Thirty Years Ago
Dear Matthew Alice:
How did the word “pot” come to stand for marijuana? Does it have anything to do with the old joke about people “going to pot”?
Julie Simms, North Park
No. “Pot” is derived from the Spanish phrase, potación de guaya, which refers to a very potent drink made with wine and the seedpods of cannabis.
— STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, February 16, 1978
Twenty-Five Years Ago
I doubt that I could make you appreciate the revulsion I felt while reading Francesca Da Leo’s enchanting little tale, “When Opposites Attract.” Da Leo couldn’t have chosen a more inappropriate title. She and her lover were very much alike; in addition to their mutual addiction to pain, they were the most self-destructive pair I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about.
I read her article with the same kind of morbid fascination that captures one when reading similar tales of the wondrous, convoluted, and bizarre. Call me old-fashioned, call me passé, thrown out with leisure suits, Sonny Bono, beehive hairdos, and other bygones, but I was brought up believing in relationships where the partners didn’t try to kill each other.
— LETTERS: ”DA LEO TAKES A BEATING,” Randy Opincar, February 17, 1983
Twenty Years Ago
Commodore Dave Rosier and the old salts at the Kona Kai Yacht Club figured it was a joke, an inside job, so they didn’t panic when their America’s Schooner Cup trophy was heisted from the Kona Kai’s Shelter Island clubhouse last December. They admit that the club
hadn’t treated the big brass trophy with the sort of respect due the winners of the Kona Kai’s annual charity yacht race.
— CITY LIGHTS: “THE PURLOINED TROPHY,” Paul Krueger, February 18, 1988
Fifteen Years Ago
It was January 1963 and my Great & Good Friend (Henry Luce’s apt phrase) Audrey Hepburn was here on a semi-secret getaway weekend. Up in Tinseltown she and Cary Grant were making Charade, an imitation-Hitchcock comedy-thriller directed by Stanley Donen. The film was supposed to have been shot on location in Paris, but because of budget problems (Cary’s salary!) the studio decided to economize and film it all on a soundstage in Universal City. “It’s all soo diresome,” Audrey sighed over drinks at the top of El Cortez.
— SAN DIEGO CONFIDENTIAL: “WHEN AUDREY HEPBURN CAME TO TOWN,” The Old Flack, February 18, 1993
Ten Years Ago
It can now be considered official. Titanic, nine consecutive weeks as America’s Number One Movie, is a phenomenon, a status recognized by a “Column One” piece in the Los Angeles Times. My favorite remark to surface from the struggles of fans and pundits to understand the Significance of the phenomenon came from a 30-year-old professional woman: “I want what they had. [They being Jack and Rose, Leonardo and Kate.]” This edged out a couple of other cockle-warming remarks from, first, the Internet correspondent who testified, “After seeing this movie, I’m a completely different person. I respect life more.”
— MOVIE REVIEW: “AS DEEP AS IT GETS,” Duncan Shepherd, February 19, 1998
Five Years Ago
Poet Quincy Troupe, forced to quit his professorship at UCSD after it was revealed he had lied about graduating from Louisiana’s Grambling State University, is making a comeback of sorts. He’s on the poetry-reading circuit, latest stop Kansas City, where he told a reporter for the Star that he was kicked out of college for fighting with the locals. “I went [to Grambling] with a friend of mine, and you know, people in Kansas City and St. Louis, we dress real well. We were really hip dressers, and I knew about [jazz] and Charlie Parker and all that stuff, and they didn’t like that we were getting all the girls.”
— CITY LIGHTS: “HE’S BACK,” Matt Potter, February 13, 2003