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Thirty Years Ago Now that I am no longer querying and probing, the strangeness of this situation hits me full. I am sitting in a monastery, in a soundproofed room with a gate of bars thrown open, trying to down a hefty tuna sandwich while these hermetical nuns in medieval costume watch me, smiling. -- "A SEPARATE PEACE," Connie Bruck, February 3, 1977

Twenty-Five Years Ago David Antin is wrong when he says the lack of studio space for undergraduates is not the fault of the faculty of UCSD ("Today's Subject Is Tomorrow's Art," January 21). The fact of the matter is that the main purpose of the UCSD art department is to support and cultivate the permanent interests of the art department faculty no matter what. How so? You might ask. The evidence is this: Every little maneuver, every little intrigue they may pull will never hide the fact that they alone stand responsible for deceiving utterly a UCSD community with real needs. -- LETTERS: "EVERY LITTLE INTRIGUE SEEMS TO WHISPER UCSD,"

Leslie Kienholz, January 28, 1982

Twenty Years Ago Michael Copley is smiling. The 39-year-old son of the late James Copley -- who until his death in 1973 owned and operated the San Diego Union and the Tribune -- has finally found the perfect work for himself. As president of a company called Off-the-Wall Products, Michael Copley brought into existence a digital clock lodged in the shell of a baseball or tennis ball, whose alarm is silenced when the ball is thrown against the wall. -- CITY LIGHTS: "CLOCKED AT 39," E.J. Rackow, January 29, 1987

Fifteen Years Ago I've always envied the ease with which boys form rock bands. Based on all the interviews with guys who claim they didn't know how to play guitar prior to forming their group, you'd think the entire United States of America was made up of musical geniuses. "We didn't know how to play," members of these bands say in unison. "We borrowed our instruments from our friends. We learned some chords, we went to the garage, and voilà!" Nirvana. Following these steps to stardom takes incredible arrogance and complacency -- qualities most women, taught early to attract as little attention to themselves as possible, do not have in abundance. -- "OH, ARE YOU THE CHICK SINGER?" Gina Arnold, January 30, 1992

Ten Years Ago I was not a born surfer but came to images of myself flashing over blue water, the sun overhead, when I was nearly 16. That year surfers loping down the halls of my high school incited in me the purest envy. They were not the scholars on their way to Ivy League colleges nor the championship jocks ready to sign professional contracts; but at an age when style is everything, the surfers had mucho beaucoup. And if adolescence is indeed a time of greedy conformism, I had it bad: I wanted the surfer's golden sun-quenched tan. I wanted the surfer's blond hair. I wanted to wear midnight black sunglasses and smear greasy white zinc oxide over my nose and lips. I wanted a wet suit you had to peel from your body like a banana skin. -- "EACH WAVE SHINES LIKE A DIAMOND," Hawkins Mitchell, January 23, 1997

Five Years Ago The time has come to include in this column the place actually called TGI Friday's. If I was going to do this, I figured I'd get there about 1 a.m., just at last call, when humanity is at its most vulnerable, pathetic, obnoxious, and meanly comic. But if commenting, much less expounding, on the obvious is a tiresome and unoriginal misdemeanor, shooting fish in a barrel is certainly closer to a felony. -- T.G.I.F., John Brizzolara, January 24, 2002

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