Thursday, August 14, 2014

AlphabeThursday - Lawton and Mattie Beal

In June, I was nominated to join the Lawton Heritage Association Board.  With my accident and then vacation, I managed to miss July’s meeting.  But this evening is our next time together and I will be there to report on the Committee I chair, Records and Communications. 

The Association operates out of the Mattie Beal Home, a historic home on the National Register for Historic Places in my town.  Isn’t the house just beautiful? 

The organization’s records and Mattie’s personal papers and photographs are currently stored in the basement.  OH NO!  The worse place to keep them!  I’ve been down there once, some years ago, and will suggest to the Board to either bring them upstairs or donate them to the Museum, where I work.  It’s hard to imagine a historical association keeping original documents in such a climate!

If you’re in Southwest Oklahoma, come by the Mattie Beal Home between Noon and 3:00, Thursday - Sunday.  Take a self-guided tour, walk the grounds.  It’s really worth it: $4.00 for adults.  And come by Ms. Jenny site, …off on my tangent… and see what other words were chosen for the Letter M!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

K is for Kyphoplasty - AlphabeThursday

Balloon Kyphoplasty

It's still July and I was just getting things ready for my vacation.  Thinking about the "Letter K" I was going to miss.  But then I have a new word I wanted to share: kyphoplasty.  It's so new, Google doesn't know how to spell it.  I've been told the EU is familiar with this procedure.  It's just been approved in the US.  Lucky me, for that at least!

Here's one MRI view of the injured backbone.  Inside the purple lines is the cracked verebrae.  I believe the black mess is blood; the doctor had to wait until it dried up, or something like that.  Don't know what the circles are - some kind of digital marker.

Kyphoplasty is the surgery used to fix my broken vertebrae.  I think it was # T12.  I've told a few people what happened, but this is the medicine description (the first animated photo will make sense after this explanation):  An incision was made and they placed a narrow tube using fluoroscopy to guide the tube to the correct position.  Then using x-ray images, a special balloon was inserted.  They inflated the balloon, returning the pieces of my vertebrae back to its "normal" position.  When the balloon was removed, the doctor filled the cavity with a cement called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA).  It hardened and stabilized the bone.

The procedure took 20-30 minutes, I was told, but was at the local Outpatient Surgery for the whole afternoon.  Thanks Doctor Schutz!

Come by AlphabeThursday for the Letter K

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. 
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