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Category Archives: Bakersfield

The Honor of a Lady

I smile at Truxtun and say, “You’re fortunate to be the son of so distinguished a soldier, businessman, and diplomat as Edward Beale.” “I wonder if you’d consider yourself lucky to be exiled thirteen years at Tejon Ranch.” “He trusted you to manage the largest ranch in the California,” I say. “He expected me to […]

Also posted in Divorce, Edward Beale, Gold, Infidelity, Marriage, Mexican-American War, Mexico, Sex, Truxtun Beale, Ulysses S. Grant

Green Speak

at green party convention in smoky red bakersfield jill stein declares make frigging wars for oil obsolete

Also posted in Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Oil

Trump Pump

first time since election i enter democratic women of kern meeting in much larger room with three times more people and ask what’s going on state of the union says a lady

Also posted in Donald Trump

The Doors Rock Bakersfield – Part 8

Seldom is one inundated by stimulating activities in Bakersfield but today I must decide whether to go to an arts and crafts fair and other exhibitions up the road in Shafter, or watch the CSU Bakersfield league-champion men play basketball, or see Wild Child, the consensus best tribute band to The Doors. As it develops […]

Also posted in Dave Brock, Jim Morrison, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, The Doors

Guns in Classrooms

I arrive late to a packed board meeting of the Arid School District in your community and have to join others pressed against the wall and already listening to speakers address the five popularly-elected trustees of the school board who sit behind a long desk on the dais. “Guns are inherently offensive, not defensive,” says […]

Also posted in Crime, Education, Guns, Murder

Northwest Catastrophe

seattle mourns seahawks move to bakersfield

Also posted in Football, Seattle

GOP Genius

This book is from the rousing campaign book “King Donald”

Also posted in Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Guns, Hate Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Religion

Calling for Trump

This story is from the rousing campaign book “King Donald”

Also posted in Bill Clinton, Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Calling for Hillary

This story is from the rousing campaign book “King Donald”

Also posted in Campaign 2016, Computers, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Kern County

Kerry Kennedy Speaks

Kerry Kennedy is in Bakersfield, speaking in behalf of Democrats and the United Farm Workers. Here is a link to my creative feature “Discussion with Cesar Chavez” in which Kerry is mentioned. Discussion with Cesar Chavez

Also posted in Agriculture, Cesar Chavez, Politics, Robert F. Kennedy

Merle Haggard’s Boxcar

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Dinosaurs, Kern County, Kern River, Merle Haggard, Music, Redding

Young Cowboy Sings Country

Merle Haggard may have passed but he hasn’t departed. He’s enjoying this tribute to his life and work. On stage at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, a sleek new place highlighted by polished wood floors, cushioned seats, and sharp acoustics, popular country singers from Haggard’s hometown and the Central Valley are delivering four hours […]

Also posted in Garth Brooks, George Strait, Horses, Kadin Hernandez, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Music, The Doors, The Rolling Stones

Snapshots from the Van

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Drugs, Prostitution, Sex, Slavery

Pink Van on Union Avenue

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Pimps, Poverty, Prostitution, Sex, Slavery

The Trafficked Life

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Drugs, Highway 58, Highway 99, Interstate 5, Michael Fagans, Pimps, Prostitution, Slavery

Homeless on the River

For days I had looked forward to yet dreaded leaving a soft bed at four on a winter morning to shower, slap on sunscreen, eat a good breakfast, and drive across town to the east side, where poverty is prevalent and The Mission draws most of its clients. I’d volunteered to complete one of dozens […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Drugs, Economics, Health, Homeless, Kern River, Mental Health, Methamphetamine, Nicotine, Poverty

On the Avenue

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Doug Bennett, Homeless, Michael Fagans, Prostitution, Sex, Slavery, The Trafficked Life

Money in the Bank

There aren’t any good jobs in L.A., and I’m sick of work anyway. I don’t even want to sell drugs anymore. I’ve got a better plan. Two friends and I are going to knock off a bank in Bakersfield. It would be too tough in L.A. In Bakersfield we’re dealing with hicks. I figure we […]

Also posted in Banks, Crime, Los Angeles, Theft

Kobe Decides

This story is in the collection “Basketball and Football”

Also posted in D'Angelo Russell, Jerry West, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal

Kevin McCarthy’s Hillary Gaffe

This story is from the rousing campaign book “King Donald”

Also posted in Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Kern County, Kevin McCarthy, Libya, Sean Hannity

