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Original ideas

Men imagine life as a woman, "Okie" as a racial eptithet, and same-name similarities (or not)

Jay Borden: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to give birth to a child." - Image by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
Jay Borden: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to give birth to a child."

If I’d been born a woman

Ask any man you know if he’d like to be a woman, you get an automatic “No.” Too messy. Too emotional. Too hard. Most men can’t imagine going through their lives as anything but male. One San Diego man, born Lebanese, recoiled when asked to consider what his life would have been like had he been born a woman. “You might as well ask me to imagine how my life would have been different had I been born a Martian,” he said.

By Leslie Ryland, May 16, 2002 | Read full article

Massey's wear-faded jeans were cinched with a belt into whose bronze buckle had been cast a cowboy riding a brahma bull.

Oklahoma OK

Remembering a home state.

Beginning in the mid-Thirties, the pejorative term "Okie" — an epithet as contemptuous of its object as "kike," "nigger," "wop" — applied not only to Oklahomans, but to any Midwesterner or Southwesterner who after the Depression and Dust Bowl made the trek to the West Coast. As well, because most Depression/Dust Bowl migrants were Caucasian, "Okie" tended to carry, in its power to insult, the inference than an Okie was "poor white trash." I wondered, did Californians still refer to Oklahoma migrants as "Okies"?

By Judith Moore, Dec. 1 , 1988 | Read full article

As Near As I Recall

A number of San Diegans were called on the telephone and asked to recite, on the spur of the moment, any poem they might know by heart. Some were up to the task; Laura Buxton didn't miss a beat. Michael Davidson immediately launched into Middle English; Jim Sills rattled off "Invictus" with dramatic flair. But a few struggled and were allowed to call back. (Clocking responses, though, there didn't seem enough time for them to dash to the library.)

By Sue Greenberg, October 18, 1990 | Read full article

Rodolfo Curiel shares something strangely in common with other prominent San Diegans — he lived in San Diego, California. Curiel was a linebacker for Serra High School's team in the late '80s, and his picture hangs on the "Wall of Fame" in the Round Table Pizza in Tierrasanta.

San Diego, Texas

Our tiny, Southern namesake and its vast, luminous sky.

Our namesake lies due west of Corpus Christi, past flat miles of sorghum, wheat and cotton fields, and towns with shops smelling of blood that, for pennies per pounds, will butcher the deer you shot and mount its head. Farther west the fields disappear, towns become fewer, the land becomes inexhaustible in breadth and texture. "If it's got thorns on it, then we got it in South Texas," is what they say down here, a half-boast meaning that they're tough enough to ride harsh scrub, or at least their ancestors were.

By Abe Opincar, January 27, 1994 | Read full article

The author in 1983. According to a national search, there are 682 Patrick Daughertys living in the United States of America who are listed in phone books. In San Diego and Imperial Counties there are five.

What if we’d been named Edward?

How would I have reacted to the sound of another name, to the feel of being called Edward or Charles or Dexter by every human being I met over a span of 50 years? Would that have changed who I turned out to be?

I decided I could never know what had not occurred, and I don't have the option of changing my name now and then waiting 50 years to see what would happen. So, I figured the next best step was to find other Patrick Daughertys. What do they think about our name? What kind of people have they become?

According to a national search, there are 682 Patrick Daughertys living in the United States of America who are listed in phone books. In San Diego and Imperial Counties there are five.

By Patrick Daugherty, Dec. 1, 1994 | Read full article

Northeast corner: Matt and Pat Burke, Anza-Borrego. “That’s where Harry Oliver had the paddy fields dug. He was the associate art director for the 1936 film The Good Earth."

Coyote. Tarantula. Silence. Sea.

The four corners of San Diego County.

In the ‘30s, Harry Oliver came to where the badlands begin and San Diego County ends. He built stone walls and peasant dwellings, cut up the ground and poured in water to make it look like the paddy fields of prerevolution China for Pearl Buck’s classic story.

We’re standing among the ocotillos. Kangaroo mice burrow here, in the red earth, a couple of hundred yards from where The Good Earth’s Wang Lung and O-Lan (Paul Muni and Luise Rainer) tilled their paddy, had their children and killed their beloved cow when the famine came.

“They also shot Bugsy over there, on the other side of the valley,” says Pat, Matt’s brother. “Built the Flamingo, bits of Vegas, everything.”

