UCSD professor Nancy Caciola spends her time examining how you go about figuring whether someone is filled with the spirit of good or the depravity of evil.

No, she doesn’t study politicians. (Good guess, though!) Caciola wants to understand how medieval people dealt with neighbors who started acting strangely. If the lady down the street is screaming, chanting and having fits of ecstasy, how do you know if she’s possessed by God or Satan? It’s crucial since your own salvation may depend on making the right call.

In this week’s Q&A, Caciola talks about women, witchcraft and demonic possession and provides some helpful tips if you think someone in your life might need an exorcism. (Have you met my boss? Just sayin’.)

San Diego Employment Numbers Still Struggling

Our economy guru Rich Toscano is back with more charts, including one that looks like a hill with a long slope on one side and a giant cliff on the other. It’s a graphical look at San Diego’s total employment, showing how it tanked and is only making a small recovery. Last month, the seasonally adjusted number of local employed people actually dipped a bit; it’s still better than last year at this time, though.

Giving Bicyclists Space to Bike

A new marking on city streets designates a path in the middle of the road for bicyclists so they don’t get whacked by oblivious drivers as they open their car doors. Here’s a new word for you: the markers are called “sharrows,” short for shared roadway marker.

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Speaking of bicyclists, there’s big news for exhibitionists and exhibitionism enthusiasts: San Diego’s second annual World Naked Bike Ride is scheduled for next month. The first one last year caused quite a ruckus (and attracted an army of cops and cameras on event day) because its organizers tried to sue the city into allowing public nudity as a political protest. The bicyclists lost, and ended up biking while only mostly bare.

No, the City Organist Doesn’t Make $555 an Hour

One a week, an organist plays at Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion for an hour. She makes $56,000 a year. Just for an hour’s work? Naw. It’s more complicated than that, as we explain. We’ve got more facts to share about the civic organist and found a video of her at work.

Also in the arts and culture world, we check out the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s sit-in, which has been protesting the arrest of a Chinese artist. This not your everyday sit-in: participants haven’t been blocking traffic but instead have been actually sitting in chair sculptures by the artist.

And Behind the Scene TV checks in with a San Ysidro church-turned-arts haven.

Heaven Has a New Soiree Chronicler

Burl Stiff, the former U-T social columnist who knew everyone big enough to have a name in bold type, has died, the Reader reports. No word yet on whether tonight’s cocktail parties will have a moment of silence in his memory.

This Isn’t Exactly What He Had in Mind

“Some joker submitted [Councilman] Carl DeMaio as a problem via his new app,” CityBeat’s Kelly Davis tweeted yesterday before posting a story blasting the cell phone application and DeMaio’s role in creating it.

You can also submit me as a problem if you’d like. Just remember that my name is spelled S-A-N-D-E-R-S.


What We Learned This Week:

Private Eye Is Watching You, Watching Your Every Move: The local GOP hired a detective who shadowed a member of San Diego’s redistricting commission to West Hollywood in an effort to prove that he doesn’t live here. The operation came with the works: surveillance photos, reports and even a sneaky effort to get the commissioner to disclose his address. I think the technical term for this is “playing hardball.”

The redistricting commission, by the way, is already facing pressure from various groups as it tries to figure out how to redraw City Council districts. It sounds arcane, but the process could lead to a new power structure in the city, and everyone wants to make sure they’re not left out.

Mayor Won’t Say Yes to ‘No’: The City Council has made it clear that it won’t cut the hours of libraries, which are already barely open. But Mayor Jerry Sanders is still proposing that they be slashed, just less than before because new money is expected to come in, the U-T reports.

In other City Hall news, the U-T says a new report believes maintaining the Mission Valley football stadium is going to be mighty pricey whether the Bolts stay or go.


The Coffee Collection (engaging stories to savor over a cup of joe):

City Clucks at Poultry Owners: Meet an underground society you’ve never heard of: local chickens who live on the sly, avoiding the eyes of city inspectors with the help of their owners. The city outlaws chickens from living near homes, creating challenges for those who like their eggs fresh. Really fresh.

Throwing Integration Under the Bus: San Diego is required by law to blend the ethnic makeup of its schools so minorities aren’t segregated into certain campuses. Busing helps, but what happens when busing gets gutted?


Quote of the Week: “They have a district that looks like a medieval dragon.” — Barrett Tetlow, executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, on a liberal coalition’s proposal to redraw the lines of City Council districts.


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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