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March 01, 2017


Not a whole lot to say about that, but something to watch out for are outfits that inform you you've been "selected" to participate in an exhibition, and then charge a fairly hefty fee. Someone I know, naively flattered, fell for that.

Oh, always wanted to know a pastellist!

These questions about the worth and utility of designations pertain to many fields. I wonder, if buying a painting from someone deemed a "Master" reassures a client? or is it used as an alternative to having to assemble a jury for each exhibition?

The competency models that qualify persons for professional designations are about the words, not the music. I have developed some; in the business world they are kind of an insurance policy for the recruiters, but they do not mean much in terms of quality of work.

I don't care at all if an artist has letters after their names but that us a lovely painting you are working on. My sister is a scratchboard artist and belongs to a group where you rise to levels depending on exhibitions.

Didn't you know? My full designation (omitting my middle name which I dislike) is Roderick Robinson GCE4½. Celebrating the fact that in my final school examination, aged 15, I passed in four subjects: Eng. lang, Eng. lit, Maths and Art. The ½ says (compressedly) I failed the written German exam but managed to squeeze through the German oral exam. The results were published in September and would hardly have enhanced my chances in any job interview. Luckily I had interviewed earlier and got the job (as teaboy at the local newspaper). The rest, they say, is history which happens to be one of several other subjects I failed in. As you may have noticed I wear my ignorance proudly.

40-50 hours of training to become a "Master Gardener" in the U.S. A noble endeavor that includes volunteer work and stresses that the title is not a credential, but the title seems a little over-blown. Probably a good recruiting tool though. I'm BS, but it's usually pretty clear to people w/o seeing it in print.

We've seen a recent push to receive a nationally recognized board's certification as teachers, and some of the better teachers I know have done it. I occasionally consider going through the rather arduous process, and that consideration usually leads me to the thought that I'm "just passing through," as we used to say. I also hate looking at what I've done. Part of that dissatisfaction is good; I'm certainly forward-looking. I'm also conscious that my clientele -- my students -- don't care at all about board certification. They primarily want to know if I like them and their writing. All these may be excuses.

But I've been attracted to the notion of guilds and more deliberate apprenticeship, a notion that seems even more out of place in the American culture and economy than it was when I was younger. I think my attraction to it comes out of the relationships that develop. I've had two significant mentors, one in my legal practice and one in my "spiritual life" -- maybe less pretentious and more accurate to simply say "life" -- and few things have been as profound and as affirming as those relationships.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.