The front door of the business is locked and the sign reads, enticingly, "Serious Clients, Please Ring."
This is the West Sea Co., on 4th Avenue in San Diego's Gaslamp District, where you can pick up some nice nautical knick-knacks dating back to the 17th Century.
Hey mate, have you been looking for a turn-of-the-century diving helmet? How about a 1770 sea captain's spyglass? Or a barometer used on board The Gamecock, the clipper which won the world speed record (18 days) for fastest passage from San Francisco to Hong Kong in 1854?
Ron Cardoza and his wife, Becky, began the business in 1979. "We've got items that are more unusual than what you'll find at the Maritime Museum at the Star of India," said Cardoza, who spent 10 years in the Navy. "We're more of a gallery than an antique store."
The stuff is typically purchased to furnish the offices of doctors and lawyers, or to adorn the salons of some of the nicer yachts in our waters.
The other day, Cardoza sold for $7,500 a telescope made by an English optician in 1750. (Must not have had plastic lenses.)
Solid Golding Humor
Amid the hours of otherwise typically dry discussion of land-use matters at the county Board of Supervisors last week came a morsel of uncharacteristic levity.
Discussing an application by Diego's, a restaurant and nightclub, for permission to operate in Solana Beach, Supervisor Susan Golding dropped the fact that the last time she visited Diego's in Pacific Beach, she was turned away because she couldn't prove she was 21.
Golding's self-flattery had barely been absorbed before someone in the audience shot back, "When was that, 14 years ago?"
Be Alert for 'Ducknabber'
Among the press releases that would not have been used in this newspaper were it not for this space:
- The one from Gardner and Associates, a San Diego advertising agency, announcing that it has picked up a new account, Lee White Toyota.
The announcement comes with a description of their new ad campaign which, according to the agency press release, "will feature a red Toyota pick-up truck driving on the freeway from South Bay to Lee White Toyota in Lemon Grove at 6,000 miles per hour."
- From San Diego City Hall, a personal appeal from Councilman Ed Struiksma, himself a former police officer, for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of a ducknabber operating on city lakes." It seems that a "quaint family" of ducks (as opposed, we wonder, to a rather pedestrian bunch of ducks?) were taken from Miramar Lake.
"The public should be on the lookout for any suspicious activities in and around duck habitats," the councilman warns.
- Word from the "Centre for Ombudscience Studies in Human Territoriality," out of Montreal, Canada, announcing a new course on "optimum individual and community problem solving" to be held here in San Diego.
The class is called "Journey into Maximum Growth" (we thought that was a trip to See's Candy at Easter time), and if you miss the session, "tapes will be distributed to organizations throughout the continent and will be known as 'The San Diego Tapes.' "
Expecting Too Much?
In San Marcos, where there's word that one in five high school girls was pregnant last year, PTA president Sharon Lyons was discussing how some parents abdicate much of their duty--including the role of sex educators--to the local schools.
But Lyons wonders aloud, somewhat facetiously, if schools are the best place for sex education.
"We're criticizing the schools because our kids don't know their math and English," she says, "and yet we're expecting them to teach sex as well?"
What a Choice
Overheard in the hallways of the county courthouse the other day was an attorney offering a piece of advice to his client, who apparently was considering a plea bargain.
"I think," the attorney said astutely, "that 25 years would be better for you than life."