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Stories by Justin Wolff

Southeast Locals – a well-educated, violent San Diego gang

Trigger Happy or Just Plain Happy? Who is David Medina? Dressed neatly in a white oxford cloth shirt with a blue pullover sweater, David Medina, a.k.a. “Happy,” pursed his lips and appeared to listen closely ...

June 27, 2020
Mission Hills – don't be fooled

Book-lovers chew the fat at the Mission Hills Library His watch tells him 6:45. This Mission Hills branch stays open tonight — it’s Monday. He slaps the book closed, reshelves it, glances to his left. ...

Rancho Santa Fe – the most luxury homes in California

San Diego Polo Club site developed by Heaven's Gate Exclusiveness breeds itself, so it’s little wonder that when the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe needed a Web page designed, they turned to ...

Justin Wolff and the Reader

Son of Geoffrey Wolff, Justin wrote feature stories plus a weekly column on unusual websites (Sightseer) for the Reader from 1997 to 2006. Editor's picks of stories Wolff wrote for the Reader: Feature stories Does ...

June 16, 2019
23 Reader writers describe the regime of editor Judith Moore

Busy Fingers Are Happy Fingers — Joe Deegan Mother Reader — Barbarella Build Your Writing Muscles — Ollie Let the Tape Recorder Do the Work — Matthew Lickona Faith — Abe Opincar Make Something Better ...

She Gave More Than She Took

Judith was a ghost to me. She was present, but never corporeally. It strikes me as ironic that I never met her, considering that the body — her body — was one of her principal ...

August 16, 2007
Corky's Game

McNab told me recently that he refuses to quit his crusade against the McMillin plan. “There are bodies buried everywhere when it comes to this deal, and we’re out there with shovels and we’ll keep digging.”

July 3, 2002
UCSD cum laude grad David Medina tried for Chula Vista gang murders

Dressed neatly in a white oxford cloth shirt with a blue pullover sweater, David Medina, a.k.a. “Happy,” pursed his lips and appeared to listen closely as Judge John Thompson handed down Medina’s sentence — nine ...

January 17, 2002
Ridout Plastics — beyond Preisendorfer surfboards

Its influence was not as far-reaching as Oprah’s Book Club, but its consequences were likely far more devastating. Though we smirk at its mass appeal and its seeming insincerity, all Oprah’s list does is make ...

November 29, 2001
Oakley Hall explains Corpus of Joe Bailey

Read first part of the novel. In 1953 Judy Garland made a splendid appearance at the opening reception for the Kentucky Derby. She was wearing a navy-blue, full-length coat; navy-blue, calfskin opera pumps with very ...

November 8, 2001
Anarchy on the web

Anyone who wrote an apology for his life while in prison, as Oscar Wilde did in De Profundis, cannot properly be called an anarchist. Yet as he so often did, Wilde condensed a credo into ...

October 4, 2001
San Diego home schoolers get more company

“You get to stay in your pajamas, and you get more free time. At homeschool I felt like I had more time but that I learned more. At school, you have to budget your time so much.”

September 13, 2001
Does the Yukon tempt divers to death?

Tegner was ascending from an 85-foot dive when her air apparently ran out, forcing her to surface before she could complete her final decompression stop. A companion suggested to her that she stay in the boat.

August 30, 2001
Find brides on the Volga

The FAQ page at A Volga Girl: International Bureau of Introductions (www.volgagirl.com): Umm, what? Beautiful Russian women eager to be your bride! Oh, cool. But what about that Volga thing? Isn't that a show tune ...

August 23, 2001
Hunter Thompson just copied Annie Leibowitz

Despite all of his outrage and bombast. Hunter S. Thompson has always had the best gig in town. Make no mistake: gonzo journalism has been his ticket to a lush life. True, you can’t fake ...

August 9, 2001
The beauty of urinals

I recently happened across the doings of a guy I knew in high school. I didn’t know him, though, as well as I knew his sister. She was in my class, and in 11th grade ...

July 19, 2001
Esperanto — no irregular verbs

Se vi povus legi cition, vi komprenas Esperanton. If the degree of a manifesto’s passion and ardor were any test, the Prague Manifesto would be an important one: “Any system of communication which confers lifelong ...

June 14, 2001
Traffic Spares No One

“We’re doing really good compared to other cities. We still enjoy something here in San Diego. If you travel outside peak commute times, it’s pretty much free-flowing. You can’t go to L.A. and do that.”

April 5, 2001
Already miss the 90s?

Do you already miss the ’90s? How can we direct that nostalgia? First, what shall we say most marked the decade: the Internet? Coffeehouses? Hip-hop? j Orenthal? Pulp Fiction? Lollapalooza? I think the Zeitgeist of ...

March 29, 2001
Explore Lescaux caves with your mouse

It happened on Thursday, September 12, 1940. As the story goes, the “floor formed a succession of terraced basins, full of water. The uncertain light of their lamp barely pierced the darkness,” and it wasn’t ...

March 22, 2001
Has Gaslamp Lived Up to Its Promise?

The Downtown Information Center, a service of the Centre City Development Corporation, occupies the ground-floor lobby at 225 Broadway. The center exhibits sketches and charts detailing the area's redevelopment. Its showpiece is a 200-square-foot model ...

Big Ears for Freedom

In the hot frequencies, the 800 megahertz band, one can hear all kinds of terrible things. Good people and bad people alike victimized by neighbors, lovers, drunk drivers, dogs, drugs, alcohol. On a Monday night ...

February 15, 2001
Leave me alone: San Diego's Goths

She was tall, blond, and, like almost everyone there that night, dressed in jet black. What she shouted at — to be heard over the music — hurt, but only for a second, like a ...

