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Stories by Mary Lang

Best Reader stories from 1991

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

December 28, 2019
Best Reader Christmas stories

Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my ...

December 24, 2019
Other San Diego summers

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 ...

July 6, 2019
Mary Lang and the Reader

Lang wrote feature stories from the late 1980s through the late 1990s, including a social column called On the Town by Liz Lang. Editor's picks from stories Lang wrote for the Reader San Diego prostitutes ...

May 11, 2019
Holy Week in San Diego: our mish-mash of Christianity

Medical explanation of Christ's crucifixion and other Easter stories The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a preshock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly ...

April 15, 2019
Pot smuggler's accident, Belmont Park, Willie Shoemaker, prostitution after Stingaree, truth serum, a family's letters

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 ...

February 3, 2019
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
San Diego's grave stonecutters

Remember that the dead now outnumber the living. There are 18,000 deaths in San Diego County each year. A single San Diego funeral home handles 15 corpses a month. Five of those bodies — former ...

August 26, 1993
Diane Gailey helps birthparents find their children

“You definitely don't forget," Diane Galiley says. Tiny body clad in A sky-blue pajamas, she’s curled up in a “papasan” chair in the living room of her La Mesa apartment. Watery eyes, huge in her ...

August 5, 1993
San Diego prostitutes after the Stingaree shut down

"Little lady,” the Chief [of Police] replied, ‘you’re going to find out that every town has got more than its share of Holy Joes — men and women who have nothing better to do than ...

July 15, 1993
Somali refugees make their way in San Diego

There are other sizeable Somali communities in Seattle, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, South Dakota, New York, Boston, and Miami. “In Minnesota and South Dakota, usually it's young people,” she said. “Those communities came out of San Diego."

February 18, 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
Who answers San Diego's crisis lines

The telephone is hidden in a black box fixed to the north wall of a small building, island-side of the tollbooths. It’s easy to miss; the signs, posted at even intervals along the Coronado bridge, ...

July 23, 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
San Diego romance writers compare notes

Romance Writers of America, a national organization 3000 members strong, was formed, according to their literature, for published and aspiring writers with “a common interest: their love of romance and their desire to write what ...

June 4, 1992
Edward would have been gorgeous if he had all his fur.

I find a cinnamon-colored strand of fur, black-banded, poking through the sleeve of my sweater. Another cat hair; I had hoped I’d gotten them all out of my life. They turn up now and then, ...

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
So many demonic sightings in East San Diego County

Satan,” wrote Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible, “has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years.” Since the appearance in 1983 of Michelle ...

December 5, 1991
Latter Day Saints in San Diego

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is now the fastest-growing religion, in the United States and worldwide. San Diego County, by no means a Mormon stronghold, is home to more than 52,000 ...

October 31, 1991
Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel died Tues. evening — now all the questions come out.

A generation learned to read with the Seuss I-Can-Read series. In my kindergarten, perhaps first grade, there was a prohibition against reading Dr. Seuss books aloud for reading tests. Too many kids knew them by heart.

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
On the noir side of town: Chee-Chee Club, county courthouse, Little Vietnam, Pt. Loma Bayside Trail

Stretching east of 30th Street, the Mid-City mesa has for decades been a Gasoline Alley wasteland of car washes, card parlors, dinky pink bungalows: low-rent neighborhoods whose obscurity is secured by distance from freeway off-ramps.

June 27, 1991
Books about Seabiscuit, and Man o' War, and Mustang Annie – I read them all

I admit this wincing: For a time I was one of those little girls who lives for horses. Since living was for me largely a matter of reading, the obsession took the form of reading ...

December 20, 1990
San Diego Zoo after sundown

The electric sodium lights hiss in the zoo’s parking lot. A winged beetle flops, buzzes feebly on the cement apron next to where I park the car. The 11 p.m. air is vaguely scented with ...

July 5, 1990
The Essenes--From the Dead Sea Scrolls to Tecate's Fat Farm

The incense-choked jumble of the recent Whole Life Expo: vegetarians and environmentalists and every shade of new-age devotee wandered endless rows of booths for radical cancer cures, aura-photography, and Delphi, the City of Dolphins. Few ...

June 28, 1990
San Diego's Fertility Center and eugenics

"Maybe this is a real broad statement to make," Schneider continues, "but when I meet someone like you, for example, I have a pretty good idea you’re not waiting in the welfare lines when you leave here, right?”

December 7, 1989
Sailors meet two very exotic San Diego women

The sailor came here in 1974. San Diego was an exotic port. He felt strange and free. The attraction was aesthetic. There was no snow. (He was from Minnesota.) There were palm trees and beautiful ...

November 22, 1989
We went to Hoover High School

Marking the end of a basement corridor in the Clarion Hotel (formerly the Lafayette), a doorway frames a rectangle of strong light. Figures move against the light. Shrill talk and laughter rocket out. Jean pauses ...

November 2, 1989
Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

Sandy and a girlfriend had gone into a liquor store, robbed the clerk, They locked the clerk in a walk-in cooler. Sandy started feeling bad about the guy. She went back and let him out.

In the Time It Took You to Read this Headline, San Diego's Traffic Troubles Got a Little Worse

“It’s starting out calm today. Only three accidents and a vehicle fire so far.” Metro Traffic Control’s airborne reporter Kymythy Schultze wriggles a bulbous headset into a comfortable position over her ears. “And there’s a ...

September 14, 1989
UCSD shows exactly what gall bladder surgery is like

Two rubber-veiled hands press cloths down; the pumpkin square of abdomen shines taut. Framing the exposed area, faded aqua drapes conceal curves of body. Another sheathed hand grasps a silver blade, angles it with delicacy ...

July 20, 1989
Vietnam vets tell their favorite Vietnam books; San Diego booksellers do the same

Veteran Readers The first three Vietnam Vets whom I asked, "What novels about the Vietnam War have you read?" hadn't read many. All three served in the Marine Corps, all were in boot camp in ...

June 29, 1989
SDSU geologist Philip Kern knows San Diego's faults

“This is my pride and joy,” Kern says. A shark’s tooth. He found it while doing field work for his dissertation. Four or five million years old. “The biggest ones are about six inches long.”

May 11, 1989
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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