All Out War

October 31, 2011

The other day, after we were discussing reviving The Porch, I decided to start by first rereading some of the original posts to look back at what was on our minds and going on in our lives. It was interesting to read back through the time we have known each other—reading through the ideas we’ve shared, the stories we’ve told and the events we’ve experienced together. Remember the one man dance party and how it caused the driver/dancer to abandon, in dance, a moving car full of roommates.

It was also interesting to see how time has developed some of our stories: the post discussing Farve’s first retirement as though it would be his last, the post congratulating Jameson and Blaze’s engagement, and the post anxiously awaiting the Camaro’s arrival.  Also, Hatfield Buick was saved from government take over. Things change, and yet Bob Dylan, now at 70, still shows no signs of slowing.

One revisited post that got me particularly excited was the post which anticipated the coming of a new horsepower war among the American auto makers.  We are now in the heated midst of that once anticipated horsepower war.  The Camaro now roams the streets battling Mustangs on the weekends.

I remember the month the Camaro was arriving at local dealerships.  The front rows of the local Ford dealerships, which have mostly recently been filled with small economy cars and family sedans (gas prices were up), were now packed with mobilizing Mustangs. There was a battle of the V-6s when the Camaro first came out. The Camaro was introduced with a base 304hp V-6 outdoing Ford’s dated 210hp V-6.  Ford designed a completely new and very exciting V-6 for the Mustang getting 305hp.  It was at this time that Chevy revealed that their V-6 really gets 312hp–always did, they just underrated it.

Now, Camaro has remained mostly unchanged since introduction, and Mustang has gained the upper hand in the top performance V-8 battle with the impressive update of the Shelby GT500 and the revival of the aggressively beautiful Boss 302.  The GT500 originally had 540hp but in 2011 Chevy announced the much rumored Z28 would actually be a supercharged ZL1 with an estimated 550hp. So, Shelby bumped output to 550hp. Chevy then announced the ZL1 will be ready early 2012 and it was dyno tested at 580hp; surprise! It appears Chevy will soon gain the upper hand in dramatic fashion. What an exciting time to live in—it’s beginning to rival the horsepower wars of the sixties, as anticipated in the previously mentioned post.

I should also mention the Cadillac V-Series which has been battling overseas villains and is really pushing luxury performance to places few other makers are willing to venture.  Take the CTS-V wagon for example: it’s a supercharged V-8 station wagon with 556hp and a six-speed manual! It’s a station wagon with all the comforts of a Cadillac (you could throw a couple tubas in the back), and it goes 0-60 in 4 seconds! And it looks good doing it. Speaking of drop dead gorgeous, have you seen the CTS-V Coupe? It also gets 556hp, but it does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.

And the Corvette ZR1 remains king.

Also, when I revisited My Top Black and Whites I made some changes as I have since become a big Lillian Gish fan and a couple of her movies are now favorites of mine.

The Michelin Man knows what's up.

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Hatfield Buick part of Redlands culture

June 11, 2009

When I first heard of the economic troubles some of the major American automotive companies were having my first fear was the possibility of an America without those companies and their cars, each so vital to the American culture.  Now, following the filing of bankruptcy of GM those fears are being realized. 

Newspapers report GM is soon to be government owned, and will be reduced to just four companies (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC).  Also, dealerships all across the nation will not have their franchise agreements renewed for the next year affecting towns all across the U.S. 

Again one of my first fears concerning GM’s troubles has been realized. The Hatfield Buick dealership of my hometown Redlands, CA will not have its agreement renewed after 100 years of selling cars. It joined Buick in 1913 after Hatfield had been selling cars since 1909.  It’s the oldest Buick dealer in the U.S., probably the world.

1913 Buick

1913 Buick

Currently owned by the original Hatfield’s grandson, the dealership is trying to petition to GM for the renewal of the contract and the continued life of an important center to the city’s heritage and culture. If this fight is lost it will not only mean the loss of a place to buy a car and the cars themselves, but the city of Redlands (with its people) will lose a piece of itself.

1913 Buick

 For more information visit these links and savehatfieldbuick.com (to show your support).

ABC7 News

Redlands Daily Facts


My top black and whites

March 10, 2009

This post is in response to and in praise of Blaze Danielle’s post at http://blazedanielle.wordpress.com.

