Money Talks—an interview with Benjamin Franklin

Today’s guest is Founding Father, noted author, inventor, printer, and much quoted world traveler, Benjamin Franklin.
RG – Mr. Franklin, welcome to What’s so Funny? Our nation is going through a difficult economic period right now. You have a reputation for being very frugal. What advice do you have for the American people to help them cope with inflation and high unemployment?
BF – Thank you, Russell. I went through some tough times myself, especially as a young man. I wrote volumes of one-liners, proverbs if you will, on the importance of fiscal responsibility. People used to follow my advice and live comfortably. Today, too many Americans overextended themselves. They think the word “save” means buying at a reduced rate. One woman I knew went to so many shoe sales that she saved until she was broke.
RG – So, we should all adhere to the “penny saved is a penny earned” adage, is that what you’re saying?
BF – Absolutely, except now, with the devaluation of our currency and the fact that it costs more than one cent to make a penny, I’m rephrasing the quotation to say, “a Benny saved is Benny earned.”
RG – I know you have some interesting opinions regarding religion. Do you ever attend church?
BF – Occasionally I’ll visit a church, but you’ll never see my face in the offering plate. George will be stacked ten-deep in there, a few Abes, one or two Hamiltons, and maybe a Jackson on Easter. Ulysses and I stay parked firmly in the wallet until we get to Walmart or the liquor store.
RG – I’ve seen the T-shirt with your quote about beer and God. How does that go again?
BF – That was a misquote. People steal your words and twist them to make a few dollars for themselves. What I actually said was, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” It means the same thing, but won’t fit on a T-shirt.
RG – Much has been made of your affection for the ladies, especially during your time in France while raising funds to support the revolution.
BF – Yes, I’ve been labeled a womanizer when in fact I was more of a flirt and a tease. Women control 90% of the money and 100% of the sex. Raising money for a fledgling country that might fail was not easy. The only way to get the money was through the women. In times of war, men are called upon to make sacrifices for their country. I did what I had to do.
RG – So, you were an eighteenth century James Bond?
BF – Exactly! Why do you think my picture is on the one-hundred dollar bill?
RG – Thank you, Mr. Franklin, for making time for this interview. I’m going to put you back in my wallet until we get to Walmart or the liquor store.
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The Ice Woman Cometh

Here’s my 100-word Friday Flash Fiction based on the photo prompt below by Madison Woods. Visit her blog http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/ to read her story and find links to other author’s submissions within the comments.

Dan could barely keep his eyes on the road. The sun peeked over the horizon and bounced playfully from one tree to another, illuminating the mountain. Brilliant reds, oranges, yellows flashed neon against an azure sky. The forecast called for mid-seventies and sunny.
Carolyn had been quite playful this morning, teasing about some “big surprise” she had in store. The workday lasted forever.
What happened? His driveway looked like a war zone. Icy limbs draped their hideous arms over the narrow drive and tore at the paint on his car.

Carolyn’s smile greeted him at the door. “Surprise! Mother’s here!”

Harassment & Discrimination

The company I work requires annual Harassment and Discrimination training for ALL employees. Today, I will cover some of the key points of this training for those of you who are not exposed to this information on a regular basis.
Most of us have had some experience with harassment, either as a donor or recipient. Problems arise when we don’t treat everyone the same. That’s when discrimination raises its ugly head.
Let’s say you know someone who has a cheerful attitude, a smile as wide as Texas, and is a joy to be around—they may even be easy on the eyes. This person is fun to harass, tease, and embarrass in public. They are trusting souls, gullible, and naïve. You give them a double-dose of harassment at every available opportunity.
You also know an individual who is a hateful sourpuss or a crusty old curmudgeon (like me, for instance). This person sees the black side of every silver-lined cloud and would find something to bitch about if they won a 200 million dollar lottery.
Do you frequently harass this individual?
If the answer is No, then you, my friend, are guilty of discrimination. You have just opened yourself up to possible litigation. That ornery old cuss you’ve been going out of your way to avoid could take your home, car, and all the toys in the second drawer of that nightstand by your bed.
That’s why it’s so important to receive proper training and become an Equal Opportunity Harasser. Our courts are backlogged with cases of homely spinsters suing their boss because he sexually harassed every girl in the secretarial pool except them. Don’t let this happen to you!
If you harass one—harass ‘em all. Not only is it morally and ethically the right thing to do . . . it’s the law.

Blown Throne

Uncle Claude had a beautiful outhouse.  Maybe not as elegant as the two story variety that Grandpa said the politicians in Washington, DC used, but without a doubt the fanciest building for its purpose between New York and San Francisco. 
It was erected on a concrete slab over what appeared to be a bottomless pit.  A six panel wood door with a glass knob provided access to what Grandpa proclaimed as the “the King of all Crappers.”
Richard lit the fuse and dropped the stick into the bottomless pit.  Within seconds, he and Clifford fully understood the phrase about the fan.

