Thursday, July 16, 2015

Instead of drought shaming, why don't we try drought praising? A local writer seems to have the answer. And heaping some praise on a local plumber after a nasty flood in an old home

  * ... DROUGHT: Kelly Damian works for Kern Green, a local environmental non-profit, but I know her as a gifted wordsmith who has penned some memorable essays. Recently she contributed a thoughtful post on "drought shaming" to a blog called 'afloweraday' and it's worth sharing. Said Kelly: "If we stop
pointing fingers at our neighbors, how should we fill the void that is created in our lives? I propose we do something radical. Let’s start drought praising. Let’s post pictures of beautiful drought-tolerant landscaping. Let’s compliment our neighbor on the lovely golden shade of his lawn. Let’s say thanks to the woman driving the dust covered car. And… What should we do when we see our precious water being sprayed onto the street? We should get out our phones, put it on selfie mode, check to see if there’s anything in our teeth and then go walk up to the person in charge and say, 'Hello. How are you today? I Just wanted to let you know that your water is running. Have a good day!' Being direct and polite might not provide the self-righteous tickle that drought-shaming does, but it might be just what we need to come out of this drought with our relationships intact."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Some people pass through our lives just to teach us not to be like them."

* ... BAD FORM: Ever wonder about all those yard sales that pop up on vacant lots throughout town? Cynthia Williams does, specifically one on a vacant lot west of Valencia on Niles Street. "He had at least eight tables of tools and equipment. He didn't even clean up the debris. He left a truck load of trash for the owner of said property to clean up. Apparently the owner of this lot is fed up with weekend yard sales on his property because Thursday he placed 10-plus metal signs on his property that read 'private property-no trespassing' thinking this would do the job. On Friday someone removed all the signs he had bought and Saturday and Sunday there were at least five more yard sales set up and again left all their trash for the owner to discard. This is an ongoing eyesore and something needs to be done. What will the owner have to do next... put up a six foot chain link fence to keep people out? Where are code enforcement people that should be monitoring illegal yard sale use every weekend on other people's property?"

 * ... GOOD FORM: They say if you live in a old house, you better be comfortable with imperfection. Well, I got my dose of imperfection recently when the original galvanized steel pipes of my 1935 downtown bungalow blew, flooding my basement and triggering a complete repiping of the house. This is no small task (carving through walls of plaster, replacing corroded steel with flexible PEX color-coded piping, digging up the yard etc) but I was in good hands with Tony Warren and his crew at Bakersfield Plumbing. I have dealt with Tony, and before that his late father Jerry, for more than 20 years and his is the type of company you want in your corner when the wheels come off.

 * ... MISSING DUCKS: Mary Durham asked me to pass this query along. Said Mary: "My friends called my attention to the fact that six of the eight white ducks that are always at the Hart Park lake are missing. I made phone calls to the city and county recreation departments and they directed me to the Fresno Fish and Wildlife Department. Their response was that the ducks are domesticated and therefore didn't belong to anyone. All three of the ladies I talked to about the ducks were very nice and helpful but the ducks are still missing. Does anyone know where the six missing ducks are?"

 * ... OILDALE: There's another Oildale clean-up day set for this Saturday at 8:45 a.m. right behind Trout's. It's sponsored by the Oildale Foundation and organizers say they won't need more than 90 minutes of your time. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtrey, Sam Outlaw and others to appear at the 99 Music Fest in October, a celebration of the roots of Americana music in a town that gave birth to "the Bakersfield Sound"

 * ... MUSIC FESTIVAL: If you are into celebrating the roots of American music make sure to mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 10, when the 99 Music Festival will be held at the CSUB amphi-
theater. This promises to be a dynamic lineup of true "Americana" music playing on two stages in a city that played such an important role in shaping the sounds we love. A partial lineup of the acts include Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtrey, Sam Outlaw, the Roustabouts and Truxton Mile. Tickets are $40 and will go on sale Aug. 7 at 99

* ... HEALTH CARE: Beverly Lamb shared this bit of soon news about her son, who recently visited a doctor in the Los Angeles area. "He asked where my son was from, when he told him Bakersfield the doctor told him he had practiced in Bakersfield for seven years. He said he loved his patients here, they listened to him, followed his orders and never argued with him. He said his patients down there come in with notes and reams of print outs from the internet and question everything. He said it takes him 15 minutes to convince them he knows what he is doing and then they complain about the wait."

