Stories for August 2004

Thursday, August 26

Scary Pictures: What Kids See on TV

TV invades kids’ minds.

Ten-year-old Olivia Palmer, a fifth grader at Pacific Beach Elementary, picks up the television remote, presses "on," and touches two numbers, 3 and 6, on the keypad. The TV goes to MTV's Real World. It's ...

Summer Frost Nips Biotechs

As usual, biotech stocks -- including San Diego's -- had a frigid summer. But there are signs that fall may come early this year. San Diego's biotechs are showing some strength. If the overall market ...

Squawk Like a Hawk

Last November Rolando Park residents formed the Rolando Park Community Council to address concerns such as stop signs and red curbs on their streets. Now the council's top priority is to fight the possible loss ...

Explore the woodsy Morgan Trail, off Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains.

As I rambled down the Morgan Trail one crisp early-autumn morning before dawn, the crackling of oak leaves underfoot played counterpoint to the drone of a hundred crickets singing in unison. Dozens of cold blue ...

When You Come to the United States You Think You Find Money on the Ground

Crime worries Somalis

Landlords are raising their rent by $100 here, $200 there. About 70 per cent of the Somalis would live in Little Mogadishu, but now you see some in La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Southeast San Diego.

Tuesday, August 24

Mimi Grifkin and Steve Rasky

The cat pays love’s price

Miss Grifkin, 42, shoots Mr. Rasky a teasing look. “He said he was 42. On our second date, I asked him for his ID.” “She actually asked to see my driver’s license. Can you believe it?”

Thursday, August 19

Two Men and their Comic Books

The birth of Pacific Comics.

At one time, nearly all American comic books were created in New York City, distributed by union trucking firms, and sold on newsstands or in convenience stores. Only a few dozen comic-book stores existed. Throughout ...


African-American Buffalo soldiers comb smoldering Hauser Canyon fire

I didn’t see the forest ranger who got trapped with the Marines,” recalled Colonel William Hastie, whose 10th Cavalry helped rescue burn victims from the Hauser Canyon Fire of 1943. “I heard he felt terribly. ...

Matthew H. Alice!

Matt H. Alice: What does the H stand for in the expression "Jesus H. Christ"? -- Curious, San Diego The word origin guys actually take this question seriously and offer serious answers, a little too ...

Oh, Deer

Matt Alice: On the streets that go through the canyons of Mira Mesa and Sorrento Mesa, you'll see yellow caution signs advising of deer. There used to be several herds there before Mira Mesa was ...

Idle dishwashers

HeyMatt: If you ever want to outsource, I could answer half of the questions that you publish with no research at all. Why don't you answer one of the true mysteries of our time, namely, ...

This Is a City Teetering on the Edge

The City of San Diego is spinning its way down the slippery slope financially, and the result may be -- surprise -- new taxes. First, consider the spin. Last week, Moody's Investors Service, the bond-rating ...

Circumnavigate Lake Murray on foot, utilizing the shortest practical and legal loop route.

Lake Murray's paved (closed to cars) perimeter path is near East County's most pleasant and most popular place to gulp some fresh air on a summer morning or late afternoon. Unfortunately, the recreation path ends ...

Kathryn Stafford and Michael Strom

He was Batman and I was Wonder Woman

"They work you like used-car salesmen. It always comes down to a meeting in a little room. The salesperson is on one side of the table saying, ‘Do you want to make your girlfriend happy and buy today?’”

Thursday, August 12

Concrete Comeback

Walkers get more room.

WE REALLY HAVE, from a pedestrian's point of view, two kinds of places in San Diego," said Stephan Vance of the San Diego Association of Governments. "There's the older urban core that was built around ...

Ultimate Warrior

Why Marines like Rolling Stone's Evan Wright

In the spring of 2003, the United States Marines led the invasion of Iraq. At the point of the spear was the First Reconnaissance Battalion out of Camp Pendleton. The platoons of "First Recon" rotated ...

Cafe Blocks City Land-Grab

On July 30, the Michigan Supreme Court stuck a dagger into government's abusive use of eminent domain -- seizing property from one private owner and handing it to a richer owner in the name of ...

Live oaks and dense chaparral smother slopes traversed by the Backbone Trail near Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The nearly completed Backbone Trail rambles some 55 miles along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, from Pacific Palisades to Point Mugu State Park. Most sections of this trail traverse dry highland terrain, but ...

Body count

Blackened bodies, scorched earth at Hauser Canyon fire

The Santa Ana winds died around 2:00 p.m. October 2, 1943. Hershel Higgins could finally drive his D7 bulldozer down into Hauser Canyon, where a 113-Marine crew was fighting what was about to become one ...

Gabriela Arroyo and Jose Luis Rojano

A fine art proposal

The couple went on their first date to Busalacchi’s about a month after they met. “He was so nervous when he asked me, he kept saying, ‘You can think about it if you want.’“

Thursday, August 5

You Never Get Your Tattoo Alone

Samoan culture fades away.

"Our people are healthy," Tevesi Fa'apouli says, "but they're big. They eat good. Especially our old folks. We eat taro, povi masima, fish. The generation we raise over here doesn't have the appetite for that."

Pot? Poppies? What's the difference?

High, Matt: If I had a garden full of marijuana, I'd get a visit from the cops. My neighbor has a garden full of poppies. Why hasn't anybody raided her house? -- Lawnboy, San Diego ...

"Chicano." Insulting?

Hey Matt! Where does the term "Chicano" come from? Is there a country called "Chican"? My family considered it a derogatory name for Americans of Mexican descent, derived in Texas in the aftermath of the ...

Dusty Mother

Kate Sessions Walking Tour

“Descriptions of her say her clothes were rarely pressed and always dusty. This was someone who wasn’t into ‘fussy doodles,’ as she called any kind of societal finery. She was a straight shooter, unimpressed with titles."

I Can't Make a Living Doing Only This

Javier Mejía writes for Tijuana’s illiterate

“They might have a relative who is sick or who just died. You see, most of them have left their families in the south, and they're working here and sending money south to Oaxaca or Puebla.”


Those who trusted funds to the late financial adviser William Zures -- including his Rancho Santa Fe parish and some among its members -- may get a portion of their money back, but many snarls ...

Ramble through downtown San Diego on foot, eyeing urban trees and a forest of construction cranes.

Startling changes seem to be occurring at an ever-increasing pace in downtown San Diego -- or "Centre City" as it is sometimes known. Back in 1972, when I first arrived, I'd bicycle over from San ...

Men sizzle in Hauser Canyon, part 1

Tracer causes fire 45 miles east of San Diego, between Morena and Barrett Dams - kills 11.

In the fall of 1943, soldiers in San Diego’s backcountry had to stop gunnery practice before noon. After that, the heat became so intense the targets would seem to dance. On October 1 — the ...

Melissa Ortaleza and Kenneth Cook

I said ‘I love you’ at Buffalo Joe’s

“We were talking. Melissa got distracted by a bug. I used that opportunity to take the ring out of my pocket. I got down on one knee and said, ‘I love you. Here’s the ring.’”

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