Happiness: My earlier post on Bakersfield bashing prompted this note from personal trainer Gina Rolow: "Today's blog about the insults of Btown prompted me to write you, to say, THANK YOU for putting this in print. Having lived here over 30 years, I cannot tell you the blessings I have received from the folks here. Yes, there is crime, dirty air, but like you said very boldly, 'Happiness is a personal choice!' I can think of (and have lived in) far worse places. I often wonder if there are any 'unhappy' people in Hawaii or the Bahamas? You get my drift."
Sequoias: Another blessing of living here is right at our doorstep: the Kern River Canyon and the Sequoia National Forest. I spent Sunday with friends hiking the Mill Creek trail, a beautiful and challenging trek that offered absolutely stunning views from every angle. If you haven't been in a while, it is worth your visit.
A reader named Angela wrote to me about how cavalier some folks are about disposing of dirty diapers. "I found one in a washing machine at a laundromat," she said. Yuck.
Overheard: A couple is talking about how airlines are reducing legroom and making the seat cushions thinner to make more money and improve fuel economy, prompting the wife to remark: "If they are so concerned about how much my bags weigh, why don't they just charge everyone by how much they weigh? They can weigh us in with our luggage right there at the counter."
Litter: This observation about litter comes from Riley Parker: "After reading Mark Thompson's comments regarding his impressions of travelling out of state I couldn't help put offer my own comments. Last year we made several out-of-state road trips in order to escape the unhealthy air basin that has become Bakersfield's claim to fame for the wonks writing for major publications. As Mark mentioned, the moment that we left California the roads improved, the trash subsided and the drivers seemed less frenetic. Interstate 15 from the Arizona/Utah border north was a beautiful road surface with virtually no visible debris. Going north from the junction with I-70 the speed limit is 80 mph, which eliminated the lane jockeying that is so prevalent on California freeways and highways. And then of course there are the fuel prices ... $2.97 last week in Sandy, Utah. The visual impact of returning to California, and particularly to SR-58 east of Bakersfield, is depressing. The disrepair, apparent lack of pride, poor maintenance and obvious high fuel taxes serves to render the entire area at a competitive disadvantage with most all of the western states. Stopping at the rest area south of Cedar City is to experience a well-kept neighborhood park ... just not in California."
Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at www.bakersfieldobserved.com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.