Stories for June 2004

Thursday, June 24

There's No Talking

When the cost is more than a fine on an overdue book.

Creepy silence surrounds the disappearance of $1 million to the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

Ming? Ming who?

Hello: If Yao Ming's last name is Ming, why does it say Yao on the back of his jersey? -- J, the net Culture check. Mrs. Ming's baby boy Yao is actually Mrs. Yao's baby ...

Lumps in throats

Hey Matt: Right when we had the jolt from the last earthquake, I actually got a lump in my throat. I know that can happen when one is stressed or scared, but what causes that ...

Visit Century Lake and the Rock Pool at Malibu State Park, crown jewel of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Malibu Creek State Park, a jewel if not the jewel of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, lies along Malibu Creek, a lively watercourse that completely bisects the coastal Santa Monica Mountains. The park ...

Navy-Marine Party of Epic Proportions

Operation Ice Luge

Most of these guys are stationed at Miramar. A few were from Camp Pendleton. "Most of us were at El Toro, and that's where these parties used to be. A few people are here from Yuma, too."

Fraudsters Pump Group

May 25, William Zures committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at a Carlsbad beach, according to the county medical examiner's office. Zures, who lived at Santaluz, the luxury golf community next to Rancho Santa Fe, ...

America Broke My Heart, Tijuana Blew My Mind

Luis Urrea torn between two worlds

Author Luis Urrea embodies contradiction. Though Mexican, he is blond-haired and blue-eyed. Though born in Tijuana and raised in San Diego, he lives in the cold and humidity of Chicago. Though he's written four books ...

Up the sandbox

One of the most prominent cultural institutions of that well-heeled bastion known as La Jolla is offering free tickets to attract left-of-center patrons to a pair of plays about liberal politics. "Enjoy the benefits of ...

The bloodiest battle in California history

The Marathon of '46, Part 3

General Kearny’s “Army of the West” had straggled 2000 miles from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The day before in the Ballena Valley, 101 “wet to the skin” dragoons joined with 39 mountain men from San Diego.

Erwin Castillo and Brianne Stewart

Erwin has no bad qualities.

Ms. Stewart gazes at Mr. Castillo. “Erwin is so loving and considerate all the time,” she says. “He has no bad qualities. Most everyone has things about them that get on your nerves. Not Erwin.”

Thursday, June 17

Otay Dreams

Before 50,000 homes

Chula Vista cop cars roared in. The officers corralled the black youths: “Boys, you better listen to this. Get back to Otay, and never come up to this part of town again.”

Bree Henderson and Ryan Cornforth

A Navy guy makes his move for a home run

He decided to stay with the baseball theme. “We had seen people get engaged at the stadium. But it was so cheesy. They just put your name on the big screen, ‘So-and-so, will you marry me?’”

How to get into fish school

Hello Matthew: How do fish identify with other fish so as to join into a school? They can't know what they look like. -- Bob Kammerer, the net Grade point average? Name tags? Uniforms? Well, ...

Got milk?

Matt Alice: My masseuse is pregnant, well endowed, and said her breasts should have extra milk. We wondered if human milk has ever been processed for general consumption. Is there a market for breast milk, ...


Hey Matt: I noticed a weird thing the other day while having a pint of Carl Strauss: I could swear some bubbles were actually sinking. Is that possible? What gives? -- Rob, the net Oh, ...

Ocean waves, sea caves, and cliff-hugging Torrey Pines -- find these along La Jolla's Coast Walk trail.

Summer days and early evenings are perfectly suited for what could be the finest short walk along San Diego County's 60-mile-long Pacific Ocean coastline. Many but not all San Diegans and tourists are familiar with ...

Carlsbad's Big Bertha Bombs

By definition, an avid golfer is one who, horrified to learn that his sister has become a hooker, frantically phones her and shouts, "Think of the family reputation! Try widening your stance! Soften your grip! ...

Peacocks drown out Schubert

Meeting the Elite

Someone asked me my favorite playwright. I said, "Arthur Miller." In reality, I only know three of his plays. One of the guys started to talk about a Miller play I didn't know. I nodded my head knowingly.

Where Do Those Poor Kids Go?

SDSU classes get bigger and easier

Many students take 18 or more units and really do well. If you pin them down, you find that what is demanded of a student at San Diego State is not much.

Elena's comeback

The last time the public heard from Elena Cristiano was two years ago, when the high-flying press secretary to Mayor Dick Murphy was abruptly fired. City hall was abuzz for weeks afterward about Cristiano's mysterious ...

