Stories for November 2003

Wednesday, November 26

100 Grateful San Diegans

Diane Jones30Marketing DirectorMarriedCollege AreaInterviewed at the Natural History Museum, Balboa Park I’m grateful that my father — he’s 63 — is healthy and happy. He had an accident last year; he had a flesh-eating bacteria ...

Woods Rock to Whistlestop

Relaxing with Coronado’s coolest

Candice got onstage before the next singer and reminded people to keep their cell phones off, “unless your wife is at home pregnant or something.”

A Metabolife Death

On November 15 at 8:54 p.m., certified public accountant Michael Compton died of a gunshot wound to the head. The county medical examiner's office ruled it a suicide. Compton, who lived in Spring Valley, was ...

Unnecessary Seal Harassment

Why humans and animals can't mix it up at La Jolla Cove

Ellen Browning Scripps had intended to create a safe place for children, the handicapped, and the elderly to swim in the ocean. The beach was smaller and farther back from the water then.

Like daughter, like father, like Pete Wilson

When 36-year-old San Diego native and longtime Pete Wilson operative Margita Thompson was named press secretary to new Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger two weeks ago, nothing was said in local media about her father, Barnard ...

Oh rats!

Hey Matt: The other day I popped open the hood on my Mitsubishi Montero gas-guzzling SUV, which I park outside, and found about 6 to 8 somewhat intact snail shells. The shells weren't smashed but ...

Dog-paddling armadillos

Mr./Ms. Matthew/Alice: Perhaps you could resolve a lingering dispute between a friend and me. He insists that armadillos cross streams by holding their breath and walking along the bottom until they reach the other side. ...

Explore palm groves and trickling streams in the upper reaches of Anza-Borrego's Bow Willow Canyon.

Winding fjordlike through the boulder heaps of the arid In-Ko-Pah Mountains, Bow Willow Canyon promises -- and delivers -- solitude. During a weekday-morning's exploratory venture into Bow Willow's moist upper recesses, no one disturbed my ...

Thursday, November 20

The Fix Is In: How the Sheriff got his Man on the Airport Board

The Union-Tribune demands a bigger airport

For years, Helen Copley, her son David, and the other powers that be at the San Diego Union-Tribune have wanted to replace Lindbergh Field, no matter how much money it might cost, no matter how ...

Widespread Wink and Nod

In 1999, a vice president of San Diego's Peregrine Systems, holding out an envelope containing between $25,000 and $50,000 in cash, approached the president of a small reseller of Peregrine software. The loot would go ...

Party's Over

The city quiets endless Pacific Beach parties

Pacific Beach compresses roughly 10,000 people into its five square miles. It's a tight community, with many sober families and older residents living alongside a large contingent of college-age drinkers and partiers.

Official exposure

It's no secret that officials from many agencies of local government are cracking down on taxpayer access to public information. The latest evidence is the refusal by departing San Diego city attorney Casey Gwinn to ...

Two Kinds of Brownies

Making merry with older folks

When I asked about the Chargers using Doug Flutie, we had a conversation about what makes a good NFL quarterback. When he brought up Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers, we talked about old rock bands.

Disney's orphans

Oh wise one: Why does Disney kill off one or both of the main character's parents? Or a parent is presumed dead/missing at the beginning of every story? Snow White's mom is dead, dad marries ...

Thanksgiving eggs

Hey Matt: I always look for the biggest eggs I can buy in the store. I was wondering, with all the turkeys raised to feed our once-a-year habit, why don't poultry producers make turkey eggs ...

Cockroaches come home

Okay, Matt: Everyone has heard those incredible stories where someone's pet cat or dog wanders 3000 miles to find their home again, but I discovered something fascinating right here in Clairemont. Not liking to crush ...

Hike to Paradise Falls at Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks.

Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks is Ventura County's most scenic suburban park. The scenery here has been imprinted in the minds of many in the over-50 age group: the area was once an outdoor set ...


There’s a lot of love in Linda Vista.

She split time between Orange County and Pacific Beach, where she had a boyfriend. She didn’t like PB much. “It was just college kids burning up their parents’ money. It was an interesting time.”

Thursday, November 13

When Your Hair Is Gone, You'll Be Surprised How Tiny Your Head Is

I begin, sounding very much like a ticket agent, by saying, “Let’s see, we’ve got bald men, chemo people, people who cross-dress, and transsexuals. Who else?” “Well, there are also women,” says Donna Good, “who ...

