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HERB BENHAM: Dressing the part while traveling can be tricky

I'm not the only one who has forgotten a significant part of his or her wardrobe while traveling to an important formal occasion. Several people confessed to doing the same after the column on forgetting my black tuxedo pants for a Santa Barbara (Montecito) wedding.

Joanne Shepard writes: "My husband and I were on our way to Sausalito for a wedding, we had everything (so we thought), the only big thing we didn't have was his black dress shoes, only tennis shoes. Thank heavens for Nordstrom we were able to correct that blunder. However, who needs two pairs of dressy black shoes?"

Good point. Most guys I know, especially when they reach a certain stage of life, sneak by with one pair of black dress shoes and one brown.

The black shoes are formal wear work horses but when's the last time you took the brown ones out of the stable? Brown-tie affairs are not common.

It's hard to get rid of the brown shoes. Brown shoes fall in the "you never know" category but usually you never do.


Elden Miller responded to the column on Helios, owner of Engine Parts Warehouse, and the raft of speciality auto mechanics who are retiring.

"I read your column today. I delivered uniforms to Helios' shop for years during my working years, now that I know he is retiring I will drop by and wish him well."


If you are going to read one long article, one long, serious article, read the piece American civics teacher Jeremy Adams (BHS) wrote after his father, Larry, died. Larry was an English teacher at BHS who believed in the Socratic method (a dialog based on asking and answering questions — imagine).

Jeremy is a gifted writer and this is an example of what's in the article:

"My father would probably be appalled to learn that the Socratic method is woefully out of step with a generation of young people who find feelings — not facts, evidence, or knowledge — to be sovereign. Challenging a young person to defend the material they devour on TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter — and doing so in front of the entire class, mind you — would probably land him in a bit of hot water these days. Administrators would demand to know the learning objective to which his questioning was tied. Parents would complain about how 'uncomfortable' their son or daughter now felt. Fellow teachers would counsel him, 'Be careful. Let them think whatever they want to think.'"

Visit to read the full article.


Lawrence Hildebrand commented on the series about Phillip Scott, the mysterious man who lived downtown and looked homeless but once again, appearances deceive.

"He lived a lifetime of public service and his commitment was without personal gain. We met at CSUB to attend a geology lecture. The day started clear but when it started to rain, he let me give him a ride to the GET bus canopy. That was his limit.

"I'm 69 and was born and raised in Bakersfield and there have been many outstanding people over the years who have enhanced the quality of life in Bakersfield/Kern County. Many would call them weird, or queer birds but maybe it goes with the territory. Phillip was on the board for community concerts. They aren't in vogue by today's standards, but they did bring high quality performances to a town known to be possessed by hicks.

"Phillip was our 'Webmaster,' and attended nearly all of the meetings CSUB 60+ main session, and CSUB 60+ World Religions. As some people age, their questions and comments can be less than "all there." Not Phillip. He was quiet most of the time but when I sat next to him at CSUB 60+ Board meetings, his soft little side comments kept me entertained.

"For my money, Phillip was one of our community's outstanding people. He did lots of good; and no harm."


We had a huge trick-or-treating crowd in our downtown neighborhood, most of whom started early. They couldn't have been sweeter and more polite, often coached by their parents who would stand behind on the sidewalks as their pirate, witch or Power Ranger would walk bravely to the door.

That's a long walk for a child but a rite of passage too. They have to answer the "What is your costume?" question and then say "thank you" after scoring a Starburst or a small packet of M&M's. Most came through with flying Halloween colors.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.