Susan Sontag, Helen Copley, J.Lo

Thirty Years Ago

Tom Gade stood up and told the assembly that he had voted against critical portions of Mayor Wilson's policy and then proceeded to point out the problems of such a growth strategy. According to one observer, he noted that the price of housing here is quickly approaching the $70,000 mark... Supporters of the mayor tended to see Gade's repartee as bad form. -- CITY LIGHTS: "MAYOR TAKES SPEECH IMPEDIMENT TO SAN FRANCISCO," Paul Krueger, December 15, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago Why does criticism have such a bad name? The Naive Critic

Sviatoslav Richter (yes, that's really his name!) gave a concert last night in Gorboduc Hall. The Russian pianist came in all dressed in a tuxedo, and there was wild applause before he even sat down.

Finally he sat down at the piano, raised his hands above the keys, and played. And how he played! His hands rolled up the keyboard and down the keyboard, white keys and black keys, sharps and flats, so that it really took your breath away. And to make things even more amazing, he knew all those millions upon millions of notes by heart, and he never forgot a single one.

It was also very exciting to see how he used the pedals. He would push them down and -- boom! -- "YOU KNOW HOW CRITICS ARE," Jonathan Saville, December 16, 1982

Twenty Years Ago As Texas gemologist John Fuhrbach tells it, an Amarillo woman was concerned because her new black diamond ring was burning her finger. Fuhrbach tested the stone with a variety of instruments, finally using a Geiger counter. The owner was horrified to learn that her 6.6-carat black diamond was actually a chunk of radioactive pitchblende from Great Bear Lake, Canada. -- "A GEM," J.D. Applegate, December 17, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago It occurred to me, at this juncture, that Susan [Sontag] was one of those people to whom no one had ever said the word no, as in, "No, Susan. Despite your having seemingly been raised by Cossacks, you must strive to behave in a civilized manner." I must admit that my legal pad, with its 12 pages of notes and questions, lay untouched beside me for the duration of our trip. I did wanly wave my tape recorder at the back of Susan's head -- she couldn't be bothered to turn and address me. Over the noise of traffic, I recorded her scathing remarks and belittling asides. -- "HEART OF DARKNESS," Abe Opincar, December 17, 1992

Ten Years Ago In 1986 Larry Lawrence personally presented [Helen] Copley with the Anti-Defamation League's "award for distinguished community service" at a lavish dinner and dance he hosted in her honor at his Hotel del Coronado. From then until his death last year, the hotel magnate and the publisher were fast friends. Last week the U-T went with a page-one piece featuring an ex-aide to former Democratic congressman Lionel Van Deerlin, a U-T columnist, who supported Lawrence's claim of service in the Merchant Marine. Hours later, the New York Post broke word of Lawrence's wartime registration at an Illinois junior college, debunking his tales of perilous sea duty. -- CITY LIGHTS: "HOME SWEET HOME," Matt Potter, December 18, 1997

Five Years Ago My 14-year-old brother, my only sibling, is a fan of Jennifer Lopez, also known as J-Lo. He has posters of her tacked up all over his bedroom, even on the ceiling. He buys all these magazines and reads everything about her. He goes on the Internet and reads about her there. He plays her music again and again. He keeps a diary of what she does, day by day, on his computer. At the dinner table he talks about her and what she's been doing just like it was a day in his own life.Concerned UCSD Co-ed -- ASK AUNT TRUDY, December 12, 2002

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