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    HERB BENHAM: September full of grape expectations

    By HERB BENHAM, Californian columnist
    Monday, Sep 29 2014 06:04 PM

    Last week I went to the Albertsons at the corner of Chester and Brundage to buy half and half in case somebody wanted coffee at the dinner party we were hosting. I thought it was too hot for coffee -- Sue didn't -- so being the mature husband I am, I muttered something under my breath, gave her a strained look and stopped at Albertsons anyway.

    On the way to the dairy section in the back, I walked by produce and a display of red flame grapes being sold in clamshells, the plastic containers that make me think of the ocean on a breezy day.

    I grabbed a carton of the grapes, a pint of Albertson's half and half and two wire brushes with which to clean the barbecue that were selling for $1 each on the bargain table.

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    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    RIP ERIC: I was saddened to hear of the death of Eric Matlock, Bakersfield's first African-American police chief who led an exemplary life inside and outside the department. I got to know Eric 15 years ago and had the pleasure to dine with...

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    HERB BENHAM: Case of juror dragon breath is dismissed

    "Please leave your weapons and handcuffs in the car," said the jury coordinator during the orientation speech for prospective jurors. I can't bring handcuffs to court? What's wrong with this country? Handcuffs are my version of a service...

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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: We are compelled by the voice of God

    The Bible is loaded with fascinating, offbeat characters. The book of Genesis alone contains tales of epic proportions populated by larger-than-life actors. Some of the most compelling people of faith are the Old Testament prophets, who...

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    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics & people

    REBIRTH: It's nice to see so much commercial and retail activity on California Avenue in what old timers know as the "old Mervyn's" shopping center. Hobby Lobby opened last year with a bang and business was so good it almost immediately...

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    HERB BENHAM: By end of summer, grass is lawn gone

    Should you have occasion to drive by the house, you will notice that the front lawn is in a state of decline. Some of the grass is green, some brown and some golden brown. We're not far from affording children the pleasure of staging a...

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    CAMILLE GAVIN: Stars getting Doll-ed up

    What appeals to me about "Guys and Dolls" is the sing-able tunes and the colorful language created by Damon Runyon, the late New York sports columnist and short story writer. It's like this: All I have to do is write "If I Were a Bell,"...

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    HERB BENHAM: Readers in step with walking column

    Columns can surprise. Most disappear quickly and die a quiet column death. Some hit a chord, and who knows why? Walking to work was one of them. Marcia Giumarra emailed. "I read your column about walking to work this morning. My...

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    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    COMMON CORE: I clearly touched a nerve last week in writing about what I considered an extremely difficult science question on the Common Core testing at Fruitvale Jr. High School. There were too many responses to list, and most readers...

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    HERB BENHAM: Sipping on smoothie of life at Kern County Fair

    I went to the fair for you. And you. And you too. I had had it with tiptoeing around. Summer isn't over until the fair closes, this year on Sept. 28, so Wednesday, opening day, I took one for the team and went at 4:40, the hottest part of...

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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Aging mother's plight painful for adult children

    My mother suffers from Parkinson's disease, which is having its merciless way with her. She uses a walker for stability, but she has fallen several times, always because she thought she'd just do this one little thing without her walker,...

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    HERB BENHAM: Pastime tethers me to neighborhood kids

    We have a tetherball pole. It's an old tire filled with cement and a metal pole stuck in the middle. I bought it years ago for $25 from a man on Ming Avenue who had a family of tetherball poles in his front yard. Our kids used it, but...

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    CAMILLE GAVIN: Friedman makes return to stage

    Hal Friedman, known for his innovative approach to staging live theater, is debuting his latest venture, the Hot Spot Theatre Troupe, with "The Last Five Years" this weekend in downtown Bakersfield. "It's a very different kind of theatre...

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