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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Photo Minute: Into the emotionless optics of a lens...

The beginning of a life (1965)

The New York Trade Centre 9/11/2001

Unknown tourist on the first trade tower just before the plane hits 9/11/2001
The empty quarter desert
The first ever photograph taken (1826)
The first colour photograph taken (1861)
The ending of a life
                                                                     

Article: I like words


When copywriter Robert Pirosh landed in Hollywood in 1934, eager to become a screenwriter, he wrote and sent the following letter to all the directors, producers, and studio executives he could think of. The approach worked, and after securing three interviews he took a job as a junior writer with MGM.

Pirosh went on to write for the Marx Brothers and in 1949 won an Academy Award for his Battleground script.

(Source: Dear Wit.)

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. 

I have just returned and I still like words. 

May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh
385 Madison Avenue
Room 610
New York

Eldorado 5-6024

Photo Minute: Think Spring








Irish Independent versus Sinn Fein-1916-2015.....Continued (Part 3)

“For reasons of corporate political advantage Sinn Fein will attempt to lead Ireland into fiscal and moral anarchy”
Irish Independent 9/11/2014

                                                                           Gerry Adams

“Many are now asking is there any institution of the state Sinn Fein will not undermine if it gets its hands on power. We will get our answer if the political ethics of Sinn Fein's Stalingrad of West Belfast are transported south of the Border.” 
Irish Independent editorial piece headlined: Can the centre hold against Sinn Fein 7/12/014

“Because Sinn Fein is the only party in Dail Eireann that cannot claim to be the direct political descendants of the leaders of the Easter Rising.”
Irish Independent’s Eoghan Harris 8/2/2015 


“Martin Mc Guinness and I are waiting since last summer for a meeting with the Taoiseach. Fact is, the Taoiseach doesn’t understand the peace process. He sees Sinn Fein as rivals and not as partners in peace building.”
Gerry Adams

“I sit across the chamber in the Dáil with him every single week – I don’t think he understands the peace process. I don’t think he gets it. I don’t think he understands the North. The other party leaders were prepared “to employ any dirty trick, any slander, any lie, any insinuation, any insult or any hopeless accusation against us to stem the growth of Sinn Fein.”
Gerry Adams

“It isn’t a surprise that our political opponents are determined to stop us, determined to attack us, to undermine us. The Irish Independent newspaper group had been especially virulent in their attacks on the party and the “campaign of slander” against myself and the party."
Gerry Adams

“They (The Irish Independent) opposed our efforts at peace-building 20 years ago and continues to attack us today. They had a long and disreputable history in that regard as they called for the leaders of the 1916 Rising to be executed and Micahel Collins in his day had been subjected to fierce criticism by the same newspaper. He had responded by holding the editor at gunpoint and smashing their press, yet today he is treated like a Gandhi figure.”

Garry Adams

Friday, February 20, 2015

Irish Independent versus Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein (1916- 2015) continued.... (Part 2)

 You can stop a thief but you can never stop a malicious liar. If you are found out then get someone else to do it under the guise of free speech. We are talking about The Irish Independent’s war of words, where truth is always guarded by a bodyguard of lies, against Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein. The Irish Independent's freelance writers and political critics are encouraged to write and speak more ‘independently’. Here are a few soundbites of what that means:                                

                                                                       Gerry Adams

 Alan Shatter, a former corrupt minister who hates whistleblowers - and who was forced to resign earlier this year after a series of Garda scandals - talks dirty about Sinn Fein:
“And many of those who are now popular in the opinion polls are people whose pronouncements in public, if they had been implemented and taken seriously, would have bankrupt the country two or three years ago."I think that if Sinn Fein was into government it would pose very serious risks to the economy of this country.” He forgot to mention that Fianna Fail were the ones who did bankrupt this country and Fine Gael is making sure we stay that way
Irish Independent

Gerry Adams: “And when the Irish Independent condemned his actions (In 1920) as 'murder most foul' what did Michael Collins do? He dispatched his men to the office of the Irish Independent and held the editor at gunpoint as they dismantled the entire printing machinery and destroyed it.
Irish Independent in 2014 reported this as a veiled threat against them 

