Thursday, April 30, 2009

HM's 10th Birthday

Happy 10th Birthday, Your Majesty.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Marvin Parker Memorial Garden IV

Link to article in today's KC Star featuring the Marvin Parker Memorial Garden

No pictures to share, yet, but my onions have been joined by green bell peppers, one heirloom tomato and 4 Roma tomatoes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Julia Fischer Recital: Martinu and Prokofiev + Beethoven and Mozart

The new crop of violin virtuosi, such as the subject of this review and Stefan Jackiw naming two examples, have received less mainstream media attention than some the new crop of piano masters. Frankly, the two violinists mentioned are, to me, more substantial musicians, providing penetrating, dramatic, musical and technically brilliant performances of a wide repertoire. They do more than just play the standard repertoire faster and louder than anyone else.

As noted, I consider Juila Fischer an exception to the trend of technique over music. Her recital last night was a well considered program of high spirited familiar works coupled with two shattering sonatas written in the shadow of the devastation of WWII. Trust me, she and her brilliant accompanist Milana Chernyavska have technique aplenty. But they use it to communicate, not so demonstrate.

The superbly conceived program began with the lyrical C Major Violin Sonata K. 296 by Mozart, followed by Prokofiev's dramatic Sonata # 1 in f minor op 80. The second half consisted of the bubbly Beethoven Sonata # 8 op. 30 # 3 and concluded with the powerful and seldom heard Martinu Sonata # 3 H 303 from 1944.

Mozart's Sonata was still a child of the era when a duo sonata was dominated by the keyboard with the solo more of an obbligato part. Pianist Chernyavska took advantage of the elaborate keyboard part and turned in an incisive but always lyrical performance. Fischer was somewhat in the background but her technique and musicianship dialogued well with the piano. This was a somewhat romantic (yet never affected or artificial) Mozart performance as I generally like them; gently lyrical when needed, as in the lullaby-like Andante and bouncy and fleet in the outer movements.

The Prokofiev could not have been cast from a more different mold. Dark, brooding and flowing with the Russian soul (Chernyavska was outstanding in this regard), the performance left the audience breathless. The tension throughout the piece, one of Prokofiev's darker and more violent works, was at the breaking point; I would have excused anyone who audibly broke down. Fischer negotiated the muted "freddo" or "cold" passages in the 1st and 4th movements perfectly, creating the windy, ghostly effect Prokofiev desired. Chernyavska's masterful pedal work kept the tricky triplet 16th notes in the andante shimmering but clearly distinct, some of the most incredible piano work I have ever heard. By the end of this shattering piece, Fischer's tone slipped a bit, but still left the audience in that rarely achieved state of total silence at the end of a piece, as their physical presence caught up with the emotions of the performance. Simply outstanding.

After a well deserved intermission, the brisk and graceful Beethoven also lightened the mood somewhat. If the Mozart was romantic, then the Beethoven was wonderfully classical and crisp. The dance like last movement threatened to break out into a wine fueled Octoberfest bringing the work to a buoyant conclusion.

As in the first half, the second work hailed from the concluding years of WWII. The Martinu 3rd, more romantic and lyrical than expected from this somewhat coldly classical composer, had more in common with Rachmaninoff (the opening piano passage could have been written by Sergei himself) than Stravinsky. Tinged with nostalgia and Slavic inspired melody, Fischer soared over the dense yet clearly articulated accompaniment. One could hear the ghosts of WWII, exile and hope for an end to conflict in the wistful adagio. The fleet, dancing scherzo was another demonstration of the rapport between Fischer and Chernyavska. The nostalgia for a lost world continued in the final movement with its jazz influenced second theme symbolizing hope for a brighter future.

I got to attend this recital at the last minute, due to a friend not being able to use his tickets. As it is so many times, it is the unplanned events that turn out to be most special. This was a concert to savor and remember.

Note to myself and readers, make a point of hearing Fischer when you can.. and also the equally superb Milana Chernyavska.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Marvin Parker Memorial Garden III

The garden is growing well. The tender new sprouts have flourished with the abundant rain and the return of warm, sunny afternoons. Fastsigns made a great banner for the garden, publicly marking it as the Marvin Parker Memorial Community Garden.

As you can see, several plots have new vegetables sprouting. Mostly the early plantings such as beets, cabbage and such.

