Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum has written an excellent piece about how Facebook has become an opportunity to brag.

She was especially dismayed by people who send Facebook messages from exotic locations -- Hawaii, Moscow, Istanbul -- places, in other words, their friends may not be themselves enjoying at the moment.

This was a good column until the end where, in reference to not "bragging" about where one is, Ms. Daum wrote: "I hereby resolve to stop. So can anyone recommend a decent Olive Garden in Bakersfield? See, you feel better already."

"You," Ms. Daum, may feel better. But if you live in Bakersfield, or places like it, the columnist's parting comment delivers a sting. The end of her piece reminds me of a tennis match in which one of the competitors reaches match point, one point from victory, and then falters.

I sent Ms. Daum this email:

You were spot-on about Facebook. I keep hoping Facebook will fail and then take Twitter with it.

You write with a light touch. I have enjoyed your work over the years.

I must tell you that Bakersfield has a textured restaurant scene and it is filled with wonderful Basque, Mexican, Indian, Tex-Mex, Italian and soul food places. Certainly, it does not have the depth of S.F. and L.A., but for a valley town, it's pretty good.

If Jonathan Gold (a prominent food writer) were to be on Facebook -- I am not sure that he is not -- he might talk about some of the restaurants he has eaten in here.

Bakersfield gets batted around for some of its flaws -- it has many -- but it's an interesting place. Textured, like the restaurants. There are good stories. Good people, too.

Keep up the fine work.



No response yet, but people who live in Bakersfield have learned to be patient.

The column about seeing the movie "Les Miserables" inspired this email from Susan St. Laurent:


Your goofy column about the musical made me less miserable.

Offord "Bud" Rollins died recently. He was 90. His impeccable resume included husband, father, mentor and master mechanic.

We knew him as the father of Bernie, a good friend of the family, and as a car collector. Bud loved Hudson Hornets and Studebakers -- he had a fascination for cars made in the '50s; he always had several in his yard in southeast Bakersfield.

Bud was a tractor mechanic and was legendary among the farmers in Kern County. Beginning his career in 1949, Bud was one of the first black equipment mechanics in Kern County, according to his son, Rick. After rebuilding countless Hudson Hornets and Studebakers, heavy equipment was a snap.

Bud also mentored many young men in a drum group he helped organize and support called the Emancipators.

"He took a lot of young guys off the streets, and they performed at football games and marching competitions," Rick said. "He raised money for the drums and competitions, and when that fell short he'd pay for it out of his own pocket."

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