This is the best time of year in Bakersfield. We hit the lottery today and tomorrow too. Fall is good everywhere, but there is something about a Bakersfield fall, a valley fall, that is especially delicious.

Stephanie Wilcox doesn’t have to talk loud for her students to play good. The 25-year-old director of instrumental and choral music for McKee Middle School looks at them from behind her steel-rimmed glasses and they play. Play harder and better than they have in their entire 10- to 14-year-o…

At dinner in Milan, we sat next to a couple from Beirut, Lebanon. People usually want to talk, especially, as you might imagine, after I smile at them and start asking questions.

I tried to squeeze in a haircut the other day and remembered that “squeeze” and “haircut” do not belong in the same sentence. A visit to the barbershop is not something to endure or put behind you. Better to look forward to a haircut, enjoy it and feel a twinge of melancholy when your time i…

Today’s list has 24 items on it. “Make a list” should be first on any to-do list because then you can cross it off and be on your merry, productive way.

The brown leather recliner was sitting on three good legs, the fourth bent sideways like a twisted ankle. I tried fixing it, but I might as well have been an orthopedic surgeon with a medical degree from a box of Cracker Jack. The patient lived but wouldn’t be dancing the tango soon.

We saw one of Sue’s favorite cousins recently and had a chance to catch up. We have eight kids between us — four each — so catching up took awhile. They mentioned their son in Seattle. I was surprised to hear he had moved from Salt Lake City.

Last week, I called a friend to borrow a planer so I could shave off the top of a door that wouldn’t close, but he had loaned it to somebody else and couldn’t remember who.

A couple days ago, I ordered three black T-shirts on the Banana Republic website to replace the three black T-shirts that have spots on them.

A few days ago, I went to the dermatologist. It was time, time to see if there was anything that could be done.

How many passwords do I have? I’m not sure. I’d rather not think about it except there is no not thinking about passwords unless you want to jump on an ice floe and drift toward the sunset.

My Chromebook died over the weekend. Computers are like dogs. Usually, they get sick over the weekend when the only remedy is the weekend vet at double the price.

My father-in-law John is one heck of a guy. He’s told me that himself. And if he hadn’t, his wife, Bev, known by appreciative family members as the saint, would confirm it.

Ken Burns may be the smartest person I’ve ever met but it’s not like we’re super good friends. We shook hands. He couldn’t pick me out of a one-person lineup, but I could him, even if he were flanked by Rhodes Scholars and astrophysicists.

During a recent visit to Mammoth to see my mother, she dropped a box of Milton's Multi-Grain crackers in the kitchen. She lost her grip on the rectangular package and it fell, dislodging five or six crackers which skittered and broke on the floor.

I grabbed the frozen cinnamon raisin bagel from the freezer and tapped it on the counter. The bagel was as hard as a hockey puck. Good thing we have a big, powerful Whirlpool microwave that has been a source of pride since it was installed six years ago.

Somebody called me an idiot recently. Had it been a friend, I would have understood and perhaps even agreed with him, but he was a stranger, so there were questions.

He’s way too modest to think I’d write about him, but I’m not waiting until he’s dead. As fit and healthy as he is, he will probably outlive me and I will have lost my chance altogether.

People were inspired by Joe Seay, they admired him and some were afraid of him. Brothers Mike and Ron Valenti wrote about Seay’s life and recent passing.

Recently, I scheduled a massage with Linda at Foot Reflexology on the recommendation of reader Shirley Skenfield, who, like most people in the world, has a stiff neck.