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Stories by Robert Kumpel

San Diegans on love, marriage, and everything in between

How Bob and Amy and Chris and Samantha and Ted and Roy and Kurt and Becky Found Love on the World Wide Web BOB | Age: 35 Q Did she send you a photograph? A. ...

July 18, 2020
Poignant human drama in San Diego

Never Die They used birth control until Jeffry finished three years of chiropractic school, passed his preceptorship, and established a practice in San Diego. Then, in their mid-30s, with “it’s now or never” nagging them, ...

June 20, 2020
My daughter's Afro, tongue piercing, obsession with stomach looks

Afro Puffs I’m overjoyed that my daughter loves her hair. I’m also afraid there will come a day when she tells me she wishes it were long, straight, and yellow. By Elizabeth Salaam, July 11, ...

May 31, 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
San Diego love stories

Why Knot? Randy said that some years ago he bought a thirty-foot trimaran, intending to sail it to the South Pacific. “Now we’re going to fly to the South Pacific on our second anniversary,’’ said ...

February 14, 2020
More than one point of view on Thanksgiving

The ideal hipster Thanksgiving As I’ve pointed out before, no holiday lacks the potential for a hipster makeover. Thanksgiving is no exception. Not only is it nestled comfortably between epic Halloween costumes and ugly-Christmas-sweater parties, ...

November 26, 2019
Robert Kumpel and the Reader

Robert Kumpel wrote for the Reader from 1993 through 2007. He lives with his family and teaches school in Georgia. Editor's picks of stories Kumpel wrote for the Reader: She let me know what she ...

April 28, 2019
Back on the street after six months in the San Diego County Jail

Michael Jackson is in a good mood. It’s a muggy Saturday afternoon downtown, and he’s just been released from jail at Front and C Street after six months inside. “I was in for narcotics. My ...

September 1, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Peter Barry Lawrence, 71, pleaded guilty to robbing a bank on July 26 in downtown San Diego. Lawrence is popularly known as A. The Geezer Bandit B. The Geritol Bandit C. The Rest Home ...

August 18, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Toyota is recalling 412,000 cars in the United States. The majority of the cars recalled are which model? A. Prius B. Camry C. FJ Cruiser D. Avalon 2. Philanthropist Donald Shiley died recently at ...

August 11, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Countywide consumption of what commodity decreased by 13 percent during San ­Diego’s 2010 fiscal ­year? A. Milk B. Gasoline C. Water D. Natural Gas 2. Sales of what product rose 30 percent in San ...

August 4, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. La Jolla artist and publisher Jim Lee recently won notoriety for redesigning which comic ­hero? A. Spider Man B. Superman C. Dick Tracy D. Wonder Woman 2. Caltrans has proposed expanding Interstate 5 from ...

July 28, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Noted surgeon Dr. Jack Copeland has joined the staff of the UCSD Medical Center to relaunch what medical ­program? A. Nuclear medicine B. Artificial heart C. Heart transplant D. Laser oncology 2. Which city ...

July 21, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. ­Tijuana’s new mayor, Carlos Bustamante is American-born, has a degree from USD, and speaks fluent English. In what town was Bustamante ­born? A. Chula Vista B. East Los Angeles C. Riverside D. National City ...

July 14, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. The San Diego Padres lead all other Major League Baseball teams in which ­statistic? A. They have fired more managers mid season in the past 30 years than any other team B. They have ...

July 7, 2010
Reader writers on our country this July 4th

I grew up in a religion that loved everything I would be taught to disdain in graduate school: America, authority, marriage, motherhood, and divine revelation. My father was a history-reading intellectual who treated me like ...

June 30, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. One Southern California municipality recently offered its citizens big discounts on electric lawnmowers if they would drop off their old gasoline mowers at a local stadium parking lot. 1950 mowers were collected. What stadium ...

June 30, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Which of the following actors was NOT born in San ­Diego? a) Cameron Diaz b) Dennis Hopper c) Robert Duvall d) Gregory Peck 2. Many San Diegans recently observed Memorial Day by attending ceremonies ...

June 9, 2010
What's Your News IQ?

1. Which of the following Republican candidates running for Barbara ­Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat has openly opposed ­Arizona’s new immigration ­laws? a) Tom Campbell b) Carly Fiorina c) Chuck De Vore d) None of the ...

June 2, 2010
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 Let Me Know What She Didn't Want

Judith Moore remains an enigma to me. When first asked to write for the Reader, I was instructed to run everything by Judith. Who was this lady? Why did she live in Berkeley if she ...

August 16, 2007
More From The Quizmaster

On February 2, while in sheriffs' custody at the downtown San Diego courthouse, Richard Tuite escaped for three and a half hours. Tuite is facing trial for what offense? A. grand theft B. murder C. ...

March 4, 2004
Bullwhip, Bagpipes, or Cobra?

1. Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante is facing a lawsuit alleging that he took from Indian tribes $3.8 million more than is allowed by the state's campaign limits. Who is the plaintiff in the lawsuit? A. ...

February 12, 2004
Do You Remember 2003?

1. San Diego's U.S. Attorney's office once had a staff of 122 prosecutors. How many have resigned in the past year? A. 15 B. 20 C. 27 D. 34 2. By losing to the Kansas ...

January 1, 2004
San Diego's Mexicans make nacimientos for Christmas

Ruth Zuñiga, 102, has been erecting a nacimiento in some form at every Christmas since she was a small child. With old age making it difficult for her to move, she has kept her nacimiento ...

