Quantcast
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

Back to profile

Stories by Matthew Alice

Mission Valley – garden-land gave way to shopping centers

The never-ending fix to Hazard Center Drive Hazard Center Drive in Mission Valley East is probably the shortest road incurring the longest completion of any in San Diego. It is approximately three blocks long and ...

South Park: not cut by high-volume road

North Park and South Park – say goodbye to 30th Street as it is The main roadway connecting North and South Park may be on the eve of a massive transformation. Councilmember Chris Ward is ...

Mira Mesa – what there is to love

Mira Mesa braces for mega population growth The decades-old Vulcan mining operation on nearly 300 acres of Carroll Canyon will be a huge housing project if developers' lobbying efforts are successful. Bordered by Mira Mesa ...

Poway – city in the country

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is ...

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 ...

Sorrento Valley – what little there is

Lost roads of San Diego:Sorrento Rd., Smilax, Edelweis There was also once a Smilax Road in Sorrento Valley, one in a series of short roads named for local flora. It paralleled the railroad tracks on ...

September 23, 2019
University City – UCSD's bedrooms

No trolley in my backyard A group of neighborhood conservationists in University City are hoping to put the brakes on a plan to extend trolley service from downtown San Diego's Santa Fe Depot to a ...

Spring Valley – land of contrasts

Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley got its name from encyclopedia salesman One of the oddest things about the Dictionary Hill area, also known as La Presa, is the way the streets were laid out on ...

Allied Gardens – a fight for serenity

Superior Ready Mix dusts Allied Gardens “We sweep the streets three times a day, at 4:00 am, mid-day and then mid-afternoon. We paved the interior street that is the extension of Princess View several months ...

What Matthew Alice found interesting in San Diego

Why locals mis-pronounce Garnet P.B.’s OGs (original gentry) pronounced the name as it should be, like the jewel, “GARnet.” Because they witnessed the name-change, they recognized that the street was part of a series of ...

The Answer Man: 25 years of facts ... mostly

All the greatest questions and answers from Matthew Alice’s Straight from The Hip column which ran for over 25 years in the San Diego Reader.

January 29, 2014
Repossession of possessions upon death

Heymatt: A few years back, a friend’s husband’s death required the coroner. His very expensive cowboy boots, sterling silver belt buckle on a nice leather belt, wedding ring, and watch were undamaged. He also had ...

June 19, 2013
The tallest tree in SD

Heymatt: What’s the tallest tree in San Diego? I have some guesses, but I suspect I’m completely wrong. And I wonder if the tallest tree in these parts is one that was planted by humans ...

Storm-ending bombs?

Heymatt: If we can develop bombs that level whole cities, why can’t scientists come up with the same stuff to obliterate tornadoes before landfall? What is it in these tornadoes that can’t be neutralized? Tornadoes ...

June 19, 2013
Mouthy ASL users, “South” vs. “Southern” Florida, the surname South

Why do people mouth words while using ASL? Why “South” and not “Southern” Florida? Popularity of the surname South.

June 12, 2013
San Diego's tallest building

Heymatt: How tall is the tallest building in San Diego? Is there a limit as to how high you can build in the county? — Jeff, via email There’s an easy answer to the first ...

The right to use restrooms

Heymatt: Your answer about gender-specific bathrooms got me thinking about building codes. Since all these buildings have to be constructed with working restrooms, is it technically illegal for someone in a shop to tell me ...

June 5, 2013
Grounding straps for cars

Heymatt: When I was a kid (a long, long time ago), all the cars had a strap hanging down under the frame that dragged on the street. We called them “grounding straps.” The story back ...

June 5, 2013
Yacht shopping

Heymatt: Where can I get a huge yacht like the one the Russian billionaire has parked in the harbor? I doubt you can just go down to the yacht store and pick one up. Is ...

May 29, 2013
Star Wars fanboy question

Heymatt: Now that Disney owns the rights to Star Wars, do you or one of your Ewoks know if they are going to release the original, unmolested Star Wars movies IV-VI? As far as I ...

May 29, 2013
Staying awake behind the wheel

Heymatt: I do a lot of long-distance driving and keeping myself alert and wakeful is always a challenge. Drinking coffee and caffeinated energy drinks like Red Bull and whatnot is a pretty good strategy to ...

May 29, 2013
Baja plates no hindrance for CHP

Heymatt: Every day I see cars here in San Diego with Baja California license plates. I was wondering if our cops can run the plates on cars that are registered in Mexico or if those ...

May 22, 2013
Star-gazer setup in University City

Hey Matt, I grew up in the University City area. I’m a grownup now, but I still go back up Regents and then up Pennant Way from time to time to visit Mom when she ...

“Catch my drift?”

Heymatt: I hate the phrase, “if you catch my drift.” I think it sounds stupid and it doesn’t even make much sense. What is my drift and why should anyone have to catch it? — ...

May 22, 2013
Bubble butt history

Heymatt: Okay, I’m sure there are more pressing questions out there but, what causes bubble butt? For some people, it’s like their body weight accumulates disproportionately around the hips and booty, even if they don’t ...

