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Stories by Various Authors

Southern neighbors — Tijuana, the dark side of the law

Smuggling, the Zeta killing, the 1999 crime wave

Coyote — king of the smugglers You can catch a bus on Beyer Street or the trolley at the Iris Street station, avoiding the “Migra” around the congested central San Ysidro area. Stay out of ...

History of San Diego, 1930s

Local WPA and CCC workers, the famous diva Schumann-Heinck, letters from a Depression housewife, a wilder San Diego, what women wore

Was the WPA a Boondoggle or Saving Grace? It's hard to look around San Diego and not see evidence of the WPA: the city library, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the dredging of Mission Bay (and ...

The fall of the Union-Tribune’s Copleys

Sex discrimination at the Tribune, death of the Tribune, David’s new house, Nixon-Copley letters, Morgan’s embarrassing book on Dr. Seuss, David’s DUIs

Copley, Morgan Depositions Show Loose Reins at Tribune Copley maintained she makes it a policy not to attend any board meetings. When an attorney asked, "Under what circumstances would [Morgan] discuss with you matters that ...

San Diego's serious music

Harry Partch, Gustavo Romero, Diamanda Galas, Pacific Strings, inside the opera, best organs, best pianos, the composer, the concertmaster, the piano tuner, the tenor, the symphony player’s wife

The Partch Reverberations The instruments are in varying states of sickness and health. While some can be replaced – improved even, as is the case with the New Boo built by local composer Cris Forster ...

The business of surfing

Early surfboard shapers, very early boards, the man behind Boogie Boards, early surf movies, first surf professionals, how Rusty board maker became clothes guy

Surfboard Shapers Eaton didn't invent the Bonzer, but is responsible for its refinement. It is a strangely old-fashioned board (in the sense that Chuck Berry is old-fashioned), yet as different from conventional surfboards as the ...

Burgers: Urge is the root word

Flavor bombs and gut grenades, all good.

Burgers with a side of ambience Brewski's, Bruski, Legacy, Banzai, Sunrise Deli, San Marcos Brewery, Tivoli, Balboa Bar. By Chad Deal Burgers for those with exquisite taste Craft & Commerce, Barleymash, Mastiff, Fathom, Notorious, Burger ...

History of San Diego before 1900

The Tub of Blood, Madame Tingley from one who knew her, Civil War vets camp in Coronado, murder in rural Mission Valley, and an amazing clock in Pt. Loma

The Little World That Almost Was “I was dressed in my ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ suit, and playing with K.T.’s dog (Theosophists are fond of using their leader’s initials). Suddenly, I looked up and said ‘I ...

San Diego odd jobs

Balboa Park art restorers, manicurist with brains, SDSU earthquake expert, the danger at 7-Eleven, why leather shoes, Broadway shoe shiner, lawyer clothes

Preserving the Masters One day when he was on the top of the scaffolding in one comer of the hall, he came upon an inscription on a battle flag. It read, cerca trova — he ...

Characters I have known

Friend without daylight, my brother through books, inside the handicapped mind, a sewing machine’s memory

Bill’s Memory Machine “My mother and father,” Mike said, “were very frugal. They were very cost-conscious, so my mother didn’t have money for carpeting, obviously, or even rugs, so she’d take old pieces of clothing ...

San Diego Union-Tribune — the Copley era

Helen and David Copley, Eileen Jackson, Neil Morgan and Walter Cronkite, Mayor O’Connor’s slumming in Balboa Park

The Last Rewrite That night I spoke to winos and street types who talked about murder, to councilmen and cops who spoke of shooting “to incapacitate,” and to people at the Knickerbocker Hotel who knew ...

Literary life

San Diego poets, Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Jeff Weinstein, John Brizzolara, Dave Zielinski, Rick DeMarinis, author memorabilia at UCSD

The Debris of What You Really Do When I was in high school, the Summer of Love hit, and grudgingly I became a hippie, tried to pull off laid-back when in my heart of hearts ...

Feast — 2017 Restaurant Issue

San Diego unique bites from far across the county

It's a mess. A glorious mess. Azerbaijan on Adams Ave., the Buzz Burger with bacon jam, Surf Check in Shasta travel trailer, old-school Japanese in Chula Vista. — Ed Bedford Save room for the Mexican ...

