Stories for November 2000

Thursday, November 30

Code Trauma

“If you want compelling drama, we’ve got it here every single night,” says Dr. Michael Sise, director of Mercy’s trauma center since 1994. Sise is a walking encyclopedia of trauma medicine. A New York native, ...

State Testing Programs

The expression "high stakes" is a favorite idiom among San Diego educators these days. It doesn't matter if you're talking to people at the local, district, county, or state level -- if the subject is ...

County's Critters Breathe Easier

Nature Conservancy pays $9 million for Edwards ranch near Julian

"San Diego County has more species diversity, that is, more different kinds of plants and animals, than any other county in the whole continental U.S., which is very remarkable."

Lobbyist in the house

The election of Republican Darrell Issa to North County's 48th District congressional seat is setting off rapture among car-alarm lobbyists. Until recently, Issa was president of Vista's Directed Electronics, maker of the famous "Viper" anti-theft ...

Do "close door" buttons in elevators really do anything?

M.A.: I have a theory that the Close Door buttons in most elevators don’t really do anything but are installed to pacify impatient passengers. I’ve never been in an elevator where the doors react to ...

Why is it that when I scratch my cat on the end of his spine, he enters cat ecstasy?

Hey, Matt: Why is it when I scratch my cat on the very end of his spine, where the tail connects, he seems to enter throes of cat ecstasy? And why does it only seem ...

Hike Chatsworth's Old Stagecoach Road, a crucial link in a 19th-Century stage route linking L.A. and San Francisco.

Sunrises are as spectacular as they come when viewed on clear, late fall or winter mornings from the Old Stagecoach Road -- now a hiking trail rising into the foothills outside Chatsworth in the San ...

Wednesday, November 22

Cornucopia: Stephen Facciola's Edible World

The world-famous food expert lives in Vista

“You’re eating bug excrement.” Stephen Facciola and I are standing in the parking lot of a Middle Eastern grocery in disheartening Anaheim. The streets are eight lanes wide. The blocks, a mile long. The air ...

Big-Money Boys

Liberal activists Larry Remer and Tom Shepard go for the gold

After Hedgecock's victory in the spring of 1983, Shepard became the crown prince of San Diego political consultants. He triumphed again that year in Hedgecock's campaign for voter approval of the downtown convention center.

What Do I Have to Be Thankful for?

Homeless plans for Thanksgiving

“These people protect me, they watch over me -- I'm five foot two --I'll get mugged, I'll get robbed, everything, 'cause I'm short and people take advantage. The homeless steal from the homeless also, and that sucks.”

Golding's meaty send-off

As Susan Golding leaves the public payroll for the first time in her more than 19 years as city councilwoman, state bureaucrat, county supervisor, and San Diego mayor, friends are bidding her adieu. Next Wednesday, ...

Far From Empty

“Kaddafi was very well educated.” She was impressed with his success in preventing harm from coming to the Italians when they were deported from Libya and with his decision to leave a Catholic cathedral standing in Tripoli.

Why does 86'd mean getting thrown out?

Hey, Matt: Why no column in the October 26 Reader? No questions worth answering? Maybe this will fit the bill. Why does 86’d mean getting tossed out or ejected? I’m not leaving until I find ...

What is the deal with the much vaunted "World Class" city's Third World streets?

Hey, Matt: What gives with the much vaunted "World Class" city's Third World streets? It seems that every project the city manages to poop out winds up in short order looking like the hallway runner ...

The power lines along the park corridor are incredibly noisy. Is this normal?

Hey, Matt: The power lines along the park corridor are incredibly noisy. As a physics major in school, I know that noise requires energy, and this means these high-tension lines are losing a lot of ...

What does the slang term, "86'd" mean?

Matt: About 40+ years ago, the Uniform Code of Military Justice had Article 86 as the absence without permission. I remember asking where someone was and getting the answer, "He 86'd over the weekend." I ...

Come Back Alive

The history of soaring in San Diego

Fogel names San Diegan John J. Montgomery as the first American to fly a glider. “He was the first American to fly, period, here in San Diego, in 1883. But he isn’t famous because he was secretive about it.”

Discover desert fan palms in their native, oasis-like habitats at Anza-Borrego's Mountain Palm Springs.

The area called Mountain Palm Springs in southern Anza-Borrego Desert State Park cannot lay claim to the largest palm oases in our local desert, but it does feature some of the most charming ones. The ...

Thursday, November 16

A House and a Tree Spell Contentment to Me

Olive Street residents can't get much closer.

In 1957 an earth-fill bridge replaced the old wood-and-iron one, which had been the center of controversy for many years. San Diego youths had seen the bridge timbers as a challenge and had often made the climb.

Stadium Compassion

Disabled sports fans rate Qualcomm Stadium

"My major complaint is the elevator. It states at the elevator that it's only for the handicapped or press, but it's always full of other people. The elevator operators say that they have no control over it.”

Editorial obituaries

Union-Tribune editorial writers, their credibility shredded by years of unquestioning support for the Chargers' ticket guarantee and the downtown Padres stadium deal, took some major hits on election day. Unlike the days of yore, when ...