Crazy Return to Golf

I didn’t know whether to blame Jason Day or Davis Love so I rebuked both for casting a curse I thought would never return. Only in hindsight did I realize I should’ve blamed myself. I’d chosen not to write or go out and do something fun on a recent Sunday, and instead reclined on the […]

Also posted in George Thomas Clark, Golf, Marriage, Weather

Faultless Frank Gifford

This story is in the collection “Basketball and Football”

Also posted in Don Meredith, Football, Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, New York City, USC

Portraits on Glass

I’m a little nervous before talking to audiences about my work but usually warm up and tell part of my story and then am ready to improvise and answer questions. This morning they come nonstop from about a hundred visitors, quite a few for an art lecture, at Bakersfield Museum of Art, in the gallery […]

Also posted in Painters, Pasadena, Ray Turner

Drought is God’s Punishment

Until last week I thought the drought that’s squeezing California resulted from natural weather fluctuations, and didn’t want to be political or presume to have scientific insight so rarely mentioned climate change and then only as a relatively minor factor. I should’ve known there was a much simpler yet more ominous explanation, and Shannon Grove […]

Also posted in Abortion, California, Kern County, Kern River, Religion, Rick Perry, Sacramento, Texas, Weather

Art Appraisals

To an interviewer who asked Mick Jagger if he had any art, the slender septuagenarian said, well, I just have several paintings people have given me and a few I’ve bought, but it’s definitely not what you’d call a collection, and they (the bad guys) know that so they never bother coming to my place. […]

Also posted in Adonay Duque, Andy Warhol, Art, Art Galleries, Auctions, Bonhams, George Thomas Clark, Jerry Hall, Lucian Freud, Mick Jagger, Painters, Pasadena, Rose Bowl, Sotheby's, The Rolling Stones

Almost Missed Manny and Money

I realize most sports fans and other seekers of excitement planned to watch the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight at cool places like the MGM Grand Arena or packed sports bars or at least at big private parties enlivened by booze. My intention was far more mundane: I’d view the eternally-hyped showdown with my Philippine wife […]

Also posted in Al Bernstein, Boxing, Bright House, Floyd Mayweather, George Thomas Clark, Jim Lampley, Jimmy Lennon, Joe Frazier, Kern River, Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao, Michael Buffer, Muhammad Ali, Philippines, Roy Jones

Bakersfield Number One

Bring out the beer, boys, Bakersfield’s number one again. You see the report? We got the highest rate of auto theft in the United States. My buggy was ripped off last month. I love it. We also got the dirtiest air in the country. And as more of our teenage girls get knocked up we […]

Also posted in Crime, Education, Environment

Careful, Justin Bieber

I’m surrounded by lots of nasty newspaper and magazine articles and insulting letters and want you to understand this deluge on my doorstep is the same or worse than cyber bullying. Not many understand. I’m nineteen and make fifty million a year and fans love me and I’m doing things most my age would do. […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Calabasas, Cars & Driving, Drugs, Housing, Justin Bieber, Miami, Music, Neighborhoods

End of Suffering

Frankly, I don’t often feel well and really should say I never do. I don’t know what the problem is but try to feel better by smoking bath salts, not the stuff you use in the tub but a combination of chemicals that’re way stronger than amphetamines. This morning the bath salts hit me much […]

Also posted in Drugs, Families, Mental Health, Murder

The Right Room

First time in Puerto Vallarta I was hungover standing at basin, looking into fright, when woman popped from stall behind and said sir are you aware this is women’s bathroom. Years later long sober I stood in Bakersfield theater as two women entered and one said what’s guy doing here. Leaving quickly I forgot to […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Mental Health, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Short Pieces - GTC

Gold Rush

Poor guy farming hardpan back East hesitated and missed first California opportunity but rode fast and walked hard in eighteen fifty-five for Kern River Rush yielding most miners three, four, even five ounces of gold daily and up to fifty bucks per. Guy didn’t have many good days and following year wadded smart aleck newspaper […]

Also posted in California, Gold, Kern River, Short Pieces - GTC

Spanish Influenza

Good morning Spanish influenza says entering healthy young adult hearts pumping lungs fatal full of fluid by evening or next. Eighty million perish worldwide most in frenetic ninety days, twenty million in October 1918 India, about seven hundred thousand in U.S. In oilfields outside Bakersfield filthy makeshift hospitals hold tough young immigrants prior to death. […]

Also posted in Health, Kern County, Short Pieces - GTC, World War I

Professor Party

He taught English or something at Berkeley and students called him Professor, admired clipped beard, and cheered when he entered parties. Students eventually said they didn’t know when professor asked, and he stopped anyway because they hindered drinking, and teaching too proved inconvenient before he lugged ragged beard into streets of Bakersfield.

