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

Politics and the Arts Czar

January 22, 2009

Receiving my latest edition of the American String Teachers Association newsletter, a headline read that a cabinet-level post for Arts and Humanities was gaining momentum. It pointed to an article in the Washington Post about the urge for this minister of culture and the potential for it with the ushering of a new president.

If there’s a theme I keep seeing, it’s simply put by Alex Ross’ blog (http://www.therestisnoise.com):

…art and politics have never mixed well on American soil. Anyone who favors a “Secretary of Culture” ought to read up on the political firestorm that consumed the WPA arts projects in the late 1930s. But symbolic gestures — recitals at the White House, attendance at concerts, and so forth — can send a strong signal.

Seeing some parallels? Economy of the ’30s. Economy of the… ’00s (I guess?) We know how well music and the arts did in the former, how will it do today?

I am hopeful of an administration that will support the arts, and advancing culture boosts good society (you’ve played Civilization 3 on PC, right?), all bolstered by the wonderful sight of John Williams’ piece for the inauguration, Air and Simple Gifts ushering in the new administration. The diversity (yikes, the D-word) of the performers was a good statement. This feels like a hopeful beginning to a more watchful eye for this side of culture.

Politics or not, Arts Secretary or not…

What do you see for the distant future?

Modern day warriors

July 28, 2008

Ever think about those firefights in World War II, revisited by films and film series such as Saving Private Ryan and HBO’s Band of Brothers? Wonder no more. You can read the Wikipedia account all you want, but you need to hear it straight from the soldiers’ recount of the Battle of Wanat:

Soldiers recount deadly attack on Afghanistan outpost | Stars and Stripes

The unfortunate reality is that I didn’t even hear about this when it happened two weeks ago. Optimistically, I hope this isn’t the case, but it’s too easy to glance over the headlines as they roll into our homepage and inboxes day in and out. If people could only hear the stories straight from our troops…

For what it’s worth, the recount of their experience getting bombarded with bullets and RPGs like no other, is described like a film, horrifyingly like the scenes in movies. It’s difficult to imagine pulling that strength to fortify your position on a patrol while your comrades are dropping left and right, and still doing your job. Another hat tip to the concept of redirecting oneself in order to do what you need for the people you care. These soldiers stationed on the other side of the world hold their ground to protect their establishment overseas, and in turn, our establishment here at home. If respect can’t be shown for these men and women over there, then that’s a problem.

ht: HarmonicMiner.com

Message from the people

June 13, 2008

Wow. A very interesting view on the focus of our presidential candidates, but more so, on very tangible issues plaguing the daily lives of our citizens (aka=gas prices?). Worth a view:

“Joe American” Challenges the Presidential Candidates