Thursday, May 18, 2017

Five Guys tops In-N-Out as the nation's most popular burger, the Bynum family breathes new life into an industrial area and Bill Thomas masters the art of a short speech

 * ... BLVD: You have to hand it to local developer Greg Bynum and his sons - Don and David - for spearheading the re-development of an area of town that could have fallen into disrepair. The area off
Buck Owens Boulevard was once home to Costco, Home Base and other big box retailers, but after being purchased by the elder Bynum it is now home to a bustling and growing entertainment complex. It now consists of Don Bynum's Temblor Brewing Co., Rush Sports (one of David's projects), Bakersfield Karting, the DMV court and soon BLVD, the new entertainment center (coordinated by David Bynum,) that will feature a restaurant, three bars, a bowling alley, laser tag, billiards and bocce ball, a ropes course and meeting center.

 * ... STERLING SILVER: The Bakersfield College Foundation held a dinner this week to celebrate the passage of Measure J, which will provide the college with some $500 million in capital improvements. The Sterling Silver dinner honored former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas, former Mayor Harvey Hall and others who worked to win passage of the measure, which won a remarkable 65 percent of the vote. My take away from the dinner: both Thomas and Hall are masters at giving short, concise and thoughtful remarks. Through the years, they have learned no one is disappointed in a short speech.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Nothing is better when 'the one that got away' becomes "whew so glad I dodged that bullet!'"

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "If I cancel Comcast, I’ll have enough money to retire in five months."

 * ... WALKING TOUR: If you are a history buff, you might want to join a walking tour of historic downtown Bakersfield this Saturday. The tour is free and will be led by Bakersfield High teacher Ken Hooper, starting at the Woolworth's building at 10 a.m. and ending around 12:30 p.m.

 * ... TRASH: I read in the Californian the story about the annual "Community Appearance Survey" in which Mayor Karen Goh, Cathy Butler and others drove around town and rated areas on the appearance of trash. On a scale of one to four, with one being "no litter" four being "extremely littered," they gave Bakersfield a rating of 1.6. Really? What kind of blinders were the mayor and Cathy Butler wearing that prevented them from seeing the litter the rest of us see?

 * ... CSUB: Congratulations to the nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 450 master's degree candidates who will be graduating from CSUB this year. This is the largest graduating class in the history of the local university.

 * ... BURGER WARS: Has our beloved In-N-Out burger lost its crown as the world's best hamburger? That is the word from a recent Harris Poll that found, for the first time ever, In-N-Out has been toppled in a poll of the country's best burger. The new winner? The signature burger from Five Guys, a Virginia based company that is making inroads in the West. Five Guys has outlets in Valencia and Visalia and is planning on opening its first Bakersfield location on Calloway Drive.

 * ... MEMORIES: According to the Kern County of Old Facebook page, the building housing downtown's Tiki-Ko cocktail bar was originally built to house the Windsor Hotel.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Renovation of Griffith Field at Bakersfield High School moves toward completion, it's college "move out" day for students and watch those dirty grocery cart handles

 * ... DRILLER PRIDE: The new stadium, track and football field at Bakersfield High School is finally coming together, and it looks spectacular. Next time you are on California Avenue headed
west glance to your right to check out the new digs, all worthy of Driller Pride for the new season. The vintage 1923 stadium upgrade includes moving the visitor stands behind the track; new concessions, ticket booths and restrooms for the home and visitor sides; the addition of two (2) “mini-Griffiths” that will attach to the current stadium that will expand seating and provide additional room for a new weight room and trainers facility;  replacing the locker and shower areas with modern plumbing and facilities; replacing the watering and drainage systems in the stadium and Morrow Field to ensure fields get evenly watered and properly drained when rain occurs; redoing the field and the track; and enhancing curbs, gutters and parking.

 * ... GRADUATES: Congratulations to all those high school seniors out there, and especially the ones who have settled on a college to continue their journey. They're headed off to places like the University of Arizona, Baylor University, Cal Berkeley, Loyola Marymount and closer to home CSUB and Bakersfield College. This is also the time when parents are trudging off to colleges to move their children out of the dorms for the summer. Said one friend: "I got more than 15,000 steps on my Fitbit going up and down six flights of stairs. My knee hurts."

