Grammar Peeve: $ dollars

OK, this just bugs me because it is so obvious.

$ is a symbol meaning “dollar(s).”

“Dollars” is a word meaning “dollars.”

Use just one, not both, or we get redundancy.

I just ran into the problem in Art News online:

HERE’S HOW PETER LIK PRICED THAT $6.5 M. PHOTOGRAPH

BY Dan Duray POSTED 02/23/15

“…Peter ultimately came back and said that the $6.5, $2.4, and $1.1. million dollars was how he wanted to set up the pricing structure.”

Do they have a copy editor?

Cheap gas!

I bought my first car in 1969. It was a 1958 Volkswagen bug. Extremely basic. No radio. Slow heater. And no gas gauge (you kicked in a reserve tank with a lever on the floor!).

As I recall, the normal gas price back then hovered around 33 cents/gallon. Using an online inflation calculator, nowadays that would be $2.06/gallon — just about where we are now.

During the oil embargo of 1973 the price jumped to 50 cents/gallon, or around $2.20 for today.

And around 1980 the price hit a dollar per gallon, or about $2.80 per gallon in today’s money.

So, gas is back to the price from 45 years ago. Fill ‘er up!

Net Neutrality 1876

I’ve had the book The Growth of the American Republic (volume two) by Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager  (1962) for a long time and I just recently began reading it to increase my knowledge of second half of 19th century USA history.

In relation to the growth of railroads and trusts after the Civil War, the Supreme Court ruled on the ability to regulate interstate commerce. I was struck by the following quote from a Court decision as it relates to the current issue of Net Neutrality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality), and thinking about how we should regard the internet as a public utility:

When private property is affected with a public interest it ceases to be juris privati only… Property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make it of public consequence, and affect the community at large. When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. (Munn v Illinois 1876)

By the way, this 50 year old book is pretty interesting, well-written, obviously with a liberal lean.

 

 

PAM: Good Shows/Dismal View

I finally got to the Portland Art Museum to see In Passionate Pursuit–The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy and Blue Sky–The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40.  These are very important exhibitions, both for the quality of work presented and for the great contextual information for those who haven’t been living in the Portland area for several decades.

But while the works were great to see, I was disappointed.

Both shows look gloomy. Example number one:

 PAM SNTZ

What is the point of the tan walls for the Schnitzer exhibition? This gallery always feels stuffy and keeping the walls medium dark just makes it worse.

And for Blue Sky, the walls are gray.

PAM BSKY

While my friend Chris Rauschenberg says that you should avoid bright white walls because, by contrast, they can make your white mats seem dingy, the gray here keeps the whole show from being bright.

When I went up to the contemporary northwest galleries, I saw bright spaces that let the exuberance of the works speak.

PAM PNW

Spaces don’t need to be museumey. Let the work breathe.

John Cage on what Art does

I recently came upon these quotes from interviews with John Cage in Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp. To me these anecdotes could be very useful when someone asks, “What is art for?”

“In the case of Duchamp, I was at this exhibition of Dada, and his work acted in such a way that my attention was drawn to the light switch on the wall, away from–not away, but among–the works of art. So that the light switch seemed to be as attention-deserving as the works of art. In the case of [Mark] Tobey I left the gallery and went to catch a bus on Madison Avenue when it still ran both ways, and I happened to look at the pavement, and–literally–the pavement was as beautiful as the Tobey, hmm? So the experience of looking at Tobey was instructive about looking at the pavement.”

“Art is said to be involved with ideas–relationships–and also with a certain sensuality. It appeals to the sense of looking. When you look, your mind goes into a state of finding relationships. Your heart goes into the field of the emotions. In Germanic thought these are supposed to come together. There’s supposed to be some sort of marriage–of form and content. When you find that… that it’s “satisfying”–another word frequently used in the arts – when it’s satisfying you get stuck! So that the art seems to be an end in itself.”

Blue Sky 1980

Blue Sky Gallery is almost 40, and there’s a big show at the Portland Art Museum celebrating that.

Thirty-four years ago Blue Sky had it’s first BIG birthday celebration.

Scan

Back when Blue Sky Gallery turned 5, I wrote an essay for the celebratory exhibition catalog.BSCAT 1980

Recently, prompted by a Facebook post by Alberta Mayo, I was rummaging through my Blue Sky file, and I came upon the transcription of an interview that I taped on April 30, 1980 with some of the Blue Sky board. I was writing for Willamette Week and at the time the arts and entertainment section was called Fresh Weekly. So “FW” is Fresh Weekly. I don’t seem to have a published version of this. Here is is the direct transcript from the tape, done on my manual typewriter—Blue Sky thinking from almost 35 years ago.

BSKY INTERVIEW BSKY INTERVIEW 1BSKY INTERVIEW 2BSKY INTERVIEW 3BSKY INTERVIEW 4BSKY INTERVIEW 5BSKY INTERVIEW 6BSKY INTERVIEW 7BSKY INTERVIEW 8BSKY INTERVIEW 9BSKY INTERVIEW 10BSKY INTERVIEW 11BSKY INTERVIEW 12BSKY INTERVIEW 13

BSKY INTERVIEW 14

BSKY INTERVIEW 15BSKY INTERVIEW 16BSKY INTERVIEW 17BSKY INTERVIEW 18BSKY INTERVIEW 19BSKY INTERVIEW 20BSKY INTERVIEW 21BSKY INTERVIEW 22

BSKY INTERVIEW 23 BSKY INTERVIEW 24 BSKY INTERVIEW 25 BSKY INTERVIEW 26 BSKY INTERVIEW 27BSKY INTERVIEW 28BSKY INTERVIEW 29BSKY INTERVIEW 30BSKY INTERVIEW 31BSKY INTERVIEW 32BSKY INTERVIEW 33

BSKY INTERVIEW 34Scan 2

Minimum Wage vs. Tuition

When I began at Portland State College in fall term 1967 (Portland State became a University in 1968), I was working part-time as a stock clerk at Leed’s shoe store in downtown Portland. I was paid the federal minimum wage, $1.40 per hour. (There was no state minimum wage then.)

Tuition for my first year at Portland State was $123 per term. So I had to work 88 hours to pay my tuition.

Nowadays, federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. PSU tuition is $1740 per term.

A student working at the federal minimum wage would need to work 240 hours to pay for a term’s tuition. Luckily, if they live in Oregon the minimum wage is $9.10 per hour, so they only need to work 191 hours.

But wait! When I was a student, $123 covered tuition for 12 credits or more per term. I often took 16-18 credits per term for $123! (Or more in later years, but still, tuition was based on a fee for 12 credits or more. I think you could take up to 19 credits without special permission.)

Sixteen to eighteen credits at PSU now costs $2,320-2,610, so that would be 255-287 hours.

If Oregon minimum wage were keyed to state university tuition, then the minimum wage should be $19.77–so that 88 hours of work would pay for tuition, like in the good old days.