Thursday, July 24, 2014

AlphabeThursday - the Letter J

I’ve just finished reading Book of Ages, a wonderful scholarly volume about the letters written between Jane Franklin Mecom and her brother Benjamin Franklin.  It was highly recommended by a member of  my book club; two thumbs up from me!  I also took out the digital volume through my city Virtual Library consortium, OverDrive.  I love this application!  It made it so much easier to read, going between the Notes in the back of my hardbound book and the pages I was reading on my Kindle.    


But more about the Letter J: In 1768, Ben  Franklin made a study of phonetics and writing.  He wrote an essay called “A Scheme for a New Alphabet,” where he proposed that the English alphabet remove the letters c, j, w, and y since they sounded different depending on what letters they were next to. 


Actually, in the English alphabet, the letter I and J were used as one and the same for a long time.  It was actually poets that began to make a distiction between the two letters, I suppose because poetry is read out loud.  The first English language book which made a clear distinction between the sound of “I” and the sound of “J” was in 1634.


You might think I’m crazy, but all this is very interesting to me.  So I started looking into letter J’s history.  There’s a book by David Sacks called Letter Perfect, where he writes:  

“In Rome, if you caused someone an iniuria (injury), you might be hauled before the iudices (judges) in a court of iustitia (justice)… Whatever future claim the letter J might have on these words in English, they began in Latin with rather different sounds and spellings…  As Latin broke into regional dialects that grew into French and other Romance tongues, pronunciations shifted beneath traditional Latin spellings that were slower to change.  Modern scholars trace pronunciation shifts by analyzing variant spelling in late Latin writings and general spellings in early Romance writings.”


Enjoy more Letter J posts, through Ms. Jenny’s website …off on my tangent… 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

AlphabeThursday – I is for Ida Tarbell


A book review about Ida Tarbell: Portrait of a Muckraker, by Kathleen Brady.

You might get the wrong idea from the title of this book, that it is all about the years of Ida Tarbell was a journalist.  But this book, that I read for my book club last month, is a biography of Tarbell’s entire life.  I knew I would enjoy the author when in the forward I read a short and sweet line she wrote: “In terms of women’s advancement, she [Ida] was a weather vane, not an engine of change.”


I had never heard of Ida Tarbell before.  Actually, I didn’t know what a muckraker was, even though I’ve heard the term before.  For others like myself, a muckraker is an investigative journalist.  The January 1903 issue of McClure’s Magazine (which Ida Tarbell wrote for) was considered the official beginning of muckraking journalism.  Lincoln Steffens and Ray Stannard Baker were two other journalists, writing in the same style, and for McClure’s.  This was at the time when Theodore Roosevelt was president and companies were buying each other out, getting larger and more powerful.  In 1911, Ida believe that manufacturing wouldn’t last in America but be “delegated to countries where labor was cheap.”  She was best know for her articles in McClure’s on Standard Oil (early Exxon), which was later published as a book.  I thought she was very daring to live in Paris while researching Napoleon. 

Brady mentioned how Ida spent many family summers on Lake Chautauqua in New York.  She was familiar with the Chautauqua Assembly, which furnished Bible instruction,which expanded into science, history and literature lessons.  I believe this was the start of the Chautauqua, which our city was participating in at the time of my reading.  What excited me was seeing that later Ida lived at Hull House in Chicago, founded by Jane Addams; I had just read a biography about Addams!


Ida was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, in Seneca Falls, in 2000.  On September 14, 2002, she appeared on a commemorative stamp, honoring women journalists.


Come by Ms. Jenny’s site …off on my tangent… 
to see what words were chosen for the Letter I. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

AlphabeThursday - H is for Hospital

A doctor's amputation kit
Here’s another word I would never have considered if not for my current circumstances.  In our city, there is a private hospital and a county hospital.  We are, after all, the county seat.  I go to the county hospital, as usual.  I’ve always believe in supporting civic businesses over private, like the credit union and hospital.


The hospital is actually quite large, with associated buildings on their property.  There’s a Cancer Center, a Women’s Imaging Center, a doctor’s office building and an Outpatient Center, where I’m having my procedure done today.  I’m looking forward to it!

   
Here’s an aerial view of the hospital complex from MapQuest, with a little text added.     


See what other great words begin with the Letter H, 
at Ms. Jenny’s site, …off on my tangent…

Thursday, July 3, 2014

AlphabeThursday - G is for Grapefruit


I never liked grapefruit when I was a kid.  But now I’ve found Ruby Reds, which don’t have that sour bite, and they have become one of my favorite fruits.  Grapefruits are very good for you; a rich source of anti-oxidants, high in fiber, and contains 70% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. 

Since I decided to write about them, I thought I’d give you some vital points:

Buy red grapefruit that is heavy for its size, with smooth, unblemished skin.
Store them in the crisper for up to one month.
Use them in salads and cocktails, or have for breakfast. 


Another time to have grapefruit is at snacktime: in little cup.  I like Dole’s.  
They are made with 100% fruit juices and 70 calories.


I want to thank all my classmates and everybody else who have sent me kind wishes and told me personal experiences about back accidents.  The outcomes have been very reassuring.  Everyone, come visit Ms. Jenny’s  AlphabetThursday, and see what words were picked for the Letter G.
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