Stories for January 1999

Thursday, January 28

Vinyl Reckoning

Robert Christgau, the Fugs, Moby Grape,the Germs, Joy Division, Jaki Byard, Ernest Tubbs, Gershwin, Lavender Hill Mob, Lester Bangs

Things we’ve saved and saved and SAVED. For all the stupid reasons you or I or anybody saves things. You can’t take them “with you,” not all, not any, but chances are what’s left is ...

Can you be arrested for shooting/killing an alien (ET)?

Señor Mattolio: Some questions people ask you are pretty weird. I have one that you'll probably think is weird, but I think it could happen, because people from other planets or from somewhere in space ...

Can birds smell?

Matt: I was contemplating my parakeet the other morning when my wife was cooking something very aromatic, and it occurred to me -- can birds smell? I've never seen Woody sniff his dish of seeds ...

Just Your Average La Jolla Murder

Raymond Chandler never had it so good. His town, La Jolla, is becoming notorious for bizarre murders that don't get solved. And somehow people are always killed in their cars. The case of world-renowned neuroscientist ...

Why is TV News So Darn Lousy?

San Diegans who relied on TV news as their main source for information on state and local politics during last year's campaign for governor of California were shortchanged, says Martin Kaplan, Ph.D., associate dean of ...

Old stock ponds at Escondido's Daley Ranch fill to the brim after winter rains.

With more than 20 miles of trails for self-propelled travelers, the 3058-acre Daley Ranch offers more than any casual visitor should try in a single day. This former cattle spread and dairy is now Escondido's ...

At Night with the Mackerel Queen

Snagging straight through the night

The walk down the Ocean Beach fishing pier is longer than I remember it. Three years ago I lived in an apartment building close to the land end of the pier, and I walked it ...

Meaty Principles

Now that Proposition 6 has taken effect, the animals at the San Diego Zoo are eating better. Prop 6 makes it a felony in California to sell horse meat for human consumption; until its passage ...

Thursday, January 21

Once Upon a Time There Was a Big Fat Bass...

The drummer wears a puffy red cap over his dreadlocks, and dangling behind his head from a nail in the wall of the garage is a squashed red, yellow, and blue Sesame Street ball, so ...

Susan Cheever's Note Found in a Bottle

Interview on a life of drinking

“With men, from the beginning, I was messed up. Drinking exacerbated that. One of the things that alcohol really enabled me to do was to mess up my connection to men and to never have to really think about it."

Everybody I Need to Know I Met in Kindergarten

Webster Elementary was a seedbed

There was a stabbing in the bathroom at Horace Mann in the late ’60s that was taken to be race-related. Tension built as kids from Lincoln and Crawford came down to 54th Street for a show of force.

Get Your Checkbook Out!

Heavy breathing at Sandalwood Court, Encinitas cul-de-sac

“You get a lot for your money,” she says of Sandalwood. “Homes like those would be about $900,000 in La Jolla. There’s minimal new development in Encinitas, so there’ll be hardly any other new products with ocean views.”

Does the volcano in Pahoa, Hawaii have an effect on electronics?

Matthew: I was on vacation in Pahoa, on the island of Hawaii, recently, and I had trouble with my camera. Sometimes the autofocus wouldn't work, or the shutter. A resident of the town told me ...

When you sneeze, how long can germs live outside the body?

Dear Matthew: Of course, I don't have any germs (and if I did, they'd be good for people), but when one of those people sneezes, exactly how long do their germs live outside their bodies, ...

Snarls, Inc.

The elderly gent didn't stand a chance. Last Wednesday morning, 7:20 a.m., two pit bulls jumped him the moment he came out with his trash into the alley at 24th and J Streets in Sherman ...

Banker's Bull

Mayoral politics in San Diego is making waves in the financial world, according to a report in last week's American Banker. Bank of Commerce president Peter Q. Davis, a member of the local good-old-boy network ...

Hike Anza-Borrego's Rockhouse Canyon to where rock-house ruins sit within a forgotten valley.

Straddling the San Diego: Riverside County line, Rockhouse Canyon and the broad, sloping alluvial basin drained by it -- informally known as Rockhouse Valley -- constitute one of Southern California's truly forgotten places. Not much ...

