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Stories by Abe Opincar

Promising USD grad kills mom in Pacific Beach

The blood upon his hands “It was a dull, outdated play, but when Mark walked on stage, it came alive. He filled the theater with his presence.” Ehrenfreund congratulated Mark on his performance and continued ...

July 3, 2022
Cyclist killed by North County bus at Pendleton

Udo was gone Along Stuart Mesa Road near Cook Crossing and Vandergrift, he joined two other riders, Steven Scharf and John Edwards, both riding at the same pace. They chatted a bit, and as the ...

April 25, 2022
TJ's child sales force

Life of a Tijuana street urchin Isabel sells her bouquets for two dollars each, and she gives half of what she makes to her mother. With the rest, “I buy myself something to eat, ” ...

April 10, 2022
San Diego's silverware nuts

Look! you've got a naked man on your fork! The drug and antique worlds share a vocabulary. Both worlds thrive on human “have to have it” weakness. Certainly, as it is with junkies, I always ...

April 9, 2022
Windansea fun hog bails, Broderick marriage tragedy

The ultimate fun hog has bailed Windansea people say Seth became a local legend not due to his surfing skills, not like Van Artsdalen, but from the NOT WHEN THE SURF'S UP sign painted on ...

March 26, 2022
USD students look back at high school, the campus's Catholicism

Class Struggle “We had a lot of cliques at my school. There were the drama kids, and we had a group we actually called the Clique. It was just the people that seemed to party ...

February 7, 2022
Judith Moore feels her daughters' pain, Reader writer marries Cynthis Heimel

Lines of Love, Lines of Pain We lived by the hospital. I heard sirens every day. When both girls were with me in the house, I felt a smug assurance when I heard the sirens ...

January 30, 2022
Doubleday follows Luis Urrea to Tijuana, priggish Richard Henry Dana visits the presidio

A Living Cloud The next morning, I am greeted by my media escort, Penny. This is a fascinating new feature of my life — escorts. They pick you up, drive you around, provide snacks, meals, ...

January 10, 2022
San Diego's best tomato breeds, Quail Gardens obsession with bamboo

Creepy Bamboo Language Most San Diegans, he explains, believe that the leafy, green and beige stuff that grows in their back yards, canyons, and along the San Diego River bed in Mission Valley is bamboo. ...

January 9, 2022
Clint McKinnon – San Diego's early Democrat; Gloria Penner – KPBS voice of the mundane

Mac “The Communists in San Diego had a little cell that was trying to take over the Journal. A general called me up one day; ‘Do you realize you have three Communists in your editorial ...

December 27, 2021
San Diego – city of shame, University Avenue, roommates from hell, writers write about moms

Roommates from Hell I walked outside to the storage door. I pushed on the door and opened it. I saw the rope around John’s neck and John’s face looking at me. I screamed and ran ...

December 5, 2021
Luis Urrea daydreams of San Diego, Oklahoma girl spends summers on Bonair Street

Homeboy on the Range After school, 1965: Spring. Wearing my idiotic St. Jude’s Academy uniform. My bright red sweater calling vatos and homeboys from miles around to come kick my ass. I had a crew ...

December 4, 2021
Starring roles in the Copley Union-Tribune: James, Helen, Michael, David

I’m Morgan, He’s Cronkite Scholars, particularly Vjaceslav Vsevolodovic Ivanov, director of the Section on Structural Typology of the Institute of Slavic and Balkan Walter Leland Cronkite Studies at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in St. ...

October 31, 2021
My Arizona and Utah family, a daughter disabled since birth at Friendship House

A Fairy Godmother’s Art I can recall the way a certain blouse, puffy-sleeved and lace-collared, tugged at the pits of my arms the year I fell in love with Matt Denhalter. The same mistakes I ...

October 30, 2021
San Diego actors' worst stories, he guards Volcan Mountain, community college adjunct

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 ...

October 24, 2021
Sole survivor of fishing accident, the bitch of being 5'5", tried Morningstar for my schizophrenia

Nightmare of the New Hope A little cry of relief burst from him, lost in the shriek of the wind. His hands scrambled, searching for the inflate cord. The sea bounced him. Spray lashed the ...

October 2, 2021
Caliente racetrack, Jorge Hank and his Tijuana zoo, Mexican baseball

Porno King Tied to T.J. Hot Spot Reached by phone on May 14 at his residence in Rosarito (he also owns and rents a gated luxury condo in Tijuana, directly behind the American consulate building), ...

September 6, 2021
Where to park downtown San Diego, loiterers at the library, high-rise top floors

Adult Orphans A Wednesday afternoon, hot. Half the stools at the State Hotel Deli are taken. Talk is quiet, desultory. Mama Sofia perches on her stool near the cash register, her daughter — mending again ...

All San Diegans now: Koreans on Convoy Street, Africans driving cabs, Saddam Hussein's bodyguard

Happy Endings on Convoy Street In all the years I lived in and visited Korea, almost always staying in some relative’s household, I went to countless parties. When they were outside the household, they were ...

August 16, 2021
Tijuana through white eyes: the bus from Mexico City, where margaritas came from, the La Mesa prison

Destination Tijuana “Don’t let them tell me the bus is new. Of course, we always get there on time; it’s just on the way there are, well, complications. It’s in the nature of the route. ...

August 15, 2021
Sherley Anne Williams' coolness toward outsiders, James Hubbell sees San Diego as forgotten city

Raised Not to Hope Too Hard Sherley Anne Williams built her career celebrating the ways black folks talked and acted. School-wise, street-smart, and quick-tongued, she reserved her deepest antipathy for those outside the African-American experience ...