Don Antonio Coronel's barefoot marathon

The Marathon of '46, Part 2

A large American army to the east, soldiers from San Diego on his trail, horse thieves who’d kill him out of self-defense, and his slow-moving party an easy target, Coronel was boxed in.

Thursday, June 10

Brian Blogs San Diego

An entrepreneur keeps tabs on us.

Brian Dear is an Internet entrepreneur who runs a Web log, or blog, called brianstorms, at He writes about San Diego, gadgets, dogs, startup businesses, movies, and a little bit of everything else. Dear’s ...

Scott Weinpel and Leslie Smith

“I’m not interested in guys all that often,” Ms. Smith admits. By the time they went out on their first one-on-one date, she already knew she liked him. She even told him.

Kit Carson: from California to Washington D.C. in 60 days

The Marathon of '46 (Part 1 of 6)

It was hard to tell which group was worse off, Carson’s alkali-caked express or Kearny's glum dragoons, riding "jaded beasts,” eating half- rations spiked by cacti, and harassed by swarms of mosquitoes and buffalo gnats.

Redwoods in Southern California? Try Orange County's Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park, one of the many smaller units of Orange County�s far-flung regional park system, has enough room for one significant hiking trail. An unlikely grove of coast redwood trees, nursed from seedlings ...

Tapping into trouble

If San Diego City Council members and other city officials haven't been seen around town using their cell phones much lately, there may be a reason. According to a raft of recently released federal wiretap ...

Wallet Preservationists

Is it Save Our Heritage Organisation or Stuff Our Handbags Organisation? A controversy rages over the San Diego nonprofit group whose mission is ostensibly to preserve buildings of historical significance. The group has enjoyed many ...

Tijuana's abandoned car problem

Junk cars drown Tijuana

Though the municipal government unveils a new mass-transit proposal every few years, the fact remains: Tijuana is a city of cars. But it isn't a city of new cars. Only the wealthiest of tijuanenses drive ...

Juggles machetes

Anarchy in Balboa Park

"They told us if we have over 75 people, we would be fined $300 since we didn't get a permit. I pointed to those benches over there and said that was a different party, even though it's not.”

Thursday, June 3

Something That Intoxicates or Exhilarates

Narrative sells wine.

It's all pretty unusual, when you really think about it. First off, you've got this exclusive fruit (the grape) that grows only in special regions. And then, the whole time that it grows, it’s fussed ...

Hookah smokers, male strippers

In the swing of it

I wanted to chat with the best dancer I saw. He was a dead ringer for George Hamilton with whiter hair. I saw him dancing with two different women at various times. The women had the biggest smiles.

Murphy and Miranda

Heymatt: What's the story behind Miranda in our Miranda Rights? Where they named after a real woman? If so, was she a quiet woman? And who is the Murphy of Murphy's Law? Did anything ever ...

Turn down the volume!

Matthew, my friend: Why do I have to turn down the volume on the car radio when I'm doing something like looking for a street address? It's like I can't find what I'm looking for ...

Easter eggs in your ears

Matt: I've noticed a trend in a lot of the newer CDs. At the end, if you keep playing, after a few minutes a "hidden song" comes on, a song not listed on the jacket. ...

Meander amid native grasslands and oaks at Wright's Field in Alpine.

Wright's Field, just south of Alpine's commercial district, is a refreshing bit of open space plunked down amid East County's growing rural and suburban development. Alpine's homegrown Back Country Land Trust has managed to purchase ...

Mayor and Moochers Slime Critics

Adolf Hitler called Eva Braun morally depraved because she chewed gum. Al Capone expelled a gang member for failing to observe the Sabbath. Charles Ponzi fired an underling for fudging on his expense account. These ...

How Is the Coaster Doing?

Union-Tribune ignores bad numbers for North County's train.

Reiss thinks that "less than 2900 people [taking] their cars off the freeway" is a "drop in the bucket," especially in light of the 260,000 cars Caltrans says go through the I-5/805 merge every weekday.

Students Compete to Make a Mess

Annual Watermelon Drop at UCSD

"The students decided to have a Watermelon Drop.... And so I made it the last page of the final exam. And then in a fit of nonsense I proceeded to write an entire exam on watermelons.”

Ribbon of Dorian Gray

Last year, as the invasion of Iraq wound down and President George W. Bush and his party flew into Coronado for his well-remembered "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the carrier Abraham Lincoln, county politicos rushed to ...

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