Thursday, June 12, 2014

If Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy loses his bid to become House Majority Leader, at least he will still have 12,000 followers on Instagram, and the Mac 'n Cheese Festival is coming back to Bako next year

 * … MCCARTHY: We will know next week if Rep. Kevin McCarthy will become the new majority leader of the House of Representatives. With the stunning election defeat of Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, the Bakersfield Republican has to be considered the frontrunner for the post. And now that he is in the spotlight, he is getting a lot of attention for his Instagram account of all things. The account,
which has 12,000 followers and is logged under "repkevinmccarthy," is being widely praised for its self deprecating wit, charm and sheer breath of coverage. There are posts of McCarthy with Prince Harry, actor Kevin Spacey, at the inauguration, sitting for an interview with a coat, tie and shorts and others taken when he was a young man sporting a mullet. All in good fun.

 * … MAC 'N CHEESE: The recent Mac 'n Cheese Festival out at Cal State Bakersfield was so successful the organizers have decided to bring it back next year. The folks over at American General Media, owners of seven radio stations in town, have set April 18, 2015, as the date for the return of the highly popular event. Once again, it will be held at the CSUB amphi-theater.

* … EMAIL SCAM: I consider myself pretty savvy about email scams, but I almost fell for one the other day. It arrived looking like an official Bank of America alert saying my account had been suspended because of suspicious activity. It took me to a page to "confirm" this activity and then asked for my Social Security number, account number and password. That was enough to get my attention so I went to the real Bank of America account and read this: "Bank of America emails will never ask you to reply in an email with any personal information such as your Social Security number, ATM or PIN." Be careful out there.

 * … TEMPLE: Hats off to the folks at Temple Beth El who are raising money for the Kern County Homeless Collaborative through the Rabbi's discretionary fund. A memo to Temple members noted: "Once again, we are inviting Bakersfield's Jewish community to join forces in participating in a national campaign sponsored locally by the Kern County Homeless Collaborative to address a very volatile aspect of homelessness - the fact that some living on the streets will die there due to their medical vulnerability."

 * … OBITS: Walter E. Stewart had this take on obituaries: "They are not intended to be amusing. Nevertheless the people who submit obituaries to The Bakersfield Californian give me a chuckle when they consistently state the deceased, who was in their 80s and 90s, was 'preceded in death by their parents.' Gosh, thanks for the edification."

* … MEMORIES: Ronal Reynier wrote to tell me about life in Bakersfield in the 1950s, which he compared to a scene straight out of the movie American Graffiti. "Though the movie takes place in Merced or Madera in 1964, it is the Bakersfield I knew when I came home from the Army in the 1950s. I am sure that you out there had friends and acquaintances that were as portrayed by the actors on the screen; I know that I did. There is even a very, very small part where can see myself. Look and you may even see yourselves… Was the time all good and great? Of course not. Remember, when we look
back nostalgically, we tend to overlook the bad. Which can also be good."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Downtown Bakersfield gets a new restaurant, Texas 28, and a new study links sunburns during youth with a higher incidence of cancer

* … EATERY: Another new restaurant is opening in downtown Bakersfield. It's called Texas 28 and it is located on 18th Street between Eye Street and Chester Avenue. Shawna Haddad, owner of
Muertos just a few blocks away, conspired with the owners to create a menu featuring a variety of waffle dishes as well as items like Chicken Fried Steak Strips, Blue Pig Quesadilla, Pulled Pork Salad and a Fried Chicken Sandwich. It opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

 * … SPOTTED: Sarah Audelo, a Ridgeview High graduate who went on to attend Georgetown University, was spotted in a picture in the Californian of President Barak Obama signing a presidential memorandum reducing the burden of student loan debt. Sarah now works for the Center of American Progress in Washington, D.C. She is the daughter of Joe and Mimi Audelo, who recently moved to Santa Barbara.

 * … HEAT: Here's another cautionary tale about staying out of the sun. A new study suggests that the risk of developing skin cancer is directly tied to sunburns in childhood. As reported in The New York Times, the study found that "women who had at least five blistering sunburns during their teenage years had a greater likelihood of developing any of the three main forms of skin cancer." It went on to say that the "risk was particularly high for melanoma, which kills an estimated 8,800 Americans every year."

* … BAD FORM: The following image is compliments of reader Pearl Birchard-Adam: "Just before noon (the other day) both my husband and I saw at Sam's on Gosford a darling 2-foot Pekinese in the basket of a shopping cart scratch his anus on the same wire where we place our fruits and vegetables. The manager who we had called insisted that the store could not keep out guide dogs for the disabled. I repeated the dog's size several times to no avail. My description of the two well dressed ladies caused him to say that they have signs posted saying no dogs are allowed. My husband added that this is the second time he has seen cute dogs in Sam's shopping carts. This must be a concern for all shopper's health. I do not want any of my food to have had contact with dog excretions. The employee at the entrance who verifies Sam's cards can and should also verify a dog's size and utility. Adorable is not sufficient."

