Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ryan Newbrough (Stockdale High and Harvard) produces anti-Obama video spoof that is the hit of YouTube but not popular with CNN anchor Alina Cho

* ... OBAMA VIDEO: Ryan Newbrough, a Stockdale High product who went on to graduate from Harvard, has a huge hit on his hands with a YouTube video that expresses his generation's disappointment with President Obama. The video, viewed more than 300,000 times, was created by Newbrough and his Harvard classmate, Justin Monticello. It speaks to the high hopes young people had for Obama four years ago that some feel gave not been fulfilled. The two appeared on CNN recently and were subjected to a combative interview by CNN host Alina Cho. The video is sung to the Gotye hit "Somebody that I Used to Know."

   * ... BAKERSFIELD SOUND: Local residents Scott and Shana Wood were in Nashville recently to take in the Bakersfield Sound exhibit, the tribute to the late Buck Owens and the Fender guitar-influenced twang that changed country music forever.  "So nice to see Nashville acknowledge the contribution of Bakersfield talent to country music! Made me even more proud to be from Bakersfield.  Nashville is a great place to vacation and I highly recommend making the trip to see the Bakersfield Sound Exhibit."

* ... SPOTTED: Reader Linda Welch spotted a woman driving a large black Ford pickup on Olive Drive on a recent morning: "She was talking on her cell phone, smoking a cigarette or something else, drinking her coffee and eating a taco... The only thing missing was a bunch of kids not in car seats."

 * ... REALLY BAD FORM: Rhaya Lemons was driving west on Highway 178 when she came up on an older, red Ford in front of her. "First a cigarette was tossed out," she said. "Then the ashtray was emptied. Then a fast food bag. And last, but not least by any means,  a diaper in your honor sir. Everything thrown from that vehicle hit my car window but the diaper. This driver made quite the good toss with that 'over' the roof of his car. Bad form. "

 * ... THE OAKS: Southwest resident Bobby Blackmon wrote to complain about cars being egged in The Oaks and Haggin Oaks. "Yesterday when leaving the house for breakfast with my wife I found my vehicle had been hit at least three times on the hood and door. While driving to the car wash, instead of breakfast I noticed many cars throughout The Oaks and Haggin Oaks had been hit. Do these people not realize this is doing real damage to vehicles which could need expensive paint jobs to repair the damage of these pranks? Hopefully these people get caught so the neighborhood can be safe from weekend property damage and vandalism, not just dirty cars!"

   * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader David Moren: "Wow that Bakersfieldism about testing TV tubes at Thrifty's in Hillcrest brought a smile and many memories of my childhood. As kids my brother and I would ride our bikes to the Hillcrest shopping center almost daily. I can remember taking a tube that dad had pulled out of the TV and told us to go test it. The old tester had a small but complete inventory of tubes in the cabinet underneath the testing sockets.  Also spent many hours in the sporting goods aisle there. And the comic book stand. Then off to Fiddler's store to browse the toy department. Stop in at the barber shop next to the post office, always got a piece of Bazooka Joe bubble gum from the barber after a haircut, or Pipkin's store for prescriptions when mom was with us. Up to W.C. Grants to check out the pet department and a cookie from Smith's Bakery. What wonderful memories."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Burglaries, break-ins and thefts are exploding across Bakersfield as California's prison realignment program dumps hundreds of felons onto our streets

* ... CRIME: Hardly a day goes by when I don't hear a story of a burglary, break-in or some type of petty theft that seem to happen anywhere and everywhere across town. In the past week alone a couple in Westchester awoke to find a man on drugs standing in their kitchen, a friend in Oleander returned to find his entire house and garage ransacked and a reader in The Oaks had his truck broken into. District Attorney Lisa Green told me that the total number of "complaint requests" (potential crimes passed to her office from Bakersfield area police agencies) has jumped a whopping 33 percent over this time last year. She attributed it directly to the ongoing prison realignment program that is dumping hundreds of lower level offenders on our streets. "It's not a popular thing to say," she told me, "but people who would otherwise be in state prison are out there committing crimes." (file photo Lisa Green)

* ... BECKWITH: I chatted recently with Ryan Beckwith, the (relatively) new athletic director at Bakersfield College. Along with his counterpart at CSUB, Jeff Konya, these two men have brought new energy to our local colleges. One side note about Beckwith that you may not know: he was training to make the U.S. Olympic decathlon team when he decided to take the Bakersfield College job. (file photo of Ryan Beckwith)

* ... SPOTTED: Hats off to the middle aged woman who was spotted on the Panorama Bluffs early Monday morning, picking up the trash that other people who park along Panorama had tossed from their cars.