By Bill Manson, March 16,1995 | Read full article

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Jay Borden: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to give birth to a child." - Image by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
Jay Borden: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to give birth to a child."

If I’d been born a woman

Ask any man you know if he’d like to be a woman, you get an automatic “No.” Too messy. Too emotional. Too hard. Most men can’t imagine going through their lives as anything but male. One San Diego man, born Lebanese, recoiled when asked to consider what his life would have been like had he been born a woman. “You might as well ask me to imagine how my life would have been different had I been born a Martian,” he said.

By Leslie Ryland, May 16, 2002 | Read full article

Massey's wear-faded jeans were cinched with a belt into whose bronze buckle had been cast a cowboy riding a brahma bull.

Oklahoma OK

Remembering a home state.

Beginning in the mid-Thirties, the pejorative term "Okie" — an epithet as contemptuous of its object as "kike," "nigger," "wop" — applied not only to Oklahomans, but to any Midwesterner or Southwesterner who after the Depression and Dust Bowl made the trek to the West Coast. As well, because most Depression/Dust Bowl migrants were Caucasian, "Okie" tended to carry, in its power to insult, the inference than an Okie was "poor white trash." I wondered, did Californians still refer to Oklahoma migrants as "Okies"?

By Judith Moore, Dec. 1 , 1988 | Read full article

As Near As I Recall

A number of San Diegans were called on the telephone and asked to recite, on the spur of the moment, any poem they might know by heart. Some were up to the task; Laura Buxton didn't miss a beat. Michael Davidson immediately launched into Middle English; Jim Sills rattled off "Invictus" with dramatic flair. But a few struggled and were allowed to call back. (Clocking responses, though, there didn't seem enough time for them to dash to the library.)

By Sue Greenberg, October 18, 1990 | Read full article

Rodolfo Curiel shares something strangely in common with other prominent San Diegans — he lived in San Diego, California. Curiel was a linebacker for Serra High School's team in the late '80s, and his picture hangs on the "Wall of Fame" in the Round Table Pizza in Tierrasanta.

San Diego, Texas

Our tiny, Southern namesake and its vast, luminous sky.

Our namesake lies due west of Corpus Christi, past flat miles of sorghum, wheat and cotton fields, and towns with shops smelling of blood that, for pennies per pounds, will butcher the deer you shot and mount its head. Farther west the fields disappear, towns become fewer, the land becomes inexhaustible in breadth and texture. "If it's got thorns on it, then we got it in South Texas," is what they say down here, a half-boast meaning that they're tough enough to ride harsh scrub, or at least their ancestors were.

By Abe Opincar, January 27, 1994 | Read full article

The author in 1983. According to a national search, there are 682 Patrick Daughertys living in the United States of America who are listed in phone books. In San Diego and Imperial Counties there are five.

What if we’d been named Edward?

How would I have reacted to the sound of another name, to the feel of being called Edward or Charles or Dexter by every human being I met over a span of 50 years? Would that have changed who I turned out to be?

I decided I could never know what had not occurred, and I don't have the option of changing my name now and then waiting 50 years to see what would happen. So, I figured the next best step was to find other Patrick Daughertys. What do they think about our name? What kind of people have they become?

According to a national search, there are 682 Patrick Daughertys living in the United States of America who are listed in phone books. In San Diego and Imperial Counties there are five.

By Patrick Daugherty, Dec. 1, 1994 | Read full article

Northeast corner: Matt and Pat Burke, Anza-Borrego. “That’s where Harry Oliver had the paddy fields dug. He was the associate art director for the 1936 film The Good Earth."

Coyote. Tarantula. Silence. Sea.

The four corners of San Diego County.

In the ‘30s, Harry Oliver came to where the badlands begin and San Diego County ends. He built stone walls and peasant dwellings, cut up the ground and poured in water to make it look like the paddy fields of prerevolution China for Pearl Buck’s classic story.

We’re standing among the ocotillos. Kangaroo mice burrow here, in the red earth, a couple of hundred yards from where The Good Earth’s Wang Lung and O-Lan (Paul Muni and Luise Rainer) tilled their paddy, had their children and killed their beloved cow when the famine came.

“They also shot Bugsy over there, on the other side of the valley,” says Pat, Matt’s brother. “Built the Flamingo, bits of Vegas, everything.”

By Bill Manson, March 16,1995 | Read full article

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