Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain recalled a 1994 incident involving our own Trice Harvey, a former Republican assemblyman from Bakersfield. Harvey had called Republican Paul Horcher a "political whore" for voting for Willie Brown as Speaker. Democrats demanded an apology and Harvey shot back: "I'm sorry he's a whore." You have to love ole Trice.
* ... BAD AIR: A report by the American Lung Association has ranked Bakersfield as having the worst air to breathe in the nation. This hardly comes as any surprise given the San Joaquin Valley's reputation but it's never encouraging to see us so high on any such list of dubious distinction. Rounding out the top ten were Los Angeles, Fresno, Visalia-Porterville, Birmingham, Ala., Hanford, St. Louis, Mo., New York City, Pittsburgh and Sacramento. Said one report on the list: "Wondering what's in the air in Bakersfield? Unfortunately it's heavy smog and pollution that cloud the sunny city. Financially reliant on petroleum extraction and refinement, it's no surprise that this west coast town falls in the top three of ozone levels, long-term and short-term particle emissions and levels are rising each year. It looks like the residents of Bakersfield need to cook up ways to get clean"
* ... BURGLARIES: The rash of burglaries across town has continued into the fall seemingly unabated. Readers have told me of break-ins in virtually every area of town, from the Bakersfield Country Club area to Laurelglen to Westchester. In the downtown area where I live, there have been three burglaries in the last two weeks, and all at homes with alarm systems. Police characterize these as classic "smash and grab" burglaries where the thieves are in and out in two or three minutes, taking flat screen TVs, jewelry, computers and whatever will fit into a pillowcase.
* ... BURGERS: From reader Al Caetano, a proud Bakersfield native: "I look forward to reading your column. Today's mention of Jumbo Burgers brought back fond memories of cruising Stan's, Michener's and making a slight detour to Jumbo's for cheap burgers. I really loved the special sauce. Being from south of town, a special memory as a little boy was mom taking me to Canady's nursery on Taft Highway west of Pumpkin Center. Canady's had a monkey cage in front and I just loved watching the monkeys while mom shopped for plants. Not sure about the spelling. These visits would have taken place in the mid 1940s."
* ... ENOUGH: Sunny Kapoor took me to task for my obsession with littering in our community. "Enough already about the dirty diapers! I, like most others, am absolutely disgusted in the manner in which some people choose to dispose of them, but the story about it being tossed out of an SUV to hit another SUV is make believe at best! Maybe we should allocate space to speak of other great happenings in our community, like the awesome Oildorado Days in Taft or the weekly soccer players at the Kern County Soccer Complex playing 'the beautiful game.''
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield "if you think using your turn signals is an optional exercise."