 * … ST. JOSEPH'S: Cecilia (Aughinbaugh) Bishop called to respond to an earlier reader's comments about the old St. Joseph School. "There are plenty of us still around," she told me. "But I don't remember the school being on Baker Street. I was there from 1956-1960 and I remember it as being on Oregon Street, or somewhere around there." Any other St. Joseph alumni out there who can shed light on this?

 * … MEMORIES: And finally, this last memory of Tiny's Restaurant from reader John Kidd. "During the early and mid 1960s our bunch of couples would hang out there after the game or movie. We always tried to get the big circular booth in the southwest corner of the building, and succeeded dozens of times. It was adjacent to the staircase that led downstairs to the bathrooms in the basement. It eventually dawned on us that a lot of people who went down there never came back up the staircase. We even went so far as to go down there, and see if there were people still in the bathroom. In addition to the two bathrooms, there was a third door through which we could make out the sound of machines  (perhaps cooling or heating equipment). Does anyone else remember this or know what was going on down there? I have always thought it was probably illegal gambling, and may have been tied in with the infamous downtown tunnels."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday: Tony Martinez is spotted downtown and more readers reminisce about Tiny's restaurant downtown

* … TONY: I ran into retired Bakersfield Police officer Tony Martinez this weekend while viewing a terrific exhibit of Instagram art photos at Metro Galleries. Tony is the former community
liaison officer at BPD who suffered a stroke almost exactly a year ago. He looked terrific and it was good to seem him back in the community.

* … TINY'S: The dispute over the location of the old Tiny's restaurant (southeast or northeast corner of Chester and 18 Street?) is resolved. Randy Fendrick was one of more than a dozen readers who shared this take: "The simple answer is that Tiny's was on both sides of the street.  It existed at least from 1938 until 1962 on the southside of 18th Street but was closed to make room for the construction of the Bakersfield Savings and Loan Building, which I believe became Paramount later. They then opened  on the northside of 18th and Chester in about March 1962 and were at that location until 1970.  There is an excellent article in the Californian dated January 30, 1962, tracing the history of the southeast corner building.  I recall that  on the date our daughter was born November 3, Tiny's was at the northeast location as I had breakfast there that morning.

 * … MORE TINY'S: Greg Baziuk had this take: "Tiny's was on both corners. The southeast was the first location.  In 1952 the earthquake damaged the building and it was eventually taken down and replaced with the existing one. Tiny's moved across the street north, on the east corner.  I have dined in both locations with my father back in the 1950s. His office was a block away from the old clock tower.
The southeast location was next to a bank known as Bakersfield Savings and Loan, where I had my first bank account. The bank would give a child a plastic bank with no way to take the money out.  When the bank was full we would take it to the bank and the teller would smash it to retrieve the loot."

 * … AND MORE: Add this from retired oil executive Lynn Blystone: "When I came to Bakersfield in 1963, I ate many a good meal at Tiny's restaurant on the northeast corner of Chester and 18th Street in what is now the old bank building being remodeled.  A favorite was the 'Chubby Steak;'  featuring a small filet from Willard Gold's Quality Meats with a small baked potato, green peas, a small but tasty green salad, roll and drink for $1.50.  Patti and I had our rehearsal dinner in the upstairs.  Yes, Tiny's was definitely on the northeast corner."

 * … LASTLY: And lastly, Billie Lardy said her mother, Ann Jones, worked at Tiny's for many years.  "Tiny's was located on the southeast corner.  The owner's lease ran out and he moved to the northeast corner of Chester band 18th Street across the street. The restaurant never did as well as it did in the original location.

* … MEMORIES: And Vince Calaustro remembers Tiny's when he used to cruise Chester Avenue. "I used to cruise Chester Avenue, 18th and 19th streets back in the mid to late 1960s and Tiny's was on that cruise route, along with Stan's, Jumbos,Micheners, Warrens, Winchells and Andres. Eighteenth and 19th streets had the night life hang-outs which included the Oahu Club (I believe it was the old YMCA or Boys Club Building) and Billy the Blue Grasshopper club which was towards Union Avenue near the old 7-Up Bottling Co. As real cruisers we came into contact with the local BPD on a regular basis. I still remember Officer Middleton and Officer Cerin the traffic cops who patrolled our cruise routes. They were actually pretty cool (even after receiving citations from both) they would park along with us just to make sure we stayed out of trouble. Great community relations! … Back then, I always thought Bakersfield was the epitome of the American Graffiti culture..... Small town, strong values."