Stories for September 2004

Thursday, September 30

Football Scandal Rocks State

Booze, fraud, porn, strippers, and other collegiate sports.

For years, lurid stories about the program's culture of booze, strippers, and kinky pre-game sex, financed by wealthy team boosters, have been making the rounds.

Local activists in Serra Mesa are rehabilitating Ruffin Canyon, a finger canyon of Mission Valley.

"Think globally, act locally." The Friends of Ruffin Canyon group in Serra Mesa have taken this slogan to heart by launching a prototypical effort to preserve one of San Diego's several dozen undeveloped urban canyons. ...

Don't Say Anything Bad

Everybody knows what happened on 9/11/2001. Very few know that on 9/26/2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission told American municipalities that when they issue bonds for public projects, they should voluntarily "go beyond the limits ...

Blood on the Water

Are great white sharks snacking in our waters?

On the computer monitor in front of him is a photo of two smiling men standing on the deck of a boat. At their feet, facing the camera: the great white shark the diver found in the tuna cage.

The Idea Is to Make Something Beautiful

Ojai bohemians settle in Del Mar.

The telapia is seasoned with Spike. “I don’t use pepper, and I don’t use regular salt. They scared you away from salt 30, 40 years ago. We get a salt from, what is it, Utah?“

Smoke gets in their eyes

The annual "Excellence in Journalism Awards" will be handed out next Friday at a fancy banquet to be held by the San Diego Press Club at the posh Loews Coronado Bay Resort. But this year's ...

Memories of Beavis and Butt-Head

O Great God of Useless Information: On a recent Beavis and Butt-Head Show, our two favorite metalheads are at a tractor pull. One of the tractors goes out of control, knocking over outhouses and releasing ...

Chinese flies

Matt: In school there was a rumor that Chairman Mao convinced the population of China that everyone should participate in the Great Leap Forward and kill ten flies every day to help rid the country ...

John Beaver and Deanna Johnson

The long-distance relationship that worked out.

During their early college years, Miss Johnson and Mr. Beaver broke up for two years. “We had been together for so long. We both had growing up to do. We needed to go our separate ways.”

Thursday, September 23


Scientists tackle sleep.

The next time you lie in bed fuming over your inability to doze off, you might think of Randy Gardner. In the realm of sleeplessness, Gardner once made San Diego the center of the universe. ...

Explore Weir Canyon Park, an open space preserve bordering Anaheim Hills.

Weir Canyon Regional Park forms a belt of open space along the south edge of Anaheim -- not the familiar Disneyland/convention center/stadium part of that city, but the Anaheim Hills section, where new and newer ...

Sanitized History

Prof. Kevin Starr ignores our sins

The book tells us that La Jolla is a "posh suburb" of San Diego. "I know La Jolla is part of the city," says a chastened Starr. "That got by us."

Red Neighborhood, Blue Neighborhood

With the election approaching, I went looking several weeks ago for bumper stickers that might signal the way San Diego is leaning in the presidential race. My investigation got its impetus from an August 30 ...

Harmony Ron

What do a Santa Monica developer, a ritzy new subdivision proposed for North County's formerly sleepy Harmony Grove, and the San Diego mayor's race have in common? The answer is county supervisor Ron Roberts, who's ...

Mmmm ... toenail tacos!

Matt: I left some toenail clippings in the sink, and when I got home later, there was a stream of ants trying to carry them off. Usually they go for things like Popsicle sticks and ...

Déjà vu, Déjà vu, Déjà vu, Déjà vu

Hey Matt: Just wondering, is there any scientific explanation for having déjà vu? -- Julia, the net Hey, Grandma, haven't we answered this question before? Sounds familiar. "No. And I told you no the last ...

The Case of the Disappearing Dimples

Hey Matt: You answered a question once about what dimples are. I have dimples I my cheeks, and my fried said they could disappear. I don't think that's possible, but I was honestly wondering. I'm ...

Corey Allen and Cheryl Abitria

Touchy-feely in Vegas

Miss Abitria’s parents were less than thrilled. “My mom and dad are from the Philippines. They’re very traditional. They didn’t like the tattoos. My dad said, ‘This guy’s got a lot of baggage.’“

Thursday, September 16

Hive Mentality

How San Diego beekeepers deal with the African strain upon us

I love honey. I love honey! Like the bears. All day long my coffee has honey instead of sugar. My cereal has honey. My toast, honey on it. Always honey." David Rojas of San Marcos ...

How to get started in competitive eating

Dear Matthew Alice: I've been wondering about the current, regular winner of those eat-as-much-as-you-can contests on Coney Island. He's a skinny Japanese guy. Yet year after year he stuffs away more hotdogs into his gullet. ...