Over at my little plot, the onions are sprouting:

Not the 150 or so I planted, some seem to have returned to the earth from whence they came. I should have a few of them come time to harvest. I bought some peppers and a couple of tomatoes, a nice big Heirloom red and 4 Romas. Romas are wonderful little tomatoes and quite expensive at the stores.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Knew It

From the "I told you so" department: as I earlier reported, I did not write my check out to the IRS as they instructed. I wrote the amount as $89.00/100 not the $89.00 as they asked. This was done and mailed on 4/14. Today, when checking my online bank statement, I noted it had been cashed and had cleared my bank on 4/20.

I somehow knew a little thing like that would not stop them or slow them at all!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What I am Listening to Today

A rainy, cool AM has me ensconced in my bedroom listening to some delightful music of which I have only recently become acquainted. The 2 Symphonies of Italian composer Giuseppe Martucci.

Born in 1856, Martucci had a formidable career as a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He toured extensively, championed Wagner and other German composers in Italy, and was the teacher of the much more famous Ottorino Respighi. Strangely, he was not, as were the vast majority of Italian composers of his generation, a composer of operas. He did produce some colorful and quite interesting orchestral works, including two large scale symphonies. Both are infused with the style of Schumann and Brahms, but also laced with the irrepressible Italian lyricism, making them less "heavy" and "turgid" than Brahms for sure.

Two excellent recordings exist. The earliest is the Kees Bakels Malaysian Philharmonic recording of the two symphonies on BIS 1255, the recording I am listening to now. Naxos has begun a series with the Rome Symphony under Francesco La Vecchia performing not only the symphonies but other orchestral works as well. I plan on sampling those later. Which ever you choose, delightful, interesting, lyrical and often powerful compositions await.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Bagging Republicans

And of course all the gay boys and sex perverts just love the concept of a "tea bagging" Republican. If you have to ask, then you'll miss the whole point..

Having said that, I just wish I knew what has caused these teabaggers to boil over. I see basically see insanity, paranoia, hypocrisy, sour grapes and me me me. None of the tea party hosts provides details as to what spending should be cut. But of course we all know they want to cut "welfare", "pork", any Democrat initiative and anything not good for them. For God sakes do not cut their Medicare or Social Security. They scream about the banking and auto industry mess and forget who caused it. As with the spending cuts, I haven't heard a single viable alternative to the bank and auto bailouts. All I see is a bunch of angry, misinformed people brandishing slogans that don't reflect reality or even make much sense

Anger is not policy.

Fox News, Corporate Sponsor of these "parties", has been featuring and encouraging these "grassroots" events for the past two weeks. Ok..where were the teabaggers when Bush was throwing tax dollars and lives away in Iraq? Where were they when Bush was sinisterly using Americans' tax dollars for secret torture and domestic surveillance? Where were they when the deficit soared to pay for this folly?

Label these "parties" for what they really are, right wing extremists taking hypocrisy to new heights.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Coupl'a Things XVI

1) Tax Day. Wrote my measly checks out to the state and feds. One thing, about the only thing, I learned from my father was that you don't manipulate your taxes to get a big refund. Don't give the government all your money and let them use it and not give you the interest, he preached. So I get as close as I can get. $89 to the feds and a whopping $9 to the State of MO. Gotta finesse a bit to get maybe a few bucks back next year. When Maria turned 21, I lost her as a deduction so that caused the deficit.

I love the tax instructions. It even prescribes how you are to write out your check. The amount is to be written as $XXX.XX NOT as $XXX.-- or as I do $XXX.00/100. I did it the latter way by habit, and I bet you anything they will cash it.

2) Happy Birthday yesterday Daniel. You didn't call me back...grumpy pants. I love the Siffl and Olly stuff.. that is a hoot. Read Daniel's blog Save Continue.

3) Going to check out the garden today as the sun is shining and it is supposed to be a bit warmer. I hope to see lots of little onions sticking out of the ground. Gave some onion bulbs to Gina when I was last there, I was sick of the damn things. She asked when do you know they are ready. The package was no help as it said "harvest when mature". So I checked and when the stalks begin to droop over and before they seed. That was not much more help... so we'll wait and see!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ham-fisted Glitches

The blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the cyber world is abuzz about what is happening at one of the world's biggest online retailers,

Seems back in February, some authors of gay and lesbian themed books found their "sales rankings" dropped and their work tagged as "adult". Classic gay fiction (hardly pornographic at all) such as "Brokeback Mountain", "Giovanni's Room", "The Mayor of Castro Street" and reference books such as "The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students", "Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families, and Friends" and "The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience". People were wondering what was up?? These are not "adult" books, full of sex, violence and rock and roll. Strangely, books against homosexuality such as the light hearted "Speechless: Silencing the Christians: How Liberals and Homosexual Activists are Outlawing Christianity (and Judaism) to Force Their Sexual Agenda on America". That book kept its ranking.

