Stories for April 2004

Thursday, April 29

Lost in the Moment

Barbarella's blogs.

Barbarella began keeping a blog, or Web log, in 2000. The following are selections from her website, 2003-11-04I AM Corybantic The word of the day is “corybantic,” defined by AWAD as “wild; frenzied; uncontrolled.” ...

Pacific Beach parties with big boys

Mimosas with Bear Paw

Jim's wife brought a bunch of deviled eggs, and I asked Jim how many of those Paul Newman would be able to eat. "I think 84. Wasn't it 42 eggs he ate [in Cool Hand Luke]?"

Hot Dogs, Beer, And Car Bombs

Was that hot dog you ate at Petco Park unsavory? Fans have complained about unsavory food at the new ballyard. Well, for years the company that provided you that hot dog has been trying to ...

No Dice for Indians

And no craps, bacccarat, or roulette for casinos in San Diego County

In 1986, the tiny Pequot tribe, which had no full-blooded members, started a bingo hall. In 1992, the Pequots opened Foxwoods Casino, which is now said to be the most lucrative single casino in the world.


It didn't take long for the San Diego City Council to take political advantage of the campaign "friend-raising" opportunities provided by the council's exclusive luxury suite at the new taxpayer-financed baseball stadium. Under a deal ...

Still bugged

Hey Matt: I remember as a kid playing with Mexican jumping beans. What ever happened to them? And what made them jump in the first place? -- Speedy Gonzales, the net Matthew Alice: June bugs. ...

Hills like rumpled bedsheets

Enjoy a comprehensive view of coastal L.A. and Malibu from Parker Mesa Overlook

From the shore of the Pacific Ocean, just west of Santa Monica, the fluted slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains rise like rumpled bedsheets after a night of tossing and turning. From a vantage point ...

Engineering a miracle

The Cedar Fire failed to burn Joe Mitchell’s Ramona home

Fire in the California backcountry is an inevitability. Thirty years of fuel meant that when something happened, it was going to be big.

Thursday, April 22

Skateboarding Is Not a Crime But Murder Is

Did Neil Heddings kill his son?

On November 18, 2002, pro skateboarder Neil Heddings drove his van to San Diego to pick up his two-year-old son, Marty. Heddings’s fiancée Christine Rams, their new baby, and Rams’s four-year-old son had come with ...

Does Big Money Doubt Murphy?

'Timing is everything." Richard Nixon said it. Stand-up comics say it. Is Mayor Dick Murphy trying to be a comedian or a dour Dick Nixon? Or both? It's comical that with Murphy perceived as a ...

Educational AIDS

For a while last week, San Diego's own 60-something porn star, Dave Cummings, was sweating blood. Dozens of L.A. porn companies, including the industry's largest, Vivid, shut down their sets after actors Lara Roxx and ...

Hapy Birthday

Honey Bunny

And, along with the same refrigerator Richard has been trying to dump as a grand prize, this year he put a $50 gift certificate inside it to tempt the winner into taking it.

Ouch! Hard water

Hey Matt: My wife has been blaming our water for her dry skin, split ends, etc., ever since her friend told her that San Diego has "really hard water." What the heck is "hard water"? ...

What's so fancy about fancy ketchup?

Hey Matt: What makes fancy ketchup so fancy? Can you get plain ketchup? -- Bobby, the net There are officially designated fancy tomatoes, but no fancy ketchup. Fancy ketchup is plain ordinary ketchup in a ...

Tail-light red

Hey Matt: Why are nearly all automobile tail lights the exact same shade of red? Does it have a name? -- Matt, on 805 southbound Commuter-coma Red. Panic-stop Red. Screeeech! Red. Look Out! Red. Hey, ...

Steer Your Bike around the Rainbow-Pala Route Through Rural Northern San Diego County and Southern Riverside County

For a taste of some fast-disappearing rural serenity in inland North County, try the following looping bicycle route through hills and valleys straddling the San Diego-Riverside County line. You'll gain and lose about 1300 feet ...

Greedy City Targets Grantville

It was the winter of 1980, and the employees of the now-defunct Hafer Steel Company in Grantville had to go onto the roof. "A helicopter came and asked whether or not we wanted to be ...

Knott's Berry Farm's scary waterfalls

Like Disneyland but not as fancy

Every time I do something new with my kids, I feel a little older. Last Christmas, Jack’s parents sent us a check for $200 with a note that read, “Please use this gift to do ...

Thursday, April 15

There’s a Butterfly on Your Hat

This world is a screen.

One night in the late 1970s, Miguel Ruiz, a young Mexican physician, fell asleep at the wheel of his car and crashed it into a concrete retaining wall. He lay near death for some days ...

They Were Lying to Me

'Take me out to the bawl game?" At the same time city officials and Padres majority owner John Moores grinningly lapped up hurrahs at last week's Petco Park opening, they were getting a big Bronx ...

Crime Eats

Special religious diets in San Diego County's jails sometimes make prisoners who receive regular fare feel shortchanged. How else can you explain why several men in the system, who said they were white supremacists, once ...

