Stories for February 2000

Thursday, February 24

UCSD, Big Money, and the Ball Club

University chancellor Robert Dynes caught in San Diego's money-power web

When Robert Carr Dynes was named chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, in April 1996, he was said to be a man of humble origins. Born in Canada in 1942, the physicist who ...

View the Pacific from Emerald Vista, Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County.

On the most transparent winter days, the view from Emerald Vista Point in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park spans more than 200 miles of Southern California coastline. Far beyond Dana Point to the southeast, ...

Lessons From Cali

A multilayered x-ray of violence in Tj

"My patient is Tijuana," says Dr. José Rubio Soto. "My hospital is city hall. These are the X-rays." He's peering at a computer screen filled with blobs. It's a map of the city. Tijuana looks ...

Porno and the Piano Teacher

Jean Winslow, a retired elementary schoolteacher in San Diego, doesn't seem like the sort of person who would be even remotely involved with Internet pornography. Her greatest passion is music. Winslow spends time with her ...

Born and Born Again

A former death-row inmate who beat an 18-year-old murder rap and ended up living as a born-again Christian in his mother's 19-foot trailer at the Mt. Helix View Estates trailer park in El Cajon has ...

Bullets and Broadway

Deaths at Grant Hotel, Golden West Hotel, Majestic Hotel, Horton Plaza, Roundup Barber Shop

“The walking tour of downtown’s dark corners and bloody sites include the Grant Hotel. In the 1970s they were taking the old fire escape, and it fell and killed two old fellas from the Plaza Hotel.”

California, Here I Come

Divorce in the Golden State

I froze, shut my eyes, while the steam rose. How many times had she pecked at me to drive off the beaten path, search for a restaurant, an antique shop, a flea market. “Stop!” she’d say.

You're Going to Wait 'Til You're Married to Have Sex?

Varying degrees of Catholicism at USD

“My roommate is a diehard Catholic, and she gets all ticked off, because, like, I didn’t know that you had to be part of the Church to take the bread and wine, which I always did.”

What causes the "pop" when you pop your back?

Matt, you ignorant slut: I've talked to various experts about what makes the popping sound when you crack your back, and I've gotten a different definitive answer from each of them. So much for expertise ...

Thursday, February 17

What is beauty to the blind?

Honest talk with San Diegans Linda Flores and Kevin Kelly

They were being murdered by the light. I watched and said nothing. When we began our lunch, the sun was just burnishing the windowsill. It was a hot day and Linda had left the window ...

The Flame

Hillcrest's lesbian bar

On a Friday or Saturday night, when a gentleman comes through the door and I’ve never seen him, I just want him to be aware of what kind of bar this is. A lot of times guys are sent here as a joke.

Sanctuary: A San Diego Man's Homage to the Missions

Survival has always been dicey for California's 21 missions

Between 1769 and 1823, Franciscan padres, Spanish soldiers, and Native Americans built an astonishing chain of settlements — 21 missions and four smaller asistencias — between San Diego and Sonoma. The money to start them ...

Zero Tolerance in the Morning

Breakfast at Club Campestre

Where does democracy thrive in Tijuana? Some say right here, in the Minaret Room of the Club Campestre. Of course, this is not really Tijuana. The Tijuana you know throbs and honks and grinds a ...

In Defense of the Ultimate Underdog

'Let's say that you're an American man, living in France, and you meet and marry a French woman. You decide to spend your honeymoon in America, and while you're here your wife discovers she loves ...

Sporting Law

A San Diego herbal medicine company has apologized to baseball's Mark McGwire and agreed to pay the Cardinal slugger $75,000 for unauthorized use of his name and photograph in a flyer promoting the company's pain-relieving ...

Discover some inner-city serenity in Allied Gardens Navajo Canyon.

Throughout the San Diego area, thin strips of canyon open-space break the symmetry of the urban/suburban continuum. Sometimes these shreds of natural landscape survive by design. In other cases -- in older neighborhoods especially -- ...

Scoobies under the Shoe Tree

Extraordinary disc golf in Balboa Park

“I told you before that we were the big experiment in pay-for-play disc golf courses. Well, the experiment was successful. Now there are tons of pay courses, and the sport has gone nuts.”

As close as they'll ever come to giving birth

Jack has kidney stones

As I sped toward the hospital, I thought of the times Jack has driven me to the hospital in the middle of the night. Those times, when our children were born, the streets seemed strangely intimate.

Who cleans up after car accidents?

Matthew: What's up with the broken glass on the roads after accidents? Whose job is it to clean up the mess? I've seen glass left in intersections near the beaches, Balboa Park, downtown, etc. I ...

What is the difference between 100% juice and less than 100% juice?

Dear Matthew Alice: I am puzzled by the labels on jars of fruit juice. Some boast that they contain 100% juice, while others state they are 25 to 35% juice. Yet upon examining the ingredients, ...

What is going on with the house in Allied Gardens at the I-8 exit?

Matt: Growing up in Allied Gardens, it was hard not to notice this funny little '50s-style tract house standing on its own at the bottom of Waring Road, right next to the exit to I-8 ...

