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  1. HERB BENHAM: A top-flight seatmate is crucial

    By The Bakersfield Californian
    Thursday, Oct 30 2014 03:35 PM

    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 murmur last words if the aircraft nose-dives.

    Befriending seatmates also makes sense given that coach seating is snug. Elbows may touch, sleepy heads may fall on horrified shoulders and bathroom visits must be cleared by the person anchoring the aisle seat.

    I put Mark on the team. A 50ish man from Chicago, he was sitting in the middle seat of our flight from LAX to Chicago O'Hare, the first leg of our trip to Paris and Scotland.

    Mark looked like an older, thicker version of Mark Harmon, handsome in an...

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    CAMILLE GAVIN: Magic will put you under spell

    Wrapped in the spirit of Halloween, Mark Price says the magic performance he and two long-time friends will do on Saturday at Stars is "triple tricky." Price, aka Gus Flamingo, calls it The Three Amigos of Magic, which he says will be an...

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

    SCAM: From the scam file comes this from Riviera Westchester: Three men show up at a house claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency and demanding to come inside (without a warrant) to "look around" in case there are drugs inside....

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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Supporting each other in our suffering

    As the blues musician David Bromberg sings, "You've got to suffer if you wanna sing the blues." But really, you've got to suffer if you are a human being. Even the most seemingly charmed life endures its times of suffering, be they great...

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

    FOODIE: Another privately owned restaurant has opened downtown, this one a cozy bistro that features soft leather couches, a comfortable, homey interior, a wide selection of drinks, and light salads and sandwiches. It's called CraSh Lounge...

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    CAMILLE GAVIN: Turning 50? Let's put on a show!

    Some folks are reluctant to admit they've reached the half-century mark; Bruce Saathoff is the smiling exception. "I'm turning 50 on the 28th of October and people kept asking me, 'What do you want to do for your 50th?'" said the Stars...

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

    POLITICS: Is anyone else sick of the political attack ads that have flooded the airways? You'd think there would be weightier issues than how many times Pedro Rios voted while serving on the Delano City Council or if Andy Vidak had...

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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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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Society's rules can stop us from being true selves

    Oh, the joy of a bookworm working in a library: I am surrounded every day by more books than I could read in my lifetime. I also stumble upon books that I wouldn't otherwise choose for myself, like a book I've been reading called "Real...

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

    CANCER:October is breast cancer awareness month, and a brief look at the statistics are humbling. For example, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2014, an...

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    VALERIE SCHULTZ: Coming Out Day may make road a little smoother

    Today is National Coming Out Day, the day each year that your son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor or co-worker may feel enough confidence in your understanding and acceptance to say to you: I am...

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

    VIA ARTE: Make sure you remember that Via Arte is set for this weekend over at The Marketplace in the Southwest. This is always an amazing experience as chalk artists line up to show off their talents in the parking lot. The event is free,...

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