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).

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Extraordinary feats shuts up the smack

August 11, 2008

Did you miss what happened with the 4×100 Men’s Swimming Relay last night? Miss what happened with the American team? Miss the hype surrounding the opposing French team?

I don’t have words. Watch it.


HOLY MOLYmpics…

August 9, 2008

Politics aside, 08-08-08 was quite a remarkable night. About the population in China, I just have to say: they are a determined people. It’s mentioned that the Games bring people together, aside from the obvious reality of it, it really does. Just thinking about the fact that the largest number of attending heads of state convened under one room. In China. The initial number I heard on NBC, something like 48? No. Over 100. In China. No consider that fact only thirty years ago.

Can you remember thinking through the opening ceremony, “Oh, sweet hydraulic system.” Because that’s probably when they all popped up from the tops and waved at you right? I’ll assume you understood that if you watched it.

One part did bring a tear to my eye. The 56 children representing their specific ethnic subgroups of China carrying in their national flag. boy, they are adorable before age 10.

Then there was the Tai Chi section they exhibited within the opening ceremony. They’re good. They are good. It’s great to see a nation and a people yearning to become more hopeful than has been seen in the last century. To see an exhibition of artful, spectacular display of pride in the human potential.

Oh, and here’s to seeing another ridiculous commercial involving a stampede of sumos conglomerating into a fleshy flight vessel or dragon-breath-induced-heated-water-pipes-for-your-outdoor-hot-tub-in-China.


Tectonically Tickled

July 29, 2008

Well, since everybody on the blogosphere is doing it,… 🙂

San Andreas Fault - LA on the Pacific Plate and SF on the North American Plate, sliding towards each other.

San Andreas Fault - LA on the Pacific Plate and SF on the North American Plate, sliding towards each other.

As a native Southern Californian in the face of a 5.4 quake, like most of the throng of people working here at APU, we just normally sit tight and let it run its course. But this time, I really did take all those years of elementary school training and settled under the desk. The office bungalows we were in really took a nice shake so it was hard to say in the moment if it would be a lot worse than it actually was today.

What raced through my mind was all the news articles that talk about Los Angeles being dried of an earthquake for so long that the next one would be significant:

“Geologists say an earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years.”

“Today’s reminder is that the big quake is yet to come. It’s going 7.9 to 8.1 on the San Andreas Fault in the next decade,” Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith told reporters.”

When the Northridge Quake hit in 1994, some of the staff members here remember the bungalow splitting apart at the seam where two units attached. Tell me that wouldn’t be weird, suddenly seeing daylight in the middle of your office complex.

So crawl under those desks, run to those doorposts, watch for those aftershocks, and have a nice day!


Ernie Pyle: “War makes strange giant creatures out of us little routine men who inhabit the earth.”

April 10, 2008

 

 

 

 

I wanted to share a bit about a ‘hero’ of mine (for lack of better words).  I am a student of journalism and love the work and character of Ernie Pyle.  Ernie Pyle was a journalist most influential in his coverage of the front lines of World War II. 

            Pyle started as a roving reporter traveling and writing to his readers sharing his experiences abroad.  Pyle was also an aviation reporter in the early days of flight.

            The reason Pyle was so loved by his readers was the personal approach he took in his reporting and interviewing.  He was soft spoken and a great listener and his interviewees very easily opened up to him.  In his personal style of writing he set his readers in the same place and experience he was witnessing himself.  His vivid, intimate reporting style found its highest purpose in war corresponding. 

            With the war taking place overseas many families were sending their sons, brothers and husbands to far away places and wanted to feel connected to them.  Pyle provided that connection. 

            Pyle’s reporting was more intimate and more focused on the daily lives of the troops than it was on the victories, movements and generals.  He would often comment on the strangeness of war.  Those back in the U.S. needed that connection to their loved ones.

            While reporting on the war Pyle lived and traveled with the troops on the front lines.  Pyle and the troops developed a affectionate relationship.

            Reporting on the front lines has its risks and after doing tours in Italy, Africa and all over Europe Pyle went on to report on the war in the Pacific and was killed by a Japanese machinegun bullet that went through his helmet.  At the time of his death, Pyle was so loved by the American public that it is felt by many that his death overshadowed the death of President Roosevelt just six days before.

