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Thirty Years Ago
To the little Hmong girl, it was emblematic of her Southeast Asian culture’s remedy for chest colds; to the La Mesa elementary school nurse, who noticed the burn blisters along the girl’s spine, collarbones, and ribs, it was a possible instance of child abuse; to the La Mesa police, apprised of the Hmong girl’s burns last fall, it became a case of mistaken cultural identity. “Some kind of ritual curing,” deadpanned detective Dave Baskem. “Her torso was slightly burned in the shape of her skeleton.” The case was not pursued.

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Last summer Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department offered to share with California its unwanted grizzly bears, which have been getting into trouble with ranchers in the Big Sky Country just as they did here more than a century ago.

In 1846, when Californians rose up in revolt and declared their independence from Mexico, it was the grizzly bear that was depicted (somewhat crudely) on the flag of the Bear Flag Republic, and in this form the image of the grizzly bear haunts us still.
“BRING BACK THE GRIZZLIES,” Steve Sorensen, March 13, 1986

Twenty Years Ago
Mission Valley was not supposed to flood again. At least that’s what city officials said before spending $29 million to widen, deepen, and straighten the San Diego River. Despite these anti-flood efforts, a recent storm left a large chunk of Mission Valley underwater. And some property owners and city staff say the flood-control program is to blame.
CITY LIGHTS: “MILDEW VALLEY,” Colin Flaherty, March 14, 1991

Fifteen Years Ago
Fargo, outside of the opening scene in the titular North Dakota city, takes place in Minnesota. Joel and Ethan Coen were born and raised in Minnesota. I, too, was born and raised there. So the Minnesota connection may need to be taken into account should I say something rash and lavish and un-Minnesotan such as, for example, that this is a movie I have been waiting my entire life for; or that I cannot remember when I have laughed so much and so hard at a movie (maybe Modern Romance, 1981); or that it is the first movie I have seen in just short of a decade (dating back to Alain Resnais’s Life Is a Bed of Roses, actually a 1983 movie) that I might seriously have to consider numbering among my all-time favorites. But let me sit with that awhile; sit through it another time or two; see how I feel about it then.
MOVIE REVIEW: “MORE THAN MONEY,” Duncan Shepherd, March 7, 1996

Ten Years Ago
Listening to Father Moreno were mostly well turned-out women in inky black wool, or dense tweed, or long dark cashmere wraps. While he talked, I studied the Missal, a polemical version published in Mexico that offered frequent lessons on the dangers posed by both wealth and Protestant missionaries. I would have liked to have spoken with Father Moreno about the Missal. After Mass, I introduced myself, told him where I was from, and what I was interested in.

“I don’t speak English,” he said in Spanish. “Not a single word. You can’t interview me.”

“But we’re speaking Spanish,” I said.

“Look,” he said, in Spanish, waving my business card in his face. “I don’t want to talk to you.”
SHEEP AND GOATS, Abe Opincar, March 8, 2001

Five Years Ago
[Graham] Nash used to shoot album cover photos, and I asked him how he felt about cover art not being the art form it used to be. He said, “Do you look at CD covers? You used to smoke a joint and just stare at [album covers].”... I told him I liked the album cover for Deja Vu. He said, “That would never be done now. It cost 68 cents an album, and that was for albums that were selling for two dollars. Each photo had to be glued on the cover by hand.”

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