 * ... WELCOME HOME: Congratulations to a special couple - Bakersfield High School dean of instruction Tamara Clark and her city firefighter captain husband A.J. Clark - for bringing home their third son Ben from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Ben was born with a congenital heart defect but underwent successful open heart surgery while just a few days old. They were grateful for not only the care at CHLA, but also at Memorial Hospital (where the defect was detected) and the Ronald McDonald House at CHLA. 

* ... HAND SANITIZERS: Next time you ignore the hand sanitizer at the grocery store, consider this as reported in The New York Times: "Grocery carts can be particularly risky points of transmission. Someone grabbing chicken or meat can leak the juices onto a cart and their hands and then continue to push the cart around, transmitting pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli onto the handle. The next person who handles the cart, or the next child who sits in the top of the wagon, can then pick up the bugs."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Being cremated is my last hope for a smoking hot body."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "That awkward moment when you’re checking yourself out in the window of a car and then realize there’s someone inside."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to the two ladies who spent Mother's day morning walking the park at the Panorama bluffs picking up trash. By the way, I was the guy on the bike who waved hello.

 * ... DOG PLAQUE: And finally there was this from James M. Stuart: "I always thought the 'Lucky and Friends' was the best dog plaque at Riverwalk Park (mainly because it was the only one and Lucky is my dog), but now I have to say that there is one that is much better... located on a bench, it reads: 'Lucas: For my beloved friend and constant companion, my little dog. I will love you always-  Anita.' I don't recall ever meeting Anita or Lucas but am appreciative of how much a pet can mean to someone."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mosquitoes, snakes and other critters are flourishing after the heavy winter rains, Bruce Freeman picks up more endorsements in the Ward 5 race and remembering the mountain lion of the Oak Street towers

* ... MOSQUITOES: When was the last time you had to deal with mosquitoes in Bakersfield? It's likely been a while, but the tiny pests are back - along with any number of bugs and critters - thanks
to our record winter rains. My friend Harry Starkey, manager of the West Kern Water District, said we all can expect an explosion of bugs, snakes and other assorted insects and small animals thanks to the massive plant growth that provides a fresh source of food for all kinds of bugs and animals.

* ... FREEMAN: The endorsements for Bruce Freeman in the Ward 5 City Council race are piling up. The former Castle and Cooke CEO has won support from homebuilder Matt Towery, Supervisor Zack Scrivner, Mercy Hospital president Bruce Peters, Taft businessman Bruce Hampton, former assemblywoman Shannon Grove and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. Meanwhile, his primary opponent Ryan Nance counts the Bakersfield Police Officers Association among those who have endorsed him.

 * ... NEW BUSINESS: Congratulations to Katie and Nick Panici who have opened a salon and boutique named Campici at the corner of 19th and F streets in the old Green Thumb space. Some 200 people showed up for an open house last Sunday. Katie is the daughter of Clayton Camp of Kern Machinery.

 * ... PARISH BBQ: Make sure you calendar Thursday, May 25, for a new barbecue to raise money for the youth ministry at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Master griller Gary Icardo and Deborah Leary are joining Monsignor Perry Kavookjian to host the event, featuring the traditional Icardo Harris Ranch New York steak or teriyaki chicken along with Casa Munoz beans, Pyrenees rolls, Dewar's ice cream and salad. Tickets are $30 and available at the church office or at the door. Doors open at 5 p.m.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Teach your kids about taxes. Eat 30 percent of their ice cream."

 * ... MYSTERY: There was a lot of feedback on folks remembering the mountain lion that once lived in the penthouse of the high rise at Oak and 21st streets. This one, from Allyson Livesay, puts the mystery to rest. "I work for Mr. James R. Smeed, and Mrs. Claire J. Smeed, owners of the Oak Park Tower.  Mr. Smeed owned 'Marusa'  the mountain lion referred to in the article. So there you go!
The name was 'Marusa' pronounced 'Marusha.' He a photo hanging in his office; himself sitting at the desk, with the mountion lion  sitting next to his desk with its paws on the desk.  Mr. Smeed is an avid animal lover and  supports several wildlife causes. He was tickled to see the article in the paper."