The deal with the sales ranking is more than just points on a scale, it helps determine how books are presented in a search. If you search for "homosexuality" the "Speechless.." book would appear first before "Taking a Chance on God". In a sense, a form of censorship.

With more twists and turns than a mountain goat path, the story just would not end. When confronted, Amazon has released a bewildering number of "explanations":

1) Likely a form response from an hourly paid call center employee sent to an author inquiring as to why the rank had been dropped on his book: "In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude “adult” material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature."

2) Then the now infamous "glitch" scenario: “There was a glitch in our systems and it’s being fixed,” Amazon’s director of corporate communications reported on Sunday.

3) Then conspiracy theories opined that fundies and anti-gay activists were trying to censor using an Amazon feature that lets people "flag" books for content or review. This seemed plausible to some since the books "fagged' were usually pro-gay, yet anti-gay books were untouched. Besides, the war waged against gays and lesbians here in the US can get pretty ugly.

4) So.... then a hacker, supposedly well known to Amazon and others, comes forth and claims responsibility. The hacker, known as Weev, says that the whole episode his exploitation of a vulnerability in Amazon's product-rating tools. Some others have tried his published code and it did not work, thus some wonder if this is BS too.

5) Almost simultaneously, Amazon said it was not a glitch, really. A lesbian writer contacted an Amazon representative and reported: "Basically he said that amazon has been experimenting with the way they dole out content specifically so that people who are searching Harry Potter or whatever won’t run into links to products that might be offensive.". The Amazon rep said that no human was responsible and that they tweak these things constantly. He was sure it would be corrected.

So for how they are sticking to that story, a "ham-fisted cataloging error", has replaced "glitch".

This whole clusterfuck demonstrates several truths about American society. Our information is not safe from hackers, errors and such, despite assurances from companies, computer experts and even the US Government. IT spotlighted that much distrust remains in the gay/lesbian community towards businesses, government and our "enemies". One thing, still not explained, how come this ham-fisted glitch only affected gay/lesbian titles and those on reproductive health?? See... we are paranoid... and with good reason. It showed, again, the power of bloggers, twitters, Facebookers and other "alternative" media and networks to move and shape news.

I wonder what the real story is????

Monday, April 13, 2009



uʍop ǝpısdn ɹo 'pooƃ ǝɹɐ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı puɐ

˙ʞɔɐןq ƃuıɹɐǝʍ ǝɹoɯ ou 'suɯʎɥ puɐ sɯǝɥʇuɐ ʎǝʞ ɹouıɯ ǝɹoɯ ou 'sɹǝʍoןɟ ɟo sʇoן 'ɔısnɯ ɟo sʇoן 'ɥɔɹnɥɔ ʇɐǝɹƃ 'unɟ sɐʍ ɹǝʇsɐǝ

˙ɹǝuǝǝɹƃ ƃuıuɹnʇ sı pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ ˙ssɐɹƃ puɐ sʇuɐןd ƃuıʍoɹƃ ɟo sʇoן ʇnq 'spnoןɔ ɟo sʇoן 'uıɐɹ ɟo sʇoן ˙ǝɹǝɥ punoɹɐ ʎɐp sʍǝu ʍoןs ɐ uǝǝq sɐɥ ʇı

Friday, April 10, 2009

Redeeming a Culinary Nightmare

Salisbury Steak. The very name synonymous with the culinary hell of TV dinners, school cafeterias and cheap, "family" dinners found in the frozen food section. But have you ever made real Salisbury Steak? It is actually quite good if you make a good gravy and use lean, fresh hamburger.

The Salisbury Steak was actually invented by a man named Salisbury, an American physician and nutritionist from the mid 1800's. He believed fruits and vegetables created toxins and advocated a diet of chopped beef and coffee. While his ideas have been found to be wanting in many respects, his legacy lives on in the form of his steak.