“ If these men (that included Michael Collins) are treated with too much leniency they will take it as an indication of weakness on the part of the Government (A British one) Let the worst of the ringleaders be singled out and dealt with as they deserve.”
Irish Independent (1916)

“Watching Sinn Fein and the hard left slug it out for control the country right now is to be constantly reminded of the tag line for Alien Vs Predator: Whoever wins, we all lose.”
Irish Independent-Eilis O Hanlon

"No one needs to ask what O'Connor was thinking because she'd already told them. The singer openly traces her conversion to the ranks of SF back to a recent immersion in reading about 1916. It's a crucial detail, confirming the dangerous pull of the Rising as the centenary approaches, which SF is drawing on as a vampire feeds on blood.
Irish Independent-Eilis O Hanlon

On 17th May 2014, The Irish Independent was found by the the Code Of Practice for Newspapers to have published several unfounded accusations against Gerry Adams. Gerry commented: “The biased and downright offensive coverage of Sinn Fein and myself in particular is unprecedented in the history of newspapers in this country. As far back as the execution of James Connolly this media group has painted untruths and stories that are absolutely malicious about Sinn Fein.”

Barry Clifford (Part of the alternate media)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Irish Independent Versus Sinn Fein; then and now 1916-2015 (Part 1)

                        

The editorial in the first issue of the Irish Independent after the uprising against British Rule in 1916, that included Michael Collins in its ranks, headlined with this: ‘Criminal Madness.’ It continued: “No terms of denunciation would be too strong to apply to those responsible for the criminal and insane rising of last week.”
                                             British soldiers coming to repel the rebellion

By the 9th of May of that year, the British had already executed 13 leaders of the rising and James Connolly lay gravely wounded in his prison cell while waiting for his own execution, and where Sean Mc Diarmada was still a prisoner with him, the Irish Independent called for more blood to be spilled, Irish blood: 

“ If these men are treated with too much leniency they will take it as an indication of weakness on the part of the Government (A British one)…Let the worst of the ringleaders be singled out and dealt with as they deserve.”
                                     The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) come to lend a hand

Getting ready for a few rebels

Two day later the Irish Independent wrote this: “A certain few of the leaders remain un-dealt with, and the part they played was worse than that of those who have paid the extreme penalty. Are they, because of an indiscriminate demand for clemency, to get off lightly, while others who were more prominent have been executed?

The next day the Irish Independent freedom of the press wishes were granted: James Connolly and Sean Mac Diarmada were shot the at the break of dawn. Michael Collins survived a little longer and murdered by fellow Irishmen some years later. The Irish Independent was still not sated.

Someone is about to die

The Irish Independent exhorted Irish youth to “atone for the crime” of rebellion by joining the British Army and “show the world that Ireland is still sound.” It seems that Irish blood was needed be sacrificed on the altar of madness that was world war 1, because of the fight for freedom that other Irish men fought and died for. 

And so the vilification of Sinn Fein and indeed Jerry Adams continues to this day where a newspaper, now owned by a corrupt businessman, includes in its writers stable the following: one corrupt politician, one corrupt judge, one corrupt failed businessman that almost conned his way into the presidency, and two extreme right wing former writers of the Irish Catholic rag mag, that relate fiction as fact and where fact itself must never get in the way of a good story. Thankfully, the alternative media is overtaking them at last.


Barry Clifford 

Photo Minute: All in all I wish I was in Spain-Niagra Falls








Video: Dublin 50 years ago in sharp colour

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Photo minute: Images more powerful than words

American soldier Terri Gurrola returns home other daughter
                            Russian 2nd World War Veteran finds his old tank in a town square
                                                  Afghan gives tea to an American soldier
                                                        Say it with flowers in Boston
      Heart surgeon after 23 hours successful surgery (His assistant lies asleep in the corner)
                 Catholic and protestant couple buried in separate cemeteries in Holland (1888)

                                        Russian soldier playing a piano in Chechnya (1994)

You're off, by God!





Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were both already married when they fell in love on the set of Cleopatra in 1962; in 1964, with divorces finalised, they wed and became one of the most bankable couples in Hollywood history. Nine years later, as their extravagant and famously tempestuous relationship crumbled, Taylor gave Burton his marching orders—the following letter was his response.
A year after he wrote it, they divorced; 16 months after that, they wed each other again. Their second marriage lasted just 9 months.


June 25, 1973

So My Lumps, 

You're off, by God! 

I can barely believe it since I am so unaccustomed to anybody leaving me. But reflectively I wonder why nobody did so before. All I care about—honest to God—is that you are happy and I don't much care who you'll find happiness with. I mean as long as he's a friendly bloke and treats you nice and kind. If he doesn't I'll come at him with a hammer and clinker. God's eye may be on the sparrow but my eye will always be on you. Never forget your strange virtues. Never forget that underneath that veneer of raucous language is a remarkable and puritanical LADY. I am a smashing bore and why you've stuck by me so long is an indication of your loyalty. I shall miss you with passion and wild regret. 

You may rest assured that I will not have affairs with any other female. I shall gloom a lot and stare morosely into unimaginable distances and act a bit—probably on the stage—to keep me in booze and butter, but chiefly and above all I shall write. Not about you, I hasten to add. No Millerinski Me, with a double M. There are many other and ludicrous and human comedies to constitute my shroud. 


I'll leave it to you to announce the parting of the ways while I shall never say or write one word except this valedictory note to you. Try and look after yourself. Much love. Don't forget that you are probably the greatest actress in the world. I wish I could borrow a minute portion of your passion and commitment, but there you are—cold is cold as ice is ice.

Richard

There was a war, a great war, and now it is over


On November 11th of 1918, the First World War effectively came to an end with the signing of the  armistice—an agreement between Allied and German forces to end, with immediate effect, all hostilites and withdraw troops from the battlefield. Peace, at last, after four years of fighting and more than 16 million deaths. Shortly after the armistice was signed, 26-year-old Lewis Plush—a lieutenant with the American Expeditionary Forces—wrote home to his parents and spoke with great eloquence of his experience. He returned home in February of 1919.



Aboard the S.S. Regina

Dear Mother and Father,

Now that it is all over, what is there to look back upon? The fifteen months in France have been like a book with strange chapters, a book that one reads and casts aside as impossible, but a book that leaves a lasting grip upon the imagination. 

I used to watch the small planes as they manoeuvered in the air and felt that I presumed too much when I hoped to fly one myself. Flying became a reality when I learned to fly a clumsy and safe Caudron. After that came the Nieuport school with its three types of training planes, the 23-meter double control, the 18-meter solo, and finally the 16-meter scout plane. And then the work in acrobatics, formation flying, combat practice, and a month's course in aerial gunnery. 

"Training completed and ready for active duty at the front" sounded like a voice in a dream. A few days later I was at the front. 

I fly again my first flight over the lines when everything was new, mysterious, and awful. The imprint of that picture will never fade, and I will always see a picture, not of war and destruction but of beauty and peace. There below, far below, is picture after picture slowly passing by, set in thick frames of clouds, colors, and shadows, and white dazzling light. There on my right is Metz, and off to the left lays Nancy, like a jewel set in dark green. One is a German city, the other French. Can it be that the men who inhabit each are bitter enemies and fight to kill?

I was soon to discover that this peace was only the calm before the storm. And when the storm did break in sudden fury on the morning of Sept. 12, I saw my picture of peace shattered and torn. 

I live again that eventful day. It is before dawn and the guns pound and hammer the enemy. The whole skyline of the north is luminated by continuous flashes. Now it is dawn and we leave the ground to play our small part in a mighty struggle. Low clouds and a light rain forces low flying, so from our altitude we see a great army in action. 

