Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bako Bits: Kern Wheelmen New Year's Day ride attracts 150 riders, bad form on the bike path and another First Friday

 * ... NEW YEAR'S RIDE: Hats off to the Kern Wheelmen bicycle club for hosting the annual New Years Day ride up Round Mountain. More than 150 riders showed up for the annual trek up the mountain. Most of these folks are not hard core cyclists but rather regular people with a passion for cycling and staying in shape. It was a spectacular sight and inspiring to see all these people get a
healthy start on the new year. Among those I spotted were local tennis pro Hank Pfister, retired endodontist Bob Smith, local racer Tyler Williams, Carl Crawford, Kim Keathley, Pete Elieff, Greg Walker, Zane Adamo, Rob Baker, Robin Ablin, the entire Brown Monkeys cycling team and many more.

 * ... BIKE PATH: And speaking of cycling, shame on the middle aged woman who was walking her dog on the bike path near the RiverWalk amphitheater when she unloaded verbal obscenities on a cyclist who politely asked her to pull in her dog leash. The woman was walking on the far right (which is correct) but her small dog was on the other side of the yellow line on its leash, a recipe for disaster for the dog, the woman and a rider. When asked to pull in the leash, she unleashed a vulgar assault that should not be repeated.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: If you don't already have plans, it's worth a trip downtown to take in the monthly First Friday celebrations. A show worth catching is an exhibit at The Metro Galleries featuring the stunning paintings by Pasadena (and former Bakersfield resident) artist Faith Taylor.

 * … BAD FORM: From a reader: "Saturday morning at Costco there are two children in full-blown pajamas. The parents also are in full blown pajamas, slippers and all. How did they get in the door ? Do they realize what can be transferred from pajamas to food? Maybe we need new signs that read 'No PJs'  and tank tops .... no service!"

* … MANNERS: Betsy Gosling wrote to weigh on on the issue of proper etiquette for rooting at youth sports games. "Recently a woman wrote to you indicating she thought it was 'poor taste'  for a parent, for example to yell to the pitcher to strike out the batter.  I've thought about those comments and wanted to respond. If that pitcher was my son or grandson, I would be yelling for him to do his job and strike out the batter.  If the batter were my son or grandson, I'd be yelling for him to hit a home run. That's not criticism as she suggested. That's encouraging the person to do the very best they can do.  Their job was to play baseball at that moment in time. I believe these boys were about 12 years old. If they haven't learned to handle criticism, even constructive criticism, and not let it bother them, this is a good opportunity for them, in playing sports. It's a cruel world out there; in case, anyone hasn't noticed.  We need to teach our children to the best of our ability how to handle successes and failures. They shouldn't be treated like "princesses" during their young life; what a shock that  will be for them when they grow up and find out a person has to work and work hard to succeed in life. Sports is a great area to help parents teach these important lessons, boy or girls, team or individual sports."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bakersfield Observed recognizes the new year with a look past at the hits and misses of 2013

 * … NEW YEAR: In honor of the new year, I will devote today's blog to some of the hits and misses of the past 12 months. Here's to a new year free of litter, discarded diapers, running red lights and other
examples of bad behavior.

 * … HIT: Has our community finally awakened to the trash and litter that make our streets looks like a Third World country? The city spent the year getting serious about responding to complaints about litter, and the Homeless Center is providing workers to clean many of the freeway on and off ramps. It's still a mess, but this is a good start.

 * … MISS: But clearly there are people who view our streets as their private trash receptacle. Do you remember the two women in the battered older green van downtown who casually tossed all of their fast food wrappers on L Street? When confronted by a concerned driver, one of the women threaded to punch her out.

 * … HIT: The Westside Parkway opened and was an instant hit, absorbing a lot of the traffic off Truxtun Extension and Rosedale Highway and providing a quick commute to folks who live out in Seven Oaks and other westside neighborhoods. When you see former Rep. Bill Thomas around town, you might want to thank him for helping secure the funding to make this happen.

 * … MISS: The attempted implosion of the old PGE power plant on Rosedale Highway was a catastrophic failure and left one man fighting to keep his legs. By the time the lawyers are done with this case, the utility will feel it in its checkbook. And meanwhile, when are they going to clean up the pile of twisted steel that remains out there?