Thursday, February 10

Janet, My Mother, and Me; Letter from Del Mar

Growing up with Janet Flanner and Natalia Danesi Murray

“Janet lived alone in a Paris hotel,” Murray tells me, “so she didn’t have to worry about housekeeping and chores and all of that; she could just concentrate on being a writer.”

Lap-Dancing on the Web

Notebooks and pens in hand, the students file into a nondescript meeting room at a Mission Valley hotel. They include retirees, business managers, college-age youths, middle-age men, and tall, thin blondes who look like models. ...

Fox Populi

'Fox Fox Fox Fox FOX FOX FOX FOX!" You know who they're yelling about: he's the granite-jawed guy standing above everybody else in the hall. Vicente Fox Quesada. Over six feet tall -- and, some ...

Influence Peddler

Union-Tribune editor-in-chief Herb Klein has been advised by San Diego city clerk Chuck Abdelnour that he may have to register as a lobbyist. Klein, whose behind-the-scenes lobbying of city councilmembers on behalf of the taxpayer-financed ...

Hike or bike to sandstone-studded Rocky Peak, overlooking the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County.

In 1990 the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with acquiring land for parks in the Los Angeles area) entered negotiations with entertainer Bob Hope to purchase Rocky Peak Park -- a 4369-acre ...

Travel Bug

Doctor takes family Dominican Republic and regrets it.

"WAKE UP, HONEY. MOM FELL" It was 2:30 a.m. and the words were coming from my wife Terry. Accustomed to composing myself at any hour, I found myself resistant to doing so now, probably because ...

Hundreds of Uses for Duck Tape

From Tim and Jim, the duct tape guys

Duct tape has saved me only once. I’ve used it plenty but only needed it one time. My Oldsmobile ruptured a radiator hose on the Mass Pike on the way to a Boston Bruins playoff ...

Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are they so ugly?

Dear Matthew Alice: I've been a bowler for more than 40 years. And it's only last week that it finally hit me. Why are bowling shoes always the same wherever you go, and why are ...

If traveling at the speed of light, would your headlights shine?

Dear Matthew: Okay, here's one that keeps me up nights. If you were driving a car traveling at the speed of light and you turned on the headlamps, would any light project ahead of you? ...

Why isn't your column titled "Go Ask Alice?"

Dear Matthew Alice: Why isn't your column titled "Go Ask Alice"? You've never been ten feet tall? -- Chuck W, Oceanside If you pile the elves on top of each other, they'd be about five ...

Thursday, February 3

Wind, Water, a Rice Field

What does it mean to be Chinese?

“I can tell when someone’s from that area. There’s a way they pronounce words, a certain intonation. Sometimes they’ll try to disguise it. The Chinese are just as class conscious as anyone else, maybe more so.”

Black birdmen

San Diego's Tuskegee airmen

During World War II, Germans called them the schwartze vogelmenschen or “black birdmen.” White American bomber crews called them the Black Redtail Angels. Various other white Americans called them spades, spooks, coons, or sambos, and ...

Web of Confusion

It's all in the eye of the beholder. San Diego public relations representative Vicki Garcia regards her client's plan to perform surgery on the Internet as a "news event -- because it's never been done ...

Tijuana Plans Respect

A funny thing happened at Tijuana's cultural center the other day. As dozens of kids, teens, and parents lined up near the giant dome for tickets to the highest-tech movie showing in Tijuana or San ...

Million-dollar Secrets

KPBS, the radio and television station operation owned by the state university system and funded in part by California and federal taxpayers, is stonewalling public requests for information about its big private contributors. The KPBS ...

Hot Air Cowboys

Silent soaring in the backcountry

"Did you feel how I used both hands and feet to do that? Now I want you to do it, back and forth between the lake and the bald spot, using hands and feet in coordination.”

Marriage is Temporary, Dogs are Forever

Love loss and dog loss

Terry Wilson has won five Emmys for his television directing, producing, and on-camera hosting; he’s been a national martial arts champion; and his 1998 article on the Marine dogs of World War II won best-short ...

Climb to the top of Anza-Borrego's Sunset Mountain, the peak that warmly glows in late-afternoon light.

Sunset Mountain stands lofty and somewhat isolated from the main ridge of the Vallecito Mountains in the center of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. As seen from Borrego Springs and other far points to the west, ...

Grape Leaves and the Gulf War

In Israeli kitchen during the build-up

The week 150,000 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, I felt relieved when I went with Marc and Leah to the airport. Security was tight A lot of plainclothesmen in bulky Israeli sportscoats stood around the lobby.

Are there "munchkin" houses built in La Jolla?

Matt: My mother-in-law swears that several years ago she went on a tour and saw a street in La Jolla (perhaps in the Mt. Soledad area), or even a block, of "Munchkin" houses. They were ...

Distinguishing between the new and old Harrison Ford.

As long as we're stumbling down Memory Lane, now's the perfect time to make our biennial phone call to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Walk of Fame division, to see whether the brain trust has ...

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