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By Casey Christie / The Californian
By SCOTT COX, Contributing columnist
Out in the 'Dale, there's a little beer bar called Julie's Branding Iron. It's not a fancy spot, but it's a great place to hang out and listen to some of the best live music in town.
This Saturday, they'll be hosting what I hope is their biggest event to date. Proprietors Art and Julie Byrom were involved in a pretty nasty motorcycle accident recently, and this event is a fundraiser to help keep them afloat during recovery.
Art & Julie's Fundraiser
What: Live music benefit
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Julie's Branding Iron, 1807 N. Chester Ave.
Admission: $20 (21 and over only)
And when I say event, I'm not kidding. The local music community is coming out in a major way to help. Byrom's brothers Monty and Tanner are playing, Tanner with his band the West Coast Groovies. Teddy Spanke and The Tex Pistols will be on hand, and English Revolver was just added to the roster. And those are just the announced artists. I can guarantee you that there will be plenty of other players dropping by. It's going to be a huge show. I can also virtually guarantee that there will be cowbell.
The local music community in Bakersfield is well-known for circling the wagons when one of there own needs help, and Saturday's show will prove that.
As if the entertainment wasn't more than enough to get you out, there will be plenty of food and beverages available too. And take it from a longtime friend of the Byrom clan: These people can cook. Between Betty, Alice and the rest of the family, the quality and quantity of grub will be off the charts. There will be plenty of fresh-baked desserts available for a nominal fee. In addition, there will be a raffle, with prizes ranging from a VIP trip to Las Vegas (with limo), to an autographed guitar from Merle Haggard.
What better way to spend your Saturday afternoon than hanging out with a bunch of great people enjoying delicious food and smoking-hot live music?
Tickets for the show are $20, and you can get them at the door or at KK's Cafe, 8654 Golden State Ave. All the proceeds will be going directly to Art and Julie's medical bills.
The show starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, and the music will be going on well into the night. If you can't be there for the whole thing, at least stop by and support the cause.
I'll see you there.
Leave the driving to us
I just read an excellent article in Autoweek magazine in which some very high-profile car company executives were estimating how long it would be before they started producing autonomous, or self-driving, cars.
And it's closer than you think. Like 2016 close.
Imagine finishing your dinner at a restaurant, then tapping a button on your iPhone, and having your car pick you up at the curb. You then hop in, and it drives you home. Or anywhere else you want to go. Better still, imagine the end of car wrecks.
Autonomous cars simply will not run into each other. So go ahead and text away, because the car has your back. The elderly will maintain their mobility. DUIs will cease to exist. So will traffic tickets and high insurance premiums.
I suspect that the ensuing loss in revenue to states and insurance companies will be catastrophic, and therefore I expect some resistance to robocars. I'll be OK with them as long as there's an off switch. I do not want my car driving for me, but I'm OK with it if you want to be driven.
But that's where it gets scary. Once people are dying in much smaller numbers on the highways, I expect that they'll want to get that number down to zero, and those "off" switches will disappear, along with our freedom to drive ourselves. Non-autonomous cars will be retrofitted or phased out altogether. Then, late at night, in the middle of nowhere, guys like me will be illegally driving our outlaw cars, the ones with gas pedals and steering wheels. I can't wait to be the first guy to get pulled over for operating a car.
If you think any of this sounds far fetched, Google "autonomous car." There's a great clip from "Top Gear" of a BMW lapping Silverstone all by itself. It's creepy.
And it's coming.