I found this recipe in an old cookbook on casseroles and skillet dinners. Sounds like something worth trying. And wouldn't it be fun to shock your guests and tell them you are making Salisbury Steak for dinner?


1.5 lbs ground beef (get the good stuff, don't be cheap)
1 10 oz can of condensed French Onion soup (think Campbell's makes it) (divided use)
1/2 cup dry plain bread crumbs
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs dried onion flakes (or a couple tbs of finely chopped fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

1 tbs oil
1/4 cup flour


1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Remainder of onion soup


2 Cups mashed potatoes
2 tbs butter
Parmesan cheese

Mix beef, 1/4 cup of the soup (reserve remainder of soup) and rest of ingredients for the patties. Shape into 6 oval patties. Brush skillet with the oil and dredge the patties in the flour. Brown both sides over medium heat. Remove patties and arrange in a 9X13 baking pan. Drain off most of the fat from the skillet, reserving a scant 1/4 tsp or so. Mix gravy ingredients and remainder of soup in the skillet and heat through until begins to thicken, de-glazing the skillet. Pour gravy over patties and cover with foil. Bake in 350deg oven for 25 min, turn patties over, recover and bake an additional 20 min.

Remove cover and drop spoonfuls of the potatoes around the edges of the baking pan. Brush potatoes with butter and sprinkle with paprika and cheese. Bake an additional 15min uncovered until potatoes are nicely browned and steaks are fully cooked.

Never had these in a cafeteria!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Making A Change

It took just a few minutes, but it was a lovely ceremony and quite well done. A gold embossed card made it official:

This is to certify that Donald E. Clark has been received into full membership of Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ at Kansas City, Missouri on the 5th day of April in the year 2009. D. Scott Howell (Pastor)

You see, this is a monumental change for me, and I am not sure if I have really absorbed the whole idea yet. I have been involved in a church for most of my adult life. Those churches have always been of the United Methodist denomination (UMC). I was born into the UMC, married in it, reared my kids in it, have a daughter going to a Methodist university. Since my arrival in Kansas City in 1996, I have been a loyal and loving member of Trinity UMC (TUMC), a place where I have laughed until I cried, cried until I could shed no more tears and met some of the most incredible people on earth. Until yesterday.

Things change. As Reagan said about the Democrats, "I did not leave them, they left me.", thus I feel the same about TUMC. It left me. The members, for various reasons, began to drift away. Old traditions got swept away as "new management" tried to take the church in a different direction. Once upon a time, the pastor announced that a few people were needed to help move some furniture for a homebound member. 30 people showed up. Today, that many may be the whole attendance at a service. There is a forced atmosphere of "are we having fun???? ...yet" during worship or church functions. The main topic.... "where has so and so gone?" as another member drifts away.

TUMC used to be a daring church. We thumbed our nose at the UMC, constantly urging us to conform to their mainstream, right leaning ways. We welcomed gays and lesbians; one pastor dared to do a commitment ceremony for two men, but soon after another did not and thus the collapse of TUMC began. A bunch of us went to the UMC General Conference in 2000 to protest against the exclusion of gays and lesbians. Those that went with me....they are all gone now. I could go on.

As I began to explore, I remembered some friends who had been hurt and humiliated by the UMC and TUMC leadership so I visited them at their church, Country Club Congregational UCC (CCCUCC). Here is a church that is proudly progressive, focused on justice, open to ALL, not governed by a big mother church that wants all its outlets to rubber stamp their vision and not subject to trials and sanctions from a bishop or other inflated church "leaders". A church that dares, out in the community, great music, good location... I kind of like it.

So I took the step. This, my first full day of not being a United Methodist, may be much like any other frankly. I have to work, take the dog out, probably go to 303 for Monday hamburgers, annoy Will... but inside, I feel a shift. A good one.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kansas City Symphony: Ax Plays Brahms

It is a pleasure watching and hearing renowned pianist Emanuel Ax perform. No mannerisms, no banging and clanging, no extremes of tempi and mood; just solid, musical and thrilling performances. As something, not fully explained, went haywire with the previously announced selection, the world premiere of Steven Hartke's Piano Concerto, Ax and Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern elected to give us one of the pillars of the piano concerto repertoire, the Brahms D-minor, # 1.