Walk narrow, curving byways to the top of East County's Mount Helix.

As day breaks on many a September or an October morning, cone-shaped Mount Helix floats like a desert island above the cool, sopping-wet marine layer. While walking up along the mountainside on mornings like these, ...

Pols Sabotage Coronado Train Plan

A funny thing has been happening to the old Coronado Branch Railroad on its way to recognition as a historical landmark. The California Historical Resources Commission designated the rail historic in the fall of 2001. ...

John, George, Alex, and Sol

As John Kerry and George W. Bush conduct campaign warfare over their respective service records and how they are portrayed by those so-called Section 527 political action committees, monied forces on both sides show no ...

Battle of San Diego Bay

Smugglers cruise into the harbor

After leaving San Diego the Betsy went south, cruising the lower California coast for furs. In a letter to his brother in Boston, Captain Winship boasted that he’d been stopping in Spanish ports, hoodwinking authorities.

Dave Duncan and Sherry Eden

Sherry proposes to Dave...who sleeps on it

“We shopped all day in the Diamond District in downtown L.A.” Mr. Duncan says. “It took eight hours. We went into more than eight stores.” “We found the stone at one store and the band at another.”

Thursday, September 9

Do we not know how to PARTY?

The high cost of diversion.

What do people spend money on when they go out Saturday night? I went to a variety of locations to ask a variety of people. I hit Horton Plaza downtown, the Belmont Park roller coaster ...

A garden for squares

Hey Matt! Why do they call Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden? It certainly isn't a garden, or square. Shouldn't they call it Madison Round Arena or something? Or maybe name it after a bank ...

Pardon my Danish? Pardon my Latvian?

Heymatt: Excuse my French, but why the f*** do people say "excuse my French" when they swear? -- DLJ, the net Everything naughty is French, yes? Well, the British think everything naughty is French. French ...

Stop staring at me from that bowl!

Hey: Do goldfish blink? -- Maria, Escondido Now Maria, you haven't been doing that Three Stooges eye-poke at your pet, have you? Tsk-tsk. Fish don�t have eyelids. No eyelids, no blinking. To make up for ...

High-altitude flies

Hey Matt: One day I was daydreaming out the window instead of working, in a high-rise building downtown. I noticed a fly parked on the widow outside. Being as I was on the 33rd floor, ...

Mountain Lion Hype

When reporters call him, says Bob Turner, he often thinks they have run out of airplane crashes. "The news media love mountain lions," he says. "They can hardly wait for attacks." So Turner wasn't surprised ...

No More Fun

Few spirits have flown as high and low as those of former employees of the now-deceased San Diego legend, Pacific Southwest Airlines. On September 24 and 25, alums of the old airline, known as PSA, ...

Cocktails at six

Mayor Dick Murphy, who's had much better luck staying ahead in reelection polls than building his long-promised new $150 million-something downtown library, is throwing an exclusive high-society bash tonight to hype yet another expensive design ...

Katie Kovacs and Josh Englefield

She thought of becoming a nun before Josh.

“I had dated other guys, I always had the sense that they wanted me for a trophy. Josh was different. It was as though he looked into me. He asked me questions and listened to the answers."

Friday, September 3

Hike through oaks and pines from Idyllwild all the way to timberline atop San Jacinto Peak

The San Jacinto Mountains, like many other mountain ranges in far Southern California and Baja California, are characterized by gradually sloping west slopes, and more steeply plunging east faces. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway lets ...

Thursday, September 2

Looking at Her Is Like Looking at Me

Is there a dark side to being a twin?

"A lot of people ask, 'What is it like sharing the same physical attributes?' I always look at my brother and I think that's what people think of me. We'll be going out, and I'll ...

A billion by any other name

Hey Matt: I know that a rose by any other name is still a rose, but why are a billion roses in the U.S. 999,000,000 fewer roses than I'd get if I asked for the ...

Hike to summit of Black Mountain

Climb Black Mountain in Rancho Peñasquitos for an inclusive view of San Diego's ancient marine terraces.

Too Smart For Their Own Good

In the 1940s, there was a satirical radio quiz show in which panelists were stumped by questions such as, "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" That show ennobled the words, "It pays to be ignorant." ...

No Right to Plant Cactus

One house stands out on the 3200 block of Galloway Drive in University City. While most of the houses are Cape Cod or ranch style and feature traditional lawn and shrub front yards, 42-year-old Anthony ...

Kevin Leinum and Breanne Taylor

Hey, Breanne Taylor, look here.

“We ended up playing volleyball that Sunday at South Mission Beach. I had told her on Friday that a group of us were going to play. A single woman wouldn’t show up. But there she was.”

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