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Thirty Years Ago Word was out that Blood on the Tracks was Dylan's return home to serious stuff away from the karma clichés and kitsch he indulged in for kicks.... To me, sequestered in Clairemont and light-years removed from the magic of San Francisco (where grassroots rockers embody everything the fan wants to find in himself), the record seems like cheapshot cannibalizations of a dead style.

-- "POTSHOTS FROM CLAIREMONT," Ted Burke, March 13, 1975

Twenty-Five Years Ago Bada...received a number of samples from the museum, including a skull from the bluffs north of Del Mar and part of another that had been found at the site of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club when it was being built.... The skull fragment from La Jolla Shores had been dated at 44,000 years old, and the Del Mar skull at 48,000 years old.... Six years after his announcement Bada's date for the Del Mar skull remains unaccepted by the majority of anthropologists and archaeologists in the United States.

-- "ON THE PATH OF THE OLD ONES," Gordon Smith, March 13, 1980

Twenty Years Ago Wars come and go, governments rise and fall, but fishing remains an eternal verity. And for Ed Lam, fishing has been an escape into peace that netted an unwanted notoriety. He started out trying to catch some fresh catfish on Lake Murray one day and finds himself with honors bestowed by national sportsmen's magazines and constant recognition by fishermen. "People come to shake my hand all the time," says the diminutive Vietnamese. "Sometimes I have to hide. Out on the lakes, sounds carry half a mile, and I hear 'Where's Ed Lam, where's Ed Lam?' They try to follow me. Sometimes I pull my hat down so they don't know who I am."

-- CITY LIGHTS: "THE CATFISH KING," Neal Matthews, March 14, 1985

Fifteen Years Ago It's ALWAYS tragic to step on a snail. Lawn snails...street snails (in precincts where applicable)...pond snails. Crunch, they're done: could Arthur effing Miller be tragicker? Tramper yer own snail, tho, and you've reached the acme -- the ajax! -- the pinnacle of a gastropod illfortune. (Aeschylus could not do you justice.)

You...me...you would have to be dwunk and I was. Couple beers, me and my snail, the petite little slimmer was outside my door in the rain. Streetlamps reflecting off his delicate shell, I lifted cautiously with midfinger and thumb, inviting him in for a Pabst Blue Ribbon. We shared a sudsy glass: he, crawling upside the vessel with shell in tow, bending down at the lip to dip face in froth; I sipping/slugging in conventional manner.


Ten Years Ago The children's father was in his last year of graduate school. We were dirt poor. Some mornings I was so depressed I could barely turn on the flame under the coffeepot. No matter how hard I scrubbed, the stove stayed dirty. The linoleum stayed dirty. Hems undid themselves on the girls' dresses. They scribbled in their Little Golden Books. Sarah, one morning, hit Rebecca in the eye with a hammer. "I want her to watch me and not Captain Kangaroo" is why she said she did it. I married too young. I was still wild. How would I tame myself? He couldn't. Meals cooked, pots scrubbed, floors swept, husband's huge shirts ironed with no creases on the difficult plackets, vegetable gardens, canning, picking, preserving, sewing the girls' dresses, scrub, scrub, scrub: I made myself do it.

-- "BARBARIAN PIE PLANT," Judith Moore, March 9, 1995

Five Years Ago "If I listened to everybody's opinion I'd go crazy," says Poltz, wiping his mouth after we put back two kamikazes at the Arizona Café. "Like when I was dating Jewel and playing in her band, I got this one review. It said, 'Jewel attracts -- boyfriend distracts.' If I hear a song of mine on the radio, I'll turn it off because I don't want to listen to what the DJ says afterward. I like to play my life with blinders on."


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