 * … HIT: There were many acts of good deeds last year, but one of my favorites was the young businessman who bought the lunches for 18 Vietnam veterans at the Roadhouse Grill. Now that's a class act.

 * …MISS: Bakersfield College missed badly when it forced out Athletic Director Ryan Beckwith after the football team was sanctioned and had to forfeit a championship. And yet, all the misdeeds by the football team and its booster club had been going on for years before Ryan arrived at BC.

 * … HIT: I wouldn't recommend this at home, but you had to admire the guts of the downtown homeowner who chased a burglar off his properly in the wee hours of the morning, hopped in his truck and found the offender riding a bicycle with a box of stolen goods on his handlebars. The result: a citizen's arrest and a felon behind bars.

 * … MISS: And what was the middle aged woman on the electric power scooter thinking when she left a local grocery store with her very young daughter riding on the handlebars while the mother casually smoked a cigarette and crossed four lanes of traffic in the middle of the day?

 * …HIT: Downtown Bakersfield had another great year with new restaurants, businesses, downtown lofts and potted trees sprucing up the arts district. Get ready for another year of fun First Friday celebrations, new restaurants and a lively night life scene.

* … HIT AND MISS: And my favorite hit and miss of the year goes to the young couple who changed their infant's diaper on the Panorama Bluffs and indecorously left the dirty diaper next to the curb. Shame on them, but kudos to the runner who spotted this and then tossed the dirty diaper into the offender's car via an open sun roof. That's karma.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bako Bits: A new restaurant prepares to open downtown, Wienderschnitzel tests a Fritos Pie for the Bakersfield market

 * … EATERY: The same couple that owns the popular Japanese restaurants Toro at the Marketplace
and Enso downtown are at it again, opening a swanky new eatery on L street between 18th and 19th streets. It's call the Wall Street Cafe, occupies a spot that used to specialize in macaroni and cheese, and should be open in a week or so.

 * … COSTCO: Reader Susan Peninger wrote that the friendly man who checks receipts at Costco is named Alan Acres. "He its a true gem," she wrote, "gifted with the ability to engage people with words or song and like so many others, I walk away uplifted by his genial spirit." Peninger also mentioned that our own Woolgrowers restaurant was featured in her latest Saveur magazine.

 * … FRITOS PIE: Given our appetite for high calorie fast food, this shouldn't surprise me. But Wienerschnitzel is testing a new menu item here at its seven Bakersfield locations. It's the new Chili Cheese Fritos Dog and Chili Cheese Fritos Pie until January 27. Pass the antacid, please.

 * … BAD FORM: Check out this bit of bad form submitted by reader Andy Wonderly. "Earlier today, a man in scrubs posing as a dental assistant trespassed into my job's passcard-protected office building near Truxtun and Mohawk and began going from office to office attempting to sell a discounted teeth-whitening service. He apparently held the side entrance security door open after my coworker and I went in as to be undetected by reception. He walked in my office and targeted me first.  He had a very official-looking ledger card complete with a space to write down my credit card information (and likely any other personal information he could elicit). I declined his services and immediately notified our office manager, who promptly found him and escorted him out of the building.  He was friendly and not menacing, so my initial reaction was not shock or anger, but I knew he wasn't supposed to be there  The audacity of the human spirit never ceases to amaze.  Hopefully he can find a legitimate way to pay for his Christmas shopping."

 * … GOOD DEEDS: More good deeds from the Rotary West club. Said Vija Turjanis of the county Mental Health-Children's Services: "(The club) brought the joy and wonder of Christmas to 20 very needy youth for this holiday.  About two months ago, the children wrote Dear Santa letters,  which were delivered to Rotary West, and the awesome Rotarians made sure all the children's  Christmas wishes were going to come true. Many of these children would not have had much of Christmas if it were not for Rotary West. The Rotarians did the shopping and Bakersfield West High School Interact Club wrapped all the gifts. There were piles of gifts from bicycles, skate boards, doll houses, to electronic devises and gift cards just to name a few. A very special thanks to Rotary West for making the magic a reality for these children."