Art Is Not Immune

Sad news:  a well-known London art fair, the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair, is closing down after 75 years, and the poor economy is bearing part of the blame.   Although some optimists see the closure as a chance to develop a new, better fair at a better location, I always hate to see the closure of any venue — particularly a well-established one — that permit the appreciation and acquisition of art by the general public.  

Still, it shouldn’t be surprising that art sales have suffered along with the economy.  Paintings and sculpture are a classic form of discretionary purchase, and discretionary purchases are the first to be forgone when times turn tough.

Journalistic Ethics (II)

The recent story about the Washington Post “salon” where attendees could have an off-the-record meeting with Obama Administration officials and other assorted movers and shakers is pretty amazing. The reaction of the Post‘s publisher, as reported in this Politico entry, suggests that the publisher may not fully understand the issue that has attracted all of the comment. Whenever a newspaper begins to focus on “business practices” and “new and promising lines of business” that do not involve journalism, the journalism is going to be compromised in some sense. If the Post begins doing business with other entities, much less trading on its name to sell access to politicians, its journalistic ethics are going to be viewed by many in the public as compromised. If the Post gets into a for-profit business deal, what are the chances that it is going to publish a devastating expose of its business partner or new business venture?

The Post should follow my old journalism professor’s rule, and just not take what can’t be consumed in one sitting. Long-term business deals, and $25,000 admission “salons,” would not pass muster under that rule.


This article reports on the fascinating recent discovery of a dinosaur fossil with preserved soft tissue sufficient to demonstrate the structure of dinosaur skin.  The  finding gives experts a bit more information about how dinosaurs really looked.   This kind of story reflects the wonderful inquisitiveness of scientists.  We obviously don’t need to know exactly how dinosaurs looked, but it sure would be interesting to discover more data about that topic. 

I confess to being a bit sorry that, as the article indicates, the skin structure evidence cuts against the recent theory that dinosaurs had feathers.  My mental image of feathered dinosaurs had been the “Tyrannasaurus Rex chasing the jeep” scene from Jurassic Park — except that that terrifying T Rex was festooned with brightly colored feathers, like some ancient Aztec chieftain.