Hot Air

Endless (Season Of) Love

Are you sick of Xmas yet? I am.

And guess what: it’s a full three weeks away. Yeesh.

Anyway, I’m reading The Eve of Destruction, a history of the year 1965 written by former Indiana University professor James T. Patterson. It’s a recount of the year historians now generally believe to be the watershed moment when this holy land began transforming itself from a somewhat benign, caring, liberal society to an aggressive, acquisitive, soulless one.

One line in the book’s intro caught my eye:

… President Lyndon B. Johnson turned on the lights of the National Christmas Tree on the evening of December 18, 1964….

Did you catch that? December 18th. A mere week before Christmas. If one is to assume the official starting date of the Christmas season is when the huge tree in front of the White House is turned on, then that season lasted a sane-sounding seven days 50 years ago.

LBJ 1964

LBJ Celebrates Christmas With Kids In 1964

Now, Christmas starts well before Thanksgiving, wrapped up with the late fall feast in something now referred to as The Holidays. And it ain’t the lighting of the National Christmas Tree that is our ritual cue to start shopping and baking. We used to wish for a White Christmas. Now we wrestle for an overnight place in line on Black Friday more than a month before the day itself.

So yeah, I’m sick of Xmas already.

This year’s National Tree Lighting ceremony? Tomorrow night.

Interstate Art

Carisa Whittall used to run the Jerseyana Gallery in Nashville and was a proud sponsor of community radio WFHB. Business was lousy in our next-door burgh, though, so Carisa moved lock, stock, and barrel to New Jersey where she now lives.

Jerseyana

Whittall (L) At The May Re-Opening Of Jerseyana Gallery

Her operation still is called Jerseyana Gallery and, with her biz partner, she peddles  art, including local works, online. How about if we let her tell her own story:

Initially, I focused on showing Indiana artists, contemporary or non-traditional Nashville artists in an art salon environment who didn’t have space in local galleries. We sold art, and the furnishings, decor and books. But we didn’t sell much. Nashville is a tough market now unless you’re selling beer, food or inexpensive souvenirs — then it’s a great market!

We sell directly to designers, and stagers in the interior design/home remodeling business in the New Jersey and New York City area. We’ve opened our virtual store and our ebay store to sell directly to collectors and people who love beautiful, quality art, antiques and artisan goods.

We still source in Indiana — my business partner lives in Bloomington. We go back to B-town to visit family, and it’s a good excuse to get out to Brown County couple times a year too!

Internet sales are going well and we are looking forward to exhibiting art in a couple of locations in New Jersey and, hopefully, New York City in the new year.

Patricia Rhoden is our featured artist. Designers love her work and I am looking forward to a great show for her in Millburn, New Jersey.

I continue to sell a lot of Indiana artists — listed, up and coming and flat-out dead. My favorite is Joni T. Johnson. I just love her work. She is underrated and undervalued but people are buying it here; they were not in Nashville.

Too bad, huh? In any case, cop some of her goods online, just to show her we Hoosiers can appreciate a spot or two of art now and again.

Another Hero

I’ve long been a fan of a brilliant, strong, tough, determined, athletic young woman named Émilie du Châtelet. She’s been dead for 265 years now but were she alive today, she’d still be the role model girls and young women around the world would look up to. Compared to her Oprah’s a slacker, Sheryl Sandberg‘s unambitious, and Hillary Clinton’s just a backroom pol.

du Chatelet

A Real Woman

Born Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, she was one of the greatest figures of the Age of Enlightenment. A mathematician, physicist, translator, champion fencer, dancer, and harpsichordist, she was fluent in French, Latin, Greek, Italian, and German and was the first woman to have a scientific paper published by the French Académie Des Sciences.

Want more? Sure:

  • She researched the science of fire and proposed the existence of infrared radiation
  • She wrote one of the first basic, accessible physics, general science, and philosophy books
  • Through experiments and developing mathematical formulas, she helped develop the idea of kinetic energy
  • She publicly argued with philosopher John Locke in favor of the principle of universal truths as opposed to the Lockian subjective perceptions
  • She created what can be described as the first financial derivative, purchasing the future earnings of independent tax collectors
  • She argued vociferously for women’s education, especially calling for access to France’s colleges
  • She was a biblical scholar and she wrote on happiness, free will, optics, and rational linguistics
  • The crowning achievement of her life was her translation of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica into French

Nearly two centuries after she’d developed the classical mechanics formula, E ∝ mv2, indicating the proportionality between energy, mass, and velocity, Albert Einstein acknowledged her finding as a basis for his iconic E = mc2, the foundation of his special theory of relativity.

Three plays and one opera have been written about her life.

And just to show she wasn’t all work and no play, Émilie was  a well-known gambler and card-player.

She lived with and collaborated with Voltaire for much of her adult life.

She was, in short, one of the first feminists. With the likes of Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, why is feminism such a dirty word?.

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