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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Franklin in London, 1767

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
― Benjamin Franklin -- branded Outlaw by the King for aiding the Revolution.
1790 -- On this date, Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at age 84. 
He took his own advice,

making many scientific discoveries, helping draft the Declaration of Independence, securing French economic and military aid during the Revolutionary War.
As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.  

He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.
1894 -- On this date Nikita Khrushchev was born:
"Politicians are the same the world over.  They promise to build a bridge even when there is no river."
1885 -- Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) was born on this day in Rungsted, Denmark.  She had such determined pride that many in Africa addressed her as "Lioness" rather than Baroness.


 The result was one of the most adventurous lives in modern literature --

Here is an excerpt from her writings:
"The family of Finch Hatton, of England, have on their crest the device Je responderay, “I will answer.” …

I liked it so much I asked Denys … if I might have it for my own.
He generously made me a present of it and even had a seal cut for me, with the words carved on it. The device was meaningful and dear to me for many reasons, two in particular.
The first was its high evaluation of the idea of the answer in itself.
For an answer is a rarer thing than is generally imagined.

There are many highly intelligent people who have no answer at all in them.

 Secondly, I liked the Finch Hatton device for its ethical content.

 I will answer for what I say or do; I will answer to the impression I make. I will be responsible."
 {Wolf Howl quotes this passage to his preternatural students in END OF DAYS.}

I pick O to stand for that grand lady, Flannery O'Connor, who wrote:

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

On this day, in 1970 the severely damaged Apollo 13 spacecraft returns safely to Earth 4 days after an explosion aborted its mission to land on the moon.


  1. Words to sink an astronaut's heart, 'Houston, we have a problem. . .'I'm a big NASA fan.

    Ben Franklin was an early role model, when I learned he wrote his own newspaper.

    Hope you don't get solo duty on the long weekend. . .

  2. Great post. Benjamin Franklin makes me feel a bit inadequate - but I will get over it.
    I have always had a weakness for Karen Blixen - and love the motto she adopted.
    Have a great Easter, and don't work too hard.

  3. Franklin's wit is intoxicating. I interviewed him for an IWSG post a while back, Roland. So old and yet still so charming. That post was one of my most popular. It's good to know he's still well loved and/or researched.

    Take care, Roland. As EC says above, don't work too hard. I hope you're in good health and spirits these days. Also, thank you kindly for supporting my contest entry. I appreciate it.


  4. If only to have half of the ingenuity that Franklin had...
    “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
    No truer words!

  5. I love that Flannery O'Connor quote. Wow. I may have to use that one for an upcoming blog post. Thanks!!!

  6. Benjamin Franklin is one of my favorite historical figures! I love his quote.

    Apollo 13 . . . *shivers* . . . movies about space always creep me out. Which is why I may never watch Gravity, although it does look good.

  7. Got to love Ben. So many awesome inventions. Now, if only we can do something about that daylight savings time ... :)

  8. D.G.:
    HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM has become one of my lines along with RUT ROH when I hit a problem!

    Alas, solo duty is my life on the weekends! Ouch! Rut Roh!

    Elephant's Child:
    I, too, have always liked her words which is why I had Wolf Howl teach an entire lesson on them to students who he was trying to teach to be autonomous.

    You have a healing Easter as well!

    Did you know that Ben suffered nine years of indentured servitude to his brother? Which was why he was so against it all his life.

    Yes, indeed!! Did you know THE WINTER SOLDIER has now made $500 million worldwide. Captain's Orders! :-)

    Flannery O'Connor and Karen Blixen and Marilyn Monroe once had an infamous lunch where, at the end, they danced on top of a dinner table. Some lunch!

    Thanks! :-) You made me hungry on your post!

    GRAVITY is really good. The DVD is the best way to watch it for you -- so you can pause it and walk away for a few deep breaths. Sandra Bullock did an awesome job!

    David P.:
    Well, Ben couldn't get a winner with EVERY invention! :-)

    Didn't it though!

  9. Benjamin Franklin is one of those rare towering geniuses who comes across as warmly human. What a role model! But one I discovered too late in life.

    And Karen Blixen being called a lioness--how true.

  10. Helena:
    I discovered him in elementary school by reading his autobiography -- but I could never whack my brain to invent anything!!

    Yes, Ms. Blixen was a true lioness, but sadly, she starved herself to death with her strange diet. Sigh.