Would it surprise you that California consistently shows up as one of the costliest places to live in America? Check out this list from Forbes on the 20 costliest places to live, starting with the most expensive: Kings County, N.Y.; Marin County; Santa Cruz; San Francisco; Maui; San Luis Obispo; Napa; Monterey, Queens County, N.Y.; Sonoma, San Mateo County; Orange County; Honolulu; Alameda County; New York City; Ventura; Santa Barbara; Los Angeles, El Dorado and San Diego.


Dan Flores had this to say about the condition of our local post offices: "My recent travels to various city post offices paints a picture of 'we don't care.'

"The Stockdale post office should be a gem - and maybe it is after you get past the weeds and trash. This is a public building. Why should it look so shabby and poor? The self image is bad.

"The post office on Planz and Larson Lane is actually worse. After a time, the general population might start to believe that this is who we are — just a piece of the great Central Valley SuperGhetto."


Have you ever seen so many moths, flies, ants and bugs this time of year? We can thank the record wet winter.


"I heard you like bad boys, so I brought 11 items to a 10 items or less checkout lane."


"Life is short. Summer is shorter. Tan your legs."


The most underrated hamburger in town can be found at Juicy Burger; if there a better margarita than the one sold at Mexicali downtown, somebody needs to tell me about it; and word on the street is that the best butcher shop in town, Wood-Dale Market over on Stine Road, may be looking for a second location.


The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce nailed it at the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards by giving its Chairman's Award to the Wildlands Conservancy and its spectacular Wind Wolves Preserve. If you haven't visited this 93,000-acre treasure, you need to do so.


I would avoid California Avenue between Oak and H streets this week until city work crews finish repaving that stretch in front of Bakersfield High School. Expect the roadwork to continue for at least another month.


Nancy Bryant shared this bit of bad form: "This morning my husband was T-boned by a Dodge pickup while riding his bicycle through the Graces traffic circle. Yes, he was wearing a helmet, neon green cycling shirt, and following the rules of the road. The pickup driver decided to blow through the yield sign after the slightest of hesitation, and plowed into my husband. My husband said the driver didn't look before he pulled into traffic, and he was unable to stop. He only saw my husband after he bounced off the driver's side of the truck.

"Luckily, BPD was flagged down, and reports taken. He just suffered some scrapes, and the bike almost totaled. I would like to thank the driver of the Dodge truck for stopping. Now, my question is, what was so important that he had to blow the yield sign? Clear day, no other traffic, and obviously distracted. You could have killed or maimed my husband because of your inattention. I hope next time, you are not distracted, and you pay attention to the rules of the road. The life you save may be your own."

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