Also posted in Alcohol, Drugs, Education, Parties, Short Pieces - GTC

Women in Television News

In the vast and luxurious clubhouse of Seven Oaks Country Club, the League of Women Voters of Kern County hosts three female veterans of television news broadcasting in Bakersfield. Prior to their appearance the audience is treated to cashews and cake and a political history lesson: eleven states allowed women’s suffrage before the Nineteenth Amendment […]

Also posted in Civil Rights, Condoleezza Rice, Diane Sawyer, Media, Politics, Television

Kit Foxes in the Road

Four years little kit foxes, bearing the sharp angular look of underfed and downtrodden foxes, instantly scattered from the road as I reentered my neighborhood, interrupting asphalt gatherings that had followed their nocturnal dashes from dens to seek duck eggs, lizards, and insects. A few months ago the kit foxes began departing leisurely and, instead […]

Also posted in Animals, Foxes, Neighborhoods, Short Pieces - GTC

Bakersfield at the Movies

Legions of teenagers and adults march into theater carrying troughs of buttered popcorn and sodas large enough for elephants, and guffaw during previews of teddy bear wrestling man, creamed pants jokes, president slicing face open to reveal he’s bullet-dodging, axe-wielding “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.” Amid chomping and slurping, I wonder how many here have watched […]

Also posted in Abraham Lincoln, Food, Los Angeles, Movies, Short Pieces - GTC

Romney Money Plane

This story is from the collection “Obama on Edge”

Also posted in Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Mitt Romney

Good News for Jesus at the Bakersfield Islamic Conference

At the sixth annual Bakersfield Islamic Conference, before a few hundred attendees in a hotel ballroom, crew-cut Joshua Evans, looking scholarly behind a long brown beard and matching brown glasses, delivered this information: you cannot be a Muslim unless you believe in Jesus, one of five great Prophets who brought about seminal changes. Islam also […]

Also posted in Islam, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Religion

Saber-Tooth Cat Revisits Red Rock Canyon

Let me clarify this point: I like to be called saber-toothed cat. Do not call me a Smilodon, that pompous academic name thrown at us by humans who’ve lived such a short time compared to the millions of years various branches of my family survived and flourished in a world far more beautiful than the […]

Also posted in Animals, California, Cats, Central Valley, Elephants, Environment, Geology, Kern County, Oceans, Red Rock Canyon, Rhinos

Another Obama is Hitler Letter

This story is from the collection “Obama on Edge”

Also posted in Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, Conservatives, Germany, Health, Hitler Here, Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Supreme Court

Baseball Bat Killers Sentenced

Two years ago a murder story in Bakersfield haunted me and, despite uneasiness, I decided to view the crime scene. A forty-year old man, Patrick Matsuda, who lived in a neighborhood of new and expensive homes, had been killed by bat-wielding miscreants. For weeks residents had been complaining to each other and the police that […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Bodybuilding, Drugs, Housing, Mixed Martial Arts, Murder, Neighborhoods, Wrestling

High School Grades of Earl Warren

enter archives at bakersfield high school look left at long glass case displaying handwritten grade book note highlighted name earl warren read four years reports revealing history his best subject and three times earned his top grade in final quarter many students before and since doubtless had similar trajectories only didn’t become three term governor […]

Also posted in Earl Warren, Kern County, Racism, Supreme Court

Relative Real Estate

newspaper says going to be one oh three in bakersfield seventy three in santa barbara but former has lower housing prices

Also posted in California, Housing, Poetry - GTC, Santa Barbara

The Right Room

first time on puerto vallarto tour quite hungover stand at basin looking into fright woman pops up behind and says sir are you aware this is women’s years later long sober at bakersfield movie women enter one says what’s guy doing in here leaving rapidly forget to say heat intoxication

Also posted in Alcohol, Mental Health, Mexico, Poetry - GTC, Puerto Vallarta

Spanish Influenza – Part 2

good morning spanish influenza says entering healthy young adult hearts pump lungs full fatal fluid that evening or next eighty million perish worldwide most in frenetic ninety days twenty million in october ‘eighteen india about seven hundred thousand in u.s. bakersfield pummeled more still in oilfields where filthy makeshift hospitals hold tough young immigrants prior […]

