The Low Life of Tom Waits

Thirty-Five Years Ago
These days, Tom Waits is sleazier than ever. He looked like he’d wandered in off Broadway that night, straight from the doorway he’d been sleeping in. It isn’t often that you see a performer in a suit and tie at the Back Door, but the way he looked could put an end to suits and ties forever. The old wrinkled white shirt, the crumpled, loosened narrow tie, the battered coat with the sagging pockets that must hold a half-empty bottle of cheap wine (well, I was close...halfway through the show he pulled out a can of beer from one of the pockets.)
“THE LOW LIFE,” Anne Hutchison, October 23, 1975

Thirty Years Ago
At the candy counter of the newly reopened State Theater, on El Cajon Boulevard at Euclid, there is a curious assortment of Occidental and Oriental snacks: Milk Duds and prepared cuttlefish, Mars bars and shuet fa mui (dried and salted plums), M&Ms and shrimp-flavored chips.

Filling the refreshment stall with Asian favorites was one of the first things Thoai Tang Minh did when he opened the old movie house three weeks ago.
CITY LIGHTS: “HOT BUTTERED CUTTLEFISH,” Jeannette De Wyze and Mark Orwoll, October 23, 1980

Twenty-Five Years Ago
While a manmade bridge of concrete and steel bids a majestic welcome at San Diego’s northern frontier, the eastern approach to the county is guarded by ancient, brooding monoliths of granite. Stabbing into the relentless wind of the Carrizo Grade, the boulders line Interstate 8 like a petrified army, inert and mysterious. Many of the rocks seem to mock natural laws, their huge mass held aloft by the tiniest thread of stone. It is a renegade army of glittering granite, locked in mortal combat with superior natural forces.
“THE SEVEN WONDERS OF SAN DIEGO,” Neal Matthews, October 24, 1985

Twenty Years Ago
This summer, a secret $6900 poll was conducted to find out whether San Diegans wanted to spend more tax money on public libraries. The results turned out to be grim for the library lobby. According to the survey, only 43 percent of San Diegans think that a new main library is needed, and a substantial minority don’t want one at all. Most voters make it clear that if a new library is built, they don’t want it downtown but in Mission Valley.

Fifteen Years Ago
If you’re thinking of traveling by air with small children, I have some advice: Don’t. Tell Aunt Mimsy in Minnesota that the kids have the chicken pox, then take them to Sea World.

If there’s no way to get out of the trip, take some time to practice. Set up three folding chairs...wedge the chairs behind your couch. The chairs should be close enough to the back of the couch that if you drop the baby’s teething ring on the floor next to your folding chair, your head should hit the back of the couch before your hand reaches the ring. Place one child in the folding chair beside you, one child on your lap, then sit there for five hours.
KID STUFF: “DO NOT GET ON A PLANE,” Anne Albright, October 19, 1995

Ten Years Ago
I only have one set of sheets, so you do the math.

Five Years Ago
The suspect approached a teller, revealed the butt of a handgun, and demanded money. One of the bank employees thought she recognized the robber’s eyes and voice belonging to Brandon H., a former employee. Two locations were developed where H. would probably be located. [D]eputies made contact with his grandparents. They said he should have been home already and they expected him shortly.

H. did arrive shortly and was met by the deputies. He consented to a search of his vehicle. Paintball equipment, a white pinstriped shirt, and a bag full of money were located.
IT’S A CRIME, Michael Hemmingson, October 19, 2005

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