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Best Reader stories from 2002

Normal Heights, TJ morgue, Dad's in Poway, Waldorf School, bird atlas, Cheetah's, tugboats

Stone Temple Pilots at Bodie’s, 1993. Mark Gariss of the local band Radio Wendy had printed up black T-shirts that read, “STP ain’t from SD.” A group of his friends wore the shirts to the show at Bodie’s.
Stone Temple Pilots at Bodie’s, 1993. Mark Gariss of the local band Radio Wendy had printed up black T-shirts that read, “STP ain’t from SD.” A group of his friends wore the shirts to the show at Bodie’s.
  • He's sad for ships

  • DeRosset doesn’t speak abstractly about his work. He’s a storyteller. “What’s really nice,” he told me before I’d had a chance to see the painting at the church, “is that I’ve got the crew of the smack waving to the crew on the deck of the Titanic. The fishermen are cold, wet, and miserable. It could have been either a good trip or a bad trip for them.
  • By Jeanne Schinto, Dec. 19, 2002
  • North of Adams was like what south of Adams is now.

  • “I’d lie awake at night and think, ‘I am in hell.’ I’d get up in the morning and think, ‘I am in hell.’ At one point we had heavy trucks making 200 to 300 trips down our street. “The entire house shook. My teeth rattled. The vibration was damaging the foundations of our homes. Dust was everywhere. You couldn’t open your windows. Very quickly I felt a kind of panic. Terror. I’d sunk my life savings into buying this tiny house."
  • By Abe Opincar, Nov. 27, 2002
John Hussler: "I walked in the front door, and a woman kicked a chair in front of me. Just to let me know, I guess, that men were basically not welcome."
  • The death of Judy Huscher

  • The body lies in a position of repose, a 12-year-old girl in pajamas, on her bed, in Fallbrook, California. Her blue eyes, though open, see nothing, and for ten more minutes, no one sees her. No one knows yet that the sheets and Judy’s pajama top are stained with chocolate, that her neck is stained with chocolate, that a section of yellow toilet paper on the bed beside her is stained with chocolate.
  • By Laura McNeal, Nov. 7, 2002
Lorraine Flippen, Judy, and Gladys, Live Oak Park, 1948. Lorraine’s face is blurred with happiness, and Gladys looks efficient and capable, leaning over Judy to scoop something out of a jar.
  • Grateful to the dead

  • “And at the end of the dissection, I will show you why dissection is important. I will show you the precise points you will need to inject in order to anesthetize either the right or left front corner of the mouth. You’re going to see exactly where these points are, between the first and second bicuspid. When you work with patients, you won’t be able to see these points beneath the tissue."
  • By Abe Opincar, Oct. 31, 2002
Dr. Luis Antonio Martínez and student. “Every week, while I’m driving to the university to do a dissection, I apologize to the people whose bodies we use."
  • Real hardcore true punk

  • The roots of the San Diego music scene run deep. Musicians who began gigging around town in the mid- to late 1980s later became the bedrock of the diverse early ’90s scene, which included bands like Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Inch, and Three Mile Pilot. The musicians of this generation emerged from a rough punk and hardcore climate to form more melodic, lyrically based bands that caught the attention of major labels when the frenzied buzz of grunge broke in Seattle.
  • By Daniel Ridge, Oct. 17, 2002
  • Friday night at Dad's

  • So what do you do when you’re stoned in a garage in Sabre Springs on a Friday night? You go somewhere else. Maybe a place where there is music and dancing, vodka and tequila, and spinning, stuttering colored lights.When you look around Dad’s Café and Steakhouse at 8:30 on a summer Friday evening, you can hardly believe this is the place where Brenda van Dam allegedly asked Cherokee Youngs, “Do you like girls?”
  • By Jill Underwood, John Brizzolara, Ken Leighton, Sue Greenberg, Aug. 1, 2002
Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse. Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s.
  • The San Diego Bird Atlas Project

  • Tom's wife, Ann, said that things had changed completely since the last time she and Tom were here in V17. "In the spring, this was neck-high grasses! We got lost, separated from each other a couple of times. We were tripped by the logs that were hidden and fell on our faces....She lifted her binoculars. "There's a California towhee," she said, pointing the lenses at a place on the ground about 100 yards away.
  • By Jeanne Schinto, July 11, 2002
Philip Unitt: “A group of us talked about doing an atlas in 1978. But as time went on, the other people fell by the wayside until I was the only one left."
  • Cheetah's thrives with lap dancing

  • Toni Atkins and Jim Madaffer, two city council aides who were running to replace their bosses, collected sizable contributions from many donors with strip-club connections, including employees and dancers at Cheetahs. A year later, Ralph Inzunza and Charles Lewis, two other council aides seeking to succeed their bosses, also received substantial financial support from employees of Cheetahs.
  • By Matt Potter, May 2, 2002
  • Follow me

  • The Waldorf School attracts people whose children are, for various reasons, not thriving in the public schools, and it attracts those who wouldn’t want their children to thrive in the public schools. It attracts iconoclasts, idealists, environmentalists, homeschoolers, and freethinkers, specifically freethinkers who would call themselves spiritual, not religious.
  • By Laura McNeal, Feb. 21, 2002
Saint legends are taught in second grade, Old Testament stories in third, the lives of Christ and Buddha in fifth and sixth.
  • Tugboats of San Diego Bay

