Interviews with the Famously Departed
Benjamin Franklin Speaks
We’re pleased to have with us a famous inventor, newspaperman, notable statesman and reportedly an early riser. Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1705, in Boston, Massachusetts. He escaped to Philadelphia where he rose from a guy who could afford only 3 pennies worth of bread a day to someone wealthy enough that his heirs and the government fought over his will.
Along the way, he used his great wisdom to dupe money and arms from the French, probably the key ingredient to the success of the American Revolution. He passed away on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Please welcome the true Renaissance man – Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin: Haste makes waste. Let’s do it. (Poor Richard’s Almanack – which is shorthand for All Man’s Knack)
WRR: You were a great statesman. We’d appreciate your political thoughts. Let’s start with President Bush.
To err is human, to repent divine, to persists devilish. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: John McCain and Barack Obama?
Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.” (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: In other words:
Never confuse motion with action. (Unsourced)
WRR: Vice Presidential picks?
Necessity never made a good bargain. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: Advice for our new President?
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: Any other thoughts for our new President?
Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.
WRR: The Iraq War.
Sudden power is apt to be insolent, Sudden Liberty saucy; that behaves best which has grown gradually. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: And war in general?
There never was a good war or a bad peace. (Letter to Josiah Quincy 1730-1811.)
WRR: What is your opinion of the Senate?
Of learned Fools, I have seen ten times ten. Of unlearned wise men I have seen 100. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: And the House of Representatives?
To serve the Public Faithfully, and at the same time please it entirely, is impractical. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: How to cope with the financial crisis:
Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day. (Autobiography)
WRR: Regulating Wall Street:
They that won’t be counseled, can’t be helped. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: Any other thoughts about Wall Street?
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
WRR: Corporate Mergers:
Wedlock, as old men note, hath likened been, Unto a public crowd or common rout; Where those that are without would fain get in, And those that are within, would fain get out. Grief often treads upon the heels of pleasure, Marry’d in haste, we oft repent at leisure; Some by experience find these words missplaced, Marry’d at leisure, they repent in haste. (Poor Richard’s Almanack. Wedlock)
WRR: Let’s try a few character traits. How would you define a person’s character?
Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of life. (Franklin’s Autobiography)
WRR: What about manners?
To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness? (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Eat not to dullness. Drink not to temptation. (Franklin’s 13 Virtues from his Autobiography)
WRR: The latest I-phone:
Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it. (Unsourced)
WRR: We couldn’t leave with asking a few questions about your specialty – communications? Would you care to comment on the accessibility of anything and everything on the Internet?
He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: What about talk radio?
He that speaks much is much mistaken. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: The demise of the newspaper:
The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ‘tis nonsense. (The Toastmaster’s Treasure Chest)
Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Reading makes a man full, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: And the key to a good issue of the Wild River Review?
Content is the Philosopher’s Stone that turns all it touches into Gold. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: Do you have any advice for us mortals?
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten Either write things worth Reading or do things worth writing about. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
WRR: And your view of the Interview with the Famously Departed Series?
THE Body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer – Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out And stript of its lettering and gilding – Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost. For it will (as he believed) appear once more In a new and more elegant edition Revised and corrected by The Author. (Poor Richard’s Almanack – Epitaph in Bookish Style)
WRR: Well thanks for speaking to us. Maybe next time we can ask you about Mark Twain! Reportedly, he was a very late riser.
Benjamin Franklin by Tim Ogline
Joe practiced law in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for 14 years and designed large scale databases for AT&T for five years. He currently works for NextLevel Web Strategies, a legal marketing firm based in Princeton, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, received his J.D. from George Washington Law School and he has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Joe’s book, Philadelphia Originals, was released for publication by Schiffer Publishing in 2009. The book shows that the unique styles (how Philadelphians paint, sing, practice law, tell a joke, cook) of Philadelphia’s most notable professions can be traced back to the perfect complement of the spiritual William Penn and the practical Benjamin Franklin.
His second project. Philadelphia Before You Were Born, is a study of the last time Philadelphia newspapers used artists for all their illustrations. It was published in 2011.
Joe’s many other published writings include a humorous look at book clubs for the Bucks County Writer and the literary stages of a baseball season for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also writes the Interviews with the Famously Departed Column for the Wild River Review.
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