Thursday, August 28, 2014

Friday Bako Bits: Another telephone scam, this one from crooks claiming to have a local doctor's daughter in the trunk of a car and demanding a king's ransom… will this stuff ever end?

 * … SCAMS: A local physician shared yet another telephone scam that I simply must share with you. He was at his office when he received a telephone call from someone warning, "we have your
daughter in the trunk of our car." At that point, the doctor heard a young woman crying and screaming for help. The caller then said: "We are from the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and we will kill her now unless you agree to send us some money. Are you willing to send us money now or we kill her? Do not call for help or she will be immediately killed." Wisely, the doctor was speed dialing his daughter on another phone and, thank goodness, his daughter answered and he knew she was safe. At that, the caller hung up. Police told the physician that another local couple fell for the scam and sent money. The FBI is apparently investigating. Will these telephone scams ever end?

 * … DOG TAGS: Here is a reminder to all of us that we need to make certain are pets where ID tags. From Gladys Lawrence: "Please, please have him wear a tag with a telephone number where you can be contacted in the event that he accidently gets away. On Aug. 22 a neighbor came to my door attempting to find the owner of a small white Chihuahua mix dog (white with brown ears and spots) as he had been hit by a vehicle. They were attempting to pick him up and to take him to a veterinarian without success. Finally animal control was called to pick up the injured dog. We later found out that he had to be put down due to severe injuries. If the family that owned this dog is reading this, I want them to know that we were able to comfort him and give him some love until animal control arrived. A special thanks to the young man responding for animal control. Your patience and gentleness with the injured dog was wonderful."

 * … LITERACY: Bakersfield ranks dead last in a survey of the 77 U.S. cities with populations greater than 250,000. Based on a number of things including bookstores, educational attainment and other factors, the survey was conducted by Central Connecticut State University. Washington, D.C., was first in literacy, followed by Seattle, Minneapolis and Atlanta.

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: La Costa Mariscos has moved into its swanky new digs in the Ice House, and it is worth checking out. Many loyal La Costa customers worried the move would sacrifice the intimacy of the old location near Central Park, but the new place is brightly decorated and offers the same excellent food and service.

* … TEXTING: This bit about a distracted driver comes from Mike Glinzak: "I was northbound Friday about 9 a.m. on Calloway north of Stockdale when I got behind a slow moving Frito-Lay delivery truck (the kind that delivers to the local stores, not a semi) in the center lane with its left turn signal flashing.  After passing a couple of streets and the Westside Parkway where the truck could have turned left, I pulled over to the right one lane and we both were stopped at the next traffic signal.  Maybe the driver was so inattentive because I watched him fool with his cell phone IN HIS LAP, apparently trying to keep it below window level so the cops wouldn't see. But that big glass door by the right passenger shows all!  I tried calling the local Frito-Lay distributor about one hr later, but the phone only led to voice mail hell. Apparently they weren't too concerned about the safe driving of their driver, because they never called me back. "

 * … GOOD FORM: Susan Willis and her car were blocked in at a local gas station while police investigated an accident, until a driver of a local Pepsi delivery truck came to the rescue. "He stopped and directed traffic until I could leave the lot," she said. "John Morales (the driver's name) was so polite and helpful. I had almost forgotten about manners since everyone is always in a hurry."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

House Majority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy raps the White House on its "unknown" foreign policy, calls the Islamic State a direct threat to U.S. interests that the administration needs to address

 * … MCCARTHY: There is no greater threat to peace on the world stage than the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group that has carved out a caliphate in a large swath of Syria and Iraq. This is the same group that videotaped the beheading of American journalist James Foley, leading the Obama administration to order a limited bombing campaign. But critics, including  House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), say the White House has not gone far enough and is reaping the whirlwind of a failed foreign policy. I chatted with McCarthy on First Look with Scott Cox and he pulled no punches, calling out President Obama on his lack of a clear U.S. policy in the Middle East. "Our friends don't trust us and our enemies don't fear us," McCarthy said. "I hear it all the time from our allies across the world."

* … LEASH LAW: On to a more mundane topic on the local level, my recent posts about folks who don't put their dogs on leashes brought this response from reader Ted Grove. "Another part of town with people walking their dogs off leash is on the equestrian trail on Jewetta Avenue between Noriega and Reina roads. Some dog walkers have armed themselves with golf clubs, wooden clubs and pepper spray (that we can see). It's only a matter of time until trouble erupts. People should go to dog parks if they want to walk their pets off lead."