I see again great tanks waddling and lumbering their way toward Montsec with khaki-clad troops hanging thick on their backs and following in the rear. The roads are jammed with troops, pursuer and pursued. Scattered troops run into woods and out as the whole region is spotted with bursting shells. A tank is on its side here, a shattered truck there, horses running madly in their blind flight. The enemy are in absolute confusion by the rapid advance of our own troops. The fury of the storm did not last long but the story of the St. Mihiel offensive will never be erased. 

I see and live again the long weeks of struggle in the Argonne region, where dodging "archies" became a routine duty, bombing raids a daily occurrence, and strafing enemy troops a dangerous but ordinary work. 

I can hear the machine guns rattling down from the ground as they desperately try to rake us from the air as we swoop down and pour deadly streams of lead into masses of troops. A single bullet in the motor, a pierced gas tank and a burst of flame, a broken wire or a broken feed line and the game is over—lost. 

I can hear the archies as they burst uncomfortably close. I can feel the plane as a bursting shell upsets it and starts it spinning, but a quick movement of the controls rights it and on I fly. A burst of black smoke on my right, flying splinters, crumpled wings. The archies have scored another victory—another dear friend gone west. 

Over and over I live a terrible moment. Glancing quickly behind I see the sinister silhouette of two Hun planes diving directly at me from above. I am alone and escape seems impossible. One is now almost on top of me and as I make a quick turn he fires at close range. I see again the streaks of fire. Phosphorus fumes of the incendiary bullets fill the cockpit full of that sickening odor and with a damaged motor I fight the fight over and again for my life. 

I fly again with great formations of bombers in their daylight raids and take my place above with the other scout planes as we sweep the sky for the enemy. The enemy appears and puts up a stubborn fight. One, two, perhaps more, flaming planes crash to the ground, friend and foe, and the bombers return, their mission accomplished. 

"One of our planes did not return," says the official report of the day and we each wonder but dare not ask aloud, "Who will be next?"

Oh, fateful vision that now appears of three comrades, three friends that shared the same billet in the home of a French family near the flying field where we worked and played together. I am one of the three. The other two are dead. 

How can I ever forget that evening as we sat before the open fireplace. I was writing a letter with a single candle as light. Roth, you were reading aloud from a book of poems, and your sudden burst of enthusiasm would make the flames leap. Kinney, you were making and remaking the fire, playing with the embers with the fire tongs and returning the jumping sparks to their bed. 

How little we knew what the morrow would bring. The next evening, Kinney, you and I sat by the fire alone. And a few evenings later, I alone sat by the fire and wondered. The story is always the same: a combat with the enemy and one of our planes did not return. 

I walk again over a battle field fresh with its dead and ruin; shattered villages standing as monuments of destruction. Tangled and torn wire litter the barren fields and slopes, barren of life but littered with the waste of war—broken guns, bits of clothing, shells, and the sad remains of life.

There was a war, a great war, and now it is over. Men fought to kill, to maim, to destroy. Some return home, others remain behind forever on the fields of their greatest sacrifice. The rewards of the dead are the lasting honors of martyrs for humanity; the reward of the living is the peaceful conscience of one who plays the game of life and plays it square. 

                                                                                       Love, 

                                                                                       Lt. Lewis C. Plush

Monday, February 16, 2015

Winston Churchill Witticism's- A Man For All Times


“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

“A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality.”

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

“One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

“An appeaser is like someone feeding a crocodile hoping it will eat them last.”

Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.”

“If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”

“A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.”

“When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticise or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.”

“Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.”

“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They simply refuse to be English.”

August Landmesser, Hamburg Shipyard Worker Who Refused To Make Nazi Salute

August Landmesser, Hamburg Shipyard Worker Who Refused To Make Nazi Salute 

A photo of a lone man with his arms folded as hundreds around him perform a salute in Nazi Germany has resurfaced.

The snap, taken in 1936, shows August Landmesser defying the status quo as he witnessed the launch of a navy training vessel in Hamburg.

Landmesser himself was not identified until 1991, after one of his children saw the picture in a German newspaper.