February 8, 2001
P.B.'s Pisser Clam Club

I may have been sitting on the western rim of the continent, but for about half an hour on January 23, I thought I was back East. Pete Trabucco, co-owner of Chaz’s Sunset Cafe on ...

February 8, 2001
No Place for a Beer Party

A proposal to impose a 24-hour alcohol ban on San Diego beaches hit a temporary snag on January 24 when the city's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee postponed action until early April. Although the ...

Something Fishy in Paranoia Bay

Despite a recent scolding, the city, some watchdogs say, continues to disrespect Mission Bay Park and those citizens who care about it. On April 18, you might remember, a San Diego County grand jury released ...

January 11, 2001
Council Winks at Boy Scout Gay Ban

The Desert Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America forced the city's hand in November when it asked for a 50-year extension of its lease on 16 acres of land in Balboa Park, where ...

December 21, 2000
Northern Light and its customized folders

I’m no economist, or so my creditors say, but long before Steve Kroft’s report on 60 Minutes on December 10 about the bust up of the dot-com industry and the billions in fool’s gold that ...

December 21, 2000
State Testing Programs

The expression "high stakes" is a favorite idiom among San Diego educators these days. It doesn't matter if you're talking to people at the local, district, county, or state level -- if the subject is ...

November 30, 2000
Hard Town for Activism

On the evening of October 11, George W. Bush and Al Gore were in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, being stupid on TV. Gore: "First of all, let me say that if I'm elected president..." Bush: "If ...

November 9, 2000
Where to buy Russian sub

Despite the terrible fate of the 118 submariners aboard the Russian Kursk at the bottom of the Barents Sea, I’ve been in the market for ! a submarine. And I don’t mean one of those ...

November 9, 2000
29 Reader writers on their fathers

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

June 15, 2000
Kinder Than I Would Think Possible

When I got in trouble, my father’s impulse was to hug me. He did punish me for the little things, but when I did something corrupt, committed a youthful transgression that had the potential to ...

June 15, 2000
Poetic Injustices

You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a handsome prince... Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly... If a relationship is to evolve, it must go ...

June 8, 2000
The Ministry of Rum

Bat Bite, Cool Carlos, Cuba Libre, and Sunny Sour. It’s summer: rum season. Time for Mojitos — dark rum, lime juice, sugar, mint leaves, and club soda — and Rum Drinks, the practical name my ...

June 1, 2000
El Cajon actor wants dimes

Send me a dime and I'll entertain you for life.” This blunt supplication just about sums up the purpose of Justin Duke’s website. Justin, 21, is from El Cajon and, in his own words, “flat ...

May 11, 2000
A place for Padres fans

April 3, 2000: “Your cleanup guy has a big day at the plate and your staff ace takes a shutout into the seventh inning, so you figure this should be a winning Opening Day. Well, ...

April 13, 2000
Homicidal mania

Like many people, I have a perverse relationship with my work. It’s not that I bite the hand that feeds me — though that is something writers often do — it’s more that I prefer ...

February 24, 2000
Duct tape madness

Duct tape has saved me only once. I’ve used it plenty but only needed it one time. My Oldsmobile ruptured a radiator hose on the Mass Pike on the way to a Boston Bruins playoff ...

February 10, 2000
The dangerous Ayn Rand

I am your typical liberal — skeptical, cynical, a little grossed out by Columbus Day. Maybe I’m a little to the left of most liberals, because I’m young and because I owe credit card companies ...

January 13, 2000
Cars that are lemons

My first car was a lemon. It was given to me as a gift by my best friend, and it was a good-looking car. A 1974 Volvo 242 DL sedan, dark blue, inside and out. ...

January 6, 2000
San Diego free thinkers look to living together

'Build it and they will come," the proverb tells us. Today, however, disciples of the precept have little use for its noble motivational message; they prefer instead its promise of material reward. Build a mall, ...

October 21, 1999
San Diego House Rabbit Society takes its mission as seriously as many hospices

I have some rabbit stories. When I was little, nine or ten maybe, my grandfather was cutting a wild meadow with a Gravely walk-behind mower, a massive unit that cuts four-foot-wide paths through grass. My ...

September 30, 1999
San Diego dive bars: Star Bar, Live Wire, Nunu's, Bar Dynamite, C.J.'s, Waterfront

February 16, 1999: Fat Tuesday. This afternoon, downtown in the Gaslamp, aren’t letting on that they spent the workday at work. They hustle across Fourth Avenue and yell excitedly at friends as police construct roadblocks ...

June 17, 1999
Don Waybright II chronicles Desert Storm

Wow! It’s serious hammer time out there somewhere relatively near us. I don’t feel overly anxious, nervous, pumped, or fearful. I should say not yet, at least. I'm sure it’ll be one hell-of-a rush when ...

May 6, 1999
Welcome to the Bad Fads Museum

I try to be a decent, good-natured, and tolerant person, but there are some things that, for no conspicuous reason, I hate. I hate, for example, stuffed animals tied to the grills of trucks. I ...

November 19, 1998
Ghost towns Whiskeytown, Agua Fria, Reward, Rough and Ready, Stovepipe, Kenworthy, Tumco

"Whiskeytown came by its name from the number of kegs of whiskey that were lost when mules lost their footing on the narrow trail and plunged into the ravine, emptying their precious cargo into the ...

October 29, 1998
In defense of Charles Manson

William Carlos Williams wrote, “The pure products of America go crazy.” Charles Manson is a fine example. At the Access Manson Web site (www.atwa.com) one can measure the depths of the killer’s deviant soul. Collected ...

October 22, 1998
Killer Surf Websites

The jagged blue line’s surges and plunges read like the electrocardiogram of a manic patient. But the line tells an innocuous story. It’s the wave report for San Diego County as described by the “swell ...

October 15, 1998

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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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