December 18, 2003
Prolific Killer

A merica's Gross Domestic Product grew by 7.2 percent in the third quarter, marking the biggest growth in this economic indicator since what year? A. 1984 B. 1986 C. 1994 D. 1995 2. In the ...

December 4, 2003
Every Planet

Which Southern California amusement park had customers killed on a ride in September? a. Knott's Berry Farm b. Disneyland c. Magic Mountain d. Universal Studios 2. On September 15, the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ...

October 2, 2003
Worst potholes in San Diego – La Jolla Blvd., El Cajon Blvd., University Ave.?

No one seems to know where San Diego’s worst potholes are. A pothole is forgotten unless it’s driven over frequently, and then it is instinctively avoided. Drivers swerve into the next lane, then back again ...

San Diego lovers describe their love

“We had the same physics class, and he asked me if I had the book. I was, like, ‘Of course I have the book! I’m in the class!’ He was just, like, ‘Oh, we should study together sometime.’”

February 13, 2003
Did Jenny Craig Score Big?

The county Civil Service Commission is seeking to investigate former district attorney Paul Pfingst for the last-minute promotion of prosecutors who supported him instead of Bonnie Dumanis. How many prosecutors were promoted? A. 15 B. ...

February 6, 2003
Did Lingerie Barbie Trounce Micropet?

Designated Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge is the former governor of which state? a. Idaho b. Kansas c. Pennsylvania d. Maryland 2. On November 25, 2002, the San Diego City Council approved reinstating red-light ...

January 9, 2003
Tecate Train Station's Architectural Mystery

A woman who is rumored to be the wife of the late caretaker has been staying there every night until recently. During the winter, she made fires inside the depot. Everything was wood, the furniture, the floors,.

December 19, 2002
High Noon in Dulzura

Illegal passing on 94 became a bigger problem when CalTrans wrote new regulations. One such area is Daley Flats, a one-mile stretch of straight road on 94 that runs between Rancho Jamul and the town of Jamul.

December 19, 2002
Edible City

San Diegans who refer panhandlers to St. Vincent de Paul Village or the Rescue Mission may not know about San Diego's third option for free food: the local canyons. Jon Rebman, Ph.D., the curator of ...

December 5, 2002
Examined Life

Even with a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, tax legislation and judicial nominees could be blocked by a filibuster. How many votes are needed to overcome a filibuster? A. 51 B. 59 C. 60 ...

November 21, 2002
Poodles Aren't Dogs

"Once someone wanted her dog green for St. Patrick’s Day, and I did it. We used to get a lot of people who asked for toenail painting, but lately the styles have changed away from that."

November 14, 2002
Ballot Box Blues

The day after the November 5 election finds some San Diegans sad, others elated, and many just indifferent. At the time these interviews took place, the race between Bonnie Dumanis and Paul Pfingst was still ...

November 14, 2002
Gun Universe

On October 21, during the hysteria of the D.C. sniper attacks, the Washington Times reported that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer had hushed up a report by state ballistics experts that accurate ballistic fingerprinting is ...

November 7, 2002
Squirrel Crash

During the past few years, San Diego's rural tree squirrel population has nearly reached extinction. Their population is apparently coming back, even though few people seem to know exactly why they died off in the ...

October 31, 2002
Burn Him Alive

"One of the trustees I talked to was moppin' the floor near Westerfield's cell. He [said Westerfield] was totally bummed out. The trustee's exact words were 'shot out.' He was down the tubes.”

October 10, 2002
San Diego's Arabs and Moslems on 9-11

San Diego’s Arab and Islamic communities have mixed feelings about September 11, 2001. Some blame Osama bin Laden, some fault the United States, and still others blame all parties involved. With one exception, these speakers ...

September 26, 2002
No Cure for Lust

According to Dr. Robert Gunn of the county health department, the term "venereal" was phased out in favor of "sexually transmitted disease" (STD) in the 1970s because "the term 'venereal' comes from Venus, the goddess ...

September 19, 2002
Voting Made Simple

Published on September 12, 2002 Voting Made Simple By Robert Kumpel San Diego voters are not likely to see any chad controversies in upcoming elections as November's election will be the last election in which ...

September 12, 2002
San Diegans recall 9-11

Just about everyone remembers that moment on September 11 when he or she first heard that hijacked airliners had flown into the World Trade Center. Here, 101 men and women tell how that moment that ...

September 5, 2002
Contagious Buzz

As the hysteria over the West Nile virus moves westward, California appears to be the inevitable destination of the mosquitoes that carry the deadly virus. Even though San Diego has a relatively dry climate and ...

September 5, 2002
Al Qaeda Effect

The complete financial impact of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center will never be accurately calculated, but among those most hurt are travel- and tourism-related businesses. Many of San Diego's travel and tourist ...

September 5, 2002
Car Talk

Since September 11, the most frequently seen bumper sticker in San Diego is the American flag, often shown with slogans such as "United We Stand" and "God Bless America." Other popular stickers include sports stickers, ...

Infamous Boston pedophile Paul Shanley ends up in San Diego

Father Paul Shanley, the Roman Catholic priest who lived in San Diego from 1997 until his arrest in May of this year at his Hillcrest apartment, is currently awaiting trial in a Boston jail on ...

August 1, 2002
Fires Move Faster than Firefighters

San Diego is not immune to the kinds of fires that have devastated Arizona and Colorado. Richard Hawkins, the chief of fire aviation management for the Cleveland National Forest, believes the potential exists here for ...

Parting Shots

When Cox Arena hosted several high school graduation ceremonies on Friday, June 14, members of the graduating classes had their pictures flashed on the central marquee over the arena floor. Lincoln High School had a ...

June 27, 2002

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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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