The picture came to light again after a blog, launched to support the victims of Japan's 2011 Tohoku earthquake, shared it on a Facebook page, presumably as a symbol of inspiration for those still suffering in the aftermath of the disaster.

The site, named Senrinomichi says: "The road ahead is a long one, comprised of many small steps, the Japanese people will ensure that the journey is completed to the end."

It also includes a quote by the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu - "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

A comment accompanying the Landmesser picture posted on Facebook said: "We know little else about August Landmesser, except that he had two children.

"By pure chance, one of his children recognized her father in this photo when it was published in a German newspaper in 1991. How proud she must have been in that moment."

Landmesser was a former member of the Nazi party but came to oppose Hitler's regime after fathering children with a Jewish woman. 

He was found guilty of "dishonouring the race" under Nazi law and bravely revealed his rejection of the doctrine at the launch of the Horst Wessell at Blohm+Voss shipyard.

Landmesser and his wife, Irma Ecklerwere jailed by the Gestapo and their children were sent to an orphanage.

He was freed from prison in 1941 but was soon drafted into the war. He was later declared missing in action and was presumed dead.

But his image and reputation remains as that of: "An example of individual courage and conscientious objection." 


Landmesser rejected the Nazi party after fathering children with a Jewish woman

8 Personal Lessons from Benjamin Franklin




Benjamin Franklin rose from 17-year-old runaway to successful printer, newspaperman, author, inventor, diplomat, and statesman. His great success came from living the virtues of frugality and industry, and his life offers us many personal finance lessons that apply to modern men just as much as they did to those living in colonial America. So without further ado, let’s dive right into uncovering some of Ben’s timeless wisdom:

1. Understand the True Value of Things
Benjamin Franklin learned one of his first, and most important, personal finance lessons as a boy. When he was seven, he saw another boy blowing a whistle and was so charmed by its sound that he offered the boy all the money in his pockets for it. The boy eagerly agreed to the deal. Young Franklin was delighted with his new possession and blew the whistle happily all over the house. But his satisfaction was cut short when his brothers and sisters, finding out how much he had paid for it, informed him that he had forked over four times as much money as it was worth. “The reflection gave me more chagrin,” Franklin recalled, “than the whistle gave me pleasure.”

But Franklin took an invaluable lesson away from his youthful mistake:

This, however, was afterward of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.

When I saw one too ambitious of court favor, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.

When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, He pays indeed, said I, too much for his whistle.

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, said I, you pay too much for your whistle.

When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.

If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in a prison, Alas! say I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle…

In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles. -From a letter from BF to Madame Brillon, 1779

2. Be Self-Sufficient
Franklin’s father at first wanted him to go into the ministry, but then decided that the boy would follow in his own footsteps and become a candlemaker. But Franklin did not enjoy that trade, and his father, worried he’d go off to sea, took him around to observe other craftsmen at work, hoping that another trade might spark the young man’s interest. While Franklin did not become a bricklayer or carpenter, this experience did inspire the DIY spirit within him:
It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools. And it has been often useful to me, to have learned so much by it, as to be able to do some trifling jobs in the house, when a workman was not at hand, and to construct little machines for my experiments, at the moment when the intention of making these was warm in my mind.

Franklin’s penchant for self-reliance also led him to learn how to make his own meals (using the money saved on boarding costs to buy more books), and perhaps most importantly, it helped propel his career as a printer. At the time, there was no foundry in America that made casting type, which was crucial for the printer’s trade. So instead of purchasing the equipment from England and waiting for it to arrive, Franklin initially crafted his own type–becoming the first person in America to do so—and also made his own woodcuts, printer’s ink, engraved copperplate vignettes, and plate-press.
Franklin believed that learning to be self-sufficient not only saved you money, but led to greater happiness as well:

Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas. This sum may be soon spent, the regret only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors; he shaves when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its being done with a good instrument. -From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

3. Invest in Yourself
From my infancy I was passionately fond of reading, and all the money that came into my hands was laid out in the purchasing of books.

