Back when cockfighting was a neighborhood pastime

Thirty Years Ago
The sport survives around here — in Escondido, Solana Beach, Harbison Canyon, La Mesa, San Marcos, and Eden Gardens — but that kind of cockfighting is very secretive and done on a small scale, where two neighbors each think they’ve got the meanest rooster that ever crowed, and after arguing about it for a while they put them in the pit.
PECKING ORDER,” Steve Sorensen, May 25, 1978

Twenty-Five Years Ago
Almost two years ago, when he was 18 years old, Birch had left his home and family in Orange County in search of a simpler life among the Mexican peasants who live along the Rio Santo Tomás, which is usually not much more than a small stream as it winds through the valley on its way to the Pacific. Today he lives as the people in the area do — laboring in the fields, hunting, farming, and subsisting primarily on frijoles and tortillas.
JUST SEND MY MAIL TO SANTO TOMÁS,” Michael Waterman, May 26, 1983

Twenty Years Ago
“When the time came, he pushed the syringe plunger and injected the morphine,” recalls Warlick while seated in his apartment in a three-unit building he and Adams owned in Normal Heights. “I had my arms around him. I just kept whispering to him, telling him I loved him as he was dying. I felt him relaxing.”

Warlick says Adams discussed taking his own life back in February of 1987, as soon as he was diagnosed with pneumocystis, a pneumonia associated with AIDS. “We really didn’t call it suicide,” says Warlick.
CITY LIGHTS: “THE DEATH OF DAVE ADAMS,” Jackie McGrath, May 26, 1988

Fifteen Years Ago
The entire point behind The Totalitarian Chef is the glorification of spontaneity. Jeff and Chuck follow no script. According to Chuck, when tossing around ideas for a public-access cooking show, they aimed for something extemporaneous. They wanted to videotape themselves making kamikaze runs into the kitchens of unsuspecting friends, where they’d whip up a meal from whatever happened to be on hand. “You know,” says Chuck, “to show that you can make something tasty out of absolutely nothing.”
AS SEEN ON TV: “IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT,” Abe Opincar, May 27, 1993

Ten Years Ago
I flew to San Diego two weeks before Halloween. A perfect time, I thought, to pursue the ghost of my father. I had neither seen nor heard from the old man since 1965, but I knew that he had died here on New Year’s Eve 1989.

I had prepared myself to sleuth through the recent past for traces of a man about whose last 24 years of life I knew little. Twenty-four years. That was two more than we had spent together. His years in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in Asia and his marriage to a young Vietnamese woman must have changed my father. I would be looking for a man I only half knew.
WHERE MY FATHER’S TRAIL ENDS,” William Corbett, May 28, 1998

Five Years Ago
Last Friday, San Diego city councilman Jim Madaffer was testifying before a federal grand jury in the matter of the city’s Cheetahs strip-club scandal; at the same hour a few blocks away in state appellate court, an attorney for the Reader was urging a three-judge panel to make public emails and other records of Elena Cristiano, one-time aide to Mayor Dick Murphy and the subject of another of city hall’s dark mysteries. Cristiano, who had a criminal record for shoplifting and was once arrested after a dispute with a San Diego lifeguard at a La Jolla beach, had been a waitress at Seau’s and a member of the Padres’ “Pad Squad” cheerleaders before being hired by Murphy to be his first press secretary.
CITY LIGHTS: “JURIS PRUDENCE,” Matt Potter, May 22, 2003

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