San Diego's other media

San Diego Magazine’s sugar daddy, Scripps magnate in San Diego, the L.A. Times challenges U-T, then leaves, underground press, Padres send catfish to Reader office

Mr. Jello Will See You Now While we have been talking, the sun has been relentless, but Jack remains impervious to my discomfort in my heavy clothing. At one point, I ask whether I can ...

San Diego's public servants

County coroner, cops on guns and behind-scenes talk, Imperial Avenue firemen, game wardens, weathermen, metermen, mailmen

Dead Reckoning The coroner’s longest day on the job was, of course. September 25. 1978, the day of PSA Flight 182. When the airliner crashed at 9:04 that morning. Stark was in his office, finishing ...

San Diego in the '50s and '60s

Polio panic, San Diego bay full of sewage, Arnholt Smith takes Pat Nixon aside, Joe McCarthy vacations in La Jolla, a big shark attack at La Jolla Cove

The Polio Years I began to wonder whether I would just be a cripple the rest of my life or permanently stretched out in an iron lung. While I lay moaning in the back seat ...

San Diego, surfing epicenter

Mike Doyle and the early '60s, Coronado kid gets thrashed in Hawaii, complete surf glossary, surfing guide to Baja, early days of surf movies, Rusty Preisendorfer’s success as shaper and marketer

Shifting Sands The boaters are all for the proposed harbor expansion. Many of them surf themselves, or are ex-surfers who switched to boating in their later years — but they say surfing is a "one-on-one" ...

Local literary stories

Jim Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Alexander Theroux, Janet Flanner, Max Miller, Amy Gerstler, Ken Kuhlken, Tom Larson, Nathanael West, Emily Dickinson

God’s Country Remembered My wife and I are driving up El Cajon Boulevard. It hasn’t changed much, not really. Businesses come and go (there wasn’t anything remotely like the Hung Vuong Pho restaurant back then), ...

Judith Moore's emotional life

Alone with grammy, death of a classmate, deep love of dog, a desperate writer, Thanksgiving for waifs, direct letter to reader

Unafraid of Virginia Woolf On the morning we met, he lit my cigarette and his, a nonfilter Pall Mall (you could still smoke then, at the library's front desk), with a quivering hand from which ...

San Diego before 1850

Stubborn Californios, exploited and violent Indians, early life on the Presidio, why the name California, Coronado was a wedding gift

The Great Families Who Created This Town Are Still Angry “I’d rather have a monarchy than a republic. The majority of people here cannot rule themselves. We Californios didn’t support the idea of the Mexican ...

San Diego and its SEALs

Navy SEALs in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Coronado, SEAL deaths, fakes exposed

Seals A girl was called (sometimes you can still hear it in Coronado) a toad. As in "Hey, there were a lot of good lookin' toads at Bully's last Thursday" or "Hey, where's my toad; ...

Gringos in Baja

Adventurers, seekers, do-gooders, speculators, linguists

A Quiet Place South of Here The sea urchin is a major object of the villager’s sea harvesting. The wind and sea are calm enough for harvesting sea urchins fewer than half the days of ...

Fun things to do in San Diego

Choose the company of pigs, cats, or naked people, for example

Climb the California Tower in Balboa Park Balboa Park’s California Tower at the San Diego Museum of Man was closed to the public in 1935, but after extensive construction and safety renovations it reopened for ...

Autobiographical glimpses

Eavesdropping, San Diego house search, personal beauty and its lack, Logan Heights and La Jolla memories

So I’ve Heard When I was having my appendix taken out a few years ago, the anesthesiologist put the mask over my face, asked me to count backwards from a hundred, and then, assuming I ...

Emphasis on the writer — a Reader group issue

The story I wanted to write, favorite books, deep night in San Diego, and contest winners from our readers

The Idealization of Jessica Trump She paused for a moment. I could hear her thinking, and then she said, “My spring break is next week, and I haven’t made any plans. I could catch a ...

History of San Diego 1930+

Silver Screens: A Short History of San Diego Cinemas The years preceding America’s entry into World War II introduced more neighborhood theaters like the Roxy (1939) in Pacific Beach, the Strand in Ocean Beach, and ...

