Day 22, Idea Machine Project: People Who Impacted My Life

Today's topic for Becoming an Idea Machine is to list 10 people who made an impact in my life and briefly explain why. I've intentionally excluded family members because that's too easy and too complex. I thought about excluding teachers, as well, but decided to include a couple of my early school teachers who helped to spark, inspire and nurture my innate curiosity. Backstory: I'm … [Read more...]

Idea Machine, Day 12: An Interview with History

The prompt for Day 12 of Claudia Altucher's Become an Idea Machine is to identify a famous person from history and think of 10 questions I'd like to ask this person. My obvious choice is, of course, Benjamin Franklin. Here are 11 questions for my hero, Benjamin Franklin 1. Please explain your reasoning behind not seeking patents on your inventions. 2. Do you think corporations are entitled … [Read more...]

To Curtis Ikard: Thanks for Expanding My World

Even as a child, I knew of Curtis Ikard. The Russellville Marching 100 was widely-recognized as the best high school band in North Alabama, maybe the entire state. And Curtis Ikard was a force of nature known for his commitment to perfection and stylistic flare. The Russellville Marching 100 was a success, in large part because one man would settle for nothing less. Small towns take pride in … [Read more...]

The Shirley Place

The Shirley Place in Northport, Alabama is featured as this week's Sunday Sign.       Related Posts The Sunday Sign is a weekly feature of The Ben Franklin Follies. … [Read more...]

Newt Gingrich & Mary Phagan

Newt Gingrich's says child labor laws are unnecessary. When I read about his comments, I was immediately reminded of Mary Phagan, a young girl who worked in a pencil factory in Atlanta at the turn of the 20th century in the second decade of the 20th century [edited due to commenter's complaint.] Mary Phagan went to pick up her pay from her employer, National Pencil Company, and never returned … [Read more...]

W-A-T-E-R: Helen Keller Can Communicate

I get chills just imagining what Helen Keller must  have felt that day in 1877 when she felt the water flowing from a pump in Tuscumbia, Alabama as Anne Sullivan spelled the letters W-A-T-E-R into her hands. I was fortunate to grow up within 15 miles of Helen Keller's childhood home.  The story of how Helen Keller moved from  darkness and silence to language, communication and the … [Read more...]

Helen Keller Inspires

Today's Sunday Sign is a quote from Helen Keller. Runners in the Helen Keller Festival 5-mile run passed by this school sign near the halfway point of the June 2010 race. The message provided a nice boost to my spirit as I ran past that very hot, humid morning. A few days later, I drove by with my camera and snapped several pictures of the sign. Helen Keller's words remind us that we can … [Read more...]

Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)

I'm saddened by the news of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. Can't say it better or differently than I wrote here: From my Facebook post yesterday, Dec. 6, when I first learned of Elizabeth Edwards’ poor prognosis: Elizabeth Edwards is a woman of strength, class and grace and I hope, when faced with life's challenges, that I can emulate her strength and courage. My comment on a friend's … [Read more...]