Here is my list of favorite black and white movies.  It is also meant to provide great films of introduction for those who don’t watch, are indifferent of, or don’t like black and white movies.  Try a few of these.  If you have seen them please comment; if not, watch them then comment.  The top ten counts down to my favorite.

 

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

 This is the gangster movie that made James Cagney.  It’s the story of a couple of friends, one grows up to be a priest and the other a gangster.  The ending is intense.

The Wind (1928)

This excellent silent drama proves the silent era was cut short just as it was reaching its pinnacle.  It’s easily one of the best silent films made and a great showcase for Gish’s tremendous talent.  She plays a young woman moving to Dust-Bowl-Depression-era Texas where she is haunted and being driven mad by a freakish sandstorm,  isolation and a stalker.  If you don’t mind spoilers check out these fantastic closing scenes.

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

This fast paced comedy helped define the slapstick genre.  It stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.  The laughs come so fast and constant that during the first view you’ll miss half the jokes from laughing .
All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve (1950)

This is a hilariously witty comedy starring the great Bette Davis. It’s one of Davis’ finest performances, and that’s saying a lot.

Key Largo (1948)

Key Largo (1948)

I love this gangster movie starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren BaCall and Edward G. Robinson (love them all) where a hurricane turns the tables on some gangsters who are holding a Florida hotel hostage.
The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946)

Another great Bogart and BaCall.  This one is based on a classic Raymond Chandler LA noir novel.  If you haven’t seen a Bogart and BaCall try this one.  I will warn you the plot gets fairly twisted; but a lot of people like that.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

A comedy of manners starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.   Jimmy Stewart earned his only Oscar with this performance.  That’s enough for me.

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

This is an absolutely gorgeous black and white film which is like watching a child’s nightmare. Robert Mitchum’s a creepy, preacher-clad murderer stalking and hunting two siblings until he meets Lillian Gish’s wonderful character in a false prophet verses true prophet showdown. There are so many beautiful and memorable images in this film which makes excellent use of light and shadow.

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca (1942)

This is just plain classic.  It’s so well made and acted in every area.  It has a great cast (even the smallest characters) including Peter Lorre, a favorite of mine.  I only wish he had more screen time.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Love it.  It’s Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart!  See it any time of the year.
Charlie Chaplin's City Lights

Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931)

This silent is hilarious and touching and spectacularly smooth flowing.  This is not only my favorite black and white movie by my favorite movie of all. Chaplin was the master.  Also, the final scene is easily one of the best scenes ever fillmed.  Again, see my earlier posts (See These Movies, An Eloquent Silence).

Time builds tradition

December 2, 2008
Originally posted at http://nostalgicbmy.blogspot.com
I love Christmas. It is a season when the masses move into a collective and unified emotion of nostalgia, joy and hope. Christmas is old and we embrace its great age for it is filled with tradition, and time builds tradition.


Most, if not all, of what we enjoy during the Christmas season comes from older and ancient generations. The holiday, after all, is the celebration of a glorious event that first occurred over two thousand years ago. Its best and most characteristically Christmas practices have a lengthy history dating back many generations. Think of caroling, it is a basic and strictly Christmas tradition. It’s an old tradition, so much so that many dress in period clothing to carol. We are indebted to the culture of past celebrators of Christmas for this joyous and festive practice that so many continue to enjoy today. I say we are indebted because I cannot see the modern generation creating and enjoying the tradition of caroling if we had not inherited it. It is the product of a vastly different culture.

I am not sure today’s generation would move on their own to write and compose Christmas carols, banding together to walk in the chill air from house to house singing their songs to each of their neighbors. If the this generation were to start such a tradition it would be vastly different, probably consisting of overly secular pop and rock songs to be sung at concerts through microphones and speakers.

What I love about Christmas is the way such a large portion of the population embraces the old. For this season peoples’ favorites in film and music become more classic. People suddenly desire to watch black-and-white, they want to hear Sinatra, Crosby and Nat King Cole.

In this modern times nostalgia we create blends of present and past. We each have our own visions for the perfect Christmas home and it generally blends classic decorations and traditions with modern convinces and trends. Homes are decorated in lights as they have been for generations but new technologies make them more ornate and glamorous. Indoors rooms once lit by electricity and bulbs are now lit by candle flame. DVDs with video of crackling fireplaces matched with Christmas carols enter homes to be played and viewed on the television. Why go through such lengths to put a fire in the living room? Because this is Christmas and that’s the way it was in the old days.