Vietnam War, remembered

By sailors on Navy ships, by grunts, refugees who escaped, artists, and authors

Morale Seemed So High Mark said he’d had some bitter experiences with black sailors on the ship. When a group of recruits came on board, he lined them up to get some paperwork information. “Hey, ...

San Diegans on wheels

A cabbie’s life, treacherous bike riding, RVs are some people’s heaven, the trolley at night, big rigs near Rosecrans, why we drive freeways, a bus driver’s day, and this skateboarder knows San Diego

Did Somebody Call a Cab? There was a strike. Yellow Cab drivers walked out in August, 1976, and by October they were crossing their own picket line. The strikers burned some Yellow Cabs, assaulted some ...

San Diego universities: a look back

SDSU frat row, luring faculty to UCSD, paying faculty mortgages at UCSD, UCSD scientists using their jobs to build corporate equity

Starting at State At faculty meetings he would administer avuncular homilies on absence from our offices during the period we were expected to assign for conferring with our students (“Now, ladies and gentlemen, you know ...

Tacos: A cross-border guide

Swaddled babes, fat pink curls, secrets under the corn

Taco means tiny taste of temptation. Satisfaction by a thousand different cuts of meat and veggies. Is it just me, this wacko taco love affair? I don’t think so. Every San Diegan has a secret ...

A San Diego architecture retrospective

La Jolla’s Mormon temple, San Diego stadium, Coronado Cays, Del Mar Plaza, Mission Revival and Irving Gill, Tiki style, Tecate train station

The Eyesore Inventory Thoryk and his partner, a real-estate development company owned by San Diego Gas & Electric, found a co-conspirator in San Diego City Hall, which solicited and approved Thoryk’s remodeling of the historic ...

Famous cars of San Diego and their owners

Mechanic’s warnings, Morris the car, 120mph in the 1930s, Benz hater, VW bus and Porsche lovers, South Bay Mexican dragsters, and why we aren’t driving Santees today

Pop the Hood and Open Your Wallet Drive in at midday. See the gas attendants, red rags dangling limply from their grease-stained back pockets, leaning against pumps, waiting. But after a Padres or Chargers game ...

San Diego characters: counterculture and crime

Skateboarder Gator up for murder, Karen Wilkening’s arrest and jail time, Metabolife’s brush with law, Michael Page and music underground

Sandals, Bell-Bottoms, a Medallion The canyon was just a dream for a little boy. We had trails, paths, and forts. There was a lot of bamboo growing in the canyon, which isn’t indigenous to this ...

The desert beyond Borrego

Impossibility of Salton Sea, Slab City as paradise, scavenging bomb waste in Carrizo, Miller’s Garage at Ocotillo Wells, Easter on the Colorado River

Prehistoric Gas Station an Eyesore? It's the newer Old Highway 80, built in 1932, that Miller's fronts. A visit to the site reveals two things: the buildings are in better shape than they appear to ...

San Diego institutions — human stories

OMBAC from the beginning, post office complaints, prison inmates, Scripps scientists at sea, Lawrence Welk geezers, Mercy Hospital nuns, SD Yacht Club, Santee creationists, Vietnam vets

For Big Kids Only The foot of Redondo Court was a focal point for a couple of reasons. It was the end of a line when streetcars ran through Mission Beach, creating a natural stopping ...

San Diego characters in politics and media

National City’s Herman Baca, radio’s Bill Balance, publisher Clint McKinnon, Otto Bos, Wolfman Jack, and Gloria Penner of KPBS

Some People in This Town Don't Like Herman Baca Baca's aptitude is in organizing his friends. At Sweetwater High School in the late Fifties, he was president of “Los Solteros” (“The Bachelors”), a club of ...

A stroll down Broadway

Hotel San Diego, Horton Plaza, YMCA, and the Midway

A Lullaby of Broadway “I was sitting in my room,” declared one hotel resident, “when I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door and three or four men forced their way in. ...

Famous San Diego characters

Duke Cunningham, Mike Aguirre, Roger Hedgecock, Ron Mix, Eric Show, and Michael Reagan

The Deadly Circle The fear of ejecting over the heavily populated Red River Valley and of becoming prisoners of war kept Cunningham and Driscoll in the plane until it began tumbling and burning just over ...

