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Moss Gropen and the Reader

Scripps Ranch's WWII history, para-mutuel clerks, Poway High wrestlers, Cactus Star Vineyard, San Diego piano bars

I’m hangin’ at Ballast Point. Hey, it’s pretty loud and there appear to be a goodly number of sub-30 folks here. - Image by Matthew Suárez
I’m hangin’ at Ballast Point. Hey, it’s pretty loud and there appear to be a goodly number of sub-30 folks here.
  • San Diego’s Secret Missile-Testing Sites

  • The first time I ventured beyond the gate, it was padlocked, so I scrambled up and over a low dirt embankment to the left and kept running. Obviously, I told myself, the gate — a rusted and bent relic of the Cold War — was meant solely to keep out vehicles; pedestrians were tacitly permitted, even expected.... (April 2, 2008)
  • Where do they go when the races are over?

  • And where do they go — not after the gates spring open — but after the race is run, after all their races are run? After the society matrons’ $1000 hats are back in the closet, after the losing pari-mutuel tickets have been picked up by the infield “stoopers,” after the last $7 beer has been drunk — where do they go? What happens to these well-bred equines. (7/13/11)
Priscilla Clark runs a horse retirement farm. “I’ve seen the most dastardly things, the most flagrant abuse. Anybody can see it. It’s not hidden.”
  • My house has wheels

  • “I’ve never been homeless before.” At least Osiris Murillo still has her car — where she and her three-year-old daughter will sleep tonight, behind the gates of a designated “safe lot” in an unsafe neighborhood. “I haven’t taken a shower in a week, and I’m getting stinky.” ( Nov. 30, 2011)
The gates open at 6 p.m. for an overnight stay at 28th and L Street in Grant Hill. The homeless have to be out by 6 a.m. (7 a.m. weekends).
  • Magic In A Bottle

  • “I’m ‘micro,’” quips Cullen, who’s also purple from head to toe. It’s pressing time at Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch and the crew — that would be Joe — is immersed in the process of turning just-picked clusters of Syrah grapes into young wine. (11/27/13)
Joe Cullen of Cactus Star Vineyard.
  • Steal Beer And Die

  • The bloodstains have long since faded, courtesy of Scram, sun, and time. More than a decade ago, in the parking lot of a Vons in Santee, Christopher St. Louis, 18, lost his life in the pursuit of free beer, shot by off-duty El Cajon police officer Tenaya Webb. (6/29/16)
  • Stop The Irrational Bike Bias

  • If the streets are underused and there’s room for the bicycle lanes, I have no problem with San Diego putting them in. They’re relatively cheap to install, assuming all you’re doing is re-painting lines or painting the bicycle lane green. That’s fine. The challenge is that when you have a lot of car traffic in that area, the bike lane will make congestion worse. ( 8/24/16)
  • Grappling With Success

  • On a sunny, dry, slightly crisp late-December day, I drive up Espola Road, past a succession of upscale horse properties, to Poway High. It’s here, in a leafy, tony neighborhood next to the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, that high-school wrestling reaches its apex, not only in California, but, some would argue, in the nation. (2/29/12)
Poway Titans in their locker room after a recent match with Mt. Carmel
  • San Diego’s Piano Bars

  • There’s an iron man caressing the ivories over on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, and if you miss his act this weekend, don’t worry; he may still be playing there 40 years from now. Pianist Scott Skinner, 68, started playing at the Godfather in 1977 and hasn’t missed a note since. (5/31/17)
Scott Skinner: “It seems like they drink less nowadays.”
  • Scripps Ranch – cows gone, rattlers remain

  • Let’s face it: if Gertie Stein had stumbled upon Scripps Ranch in an unplanned detour on the way to surveying the Stingaree in its dotage, she might have quipped, “There’s no ranch in the ranch.” It’s pretty damned hard to find. (11/8/17)
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I’m hangin’ at Ballast Point. Hey, it’s pretty loud and there appear to be a goodly number of sub-30 folks here. - Image by Matthew Suárez
I’m hangin’ at Ballast Point. Hey, it’s pretty loud and there appear to be a goodly number of sub-30 folks here.
  • San Diego’s Secret Missile-Testing Sites

  • The first time I ventured beyond the gate, it was padlocked, so I scrambled up and over a low dirt embankment to the left and kept running. Obviously, I told myself, the gate — a rusted and bent relic of the Cold War — was meant solely to keep out vehicles; pedestrians were tacitly permitted, even expected.... (April 2, 2008)
  • Where do they go when the races are over?

  • And where do they go — not after the gates spring open — but after the race is run, after all their races are run? After the society matrons’ $1000 hats are back in the closet, after the losing pari-mutuel tickets have been picked up by the infield “stoopers,” after the last $7 beer has been drunk — where do they go? What happens to these well-bred equines. (7/13/11)
Priscilla Clark runs a horse retirement farm. “I’ve seen the most dastardly things, the most flagrant abuse. Anybody can see it. It’s not hidden.”
  • My house has wheels

  • “I’ve never been homeless before.” At least Osiris Murillo still has her car — where she and her three-year-old daughter will sleep tonight, behind the gates of a designated “safe lot” in an unsafe neighborhood. “I haven’t taken a shower in a week, and I’m getting stinky.” ( Nov. 30, 2011)
The gates open at 6 p.m. for an overnight stay at 28th and L Street in Grant Hill. The homeless have to be out by 6 a.m. (7 a.m. weekends).
  • Magic In A Bottle

  • “I’m ‘micro,’” quips Cullen, who’s also purple from head to toe. It’s pressing time at Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch and the crew — that would be Joe — is immersed in the process of turning just-picked clusters of Syrah grapes into young wine. (11/27/13)
Joe Cullen of Cactus Star Vineyard.
  • Steal Beer And Die

  • The bloodstains have long since faded, courtesy of Scram, sun, and time. More than a decade ago, in the parking lot of a Vons in Santee, Christopher St. Louis, 18, lost his life in the pursuit of free beer, shot by off-duty El Cajon police officer Tenaya Webb. (6/29/16)
  • Stop The Irrational Bike Bias

  • If the streets are underused and there’s room for the bicycle lanes, I have no problem with San Diego putting them in. They’re relatively cheap to install, assuming all you’re doing is re-painting lines or painting the bicycle lane green. That’s fine. The challenge is that when you have a lot of car traffic in that area, the bike lane will make congestion worse. ( 8/24/16)
  • Grappling With Success

  • On a sunny, dry, slightly crisp late-December day, I drive up Espola Road, past a succession of upscale horse properties, to Poway High. It’s here, in a leafy, tony neighborhood next to the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, that high-school wrestling reaches its apex, not only in California, but, some would argue, in the nation. (2/29/12)
Poway Titans in their locker room after a recent match with Mt. Carmel
  • San Diego’s Piano Bars

  • There’s an iron man caressing the ivories over on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, and if you miss his act this weekend, don’t worry; he may still be playing there 40 years from now. Pianist Scott Skinner, 68, started playing at the Godfather in 1977 and hasn’t missed a note since. (5/31/17)
Scott Skinner: “It seems like they drink less nowadays.”
  • Scripps Ranch – cows gone, rattlers remain

  • Let’s face it: if Gertie Stein had stumbled upon Scripps Ranch in an unplanned detour on the way to surveying the Stingaree in its dotage, she might have quipped, “There’s no ranch in the ranch.” It’s pretty damned hard to find. (11/8/17)
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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