Thursday, October 25, 2012

Miami, Los Angeles top the list of airports with the highest theft rates by TSA employees, and Rabobank drops its sponsorship of a major world cycling team, citing the culture of doping and cheating

 * ... THEFT: Have you ever had anything stolen from your suitcase while it was being inspected at the airport? While thievery involving airport security is not widespread, the Transportation Security Agency is finally coming clean with just how extensive it is. Said an ABC News report: "The TSA has fired nearly 400 employees for allegedly stealing from travelers, and for the first time, the agency is revealing the airports where those fired employees worked." The top five airports for TSA employee theft: Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Dallas-Fort Worth.

 * ... RABOBANK: The Dutch banking giant Rabobank has pulled out of competitive bike racing, citing the culture of doping that led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The company was spending some $20 million a year to sponsor one of the sport's best teams, which excelled on the European circuit. Locally, Rabobank was also a big sponsor and supporter of the Tour of California. If the Tour of California returns to Bakersfield, the loss of such a prominent sponsor will be hard to overcome.

 * ... WRESTLING: You have to hand it to the supporters of the CSUB wrestling program, which is being funded almost entirely by private donations. Supporters of the storied program will hold another fund raiser on Thursday, Nov. 1, featuring Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner, at the Petroleum Club. Also appearing will be Kern County's other two Olympians, track cyclist Jimmy Watkins and hurdler Sonali Merrill. The cost is $100 per person. Call (661) 302-4455 for tickets.

 * ... FREEDOM TRAIN: From my mailbag, this one from Bill Schaefer: "Reading your items about the Freedom Train immediately had me humming the (tour) tune when it was touring the nation in 1947.  A Google search gave me the chance to hear the song again. It was written by Irving Berlin and recorded by a group including Johnnie Mercer, Peggy Lee, Bennie Goodman, Margaret Whiting and the Pied Pipers all on one recording. All proceeds went to the National Heritage Foundation. I didn't get to see the train, but I sure remember the song. Thanks for bringing back good memories."

 * ... RODEWALD: Kim Escalera answered my recent "Puzzler" asking if anyone remembered the tune that accompanied Don Rodewald's radio and television show. "Hello, I believe the answer to the question regarding the opening song is for Don Rodewald's show may be 'Popcorn' by Hot Butter.  If not, I know that it was someone's theme song back in the day.  I am kind of hoping I'm incorrect because if I'm right, I will have to bear the stamp... OMG I'm old!."

 * ... DON RESPONDS: Sorry Kim, but I spoke with Don Rodewald this week he said he never had a theme song but used to open his Wasco radio show with a "rattlely battlely thing to get everyone's attention. There really wasn't a song." Once he moved to KERO TV, he signed off his program by saying "Until tomorrow at three, when it's just you and me." Don is now living at Glenwood Gardens living the life of a retiree.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Plop down in front in front of the TV at your own risk and a non-profit will collect blankets and towels for local animal shelters the Sunday before the national election

 * ... SITTING: There are a lot of reasons to plop down in your favorite recliner and catch some TV: the World Series, the presidential debates, college and pro football. But now comes word that the more time we all spend sitting, "the shorter and less robust" our lives will be. That's according to two new studies which The New York Times said definitely point out the risks of spending too much time watching television. "And the findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer's life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."

 * ... SHELTERS: Here's something we can all get behind: a non-profit group called Operation Blankets for Love will be collecting blankets, towels, collars, leashes and animal beds for dogs and cats on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Bakersfield Racquet Club. All items donated will distributed to shelters here in Kern County. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 * ... THE BUZZ: Rudy Salas, the Bakersfield City Councilman running for the State Assembly, has created a stink by making an issue of opponent Pedro Rios' run-in with the law 20 years ago. Rios was a young convenience store worker when he was cited for selling alcohol to a minor, and Salas implied he was a teacher at the time, which he was not. My in box has been filled with notes from readers like this one: "How is he (Salas) the poster boy for 'wellness' (Salas appeared in the Bwell healthy living publication) when his devious mind deliberately exploits a human error made by his opponent twenty years ago? I have no dog in this race; howerver, if I did I would not consider voting for Rudy Salas." 

