Time warp

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I have some comments regarding Scott Weaver’s interesting article about Monticello [“Monticello shows ‘green’ is old news”] in the Development News section of the January 15-21 issue. Actually, I was wondering if he was pulling our leg when he wrote, “…TJ switched out standard candles for argon and whale oil candles…”  Or, possibly his source was pulling his leg. Argon was not discovered (identified, actually) until 1894. It was the first of the noble gasses to be discovered and it is impossible for candles (of the usual type) to be made of it. It doesn’t burn, for one thing. Certain modern electric light bulbs do contain it, however. There is one type of flash gun, actually called an argon candle, by the way. Also, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a whale oil candle, although whale oil lamps were quite popular at one time and the ancient Chinese made whale fat candles.
 
David Y. Miller
Nellysford

Straight and narrow

When I picked up C-VILLE last week and saw the insert titled “Unions,” I naively thought that it was so named in order to represent romantic commitment on the most capacious terms. But I looked in vain for any mention or depiction of gay and lesbian commitment services. I think that in our fair city, which prides itself on its overall progressivism, there is interest (a “market,” to use commercial terms) in gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies, occasions which have become an increasingly regular part of the social calendar for many of us over the past 10 years or so. I’m straight and happily married for 14 years, yet I found this a conspicuous oversight in this location, in this day and age.

Jalane Schmidt
Charlottesville

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