A Christmas Story

Twenty Years Ago
So what’s the real story behind the statue of R.E. “Pappy Hazard” in the new Hazard Center in Mission Valley? The inscription on the statue, “Be just and fear not,” is the same message found on the church in the wedding scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Here are more eerie Rocky/Pappy facts: Hazard died in 1975, the same year the film was released. And note the suspiciously similar names: Roscoe E. Hazard, Rocky Horror....

The quote in its (partial) original context reads “Love thyself last, cherish those hearts that hate thee / Corruption wins not more than honesty / Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace / To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not / Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s / Thy God’s and truth’s.”

Boesky? Keating? Olie North? Naw. Shakespeare. Henry VIII, the end of act 3.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HIP, Matthew Alice, December 20, 1990

Fifteen Years Ago
Most of them have been more naughty than nice, but Santa isn’t about to forget the movers and shakers who made San Diego a little more, er, interesting in 1995.

To Neil Morgan, assistant editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune: a class in remedial journalism, Ethics 101. He let his paper’s reporters speculate for six months about how Pete Wilson met the illegal immigrant maid who worked for him while he was mayor of San Diego until the truth finally came out: it was Morgan’s wife Judith who introduced them.

To Councilwoman Judy McCarty: term limits. Otherwise, she’d never go on to anything else. How long has she been on the council? Did they have cars?
CITY LIGHTS: “AND TO ALL A VERY MERRY ELECTION YEAR,” Thomas K. Arnold, December 21, 1995

Ten Years Ago
I’m no economist, or so my creditors say, but long before Steve Kroft’s report on 60 Minutes on December 10 about the bust up of the dot-com industry and the billions in fool’s gold that financed the vast, revolutionary industry, I often found myself wondering how in the hell all these sites were going to make a penny. Cash from first-round, second-round, and third-round funding, all the CEOs admitted, was financing a startup and “branding” costs. So, great, everyone knows what Expedia, Kozmo, and Yahoo stand for, but now what? According to vulture capitalists and repo men, layoffs, bankruptcy, and office-furniture auctions is what.

Did investors really think people would stop reading the newspaper, stop reading books, stop calling Southwest, stop using real money and trade instead in something called Flooz?

The web is here to stay, of course, and so we might ask, “What good is it?”
SIGHTSEER: “WAFFLE WEAVE,” Justin Wolff, December 21, 2000

Five Years Ago
My dad’s eye would twitch at the sight of a live tree covered in lights. He has an irrational fear of fire, and stringing even lukewarm lights across any kind of wood is a special kind of torture for him. You might as well wrap the tree in gasoline-soaked socks and adorn it with firecrackers and candles. Against my mother’s wishes, my father only allowed the tree to be plugged in if we were all home and either my brother or I were stationed in front of it with a CO₂ fire extinguisher.

When she divorced the old man and moved out, she took all the ornaments except the porcelain tree that she never liked. That year, at 15 years old, I wondered about our tradition of covering every square inch of the interior of our house with bright green, red, and silver crap. I asked my dad, “Are we going to buy new stuff and put it up?”

“Hell no!” he said, finally finding a way out of the fire hazard that is Christmas decoration. “I hate that stuff.”

With that proclamation, he went out to the garage and came back in with the nonflammable statuette that would adorn our television set every winter from December to January.
“A CHRISTMAS STORY,” Ollie, December 22, 2005

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