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Thirty Years Ago
“Apocalypse At Last,” Duncan Shepherd’s long-awaited review, which appeared in the November 29 Reader, once again demonstrates his clannish and misinformed view of American film. Apocalypse Now is unquestionably the best American film of 1979 and the most powerful film yet to deal with the Vietnam War. It is also one of the classic war films of this century.

American movies come off as foolish flops too often in Shepherd’s writings. The rare one out of fifteen or twenty that receives praise is, too often, obscure or foreign-made.
LETTERS: “APOCALIPS,” Tom Condelles, San Diego, December 13, 1979

Twenty-Five Years Ago
The Los Angeles Times has paid dearly to crack the San Diego newspaper market. Millions have been lavished on radio and billboard promotions of the paper’s six-year-old “San Diego County Edition,” and millions more spent to support a 45-person editorial staff. Precious little of this expenditure has been recouped from the sale of advertising: fewer than one-third of the sixty ads in Sunday’s local sections were placed by area retailers.

To neutralize this “outsider” image, the words “Los Angeles” are no longer mentioned in radio and newsstand advertisements for the paper. Promotions for the newly expanded editorial page, for example, simply refer to “The Times, San Diego County Edition.”
THE INSIDE STORY, Paul Krueger, December 13, 1984

Twenty Years Ago
Really, I’ve got no answers ’bout Santa. Or if not none let’s call it few. Is Santa symptomatic relief for the seasonal hand-as-dealt, f’rinstance, symptomatic relief within the hand-as-dealt, or simply (in a nutshell) the hand-as-dealt? Can’t answer that one, I would really kinda love to but no, cannot — not even after scorching my weenie on the pyre of empirical knowing.

The sacrifice, the offering: to be Santa, if only for a day. Less than a day actually, but those hours really drag. In some ways it was worse than a trip to the dentist.
I, SANTA,” Richard Meltzer, December 14, 1989

Fifteen Years Ago
Looking at Imperial Beach today, there are two things to remember — make that three. First, after six decades of sewage hell, the end is in sight, ground has been broken. That’s right, buckaroo, phase one has begun: a 42-inch diameter pipeline to be finished by December 1996. That line will return overflow sewage to the Tijuana sewer system.
ONE TOUGH TOWN,” Patrick Daugherty, December 8, 1994

Ten Years Ago
This is exactly the room I’ve been afraid of all my life. A place where I have landed in middle age. Somehow I have failed, this time thoroughly. I find myself on a hard mattress with unnamable stains. It is covered with a tattered and faded Crayola-green polyester bedspread.
“THE ZEN OF FLOP,” John Brizzolara, December 9, 1999

Five Years Ago
“Hey, I’m going to come get you. You can help me move our new TV,” my cousin Joe informed me over a crackling cell-phone connection.

“What?” I asked through static, “What kind of TV do you need two people to carry?”

“Actually, Jeremy’s here.”

Even though his “old” 27-inch flat screen was in perfect condition, he was getting a new larger set, which apparently required three young men to lift.

It won’t fit through the front door — the front door to Sears, for cryin’ out loud. That must be a refrigerator for someone else... My doubts were put to rest when Joe sprang from the tailgate to help the sales clerk free the monstrosity from its cardboard confines and tug the TV through the door. The four of us hoisted it from its cart and shoved it into the pickup bed, “Good lord, I’m going to get a hernia,” I grunted.

“Hey,” my cousin responded. “You want to watch a lifesize American Chopper? Then shut it.”
REMOTE CONTROL KING, Ollie, December 9, 2004

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