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Thirty Years Ago The Abominable Leitmotif Man He sits behind you at Wagner operas, with his girlfriend, who cannot tell Wagner from Pink Floyd but thinks her escort is as groovily wise as -- as -- as Robert Redford! He is a self-appointed expert on Wagner's leitmotifs -- those repeated themes that serve to identify characters, places, events, ideas -- and he provides the lady with a running commentary on their appearances in the music. "Blood of the Waelsungs," he tells her (and all her neighbors within a dozen square yards). "Siegfried the Hero." "Alberich's Curse." "The Rising Horde -- no, that's horde, honey." -- "THE SMELL OF THE CROWD," Jonathan Saville, August 4, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago The next afternoon Jody Wright was questioned by El Cajon police investigators, who wanted to know about Linda's background. The officers told Wright that her daughter and son-in-law had been driving a car stolen in Los Angeles and that the car had been linked to a man who had been murdered three weeks earlier in an El Cajon motel room. Linda had admitted taking part in the murder and later disposing of the corpse in a culvert off Interstate 8 between College Avenue and Waring Road. "I just couldn't believe what I was hearing," Wright says today. -- "AMERICAN GOTHIC HORROR," Bruce Gibney, August 5, 1982

Twenty Years Ago Once again, the Reader steps forth to glorify the ritualized slaughter of animals called bullfighting, this time with a story of a doctor compelled to patch up the matadors on that rarest of occasions -- when the bull wins ("Bullfight Surgeon," July 30). The ridiculousness of the situation is palpable. The doctor, José Rodriguez, admits that a dozen of Tijuana's best doctors, in a city sadly bereft of medical personnel, crowd to the bullring every fight day. He admits that, during a goring, the entire blood supply in Tijuana of a particular type may be used up. -- LETTERS: "HOW MACHO," Cris Waller, University Heights, August 6, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago Hazard was one of those people who, you couldn't tell his age, he always looked the same for as long as I knew him. He was very hard of hearing. He'd get in a heated argument with somebody, say something very blunt, and then turn his hearing aid off and look at you. When he wanted to break in, he'd turn his hearing aid back on and talk again. He won every argument. I used to marvel at him that he wasn't knocked on his fanny. -- "NONE OF THEM PLAYED GOLF," C. Arnholt Smith, August 6, 1992

Ten Years Ago At Flicks, Cunanan's old hangout just down the street, no one has a bad word to say about the homicidal homosexual -- only about the media. The bartender won't talk to anybody from the press; his boss, he said, is pissed. According to the Union-Tribune, Flicks owner Joe Letzkus claimed to have been "stalked" by Cunanan. Another bartender says he's new and doesn't know anything. Some guys at the bar make it clear everyone is sick of the media. "They're the real prostitutes," says one guy. "Not Andrew." -- CITY LIGHTS: "ANYONE BUT CUNANAN,"John Brizzolara, July 31, 1997

Five Years Ago "I didn't know anything about [swinging] in my bar. I've been a bartender for ten years, and I'm rarely shocked or surprised. But when it happened I was, like, whoa, what a different lifestyle. Personally, I would never participate in it, but that's just me. As a bartender, your whole purpose is to make money. If Brenda van Dam came in here as a swinger, I'm gonna treat her right and not judge her. But really, I only saw her in here a few times." -- "FRIDAY NIGHT AT DAD'S," John Brizzolara, Sue Greenberg, Ken Leighton, and Jill Underwood, August 1, 2002

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