The Citadelle Museum, Canadian, Texas

My folks and I drove two hours each way to go to a little art museum in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. This was the second attempt. The first time, we didn’t know the museum was closed for Christmas and New Years. Then we tried to go before school started and the weather intervened (8″ of snow on narrow, winding roads.) The third time was the charm. We got to see the Rembrandt etchings.

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A What to Society?

What had been a mild mental fog thickened into a cloud of confusion over our heads and the commencement speaker continued, saying, “You have been granted a special gift. You were allowed to go to college instead of working, or raising children. Never forget this. You owe a debt to society, one you must pay back, a dept to the community that let you go to college.”

The woman sitting beside me didn’t just bristle, she dang near turned into a cross between a porcupine and an echidna. She’d worked a part-time job off campus, plus an on-campus work-study, plus earning two scholarships in order to go through school. I think I might have heard something about “I don’ owe society nothin’.” Continue reading

Apprenticeships and Arts

How long does it take to become a master at an art or a craft? Most of us have heard or read about the proverbial 10,000 hours of proper practice, or the first million words needed to learn to write well. Who has time for that now? And why bother? One of my ongoing grumbles about “fine art”, and the trades and crafts, since the 1940s centers on the idea that it’s better not to spend so much time learning the fine, finicky skills of one’s chosen trade and just get on with it. Representational art is dead, it’s only for the unwashed masses (the lowbrow, the deplorable, the “booboisee”). Architecture must break rules, push the limits, remake the world and the people who use the building or public space. Continue reading

Large Dogs, Small Alma

I prefer medium-sized and larger dogs to the small ones. My experiences with smaller dogs is that they tend to be a little high-strung and aggressive, and are all-too-often not trained properly, leading to things like the chihuahua that would chase kids off the sidewalk and into traffic, or the thing that attacked me as I was walking a few years ago. (The owner stood in her doorway and pleaded, “Dog! Stop, dog. Bad dog!” It grabbed at my pant leg and only the tight weave saved me from a bite on my lower calf. I was not amused.) Most of the larger dogs I’ve encountered have at least been better trained, or confined behind a suitable fence, or both. Continue reading