  * ... MOUNTAIN LION: And Ty Bryson added this: "My grandather managed the Oak Park Tower early on when it was initially owned by Gene 'Old Man' Reed and later his son Bud Reed. My grandparents lived in a modest caretaker home situated in the northeast corner of the property. At that time, the building was managed and marketed as luxury apartments. The Reeds lived in the penthouse. Pretty swanky digs for Bakersfield at the time. I spent many a weekend and summer roaming the property as a child, when I visited my grandparents. It had a great swimming pool and spa that provided great fun during the hot summers...The Reed family sold the building to J. R. Smeed who converted the apartments into spaces that were marketed for business uses, but continued to maintain the penthouse as his family's personal residence. J.R. had a pet mountain lion that he kept up there in the penthouse. She was known for walking on the thin railing that enclosed the top of the building. That was often a traffic stopper for Oak Street travelers... I remember going up to the penthouse and playing with Marusa many times, but one time in particular stands out. I was a young boy and was very impressed with the big cat. We were all outside on the penthouse patio area and I was playing with Marusa. However, when the group moved indoors, Marusa wasn't quite done playing with me and she firmly grabbed my skinny little wrist in her jaws and pulled me back, away from the door.  It scared me and Mr. Smeed had to intervene. No harm done, but I can still see my wrist in that lion's mouth! Marusa, more than a few times, made the long plunge to earth from that penthouse and went roaming into Westchester and the surrounding area. Those instances made quite a stir."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The group that invented the term "shacking up" - the Baby Boomers - are at it again in their post divorce 50s and 60s, and head to Wire and Pearl for a unique Mother's Day gift

 * ... SHACKING UP: So guess which age group is leading the pack in terms of living together out of wedlock? It turns out it is the same group that invented the term "shacking up," the Baby Boomers. That's according to the New York Times which reports that the number of people over 50 who are
living with a single partner jumped 75 percent from 2007 to 2016, the highest increase of any age group. The reason? "People who've divorced have a more expansive view of what relationships are like," said Deborah Carr, a Rutgers University sociologist. "The whole idea of marriage as the ideal starts to fade, and personal happiness becomes more important."

* ... GOOD FORM: Here's a missive from a reader named Patty Sue that should lift your spirits: "Richard, on Friday had to pull my car over when I had an issue, corner of Merle Haggard Drive and Wings Way. It was 1:30 p.m. and hot, put the hood up, rolled down the windows with lights blinking.
Within about three minutes the cars started stopping and checking with me if I needed help. This kept up until the tow truck arrived. All ages, women and men. Officer Baurer pulled in behind me and protected me from traffic, young men from the airport checked on me and brought me a bottle of cold water.  I don't think it had anything to do with my white hair put just goes to show what kind of people live here."

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It may look like I’m having really deep thoughts but 99 percent of the time I’m just thinking about what food I’m going to eat later."

 * ... MOTHER'S DAY: Here is a tip for all you men who are waiting until the last minute to purchase that present for Mother's Day: head over to Wire and Pearl on 17th and F streets, a charming little boutique where owner Susan Ruppel makes some of the most unique, beautiful and affordable jewelry you will find anywhere. Make sure you check their Facebook for store hours.

 * ... MYSTERY: A reader wrote: "Who remembers the name of the mountain lion who lived in the penthouse of the Oak Park Towers on Oak and 21st Street?

* ... HIDDEN GEMS: Here is my list of some underrated hidden gems on the local dining scene, places that operate largely under the radar but serve consistently great food with friendly service: Nuestro Mexico on 21st Street, Casa Munoz on Union Avenue, Juicy Burger on 24th and Q streets, Locale Farm to Table (previously known as Union Deli) across from the downtown post office, Red Pepper (an eastside favorite), Little Italy, Village Grill and Centro 18.

* ... MEMORIES: Mike Varela, an East High graduate, remembers going to a place called the Rainbow Gardens that later became the Crystal Inn on Union Avenue. "I saw Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown and other groups there... those were good times."

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, thanks to Ralph Dennis for this note: "Listening to the radio the name Cousin Herb was common place. But, I don't remember his name being mentioned without the name of his band, The Ozark Squirrel Shooters. How come? Not politically correct?  I returned to Bakersfield a few years ago and subscribed to the Californian at the four days a week level. I glance over Bakersfield Observed to see if anything catches my eye and was glad to see the names of two restaurants, previously unmentioned, appear. If you wanted to impress or be impressed those were the places, Maison Jaussaud and The Saddle and Sirloin."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More evidence that diet sodas are bad for us, it's snake season in Kern County and First Friday features a creative pairing of photography and painting

 * ... SODAS: There's more evidence that drinking diet soda is bad for you. The latest comes from researchers who studied more than 4,000 people over the age of 45 and found a clear link between

diet soda consumption and an increased risk for stroke and dementia. Said The New York Times: "The study, in the journal Stroke, found that compared with those who did not drink diet soda, people who drank one of six artificially sweetened drinks a week had twice the risk of stroke. There were similar, although weaker, associations for dementia risk."

