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Best Reader stories from 2007

Christmas for Jews, Judith Moore, PB bans booze, youngest chess champion, Borrego mud caves, Sudan Lost Boys in Coronado

Jacob Puka: "Even at the age of six, you had to learn the name of each cow. You never count your cows, but our family probably had 500. Maybe 300."
  • Jacob Puka: "Even at the age of six, you had to learn the name of each cow. You never count your cows, but our family probably had 500. Maybe 300."
  • Image by Alan Decker
  • Does Christmas offend you?

  • Christmas has to start with the Jews, I guess, no matter where you start. It was Jews who were killed by Herod and Jews who were chased into Egypt by him, pregnant with the future, and Jews whose testimony later became the Christmas story. But though in my childhood I would sometimes help neighbors decorate their Christmas trees with tinsel -- we would never have had one and never felt deprived: "That's what they do, not what we do."
  • By Gideon Rappaport, Matthew Lickona, Dec. 20, 2007
  • She hated adverbs

  • By Abe Opincar, Barbarella Fokos, Deirdre Lickona, Dorothy Stewart, Ed Bedford, Ernie Grimm, Geoff Bouvier, Jennifer Ball, Jerry Miller, Joe Deegan, John Brizzolara, Justin Wolff, Ken Kuhlken, Laura McNeal, Mary Grimm, Matthew Lickona, Ollie , RF Jurjevics, Robert Kumpel, Stephen Dobyns, Sue Greenberg, Thomas Larson, Thomas Lux, Aug. 16, 2007

Judith Moore. If you have never been fat, you may find me and my story repugnant. There's not much I can do about this.

Judith Moore. If you have never been fat, you may find me and my story repugnant. There's not much I can do about this.

  • Pacific Beach cracks down on beach boozers

  • Pacific Beach. 2:00 p.m. I'm bar-hopping, and not one establishment I enter at midday is empty. Many are almost full. The people are predominantly white, under 30, and showing off a lot of tanned and tattooed skin. I see muscles, cleavage, midriffs, baseball caps on backwards, baggy shorts, tank tops, flip-flops, sunglasses, dyed hair, skirts and halter-tops, lots of makeup, lots of perfume, and lots and lots of cheap beers and shots.
  • By Geoff Bouvier, July 19, 2007
  • Last year I was the youngest player in U.S. Championship

  • "I played Nakamura. He was 18 years old at the time, at the 2005 U.S. Championship. His name is Hikaru Nakamura. And he's the top U.S. player right now." This is the top chess player in San Diego, international master (IM) Cyrus Lakdawala, 46. He's telling me about the strongest opponent he's ever faced. "This kid Nakamura's just a natural genius," Lakdawala says. "And I don't normally use that term."
  • By Geoff Bouvier, May 31, 2007
  • The nothing that is not there and the nothing that is

  • The narrow opening of the mud cave was nothing but a slot in the rock, barely wide enough for my shoulders. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never know it was there.
  • We're going into that?" I said.
  • It was deep, and dark, and after five steps, you couldn't see a thing. I used my hands and shuffled at a turtle's pace.
  • By Geoff Bouvier, March 15, 2007

Canyon Sin Nombre. "We're going in there," Schad said excitedly, indicating an opening between two rock faces, and then we parked.

Canyon Sin Nombre. "We're going in there," Schad said excitedly, indicating an opening between two rock faces, and then we parked.

  • We have to tell the story because we survived

  • We're sitting in the comfy little living room of the guest quarters at the rear of the Mosers' Coronado property. This is where they live these days, in the cottage behind their house. You look out across the lawn to a grand main residence. "The Lost Boys live there now," says Jerry.
  • By Bill Manson, Jan. 25, 2007

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