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Stories by Jeannette DeWyze

Other San Diego summers

Phoenix, fat boy and bikini girl, fireworks, Black's Beach, metal finders, male swimsuits

Phoenix without apologies Traveler, consider our Phoenix. An hour away by air, this flat, posh suburb of Greater L.A. is your finest summer vacation bargain. For the price of a bad weekend in a tacky ...

Jeannette DeWyze and the Reader

Hare Krishnas, Bishop Maher, Chino's, Betty Broderick, Marshall South, Eleanor Widmer

How DeWyze came to the Reader: In the early ‘70s, my best friend at Northwestern University, Randy Barnett, got a job selling ads for the fledgling Chicago Reader. I was involved in campus life (including ...

Zane Parzen, Lee Grissom, Bill Mitchell, Dennis Connor, Dick Farson, Sam Fuller

Big names in a little town

The final analysis Shepherd suggested to the Walkers three names, including that of Parzen, from whom Shepherd had taken an advanced psychiatry class at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute. Not only did Parzen possess a ...

Pot smuggler's accident, Belmont Park, Willie Shoemaker, prostitution after Stingaree, truth serum, a family's letters

Stories hidden in the back pages of the Reader

The Zipper – near death at the Del Mar Fair The Zipper was a new wrinkle on the midway: this big, gleaming apparatus that looked like a gigantic fan belt, with body-hugging cages attached along ...

San Diego Zoo's rare bonobos

And the superfans devoted to the zoo's once forgotten apes

In late April of 1960, the San Diego Zoo’s curator of mammals, George Pournelle, traveled to one of the most inaccessible parts of the African rainforest on a collecting expedition. His goal was to acquire ...

Coast to Cactus: The genesis of San Diego's definitive hiking guide

Not meant to compete with Trailmaster Schad’s

Since Afoot and Afield in San Diego County first appeared in 1986, Jerry Schad’s comprehensive guide to local hiking trails has been considered the definitive resource. But Schad’s death from liver cancer in 2011 sent ...

Campout in the Sahara

Morocco's dunes offer a travel experience like no other.

Hassi Labied (population: 2,000) is one of the places you go in Morocco if you want to sleep in the Sahara. It's about 30 miles from the Algerian border; and its dunes (Erg Cheggi) are ...

Wine and dine in Baja's Guadalupe Valley

The culinary scene in this close-to-home wine region is taking off.

Recently I went back to northern Baja's Guadalupe Valley. I hadn’t been there since the late 1980s. Back then, it was just emerging as a serious wine-growing region, with two giant producers (Cetto and Pedro ...

Kenya's elephant orphanage

Safe haven in Nairobi National Park from black-market ivory trade.

Greater Nairobi, home to more than six million people, has a reputation for mayhem. Its international airport just burned; the Kenyan capital’s nickname is Nairobbery. But visitors can still find some extraordinary pleasures. Ranking high ...

Uganda's Batwa Trail

Pygmy tourism in Lonely Planet's "top country to visit" for 2012.

In Uganda, gorilla tourism is an economic engine. It benefits not only the mountain gorillas that the tourists track, but also the human communities in and around the forests in which the animals live. It's ...

Ethiopian Time Travel

The Omo River empties into Lake Turkana, not far from where Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya come together. The river valley is difficult to reach; from Addis Ababa the road trip takes the better part ...

Ricardo Loves Dinosaurs...

The gigantic art project unfolding on the unlikely canvas that is Borrego Springs appears to have reached completion. Sculptor Ricardo Breceda says, “That’s it.” There will be no more additions. But Dennis Avery, the man ...

End of San Diego police horse patrol

Worked at the PB Block Party

I asked Sergeant Bret Righthouse about the bad old days, back in 1994, before a cadre of mounted San Diego Police Department officers began routinely patrolling Balboa Park. Transients and illegal aliens had set up ...

Balboa Park plantsmen's vision for a green future

The fall of King Eucalyptus

On the morning after one of those record-breaking cold nights this past January, Mike Rasmusson checked on his charges. Rasmusson supervises the Kate O. Sessions Balboa Park Nursery -- the city facility where many of ...

San Diego bowlers have dropped from 66,000 to 8,000

Nobody in the local lanes has read Bowling Alone

At night, the exterior of Kearny Mesa Bowl is not inviting. Set toward the back of a big parking lot on the south side of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, about a block west of Convoy, the ...

