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Stories by Various Authors

Southern neighbors — Tijuana culture and history

Mexican Revolution next door, architecture, slang, poets, books about TJ

TeeJay — Back To The Way It Used To Be At Cali-Max, T-bone steaks were selling for 90 cents a pound, compared to American prices of about $1.88. Filet mignon, when bought uncut, costs around ...

Hottest food reviews of the year

Chicken, dumplings, burgers, bagels, Baja, and the closure of Anthony's

Ocean Beach prices in Baja Between Tijuana and Rosarito, semi-upscale, gated communities catering to American ex-pats and retirees line the Baja coast. One of these communities, San Antonio del Mar, has been the subject of ...

Top San Diego music stories of 2017

Rest in Peace, Boss Lady Anilee Griffin, known to many punk and metal musicians as the tattooed music lover who hired bands at Hensley’s Flying Elephant in Carlsbad, Brick by Brick in Bay Park, and ...

Most popular Reader stories of 2017

Porn and Jehovah's Witnesses top the headlines

San Diego's Porn Studios Fourteen women, ranging in age from 18 through 22, including one still in high school, may have felt like stars when they walked into the Hard Rock Hotel and the Kimptbn's ...

Stories from winter and spring, 1997

Beekeeping quirks, life as castrated man, Army-Navy Academy without blinders, serious wine drinkers, the dissection of paintings at Balboa Park

San Diego beekeepers know all the flowering plants One time, Mikolich says, he got a call from a friend, a commercial beekeeper whose helper had driven a truckload of hives off a road and then ...

The great Santa swindle came crashing down

Reader writers dig deep into their psyches

Every Power Rangers toy known to man The exact moment the sleigh bells stopped jingling — by Chad Deal Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I adored American Christmas — by Tam Hoang We were ruthless Christmas-letter ...

Letters about letters

Chicano Park still flashpoint

Bridge over troubled lingo In talking about the silver-haired man he should have spoken of his “constitutional,” not his “constitution” (although I imagined it benefitted from the outing). Dale Rodebaugh Kensington The United States grabbed ...

Reader stories from summer of '97

Chargers ticket guarantee, cheerleaders, TJ Jews, the Renegade rednecks, San Diego fireworks oddities, apartment owners sound off

Bruce Henderson— stadium prophet "Every time they raise ticket prices it gives them more and more money to do what? To buy what they hope is a better and better team. The council will have ...

Guide to holiday fun

No driveway to shovel ... what to do?

A holiday tourist in my own city Tree farms, Nativity scene, gondola and trolley rides, Christmas movies by the pool. By Siobhan Braun Why not a holiday bar crawl? Bike ride, Messiah sing-along, Santacon bar ...

Southern neighbors — business and politics of Tijuana

Baseball south of border, Caliente racetrack and the infamous Hank family, Baby Rock, Bob's Big Boy, early risers at Club Campestre, TJ Cultural Center

The Sport with No Clock Mexican baseball, like the Mexican economy, is just a half-step ahead of the creditors. The precipitous decline of the peso against the dollar has virtually destroyed the league’s ability to ...

Turn-of-the-century websites — R.I.P.

San Diego Polo Club, Charles Manson, Gulf War blog, pisser clams, CyberSleuths — all gone

Cars that are lemons The assumption that most of us bring to the table when buying or selling a car, new or used, is that we will be defrauded, which is usually the case. One ...

Musical San Diego: the 1990s

Local goths, S.D guitarists, Moby Grape, Stone Temple Pilots, flamenco, Deadheads, Elvis in San Diego, Beat Farmers, Richard Meltzer's records, Crawdaddy

Set a needle on my heart and play those songs of love and pain My record collection is a minefield of potential pain: stacks of Ray Charles, Robert Johnson, Otis Redding, Elmore James, Muddy Waters, ...

World War II — San Diego eyewitnesses

San Diego with lights off, a Hiroshima bomber, I shot down Yamamoto, POWs suffer under and evade Japanese, Vietnam vet visits Iwo Jima, sunken subs off Imperial Beach

War! “Automobile headlights were painted out except for tiny slits. You could see cars oncoming, but the driver couldn’t see. Panic would occur when people thought attack was under way. Then if a light was ...

Betty Broderick killed Dan Broderick and his wife 28 years ago today

The marriage, the murder, the trial

Broderick vs. Broderick But when Judge Howatt’s decision to bar the press and public was challenged by the Reader's attorney at a January 5 hearing, Betty Broderick reversed herself and told the judge that the ...

San Diego in the 1940s

Local Japanese sent to camps, tuna boats join the Navy, Midway-Rosecrans military housing, gas station struggles in Ocean Beach

It’s a Gas During the war, Bob recalls, "A-card owners got four gallons of gas a week. We had tires ordered when the business opened, but when the war came, they put them all in ...

So, you think your life is hard

Try steelwork, arson, rape, cystic fibrosis, drugs, bike accident, losing shrink, mental problems, shipwreck, AIDS, being short, blind, fat

Shipyard blues "With all the stuff you say these guys have to endure at NASSCO, anyone would believe the place is hell. But I don't understand what all these queers thought they were getting into. ...

Southern neighbors — daily life in Tijuana

Cops, dump, Revolucion, rain, taxis, upholsterers, flower sellers, abandoned cars, stealing electricity

The whole area was the city dump They chose St. Martin as their patron saint, the señora explains, because he was a friend of to the poor — because he was black and they too ...

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 ...

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