* ... CAFE SMITTEN: Cafe Smitten, the impressive new downtown coffee and pastry house, opened Monday to a crowds that snaked out the door onto the sidewalk virtually all day. The design is stunning, or as a friend muttered to himself, "are we in Santa Monica?" For me, I knew this 18th Street bistro was special when I was greeted with the soft melody of the song "Sin City" by the Flying Burrito Brothers when I walked through the door. My non-fat latte was excellent but I was secretly envious of a friend's 'smashed avocado' sandwich, one of the many creative items on a menu that includes beer and wine. Another big selling point: plenty of outdoor seating. Among those I spotted on opening day were Watson Realtors John and Katy Glentzer, Ward 2 City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, Ward 4 Councilman Bob Smith (his daughter and son-in-law run the place), local businessman Mel Atkinson and daughter KellyAnn, Metro Galleries owner Don Martin, Californian editor Stephanie Diaz and reporter Jason Kotowski and Live Office Systems marketing artists Matthew Prewitt and Bree Wattonville.
* ... HUMAN KINDNESS: This note from Lynn and Bill Seeker showed up in my mailbox: "We would like to thank 'Bailey'' who kindly paid for our breakfast at the 24th Street Cafe on Feb.16. It was very generous of him to do this. There are a lot of very kind people here in Bakersfield and you are one. "
* ... LIFE: This is why I love Facebook: the other day a friend posts this: "Seriously, can you imagine Trump in a real crisis?" while at the same time another chimes in: "Who wants to do the Abs Challenge?"
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you a really nice house to be miserable in."
* ... RODEO: A reader dropped this note in my mailbox: "I recently received this note from a close personal friend who recently attended the Humble Rodeo in Humble, Texas. It said: 'It was a great event and with about 2,000 in attendance, it had the flavor of times past in small town America. As the evening progressed, the announcer began to ask people from various states to stand as he called them out. Loud applause for some, polite for others. When he asked who was from California, two people sitting in front of the arena stood. There was no applause, just silence. The announcer then said 'welcome to America.' That brought down the house!”