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: If you are downtown for First Friday this week, don't miss a special show at The Metro Galleries featuring the photography of Don Martin and paintings by David Gordon. The idea: take the stunning nature photographs by Martin and have Gordon transfer them to paint on canvas, resulting a creative pairing of art reflecting the beauty of our community. Take in dinner at one of our downtown eateries (Uricchio's Trattoria, Chef's Choice Noodle Bar, Jin Sushi, The Padre Hotel, Muerto's, The Mark to name a few) and then head over to the arts district to soak it all in.

 * ... SNAKES: Heads up everyone because we are entering the peak season for snakes on our hiking trails and bike paths. I spotted two in the last week, sunning on stretches of the bike path, and you can bet there are more lurking in the weeds in Hart Park and along the Kern River. Enjoy the outdoors, but step carefully.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It’s crazy that when Miley Cyrus gets naked and licks a hammer, it’s 'art'…. but if I do it, I’m 'wasted' and have to leave Home Depot."

 * ... SUNDAY EATS: Good news for downtown residents who often complain that most restaurants are closed on Sunday. Cafe Smitten, the popular new coffee and sandwich place on 18th Street, is now opening on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to the West High School class of 1976 for providing $6,000 to the school for scholarships. The class recently held its 40th reunion and raised the money to provide for scholarships for three students. Wouldn't it be great if every reunion provided scholarships for those in need?My thanks to Lamar Kerley for passing this along.

 * ... MEMORIES: Lavania Poznoff shared this memory of old Bakersfield: "Re your mention of the Crystal Inn and its location on South Union Avenue. I seem to remember the Basque Club was formerly the Rainbow Gardens where a few times I danced the Western 2-Step to the tunes of Cousin Herb and his band, with Billy Mize on steel guitar."

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, R. Short added this: "As a resident of Bakersfield in the 1940s I remember the dance halls along Union Avenue this way ,south to north: The 2307 Club (primarily black patrons); The Rainbow Gardens (primarily Okie patrons); The Crystal Inn (primarily country patrons); Maison/Jaussaud? (primarily wealthy patrons); Saddle and Sirloin (primarily middle to wealthy patrons)."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Three juvenile bears show up in the La Cresta neighborhood, CSUB gets some good news and more memories of the old Saddle and Sirloin restaurant

* ... BEAR SIGHTINGS: A resident of La Cresta shared with me an almost unbelievable sighting
close to midnight last week. "My wife and I had heard noises outside the night before and sure enough it started again," he said. "It was well after 11 p.m. and when I went outside I saw three small bears near an apricot tree. They scattered." The resident said this happened a block off Panorama Drive just up from Garces Memorial High School. Bear sightings in northeast Bakersfield are not particularly rare, but it they normally don't happen until around June or July.

 * ... CSUB: There is some good news for CSUB and its students. According to a recent study, CSUB is one of the top universities in the county in terms of upward mobility for its students. The Equality of Opportunity Project found that fully 81 percent of CSUB students who enrolled in the late 1990s moved from the bottom fifth of the income distribution to the top three fifths. Only two schools - Pace University of the New Jersey Institute of Technology - performed better. The ranking is the latest in a series of accolades for CSU Bakersfield. The Washington Monthly ranks CSUB number 1 Best Bang for the Buck Western Colleges and number 12 in the Top 100 Master’s Universities.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I'm at the age where a 'lifetime warranty' isn't the incentive it used to be."

 * ... ZIPPO LIGHTER: One of the enduring images of the Vietnam War popped up on Facebook the other day. It is a Zippo lighter with a peace sign reading: "Nam 71-72. We the unwilling led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate die for the ungrateful."