May 15, 2013
Ugly, yellow, truncated domes for the disabled

Dear Matt: Please help my poor husband solve his ongoing perplexity. When there are perfectly good and relatively new wheelchair ramps on each corner of an intersection, why do we see crews tearing them out ...

May 15, 2013
Heaviest skiers the fastest speed skiers?

Hey, Matt: During the 1992 Winter Olympics, speed skiing was a demonstration sport. Speed skiing is just another name for schussing. Knowing some physics, I commented that this sport was silly because (all other things ...

May 8, 2013
Plastic covered what off the 125 Freeway

Heymatt: Driving north on the 125 into Santee, I see mounds of something covered with white plastic. They’re on the west side of the freeway. They look like grave sites and there are dozens of ...

How canine became K-9

Dear Matt: While watching TV, there was a police scene where they were waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive to track the suspect. This led me to wonder where the term/name K-9 came from ...

May 8, 2013
WWII bomber mystery parts

Heymatt: Watching [the movie] Battle of Britain, I saw a ball-shaped device just back of the pilot’s window on the left side. It was mounted on cables or wires top and bottom. Could this be ...

May 1, 2013
The restroom gender conundrum

Heymatt: Why do gender-specific, single-occupancy restrooms exist? I see things like, for example, a queue of women outside the women’s room when there is plenty of space in the adjacent men’s room, or vice-versa. Why ...

May 1, 2013
Fletcher Hills’ mystery radio station

Heymatt: I grew up in Fletcher Hills. Ever since I was a kid, I have wondered what was going on at the corner of Hacienda Drive and Hacienda Circle. There is a fenced-off area with ...

Orange as the color of hot

Heymatt: I noticed that the cherry on my cigarette, the coals in my BBQ, and the element in my fish-tank heater all glow the same shade of orange. I believe this isn’t a coincidence. Could ...

April 17, 2013
Opposing traffic’s differing speed limit

Heymatt: Why do some local roadways have different speed limits depending on which way you’re going? Seaworld Drive between Friars and Ingraham is 55 in one direction and 50 in the other. West Point Loma ...

Government travel reimbursement

Heymatt: Do taxpayers pay for congresspeople and senators’ flights to and from their home districts or is this built into their pay? Similarly, when the president flies on Air Force One to give a speech ...

April 17, 2013
How much chicken is actually in chicken noodle soup

Heymatt: As a kid, I ate plenty of cans of chicken noodle soup and liked it. However, I could not help but notice the very few pieces, well, tiny pieces, okay, microscopic particles of what ...

April 10, 2013
Who profits from movie theater ticket sales

Hi Matt, Like most people, I have been going to see movies since I was a kid. I even remember the newsreels that were at the theaters on military bases where we were stationed. But ...

April 10, 2013
Mysterious yellow powder on recycling bin

Heymatt: I’ve noticed a yellow powder accumulating on the blue recycling bins in various parts of the city. What is it? I haven’t seen it on the black trash cans. — Observer, via email I ...

April 10, 2013
Creeping carpets

Heymatt:In every place I have lived, throw rugs on top of carpeting have migrated in one direction. They move quite quickly. Even a six-by-nine-foot with furniture on it will migrate. I always assumed that foot ...

April 3, 2013
Car closeouts

Heymatt: I am in the market to buy a new car. I have visited several dealerships looking for a good deal. Seeing all these new cars, I started to wonder if they all get sold, ...

April 3, 2013
The battling 'Bertos

Hey Matt: I used to live in San Diego and ate at Aliberto’s, Rigoberto’s, and all the other iterations of ’Berto’s I could find. I just saw your article from March 16, 2000, and I ...

April 3, 2013
Rough treatment for a charliehorse

Heymatt: Once or twice a year, I will wake to a charlie-horse. In my leg. I always instinctively pound the offending muscle group with my fist. I’d like to know if this is a universal ...

March 27, 2013
The highest chair in Del Cerro

Matt: Going east along the I-8 before the College turn-off to SDSU, if you look left you will see a giant highchair on the hill below Del Cerro. Or a ladder. Or something. It’s out ...

Mission Valley’s fiberglass go-go girl

Heymatt: Back in the ’60’s, ’70s, there was a big statue of a go-go girl on a sign in Mission Valley/Grantville that was visible from the 8. I seem to remember that she was all ...

The opposite of a homonym

Homonyms vs. Homophones vs. Homographs vs. Heterographs vs. Heteronyms

March 20, 2013
Duggars and taxes

Heymatt: If the Duggars have 20 kids — that’s a lot, by the way — I was wondering what Ma & Pa Duggar claim on their taxes. Is it possible to claim all the kids ...

March 20, 2013
Metal sidewalk markers

Hi MA, In my neighborhood, the sidewalks have these metal buttons embedded in the sidewalk. They look like an oversized Levi’s jeans rivet, are made of copper or brass, and are stamped with “LS 5456.” ...

March 20, 2013
Cable-company monopolies

The travesty of cable-company monopolies held by Time Warner and Cox Communications.

March 13, 2013
Saggy-pants origin

Hello Matt: I hope this finds you and the Elves doing well. I know I am un-hip to most things these days, but something has puzzled me for quite some time. Why do certain fellows ...

March 13, 2013

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
Close