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…
We were in Santa Monica recently for a Dignity Health retreat. I was the plus one. My responsibilities were modest, but included sauna duty, something at which I am reasonably good.
Betsy Kinney called. No one ducks Betsy Kinney. When Betsy Kinney calls, you put down your pencil, sit straight up in your chair and check to see that your shoelaces are tied.
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.
A couple Saturdays ago, Keith Shotts was riding his bike. People who know him will not be surprised. Last year, the 58-year-old retired petroleum engineer with Chevron, rode 11,000 miles, which included 600,000 feet of climbing.
Though my mom is regaining her balance two years after Dad died, I'm never sure whether I should give her bad news from her hometown.
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.
Some things you want to remember. Some you don’t. Some things you can’t remember and those might be the experiences that toughen, shape and drive us.
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.
A few weeks ago, we were flirting with the idea of replacing the carpet in our family room. To replace or not replace. This is the question whose answer rarely seems definitive or satisfying.
Popular Papa was, for a moment, mean old Papa but mean old Papa can live with mean old Papa. Live with it and sleep like a 3-year-old.
Every so often, and probably not often enough, we are reminded that life is short, fragile and wildly unpredictable and it behooves us to embrace it with all the ferocity that we can muster.
I’ve discovered the secret of gardening. Don’t sweat it. Don’t be afraid to slam in plants, flowers, bushes, bark and rock and when they’re worn, tattered and torn, tear them out.
Crazy, isn’t it, to be excited about a new convenience store, but this is Bakersfield and we specialize in small, odd and offbeat. We take pleasure wherever we can, reserving it for the times between, when our senses are parched and in need of a reminder that all is not lost.
Everybody was betting against them. Everybody except their wives, and wives are a gimme — but I’m not sure that privately, they didn’t also have their doubts.
Last Thursday was steady. If you’re Israel and Chris Vasquez, the father-and-son team behind Wood-Dale Market’s new store in the Grand Island Shopping Center at Ming and Buena Vista, steady is good. Steady is doable. Steady may mean that a weekend crush is imminent.
Last weekend I dug a hole. Men are good at digging holes. Especially when their tongue is their shovel and they confuse wagging it with making progress.
Recently, I bought a new pair of shoes. New shoes are one of life's greatest pleasures. The promise is that nothing ever could ever go wrong in your life again.
Every Saturday at 4 p.m. for the last three years, Owen Law has driven his 2005 Saturn from his house near Old Farm Road and Olive Drive to the Wienerschnitzel on Coffee Road for dinner. The menu does not change. Law orders a chili dog, French fries and a small Pepsi.
The Saturday morning ride is sacred. If you don’t believe it, talk to my friend’s wife. He told her and she felt compelled to take it under consideration.
We have been watching “The Crown.” Just when you think you’ve had your fill of English period pieces about rich English people who don’t know a pot from a pan or cannot fathom how they can live without an under butler, along comes “The Crown.” The Netflix series covers the life of Queen Eliz…
A few days ago, I bought two pounds of thinly sliced rib-eye at Wood Dale Market in order to make Pat’s Philly cheesesteak sandwiches for our Super Bowl party.
A couple weeks ago we were on the Second Avenue subway waiting for a train. A man wearing a black fedora was sitting on the pavement, his back against a wide, concrete column. He was playing the guitar and in front of him was a plastic jar stuffed with $1s, $5s and change.
David Hockney could paint your grandmother’s cat and it would be a masterpiece you’d pay $37 million for if she had a cat and you had $37 million.