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Stories by Abe Opincar

Robin Spark of San Diego claims his aunt Muriel Spark is Jewish

On a well-to-do street in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thursday, June 18, a 60-year-old gentleman named Robin Spark received an anonymous package from San Diego, California, and promptly called the police. In a very short time, ...

July 2, 1998
Axciom DataQuick of San Diego gives Canadian prisoners internet access

A few weeks ago, some folks in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho got calls from Calgary Herald reporters informing them that Axciom DataQuick, a San Diego-based company, had given 200 convicts in several Canadian prisons ...

July 2, 1998
Cares for AIDS patients, becomes Cambodian Buddhist monk in Linda Vista

'I was in the middle of death. I was surrounded by death. Most Americans, most Westerners, wouldn't think this was a good or healthy thing because we either try to hide from death, or we ...

June 11, 1998
Child porn case in England leads to history major at San Diego State

'How did you get this number?" snarled an unidentified male voice at the other end of the line. "John isn't involved involved in anything! Don't ever call here again!" John's phone number isn't hard to ...

June 4, 1998
Iranian evangelicals – the loneliest Christians

Over the past two years, U.S. senators, lobbyists, the New York Times, and the 700 Club's Pat Robertson have brought national attention to the persecution of Christians in Sudan, Egypt, Pakistan, and China. But there ...

May 28, 1998
La Jolla Country Day place kicker in trouble

Eric Abrams has been called many things. In December 1991, Parade magazine named him "National High School Football Player of the Year." In November 1994, Stanford coach Bill Walsh said Abrams was his "adorable little ...

May 7, 1998
Plaza Bonita stabbing hushed up

Two weeks ago, on Saturday night at around 8:30 p.m. in Plaza Bonita, three janitors mopped blood off the tile floor beside a golden carousel that spun and thundered "You're a Grand Old Flag." Mr. ...

March 12, 1998
Escondido's Thai Buddhist monk, Winai Amaro

He's been accused of pretty much everything that could destroy a religious leader: financial misdealing, heresy, lying, insubordination, sexual sin. Angry mobs have burnt chili and salt in a ritual effort to curse his name. ...

February 26, 1998
Life and death of poet Kathy Asher

Before we get to the memorial held for writer Kathy Acker at the Spruce Street Forum in Hillcrest on Sunday, February 1, we need to go to Palestine or certain things won't make sense. Between ...

February 12, 1998
Jody Gravett, orphan, Vietnam vet, in trouble

Jody Gravett's American experience poses some pointed questions about national identity, about responsibility, about what a country does or does not owe the men who risk their lives in its service. But for the moment, ...

February 5, 1998
Pedophile on Beagle Street in Kearny Mesa

'Never Mind the Dog, Beware of the Owner," reads the sign posted in a window near the front door of Nelson Buhler's home on Beagle Street in Kearny Mesa. The four-bedroom house is blue and ...

January 22, 1998
Will the attack on Jesús Blancornelas change Tijuana journalism?

When Miguel Cervantes was 14 years old, he told his mother he wanted to be a reporter. At that time in Tijuana, no college or university offered degrees or courses in journalism. "I'll have to ...

December 11, 1997
Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts is "like my baby"

It's 80 degrees outside and there is no breeze and a couple sit in a snug booth at Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts on Fifth Avenue and with neither comment nor expression methodically eat several slices ...

November 26, 1997
Zundel, North America's premiere Holocaust revisionist, run by Carlsbad woman

Ingrid Rimland sees herself as a "determined, hardworking German mother." The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sees her as a "ferociously anti-Semitic pro-Nazi apologist" - a characterization Rimland dismisses with impatience. "I am not a hateful person," ...

November 6, 1997
Shooting the mountain lions after incident in Julian

In 1972, for example, only 4 permits were issued statewide for killing mountain lions that posed a threat to humans or livestock. Compare that with 1994 when 328 permits were issued and 121 were killed.

October 23, 1997
The Tijuana-San Diego life of man executed in Virginia

'Mexican Hit Man Laughs, Forgives Before Execution," headlines read the morning after the State of Virginia killed 26-year-old Mario Benjamin Murphy. "It's a good day to die," he was reported as saying when strapped to ...

