Spurticles!

Exhibit in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphi...

Exhibit in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was so excited to see that awesomely weird word!  It just cries out for an exclamation point!  If I had to rename this blog space I think that SPURTICLES would be the perfect choice!!

Except that it means (of all the mundane things) spectacles.   Or at any rate it did in Devonshire in 1891.  In Newfoundland in 1937 they experimented with calling them ‘sparticles’,  probably because of their inborn vowel dysfunction there, but the term didn’t last.

There’s a long blurb about it being Benjamin Franklin’s birthday too, although this being a weekend there are two dates on the same page and they don’t specify on which exact day he was born.  Perhaps at midnight on the 16th.  Destined to invent bifocals once he got old enough to need them and got tired of switching back and forth from his distance spurticles to his reading spurticles.  I wonder why he didn’t call them bispurticles.  Anyway, he claims they helped him learn french.  Because while eating and conversing with the french it is a good plan to be able to see ones food, while also being able to look up and focus on the french speaker who talks with his features and gesticulations as much as he does with his mouth.  If not more so.

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Benjamin Franklin 1767 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it’s only very ancient or very persnickity people who cling to their stupid bispurticles being content to see far away and up close and missing out on everything in between.  The vast majority adapt themselves to progressive lenses so that they have clear vision at every distance.  For these people it’s important to see the dash of their car and their computer screens and the dust on things a little further away than arm’s length where you don’t feel like getting off your butt to clean anything, but it’s nice to be able to see it all just the same.

I wish I had known this word sooner.  Because one day a customer told me he needed to book an appointment with our obstetrician so he could get a subscription for glasses.  I wanted to say Ah!  Well!  Good luck with that then!  Smiling sweetly.  Backing away slowly.  Instead I suggested he make an appointment with our optometrist for a new prescription.  He looked at me as if to say, what is wrong with you, did I not just say that??  It would have been a much more interesting scenario to start blathering away about regular spurticles vs. bispurticles and good old sparticles from Newfoundland.  Making him strongly consider booking with a different obstetrician altogether.  Hind sight is such a beautiful thing.  No spurticles needed to see that clearly.

My Kindle Collection So Far

I seriously have not read this many books one after the other for a long long time.  Totally forgot what I’ve been missing.  It took me a couple of days of browsing to finally push that little download button,  but after that there’s been no turning back.  I get antsy towards the end of each one already thinking about what I’ll read next.  They are averaging around ten dollars a download.  I think that’s pretty reasonable.  I’m still buying books when I see the good ones and can get them at a discount.  And really, there’s nothing like the feel of a nice solid little page turner in your hands.  But this flat little kindle with it’s buttons and screen has its own appeal. 

Okay!  One sentence book reviews! 

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow – Joyce Magnin.  Lovely lazy read with a couple of shockers thrown in to wake you up. 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley.  Murder mystery solved by a precocious 11 year old chemistry buff with a penchant for creating poisons in her lab.

Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout.  Olive weaves her way in and out of this string of delicious short stories, reminding me of myself as an old lady with an interesting history because of the people with whom I’ve interacted,  in both good and bad ways. 

Amy and Isabelle – Elizabeth Strout.   Single mother/teenage daughter; one fateful year of complex secrets changes everything.   

Shadow Baby – Allison Mcghee.  Another precocious 11 year old lets us into her little world of the real and the vividly imagined.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett.  I’ve been pulled into the world of three different women in Mississippi, 1962, during the civil rights movement.

That last one I’ve not finished yet,  but know already that when I’m done I’ll have learned more from it than I might have done from some long boring factually correct documentary. 


There!  Lovely long scroll down of what my books would look like if I actually had them in my library and not just as electronic particles from cyber space.  I’ve not completely outgrown picture books.  It’s nice to see the covers.