Funny is as Funny does

Humor is a funny thing. A joke that doubles one person over with laughter may not be even mildly amusing to another. It’s not that they don’t get it—it’s just not funny to them.
In his writers’ forum, Patrick McManus http://www.patrickfmcmanus.com/ warns us that editors are afraid of humor. The rejection letter may state that they laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks—but, sorry—it is not a good fit for our publication at this time. Good luck placing it elsewhere.
The truth is everyone loves humor, but nobody wants to pay for it. In fact, even giving it away can be difficult. Reminds me of the old Henny Youngman joke, “That my wife . . . please!”
I guess this explains why comedies never win an Oscar for best picture. While discussing the virtues of Dumb and Dumber, I had a young lady tell me it was an “insult to her intelligence.” Perhaps a remake entitled, Smart and Smarter, would bring a full scale “assault” on her intelligence.
Now, I want you to put on your memory hat (no, not the beanie with a propeller on top) and tell me;
  • What’s your all-time favorite comedy movie
  • Your favorite comedian or humorist
  • Which “People of Walmart” photos you find most disgusting
No cheating. Keep your eyes on your own monitor. Scores on this test will count for half of your grade this semester. Good luck.

Twu Woemance

Max blew a deep, warm breath into a cupped hand and buffed the marble against his flannel shirt. This was his most prized possession, a gift passed down from Grandpa Wilson. It wasn’t really a marble at all, just a perfectly round stone embedded with tiny crystals and multi-colored swirls of turquoise and corral. Grandmother said it held magical powers.  
Max found Cecelia under their favorite tree, where he’d carved their initials inside a heart last week.
“I have something for you,” he whispered, placing his hand in hers.
She opened her palm. “Oh great, a freakin’ rock. How woemantic.”

Critiquing Fiction

Three and half years ago my neighbor, Linda Apple http://www.lindacapple.com/ , invited me to attend a meeting of the NWA Writers Workshop http://www.nwawriters.org/index.php. I had been writing poetry and songs for most of my life, but had only written two or three short stories and had no earthly idea what I was doing. Boy, was my life about to change.
These folks welcomed me into the group like I was a long lost cousin from their favorite aunt’s side of the family. They must have the patience of Job to tolerate someone as backwoods and ignorant as me. Not only are they willing to share their vast knowledge and expertise, they even invited me attend writers conferences with them.
Today, in an effort to pay forward, I’m going to share some important information that will make you a better writer. You will recognize the story below, but the names have been changed due to the witness protection program.
RICO and JANET
Go, Rico, go!
See Rico go.
Can Janet go? Yes, see Janet go.
          Plenty of action in this scene, but a lot of repetitive words. Also, it’s lacking a sense of place. Where are we—a football game, the beach, on a treadmill? Who’s telling the story (point of view, or POV in writer talk)?
See Fido run.
Fido bit Fluffy.
“Bad Fido, bad,” said Janet.
          Finally some dialogue. How did Fluffy feel? Add some internalization here. Invoke the five senses—has Fido rolled in something dead? What does Fluffy’s fur taste like?
In this example, I’ve only point out some of the most obvious flaws in this story. It’s not bad writing, it just needs a little help.
What suggestions would you give this author to improve the story?

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

For two years, friends have been telling me I should start a blog. Overcoming laziness and procrastination is never easy, especially when you hold a master’s degree in both fields of study.
I’m a visual learner who requires personal instruction to become mediocre at performing simple tasks (no, I’m not from Missouri). For example, Connie has spent thirty-six years trying to teach me how to use a broom and mop. I still haven’t mastered it and probably never will. Yet, I admire her patience and persistence when dealing with a cleaning challenged individual.
One thing I want to make clear from the start—this is an interactive blog. Don’t expect to sit there all comfy and relaxed while I do all the work. My job here is to provide thought provoking topics and pose serious questions whereby the entire readership, working as a team, can solve the mysteries of the universe.
Be prepared to respond when I attack you with hard-hitting questions such as;
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • Ginger or Mary Ann?
  • Is that a booger hanging out of your nose?
I want to hear about that cousin who ain’t quite right. You know the one.
Tell me something he/she did that was so stupid or funny you laughed until tears rolled down your cheeks.
Mandie Hines Author

Horror, Psychological Thrillers, Flash Fiction, and Poetry

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This is the blog of a woman who is seriously on the edge and I mean right ON the edge…no, not there… just a little bit further… further than that…no, further still…just a tiny bit more… just move slightly to the right a little…no, that’s too much…just move a tad to the left…that’s right, just there…now you’ve moved too far to the left… Damn, what part of the ‘on the edge’ do you not understand? Oh, and her matricidal boy genius, come devil spawn.

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AS I TOLD THE GIRL THAT I LOST MY VIRGINITY TO, THANKS FOR LAUGHING AT ME HERE TODAY.

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