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  1. HERB BENHAM: Grandkids will call you what they want to call you

    By The Bakersfield Californian
    Monday, Dec 22 2014 12:41 PM

    The column on choosing the names we would want to be called by our future grandson --Mimi and Papa, but I may change if a more organic name surfaces -- brought this response from Sharon Thomas (Bill's softer half).

    "Your column brought back fun memories. My grandsons, currently 12 and 11, had funny names for me. Sebastien spoke in sounds, vroom, vroom for car and at around 11/2 began to call me 'unh,' (a grunting sound), which lasted until 2 and 'Gramma' emerged from his sweet lips. Maybe 'unh' came from the sound I made when I picked him up!

    "William, the youngest, at around a year and a half would look at Bill and say, 'Hi, Grampa,' and then look at me and say, 'Hi Grampa.' I would gently correct him with 'Gramma.' He would smile and...

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

    GIVING THANKS As we wrap up 2014, there is a lot to be thankful for in this community of ours. Here's to all those who volunteer their time for others, who give generously to the charity of their choice and who awake every day committed...

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    HERB BENHAM: Face it: Women harsh judges of own beauty

    A friend told me his wife had been to the hairdresser and when she returned, she was quiet. It was Saturday. Saturday is a happy day. A day filled with soccer games, bike rides and, occasionally, wives deep in thought. There is quiet and...

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

    THE INTERVIEW: The idea that threats from a rogue North Korean state could force Sony Pictures to cancel the release of the Seth Rogan comedy "The Interview" should concern us all. Who cares about the quality of the movie -- early reviews...

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    HERB BENHAM: He just rolled up his sleeve and gave - and gave

    If someone gave me a license plate frame for my birthday, I'd be frothed, tell them to take it back and remind them I could go to Pep Boys and buy one for $4.99. However, a license plate frame from Houchin Blood Bank packs a punch when it...

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    HERB BENHAM: This fire starter as green as his wood

    Rain cometh, wind blowth, December hereth. I bought half a cord of almond recently. "Dump it on the side of the house," I said. "I'll stack it myself." That's the law. A man has to stack his own firewood. It's like coiling a hose --...

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

    ENERGY: I picked up this interesting tidbit in my weekend reading: Despite energy-efficient appliances, better windows and an overall focus on reducing our energy consumption, the American household is using about the same amount of energy...

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    HERB BENHAM: Baby prompts name-calling discussion

    "I'd like to talk to you about two things," Sue said while we were driving to her parents' for dinner on Sunday. If there are two things, one could be good and the other might lean toward the instructive side. Instructive. Something that...

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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Moments percolate through our lives

    There used to be a series of commercials with a jingle that went, "Celebrate the moments of our lives." The product advertised was flavored coffee -- General Foods International Coffee -- in the days before Starbucks. The ads were silly,...

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    HERB BENHAM: Christmas letter a good news/bad news deal

    Conversation on a recent morning walk included: "Do you know it's time for the Christmas letter?" The Christmas letter? Again? Didn't I write the last one yesterday? The conversation also included, "We have to pick up our tree on Friday....

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    HERB BENHAM: Forget Springsteen; call me the Boss

    A friend eating at a restaurant texted and asked how I felt about being called "Boss." My sense was that he felt ambivalence about being called Boss," ambivalence bordering on distaste. Boss? Usually when I'm called Boss, my limbs get...

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

    OIL INDUSTRY: After years of soaring energy prices and new drilling, the oil and gas industry has found itself in an unfamiliar position: the price of oil has dropped to a five-year low and environmentalists continue their attacks on...

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    HERB BENHAM: Brother, can you spare a 20 and some change?

    Wednesday, I had a surprise waiting for me at work. "Herb, I need a favor," said Jennifer, my editor. "I have to hold a sign for the company fundraiser from 10 to 11, and I am buried. Could you take my slot?" I'd seen the people standing...

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