New Page for Crystal Bridges

Another of Alice Walton’s acquisitions for her Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville has been made public: Dennis Miller Bunker’s 1887 “Portrait of Anne Page,” now on exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, which reopened last week after a $6 million renovation. The work is the latest in a series of portraits in the Crystal Bridges collection revealed by the museum, which is otherwise playing its cards close to its chest in advance of the museum’s 2009 opening.

Walton paid nearly $3.6 million for the painting December 2004 at auction in New York.

Bunker was a member of the “Boston School” of American painters and the first impressionist painter in New England (though “Anne Page” is not an impressionist work), according to the Grove Dictionary of Art. He died at 29 of the flu, which may explain why his name is not as familiar as that of his teacher, William Merritt Chase.

Too late for Judge Griffen

A task force of the Arkansas Judicial Council is working on changes in the rules that guide the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

In January, the Arkansas Bar Association’s House of Delegates endorsed the changes and the task force’s recommendations are now being considered by the state’s judges. They were to express support or opposition by last Friday. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter. Some lawyers have complained that the process has dragged on too long and wonder whether the process has been stretched out to avoid conflict with the pending discipline proceeding against Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen. A Judicial Discipline hearing panel has concluded that there’s probable cause to believe he violated rules by public comments on such matters as racial discrimination and the performance of the Bush administration.

Under the existing rules, the same group of commission members that found probable cause against Griffen will sit in trial of the charges against him. Can they be impartial under the circumstances?

Such a conflict wouldn’t arise under the proposed rules. They specify that investigative panels of commissioners would conduct the initial review of allegations against judges “without the knowledge or involvement of the commission whose members shall serve as the hearing panel and conduct the formal proceedings to inquire into charges against a judge.” The staff of the commission, which has pressed for Griffen’s punishment, told the Bar Association it opposed this change.

Nuclear pickles

Thank goodness for the Mississippi Delta. It’s given us Doe’s steaks. It’s given us tamales. Arkansas was quick to replicate these food finds. But what about this new one?

The New York Times reported last week on the huge popularity of dill pickles cured in Kool-Aid. They’re sold in convenience stores at nearly every Mississippi Delta crossroads and they’re wildly popular with school kids, who often sell them at neighborhood stands and school fund-raisers.

Curing a dill pickle in Kool-Aid produces a sweet-sour delight, apparently, and the recipes are jealously guarded. The process also produces a pickle of scary hue, from the radioactive red pickle used to illustrate the New York Times food section article to a blue hue never seen in any part of the natural universe. Our question for readers is this: Has the Kool-Aid pickle negotiated the passage across the wide Mississippi River? Is it being sold in Arkansas? Inquiring minds want to know. (One Arkansas Blog reader has already reported an Arkansas variation of some years back: A gallon jar of dill pickle chips marinated in a bottle of Tabasco and five pounds of sugar.)


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