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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29448 times)
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Bob
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« Reply #2235 on: April 01, 2008, 07:30:29 PM »

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To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

I think that's a worthy proposal and should qualify for at least a Congressional feasibility grant of at least a half million dollars.

The essay on Farting brings to mind that Franklin was also unique among the founder in that we was the only one who made it a part of his career to be 
humorous. One historian points out that in all the writings of and apocryphal  stories about George Washington, there's not one displaying any humor at all. One can't imagine Hamilton as funny, nor Madison, nor Jefferson...(but Adams was good for a few one liners along the way.

You can take all of his accomplishments away and his writings will still render him high with stand up comedians. He's still a very funny man. What other founder could talk of farts and aspargus and get away with it?
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weezo
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« Reply #2236 on: April 01, 2008, 08:11:29 PM »

Bob,

That is why Ben Franklin will always be a favorite Founding Father for young students to munch on. You can talk about George Washington and his cherry tree all day and not put as much of a smile on children's faces as a discussion of the wit and wisdom of ole Ben.
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« Reply #2237 on: April 01, 2008, 09:37:17 PM »

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To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

I think that's a worthy proposal and should qualify for at least a Congressional feasibility grant of at least a half million dollars.

BEANO....
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caclark
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« Reply #2238 on: April 02, 2008, 11:04:42 AM »

I don’t know what Ben Franklin might say but I loathe and despise the inventor of BEANO for trying to take all of the fun out of eating beans. How many evenings have been made gloriously entertaining when preceded by a plate of beans for supper? It’s perhaps not as rapturous for whoever sits next to me if he has an acute sense of smell. But if he has an ear for melody, it’s like listening to Bing Crosby.
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caclark
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« Reply #2239 on: April 02, 2008, 11:06:10 AM »

I've heard it said that the man who farts in church sits in his own pew.
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weezo
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« Reply #2240 on: April 02, 2008, 11:59:10 AM »

If I may indulge ....

Back when I was teaching the LD kids in high school, passing gas was an interesting way for a student is call "break time" in class. I had a boy named Vincent who was a champion gas passer, and others would chime in from time to time. I stood next to the window, watched everyone scatter around the room, listen to the classmates tell the offender what a dirty fellow he was, and then we'd settle back down to whatever we were doing.

One day I got a new student, Nelson. Well, Nelson was also a champion gas-passer, and he wanted to assert himself in his new surroundings, and he let 'em fly. Well, Vincent was not to be outdone by this newcomer, so he began matching Nelson fart for fart. After it was apparent that the contestant were not going to give quarter, I assigned some written work, so the kids could scatter and still get some learning done. We had the door open to the hall, and the window open, and I swore that I had no sense of smell! It took about two weeks for the contestants to decide it was a draw. By that time, I'd brought in a little covered basket full of rosey potpourri, and as needed, would shake the basket to release a pleasant smell. Nelson got the idea, so when the urge hit, he would grab up the basket and shake it appropriately.

Nelson was one smelly kid, and Vincent was just a shade better (at least he got a bath regularly). It was a odorous adventure. Finally, Nelson's parents got a judge to sign off on Nelson leaving school to help support the family, and my nose took a well-earned vacation!
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #2241 on: April 02, 2008, 01:22:49 PM »

"odorous adventure...."  just when I was about to pass the idea the Clark is the funniest person here.
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weezo
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« Reply #2242 on: April 02, 2008, 09:58:46 PM »

Isaacson is an excellent writer who brings out the humor in the story he is spinning. I'm about 3/4 done with Einstein (he hasn't moved to America yet, but he's been on long visits). Isaacson's prose include a measure of wit and humor that I never expected on such as serious subject as Einstein.

Now, I open his book on Franklin, and had to take a break from wanting to bookmark every page for later perusal, while holding in laughter so I don't wake hubby who's had a bad day. As a funny kid, he wrote as Silence Dogood and got away with wagging the establishment that his brother James tried to do under his own name, and got hauled into court. Silence Dogood had passed the scrutiny of the unwitty Puritans, but James didn't.

Franklin learns many things during his growing up years, and one was to be more careful with his choice of friends. I have just finished the plans he wrote on the slow boat back to Philadelphia, how he will live his life in the future based on what he had learned so far.  When he landed in Philadelphia and started his own business, he established a club of kindred spirits which purpose was to meeting weekly and conduct discussion. Franklin made some rules that all discourse was to be "without fondness for dispute or desire of victory". He urged his friends to learn to dissent gently and lead one's discussants through soft questions in a socratic styles, which encouraged the discussent to release in full their own self-agandizement, to which agreement was encouraged, so that when you were finished softly questioning the discussant and admiring his abilities, he came over to your way of thinking without regrets.

