I finally jumped into "Game of Thrones," or GoT as the insiders call it. Too many people have said things like “This is the best show of all time,” with the subtext being "If you don’t watch this, you’re nuts."

Normally, I don’t do well with bearded men on horses wearing long coats made of indeterminate material. The coats remind of the horse blankets my mom used to put on the couches. They were scratchy even for a horse.

I don’t have a problem with nudity — frontal, sidal or backsidal — as long as it’s backlit with something other than torch light fueled by sheep guts.

I was concerned with the violence. Turns out, I should have been because there were three beheadings in the first 20 minutes. I recommend sipping apple juice or a blond beer rather than pouring a goblet of red wine like I did, which was dark enough to be used as the special effects in the aforementioned scenes.

If sex and violence aren't your thing then you might be captivated by the direwolves, which are kind of like service dogs from a long time ago. Should somebody threaten their masters, the direwolves demonstrate their loyalty by chewing an arm off and then looking at you like, “There’s more where that came from.”

When things calmed down and heads stopped rolling like soccer balls, I took a deep dive. When I looked up, my wine glass was empty, it was 11 p.m. and I’d gone through two episodes, the first being “Winter is Coming.” I could have used one of those horse blankets.


I thought this Bird thing was just a lark. Bird, lark, just in case you didn’t get it.

Birds are those electric scooters locked to trees, stop signs, power poles. People saw the fun right away and you watched neighbors, friends and strangers riding down the street at 15 mph with expressions of pure joy.

The Birds don’t look stable, but they are and the sightline is better than you think because your head is up and you can see much better than you can on a road or mountain bike.

I’ve been surprised not by how much fun they are but how handy Birds can be. Drop a car off at John Axt Auto for an oil change, ride a Bird home. Go to the bank to cash a huge check, ride a Bird. They make sense for short hauls and, yes, they are a blast.


Exotic food connoisseur Les Burson emailed after reading Pete Tittl’s review about Aqui es Texcoco. Although Pete is adventuresome and has a hearty appetite, he is also sensible and has his limits.

“Pete skirted around the real delicacies of Texcoco, other than briefly mentioning the grasshoppers,” Les wrote.

“The grasshoppers are truly a delight, served with fresh avocado, mole and tortillas to make your own insect tacos.

“However, the 'piece de resistance,' was the whole roasted lamb’s head with the very fatty meat from the cheeks for making your own tacos and the unique flavor of the tongue and brain, which provided a great anatomy lesson for my pre-med daughter identifying the brainstem and hypothalamus.”

Something tells me Les may not have a problem with “Game of Thrones.”


Nice note from Michelle Claxton on the joys of good neighbors and neighborhoods.

“We have lived in our home for 44 years and have been so lucky to have had many longtime neighbors. The MOST wonderful is our neighbor Kay. She welcomed us as a young family and we have been ‘watching over’ each other since day one. Kay lost her husband 25 years ago and she has continued living as our ‘spry’ 96-year-old neighbor. Thank you for reminding all of us of the benefits of being a good neighbor and making our homes sweeter for the experiences.”


And another note from Shana Ruggenberg about Rugg, her husband, who would have turned 75 recently. “Hard to believe it’s been 3 1/2 years! I miss that boy and his bread.”

We do too, but in his honor, I’m eating as much bread as I can.

Contact The Californian’s Herb Benham at 661-395-7279 or hbenham@bakersfield.com. His column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own.

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