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: I finally made it out to Wikis Wine Dive and Grill, the upscale eatery located at the corner of Ming Avenue and Buena Vista in the Seven Oaks area. Best bet: try the excellent spinach pizza as a lunch special.

 * … GUILD HOUSE: And speaking of good meals, a reminder that The Guild House downtown is reopening for lunch on Tuesday, Sept. 2. All proceeds benefit the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic.

 * … TRASH: Here's to all the folks who do their small part to try to keep our community free of trash and litter. Said reader Deanna Haulman: "My husband and I have been meaning to write to you and thank the woman who is frequently out with her garbage can on wheels picking up litter in the same area of Fairfax. Other then those large eyesores she does an amazing job."

 * … CARL'S: My mailbox was full, once again, with notes from readers who are not pleased with those Carl's Jr. ads featuring Paris Hilton and another woman writhing on top of a truck in bikinis while eating burgers. Said Julie Brown: "Many years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about these ads.  I pointed out that many parents have either installed a V-chip or just physically monitor the things that their children watch on TV. There is no way, however, they can protect their children from the porn Carl’s Jr. is putting into commercials! This really needs to be stopped!"

 * … MORE CARL'S: But some, including Bryan Kelly, took a more whimsical view of the ads. "I contacted Carl's Jr. advertising department and asked why they did not give equal time to scantily clad men enjoying the new Texas burgers," he said. "Although I am extremely shy, I proffered my modeling services and sent a demo DVD. They responded saying that I already looked as if I owned stock and thanked me for my past patronage. What an insult to my Speedo."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Monday Bako Bits: more scams running amok on social media, the city responds to illegal dumping and giving a shout out to Coconut Joe's restaurant

 * … SCAM: Here is yet another scam that leverages our obsession with social media. A friend's nephew is vacationing in Mexico and the lad mentions it on Facebook. Someone sees this, and calls the
nephew's grandmother (how he got the number, I don't know) posing as a Mexican lawyer, saying her grandson was in jail and he needed $100,000 to get out. The grandmother, wisely, checked on the safety of her nephew before wiring money to the would be thief.

 * … TRASH: Hats off to the city Solid Waste Division which will partner with Sean Battle and Garden Pathways’ volunteers to clean up a stretch of Fairfax Drive that is littered with discarded furniture. Said Sal Moretti, city solid waste superintendent: "The city will provide a trash truck and driver and Garden Pathways will provide the workers.  Let me know if you need any more information.

 * … THEFT: This is an example of both bad, and good, form. First the bad: a woman who had erected a small "free library" stand in her yard (the idea is to provide free books to neighborhood children to encourage reading) was upset that her stash of books had been stolen not once, but twice. Now the good: after word of the theft was circulated on a neighborhood watch e-mail list, neighbors downtown pitched it to restock the free library.

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: The very best locally owned restaurants have several things in common: consistently outstanding service and food that never disappoints. Luigi's Delicatessen and Uricchio's Trattoria are two, and you can add Coconut Joe's to that list. Try the fish and chips, among the best in town.

 * … CARL'S JR: I was surprised at the number of responses i received to a post questioning how appropriate the Carl's Jr. ads are featuring scantily clad women eating burgers atop a black car. There are too many to print, so here is a sampling. This one from Robin Kraucyk was typical: "Yes Wanda G. Reilly, we have noticed. Many friends and relatives have emailed Carl's Jr. with our opinions of their 'sex' sells hamburgers ads. We all received a 'form' email back saying, thank you for your opinion. I was not satisfied with that and wrote back again with stronger opinions stated. I then received an email with an actual name on it stating the same … thank you and we don't mean to offend anyone. We are now writing to the television stations which show these commercials.  Please join us in standing up for decency and letting Carl's Jr. know that they should stand behind their product because it is good food and that they don't have to use what constitutes as pornography catch our attention. Maybe if enough people talk, they will listen."

* … MORE: David Losa added this: "If Wanda Reilly wants to know who else is put off by Carl's Jr. TV ad, she can count me in. Remember the 'If it doesn't go all over the place, it doesn't belong on your face' ad? That, I also found disgusting and it encouraged our young to be slobs. Here I am a grandparent trying to teach my young grandchildren good basic table manners being exposed to this disgusting ad. I found this business's burgers decent but I don't take them there as a sign of a one man protest."

* … MORE: And Tim Unruh was another, saying he hasn't eaten at the burger chain since its Hugh Hefner campaign around 2003. "Obviously, this burger restaurant does not care for my demographic. The reality is that it is their choice to run the ad and ultimately my choice to ignore them. In-N-Out burgers are better anyway."