Engulfed by classic film

May 15, 2008

The other night I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite movies, American Graffiti, in theaters. (For a brief description see the earlier post ‘See These Movies.’)  It was amazing!  Most of my favorite movies are older movies and many of them I regret not having the opportunity to experience them in theaters when they first came out.  Thanks to the American Film Institute I was able to remedy that for one of the films on my small list of films I most wished to see in theater.

            American Graffiti had been on that list because of the completeness of the nostalgic atmosphere created by the film.  It is easy to become lost in the era when watching the movie, and I always felt it would be even more complete if seen in a dark theater with a large screen and engulfing sound where everything and the only thing you experience for those two hours is that film.

            I was right!  Those familiar with the movie know the impact and greatness of the almost none stop soundtrack.  Also, the sounds of all the cars were amazing and exciting.  One of my favorite elements of the film is filming of the street and cruising at night (the movie take place almost entirely at night).  The shining cars, street lights, neon lights, headlights and reflections all clash and blend beautifully in the dark of night when the streets were most full of life.  And all this is even more beautiful and spectacular on the big screen, in the dark room.

            Something I was curious about before seeing the movie that night was how being so familiar with the film would affect the experience of seeing it in a theater.  Fortunately, knowing the lines before they were spoken only added to the anticipation, excitement and enjoyment of the film.  It was also great to see the film with the crowd that showed up.  They were all movie fans and particularly of American Graffiti.  American Graffiti is the kind of movie that gets better the more you see it and it was clear most of the audience was well acquainted with it and were enjoying it deeply. 


Soaring into the Night

April 22, 2008

 

Today the United States Air Force will retire its stealth attack fighter the F-117 Night Hawk.  It was secretly developed at Skunk Works over 30 years ago and was the first stealth fighter built (it was designed without right angles).  It proved incredibly valuable and effective.  It saw action in Panama, Serbia and Iraq.

            I can still remember the news broadcasts of the Gulf War.  When young I was into aviation and military history so when my dad found the news coverage of the bombings in Iraq he called me to watch.  It was in night vision green and all around the Iraqis were firing blindly into the dark night.  The news reporter there was explaining that they were being bombed from the air but “There [were] no planes in the air.”  The enemy was in complete confusion.  The Night Hawks were sending their missiles down the ventilation holes and elevator shafts of enemy bunkers.  It was impressive and we were not even sure what it was!

              The Night Hawk will be retired as quietly as it was developed (it’s still highly classified and only those there at it development will be allowed to attend the retirement).  After its retirement the Night Hawks will be taken to a top secret base in Nevada (as reported by the Los Angeles Times). 

            Its retirement is coming with the deployment of the new F-22 Raptor with uses the most modern stealth technology. 

            The Night Hawk has been impressive in its service to the United States and it will be a bit of a shame to see it go.  It is a great example of the creation and innovation that naturally stem from competition.  Seeing the article in the paper reminded me of what I enjoyed about aviation and military history.  It also saddened me a bit to know that the F-117 would no longer be soaring the dark skies unseen.


Think for Yourself

April 21, 2008

The other night I saw Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  The film is a documentary about the battle between Darwinist evolution and intelligent design.  It is less about proving or disproving evolution or intelligent design and more about the active and aggressive suppression of ideas taking place in the ranks of science and education.

            As a journalist I have noticed this trend as it has occurred in the media.  Scientific theories used to be just that, but today if a theory is repeated enough it becomes unchallengeable fact.  And that is how Darwinist feel about evolution and having those feelings they find no fault in oppressing those studying other possibilities.  Scientists have been repeating Darwinism constantly and shushing anything else and the media has been allowing it.

            Stein’s film is refreshing in that it allows and values the freedom of independent thought and of the expression of ideas.  The fact is that the origin of life is still a very live discussion in which there is no one who has any solid idea.  In fact, when the Darwinists are pressed to clearly state an idea they often turned to aliens.

            Where the film triumphs is in its look at the social effects of the debate and the theories being so adamantly stood for and against.  One place this takes the film is in a discussion of the role of Darwinism, evolution and natural selection in the Holocaust and euthanasia.  The film is interesting and worth seeing if only to get a look at a legitimate theory that the people in power are not letting you see.