This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repaired in some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended for me. Reading was the only amusement I allowed myself. I spent no time in taverns, games, or frolics of any kind; and my industry in my business continued as indefatigable as it was necessary. -From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

If you want to have more time and money in the long-term, then in the short-term you need to invest some of your money, and a lot of your time, in yourself. Instead of squandering these  valuable resources on fleeting pleasures, invest them in things that further your health, relationships, education, and career and will reap rich dividends down the road.
Franklin invested in himself by becoming a voracious reader; all of his spare money and time went to accumulating as much knowledge about the world as possible; by wisely managing his expenditures in these vital departments of life, Franklin created a future for himself where it was possible for a man who had only a few years of formal education to become a world-renowned writer, scientist, and diplomat.
4. Surround Yourself with Friends Who Share Your Values

For myself, I immediately got into work at Palmer’s, a famous printing-house in Bartholomew Close, where I continued near a year. I was pretty diligent, but I spent with Ralph a good deal of my earnings at plays and public amusements. We had nearly consumed all my pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth. He seemed quite to have forgotten his wife and child, and I by degrees my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that was to let her know I was not likely soon to return. This was another of the great errata of my life, which I could wish to correct if I were to live it over again. In fact, by our expenses, I was constantly kept unable to pay my passage. -From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

When Franklin was still starting out in the printing business and living in London, he palled around with his friend, James Ralph. While Franklin worked hard at a printing house, the flighty Ralph, who had arrived in London without a dollar to his name, half-hardheartedly and unsuccessfully looked for work as an actor, clerk, and journalist, and borrowed money from Franklin to fund his unemployment.

The two friends later had a falling out, and Ralph never repaid Franklin the 27 pounds (“a great sum out of my small earnings!” Franklin recalled) that he owed him.
After this experience, Franklin was much more judicious about whom he associated with, and spent his life seeking out men and women who shared his high values and forming mutual self-improvement groups, like the junto, where he and his friends could challenge each other’s ideas and help elevate each other’s hearts and minds.


5. Don’t Compromise Your Integrity for Money

While Benjamin Franklin had great ambitions to rise in the world, he was unwilling to compromise his integrity in order to do so. For Franklin, the key to being able to choose principles over filthy lucre was to not end up so enslaved to luxury that you become willing to do anything to maintain your lifestyle.
This is well-illustrated by Franklin’s response to a man who wished to pay to publish a piece in Franklin’s newly established newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette:

I have perused your piece, and find it to be scurrilous and defamatory. To determine whether I should publish it or not, I went home in the evening, purchased a two penny loaf at the baker’s, and with water from the pump made my supper; I then wrapped myself up in my great coat, and laid down on the floor and slept till morning, when, on another loaf and a mug of water, I made my breakfast. From this regimen I feel no inconvenience whatever. Finding I can live in this manner, I have formed a determination never to prostitute my press to the purposes of corruption, and abuse of this kind, for the sake of gaining a more comfortable subsistence. -From The History of Printing in America, 1874


6. Steady Diligence Is the Way to Wealth

To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of suddenly growing rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty. – From Franklin’s “Plan for Future Conduct,” written at age 20

Franklin’s was not an overnight success story; it took him a decade to move from runaway, to apprentice in many printing shops and houses both Stateside and in London (where he did the dirty jobs for superiors who were anything but), to opening his own shop, and turning it into a profitable business. During that time he lived a spartan lifestyle and was far more industrious than any of his competitors.
Thus he encouraged others to realize their ambitions as he had, with patient, steady efforts, and he did not turn a kind eye to the various “get-rich-quick” schemes that were put forth during his day.

In one of his “Busy-Body” essays, Franklin went after those who spent their time digging for pirate treasure that had supposedly been left buried along the river, lamenting that:

Men, otherwise of very good sense, have been drawn into this practice through an overweening desire of sudden wealth and an easy credulity of what they so earnestly wished might be true; while the rational and most certain methods of acquiring riches by industry and frugality are neglected or forgotten.