July 10, 2021
Mountain lions move toward San Diego suburbs, Borrego's wild horses are not mustangs

Return of the Mountain Lion In October 1983, a lion killed a domestic goat at a ranch near Julian; in November 1983, a dead lion cub was found on the road near Santa Ysabel. In ...

June 12, 2021
Moon flowers, a romantic Ocean Beach garden, the Monterey cypress

The Lesson the Moonflower Teaches He showed her that everything he’d planted had grown: the cosmos, the tomatoes, the chamomile, the mint, the marigolds, the nasturtiums, the baby’s breath, the basil, the oregano, the anise, ...

June 6, 2021
KKK's John Metzger up close, that Escondido sperm bank, ex-cop mercy-kills wife

White On White John put San Diego in the national news. During a taping of Geraldo Rivera’s talk show in New York, Metzger called Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, an “Uncle ...

April 24, 2021
Night on University Ave., Olive St. above Switzer Canyon, Rob Quigley's vision for Little Italy

University Avenue Nocturne “We try to cruise by the hot spots where there has been trouble. Bars or restaurants, businesses, what have you. For example. Shooters bar on 30th Street in North Park has had ...

March 20, 2021
New home ownership, my life as fat boy, Christmas in Tijuana, at Horton Plaza

What on Earth am I Settling For? I let the front yard go and worked on building a fence in back. I got so angry digging postholes in the rain one afternoon that I had ...

February 6, 2021
Angel dust on its way to San Diego, meth heads talk, Tijuana glue sniffers

Embalmed Angel Teer says that he started smoking sherm when he was 16. "I used it a lot. I used a lot of drugs, but the older you get, the less fun it gets. Smoking ...

February 1, 2021
Apple Tree's produce man talks, writer joins Gulf Coast Grill cooks, donut immersion

Banana Man Across the aisle, is another table like yours neatly stacked with oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, papayas, and other fruits. That table, as well as the rack against the wall, are refrigerated. Your table is ...

January 31, 2021
San Diego by the alphabet, letters from Jim Jones victims, local criminals who lift weights

ABCs of SD AIRPORT Drive the 5 from downtown and — boom! — just overhead, an aircraft with a bloated belly screams. Wheels down, tilting for landing, 50 yards between plane and road. Or how ...

December 13, 2020
Tijuana's respect for the body, goodbye Revolucion flower sellers. Frank Lloyd Wright and Tecate

Grateful to the Dead Earlier in the day I attended a one-hour lecture given by Dr. Luis Antonio Martínez, a dental surgeon who teaches anatomy to students at the university’s dentistry school. His lecture was ...

November 22, 2020
Tijuana country club kidnapping, shootout near school, nostalgia for Jai Alai, casino, racetrack

Don't look now Abduction and murder at T.J.’s Camp Campestre Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult not to stare at ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns. Under normal circumstances, ten men ...

November 9, 2020
How Otay changed, secret TJ gardens, Mission Valley's future

Otay Dreams Before 50,000 homes. In 1954 I sat on the school bus every day next to my best friend, Mark Robson. The ride home from Montgomery Elementary School in Otay was a straight shot ...

October 24, 2020
What restaurant staffs eat, Eleanor Widmer, how far San Diego's food comes

What Insiders Eat Restaurant staff gab and gobble. Travis Murphy, also a cook, planned the staff’s daily dinner. At Nine-Ten, he said, the hardest part of arranging the staff meal, also called the “family meal,” ...

October 18, 2020
Religion in Christmas movies, Yellow Deli a cult?, San DIego Sikhs, Christmas without Jesus, Hare Krishnas

Church on Sunday? If not, did you ever wonder why people do? One man's search for Christianity's core. By Matthew Lickona, April 8, 2009 | Read the full article Joy to the Screen Isn’t the ...

September 26, 2020
Mark Twain's daughter ends up at the Bahia Hotel, Osama bin Laden's brother at USIU

Third Spud from the Sun: Cameron Crowe Then and Now “A couple things about Cameron set him down a peg from even the rank and file of ’zine greenhorn dust-suckers. He for all intents & ...

September 12, 2020
What you'll never read in Baja tourist press

Grateful to the Dead Earlier in the day I attended a one-hour lecture given by Dr. Luis Antonio Martínez, a dental surgeon who teaches anatomy to students at the university’s dentistry school. His lecture was ...

August 22, 2020
The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Don't look now Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult not to stare at ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns. Under normal circumstances, ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns ...

August 8, 2020
Building paradise in San Diego

Otay Dreams In 1954 I sat on the school bus every day next to my best friend, Mark Robson. The ride home from Montgomery Elementary School in Otay was a straight shot east on Main ...

July 11, 2020
What San Diego restaurant staffs eat, dumpster diving for dinner

What Insiders Eat Travis Murphy, also a cook, planned the staff’s daily dinner. At Nine-Ten, he said, the hardest part of arranging the staff meal, also called the “family meal,” was “to find something to ...

July 4, 2020
A close look at religions in San Diego

There Is One God "The equality of all people and all religions is central to our faith. We didn't want to seem as though we were saying, 'No! We're not Muslims! Don't attack us! Those ...

May 2, 2020
Mayor O'Connor goes slumming in Balboa Park, Mayor Faulconer reads Dr. Seuss racist book

Caught between a hug and a hard place If you move to somewhere on the East Coast, such as Boston, NYC, or Philadelphia, fewer people will try to hug you, mostly because they’re all too ...

April 25, 2020

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