 * ... SPOTTED: On Twitter was this: "I never make plans until I know how I am getting out of them."

 * ... BRISCOE: Erin Briscoe, long time morning anchor with KERO-TV (channel 23) is leaving after seven years with the station. No official word on where she is going but I have been told she will end up at cross-town rival KBAK-TV (29).

 * ... PANHANDLER: Lu Granillo was stopped at a traffic light downtown when he saw a pan handler with his sign asking for money. "He then set his sign down and proceeded to count the money he had collected in full view. It was quite a haul. He seemed to be quite proud of himself."

 * ... SEVEN OAKS: Castle and Cooke has unveiled plans for its latest expansion in the Southwest, called Highgate at Seven Oaks. Highgate is located on some 443 acres at the corner of Ming Avenue and Allen Road and will eventually include a new Highgate Elementary School scheduled to open in 2018.

 * ... MEMORIES: Linda Welch dropped me a note with this memory of a man who kept exposing himself at the old JC Penney's store downtown. "He was in the basement one day and decided to awe a young associate," she said. "We he did she said, 'Sir, the little boy's department is on the mezzanine.' He was never seen again. What an ego buster!"

Sunday, July 12, 2015

If it's true that 'demographics is destiny,' then the Deep South (and California and the west as well) will look entirely different over the next decade or two

* ... DEMOGRAPHICS: Howell Raines, the Alabama-born former editor of The New York Times, penned an opinion piece for the Times this Sunday in which he succinctly summed up the challenge facing entrenched Southern Republicans (and there are lessons for California and the rest
of the nation as well). "Demography is destiny," said Raines, referring to a book by William H. Fry titled 'Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America.' Quoting Fry: "The big change coming up in the South, to me, is that in the next couple of decades there will be a new generation coming of age and taking charge, and the region will be more moderate for that reason alone."

 * ... FEEDBACK: I received this feedback from Gerhard Schmidt: "All the ranting we can do about trash, it is discouraging that it nothing gets into the mind of the offenders, their conscience is just lacking. Now with respect to lawns, especially with the drought, gardeners don't seem to get what the experts recommend. Letting grass grow taller shades the ground, cutting down evaporation. However, the grass cutters know only one setting, too low. Here knowledge is lacking. As to comments about Cubans being upset about throwing out the sanctions, in my opinion the Castros would have been long gone if the sanctions had bee lifted long ago. The Cuban people would not have tolerated the situation, with free interchange of seeing what the rest of the world was really like."

 * ... SPOTTED: On Twitter: "The only government agency that listens to you is the NSA."

* ... GOOD FORM: Tim Strem gave this shoutout to the city and country: "I recently reported to the county road department a couple of hazardous potholes in the bike lane at the western end of Panorama Drive. Their quick reply was that the area falls under the jurisdiction of the city and my report would be forwarded to the city road department. Sure enough, I went by the pothole site a week later and it had already been nicely repaired. This is a great example of interagency synergy and execution."

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: As long as we are honoring good form, let's not stop there. Consider what Alicia De Laurie witnessed last Friday when she spotted a small truck stalled at the corner of 24th and F streets. "Stopped at a red light, I saw a man and a woman trying to push the truck into the McDonald’s parking lot. They were not succeeding. I thought I would make a U-turn and give them some help. My family would not like it, but they would never know. Watching through my mirror, I saw a very young male join the effort, then a female jumped out of a car and joined. Before the light changed there were 7 or 8 people pushing the truck and this great-grandmother didn’t have to push. This so Bakersfield!"

 * ... PADRE: What is it they say about good things coming out of adversity? That happened to me the other night when I found myself checking into The Padre Hotel after I lost water at my house because of a major replumbing upgrade. Want to pamper yourself? Save your pennies and spend a relaxing evening at this iconic Bakersfield landmark, take in a meal and then have a nightcap on the second floor Prairie Fire outside bar. It's worth the trip.

 * ... FLAG: More feedback on the fracas over flying the Confederate flag. Said Tony Malon: "Taking the stars and bars down from the capital of South Carolina, and most of the stores not selling them anymore is not enough. I have been watching the series Matlock for years including reruns. If you watch closely in the court room, Old Glory is on the left of the judge's bench slightly higher than the stars and bars on the right, not in all episodes... I guess we'll have to cancel all the Matlock episodes with that flag showing."