Herb Benham

Recent Stories

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    HERB BENHAM: Saving her life saved his too

    By Herb Benham
    Friday, Nov 21 2014 11:29 AM

    Caryn has a new kidney, Darren a new start and as of Oct. 25, when they were married, a new life together. Hard to know which had the bigger problem. Start with 55-year-old Darren Sauro. On Nov. 14, 2008, he lost his Los Angeles home in the Sylmar Fire, which torched nearly 500 houses. Compounding Darren's misery was a strategic mistake -- he didn't have homeowner's insurance. He said it came down to a choice between insurance and supporting his four boys -- Chris, Daniel, Anthony and Nicholas -- and feeding his food-brokering business.

    In 2009, his business took a shot in the solar plexus and crumbled. Now he had no house, no job, no business, a drinking problem and he was a lousy father to boot, he says. He gained 100 pounds, cresting...

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    HERB BENHAM: Computer virus spreads goodwill

    Recently a virus took over my computer and sent emails to everybody in my address book about a wealth management program offered through Wells Fargo Bank. My druthers would have been to blame it on my friend Gene because the first email...

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    HERB BENHAM: My three ‘Sons’ episodes lead to seven, eight

    Read a great obit about an older woman from the South. Obits can be compelling. I like the ones where people use their best picture, the one when they were 21 and a knock-you-off-your-feet heartbreaker. This woman had been a maid,...

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    HERB BENHAM: Pound opponent with your fists and intellect

    Violent and cerebral. I discovered my new favorite sport while staying with Erlend and Helen Clouston at their bed and breakfast, 2 Cambridge St., in Edinburgh.   It’s like “Sons of Anarchy,” the show I’m watching on Netflix. High brow,...

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    HERB BENHAM: A vegetarian - except for the bacon

    A friend recently switched to a plant-based diet. His wife had adopted it and good soldier that he is, he threw his support behind her rather than live in a red state/green state household. "We try not to eat anything that has a face on...

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    HERB BENHAM: A tasty French pastry -- or three

    The best bakery you've ever seen might be 20 feet from your apartment, run by a husband and wife and be solemn as a church. The husband is the baker and his wife, who speaks to you in soft, mellifluous French, works the front counter. Our...

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    HERB BENHAM: Scotland gets thumbs down in loo review

    Toilets have personalities, too. I realized this in Scotland on the Isle of Skye in the bed and breakfast in which we were staying. This is not a slam on European plumbing, a popular subject among American travelers, but a recognition...

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    HERB BENHAM: Getting away Scot free with my 'artwork'

    Art in Europe is everywhere -- from public sculptures hugging the banks of the Seine to the bridges of Paris and onto the stunning architecture along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. After one "Oh my God" moment after another, it's easy to get...

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    HERB BENHAM: Master Chorale promises stirring show

    You may think you've heard all the patriotic music a zillion times and if so, why would you want to buy a ticket to the Bakersfield Master Chorale's Faith and Freedom concert? You've heard it, sung it and dreamt it, right? That's what I...

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    HERB BENHAM: In Scotland, we needed a backup plan

    When Sue asked if I wanted to drive in Scotland, I said yes, of course, because that's what guys do. Men are born drivers like they are born leaders and born never to push the panic button. Driving in the UK involves being on the wrong...

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    HERB BENHAM: A top-flight seatmate is crucial

    I like to make friends on airplanes. It seems odd and almost unsporting to sit next to somebody for four hours and ignore them. I'm inclined to bring people on the team. Recruits can become your plane family, confidants in whose ears you...

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    HERB BENHAM: Urban adventure a heavy burden for uninitiated

    Recently I bought a pair of walking shoes and borrowed a backpack from a friend. We had a trip planned and rather than break both in on foreign soil, it made sense to test-drive them in order to diminish the chance of foot and back...

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    HERB BENHAM: Last meal? Just be sure to eat dessert first

    On a recent bike ride, we talked about what our last meal might be. The conversation began with my friend Bob asking whether I thought it was bad form to eat two doughnuts at Houchin Blood Bank after giving blood. I didn't think so, but...

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