I have annoyed many of my fellow music lovers by stating that I tend to avoid Brahms as I find many of his works heavy and sometimes tedious. But the D-minor is a grand, demanding and powerful work and I give it a listen now and then. Ax provided a suitable grand and powerful performance. The energy of the orchestra did flag a bit in the massive 1st movement, but only a bit and certainly not enough to ruin the movement at all. Credit goes to Stern for carefully shaping and executing Brahms' difficult to balance orchestration. The melancholy second was lyrical, frequently meditative (especially the orchestral introduction taking on the guise of a simple chorale-prayer) and flowing, Ax neatly integrating the piano into the fabric but at the same time keeping it in the forefront.

Ax launched into the dramatic finale, plunging ahead with power and grace to the shattering climax of mighty octave chords, echoed by the orchestra. Here again, the orchestra showed it was lagging in energy a bit, the shattering effect of this grand climax just a tad off and un-synchronized. The solo's many trills and runs were always clear, the grand chords powerful but never banging and thus with a few minor misses, this was a grand performance. The audience repeatedly showed its appreciation.

The second half was devoted to the well known Beethoven Symphony # 6, the Pastoral. Stern led Beethoven through a leisurely stroll through the woods, enjoying the fresh country air recreated through some wonderful wind work and delightful bird call imitations. The brook they came upon was hardly a roaring stream but a gently flowing one. The peasants of the village they happened upon danced merrily and rustically, and if the sudden storm hardly warranted a warning from the National Weather Service, it certainly made its presence known. The wind and thunder soon abated with a wonderfully executed diminuendo and the peasants celebrated with a songful prayer of quiet ecstasy.

As mentioned above, the KCS winds outdid themselves with some delicate and always spot on work as is required in this wind instrument dominated work. Well done.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Q and A

Q: What is legal in Des Moines and Sioux City but not in San Francisco or San Diego?

A: Gay Marriage

Congratulations Iowa. Thank you Iowa Supreme Court.

.... and note to right wing Republican nuts: If it were not for judicial activism, we'd still be a segregated society.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Marvin Parker Memorial Garden II

The garden continues to take shape. An early dose of spring has been replaced with a dose of late winter, but that has not impeded progress in setting out early vegetables and getting the soil prepared for planting.

Since this picture was taken a couple other plots have been worked. Mine is the stringed off one right behind the raised, covered bed. To lazy to look for my plot map, but someone was sure ambitious, not sure who. You can't tell, but the front 1/2 of mine (to the north, or right of the page) is planted with onion bulbs. I noted in a quick visit this AM that I have a few onions beginning to peek out of the soil. I am sure some warm weather will spur a few more to start to sprout.

The raised area in back of the garden (top of the picture) is where the okra will go, it flourished there last year and hope it does so this year as well.

Here is another overview:

Despite the cool weather, we have had plenty of moisture, some quickly melting snow and a few good steady rains. I have fertilized and worked the already rich soil, thus expectations are high for a good crop this year.

Thanks to Greg for the pictures (and the whole idea and land for the garden too!)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

RIP: Guiding Light

Today, CBS Television announced that the "Guiding Light", the longest running continuous soap opera and likely the longest running story ever in broadcast history, will air its final episode on September 18.

If you are a soap opera fan, or like me, remember your stay at home mother watching them as a kid, you know how significant that this loss is.

"Guiding Light" is nothing short of an American institution. The show began broadcasting in 1937, on the NBC Radio Network, produced and sponsored by Procter & Gamble, thus the term "soap opera" was coined. It focused on the town of "Four Points" and the lives of a congregation led by the Reverend Ruthledge. In 1948, the show moved to CBS Radio, and the focus changed to the Bauer Family, led by Frederick "Papa" Bauer, and focusing on the lives of his children, Bill, Trudy, and Meta.

In 1952, CBS brought the show to television. It aired for 15 minutes each day from 11:45-12 Noon, sharing the half hour time slot with "Search For Tomorrow" which aired from 11:30-11:45 PM (CST). This tidy arrangement lasted until 1968, when both shows were expanded to 30 minutes each. I remember coming home from school for lunch and the shows would be on. The Channel 3 noon news followed and then I had to walk the few blocks back to school.

For its first 50 years or so "Guiding Light" chronicled the triumphs and tragedies of the Bauer family. Papa Bauer, an immigrant from Germany, (and endeared to millions of fans through a touching portrayal by the late Theo Goetz), was always there to offer advice to his drama prone family. Meta was a colorful character who has a racy life and caused much grief for the family, until she fell in love and married Dr. Bruce Banning. Papa's son, Bill, was married to Bertha (Bert). Bill was an alcoholic, and Bert was his spoiled, materialistic wife. Trudy, the third child, was never mentioned again once the show hit television.