October 9, 1997
Quake players at FragFest 97

At noon on Labor Day it was 97 degrees in Santee. On the radio they were talking of thunderstorms in that part of the county, and in a dusty industrial parking lot off Cuyamaca Road, ...

September 11, 1997
I planted a moonflower after burying my father

During the next several days, the worms ate their way through my radishes, arugula, and beets. They munched happily — I watched them — on my sunflowers and on my moonflower vines. They ate the leaves in a clean, irregular fashion.

July 17, 1997
Welcome, GOP Convention Delegates, to San Diego, City of Shame

The maid had been referred to the Wilsons by Neil Morgan’s wife. The legality of her work status was still not known, said Davies. He said Wilson’s ex-wife Betty had handled all of the other details.

August 8, 1996
Debris of an early spring garden in San Diego

Last year I pulled bucketful after bucketful of radishes from the ground. I sat on the patio and scrubbed them clean. I ate a few, but most times I’d forget to bring them inside.

May 9, 1996
Gloria Penner's un-Southern California voice on KPBS

“Are you trying to guess how old I am? Look, I don’t like giving my age, not out of vanity, but because people like to pigeon-hole people by age. And I don't like being pigeon-holed.”

Tijuana's famous death artist Asturiano hidden in Colonia Rubi

“GO TO THE TORTILLA SHOP ON the corner. You'll find a big, dark-skinned man who works there and looks like a wrestler, with many tattoos of the Virgin of Guadalupe on his arms. He knows ...

October 26, 1995
Quail Gardens - the largest bamboo collection in the United States

"Most all Asian cultures eat bamboo shoots, and most all bamboo shoots are edible. The shoots of some varieties contain small quantities of cyanide, but that problem can be gotten around by cooking."

September 7, 1995
Ted Geisel, his first and second wives, Neil Morgan, and the Jewish question

La Jolla needed liberals like a hole in the head. By then even Herb Klein was Ted’s good friend, Herb Klein of I’m-Nixon’s-pal fame. (“Hey!” you say, “isn’t Klein a Jew’s name?” Could be. But what’s in a name?)

University Avenue: From Washington Street to La Mesa Boulevard

“This used to be a beautiful place,” says Jonnie. “A family part of town. Nice people lived here. That all changed with the Vietnam War, 1975. People from war places started coming in, big-time.”

February 23, 1995
Tijuana can thank the Spanish Civil War for one of the finest high schools In Mexico

"OASIS AND PALACE," gushed Vogue in 1930. "A place where blossom and brilliance have been coaxed from sterile desert as though by super-human witchery. Lavish green gardens, dazzling white walls, and acres of red tile ...

March 24, 1994
San Diego, Texas

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 ...

San Diegan Matt Wagner discovers himself in Israel

The power plant’s acting up again,” Matt Wagner sighs, white large bats, coal-black and squeaky, wheel far above his head in the €ark sky. From where he stands on His apartment’s small (balcony, Wagner can ...

October 28, 1993
The Dale Akiki trial has moved into the realm of national trends

8-Year-Old Says Akiki Fondled Him; Also Claims Church Volunteer Stabbed Giraffe And Elephant — San Diego Union-Tribune, June 19,1993 The 10 children who testified against Akiki accused him of sexual abuse and kidnappings, of threatening ...

August 19, 1993
Lorenzo Milam and the cripple's secret history

Lorenzo Milam’s home sits at the edge of a deep canyon from where wild mustard floods up to his back yard. The mustard’s yellow edges up to willows, purple irises, to the red, pink, and ...

July 15, 1993
Tijuanan columnist Hector Felix Miranda's murder stirs PEN West dust-up

Five years have passed since two fatal shotgun rounds were fired through the windshield of Hector Felix Miranda’s blue Ford LTD on a subdued residential street in Tijuana. As a caustic and popular columnist for ...

May 20, 1993
Those who take Ecstasy in San Diego

My connection, as it were, called to inform me there might be a "slight problem" with delivery because she was going out of town. To a "Southwestern beach resort." For her family's annual eight-day pheasant ...

April 15, 1993
Tijuana's weekly paper Zeta – its prosperity started with a gunshot

Sturdy bearded, and dapper in a navy-blue jacket and taupe slacks, Jesus Blancornelas has come to this nondescript street on an overcast morning in the Paraiso district of Tijuana, a street lined with the pastel ...

