* ... BELOVED PET: There is a special place in heaven for the veterinarians who care so deeply for our pets. This story comes courtesy of Mark Powell, a colleague of mine at The Bakersfield Californian. In his words: "Last Thursday, I had to put down my dog, Molly, a 15-year-old- Australian Shepherd, due to a combination of just old age and some inoperable tumors. It was a very emotional and scary time for me and my family since we've had Molly since I picked her out at the SPCA when she was 6 weeks old. The staff (at Rosedale Veterinary Hospital) was incredibly helpful, caring and informative, and they made Molly's last few moments of life go from panicked to peaceful. They took great care to see that the procedure was as easy and painless as possible for Molly, even though she hasn't always been the most willing patient. They took very good care of her, and us as well. I cannot tell you how much they helped us through this transition. They even told us Molly would be returned to the earth via a Paso Robles vineyard following a communal cremation. I couldn't have imagined a better way to go through such a heartbreaking situation." (Photos courtesy of Mark Powell)
* ... OVERHEARD: At the downtown Post Office, a woman is telling the story of a conversation with her 4-year-old grand daughter. "So she comes home from pre school and says, 'Nana, did you know you can't bring guns to school?' I thought: what a world we live in!"
* ... ROLLING STONE: It is easy to understand the angry backlash to the decision by Rolling Stone magazine to feature an appealing picture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover. But make no mistake, this is not a First Amendment issue, but rather one of taste. Rolling Stone is certainly within its rights to publish it, but just because it can doesn't mean it should. My take: it is an insult to those who died in the bombing or were left critically wounded. Bad form.
* ... ROAD WARRIOR: Anthony Bulygo is a retired master auto mechanic and wrote to lament how folks drive and maintain their cars today. In a recent trip from Bakersfield to Salem, Oregon, he "witnessed 48 vehicles where one, two, or all three brake lights were in fail mode. There were 62 vehicles with at least one tail light not functioning. And ... 21 vehicles traveling with one noticeably very low tire (these are the ones that may/will fail and cause loss of vehicle control). One vehicle had a tire that was so bald that the steel belt was causing sparks as it traveled down I-5 in Oregon at about 80 miles per hour. And, Richard, here is the topper for me. While traveling on I-5, the posted speed was 70 miles per hour. I was in the slow lane at 75 miles per hour (flowing with traffic) and the fast lane had slowed to 75 as well. We had traveled about two miles like this when a car came down the shoulder at no less than 85. What's wrong with this picture? Thanks for allowing me to vent. This should be a notice to everyone to learn how to check your lights and tires regularly. The life you save may be mine."
* ... MEMORIES: David Gallagher not only remembers the old DiRico's restaurant, but the prices as well. And for good reason: he worked there. "A cheese pizza was 85 cents and spaghetti and meatballs $1.50. DiRico's was originally on South Chester and Belle Terrace, they moved for a short time across from Mexicali downtown and then to 4th and Union where the Great Castle is now located. Scott Hanson and myself (1958-60) made the pizza dough from scratch and occasionally tossed the crust in the air in front of the window. Irene DiRico made the raviolis and Art made the sauce. Two of my brothers also worked there, Dennis and Barry Gallagher. Great Memories!"
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when the old PGA tour stopped here for the Bakersfield Open Golf Tournament. John Pryor was involved in helping organize it and said the 1961 tournament was won by Jack Fleck, and the next year by Billy Casper.