Stories for March 2000

Thursday, March 30

Goodbye To Booze, Hooch, Juice, John Barleycorn, Firewater, Rotgut, Spirits, A Drop Of The Creature, The Hair Of The Dog, A Stiff Belt, A Cold One, A Cocktail, A Snootfull

It is 9:30 on a crisp morning in Hillcrest. The sun is out after a chill rain yesterday, and I notice for the first time that the monkey flowers beneath my window have blossomed the ...

Invasion of the Tall Buildings

Why San Diego doesn't scrape the sky

Perhaps San Diego’s two screwdrivers, the Hyatt and One America — harbingers of shapes to come — are tools for its future. With luck, Emerald Plaza may serve as a New Age talisman against overbuilding and outrageous flash.

Radical Whole-Wheat Architecture

David Owen Dryden's shingled bungalows on 28th Street

The greatest number of Dryden houses are in North Park, between 28th Street and Pershing. Covington counts 18 of them in a four-block area. He lives in one on the comer of 28th and Myrtle.

Survey San Diego County's southern inland domain from the craggy summits of Lawson and Gaskill peaks.

Lawson and Gaskill Peaks, near Alpine and Jamul, help define the serrated mountain skyline we San Diegans see on the sunrise side of our county. Atop either peak, on a clear winter or spring day, ...

The Land Invaders

Don Manuel lives where the border fence ends, in the mountains east of Tijuana. He's heard about the murder of the police chief, about the execution of the lawyer who represented the man allegedly behind ...

A Local's Colors

San Diego has been host to a number of public-art fiascoes. Most recent was Nancy Rubins's boat-hull leviathan, which was planned to span Harbor Drive. Public outcry sank that before it happened. That revived memories ...

Going to the Source

With narco-related violence raging in Tijuana and beginning to cross over into San Diego, a big real estate project along the Mexican border -- complete with conference center, hotel, swimming pool, and a shopping center ...

What Would You Do for Uncle Sam?

Today's unpatriotic youth

“I think I owe this country something. I think what I’m doing now, becoming a student, getting a job, doing the whole capitalism thing— I think that’s what I owe this country."

Does KFC use test tube chickens?

Heymatt: One of my loopier friends, Brian Kitlinger, claims that Kentucky Fried Chicken uses genetically engineered "tube chickens" instead of real chickens for their tasty meals. Since Brian puts such faith in your wisdom, could ...

If water finds its own level, can you explain the need for the Panama canal?

Dear Matthew Alice: Who do I turn to when no one else has the answer? You, of course. Water finds its own level, right? RIGHT! Then explain the need for the Panama Canal. Except for ...

Thursday, March 23

Never Die

The down side of in vitro fertilization at UCSD

Like many newly married couples, Cristen and Jeffry Hays wanted to get pregnant soon after their wedding in 1992 but felt it best to wait. They used birth control until Jeffry finished three years of ...

Learn how you can ascend San Jacinto Peak from base to top, an elevation gain of more than 10,000 feet.

Did you know that the trail hike with the greatest elevation gain in all of America lies only a hundred miles from San Diego? The starting point is the west end of Ramon Road in ...

Jack got a much bigger present than he thought

The tug toward a fifth pregnancy

“Room for another baby” came into my head like someone whispering over my shoulder.

Punk Danish

I once walked into a dermatologist’s office with a nasty, unnatural-colored inflammation around my fingertips. Right off, I thought it was leprosy. The doctor looked at it in a cursory way, not too interested, and ...

Art of Glass

For the past 25 years, Peter Dreher, an artist from Freiburg, Germany, has painted the same 100-year-old, half-liter glass 3200 times. Dreher's method is simple: in either day or night, in either artificial or natural ...

Legalize It!

As you'd expect of an architect, Héctor Osuna Jaime explains what he means by drawing on his paper napkin. Two football teams. "This is them. The narco-traffickers. They know everybody on their side is on ...

Mobbed Up

The Brooklyn native with ties to the mob (busted here two years ago by U.S. Marshals as he attempted to flee from his posh Pacific Beach hideout) has been convicted of attempted murder and obstruction ...

What is the Yellow Rose seen from Highway 94 about?

Hello, Matt: Thanks for taking my call. First-time caller; long-time listener. What's the story on the sculpture of a large, single yellow rose on the western outskirts of Lemon Grove? The sculpture in question is ...

Monday, March 20

Anita Brookner's Undue Influence

Life is not a nightclub

They seemed vaguely hostile toward Brookner’s stories. “Nothing happens,” one said. We argued a bit. I suggested that plenty happened; it was just that what happened, happened inside her characters’ heads rather than between sheets or on battlefields.

Thursday, March 16

Drive to the Sky

A walk on the big blue catwalk

Cars have gone over twice. One with three drunk sailors somehow jumped onto the railing and then over into the water. Was there a moment, a second or two, when the car teetered on the railing?

San Diego Mensa

Not the cold meetings of cerebellums one might envision

“If this were a society of geniuses, it might be a lightly attended. There are societies like Three Sigma, Intertel, the top 1 percent, there are some with so few members they can only meet by e-mail.”

Discover spectacular desert views, sandstone sculptures, and marine fossils in the Domelands of the Coyote Mountains near Ocotillo.

