Thursday, August 11, 2016

Get ready for an explosion of political graffiti around town, Michael Congdon celebrates a year at Mission Bank and looking to our sidewalks for a bit of history

 * ... ELECTIONS: Like California wild flowers on the Grapevine, political signs are starting to pop
up around town as we enter the closing stretch before the November elections. The first to appear are simple red and blue signs endorsing the city council candidacy of Andrae Gonzales, who is trying to unseat Ward 2 incumbent Terry Maxwell. In a matter of days the entire town will be sprinkled with this political graffiti as we head toward an important national and local election.

  * ... WATER: Looking for some summer reading that is both relevant and eye opening? Consider "The Big Thirst," a book looking at the challenges and opportunities of water by author Charles Fisherman. As noted in a review: "In 2008, Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water. California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe. And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of water—and had to scramble to reinvent the country’s entire water system. But as dramatic as the challenges are, the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don’t think about it, or use it, smartly."

 * ... MISSION: A (very) belated congratulations to Michael Congdon, who is celebrating one year at Mission Bank as its chief credit officer. Michael and I were in the same Leadership Bakersfield class some time ago and I lost track of him when he moved to Modesto to work for Wells Fargo. Is he glad to be back? "It's terrific," he told me. "I read your blog and know how you feel about trash and litter, and trust me we are better here than some other parts of California. It's good to be home."

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You don’t know heartbreak until you see the waiter coming to your table with food but then take a sharp turn to a different table."

 *  ... FOODIE: Bill Lee's is known for many things - an expansive menu as well as its potent Mai Tais - but did you know they also feature an excellent club sandwich? Not exactly Chinese food but I can highly recommend it.

 * ... SIDEWALKS: I am a sucker for local history and living downtown, I have plenty of time to enjoy the historic buildings and relics and reminders of the past. Old sidewalks also hold clues to our history, and I wonder if anyone remembers the people who worked at the companies that left their names and logos stamped in our sidewalks. Among some of the names imprinted on old sidewalks: Federal Construction, Joe Brown of Bakersfield, Ted Alter Cement Contractor, Larsen and Rawlings of Bakersfield, A. Klingenberg, Meyer and Stoll and Fairchild, Gilmore Wilton.

 * ... MEMORIES: A friend was lamenting the demise of many of the old locally owned barbecue restaurants in town and said this: "For years the best barbecue in town was The Barbecue King on Union Avenue a few blocks from California on the east side of the street."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mini fiberglass trucks painted by local artists will appear throughout town courtesy of the Bakersfield Museum of Art, and country crooner Sam Outlaw is coming back to town

 * ... CONSTRUCTION ZONE: A frustrated reader wrote pleading to Caltrans to speed up the work being done on the junction of northbound Highway 99 and eastbound Highway 58, a nightmare for "local motorists who have endured a year of construction. "I have had two screws in my tires, several close calls and a few scares with semis when I take that road to work," she said. "When will it be finished?"

* ... TRUCKS: Hats off to the Bakersfield Museum of Art for its upcoming show featuring miniature fiberglass pickup trucks customized in paint by local artists. The trucks will be part of "Driven By Art" show that will run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 2 and later - and I love this idea - a dozen of them may be permanently installed on the Westside Parkway. Look the trucks on display around town, including one at The Marketplace in the southwest.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A customer at the downtown Sequoia Sandwich Co. is overheard telling a friend: "Why is it I need a photo ID to pick up a radio station giveaway but not to vote?"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Son, someday you will meet a very special woman and make her incoherent with rage."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "When my stylist is washing my hair and then tries to talk to me, I press my finger to her lips and say 'shh, let's not ruin this with words.'"

 * ... OUTLAW: Here's a must-see event for your calendar: On Friday, Sept. 9, the rising country singer Sam Outlaw returns to Bakersfield for a one-night show at Temblor Brewing Co. Outlaw (and yes, that is his real name) has appeared twice in Bakersfield to great fanfare and he and his band are returning after a long European tour. Outlaw is appearing courtesy of Passing Through Productions, which earlier this week showcased the New Orleans band The Iguanas at Temblor.

  * ... GOOD FORM: Shawna Haddad runs the successful Muertos Kitchen and Lounge downtown, and she knows something about good service and good form. "Thank you to the woman who thought she cut me off at the Starbucks 24th Street drive through for paying for my order. It was a complete and lovely surprise! However, it was not necessary. Please call me at Muertos (661) 324-2557. I would like to return the favor and treat you for your kindness. Thank you again for being so thoughtful."

 * ... FOUNDATION: The Bakersfield Californian Foundation is accepting applications for its fall grand cycle, offering three separate awards in the amounts of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000. There is no specific focus for this cycle but the Foundation is interesting in capital and stand alone project, not operating costs. For more information go to