            You must read his work.  Here are some samples:

           

                                   “This One is Captian Waskow”

                                   “A Dreadful Masterpiece”

                                   “The God-Damned Infantry”

 

 


Favre Retires: Football will never be the same

March 7, 2008

The inevitable has happened; Brett Favre has retired.  We knew it would one day happen but could not dream of the day it would.  I remember at final game of last season watching Favre getting emotion on the sidelines as the commentators in the box speculated his retirement.  I have to admit I too believed it and was getting a bit emotional myself.  Then he returned for this 2007 season, and what a season!

            For me Favre is the epitome of everything that is good and true football.  He was a17 year veteran who played like a kid at a schoolyard.  I loved that when on the field he could do the seemingly impossible.  Classic Favre meant throwing off his back foot, throwing or shoveling while completely wrapped by defender and sending the ball into the tiniest of holes and the greatest of distances.  I loved to watch football because he loved to play it and he was made to play it

            He has also become a legend in his own time with John Madden singing his praises and stories of his feats spreading across the nation.  One of my favorites is when I heard that Favre’s strenght in throwing the football breaks the fingers of rookie wide-receivers at training camp.  I also like the one that goes: You know you’re in Green Bay when 95 percent of women and 78 percent of men

admit they would cheat on their spouse for Brett Favre.  What are your favorites? 

            I loved watching Favre play and it was perfect that he played for a good olde team like the Packers.  It had always been a dream and goal of mine to go the Green Bay and see Brett Favre and the Packers play at Lambeau Field in the winter.  Sadly, I have lost the chance to realize that dream, but I am grateful for what I did have.  What of Favre I did have the chance to experience.  I was always amazed when watching a game being played at Green Bay they would show live footage of the downtown at game time and there would not even be a stray dog.  My hope is that he remains in football as coach, commentator, something.

  Some of his records:

Most Associated Press MVP awards-3

Most seasons w/30+ touchdown passes-8

Most consecutive 3000yd passing seasons-16

Most consecutive playoff games w/ touchdown pass-18

Most career games w/ at least 3 touchdown passes-63

Most regular-season wins by starting quarterback-160

Most consecutive starts by quarterback-253

Most interceptions thrown-288

Most passing touchdowns-442

Most pass completions-5,377

Most pass attempts-8,758

Most career passing yards-61,655


Anxious anticipation

February 28, 2008

American automotive enthusiasts and especially Chevy enthusiasts are living exciting and anxious times.  For five years we have been without the Camaro, without Chevy Muscle.  It has been trying times.  But in recent years we have seen glimmers of hope: MUSCLE IS BACK! 

            Almost since the Camaro’s discontinuation in 2002 there has been speculation, rumors and prayers for its return.  When the Camaro was discontinued it was vastly out performing everything in its class and price range.  It was a hard loss.  

            Then Chevy lifted our spirits when they announced their intention to revive the Camaro and revealed its concept which blew everyone away.  That all seems so long ago.  We have been anxiously waiting for years.  We have seen the car and our mouths are watering, our hearts are yearning and people have begun saving for the day it arrives at the dealers.  There is even a countdown to the beginning of production of the Camaros.  As the time draws nearer the more anxious I get. 

            This whole thing reminds me of the stories I have heard about the secrecy and pride in the unveiling of the original classic cars such as when Chevy unveiled its new design and engine (the small-block that changed the world) in 1955.  It set a date, closed the curtains of the showroom and kept the cars covered until that date.  The car was highly anticipated and it proved well worth it.

            This new Camaro is now also highly anticipated and it appears it will be well worth the wait.  In the midst of the anticipation every enthusiast is scrounging for any and all information, photographs and videos of the testing models of the car.  Magazines and web sites have spies searching and chasing its development.  Citizens are reporting sightings.  And now magazines are calling for the citizens to keep their eyes pealed in search of an opportunity to photograph the Camaro (if you have the opportunity be sure to take those photos).  Some of the latest photos came when someone one the street spotted a Camaro in camouflage being transported on the back of a diesel.  It was on its way north to Alaska for cold weather testing (from what I heard).

            Recently official photos have been released (without the camouflage) to provide a better look.  It is gorgeous in white. Check out this link

            Part of the speculation surrounding the Camaro is: why is it taking so long to go into production.  Part of the answer is that it is a completely new car (unlike the new Mustang or Challenger which are built upon previously existing designs).  Also, its performance is being vigorously tested and tuned.  Also, Chevy is working to keep the Camaro in the hands the everyday people and your average car guy.  An example of this is that they are working to get a five star safety rating in  order to keep insurance costs down.

            As the wait continues we must remember that when the first Camaro came out in 1967 it was three years after most of the other muscle cars hit the streets (the 4-4-2, the GTO and the Mustang), and still was able to astonish and compete.