March 11, 1993
Loss: what San Diegans left behind In 1992

Unlike 1984, when Ronald Reagan made it a point to finish his campaign at a giant rally in the parking lot of Fashion Valley, George Bush came to see the All-Star game and was booed by the locals.

December 23, 1992
I was Susan Sontag's San Diego escort and I was sorry

“Maybe you can help me out,” she asked. “Susan’s got interviews in San Francisco and L.A., but I’m having trouble getting her into the alternative press. Do you have any suggestions?”

December 17, 1992
San Diego employees who steal

Beth, 25 Church's Fried Chicken — ghetto franchise, they don’t keep very good books. KFC kept meticulous records. I worked Church’s chicken, noticed that there was no record-keeping system. Other employees told me to eat ...

September 3, 1992
San Diego fat boy and bikini girl face Mission Beach sun

At the sensitive age of 13, I was given a role in a San Diego Junior Theater production of a musical version of Little Women, a role identified in the script and program as “Fat Boy.”

July 2, 1992
Five million clams for Maureen O'Connor home on Owen Street in Point Loma

“Every home, even if only in a modest way, is a kind of museum,” muses Professor Witold Rybczynski in July’s issue of ever-relevant House Beautiful magazine. And nowhere is this truism truer than on the ...

June 25, 1992
Reader writers pour out Christmas stories of divorce, jail, forced intimacy

A criticism implied in every gift I don’t remember Christmas. None in particular. There’s this Christmas thread, an irregular stream of pictograms (orange snowriding disk = delight) linked by an underlying Christmas smell (new plastic, ...

December 19, 1991
Reader writers write about first day of school

Mr. Van Winkle asked the Student Council Reps, to indicate to the classes that if they can convince him through sound logical arguments that they should ride skateboards to school that he will reconsider his position.

September 12, 1991
Dalmatian's last known speaker, one Antonio Udina, was blown up by a land mine in 1898

I know a written work whose scope and purpose are unsurpassed by any other in the English-speaking world. Moreover, I know of no other that can match its paradoxical ability to arouse, equally, both hope ...

December 20, 1990
Torture in TJ

“The policemen who arrested me were not the ones who hit me. Of the ones who hit me, one of them was short, fair-skinned, wore a lot of gold, a lot of necklaces.

June 14, 1990
My uncle the lady killer

THE SICKBED I thought of him. Bald, mottled head — a weary planet come to rest against a pillow on the arm of the urine-soaked couch. The respirator beside him clicked. It sighed. He, sighing ...

October 26, 1989
John Steinbeck was my father

"I begin to see that this [U.S. involvement in Vietnam] was not cool, and I shared that with my father and we had a parting of the way. But not for long. He came around."

March 30, 1989
Christmas day in Tijuana with Mother Teresa's priests

A few days earlier, says Brother David, a man living in Arenales “got killed on the other side,” in the U.S. The man was rumored to have supported his family by going across the border and robbing houses.

January 26, 1989
The day after Christmas in Horton Plaza: those unhappy with gifts returning them

Outside Abercrombie and Fitch, a blond surfer — tanned Alex — waggled fur-lined boots a plaid Pendleton scarf, fur-lined leather gloves He snarled. “I don't feel the need to these in Southern California. They’re going back to the store.”

January 26, 1989
When Old Iron Butt rules the world, his friend Neil Morgan will be right by his side.

This past August, while San Diegans tanned and party delegates decided our nation's fate, a paper was delivered to 300 sweaty, sausage-chomping academics at the Second Polish-American Semiotics Colloquium held in Atlantic City. The paper, ...

December 22, 1988
Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity priests in Tijuana tell how they got there

She doesn’t look her age. At 48, Carol Cook could easily pass for a woman ten years younger. She sits on the edge of the narrow wooden catwalk that runs the circumference of the Kensington ...

December 15, 1988
Ku Klux Klan 's John Metzger talks of hate and tears

"I learned about the Klan by being at a lot of the socials and meetings. But I think that the only thing that I really registered as a kid was the cross lightings."

November 10, 1988
Black scene south of Market Street

Don’t flatter yourself. My life is not an open book. "You don’t learn this from no fuckin’ book. Don’t need no education for it,’’ says Jerome. You don’t. You really don’t. To us, the man ...

November 10, 1988

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