POLITICAL HUMOR

If you are looking for a way to laugh in these perilous and frightful times, pick up a new book by the actor Denis Leary called "Why We Don't Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches." The book is a satirical look at American politics and suggests that, going forward, only actors and entertainers should run for president. Among the actors listed by Leary as the "most trusted" by the American public and who might make a good president: Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock.

GOOD FORM

I was heartened to see two Bakersfield police officers up on Panorama Drive early Saturday ticketing speeders as they raced toward Manor Drive. Meanwhile, down Manor in the urban forest park at the end of the bike path, members of Breakfast Rotary were busy cleaning up the litter.

SPOTTED ON TWITTER

"When my husband asked me do something creative for dinner, I drew a cute picture of a dog on a napkin and put it next to the pizza box."

SPOTTED AT COSTCO

Actor Wallace Shawn, a well-known character actor in both film and TV series ("Desperate Housewives," "The Incredibles," "Ally McBeal") was spotted shopping at a local Costco last week.

AGCAOILI

Congratulations to Terri Serban Agcaoili, who has taken a new job with the business development liaison team for Adventist Health. For the last two years, the energetic Agcaoili has headed marketing for the Alzheimer's Disease Association of Kern County.

BLACK WIDOWS

My tidbit on the explosion of black widows in town triggered a few responses, including this one from George Meek: "Having lived many years in Westchester, I have seen several 'black widow' years. However, they always seem to be around. I can tell by the touch of their webs if it is a widow or not. Ugh! My neighbor, Wayne, mentioned all the 'widows' this year just the other day. For us, it has been a huge earwig year … everywhere."

Meek went on with another story about when he lived on A Street: "I used to take my young children out in the night with me armed with a flashlight and can of bug spray (the kind that puts out a high pressure spray for wasps). We would go around the house, they in their PJs, and were amazed at all the black widows under the windows, doors, furniture, shrubs, etc., that the flashlight would illuminate ... I would aim and spray the spider, watching with morbid fascination as it withered and dropped. Bam! It was great sport and my kids still remember it. These days, being able to afford a pest service really cuts the numbers plus I really do not enjoy going out a night without the kids ... maybe grandkids."

MORE SPIDERS

And Tom Haslebacher added this: "It was interesting to see your note about black widow spiders in Bakersfield. I have noticed an ever increasing population also. What is even more interesting is that we have a second home in the Sugarloaf area of Tulare County, and our elevation is about 5,000 feet. Up until this spring, we never saw black widows. We were even told that they are not found here. I can tell you for sure that they are everywhere up here now."

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at rsbeene@yahoo.com. His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.

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