Smoke Blowers

As politicians, real estate developers, and other sharks know, voters will fall for con jobs about creation of jobs. That's why, as the post-fire rhetoric heats up, we must discern who is blowing hot air, ...

Tijuana's Big Bus Quandary

For the legions of nondriving workers who live in Tijuana's eastern colonias, the commute into downtown can be made one of three ways. One is route taxis, also known as collective taxis. They are the ...

No burn zone

Before the big fires, ex-county supervisor Jack Walsh cut brush around his mountain retreat without talking to the forest service. He ended up paying a $4000 fine ... The San Diego City Schools Police Officers ...

Empty Jacuzzi

Rubbing elbows with gay men

They were looking at pictures from when they got to sing backup for Barry Manilow. I asked them if Manilow was gay, and they looked at me as if I asked whether Spike Lee was black.

A bit about bikes

Heymatt: Why is it that I can balance myself on a bicycle when it's moving, but I can't when it's stopped. When you think about it, that doesn't make sense. Or does it? -- Bikeman, ...

Where wildfires have gone in San Diego, wildflowers will follow

Now that San Diego County's historic megafires are extinguished, outdoor-oriented folks — and the just plain curious — are anxious to get out there and do some sightseeing. The full recovery of the natural landscape ...

Lisa Makes Sunday Dinner

Nashville comes to Spring Valley.

“There’s this one restaurant in Point Loma that makes this white jalapeño cheese sauce for their chips. They finally printed it out for me. I’m going to make some kind of pasta and chicken.”

Thursday, November 6


The pick-up kind - no coaches, no whistles, no uniforms

Listen. I’m a basketball extremist. Maybe it’s the rhythmic, elastic whump (ring)s, whump (ring)s — thuds resounding echoing overtones — leading me into reverie every time, the odd expectant tempos, down the block, passing my ...

Elisabeth Sifton, The Serenity Prayer

A daughter's view of Reinhold Niebuhr

“He was a driven workaholic and stressed himself too much in ways that affected his judgment. His closest colleagues, who were his friends at Union, would say, ‘Reinhold, slow down. Cool off. Back off.’”

The Looting Was Done Long Before the Fire

Blame the San Diego mentality for the fire

The fire next time is likely to be more devastating than this time. Politically, culturally, and journalistically, San Diego appears incapable of rectifying the scandalous inadequacies that contributed so heavily to the recent inferno. Where ...

Bathhouse Quagmire

Forget condoms, prefer barebacking

Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest operates one of the largest AIDS clinics in San Diego County. On any given day, some of its patients can be seen milling about in green hospital gowns near the paths, ...

Vice as a virtue

The man who ran San Diego's vice squad during the Cheetahs undercover operation that netted this summer's indictment of three city councilmembers, along with guilty pleas from Cheetahs' owner Mike Galardi and manager John D'Intino, ...

I Went Postal

A round of military shindigs

The men and women of the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton were being given a welcome-home parade from the war in Iraq. At first, I was hot and miserable, having just gotten over ...

Starving student vs. the Man

Mattdog: As a starving student, I always hate withdrawing money from the ATM because I hardly ever need the entire $20 but feel compelled to spend it anyway. Any reason as to why ATMs only ...

Mammoth farts

Hey Matt: I went up to Mammoth a few weeks ago and experienced the same thing I and most everyone I go up there with have experienced every time we go. We call it the ...

Applying to electoral college

Heymatt: How do I get to be a member of the electoral college? -- Smokeless, the net Good SATs and four years of glee club? No�let's try a $2000 suit, $500 shoes. Plenty of friends ...

Chase a rainbow this coming rainy season -- and don't forget this Saturday's colorful lunar eclipse.

For half a year now, rainbows have been conspicuously absent from San Diego skies. This will surely change within a few weeks as we encounter the first of several winter storms spinning out of the ...

Billy Blazes

2003 Cedar and Paradise fires — seen from Escondido and San Marcos

The last Sunday in October, we awoke to the smell of smoke and an ochre sky. Jack dozed. I followed Johnny and Ben downstairs. “Can I play Bionicle website?” Johnny asked. His thick chestnut hair ...

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