Bait, Don't Fail Me Now

How to fish San Diego Bay

“While we drift Shelter Island for the next half hour, I catch another sand bass, and Brightenburg catches three. But as we reach the end of the island, a wind out of the west starts to pick up.”

Thursday, January 14

It's not easy to snap a football with a 250-pound noseguard in your face

The Helix Scotties battle their way to victory

On the track in front of the home stands, cheerleaders arrange their hand-painted mega phones and pom-poms. The Helix mascot, a bipedal Scottish terrier, “Scottie,” wearing a Helix jersey, #00, cavorts with the crowd.

The Essential Tales of Chekhov

An anthology by Richard Ford

What a sense of humanity permeated his stories! He had seen the worst of men. Even people that you know he doesn’t like and you wouldn’t like if you knew them, he is compassionate towards.

In a State of Bloody Mayhem

Tijuana's grisliest year in review

'Drug War Massacre at El Sauzal." "Tijuana Lawyer's Son Slain." "Mexican Army Tied to Drug Gang." "Tijuana Gunmen Slay 6." "Resort Seized By Mexican Drug Agents." "7 Mexican Border Agents Held In Slaying." "Bomb Call ...

Are there any permanent physiological side effects from tattoos?

Dear Matthew Alice: I'm reading a mystery novel written in Japan in the 1940s that has a lot of information about tattoos in it. I wanted to check out one quote that seems pretty amazing. ...

Winning at Twinning

On December 26, 1997, Janna and Nancy Sipes thought they were going to die. The two San Diego sisters were trapped through the night 18,500 feet up on Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in a howling, freezing ...

And the Subpoena, Please

San Diego's plaintiffs' attorneys were set to have their own version of the Academy Awards on Tuesday at a festive dinner in the ballroom of the Wyndham Emerald Hotel downtown. Calling themselves the "Consumer Attorneys ...

Sun-watching spots around San Diego metro area

Winter is an often perfect time for watching the sun rise or set in San Diego. Picture yourself on a clear late afternoon, perched atop a seaside bluff or on one of the hills that ...


Asian students reluctantly leave behind their American identities

If you still have black hair, you’re a dweeb and probably can’t even get a date. “I’d much rather go out with a girl with tea hair,” says a Japanese boy in the USD student lounge.

Bean Bandits

San Diego's Mexicans who dragged at Paradise Valley Road and went on to Bonneville

Along the south side of Paradise Valley Road, from the mesatop by Bell Junior High School, waves of rooftops undulate down to the shore of the hazy blue bay. The area is graded, developed, and ...

Thursday, January 7

Unpredictable San Diego

By any standards, 1998 was a seminal year for San Diego. In just one year, the city s one-time pro-environment, managed growth, fiscally conservative electorate heeded the calls by its establishment leaders — Susan Golding, ...

Equal Opportunity Bribes

Has the San Diego City Council, not especially famed for its intelligence, outsmarted itself again? So suggests the Sacramento Bee in a story about the council's hiring of Kevin Sloat, a "high-profile Republican" and former ...

If you build an automobile or submarine, what safety requirements are required?

To My Most Dearest Matt: Let's say that hypothetically I made an automobile. What sort of specifications and safety requirements would I have to meet in order to get it registered in the State of ...

Anza-Borrego's Lower Willows, now closed to motor-vehicle access, is reverting to wilderness.

Anza-Borrego's Coyote Canyon, northwest of Borrego Springs, sustains the only dependably year-round stream in San Diego County's desert quarter. Near the lower end of the canyon, soggy Lower Willows, along with its primary source of ...

Wallace Stevens: My interior paramour

I knew “Anecdote of a Jar” by heart

Stevens finally assented to his father’s bleak view and became a lawyer. He moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and worked for 30 years at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, becoming one of its vice presidents.

Everlasting Uncertainty

How I became a Marxist at UCSD

I was aghast to find that UC grad students who have chosen their specialization do not devote themselves to the “primary” literature — a poem, a novel, or a genre—but to the “secondary” literature.

Cremains Bursting In Air

Woosh! There goes Aunt Josephine. Boom! Put up your umbrellas, folks. She's coming down again! Volcanic ash! Dick Hassenger says there's no ash. The cremated human remains he sends up in giant fireworks so clients ...

Nonfiction Horror

'I'm looking for a book." This is the most common opener from a customer in almost any bookstore in America. In an informal survey of employees in chain bookstores, it was voted the most heard ...

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