Franklin cleverly concluded his essay by quoting the words his imaginary friend “Agricola” offered his son when he gave him a good plantation:

“My son,” said he, “I give thee now a valuable parcel of land; I assure thee I have found a considerable quantity of gold by digging there; thee mayest do the same; but thee must carefully observe this, never to dig more than plow-deep.”

7. Time Is Money
 “What price the price of that book?” at length asked a man who had been dawdling for an hour in the front store of Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper establishment. “One dollar,” replied the clerk. “One dollar,” echoed the lounger; “can’t you take less than that?” “One dollar is the price,” was the answer.

The would-be purchaser looked over the books on sale a while longer, and then inquired: “Is Mr. Franklin in?” “Yes,” said the clerk, “he is very busy in the press-room.” “Well, I want to see him,” persisted the man. The proprietor was called, and the stranger asked: “What is the lowest, Mr. Franklin, that you can take for that book?” “One dollar and a quarter,” was the prompt rejoinder. “One dollar and a quarter! Why, your clerk asked me only a dollar just now.” “True,” said Franklin,” and I could have better afforded to take a dollar than to leave my work.”

The man seemed surprised; but, wishing to end a parley of his own seeking, he demanded: “Well, come now, tell me your lowest price for this book.” “One dollar and a half,” replied Franklin. “A dollar and a half! Why, you offered it yourself for a dollar and a quarter.” “Yes,” said Franklin coolly, “and I could better have taken that price then than a dollar and a half now.”

The man silently laid the money on the counter, took his book, and left the store, having received a salutary lesson from a master in the art of transmuting time, at will, into either wealth or wisdom. -From Pushing to the Front, 1911

Time is money. It was Franklin who first promulgated this famous phrase. These days it’s not terribly fashionable to support this maxim; to some it makes you sound like a capitalistic drudge instead of a passionate adventurer; “Time is not money! It is an opportunity to swim with the dolphins!” Yet Franklin understood that wisely using one’s time was essential to building one’s wealth, and that the more wealth you acquired, the more of your passions you would be free to pursue. By hustling his colonial butt off, Franklin was able to “retire” from the printing business at age 42, leaving the next half of his life open for doing whatever he wished.

8. The Accumulation of Money Is a Means to an End
Your sentiments of the general Foible of Mankind, in the pursuit of wealth to no end, are expressed in a manner that gave me great pleasure in reading. They are extremely just; at least they are perfectly agreeable to mine. But London citizens, they say, are ambitious of what they call dying worth a great Sum: The very notion seems to me absurd; and just the same as if a man should run in debt for 1000 Superfluities, to the End that when he should be stript of all, and imprisoned by his Creditors, it might be said he broke worth a great Sum. I imagine that what we have above what we can use is not properly ours, tho’ we possess it, and that the rich Man, who must die, was no more worth what he leaves, than the debtor who must pay.” From a letter from BF to William Strahan, 1750

While someone who is only superficially familiar with Franklin’s biography and his famous maxims might come away with the notion that he was merely a prudish, penny-pinching acquisitive capitalist who thought only of money, nothing could be further from the truth. For Franklin the pursuit of wealth was merely a means to an end. And that end was gaining the “leisure to read, study, make experiments, and converse at large with such ingenious and worthy men, as are pleased to honor me with their friendship or acquaintance, on such points as may produce something for the common benefit of mankind, uninterrupted by the little cares and fatigues of business.” Franklin’s early retirement from the printing business did indeed produce numerous benefits for mankind, including the creation of several new inventions (none of which he patented–improving the lives of others was enough reward), and his service in helping to found a new country.

For Franklin the whole point of gaining wealth and developing virtue was not to live a life of luxury (although he did enjoy more creature comforts once he was able to) nor to become a moral prude, but to allow oneself to grow into the kind of man who had the character, wisdom, and time to become an involved and upright citizen, able to serve others and one’s country, which, Franklin also believed, was the best way to serve God.

Benjamin Franklin, who wrote to his mother while he was still in his early forties, that after his death he’d rather have it said of him “he lived useful,” than “he died rich.”

Brett and Kate Mc Kay