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Mitla Restaurant Brings Classic Live Music Back to Route 66

Mitla Restaurant

By Anthony Garcia

Live music on Route 66 at The Mitla, one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in the Inland Empire going back to the “hey days” of Route 66, one of my favorite restaurant’s. Great food, great service, family oriented restaurants also something new is a great Sunday Brunch. Tom Penn, a local promoter has been promoting at the Mitla since 2007 along with co-owners of the restaurant Steve Oquindo and Michael Montano.

On Valentine’s Day, the feature artist was Dave Garfield, world class musician, keyboardist, music director for George Benson, Smokey Robinson, and Natalie Cole. Dave and I played in a group together called Caldera many years ago, which included local legend saxophone, Steve Tavaglione and Brazilian trombonist, Raul De Souza. I caught there second show, I had an early gig that night. To be quite honest they caught me off guard. Dave Garfield is one of the most creative musicians I’ve ever met or heard. I was expecting to hear a creative jazz performance, yet I was in no way disappointed. Dave Garfield and the Katz are one of the best dance bands I’ve heard in a very long time. Excellent repertoire, great band, high energy dance music, with a little help from some of the members of the Earth, Wind & Fire. Band Drummer John Perris, Horn Player, Gary Baez and vocalist Lamont Dozier whose father just got inducted to the Hollywood walk of fame.

Dave had great control of his band, great conducting by the master keyboardist. In the past they have promoted the e Banda Bros from the Poncho Sanchez Band bassist and drummer Ramon Banda and Tony Banda has their own Latin jazz band. Also on the show was the Delgado Bros Blues Band.

I’m impressed and proud of these three young business men and what they are planning for the future of live entertainment on Route 66. Speaking with Steve Oquindo and Michael Montano, I asked them how it felt to be co-owners of one the most popular successful authentic Mexican restaurants in the Inland Empire they both laughed and said that 50% of the time it’s cool. So if they both have 50% then it must be 100% cool. The two young men are cousins and are glad to keep the business in the family.

“Music is the Silence between notes, between rhythm and between the silences you’ll find music that tells a story, a musical story that never lies!!!! This is music that touches your heart!”

Whatever Happened to an Old-Fashioned Handshake?

Dr. James L. Snyder

Dr. James L. Snyder

By Dr. James L. Snyder

I must confess I do have some old-fashioned biases. I would be the first to admit I’m not up to date on the latest fad or trend.

I come from that era that believed the well-dressed man is one that doesn’t stand out from everybody else. I’ve tried to keep to that all these years. I certainly don’t want to stand out and have people recognize me or point their finger at me and whispered to each other.

For years, I’ve been very careful about that. Now, it seems that because I try to dress like a well-dressed man and not stand out I am in fact standing out. Nobody, except me and two other people, really care about being well-dressed.

This has never been an issue with me and it even now is not an issue. But reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the year before me, I have to take some calculations. According to my calculation, I no longer fit into that “well-dressed man” category, because the term “well-dressed man” does not mean what it used to mean.

I hate it when something outlasts its definition.

To be a well-dressed man today, according to the latest fads and trends I have noticed, I need to throw away my belt and let my trousers drop all the way down to my knees.

Let me go on record as saying, never in a million years will that happen.

Then there is the issue about a necktie. Am I the last person on planet earth wearing a necktie?

Very few people today know how to tie a necktie. Well, I do and I will until they put me in a casket and then I hope I’m still wearing a tie. So if you come to my funeral and look at me in the casket and I’m not wearing a tie, complain to someone for me.

The latest trends and fads have no interest to me whatsoever.

This came to my attention recently when I had to sign some legal papers for something to do with the church. I had to sign here, initial there, sign the next page, initial three pages and it went on and on until I ran out of ink.

I’m one of those old-fashioned guys that use a fountain pen and all that signing and initialing drained all of the ink out of my fountain pen. Before I finished, I was on the verge of carpal tunnel.

I sighed rather deeply, looked at the gentleman (I think he was a gentleman because he was dressed like a gentleman), and said kind of sarcastically, “Do you remember the old-fashioned handshake?”

He looked at me without smiling and then said, “Here are some more papers for you to sign.”

I thought I was signing my life away, but in reality, I was just signing my ink away.

I do remember when a handshake really meant something. Just about everything was sealed with a handshake and both parties were as good as their word. It would take a lot of undoing to undo that handshake. Now, you’re only as good as the word on a piece of paper over your signature. Then, some lawyer can finagle it around to mean something other than what you really meant it in the first place. So what’s the purpose of all this?

