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Thirty Years Ago Joe Gordon, a cook at the Black Angus, is one of the customers who bought a Muntz on credit from Webb. Gordon, who lives alone, has had his giant screen for nine months. He watches it from 3:30 in the afternoon to 11:00 every night. "I turn the lights on to read sometimes and the picture is still fine," he says. "I never did go to that many movies. Outside of work, it's pretty much my life. I got nothing better to do." -- "ATTACK OF THE GIANT SCREEN," Rich Louv, November 23, 1976

Twenty-Five Years Ago Upon our arrival in Huntington Harbor, there were lipstick-smeared kisses and hearty cheek-pinchings along with the annual tour of the envied suburban house (all the guests lived in urban apartments). We praised gray wool carpeting, wallpaper, and knotty-pine paneling, all installed in record time by Aunt Lil, who was a hyperactive do-it-yourselfer. But if a guest was more than 15 minutes overdue, there was much worrying, followed by frenetic phone calls. "We're ready to start eating," came the anxious missive from the great-aunt standing nearest the stove. "You're holding everyone up," my grandmother always added, causing latecomers to drive 90 miles per hour (with Long Island police on their heels) in order to assuage the alarmists. -- "THANKSGIVINGS, MISGIVINGS," Sue Garson, November 19, 1981

Twenty Years Ago The new policy at Horton Plaza forces all employees to park outside the plaza's 2400-space, seven-level garage during November and December to make room for the expected crush of holiday shoppers. Many of the women do not get off work until after dark, which makes for a sometimes frightening walk to their cars. "I feel they're putting our lives on the line," says Barbara Maza, an hourly employee in the Broadway's cosmetic department. -- CITY LIGHTS: "THEIR OWN SPACE," William Olsen, November 20, 1986

Fifteen Years Ago I was getting my boots shined in one of those step-up shoeshine stalls you find all over Tijuana. I settled in with a copy of £Alarma!, Mexico's premier blood-drenched tabloid. As usual, it was full of satisfying lurid pictures, massacred cops, train-killed bodies.We were on the corner of Ninth. A tan-clad arm flashed into the booth, its hard fist closing on my wrist. A cop! I jerked: Oh my God! I'm busted! -- CITY LIGHTS: "TIJUANA COPS DON'T GET NO RESPECT," Luis Urrea, November 21, 1991

Ten Years Ago Friday, October 25. Full moon over Mount Soledad. After watching The Simpsons, I clicked to a Discovery Channel documentary on "The Integratron," a kind of rejuvenator time machine/electromagnetic-field generator built in Joshua Tree by a skilled lunatic named George Van Tassel. He supposedly built it under the direction of aliens. Santa Anas blew hard from the northeast that October night. Clouds moved across the sky like morphing feathers, bones, angel's wings, and shredded wedding gowns. I was bored and felt the need for "strange." The phone rang.

It was Paul "Stinky" Kamanski from Comanche Moon. "Get your Spam-fed ass over here. We're going to the desert. It's the Gram Parsons Memorial Concert thing. Caren and I are going to play. Ben Wah Torres will be there. We're leaving at 8:30 a.m. Signs and portents in the air, man."

"You mean Ben Fong-Torres." -- SCENE: "FUDGE AND PARANOIA," John Brizzolara, November 14, 1996

Five Years Ago "I left Islam, I converted from Islam, because of the violence. The constant threat of violence. And so, to me, the nonviolence of Jesus, the pacifism he advocated, seemed remarkable. "You have to understand that, in the country I'm from, conversion from Islam carries a death sentence. People from the West don't understand this. If you watch CNN, you wouldn't understand this. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not being dramatic." -- "SHEEP AND GOATS," Abe Opincar, November 15, 2001

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