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Pity our poor photographer Sam Hodgson. He just snapped — again and again, all year long.

Hodgson took thousands of pictures in 2010, capturing the mighty and the not-so-mighty, the overpaid and the underpaid, the famous and the unknown, and plenty of people in between. Now, he’s chosen his 10 favorite images of the year with help from readers.

Among his highlights: Two frequent political enemies hug it out. A family waits for the worst. A geyser of sand produces both beauty and irony. And a glimpse of a happy past shines a spotlight on an unhappy present.

Trivially Yours:

On your marks. Get set. Remember!

Quick: What faraway spot in the universe does Councilman DeMaio hail from, according to an annoyed downtown official? What’s San Diego’s go-to spot for illegal drugs? Which local media figure’s “narrative is distorted, riddled with holes, falsehoods and slivers of data that skew reality”?


Join thousands of San Diegans who get the day’s news in their inboxes every morning. Get the Morning Report now.

Also: Which silent film star had an unfortunate encounter with manure in Tijuana? What nickname did our CEO come up with for a grass-topped convention center expansion? And what, exactly, did that don’t-touch-my-junk guy actually say?

These are just a few of the questions in the first-ever VOSD Trivia Contest. The winners will garner worldwide fame! (Or at least a T-shirt and a glowing mention in the Morning Report, which is priceless, as you know.)

Get Educated about Education:

Reporter Emily Alpert doesn’t just provide the most extensive and thoughtful coverage of education in town. She also focuses on the many new programs that have been launched in local schools with the goal of developing new ways to help kids learn. As the year nears its close, Alpert takes a look at the seven most fascinating ideas she discovered this year.

Among them: letting kids make the rules, making math less simplistic, helping non-English-speaking students get a better grounding in Spanish before they tackle English and getting rid of what children call “stupid classes” for those who lag behind their peers.

Chalk Marks the Career:

The best jobs are those that allow you to do what you love and get paid for it. A local 27-year-old artist from North Park is trying to reach that state of bliss: as arts blogger Dani Dodge explains, he’s melding business and his skills with colored chalk.

He draws signs in chalk for shops like Trader Joe’s and Wine Encounters and is working on creating a graphic arts business. “My goal is to be an artist,” he says. “I want to see my work in galleries and to go to places I haven’t seen before and paint. I see that as where I could make the most money and be the happiest.”

Nice Non-Work if You Can Get It:

The U-T looks at educator pensions and finds that “the average retired educator in San Diego County is paid $40,633 per year, or 58 percent of their final salary. That’s more than the average general city worker at $37,442 but less than the $67,428 for firefighters or the $62,098 for police officers.”

The retired county school superintendent, meanwhile, gets more than $200,000 a year in pension proceeds — also more than his final salary. The paper tried to reach the eight retired educators with the highest local pensions, seven former superintendents and one former community college president. Two agreed to talk, said their jobs were “very difficult.” They also each get more than $200,000 in pension proceeds a year.

One ex-East County school superintendent had this to say: “It’s a very difficult job, a 60-hour-a-week job. None of us are rich from it. Some may think we are, but we are not.” Make a note of that, people who work 60 hours a week.

On a Wing and a Prayer:

A reader is a fan of my favorite Sam Hodgson image of the year: a skyward shot of the Famous San Diego Chicken. As he puts it, “When mascots die, this is what they see calling them to the pearly gates of mascot heaven.”

If they run into George Steinbrenner instead of St. Peter, however, they’re definitely going in the wrong direction.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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