Thursday, February 12, 2004

Princely sum blog.

We've entered some kind of winter stasis. No snow recently, no dives into subzero abysses, but no rises much above freezing or meltage either. The roads and sidewalks are dry and clear, but the yards are under at least eight inches of snow, accumulated inch by inch over the last few weeks. According to a map published in the Tribune a few days ago -- and the Tribune has a great daily weather page, as jammed with useless stats as a sports page -- more than half the surface area of the contiguous 48 states are covered by snow.

Add the snowy parts of Canada and Alaska and that's one big snow field. And there's another one too, all the way from Norway to the Bering Strait, but not even the Trib weather page is that detailed.

Hard to believe that the spring thaw is, say, 60 or 90 days away for most of the snow field. It will be fine to see the return of greenery and the gradual lengthening of the days. But all I really want from spring is a slow melting of the snow. No rain on snow, which would test the sump pump here in the new house too strenuously.

I have another thought about ticket-price inflation, which came up on Monday. Some years ago I was in the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald’s here in Chicago, which is an otherwise ordinary McDonald's decked out like a Hard Rock Cafe, and I made a close study of one of the posters on the wall. It advertised one of Elvis Presley's gigs, somewhere in the South, sometime early in his career -- 1956, I think. Tickets: $3.50.

I think of that when I read or hear about insane ticket prices for pop singers. Elvis got $3.50. No pop singer should charge more than Elvis in his prime. I mean, he's the King, after all. Of course, I'm not so simple-minded as to confuse the nominal value of money with its purchasing power, so that nominal figure has to be adjusted to convert 1956 dollars into current dollars. As it happens, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis' Website has an inflation calculator that will do exactly such a conversion.

$3.50 (1956) = $23.65 (2003). Round up a little, and that tells us the maximum price for a pop concert: $24. Paul McCartney can take his $200 tickets and... well, not that I would pay any money to see him, but that's an example.

Just me blowing smoke rings. I know the market doesn't work that way. Still, I enjoy the rings.


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