  • “We got a call from a friend with the Navy on a Saturday morning before Easter, and he said, ‘How fast can you get to Camp Pendleton?’ We said we could leave right away, what’s wrong? He said, ‘Well, we’ve one of these big Navy landing crafts in trouble.’ He said it’d gone in and hit the beach and broached.
  • By Stephen Dobyns, Jan. 24, 2002
A low-draft tug
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Stone Temple Pilots at Bodie’s, 1993. Mark Gariss of the local band Radio Wendy had printed up black T-shirts that read, “STP ain’t from SD.” A group of his friends wore the shirts to the show at Bodie’s.
Stone Temple Pilots at Bodie’s, 1993. Mark Gariss of the local band Radio Wendy had printed up black T-shirts that read, “STP ain’t from SD.” A group of his friends wore the shirts to the show at Bodie’s.
  • He's sad for ships

  • DeRosset doesn’t speak abstractly about his work. He’s a storyteller. “What’s really nice,” he told me before I’d had a chance to see the painting at the church, “is that I’ve got the crew of the smack waving to the crew on the deck of the Titanic. The fishermen are cold, wet, and miserable. It could have been either a good trip or a bad trip for them.
  • By Jeanne Schinto, Dec. 19, 2002
  • North of Adams was like what south of Adams is now.

  • “I’d lie awake at night and think, ‘I am in hell.’ I’d get up in the morning and think, ‘I am in hell.’ At one point we had heavy trucks making 200 to 300 trips down our street. “The entire house shook. My teeth rattled. The vibration was damaging the foundations of our homes. Dust was everywhere. You couldn’t open your windows. Very quickly I felt a kind of panic. Terror. I’d sunk my life savings into buying this tiny house."
  • By Abe Opincar, Nov. 27, 2002
John Hussler: "I walked in the front door, and a woman kicked a chair in front of me. Just to let me know, I guess, that men were basically not welcome."
  • The death of Judy Huscher

  • The body lies in a position of repose, a 12-year-old girl in pajamas, on her bed, in Fallbrook, California. Her blue eyes, though open, see nothing, and for ten more minutes, no one sees her. No one knows yet that the sheets and Judy’s pajama top are stained with chocolate, that her neck is stained with chocolate, that a section of yellow toilet paper on the bed beside her is stained with chocolate.
  • By Laura McNeal, Nov. 7, 2002
Lorraine Flippen, Judy, and Gladys, Live Oak Park, 1948. Lorraine’s face is blurred with happiness, and Gladys looks efficient and capable, leaning over Judy to scoop something out of a jar.
  • Grateful to the dead

  • “And at the end of the dissection, I will show you why dissection is important. I will show you the precise points you will need to inject in order to anesthetize either the right or left front corner of the mouth. You’re going to see exactly where these points are, between the first and second bicuspid. When you work with patients, you won’t be able to see these points beneath the tissue."
  • By Abe Opincar, Oct. 31, 2002
Dr. Luis Antonio Martínez and student. “Every week, while I’m driving to the university to do a dissection, I apologize to the people whose bodies we use."
  • Real hardcore true punk

  • The roots of the San Diego music scene run deep. Musicians who began gigging around town in the mid- to late 1980s later became the bedrock of the diverse early ’90s scene, which included bands like Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Inch, and Three Mile Pilot. The musicians of this generation emerged from a rough punk and hardcore climate to form more melodic, lyrically based bands that caught the attention of major labels when the frenzied buzz of grunge broke in Seattle.
  • By Daniel Ridge, Oct. 17, 2002
  • Friday night at Dad's

  • So what do you do when you’re stoned in a garage in Sabre Springs on a Friday night? You go somewhere else. Maybe a place where there is music and dancing, vodka and tequila, and spinning, stuttering colored lights.When you look around Dad’s Café and Steakhouse at 8:30 on a summer Friday evening, you can hardly believe this is the place where Brenda van Dam allegedly asked Cherokee Youngs, “Do you like girls?”
  • By Jill Underwood, John Brizzolara, Ken Leighton, Sue Greenberg, Aug. 1, 2002
Dad's Cafe and Steakhouse. Brenda van Dam is described in court as “having her tail feathers up” and “acting frisky” and “acting huggy-huggy” on the dance floor at Dad’s.
  • The San Diego Bird Atlas Project

  • Tom's wife, Ann, said that things had changed completely since the last time she and Tom were here in V17. "In the spring, this was neck-high grasses! We got lost, separated from each other a couple of times. We were tripped by the logs that were hidden and fell on our faces....She lifted her binoculars. "There's a California towhee," she said, pointing the lenses at a place on the ground about 100 yards away.
  • By Jeanne Schinto, July 11, 2002
Philip Unitt: “A group of us talked about doing an atlas in 1978. But as time went on, the other people fell by the wayside until I was the only one left."
  • Cheetah's thrives with lap dancing

  • Toni Atkins and Jim Madaffer, two city council aides who were running to replace their bosses, collected sizable contributions from many donors with strip-club connections, including employees and dancers at Cheetahs. A year later, Ralph Inzunza and Charles Lewis, two other council aides seeking to succeed their bosses, also received substantial financial support from employees of Cheetahs.
  • By Matt Potter, May 2, 2002
  • Follow me

  • The Waldorf School attracts people whose children are, for various reasons, not thriving in the public schools, and it attracts those who wouldn’t want their children to thrive in the public schools. It attracts iconoclasts, idealists, environmentalists, homeschoolers, and freethinkers, specifically freethinkers who would call themselves spiritual, not religious.
  • By Laura McNeal, Feb. 21, 2002
Saint legends are taught in second grade, Old Testament stories in third, the lives of Christ and Buddha in fifth and sixth.
  • Tugboats of San Diego Bay

  • “We got a call from a friend with the Navy on a Saturday morning before Easter, and he said, ‘How fast can you get to Camp Pendleton?’ We said we could leave right away, what’s wrong? He said, ‘Well, we’ve one of these big Navy landing crafts in trouble.’ He said it’d gone in and hit the beach and broached.
  • By Stephen Dobyns, Jan. 24, 2002
A low-draft tug
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