 * ... HOMELESSNESS: Robert Hyde wrote to lament the explosion of homelessness in our community, starting with the panhandlers who accost patrons in parking lots around town. "We live in Kernville and make our regular trips to Bako to shop - Walmart/Costco/Trader Joe's/Lowes etc. Once pretty much gone, the panhandlers now roam the intersections and the parking lots. In the Walmart parking lot one accosted us even before we were out of our car and two more caught us on our way back. Also saw two at the bottom of the Highway 99 north bound Rosedale Highway off ramp; it was a shift change as one handed his sign off to another before pedaling away on his bicycle, and we saw one more with a sign at the 58 east bound off ramp at Mt Vernon."

 * ... MEMORIES: Lynn Finch weighed in with this memory of the old Saddle and Sirloin restaurant. "My uncle, Carl Eggers, was the original owner of the Saddle and Sirloin. Before that restaurant was built he owned a little drive-in hamburger restaurant downtown named Carl's, long before the fast food era! It was on the northeast corner of 18th and M streets. I believe, across from Rice Bowl.
Bakersfield housing was spreading west of Oleander near Brundage at that time and my uncle had a custom home built on a short little street parallel to Brundage that was named Eggers Street, as his house was the first house on the one block street."

 * ... CRYSTAL INN: And finally Kevin Cornelius added this: "Phil Foster has a very good memory. But the Crystal Inn was not at the old Basque hall location. It was at the northwest location of Planz and Union Avenue. That's the location of the now Pick-up Salvage building. Crystal Inn burned down to ashes sometime in 1957."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bakersfield College celebrates Earth Day with surgery drinks and junk food, remembering Maison Jaussaud's and some good form at a local Walmart

 * ... EARTH DAY: An interesting note from Stephen A. Montgomery on Bakersfield College’s
Garden Fest held on Earth Day. "(It) sort of implies a concern for the environmentalism and sustainable living. Yet in the face of long term concerns about the health affects of sugary beverages on diabetes and weight and now new concerns about the health risks of artificially sweetened beverages the BC Culinary Arts food concession sold sodas for a buck and charged $2 for water! Food consisted of pulled pork sandwiches or hot dogs with salty chips. Healthier options? Not here. Hello! Are we a little tone deaf?"

 * ... OVERHEARD: At the Starbucks downtown a man is complaining to his wife: "Starbucks has become like United: crowded, horrible service and uncaring."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Siri pronounces Spanish street names like a white guy in a Hawaiian shirt ordering in a Mexican restaurant."

 * ... GOOD FORM: "Last Tuesday my husband and I went in to Walmart on Gosford to shop for our Vegas snacks. We were in a hurry so we went through the 'self’ checkout line and upon checking out we (received) cash for $100.  We left the store and once inside the car we realized we didn't collect our $100 from the cash dispensary. We ran back into the store and the family behind us were still checking out. The lady noticed the look on our faces and asked if we were looking for our $100 cash. We told her we forgot to collect it and she proceeded to tell us she turned the money in to a Walmart clerk. It's so awesome that there are still honest people in Bakersfield! We did try to compensate her $20 for her honesty and she refused to take it. So we paid it forward in Las Vegas!"

 * ... MEMORIES: Here's one more memory of Maison Jaussaud's from Richard Stricklen, president of the Motor City Auto Center. "For many years, the Bakersfield New Car Dealers' Association held their monthly lunch meetings at Maison Jaussaud's. In the late 1960's I was absent for the annual election of officers meeting and was informed the following week that I was elected president. I was 23 at the time and got a call from John Barber saying, 'See kid, that's what you get for being a no-show.' Also in that era, the hit singing groups, 'The Four Seasons' and the 'Leland Four' performed at Maison Jaussaud's several times. The Jaussaud family had a knack for attracting the very top entertainment."

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And there was this from reader Phil Foster: "My father Les Foster and his brother Lawrie Foster came to Bakersfield in 1929. My father formed a dance band and played the Crystal Inn, The Beardsley Ballroom, the La Granada Ballroom (where City Hall annex is today), The Barn in Oildale, The Bakersfield Inn, The El Tejon Hotel, (where the Bank of America Tower sits today). They taught music for the Phillips Music Company on 19th Street and had many
students of music in the 1930s and 1940s. Footnote: the Crystal Inn is now the Basque Club on South Union Avenue."