San Diego modern Indians

Alcoholism, native artifacts, water rights, the coming of the casinos

Survivors "We tried to have a respectful pow-wow," agrees John Rouillard, head of American Indian Studies at San Diego State. "There's a definite trend, starting probably with the Alcatraz takeover in 1969, of young Indians ...

San Diego public servants

The cops’ DNA man, school and city bus drivers, Point Loma lighthouse keeper, substitute teacher, cops, firefighters, back-country sheriffs

Light Housekeeping Our man Downen evidently has been slowly phased out of his lighthouse-keeping duties by automation. A fog sensor device is now used to trigger the fog horns automatically when visibility is less than ...

San Diegans busy with Japanese gardens, ferns, bamboo, irises, bonsai, and tomatoes

A plant retrospective

A Sword for Its Army and a Lily for Its Heart Dorothy had a floral display at Art Alive to worry about; one of the iris-show clerks backed out because her horse was due to ...

You rock, San Diego

Where it’s at: daytime discotheques, peace and quiet, etc

Make no mistake about it, San Diego is home to its share of top talents in pop, rock, jazz, and blues. The Reader’s music crew cast its net to find out why these music makers ...

Celebrity authors in San Diego

Meltzer unmasks Cameron Crowe, Hunter Thompson plays self at SDSU, Susan Sontag not that nice, zoo not that nice to David Sedaris, Luis Urrea deals with fame, John Steinbeck IV's final days in SD

John Steinbeck Was My Father One of us, a doctor's son, mentioned that his father had urged him to follow in his footsteps. Was there pressure on John to become a writer? He shook his ...

History of San Diego: 20th Century

William Walker revolution in Baja, Little Lander colony in San Ysidro, creation of the Salton Sea, and the Luman gunfight in Campo

Creation of the Salton Sea Rockwood tried to construct a jetty between the half-mile-long island in the river — soon to be called “Disaster Island” — and the Mexican cut. In theory, log pilings, sand, ...

Far East County

Julian is settled, Dogpatch lore, gunfight on Banner Grade, Dulzura dogs kill, beginnings of Jamul Indian casino, end of Mesa Verde dairy, Blossom Valley anxiety

When Men and Mountains Meet Julian was at least a four-day trip from San Diego, even for the fastest of team drivers. The trip from Old Town to Foster (above Lakeside, now covered by San ...

Hidden stories of San Diego institutions

Del Mar doping, Horton haunts Mt. Hope, Chinatown vice, Mission Valley anguish, the absurd SDA&E, rape of Cortez Hill, airport favors to politicians, reefer all over Cleveland Nat’l Forest

Just Say Nay As a "matter of confidentiality," the board will not release test-positive trainers' names, though if information is obtained from other sources, they will confirm it. Harvey Furgatch, a former boardmember, thinks the ...

A life of crime

Teamsters new leader killed, brutal murder of prostitute, Amanda Geike case, Olaf Wieghorst forgeries, Mission Beach crime

My Life of Crime I married my third wife in ’78. She was pregnant. We went to the swap meet in Spring Valley, and I was doin’ dealings for some turquoise rings, and I looked ...

San Diego overview — just the facts

Offbeat tourist spots, what we lost to development, earthquake danger, how painters see us, the true story on San Diego traffic

Offbeat Tourist Spots You don’t have to go to Northern California in order to see redwoods. A substantial stand of trees estimated to be about seventy years old and ranging up to eighty feet tall ...

The year in music, 2005

Deadheads, Slightly Stoopid, Osmonds

We Used to Play Acoustic Delta Blues on the Corner of Prospect "We used to play acoustic delta blues on the corner of Prospect and Herschel. We would put on really nice suits and shine ...

Love, marriage, and divorce

What divorce lawyers do, why San Diegans marry, our first year of marriage, my drunk husband-to-be, instinct to mother, divorce regret, San Diego couples surveyed on arguments

Two Divided by Two Learning some of the courtroom shortcuts made things easier for me — places north of Date Street where you can park all day for free, the back entrance to the county ...

Arts in San Diego

Sometimes it’s hidden ... look no further

If You’re Making Art and Getting Paid for It... “People used to say, ‘Oh, I love your music; I put it on when I go to sleep.’ At first, I was insulted: ‘Thanks a lot. ...

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