Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Seventeen point four BILLION! So, our president, in his infinite wisdom has agreed to an emergency LOAN (hack, hack, cough, cough) to GM & Chrysler to bail them out. This fries my cookies. Where were the Feds when I wasn’t making any money selling tubas? Jeez, two hundred grand would have been plenty for me. I was buying a Christmas tree last Saturday and this topic came up. The guy was blaming the Auto Union. He said, “These guys are making $78 an hour. THEY (the union) sunk the automobile industry.” Whoa! My lawyer charges me $450 an hour. A shrink will cost you $300 a session. Hell, a decent massage will cost you a hundred bucks. Let’s say he’s right and most autoworkers will make $78 an hour. This totals about $162K a year. Figure a 30% tax bracket. This brings this down the yearly salary to $113K. If the average home in the US were about $250K the payments would be $2,500 a month, that’s ABOUT 25% of the monthly income. Right about where it SHOULD be for a decent standard of living. Even if he (the tree guy) WAS right, what about the guys with the seven- and EIGHT-figure salaries? Aren’t THEY the individuals who decide on what to build? Aren’t THEY the ones who decide what the American car buyer wants? Aren’t THEY the ones who design the autos? Aren’t THEY responsible for marketing? Unfortunately, the tree guy isn’t alone. My Dad (a STAUNCH Republican) feels exactly the same. I would guess many (if not all) Republicans would feel the same, or find the Union Men (AND WOMEN) to blame. Hey, how about building a car I would buy? My wife’s last FOUR cars were not American cars. The last American car I bought was in 1984 and had it for 3 years. Since then, I’ll buy well-crafted, German engineering, thank you. Except for my brother’s Vette, his family has been buying Nissans since they were Datsuns. Except for a few Saturns, I don’t know if anyone I know owns an American car. I see a lot of Japanese cars and a few Volvos. I have no faith in the American Automobile industry and it has NOTHING to do with the men & women who actually BUILD the vehicles. It’s the pencil pushers and the bean counters.
So, Mister President, when is this loan due and what interest are they paying? How come you can give them $17.4 BILLION, and I haven’t gotten my “Economic Stimulus” check yet.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Christmas music. What is it about Christmas music? I LOVE Christmas music. With both my Wind Ensembles, my brass band and tuba ensemble, we just did a Christmas Extravaganza. Something about those familiar tunes that just gets me in the Christmas spirit.
It could be my first chamber music experience. In 6th grade, I played a Christmas concert (At Kellum Street Elementary School) and on the concert, I played my white plastic Conn sousaphone with both the brass ensemble AND the woodwind ensemble. I loved standing out in front of the curtain with a small group of my friends playing those songs; Let it Snow, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, O Christmas Tree. When I got older (High School), I put together a group of my band friends and went around to the convalescent homes and played Christmas Carols for the people who couldn’t get out. We even played a parade once and won first prize for special music.
When I moved to San Jose in 1982, I had to put on a Tuba Christmas, later changed to Christmas Tubafest®. Over the years, hundreds of people have said to me, “Christmas season doesn’t start until I hear Tony’s tubas.” God, I miss that.
Maybe because at Christmas time, people are more kind to each other, generous with their time and hard earned resources. Even when Valley Fair is so crowded, I seem to get more smiles from people during this time of year. Why is it only this time of year? Imagine what our world would be like if we were that kind & generous all year long.
My tuba friends came over this morning to play tuba quartets. What did we play for 2 ½ hours? Christmas Music! Thanks, guys!
I love Christmas Music. What about you?