Caught in the grip of faults and folds, the corrugated landscape of the Domelands exposes millions of years of geologic history. This is a good place to view marine fossils aplenty, but you can't collect ...

Chartreuse Evenings

An uncle goes green.

Jon, who was as old as Uncle Carl was then, which was 50-something, shook his head and looked sad. Jon had a long, narrow head and skin that always looked tanned because he used a sun lamp.

Scandal Town

That burgeoning scandal in the office of District Attorney Paul Pfingst is threatening to suck in some big names from the San Diego establishment, among them attorney and University of California regent John Davies. According ...

How many variations are there of the fast-food Mexican restaurant Roberto's?

Dear Matthew: How many variations are there of the fast-food Mexican restaurant Roberto's in San Diego County? I've seen Royberto's and Humberto's, to name a couple. Is there any relation between the various mutations? -- ...

Body Memos

What you may have been afraid to ask about piercing.

My right ear has been mutilated by my own hand.Once,it had three holes in it,starting at the lower end of my lobe and work- ing up in succession.The first came by way of a piercing ...

Thursday, March 9

Tijuana: from Aztec to high tech

Mexican border-town architecture was equated with neglect and decay

Any city worth being a city has a historical patrimony, one its residents can see and touch. — Luis Tamés More than 1000 miles separate the heartland of Mexico from its northern border with the ...

Explore Swiss-cheese rock at Mojave National Preserve's Hole-in-the-Wall recreation site.

East Mojave National Preserve, a vast, empty sprawl of desert sand, alkali flats, cinder cones, and skeletal mountains, lies wedged between Interstates 15 and 40 east of Barstow, south of Baker, and west of the ...

Swiss-Cheese Desert

Our Fill-in-the-Blanks State Park

Lichens that grow in the desert are one of his recent photo subjects. They’re not a life form readily associated with badlands. But Smith has found them “in the shaded areas, often unnoticed.”

Doors to open, doors to close

Reactions to Tijuana's growing violence

How much does the world care that 80 people have been murdered in Tijuana in the last two months? Not much, except when one is Tijuana's police chief, says Victor Clark Alfaro, director of Tijuana's ...

Fishy Delivery

Dead catfish comes to Reader office with Padres owner John Moores' business card

The catfish was dropped off at the Reader's front desk. Two business cards, one imprinted with "Larry Lucchino" and the other with "John Moores" came in the package. The FBI was contacted, and they took a report.

Barbie vs. Luce, Forward

San Diego's Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps, the venerable downtown law firm, is being sued for slander and libel in a Los Angeles court by none other than Mattel, Inc., the maker of Barbie dolls. ...

How many spiders do you eat at night when you are sleeping?

Hey, Matt: About a year ago on the radio there was a call-in trivia question that went something like this. "Every year, the average person eats four of these in their sleep." The answer was ...

Who are the Gideons?

Dear Matt: Who are the Gideons? Are they a cult? How do they get the Bibles into the hotel rooms without anyone seeing them? Are they ninjas or something? Should I be scared of them ...

Thursday, March 2

San Diego Earthquake Danger Zones

Mission Bay and San Diego Bay, western Mission Valley, Otay Valley, Mt. Soledad area - to name a few

“All river valleys are suspect,” she says — Mission Valley, the Sweetwater River Valley, the Otay River Valley, the Tijuana River Valley. “If you are in the Mission Valley area, have a high potential for liquefaction.”

Cycle-tour the back roads of Guajome and Morro Hills, north and east of Oceanside.

Bicycle riding in the hills north of Oceanside is like touring the roof of North County -- at least on a clear day. Views stretch east to the Palomar Mountains, west to the ocean, and ...

Old Skin

Baby puke decorates clothes.

When I drove for the Red Cross it was my job to pick people up at their homes and drive them to their doctors’ appointments or to restaurants or grocery stores. Convalescent groups were more ...

No Drive-Through in My Driveway

The Colonel ruffles feathers in Golden Hill

"25th and Broadway is the heart of Golden Hill. Putting a drive-through there changes the character of the neighborhood. It just brings in extra traffic. It encourages people to idle in their cars.”

Danger at Quick-Death Canyon

The Lariat is on the verge of sliding. You can feel it. Celso Rodríguez grinds to a halt. He gingerly eases the Ford truck back down the hill. At the bottom he gets out and ...

Leap of Faith

San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell has had her hands full lately, what with trying to decide the fate of all the lawsuits and motions that have piled up in the matter of John ...

A Lesson For Us All

This morning’s news flash states that bridge will be a demonstration sport at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Those pointy-headed Olympic bureaucrats obviously don’t understand that tournament bridge is a contact competition. ...

Do you get more wet by walking or running in the rain?

Hey, Matt: This has been a puzzle to me for a long time. Since it has been raining lately, I'd appreciate your help. How do you stay drier, by walking through the rain so the ...

What is the 80/20 theory?

Mattman: I find the 80/20 rule to be very useful and applicable to many situations I run into. A friend once told me who came up with this concept and the name of the book ...

Could you tell me why, since "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die," I'm stuck in Folsom prison, in California?

Dear Matthew Alice: Could you tell me why, since "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die," I'm stuck in Folsom prison, in California? -- J. Cash, San Diego The true episode ...

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