The Ponderosa Stomp (Music, May 11th issue) was the most memorable music event of my life. The festival honors the unsung heroes of the blues, soul, rockabilly, swamp pop, and New Orleans rhythm and blues while they are still alive. More than 80 acts were densely packed into three nights on three stages at the Gibson Guitar Factory. William Bell, Eddie Bo, and Clarence "Frogman" Henry gave stellar performances. Archie Bell did the "Tighten Up"; James Burton performed the original "Suzy Q." Not just a history lesson, the energy and excitement of the Stomp pulled me into a celebration of American roots music at its finest. I will never forget it.
I'm no economist, but I did take classes in economics at Northwestern University and the U of M, and I learned enough to be offered admission to M.B.A. programs at U of M and UT-Knoxville. With that in mind, I found Marty Aussenberg's take on "Econ 101" (Viewpoint, May 11th issue) hilarious!
Price, as I was taught, is in theory a variable determined by the intersection of the supply and demand curves. This is, of course, inherently upsetting to progressives, who desire price to be a fixed value determined by the People's Needs and Big Brother's dictates.
The reality of price in America's somewhat free market, somewhat capitalist economy is that it is set at the total cost of producing a product plus a profit margin. If the profit margin does not compete with what is available in other investment opportunities, then most publicly owned businesses will end up in bankruptcy (e.g., certain airlines).
Think of a loaf of bread, which costs $1 to make. The baker sells it for $1.10. Then, a drought kills most of the wheat crop, which causes those greedy, capitalist wheat farmers, brokers, and flour-makers to raise their prices until the loaf of bread costs $2 to make. In my "weird" world, a real baker would sell that loaf for about $2.20.
In Aussenberg's world, that baker would sell the bread for, at most, $2.10 and preferably $1.15. Which explains why if we lived in his world, just as in the former USSR and today's North Korea, there is very little bread to be found at any price.
Herbert E. Kook Jr.
Unlike Arthur Prince and Mark LaRocco (Letters, May 11th issue), I was happy to see Wendi C. Thomas return to Memphis and The Commercial Appeal. She is usually an interesting read, and she makes you think.
I don't always see eye-to-eye with what Wendi writes, but there are times when she is right on target. In any case, she is always articulate, intelligent, and passionate about her subject.
As Americans, we are guaranteed the right to state our opinions. Wendi has the right to state her case in her columns, just as we Memphians have the right to write letters to the newspaper to disagree with her opinion or her column.
The poster used to advertise the Strokes on page 35 of your May 11th issue is artwork by Kelly Freas, with the artist's name removed. Anyone familiar with the golden age of San Francisco poster art should recognize the work.
In Freas' book, The Art of Science Fiction, he says the work was done originally to illustrate Who?, a story by Algis Budrys. It was reprinted several years later by another publisher, which is the version reproduced in the Flyer. Freas died in 2005. I wonder who owns the rights to this art.
John T. Dulaney
Not a Herenton Fan?
Mayor Herenton does not want to give any pay increases to the people who pick up our trash and to the people who protect our city (police and firefighters). He says that this will save approximately $3.8 million per year.
Meanwhile, the mayor has more than 300 people in "paid appointed" positions, in direct violation of the City Charter, which allows for 104 such positions. How much, exactly, are those extra 200 positions costing the city every year? Is that annual cost larger than the $3.8 million that he does not want to provide to the city employees?
If the mayor is so concerned about the city's finances, then he needs to answer these questions and provide justification for each "paid appointed" position over limit per the City Charter.