Also posted in Influenza, Kern County, Oil, Poetry - GTC, World War I

Sherlock Holmes Needs Straightjacket

new sherlock holmes movie maniacal high tech farce detective robert downey relentlessly overbearing bakersfield patrons quite pleased

Also posted in Movies, Poetry - GTC, Robert Downey

Wealth

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Agriculture, California, Food, Fresno, Immigration, Modesto, Poetry - GTC

Bon Qui Qui at King Burger

I must’ve been beset by Baby Boomer inertia as I read about young comedian Anjelah Johnson coming to Bakersfield in a couple of days. She’s cute, I thought, and her act is probably funny and it’s cool she used to be a Raider cheerleader, but that was all until two hours before the show on […]

Also posted in Anjelah Johnson, Bon Qui Qui, Comedians, Interstate 5, YouTube

Getting to Madrid

My journey to Madrid began on a Sunday morning as I drove from blistering Bakersfield down Highway 99 toward Los Angeles and punched sports talk radio but heard an ESPN guy strain to be funny and cool but sounding lame: most jockeys lack comedic skills and can’t sustain the purported subject matter of their shows. […]

Also posted in Barack Obama, Dennis Miller, George Thomas Clark, George W. Bush, Los Angeles, Madrid, Madrid Vacation, Mexico, Michelle Williams, Movies, Pornography, Radio, Ryan Gossling, Spain, Travel

Criminal Justice in Islam

In blighted but affordable east Bakersfield old bank transformed into new mosque hosts annual Islamic Conference where keynote speaker Main Al-Qudah, PhD in Islamic law and imam at large mosque in Houston, steps to podium. He’s slim, stern, middle-aged, dressed in suit and tie, and resembles prosecutor as power points to screen bearing principles of […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Crime, Drugs, Islam, Jordan, Main Al-Qudah, Marriage, Middle East, Rape, Religion, Saudi Arabia

From Tennessee to California

In the summer of 1978 I lived in a small old room at the rear of a dreary house in north Sacramento, one of the worst parts of the Golden State’s capital city. Fortunately, I didn’t know I’d have to stay there several more years until a modest inheritance temporarily rescued me, and was delighted […]

Also posted in Albuquerque, Amarillo, Arizona, Arkansas, Asia, Barry Switzer, Baseball, Basketball, Buck Owens, Cars & Driving, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dogs, Doug Atkins, Elvis Presley, Football, George Thomas Clark, Johnny Bench, Memphis, Nashville, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pete Ranzany, Pipino Cuevas, Rivers, Sacramento, Southeast Asia, Tennessee, Texas, Travel, Vietnam

Betty Finch Transforms Gourds into Sculptures

I’ve long been collecting art with enthusiasm many call obsessive but confess to being indifferent when notified by postcard last month that the Bakersfield Museum of Art would be featuring an exhibition of gourd sculptures by retired police officer Betty Finch. What the hell is a gourd? I’d heard of people drinking from them but […]

Also posted in Art, Betty Finch, Homeless, Marriage, Painters, Sculptors

Ryan Mathews in Touchdown City

This story is in the collection “Basketball and Football”

Also posted in Football, George Thomas Clark, Ryan Mathews

Pig in Heat

This story is part of the collection “Paint it Blue”

Also posted in Art, Painters, Pigs

Cycle of Abuse

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Drugs, Homeless, Mental Health, Poverty

Fantasizing on Highway 99

Pretty soon you’ve got to drive from Bakersfield to Sacramento.  You are, of course, thankful you don’t have to start further south in Los Angeles and thus crawl up and down scorched and barren mountains that separate the city of glamour and poverty from the rest of the state.  Your journey, instead, will take you […]

Also posted in California, Fresno, George Thomas Clark, Highway 99, Sacramento, Sports, Travel

New Year’s Eve

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Drugs, George Thomas Clark, Homeless, Mental Health, Poverty

Christmas Eve

This story appears in the collection “In Other Hands”

Also posted in Depression, Drugs, George Thomas Clark, Homeless, Mental Health, Poverty

Fear Not, California – Bakersfield Shall Save You

Have you been to Bakersfield?  Ask that of most people in California and they’ll say, “No, but I’ve been through it.”  They just kept on rolling over parched Central Valley earth en route to Los Angeles or the Bay Area.  Why didn’t they stop?  Perhaps they were startled or saddened by the eternal glare from […]

Also posted in California, Politics