San Diego surf idols: Ralph Noisat, George Freeth, Carl Ekstrom, Skip Frye, Gordon & Smith

90 years of curl

There's a good chance Ralph Noisat caught the first wave in San Diego. He died in 1980, and as he wasn't a man to brag, his pioneering role might have been lost were it not ...

A guide to San Diego's guided tours

We're on vacation, here to play. Don't let facts get in our way.

I had taken eight or nine guided tours of San Diego in two weeks when a friend asked if I was tired of sightseeing. I had to say no. Being out on buses and boats ...

Barry Martin – best animal tracker in San Diego County

They see you, Have you seen them?

Retired American Airlines pilot Barry Martin has been called the best animal tracker in San Diego County. I asked how he first came to be interested in this arcane discipline. A lanky athlete with probing ...

Project Wildlife looks for San Diego neighborhoods to re-locate our nocturnal marsupials.

Our friend the opossum

Shawn Powell and I are driving south on Jackson Drive, carrying three opossums in Powell's Hyundai Santa Fe. Our mission is to liberate them. We could stop and dump them out on the sidewalk, but ...

After 30 years, Reader writer revisits the Krishnas

Lion-shaped means wider in front

I first met Robert Morrill in 1979. He was 27 and had moved the year before to San Diego with his wife and two young children. The family had settled into a modest apartment on ...

UCSD med school hires actors to train doctors

It's the big "E" word — empathy

We're sitting in a room that's maybe 9 feet wide by 20 feet long, lined with countertops that hold 12 TV monitors. The screens let us spy upon what's normally one of the most private ...

A proposition for Salton Sea and its far ripples.

Funded in part by the construction of up to 200,000 new homes on the southwestern shore

I've flown over the Salton Sea many times. From the air, it doesn't look real. The blue expanse and the green fields of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys that butt up against the sea's northern ...

Reader writer Eleanor Widmer - life in food and literature remembered

The late long-time queen of the cafe critics

One of the ironies of Eleanor Widmer's life is what she ate in her last months. Widmer had become a restaurant critic in 1974, back when brunch at La Valencia featured molded Jell-O "Seafoam," made ...

Top dogs: San Diego's K9 unit

To serve, protect, and scare the hell out of crooks.

Bobby looks like a black Labrador, except that his ears stand upright, forming two stiff peaks. They're quivering now, as Bobby crouches, ready to lunge at me. He's not making a sound, but his body ...

Challenge X: how San Diego State may build your next car

War on the internal combustion engine.

The chassis that’s sitting in a workroom on the campus of San Diego State University is painted a shade of red you’d expect to see on the lips of an attention-starved woman. On a car, ...

San Diego's sunshine still a magnet for travel nurses

"There's no old buildings. There's no trash anywhere. And the weather..."

When Mariette Parsons, RN, tells her patients she's a traveler, she says they often look puzzled. "They're, like, 'You work for a travel agency or something?'" Parsons explains that travel nurses fill assignments all over ...

22 Reader writers on school experiences

When the loud bell rang

My first day in school was really my second day — Jangchup Phelygal The Radiators That Ticked Heat into the Room — Laura Rhoton McNeal Rear Rank Rudy — Jim Morris Forget-me-nots — Rosa Colwin ...

A Princess in the Domain of Mrs. Kerschke

I could learn almost anything the schools wanted me to learn.

If there were nursery schools on the northwest side of Chicago in the late 1950s, I knew nothing about them. The other preschoolers on my block and I negotiated our way through those years when ...

Reader writers honor Mom

The woman we never forget

"Careful, Ma; don't spill your soup," I warned. "First time you spill, that's it — you're going to the home.” Mom's reply was immediate. "I know. I've picked out what I want to take with me."

The Letter Writer

Tragedy came to happy family in 11 short years.

My mother died at the end of October. At her wake, Duyen Pham asked if my mother ever wrote me, back in 1975. That was the year Duyen (13 at the time) and her family ...

UCSD prof David Phillips thinks suicide may be contagious

Why do they die?

ON THE MORNING OF AUGUST 4, 1963, the front page of the New York Times carried the headline "Dr. Ward Is Dead; Suicide Note Calls His Foes Vultures." The story revealed that the 50-year-old Ward, ...

San Diego's dangerous brick buildings: La Jolla Arcade, Hodad's the Black

In an earthquake, don't stand in the doorway

The City of San Diego has a website (www.sannet.gov/development-services/industry/pdf/urmpn.pdf) that contains a list of 706 local buildings supposedly built out of unreinforced masonry -- that is, bricks held in place with mortar but not tied ...