From 1952-1956, the show was double broadcast on both radio and TV. The radio show was on in the morning, broadcast live of course. Then the cast would take cabs arcoss Manhattan to be at Liederkrantz Hall, CBS's New York studios at the time, to do the TV broadcast, live at 11:45 PM.

Through the years, (and with the passing of Papa Bauer), Bert became the show's matriarch and sage. There were lots of great plots and twists through the years, too numerous to even begin to mention here.

The show declined in popularity in the 1970's because it was considered too "old fashioned" when compared with the newer, sexier "The Young and the Restless" show. In 1977, the show was expanded to a full hour, and new families and stories were integrated. Some new writers and a new focus, brought the show back to the top of the ratings. He created the Reardon and Cooper family sagas, and integrated them into the Bauer, Chamberlain, Marler, and Spaulding stories.

In the 1980's Kim Zimmer joined the show as diva Reva Shayne Lewis, who worked her way through the Lewis men, including patriarch oilman Harlan Billy (HB) Lewis. Her great love though was HB's son, Joshua. Many hope that characters such as these will be back together for the finale.

In the 1990's and early 2000's, the show hit major writing snags as did many soaps vying for a shrinking market as more women worked out of the home and cable TV wrestled with broadcast for viewers. For fans, the low point was the "Clone Reva" story.

The last revamping came right after the show's 70th Anniversary in 2007. Today's Guiding Light is taped with hand-held cameras, partially in outdoor locales in Northern New Jersey (being the proxy for the mythical midwestern town of Springfield). The Bauer saga is still a small part of the show, but the Lewises, Coopers and Spauldings now have the majority of the story.

Frankly, the"Guiding light" is a show whose time has come and gone. 72 years of entertaining, enthralling, selling soap is quite an accomplishment, when today shows are often judged and canned on their first episode.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mopar in Decline

About a year or so ago, Greg and I were talking cars as we sometimes do. "What do you think will happen to Chrysler?", he asked. Chrysler was just divorced from its often rocky marriage with Daimler-Benz taking on the amalgam of DaimlerChrysler. A host of once new and exciting models were getting long in the tooth. The 300 was getting the reputation of a ghetto cruiser, the PT Cruiser was little changed in 9 model years and no longer unique. Big Hemi engines, lauded by the auto press, were finding resistance as gas prices soared and recession began to creep in. Minivans were passé. Few could afford a big engined Viper. The truck line faced increased and formidable competition. "I think it will die", was my sad but realistic answer.

Chrysler had been down this path many times. In its entire history, the company seemed to bounce from high to low as if it were the epitome of bi-polar syndrome. The 1930s saw it battle the depression and stumble with the advanced but unsuccessful Airflow which stifled its creativity for two decades. The 1950s saw it hang on until fresh styling blew the cobs away in 1957, only to crash and burn over poor quality and a shifting market.

The 60's were golden years, but the 70's saw an almost fatal crash again as it was to late to react to shifting demand for small cars. Lee Iacocca became a legend and household name. The minivan saved its ass for a decade. The 90s saw Chrysler hang on, but as usual new designs hung around too long and soon became stale. The "Cab Forward" designs got as old as quickly as the fins of the 50's. The once # 3 best selling marque in the nation, Plymouth was laid to rest, victim of a fractured market. A new century boost with the marriage to Daimler brought the powerful 300, new minivans, the Viper and new Charger. But as the economy tanked, so did their sales.

Now, in 2009, we may have to imagine an automobile world with out the great and venerable name of Chrysler. The government is keeping it afloat with loans, but a proposed venture with Fiat looks worse than the Daimler one according to some analysts. If it confounded Daimler, how then can Fiat do it? Patience is running out. If the Fiat alliance/takeover fails, then it is bankruptcy and liquidation.

My family was long a Chrysler one. My dad would not be seen in anything less. I learned to drive in one, my first new car was a Chrysler and I have owned several of them. I can't afford a new car, but I am not even sure I would buy one today. If money was no object, I'd buy a new Lincoln MKS.

Chrysler has been through a lot, hung on and even prospered. We can only hope, but I for one hope the name hangs on for a long time. I would love to own a new one again.