Sweet tickets

In a memo dated April 2, the day after an item here disclosing the existence of the city council's private luxury box at Petco Park, stadium manager Steve Shushan outlined a new official policy for ...

Nathan feels bloated

Two Party System

One girl who looked like k.d. lang kept apologizing to a guy. She said, "Maybe next time I'll drink water instead of alcohol." Later I saw her run and tackle somebody in the grass.

Tongue muscles

Hello Matt: Me and a friend of mine were wondering, what is the strongest muscle in the body? I say the tongue, he says legs or arms??????? -- Christine and Christine's friend, the net Tongue? ...

Route 905. A spur? A bypass? A mistake?

Matthew: When I was learning how to drive many years ago, my dad gave me a tip to help me keep from getting lost: East-west freeways/highways are indicated by even numbers and north-south by odd ...

Southern Lights

Heymatt: How come I've never heard about the Southern Lights? I've heard of the Northern Lights. -- Jay, In the Dark As usual, you haven't been paying attention. Northern Lights = Aurora Borealis. Southern Lights ...

Visit Big Falls, the tallest waterfall in the San Bernardino Mountains-- if not in all of Southern California.

The day begins bright and clear. The springtime sun vaults into the sky over drifts of freshly fallen snow on San Bernardino Mountain's sunny south side and begins to melt them. Gravity pulls the tiny ...

Thursday, April 8

Present at the Creation

The words of the Padres who played in the first game - April 8, 1969

After 35 years, the San Diego Padres have a home of their own. Today, the local nine will jog onto the field and play their first regular-season game in Petco Park. It’s a mighty step ...

Thomas Lux's The Cradle Place

Stephen Dobyns interviews Lux

"Much poetry is arbitrary, obscure, and inaccessible. It makes people feel stupid. That has a great deal to do with Modernism and Post-Modernism, even though many of the Modernists were great poets undeniably."

10 Million Will Buy This Town

End of quiet days and dark skies for Campo?

Fifty miles east of downtown San Diego, 12 miles south of Interstate 8, Buckman Springs Road, approaching from the north, ends at State Route 94 as it turns east after a mile-long northward jog from ...

The mysterious end of the Neil Morgan era

"I have never in 54 years leaked information about the Copleys to the Reader."

Act I Last week's surprise departure of Neil Morgan from the Union-Tribune after 54 years as a Copley scribe was shrouded in about as much confusion and contradiction as many of the columns he authored. ...


Hey, Matt: I saw in the newspaper there is a car-o-rama for the latest new cars. Where does this o-rama business originate? -- Pat N. Paul, the net Mankind has always been a sucker for ...

More people speak Klingon

To Boldly Get Drunk

One guy showed up in his outfit, complaining about the traffic on the 805. I would love to have seen the other drivers' faces as he went by. Do they take you seriously with that face?

Hike to the summit of Kwaay Paay peak in Mission Trails Regional Park.

The 1194-foot mountain dubbed "Kwaay Paay" in Mission Trails Regional Park managed to escape the flames that swept through nearly half of the park's area in October 2003. The welcome if spotty precipitation we've received ...

Thursday, April 1

Marathoners of the Sky

San Diego County's pigeon lovers

“How long have you been racing pigeons?” I asked Gene Hamilton. “Eighty years.” “That’s quite a while.” “Actually, it’s 80+ now. I’m 91.” “What got you started?” "Pigeons underneath a barn in Portland, Oregon. We ...

Spring's hero

Heart gives hope.

Someone I look up to once told me I should always try to write as if I were writing to someone who had six months to live. Think of your reader, I was told, as ...

Why Do They Sneer at Shipione?

Federal examiners are looking into possible "pay-to-play" shenanigans in the pension-consulting business. And one of the pension consultants being studied is Callan Associates, the San Francisco-based firm long used by the woe-beset San Diego City ...

Don't Puke In My Limo

Sleaze taints the business

Cloud 9 is the only company in San Diego, so far, to make chauffeurs independent owner-operators. In the new approach, "There are responsibilities the drivers have. But hard workers should be able to do well."

America's finest seats

For years, members of the San Diego City Council and their pals partied hearty in the so-called City Box at Qualcomm Stadium, chowing down on free hot dogs, steaks, chicken, wine, beer, desserts, and all ...

Sunburn on ice

Heymatt: Does the temperature have any bearing on how much sunburn/sun damage a person receives? If I'm outside on a sunny, cloudless 60 degree day, won't I get as much of a tan as I ...

Ask Matthew Alice

Yo Matt: How come so many Arabic words with a "k" sound are spelled with a "q" instead? Qaddafi, Qatar, Iraq, al-Qaeda, etc. Since these are Anglicized spellings and not Arabic ones, who decides on ...

Descend into Deep Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains, where a hot spring gurgles and tan lines are optional.

Deep Creek Hot Springs in the San Bernardino National Forest has been a minor magnet for hikers and other nature lovers -- eccentric and otherwise -- for decades. Volunteers have spent years fashioning rock-bound basins ...

Samoan grabs knife

The Birthday Fight

Hans came into the kitchen and screamed for everyone to be quiet. He then said, "I just found out there was a fight out front. If there's another one. I'm kicking everybody out!"

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