I know you’re not supposed to say this, but I will, I sure long for the good old days when a handshake was all you needed. I get tired of the rigmarole passing as business these days. I get tired of paperwork that’s piled higher than the tallest tree in the forest.

Of course, if we go back to that handshake scenario, it will put many lawyers out of business. What would these people do for a living? I have some ideas, but I’m going to keep that to myself.

Trust has gone out of our culture today because everybody is only after what they can get for themselves and they don’t care how they get it.

A handshake met something in “the day.” In fact, I believe it was more binding than all of the paperwork and signed documents and legalese we have today. It’s hard to sue a handshake!

What I want to know is simply this. When we replaced the good old-fashioned handshake with all of this legalese stuff, are we better off? Have we simplified everything and covered all of the bases?

The answer is a loud no.

A man’s word used to be his bond and something he would never go back on.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I have lived on that marital philosophy all of our married life. I know in the marriage ceremony there is no “handshake.” But the philosophy of that handshake is right there. When I said “I do,” and she responded by another “I do,” we were shaking hands and saying to everybody around us but particularly to one another, “We do.”

I think James shook the right hand when he wrote, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation” (James 5:12).

I’m all for getting back to the good old days when a handshake was all you needed.


Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net or website www.jamessnyderministries.com.

 

Free Associate’s Degree: A Solution, But Not the Solution

William E. Spriggs

William E. Spriggs

By William E. Spriggs

We should all congratulate President Barack Obama for pulling the education debate into the 21st century, or perhaps dragging it into the late 20th century, by proposing access to free education through at least an associate’s degree. But this merely restates the obvious.
As the White House documents supporting this policy point out, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as the economy transformed into the modern era, Americans embraced the call of Progressives to extend public education from 8th grade to 12th grade. New job skills were required in the age that brought about automobile, telephone and airplane manufacturing and new occupations like electrician, motion picture projectionist, X-ray technician, truck driver, bus driver and radio operator-jobs that could not have been imagined in 1880.

So, too, common sense dictates that a high school degree in a world of computer processors and cell telephone communications cannot meet the needs of a changing world where webpage designers, “app” writers and cybersecurity specialists are in high demand.

The president is simply asserting the obvious in extending free associate’s degrees as a democratic right. The price of the basic ticket to the game has changed. That means the full access to society has a new predicate.

Unfortunately, we live with a dysfunctional democracy where anti-democratic forces are strong. There are those who are fighting hard to limit voting rights instead of the American ideal to protect and strengthen those rights. So it isn’t surprising that voices are being raised to limit economic rights, and to instead rail against “government” extension of opportunity. Of course, the movie “Selma” reminds us that small minds have sought to limit opportunity in America for a long time.
But beyond the obvious need to redefine the right to a basic education in a world in which “basic” has clearly changed, the rest of the president’s case is short on the fuller problems and issues facing America.

First is the notion that the extension of the educational right is a solution to the sagging earnings of Americans. At the beginning of this century, in 2001, the median earnings of American men was $42,755, but in 2013 they had dropped to $39,602. This was despite an increase in the share of men with associate’s degrees from 7.5 percent to 9.1 percent and declines in the share of men with less education than an associate’s degree from 63.4 percent to 58.1 percent. It also came despite an increase for those holding bachelor’s degrees or higher from 29.0 percent to 32.8 percent.

So, despite increasing educational attainment, the income of men fell. More to the point, the income of men holding associate’s degrees fell from $51,144 to $42,176. More emphatically, the median earnings of men with bachelor’s degrees fell from $65,769 to $58,170.

Second is the argument that a better educated workforce will lead to a more productive workforce. This is clearly the case. Productivity of America’s workers increased from 2001 to 2013 by 27 percent. And increases in productivity are traditionally the source of increasing wages. But wages did not increase.

The president’s proposal deserves immediate support. But it must be supported in the framework of extending rights and opportunities that is the hallmark of America-the nation that always looks forward. And we must fight against those who want to take us backward.

Still, as the AFL-CIO’s recent National Summit on Raising Wages highlighted, the United States is facing a more fundamental structural problem that must be addressed. We have a better educated and more productive workforce, but a workforce that is getting paid less. Those lower wages are not the workings of the market or some economic necessity. Those lower wages are the result of clear choices to feed corporate coffers at the expense of an economy that functions for all. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, we must have policies that treat corporations as part of America, not above America.

We must commit ourselves to reinvest in America. Those who look backward will see costs; those who look forward see dividends.