His Mom Played Cello, His Dad Was in the Band

San Diego Symphony's concertmaster Nick Grant

Having no idea what a concertmaster might be, when asked to interview Nick Grant of the San Diego Symphony, I looked up the term in my Penguin edition of A New Dictionary of Music. It ...

School for Dinosaurs

If the San Diego Unified School District were graded for bolstering mathematics and reading skills, the district might garner above-average marks. During the past two years, students in San Diego's public schools have significantly improved ...

Follow the meandering Sunset Trail along the forested west rim of the Laguna Mountains.

Big Sycamore and Serrano Canyons in Point Mugu State Park are a study in contrasts. As its name suggests, shallow and wide Big Sycamore Canyon harbors stately California sycamores, set at spacious intervals. Serrano Canyon ...

Thursday, November 9

A Quiet Cul-De-Sac in North Park

Neighborly life on Olive Street

Between 1903 and 1909, the trolley expanded into the area east of Balboa Park. Thirtieth Street became the route, and a bridge was built to extend the street across Switzer Canyon, from Laurel to Olive.

Chess at a Run: Orienteering Orientation

Gookin-aide inventor turns from marathons to following maps

"When I was running, I would say [to running buddies], ‘Oh, look! A wild canary!’” Or he’d urge them to notice flowers in bloom. “And they’d say, ‘Shut up, Gookin, and run.’"

You Might Not Think a Cat Could Hog a Whole Bed

San Diegans on what pets do for us

Recently Missy had to pry the lizard's mouth open with a butter knife after he clamped down on Ruben's hand. While his teeth are small, the creature was able to break skin and draw blood.

Is there a smell that repels bears?

Howdy, Matt and the Elves: I'm planning a trip to Yosemite and reading up on safety in bear country. Apparently the main reason bears encounter humans in the first place is because their sense of ...

Why does every juice concentrate, except for grape juice, stay frozen until you get home from the store?

Dear Matt: Grape juice. When you buy frozen juice concentrates at a store they generally stay frozen until you get them home -- except for grape juice. Frozen grape juice concentrate frequently starts getting sloshy ...


The label shows a factory. A white one-story building with a red-tile roof and brown smokestack stands beside a beige two-story building. In front of the buildings on a green lawn, three barrels and two ...

African Luck

How a young African learned to drive a cab.

"As an African you think that you're going to have a lot in common with black Americans. You don't. They really don't like us. So, in 1998, I went back to my village"

Hard Town for Activism

On the evening of October 11, George W. Bush and Al Gore were in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, being stupid on TV. Gore: "First of all, let me say that if I'm elected president..." Bush: "If ...

Susan's revenge

Word comes from North Carolina, of all places, that lame-duck San Diego mayor Susan Golding is secretly attempting to fill a key city-hall vacancy before she leaves office at the end of the year. The ...

Where to buy Russian sub

For some reason, the catalog doesn’t list prices

Despite the terrible fate of the 118 submariners aboard the Russian Kursk at the bottom of the Barents Sea, I’ve been in the market for ! a submarine. And I don’t mean one of those ...

Cleveland National Forest's Sunset Trail

The Sunset Trail facilitates easy access by foot to the entire west rim of the high Laguna Mountain plateau. Like analogous routes to the east -- Sunrise Highway and the sunrise-facing Pacific Crest Trail -- ...

Thursday, November 2

Third Spud from the Sun: Cameron Crowe Then and Now

Mr. C. Crowe was not one of rock-crit’s TOP TWENTY-FIVE figures.

By the time Cameron showed up, Rolling Stone was little more than a highwater marker for self-effacing, slave-drudge careerism: the most conspicuous place, nationally, to have your copy butchered, your ideas reshaped to fit the moment’s market-driven party line.

Why don't people get ill from eating liver, an organ full of poisons?

MA: I was enjoying a hefty helping of liver and onions the other day, and I began to wonder how people can safely eat that organ. I know the human liver filters out poisons from ...

What is the deal with five and six legged spiders?

Dear Matthew Alice: What's the deal with all these five- and six-legged spiders in my house? I've been seeing them for years. -- Sue Beckman, Del Mar Greetings from the East Coast: ...where the ragweed ...


Dinner with a fractured family

His parents got divorced “after 37 years of marriage. Seven kids and 37 years later — it was like, ‘You’re what?’ It happened right in my salon back in Minnesota. I see my mom out there pacing.”

Gore Gave an Answer, Bush Gave a Smile

As the election looms on the horizon, abortion swirls in the cool fall air at San Diego State University, now enshrouding the entire spectacle, now skittering about the edges, now fading from sight, only to ...

Political moola

Cash from that big-money push against school-board member Frances Zimmerman financed by Padres owner John Moores, his downtown real estate partner, Republican Malin Burnham, and Qualcomm mogul Irwin Jacobs, among others, has made its way ...

Visit the distinctive sandstone slabs of Vasquez Rocks outside Los Angeles.

A formerly popular location for filming old West movies and sci-fi extravaganzas, the distinctive Vasquez Rocks outside Los Angeles may be familiar from episodes of Bonanza, Star Trek, and countless old movies. The tilted sandstone ...

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