 * ... CRYSTAL INN: Finally, Gail Oblinger was in high school in the 1950s when the Crystal Inn was popping. "It was always crowded with couples dressed up… girls in pastel colored formals and boys wearing rented  tux on prom nights.  hey served meals late into the night, so you could attend the dance and go out to dinner afterwards. I felt very special to be all dressed up and going to a such special place with my date. I had been told me a time when I had to be home, no exceptions. One such evening, the service was a bit slow due to the crowds. I was directed to a dimly lit  back office by the waiter, when I asked if there was a place I could phone home. My mother understood about the dinner crowd and extended my curfew. As I was starting to leave, a man I hadn’t noticed before, got up off the couch and came staggering towards me, I guess he had been drunk and sleeping it off, but it sure gave me a fright. I didn’t tell that part to my mother, for fear she wouldn’t let me go another time."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wednesday Bako Bits: a trip down memory lane with Maison Jaussaud, Saddle and Sirloin and that time when the Shah of Iran stopped by for some food and libation

 * ... MEMORY LANE: My mailbox has been full with notes from readers about a walk down memory lane. Today's blog is a tribute to just that. Enjoy.

* .. THE BLUFFS: Supervisor Mike Maggard wrote to talk about the early days of Panorama Drive and the bluffs, so he turned to his mother Neta to remind him of a story told by his late father Bill. "Around 1951-1952, there used to be an air strip along the bluffs near the cemetery. Mom remembers the gas station at the corner of River Boulevard, and the liquor store next to it to the east, but few if any homes were in the area. No bar, as far as she recollects. Anyway, the airstrip was used by 'brave' young east side car enthusiasts to stage drag races. My father raced there often and when he began courting my mother during her senior year of high school, she would hop into the front seat of his “flat head ’40 Ford” with him and they would drag race up the runway. When he and his buddies, who we called the 'Original Brat Pack' (Bill Maggard, Bob Martin, Jack Saba, Bob Peabody and Eddie Wright) were a bit younger, they used to play football in the center median on Beale, near the corner of Quincy."

 * ... MEMORIES: The recent posts about the elegant old Maison Jaussaud's restaurant triggered this memory from Gary Crabtree: "Along with the Saddle and Sirloin, there used to be another small restaurant called the Crystal Inn, I believe located around South Union and Planz Road. It was a small place with great food and top notch entertainment. I remember my parents taking me to dinner there for my 10th birthday. The entertainment was a piano player and a female singer named Margaret Whiting who was about to explode on the national recording scene. I’d be interested if anyone else remembers the Crystal Inn."

 * ... MORE MAISON: Ronal Reynier brought some historical content to Maison Jaussaud (JoSo's) with this missive: "It was built by my cousins Martin and Babe and yes the Shah of Iran was there for lunch. I believe it was in the early 1970s. Martin and Babe's cousin Henri, from France, worked as maitre d'. It was his day off but they had him come in. The Shah must have enjoyed his
lunch; he gave Henri $1,500 to be divided by the staff on duty and today it would be equal to a $9,500 tip; Henri's tip was a nice Rolex watch. People from the French Embassy stopped for lunch at JoSo's twice a month when traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They left a $300
tip each time. I have no idea why they traveled by car and not by air; maybe just to eat lunch at JoSo's."

 * ... FAMILY TIES: And if you wanted more proof, check out this note from Gary Jaussaud,  son of one of the brothers that founded Maison Jaussaud's."I can tell you first had, in fact the Shah of Iran and his group did in fact have lunch at Maison Jaussaud’s during that period of time. I remember because I was there and saw it with my own eyes. Two things I remember the most is, once our chef found out they were coming he went out and bought all kinds of interesting items they might like, and when it was said and done, the Shah wanted an American hamburger. The second thing was, the U.S. security team with the group, paid for the lunch with a federal check, as the Shah was the guest of the United States. The event realty happened, so you can tell your readers, you got the information from the source."

 * ... MORE MAISON: And Hank Webb chimed in with this memory: "I was home on leave from the Navy wherein I was a navy hospital corpsman. As a treat for my 21st birthday,  my brother-in-law, Denny Haynes, who was later finance director for the city of Bakersfield, my sister Elizabeth, and my mother Benita took me to Jaussuad's to see Sally Rand, the world famous 'fan dancer.' She was an ecdysiast, aka a stripper, who used two huge ostrich feather fans in her act. At one point Ms. Rand exposed larger quantities of her physique than my mother could tolerate, so she tried to put her hands over my eyes and cried out, 'Oh don't look!"'I calmly replied, 'It's ok momma, I'm a medical man.' Thus making me one of my family's enduring jokes."