from the time they were both young, had written to her. Some of the letters, I said, were condemnatory and even angry.

That Special Glow

The Navy's massive nuclear homeport project on North Island has come down to two state hazardous-waste permits that are pending before the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. One permit was set to go into ...

Dressed to Excess

Ask Janet -- not her real name -- and she'll tell you there are three things wrong with life in San Diego if you're a transsexual. "We need employment protection, we need homeless shelters that ...

Port bonding

A high-flying California investment banker and major underwriter of public bonds with ties to San Diego port commissioner David Malcolm and ex-commissioner Clifford Graves has been indicted on bribery, money laundering, and conspiracy charges for ...

Why are the switches on my fan in reverse order?

Dear Matthew Alice: I was examining my big fan recently and noticed a curious feature. The switches read "OFF-HI-MED-LOW." Why are the speeds in reverse order? Is this a trend that will extend to gas ...

Where does Sea World get the water for their sea animals?

Mattmail: Where does Sea World get the water for their sea animals? -- Adrienne, the Net Personally, I was happier not knowing. Believe it or not, those sparkly pools are filled with water from-- yecch-- ...

What do the Green Bay Packers pack? Cheese?

Yo, Matt: What do the Green Bay Packers pack? Cheese? -- No Cheesehead, Leucadia Meat. Good ol' American red meat. Earl Lambeau hustled $500 from fellow employees at the Indian Packing Company in Green Bay, ...

Pull It Up by the Roots Before You Fall in Love With It

The heartbreaking Monterey cyprus

The Monterey cypress is one of the worst trees for Southern California. It drips needles and sticky sap, is prone to beetles and fungus, and its roots are so invasive it’s difficult or impossible to garden under.

Thursday, January 8


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

One way to explain bliss

Readers wonder about writers, so I will tell you

You tuck into your overstuffed chair, a book in your hand. Let’s make believe the book is Kerouac’s On the Road (published finally in 1957) and let’s make believe that, , you’ve never before read it.

Courtroom Treasure Hunters

James Nesbit, the editor of the San Francisco Bulletin, sat quietly on deck, writing. He made out a will. He wrote notes to loved ones. He wrapped the documents in oilskin and tied them to ...

Mean Streets, Packed Houses

When she was 16 and living in Guadalajara, Juana met Gerardo. Two years later, she says, "we got together. My father was born here [in the U.S.], and by that time, he was doing the ...

Lesbian vs. Hispanics

San Diego City Councilwoman Christine Kehoe, a Democrat, is getting off to an intriguing start in her bid to unseat Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray. National Democrats are targeting Latino voters, hoping to exploit their unhappiness ...

Was there ever a race track (for cars) up in Torrey Pines?

Matt: I heard that there used to be a racetrack (for cars) up in Torrey Pines somewhere and that Carroll Shelby raced there. I was born here in San Diego and thought I knew a ...

How do bats go to the bathroom if they are always hanging upside down?

Hi, Matthew: I have a question regarding bats. You see, my mom runs with her friends, and they have nothing better to do while they are running, so they come up with questions like this. ...

First lines from novels

A quiz for our readers

Once I was young and had so much more orientation and could talk with nervous intelligence about everything and with clarity and without as much literary preambling as this.

Thursday, January 1

Jimmies-- those little chocolate sprinkles you put on ice cream-- how did they get that name?

Mattster: Jimmies-- those little chocolate sprinkles you put on ice cream-- how did they get that name? -- Jimmy, San Diego It's 1930, the Bronx, New York. James Bartholomew is lucky enough to have a ...

Where/how did the "G" get to be the name for a thousand dollars?

Hi! Where/how did the "G" get to be the name for a thousand dollars? And how much is "a ton of money" worth at today's going rate? -- Frank P., Loma Portal Perfect question to ...

Why isn't there a connector between I-8 East and I-5 North?

Dear Matt: As I sit here in my car creeping out of Ocean Beach and making my way across the bridge, past Sea World, toward the I-5 on-ramp, I have 15 or 20 minutes to ...

Why is there a "33" on the back of a Rolling Rock beer bottle?

Dear Matthew Alice: On the back of the Rolling Rock beer bottle (brewed by Latrobe Brewing Co.) there is a "33." Me and my friends have been curious for many years about why it is ...

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