The Whole Habanero

Friday's Google Doodle celebrated the 151st birthday of Wilbur Scoville, the guy who developed the system to measure hot pepper heat. In one of those odd cosmic coincidences (that usually aren't coincidences), as I was driving home Wednesday evening I got into the car just as NPR's All Things Considered was finishing a news … [Read more...]

Make New Holiday Memories

Does your family yearn for something new to do when a holiday rolls around? Are you tired of buying into the "buying" mentality that seems to accompany holidays in the U.S.? Today's Idea Machine focus is on ways to create new family memories on days when you want to spend time doing something fun without, as Claudia Altucher puts it, "following the herd." I decided to emphasize St. Patrick's … [Read more...]

The Solitary Seagull

I wrote this poem last weekend after sharing a spot of beach with a lone shorebird: We are one, you and I. Literally and metaphorically. You stand against the stiff breeze, Observing the Gulf expanse and then Observing me As I arrive to share this moment in time With You. I take my seat on the white sand To contemplate the vast horizon, The possibility it inspires, and … [Read more...]

Saving A Rainy Day

I have fond memories of rainy days. Today has been a good one. Too many rainy days, of course, can trigger a gloomy mood. And rainy days and Mondays are, to paraphrase Karen Carpenter, almost always a bad mix. But not today. I'd planned to get up at 5 to run before the sun rose high enough to make it unpleasant. But shortly before my alarm was set to go off, I awoke. To the sound of thunder. … [Read more...]

Soon to be bigger, better than ever….

Big things are happening behind-the-scenes at The Ben Franklin Follies. Stay tuned for the main feature. This site was just a preview. … [Read more...]

A Cat in Gloves

A cat in gloves catches no mice. -- Ben Franklin from an issue of Poor Richard's Almanack. This may be my favorite of all the aphorisms compiled and published by Ben in Poor Richard's Almanack. And, thusly: "A cat in gloves catches no mice" marks the launch of a new Monday feature on The Ben Franklin Follies — The Monday Motivator. Look for this post each Monday between 6 and 8 a.m. One reason … [Read more...]


I was born in the year of the Tiger. This week's Sunday Sign pays homage to my alma mater, Russellville High School, home of the Golden Tigers. According to Chinese philosophy, the motto of the Tiger is, "I Win." Although I don't buy into the astrology thing, it's interesting that, according to Chinese astrology, the musical instrument of the Tiger is the trumpet. I am a Tiger. Related … [Read more...]

Words Without Deeds

Last Friday I drove down to Tuscaloosa for a concert by My Morning Jacket, Neko Case and Phosphorescent. Proceeds from the show went to the United Way Tuscaloosa tornado relief fund. Before the show, the musicians toured the path of the tornado and saw the destruction first hand. Neko Case posted this photo via Twitter. It's a scrap of writing she found amidst the … [Read more...]

Farewell, Summer

The calendar says today is August 21, 2011. As I write this sentence, the clock says it’s 6:22 p.m.  The almanac and calendars mark the beginning of fall with the Autumnal Equinox which, this year, occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on September 23 at 5:05 a.m. (EDT). Despite all the official rules to the contrary, my heart declares today the last day of summer. I love the path I’ve chosen for … [Read more...]

Patience, Grasshopper

We cannot know the future. And we must not fear the unknown. But we must listen and, through wisdom, seek to discern and understand. We often have to make choices with incomplete information. Major decisions usually involve the greatest degree of uncertainty. But we must trust that the ethical decision is the correct decision. In the end, integrity trumps rational, economic … [Read more...]