I read an obit last week in the paper in which the deceased, who sounded like a lovely person, was survived by her "homely brother." I read it twice and both times it read the same: She was survived by her "homely brother."

We can assume it was a misprint and what the writer meant to say was "only" rather than "homely." However, if it wasn't a misprint and if the deceased was survived by her homely brother, I sympathize with the homely brother, who, I am sure is as fine a man as you'll ever meet.

I sympathize because Californian photographer Felix Adamo recently took a picture of me before the Bakersfield Masterworks Chorale concert and had I have died minutes after shouting out "Rex Tremenda," my biographer would have had no choice other than to describe me as a homely former columnist for The Californian.


Spring and renewal go together like bacon and eggs.

The orange trees are blooming, and whether you have one or not, you can smell them everywhere.

The azaleas, red in the backyard and pink in the front yard, are almost in violent bloom.

The trees have budded -- sycamores and liquidambars alike. There are poppies on the eastern slopes of the Grapevine and on Breckenridge, making good use of the sliver of rain with which we have been showered.

We are grateful. Another spring. Brief, but spring is never about length. The sweet peas are climbing the white fence and in the afternoons we dream about tomatoes -- planting, pinching and harvesting.


I heard from fellow columnist Melissa Balmain, who used to write three columns a week for the Orange County Register. She moved on, started a family, taught at Yale, the University of Rochester, has contributed pieces to the New Yorker, The New York Times and Parenting Magazine and has published a book of poetry called "Walking in on People."

Melissa is funny. We want to support funny like we do music and good food.

One of Melissa's earlier poems is on bras and starts like this:

Sayonara, you Miracle bras --

We are sick of miraculous itch.

Adios, you maternity bras

With the clasps that make nursing a b----.

Melissa's new book is available on Amazon.


I had coffee with two of my favorite Bakersfield people -- down-to-earth, colorful, funny -- former coaches Ned Permenter and Harvell Pollard. They are part of the Foothill, Wasco and BC nexus and currently involved in the Foothill High Hall of Fame.

The second annual Foothill Hall of Fame dinner is scheduled for Saturday, April 26, at the Bakersfield Country Club (tickets are $100; call 319-8469).

In addition to inducting Neil Agness, Ted Armijo, Jon Des Pois, Joe Turner, Max Odom, Mary Ann Martinez, Bo Acade, John Clark, Jerry Robinson, Bill Moore, Ray Juhl and Chuck Harriger, Foothill will be honoring members of the 1965 football team, which upset BHS 12-9.

If you know the whereabouts of Mark Hultgren, Bob Lane, Jim Day and Tom Martin (at least one may be deceased or homely), email me.


Herb IV responded to my column about discovering Manhattans late (the delicious cocktail made with bourbon, bitters, sweet vermouth and a maraschino cherry).

"I read your recent article and I have to point something out," said Herbie, who tends bar at the Ramen Shop in Oakland.

"I stirred your Manhattan, and then served it straight up, no rocks. The rule of thumb in bartending, S.F. especially, is you shake anything with citrus in it, but if it's spirit only, i.e., Manhattans, martinis, you stir it for 20 to 30 seconds. The idea is, if you shake a Manhattan or a martini, you run the risk of 'bruising' the liquor -- over-oxygenating it and serving a cloudy drink."


South High graduate Theresa Souers (married to Don), who now lives in Tahoe, sent me a photo of herself recently with a black eye. Turns out Don accidently elbowed her in the middle of the night.

"We were in Hawaii. The funny thing is that it was Spousal Abusive Awareness Week," Theresa said. "Don sure got some looks."

These are Herb Benham's opinions and not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at hbenham@bakersfield.com.