Kids arrive alone in San Diego from Honduras. Then what?

Young immigrants lose hope

The hopped trains, took buses, spent long days walking. When their path took them through remote areas, they went hungry.

San Diego centenarians seize the day

Live to be one hundred

At the start of 1904, the U.S. population included 82 million people. Almost all of them are dead now, but Bert Wilbur, Geneva Chester, Pearl Alsten, and Archie Owen have survived. In 1904, five-year-old Bert ...

UCSD's Sean Drummond says we don't get enough sleep

You should not feel sleepy during the day

The next time you lie in bed fuming over your inability to doze off, you might think of Randy Gardner. In the realm of sleeplessness, Gardner once made San Diego the center of the universe. ...

Ralph Genovese's custom home construction on Del Dios Highway

Site 151’s four-million-dollar mansion

“That’s how America has been built: you start your own business when you know your trade well enough. But you’ve also got to know how to sell.

Pacific Beach

Once or twice a year, I try to walk all of Garnet Avenue between Mission Boulevard and Ingraham. I like to do it on the Saturday in early May when the PB Block Party is ...

San Diego, the Halloween capital of the U.S.

Disguise in Poway is world's largest manufacturer of Halloween costumes

When the trick-or-treaters show up on your doorstep tomorrow, notice how few are wearing flimsy plastic outfits with heat-sealed seams. Plastic costumes onces were ubiquitous, and their disappearance is a fact for which Bob Pickens ...

San Diego recycling rules

What to do with greasy pizza box, damp newspaper, plastic bags

We squabble over recycling at my house. I see no reason why the pizza boxes can’t go into the blue bin, but my husband says I’m wrong, that the melted cheese and grease stains make ...

Females on boards at Windansea, Moonlight, P.B., La Jolla Shores

Surfer girls

Some women have always surfed. Three hundred years ago, Hawaiians of both sexes rode the waves, and when the sport moved beyond the islands, when the Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku in 1915 traveled to Australia to ...

Loren Mosher treats schizophrenics with the Soteria experiment

Still crazy after all these years

Sometime in the next few months, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases will publish an article that describes an unusual experiment with newly diagnosed schizophrenics. This experiment randomly assigned young people with that diagnosis ...

The True Marchers

Who opened up San Diego and California from Mexico?

By poring over the account book and analyzing the entries in it, Crosby eventually deduced the identities of all 36 of the soldiers in the first and second expeditions. (Previously, only 8 had been conclusively identified.)

How UCSD's William Bugbee does cartilage replacement

Bad knees

Sometimes I wish I could slice open the skin that covers my knees so I could poke around inside a bit. Without pain, of course. Without spilling any blood or other vital juices. And only ...

Sony's latest – a fantasy role-playing game called EverQuest

Brad McQuaid from "San Diego area," did "some college here"

This year the electronic-gaming industry expects to beat Hollywood at making money. It’s happened once before. In 1998, entranced with a new generation of gaming consoles that included the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega ...

San Diego's master gardener Vincent Lazaneo

“We’ve defied the desert here”

It is Vincent Lazaneo’s job to answer any question about a fruit, vegetable, herb, flower, or ornamental shrub that a San Diego gardener might ask. How many plants is that? “It’s a little mind-boggling,” he ...

National City's Lovell family and their 15 kids

They won the biggest family contest

Almost everyone who skimmed the San Diego Union on May 9, 1964, would have noticed the photo that ran at the top of the front page of the local section. She was smiling broadly and ...

Romance writers of San Diego

Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss

Christie Ridgway’s 11th published novel, This Perfect Kiss, opens with the heroine, a vintage-clothing dealer, heading for an afternoon appointment. She’s dressed in a tight-fitting, flesh-colored chiffon evening gown out of which her voluptuous breasts ...

Hard to get invited to San Diego's Monte Carlo Ball or the Jewel Ball or the Ritz party at the zoo

You're worth over 800 million dollars. Is it enough to be considered Old Money?

I have a friend who’s lived in San Diego for more than 20 years but grew up in the Old Money enclave of Washington, D.C. I’ll call him Andrew. He claims his parents weren’t Old ...

Jim Benson of Poway wants to send you into orbit with SpaceDev

Rich man in Heaven

Jim Benson, founder of the world's first private space-exploration company, has a knack for coming up with slogans. "We put the 'Pow' in Poway" is one of the things he likes to say. Poway is ...