Makes me wonder if pursuit of this type of discussion would not be food for thought in some of the political forums here on Elba. Instead of mowing down one opponant with a virulent torrent of explatives, gently question them (and hope they don't roughly answer "do your own homework" when they can't answer), and laud them as you carefully change their minds.

Hmmmmmm
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caclark
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« Reply #2243 on: April 03, 2008, 11:38:22 AM »

"Makes me wonder if pursuit of this type of discussion would not be food for thought in some of the political forums here on Elba. Instead of mowing down one opponant with a virulent torrent of explatives, gently question them (and hope they don't roughly answer "do your own homework" when they can't answer), and laud them as you carefully change their minds."

Trash-talking dominates political forums everywhere and probably contributed to the New York Times’ decision to shut down its forums. If food for thought is what you're seeking down there, let me know how it works out.
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weezo
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« Reply #2244 on: April 03, 2008, 12:19:12 PM »

Clark,

It is unlikely to happen. At least one discussant there said that he likes to twist what people way and turn it upside down. Another has to always announce his "victories". So, I play the game the others play, but do totally understand why we earned a moderator!
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thanatopsy
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« Reply #2245 on: April 03, 2008, 10:23:36 PM »

   To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.                                                        



The thought is perhaps the hallmark of BF's life.
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- - - Margaret Fuller
weezo
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« Reply #2246 on: April 03, 2008, 10:39:26 PM »

That is it, in a nutshell!

It is amazing the number of societies and associations that he got started, often by anonymous "letters" he wrote to his own paper. Libraries, fire departments, policemen, scientists (philosophy), and more. I'm surprised he isn't credited with starting PTA's, but they came into being much later.

I just read the part where he took action when the assembly and the "gentlemen" took none in protecting the communities from raids offshoots from the various French and Indian and other European wars that involved various Indian tribes. He successfully started a militia that was considered "anti-government" by the government even tho it salved an untreated wound. But, instead of the militia continuing and becoming anti-government, it disbanded when the hostilities ended.

Of great interest to me are both his work in starting circulating libraries, which was the basis for the Library in Reading, up the river from Philadelphia, and the volunteer fire deparments, which were also started in Reading, and involved a number of my ancestors, and perhaps is still a pechant for family members who remain there. I have a history on the Fire Departments in Reading that was compiled as a WPA project, and lists a great number of Rathmans in at least two of the city's fire departments. My grandfather was a driver for the Liberty Company, which is now the headquarters for the Fire Museum of the city. My grandfather, who was a teetotaler all his life, frequently complained about the fact that the volunteers would hang around the fire station of an evening, imbibing beer and whiskey most joyously, as was the German custom, and when it came time to climb on the fire engines and fight a fire, were sometimes too inebriated to be anything but a nuisance.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #2247 on: April 05, 2008, 02:48:58 AM »

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

Benjamin Franklin
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Bob
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« Reply #2248 on: April 05, 2008, 08:07:49 PM »

Truer words were never spoken!!!
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Bob
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« Reply #2249 on: April 05, 2008, 08:28:43 PM »

At the outset of the book a few struck me: the size of the family, the number of children, Franklin's seemingly innate advanced curiosity and innovativeness, and the idea that his father had to make him a minister. It seems Franklin's uncle had even collected sermons as he went on in life. Whether these were collected with the intent of bequeathing them to one of his children , is difficult to say---but it's a curious thing to collect.

I can't imagine Benjamin Franklin, Harvard Graduate or the Right Reverand Benjamin Franklin---but I suppose had he done either or both he would have excelled just the same. Isaacson relates one historian's belief that if he went to Harvard, he might have been stripped of spontenaity and freshnessness and intutitiveness and other qualities (page 19).

I did find it extraordinary that he was Indentured to his brother and that his brother was cruel at times and even "screwed" him in the process. He demanded a nine year term, being held until age 21. The usual term was 7 years. Also very interesting is that his first writings start were poetry--not for poetry's sake but to help increase sales of his brother's newspaper. He was a poor poet according to Herman Melville  (whoever made Melville a judge of poetry I don't know). He stopped writing poetry after his father ridiculed his work.

From an objective viewpoint  his brother  should be considered as a pioneer in American journalism and one of the first to test freedom of expression in Colonial America---for which, as we know, he was imprisoned.  In America at the time newspapers had to be licensed. One was not free to start a newspaper without the permission of London and one had to be careful lest the license be rescinded for "undue criticism."

This book is interesting from the very start....
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