Sunday, February 12, 2006

The San Diego iPodres

When I was a disc jockey in San Diego in 1974 some idiot got the bright idea to call the city “America’s last resort community”. Would it surprise you to learn from that civic brainstorm that San Diego is staunch Republican? They use a different slogan today but little has changed. They’re still Republican and recently they went through three mayors in one month.

Since I was looking for something to do as a last resort this weekend San Diego seemed the perfect destination. I went to visit my good buddy and former radio colleague, Rich Brother Robbin. I never asked but I’m guessing that’s a fake air name.

Stayed at a quaint motel in Ocean Beach right on the water. “Quaint” is another term for “Bates”. For the perfect touch, on Saturday night it was a little foggy so a loud foghorn sounded from the nearby pier every thirty seconds all night long.

Ocean Beach is a terrific little throwback beach town. The main drag is Newport Ave. and is populated almost exclusively by ma and pa businesses. (the exception of course being Starbucks. I’m surprised there’s not one in the Vatican). Black’s head shop is exactly as it was in 1967 except they now take credit cards. So does the other head shop…two doors down.

There’s a tanning salon, which seems a little odd since it’s a block from the beach.

The Old Townhouse is the place to go for biscuits & gravy (if that’s the kind of thing you order please don’t frequent Black’s nude beach). The other breakfast nook is Day Break on Bacon Avenue. And the Chinese restaurant is run by Greeks so unless you like olives in your sweet & sour pork or fried cous cous I’d look elsewhere.

Other local establishments the OB chamber of commerce recommends: Dr. Jefe’s Body Piercing (see their website for patterns and diploma), Unbreakable Clothing, Karen’s Consignment Gallery, Mallory’s Consignment Gallery (that title was just too irresistible and catchy for one), Golden Seashell Jewelry (that’s real clam shell not Zircon), Cow Records, and of course the Electric Chair beauty salon.

For Target, Costco, Borders, Wall-Mart, Home Depot, Fuddruckers, and every other franchise in America there’s Mission Valley. In another two years I bet the whole ten square mile area will be paved.

San Diego is a Navy town. Always has been. When WWII ended, troops from the Pacific came home via San Diego. Apparently the local residents were not thrilled. A red light district was growing, sailors were rowdy, not considered a good influence and local leaders were complaining. The base admiral got an idea. For the next payday he insisted all personnel be paid only in two dollar bills. Within a couple of days the town was flooded with these two dollar bills and local residents got the message. Sailors meant money. They’ve been embraced ever since.

Checked out the new home of the Padres, Petco Park. Wonderful old time feel,great location downtown – every seat has a view of at least one new condo tower going up – but there’s absolutely nowhere to park. We had trouble finding a space and the stadium was empty. Unless the Padres are playing Colorado there has to be a huge mess every game.

This weekend the Padres held their annual “FriarFest” at Petco. For only $5.00 you could get your picture taken with Padre superstars Josh Barfield and Adrian Gonzalez.

Rich and I cruised around town in his candy red T-Bird convertible listening to old Real Don Steele KHJ airchecks and thinking we were really bitchin’.

Stopped down in Tijuana where, alas, no cockfights this weekend in honor of Colonel Sanders’ birthday. But next weekend is “RoosterFest” where for 5 pesos you can take your picture with Adrian or Gonzalez. Purchased the really “in” designer drugs (the antidepressants that advertise in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Those people on Wellbutrin look like they’re having sooo much fun.).

Swung by the Hotel Del Coronado, featured prominently in SOME LIKE IT HOT. It looks the same. Charming, classic, elegant, and ready to crumple like a house of cards if a gardener accidentally points a leaf blower at it.

La Jolla is the Republicans’ Promised Land.

Skipped Sea World. No reason to ever go there without kids. They have a restaurant called Dine with Shamu where you can sit by the dolphin tank, watch Shamu do tricks and eat Mahi Mahi. Am I the only one who finds something wrong with that?

There are more people in San Diego just sitting on the beach or their front porches, drinking a beer and staring out into space than in any other city in the world. No wonder there are two head shops and they’re both doing well.

I thought I saw a surfer shooting the curl listening to an ipod. I do hope I’m wrong.

Surfers abound. Hippies still exist. And yet there’s not one radio station playing 60’s music.

San Diego’s premiere strip club, the Body Shop is still in business…which is a relief because I still have my lifetime pass from 1974. Only problem is, the strippers from 1974 are still there.

And Belmont Park remains open – home of the Giant Dipper rollercoaster, erected in 1925 and restored…one of the years since. Appearing daily: Reverend Jim – actually a hundred of them. They’re the park employees.

For weather, sheer beauty, beaches, breathtaking panoramas, nice people, pretty people, and bagpiping (another Ocean Beach available service) San Diego is “America’s Finest City” – a far better slogan than “Last Resort Community”.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Went to the San Diego ComicCon last year, with 100K attendees, and during the convention the Padres played. Note that the convention center and the ballpark are across the street from each other.

The cops were handing out tickets for jaywalking the crowds were so bad. Parked my car at 9am and didn't move it till 11pm.

-Bill

Stephen Benson said...

ah, but you left off the exquisite balboa park. the timkin gallery has some real treasures. . .to solve the petco park traffic problem, do what the locals do, take the trolley, but it is a lovely park, and we loves us some padres, even when they suck. the 3 mayors in 1 month, yup, you didn't take a cheap shot on duke cunningham, thanks for that. . .all in all, san diego is truly a fine place, thanks for the shout out. p.s. love the annie rants, keep 'em coming girl.

1031 said...

PetCo is definitely a beautiful ballpark. I drove down from L.A. to see a game there in late 2004, I think it was. It's a great place to watch a ballgame. Parking was pretty atrocious, though.

Next on my list is the new park in Pittsburgh. It looks just as nice as San Diego's.

JOHN LEADER said...

What do you think the fish at Sea World eat? They eat other fish. Your having Mahi-Mahi is actually quite appropriate. Pass the tartar sauce.

Grant Merrill said...

Rich Brother Robbin in that red T-Bird convertible is bitchin' anywhere he goes!

I am just surprised his tag doesn't say "93KHJ" instead of RichBro....

I am going to make the trip for a similar weekend with our mutual "brother" here real soon.

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Diana said...

Ocean Beach is located on the California coast. Approximately a 7-mile drive from San Diego, O.B. is south of Mission Bay and Mission Beach and west of downtown on the Pacific Ocean at the western terminus of Interstate 8. Specifically, the OB community is bounded on the north by the San Diego River, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, sportsbook, on the east by Froude Street and West Point Loma Boulevard, and on the south by Adair Street. It includes three residential sub-areas, namely North Ocean Beach (north of the mid-block between Santa Monica and Saratoga avenues), South Ocean Beach (south of Niagara Avenue), and The Hill (east of Sunset Cliffs). http://www.enterbet.com

MrDigs said...

Loved the 2 dollar bill tidbit! And you nailed the San Diego "vibe".