 * ... MORE KETCHUP! Longtime Bakersfield resident R. Bussard wrote that he was at the Chevron and McDonald's at Rosedale Highway and Allen Road on Monday when he heard a loud, angry voice coming from a grey Ford Excursion parked at the curb. "She was loudly complaining to someone in the vehicle that she ordered a hamburger with ketchup only" but received an "(expletive) cheeseburger" instead, yelling at the occupant to get out and change the order.  "...With that the back door opened and a 7 or 8 year old girl climbed out with the wrong burger in hand and went inside.  I was standing 40 to 50 feet away so I turned and looked towards the unhappy lady. She appeared overweight as she waited and used a cell-phone to text.  Soon the youngster came back with the correct sandwich. As she drove off with her mouth full I read the large stencils on the back window: 'Redneck Girls.' Appropriate."

 * ... TUTTI FRUITTI: I finally ventured over to the Tutti Fruitti yogurt shop on a steaming Saturday recently and learned what the fuss was all about. Folks in the Southwest have been raving about this place for months, and its two-for-one Daily Deal offer in the Californian set an all-time record for sales. Well, it's worth it. Check it out in the Town and Country Shopping Center at the corner of Gosford Road and Stockdale Highway the next time you need a refreshing snack.

* ... QUAKE MEMORIES: Linda Harden Brammer was living in Alameda when the great earthquake of 1952 hit, and she remembers the initial false reports that the oilfields west of Bakersfield had been set on fire. "My grandparents and several aunts, uncles and cousins lived in Taft at the time and my mom was worried sick. Phone lines were down and calls just did not go through. My dad got emergency leave from the Navy and our family made a trip down to Taft. Of course, everyone was okay. While we were down here, we made a trip around the area and took many photos, even going up to Tehachapi and photographing the damage there. "

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you got your television tubes tested at the Thrifty's in Hillcrest."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Local housing market is in a squeeze with bidding wars breaking out on homes and a man literally gives "the shirt off his back" to a homeless man in Oildale

* ... HOUSING: Last week I cited a report on the local housing market, indicating as many as 1,815 homes were on the market locally. That triggered responses from local experts saying the real number was actually much lower. Here's appraiser Gary Crabtree, one of the leading experts on our local market: "In June, there were only 545 homes on the market, not 1,815 and it’s down 32 percent from the same period last year. There is an extreme undersupply of active listings on the market when you consider that the number of active listings comprise 0.4 percent of the total single family homes in Bakersfield. The main reason for the discrepancy is that they count homes with accepted contingent offers on them as active listings. There are bidding wars on homes with 2 to 4 offers not uncommon, but prices are being held in check by the restrictive appraisal practices mandated by Fannie and the continued use of 'distressed' sales as comparable."

  * ... SPOTTED: This heart warming encounter was related to me by reader Darlene Stewart: "On a recent trip to the Oildale Post Office I observed a man with no shirt (possibly homeless) asking directions to the morgue, because his brother had just died. He asked a couple driving out of the post office parking lot about directions to the morgue. They in turn asked me and I directed them next door to Mish Funeral Home. The gentleman in the car, not wanting him to have to go into the funeral home without a shirt, took his shirt off and offered it to him but he did not want to accept it. The gentleman wouldn’t take no for an answer and just slipped it over his head. This is the only time I have ever witnessed someone literally 'giving the shirt off his back.'"

* ... SPAY-NEUTER: Good news for all you out there who care about our pets. Bakersfield will soon have its own high-volume, low-cost spay-neuter clinic, called Critters Without Litters. The non-profit group was founded by Joann and Larry Keller, the couple behind the successful “Fix Your Pit” voucher program, which subsidized the cost for over 1,800 pit bulls and pit mixes since 2010. The equipment is on order and staffing is under way for the clinic, which is scheduled to open this fall. The clinic expects to perform 35 to 40 spay and neuter surgeries a day. For more details or to support this program call Larry Keller at (661) 831-6000.

 * ... RADIO: Join me tomorrow at 9 a.m. on Californian Radio KERN 1180 when I will be chatting with Ryan Beckwith, the athletic director at Bakersfield College. We'll be talking about his priorities and the upcoming Gades football season. (file photo of Beckwith)

* ... SUBMARINE: Gene M. Bonas is a Navy veteran and former submariner who is part of a group trying to save the USS Clamagore (SS343), which he called the last Guppy III submarine now destined for the scrap heap. "The Clamagore, commissioned in 1945, has served as a museum since 1981. It played a critical role as a prototype sub and Cold War warrior in helping to develop the technology that truly won the Cold War. Now, the Clamagore needs a $3 million overhaul.  If we, as past and present submariners and Navy veterans, don't save the Clamagore, she will be sold to the highest bidder for scrap or sunk to make an artificial reef." If you want to donate, send a check payable to "Save the Clamagore" to George Bass, 110 River Birch Drive,  Salisbury, N.C. 28146. (file photo of the USS Clamagore)

 * .... BAKERSFIELDISM: From John Strand in Lake Isabella: "You might be a Bakersfield old-timer if you remember the 210-foot 'Eiffel Tower' which stood on the Pacific Telephone building at 20th and Eye streets for many years. It was part of the YJ radiotelephone system which preceded our current cell-phones. Back in the day it was the highest structure in Bakersfield.