His final set list started with “Smile.” Most people in the church were far from pulling that off but Dominick Pisano believed in the power of music to lift people’s spirits and he wasn’t going to waste an opportunity with a captive audience.

I ran into Jessica Pounds (owner of Moo Creamery) at the downtown July 4th parade. She talked about the column on the raw vegetable platters people serve at parties that everybody pretends to like, but no one really does.

I was at a party, recently. Sitting on the food table was the traditional raw vegetable platter that included baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery stalks chopped into bite-sized pieces, raw mushrooms and cauliflower. A tub of hummus sat in the middle of the vegetables.

I woke up and my left knee hurt. Two days later, it was my left shoulder. Like the Rodney Dangerfield joke, I’m afraid to go to bed because my head may fall off.

A couple of days ago I drove by BHS. Griffith Field was being prepared for graduation. Workers were unloading the white chairs from the rolling racks and then setting the rows straight and true.

I’d gone to a convenience store to buy a regular Gatorade and one package of Sabritas lime-flavored peanuts, actually two because they have a permanent two-for-99-cents deal, which makes the second one hard to pass up.

Philip Roth’s death earlier this week brought back memories. I took a class from him during my senior year in college called "Readings in the Novel," held Tuesday afternoons.  Seven years earlier, Roth had written “Portnoy’s Complaint,” the novel which launched him into the literary stratosphere.

I opened the paper Sunday to a picture of Harvey Hall under which was the date of his birth and death. Although Harvey hadn’t looked well the last few times I’d seen him, that brief period of frailty will not be my lasting memory but rather his robustness accentuated by ramrod-straight postu…

Dad left me a black wallet. Not me specifically, but the wallet was in his desk drawer next to his watch that had returned from the repair shop in good working order. No one else wanted them because the watch wasn’t a Piaget and the wallet not a Givenchy.

I’d never heard of artist Charles Arnoldi but the artists I haven’t heard of and the things I don’t know could fill the Louvre and the New York Library. Arnoldi, and his wife, Katie, were at the Bakersfield Museum of Art Thursday night for the opening of his exhibition “Forms: A Fifty Year Survey.”

There are places that remind us of people. With Mike Marotta, it may be the stretch of road on Alfred Harrell Highway, beginning with the rise west of the soccer fields, and ending 200 yards later at the top, after he has laid down another withering pull, scattering fellow cyclists in his wa…

Last weekend, we took Andrew on a train from San Diego to San Clemente, spent the night, and then took the train back. An hour and 15 minutes each way. If this had been the Polar Express, and the journey had been to the North Pole and included hot chocolate and presents, it's hard to imagine…

Although you might not completely understand what the Mazzei Injector Co. does, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that Angelo and Mary Mazzei have friends. That they are loved and have contributed to the community in which they live.

Her name was Betty Jean Hollins but we knew her as Ms. Mosley. She was all business, not to be trifled with and demanded more effort from her students than just dragging themselves through the door into her fifth-grade class at Franklin Elementary School.

The first time I met John, I borrowed $5 from him. He was driving me to the airport. I was a broke college student and John had a big job in the credit department at Sears Tower.

Wrestler of the Year: Trent Tracy, FrontierJunior, 170, 48-6 recordJust two years removed from being a 126-pound freshman, the Frontier junior put on nearly 50 pounds and dominated the 170-pound weight class. Tracy lost in the quarterfinals of the Central Section Masters to Christian Rodrigu…

I met a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. We’d been close as kids. We’d played together, competed against one another and then he had moved out of state where he has lived for almost 40 years.