* ... FREEDOM TRAIN: Jerry Kirkland remembers when the Freedom Tain rolled into Bakersfield when he was a student at Emerson Junior High in 1947-48. "Each homeroom at Emerson sent a representative to view this collection of our nation's most precious historic documents and I was fortunate enough to have been selected from my homeroom.  It was an opportunity of a lifetime and one that I would love to have again. The 127 documents included the Magna Carta (from 1215), one of the 13 original copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. Also the surrender documents signed by the Japanese and Germans that officially ended World War II. And surprisingly enough, while it was strongly supported by President Truman (who loved trains), the Freedom Train was not funded by the federal government but rather by private donations to the American Heritage Foundation."

 * ... ROTARY: Congratulations to Jim Bell, general manager of Clear Channel radio, for being elected to become district governor of Rotary District 5240. It has been years since the district, which includes much of the coast and all the Bakersfield clubs, has been led by a governor from Bakersfield. He is a member of the Twilight Rotary Club. (photo courtesy of Bakersfield Twilight Rotary Club)

 * ... STREET SWEEPERS: A woman who asked to remain anonymous wrote to come to the defense of the city street sweepers, who have been criticized for leaving more of a mess than they clean. "I'm sure most street sweepers are hard-working individuals and they deserve better than the public flogging handed to them by (a reader). I can't imagine that their job is very easy. On behalf of the mothers of street sweepers, thank you!"

 * ... PUZZLER: Here's a reader question I cannot answer. Let me know if you can. "What was the name of the song that opened and closed the Don Rodewald radio and television shows?  If I remember, it sounded like a bath tub draining."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time lapse video shows woman being transformed into a corpse, all in the spirit of Halloween of course

 Bakersfield Californian photographer Shelby Mack presents this compressed video of makeup artist Al Mendez turning model Debra Mills into a corpse. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Covenant Community Services gets some love from a downtown Westchester couple and Monsignor Craig Harrison to discussion the role of religion in society on KERN 1180 Californian Radio

 * ... COVENANT: I had a chance this weekend to stop by the smartly restored Westchester home of Robin and Pat Paggi, who were introducing guests to Covenant Community Services, a local organization committed to the lives of foster children. Covenant is housed at 1700 North Chester, and if you haven't been there, stop by there for some terrific coffee and sandwiches served by current or former foster youth. And hats off to Robin's father, Bob Rutledge, owner of Bob's Bait Bucket, who catered the entire meal. Bob is an accomplished chef, and a volunteer who picks up trash around our community and cares for and feeds stray cats. He only cooks "for the people I love," which puts Covenant in good company.

* ... FAITH: A recent national survey by Pew Research showed the number of Americans who don't belong to a church has jumped to a near record high, yet most of these people still believe in God. Why is organized religion turning so many people off? On Monday, Monsignor Craig Harrison will join me on Californian Radio 1180- to talk about the role of faith in our society and how churches can bring the faithful back to church. We'll start our discussion at 9:15 a.m.

* ... SPOTTED: Daniel Dixon was driving east on Olive Drive between Roberts Lane and Airport Drive when he spotted a Postal Service mail carrier stop to assist a man in a wheelchair crossing the road.  "Just a reminder that whatever the shortcomings of the U.S. Postal Service, it's not a lack of good, compassionate people."

* ... CAMP KEEP: Hats off to a group of local PG and E staffers who headed over to Camp KEEP's ocean campus to provide plants, dirt and gravel for a new native garden, designed by Rotarian Wade Nomura. The new garden will provide a hands-on environment for the thousands of local 5th and 6th graders who visit KEEP each year.

 * ... EAST HIGH: The East Bakersfield High School class of 1962 recently celebrated its 50th reunion, and Tena (Stokes) Mathis wrote to thank several classmates who helped make it happen. "I would like to acknowledge two current staff members of EBHS - Jenepher Lapp and Mike Warner -  who organized a campus tour, led by the choir and the entire marching band entertaining us at the Bakersfield Country Club... A big thank you to the students and the educators, who made a bunch of old people feel young again!"

 * ... FOOD CHAIN: Gary Corbell's son learned something about the food chain recently when half his gold fish in an outdoor turtle tank went missing.  "(One) evening after our son arrived home from work, he spotted an egret perched on the side of his turtle tank but was able to scare him off before loosing any more fish.  Online he found this is a common problem for outdoor tanks. He decided to place netting across the top of the tank but before he could get that done - zap, the rest of the fish disappeared. Proves that old saying ... never to old to learn something new."