Continuing spectacle: eyeglass variety
Are you one of those people who spent a good part of the 1960s and '70s searching flea markets for that perfect pair of John Lennon granny glasses? If so, chances are that your eyeglass collecting stopped right there.
But there are other people who continue their search through flea markets and garage sales -- and at this point they're even looking for some of the more outlandish creations made in the '50s and '60s.
Although optical lenses were used to improve vision as far back as the 13th century, the oldest examples one could hope to find today -- and these are, of course, quite rare -- would be from the late 18th century.
The various types made during that period include an early version of the single-lens monocle, called a "quizzing glass," and scissors glasses -- two lenses joined by a hinged handle -- as well as the kind of temple spectacles still in use.
Sunglasses as we know them took off in the 20th century, spurred on by technological improvements made by the military. The Army Air Corps commissioned Bausch & Lomb to produce an anti-glare lens, and they also introduced the still-popular (Tom Cruise in "Top Gun") Ray-Ban aviator glasses, the frames of which provided maximum protection for fliers' eyes.
But it was really the mystique of Hollywood that put sunglasses over the top. Stars like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich made them seem like a necessary accouterment of glamour. For those who are tired of bird feeders hanging from a tree or perched from a bracket attached to the house, garden experts have come up with a new spot for birds to settle in for mealtime: the stake feeder.
Stake feeders are made of crushed marble and polymers and are stuck into the ground with either a leaf or pod-shape platform where bird seed is placed. The 3-to-4-foot tall feeders can add a new look to a back yard. Place a single feeder in a strategic place in your yard or make a grouping of the feeders at various heights for a different twist.
The feeders are available at Over the Garden Gate in the Gallerand Harborplace downtown. Cost is anywhere from $12 to $32.50, depending on how elaborate the design.
@ Did you know that in just 30 days, 10 female fleas can produce 4,000 new fleas? And if half the new offspring are female, in another 30 days they will produce 800,000 fleas? That's not all -- each flea can jump 300,000 times without stopping, springing 50 times their length either horizontally or vertically with a take-off velocity that is 50 times that of a space shuttle liftoff? They can remain frozen for a year and revive, and fleas in the pupa stage can lie dormant for up to a year. If you share your home with animals, these are terrifying words. Fortunately, Enforcer Products Inc. has come to the rescue of beleaguered pet owners with a new product, Flea Killer for Carpets with Potpourri scent. It's billed as the first dual flea killer and room deodorizer and uses sumithrin, a synthetic version of a natural flea-killing chemical, pyrethrin. The company also suggests consumers look for products containing Precor, an insect growth regulator that prevents larvae from hatching into adults.
Karol V. Menzie There are people who hate shopping malls and prefer to do their shopping from the comfort of an armchair by the pool. For these folks, and for those of us who just like to look at the pictures, a new catalog that specializes in high-quality crafts from around the world is particularly tantalizing. "The Hemmeter Collection" is named after its founder, Chris Hemmeter, who has been gathering art and collectible items for galleries in Hawaii for some time, and decided to expand to the mainland by mail.
Prices for the 100 items in the catalog range from $15 for a pair of celadon bunnies from Thailand to $5,850 for a five-strand, 18-karat gold bracelet set with amethyst, pink tourmaline, chrome diopside and rhodolite stones. There are many items priced between $75 and $100, but most are more expensive. The company, however, is a corporate sponsor of the nonprofit Aid to Artisans organization, founded in 1975 to create economic self-sufficiency for disadvantaged artists worldwide. For a copy of the catalog, call (800) 955-4142.
K.V.M.(Karol V. Menzie)