Portrait of a Woman had arrived with a murky yellow coat of varnish and with 300 years’ accumulation of dirt.
  • Portrait of a Woman had arrived with a murky yellow coat of varnish and with 300 years’ accumulation of dirt.
  • Image by David Covey
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Preserving the Masters

One day when he was on the top of the scaffolding in one comer of the hall, he came upon an inscription on a battle flag. It read, cerca trova — he who seeks shall find. “I took it personally,” said Asmus, “and kept on looking.” At last he did find signs of the Leonardo. A small hole was drilled and traces uncovered; but Leonardo’s battle scene had been scraped away, a victim of political censorship.

By Amy Chu, April 26, 1979 | Read full article

“Give ’em to me,” she says, reaching for my fingers. “Just let me have ’em.”

Annalisa’s File

"A lady came for a pedicure. She took off her shoes and walked across the tile floor. Her toenails looked like dog claws. I swear to you. They were yellow. They curled down over her toes. They clicked. I looked at her and thought, ‘Oh God, I can’t let you walk around like that.’ Her toenails were incredibly thick. And her cuticle had grown over her nails. It took me over two hours to file it off."

By Judith Moore, Dec. 22, 1988 | Read full article

Geology tools. “Fossils are pretty things." Kern stirs the collection of inch-high, pale pink cones with his index finger. “Aren’t those wonderful?”

Under a Rock

The major seismic threats to San Diego, Kern conjectures are the Coronado Banks fault zone, which runs north and south a few miles offshore; the well-known Rose Canyon fault, in the Morena area of the city, slicing into the ocean at La Jolla Shores, which may be connected to the Inglewood fault; and the Elsinore fault, running north and south through the Dulzura area of East County and curving oceanward in Los Angeles.

By Mary Lang, May 11, 1989 | Read full article

Clifford Newman: “Lady, that’s a good way to get yourself killed!” He glanced past her shoulder, pretending to see someone behind her.

You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You'll Wonder What the Hell Is This?

"Yeah, it was like — as a child conspirator — I’m going to work tonight, and they won’t be able to kill me tonight. I bet they can’t kill me tonight! One time, a guy was standin’ there, holdin’ a gun on me, and I jumped on the counter on my hands and knees and barked at him like a dog. He put the gun on the counter and backed out of the store.”

By Mani Mir, April 12, 1990 | Read full article

"Shoe people are always commission. That’s your paycheck. If I sell the shoe, I walk away with the two dollars in my paycheck. If you were paid a flat $200 a week and that's it, you couldn't care less."

If You Can Sell Shoes, You Can Sell Anything

“Plastic doesn't breathe. Plastic burns my feet. Lot of people have that reaction to it. Now with cloth, you have a shoe made out of that, it loses its shape in no time at all. Leather tends to hold its shape. The nice real soft glove leather, which is too soft, you put it on and you say, oh beautiful, but it won’t hold the foot and you need something that will hold the foot."

By Judith Moore, Nov. 21, 1991 | Read full article

The director was escorted outside and asked to leave. Someone must have taken him home that night, but no one in the cast ever saw him again.

Break a Leg

In 1993, Hal Holbrook was performing King Lear in the title role. Tom Hall, a San Diego actor, likes to tell the story. Hal came on too soon and started a completely different scene. When he noticed another character, played by Bill Anton, onstage, Hal realized he was in the wrong scene. He blurted out, “Oops, excuse me." In the next scene he got a standing ovation. Only Hal Holbrook could elicit such a response.

By John Moore, Oct. 5, 1995 | Read full article

Gene Williams at the Ascot Shop in La Jolla

The Boots Are Looking Better Now

“I do this for the cause, the family cause. And I’m good at it. I’ve had people come to me and tell me I’m the best. But if I was forced to do it, I wouldn’t be that good anymore. You understand that? There’s a part of me that could drop it anytime. Just walk away. But I still choose to hang on a little bit longer ... a little bit longer. I’ve got 'mad money' in a coffee can.”

By John Brizzolara, Aug. 15, 1996 | Read full article

Gerald Davee. “When I’m trying a jury case, I wear no jewelry of any kind except maybe a watch and my ring."

The District Attorney Is a Pretty Good Dresser

“If I’m going to a settlement conference before a judge, and I’ve got a big case, and I want a lot of money, I don't go in looking like some pauper. I go looking like a guy in his best suit that deserves the money, that has money, gets money, and has a reputation for getting money. That’s the impression you want to create. It’s different than for a jury. For a settlement, I’d be happy to go in wearing the best suit I have.”

By Leslie Ryland, Jan. 29, 1998 | Read full article

Don Madison and Otis. “I haven’t really trained Otis to do that. It’s in his blood."

Get Out

“The driver said, 'We hunt where we want to hunt,' and I heard a click. I've been around guns long enough to recognize the sound of a gun being cocked. The guy in the passenger seat had the potato chip bag on his lap and his hand was inside of it, holding a gun. I said, ‘I wouldn’t make any sudden moves. The guy behind the bush over there’s got a 12-gauge on you right now.’”

By Ernie Grimm, April 22, 1999 | Read full article

You’re tired, and they’re still 18.

Illustration by Greg High

He’s a Teaching Machine

Matson adds that some teachers are hardly innocent. “I have known adjuncts that have stolen equipment, like projectors and VCRs, and their rationalization is that the school they work for owes it to them. The school steals from them, they figure. And it gives them the option, a 40- or 50-year-old man, ‘If you don’t like it, go out on the street and beg.’ Then the rationalization, ‘I’ll steal from you.’”

By Joe Deegan, April 22, 1999 | Read full article

San Diego recreation map. "Most of the maps in America are not readable."

Color My World

Among the Hesses’ collection are a reproduction of a 15th-century ports map of the Mediterranean, the original colorfully painted on hide; a 19th-century street map of Berlin, with a florid cartouche, bordered with etchings of the city’s most significant buildings; a 19th-century map of Africa, all but the coastline completely blank; and a USGS map of Oceanside from the 1890s, the city a small dot near the huge Agua Hedionda ranch.

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