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This Week

Play On!

Louis Roney

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Orlando’s building of an arts center costing some $383 million arouses interesting thoughts in one who has performed in some 11 countries. A concert hall is a sizable venue where various artistic organizations have a decorous and well-equipped place to “do their thing.” The fact that two local major performing arts organizations have gone belly up is lamentable, for both the Orlando Opera Company and Festival of Orchestras would have been natural fits for the sumptuous new hall. One wonders if a city would build a football stadium without teams to play in it. Certainly Orlando, in compliance with long-standing instructions on the subject, would use public performance buildings primarily to serve local performing arts organizations and only secondarily to be at the disposal of commercial ventures imported from, for example, New York. If I’m not mistaken, the intent of the Bob Carr updating some years ago was publicized as renovation for “local arts organizations,” while many in the public said it was done to accommodate Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera.” Didn’t local arts producers often have dates “shot down” by the power of commercial ventures that used the hall to profit producers far from Orlando?

Reference value

I was recently telephoned and asked to produce a “character reference” by a person I know only from several chance meetings. Politely, I refused to produce the reference requested, explaining that, on the basis of cursory acquaintance, she could be a person of the highest character — or someone quite the opposite. Giving references that turn out wrong erases the value of the giver in future instances where he might be of valid help. People often make incorrect evaluations of other people even when they have adequate time — the divorce courts are full of these people.

Presidential change

In what ways has Obama “changed” America?

  1. Housing values have dropped sharply and are still declining.

  2. Obama promised unemployment would go no higher that 8 percent if he “got his stimulus bill.” Instead, we blew billions on his bill and unemployment has increased markedly.

  3. Obama stalls and stammers whenever he is asked if we should still be in Afghanistan, and Guantanamo is still open.

  4. Our economic recovery is nonexistent.

  5. Our national debt is climbing. Obama is accumulating debt at triple the rate of George W. Bush.

  6. Obama seems to “smile upon” with tax breaks a lot of those companies and unions that support his views.

Are you happy about your country?

George Washington promoted religious freedom in our new country. He sponsored the “Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island,” whose leader, Moses Seixas, wrote, in 1790: “Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem. We reflect on those days of difficulty, and danger, when the God of Israel… shielded your head in the day of battle — and we rejoice to think that the same Spirit… rests and ever will rest upon you as you discharge the arduous duties of Chief Magistrate in these States. ”

Our country has always provided a home for free religious beliefs. The “truth” of George Washington’s simple parable of a boy and the cherry tree has inspired American kids through the generations.

Who is Roney?

Harvard’42—Distinguished Prof, Em.—UCF

2004 Fla. Alliance for the Arts award

(Assisted by beautiful wife Joy Roney)