Monday, January 08, 2007

A Little Taste Of Benjamin Franklin


Today is the day that we stood next to greatness and reveled in the glory that defined the wondrous Benjamin Franklin. We're practically platinum members in The "I Love Ben Franklin" Fan Club, you know. The Houston Museum Of Natural History and Science has a new exhibit featuring our friend, Ben, and we traveled there with our homeschooling group thanks to mega, super-duper reduced price group discount tickets.

We waited until the unruly masses of public schoolers on their field trips evaporated around lunch time so that we could truly savor the many remarkable items and documents on display. Ben Franklin revolutionized the printing world, devised ways to thwart counterfeiters, started the idea of volunteer firefighters, devised the charitable contribution/corporation match program to build a hospital in Virginia, invented windsurfing(for real, ya'all!), harnessed the power of electricity, wooed French royalty to rally behind America, and that's just a pittance of his many storied accomplishments. We spent a couple hours mesmerized and immersed in all things Ben Franklin. At the exhibit exit, one of the teenagers wrote a short entry into the mounted comment book. We chuckled as we read the vernacular used but then realized it was a moving tribute to Ben in a fun way. It read: "Wat Up Ben??!? Thanks a lot for all your awesome inventions. Turns out they were really useful. Peace out, Ben Dawg! R.I.P" Sometimes teen boys really surprise me.

On the way back home we talked about the last time we went to the museum during their "History Of Chocolate" display, and how my kids Mayan ancestors worshipped chocolate and used it as offerings to the gods. We're totally keeping the chocolate worshipping tradition alive in our very own home. My oldest daughter, Sunbum, didn't recall the exhibit and commented that she would have only remembered it if they gave out free chocolate samples. To which, I lamented that she won't remember Ben Franklin's exhibit since they weren't giving out any free samples of him. I imagined a silver platter with little toothpicks on it. Ben Franklin.......the other white meat! We laughed stupidly all the way home. Probably due to reading tiny print display case label fatigue.

Lest anyone thinks I've gone all reverent, here is Ben Franklins actual privy pit courtesy of my friends at Toilets Around The World. All that genius and he couldn't channel it into creating a decent indoor crapper. Oh well, I guess he had leave something behind for others to discover.

We also learned that he was considered a hunky ladies man, making women swoon wherever he went. I'm thinking he told them, "Hey baby, this is the 1780's and B. Frank is down with the ladies!" Awesome.

17 comments:

Syar said...

I love history. I just watched Night At The Museum and am craving to go to one, though not actually sleep in one at night to see if the exhibits come to life. That would just creep me out.

Now I'll always think of food (or people) samples when I think of you. After all, you are the queen of crackertopia, the ultimate in food samples.

Theoretical Grammatarian said...

It's amazing that ol' Ben there was able to come up with so many inventions and pithy sayings when he didn't even have a porcelin throne on which to do some really good thinking! Surely Poor Richard's Almanac would have been the ultimate bathroom reader!

jams o donnell said...

That looks loike an interesting exhibit. No doubt he was a remarkable man

No Cool Story said...

What? and here I thought you had gone all reverent.
Truly a great man. He also had a good sense of humor and isn’t amazing that he lived in such a crucial part of American History. Totally rocks.

Way to go Homeschooling!
Chocolate, hmmm.

Lyle said...

By all accounts, those inventions should have left him richer than Bill Gates.

It's a pity that any museums has to charge money.

Rhonda said...

I was all ready to mosey over there and check out Ben's exhibit...but no samples? Boo!

I wonder what the samples would have been at the Body Works exhibit when it was in town?

Mimo said...

Ew ew ew Rhonda! I couldn't even bring myself to go see that exhibit. *Shivers*.

Sounds... interesting... Infidel. Our outings are consisting mostly of plays, and snow tubing! Mixing some science in there with the tubing of course, YEAH! School rocks!

Radioactive Jam said...

I always enjoy visiting those Woolworth's style variety stores he invented. But I never visit for longer than three days.

Elizabeth-W said...

My favorite part is the picture of Ben with all the little cherubs helping him out. He just looks so Divine, as a result ;)

Suzanne said...

Yep, that's a good thing there were no Ben Franklin samples!!! How fun that you incorporate fun field trips into your homeschooling. My 6-year old hasn't been one one field trip this year at school. Hmph!

Suzanne said...

Yep, that's a good thing there were no Ben Franklin samples!!! How fun that you incorporate fun field trips into your homeschooling. My 6-year old hasn't been one one field trip this year at school. Hmph!

A Payne said...

I miss Ben Fraklins. I stole a marker from there once. It was an accident. I went back and paid for it.

Carrotjello said...

I've used the bathroom in Ben Franklin's before. Too bad they're gone now.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

syar- We're making history right here. One comment at a time!

theo!!!- Yes, Poor Richard's Almanac also came in mighty handy when TP supplies were running low.

jams- The man did it all, jams, and left us some of his awesome works.

NCS- My kids have a love of chocolate coursing through their veins thanks to Mayan ancestry. I have a love of sauerkraut coursing through my veins courtesy of my German ancestry. Not quite the same.

lyle- From your lips to Houston Museum directors ears! It said that Ben had made enough money to retire from his business pursuits at the ripe old age of 42. Then, he had time to focus on other topics that interested him. To retire at 42. Oh, to dream.......

rhonda- A healthy dose of the liquid plastic used to pose and preserve the cadavers maybe?

mimo- Our homeschool is going to see "Where The Red Fern Grows," at a local playhouse. I reneged because I don't want people to see me sobbing like a 3 year old girl.

RAJ- I totally forgot all about Ben Franklin Variety Stores! They were in hot competition in my po dunk Indiana town with G.L Perry variety store. Yes, fish and visitors..... Unless, of course, your visitors bring fish. Then, they stink the first day.

elizabeth- Divine. But mercifully not like this Divine. Or this Divine either.

suzanne- Where's your roses???!!?? You seem naked without them? Did you have a run in with Dorothy The Dinosaur?

a payne- You're a great American. Sean Hannity ripped that off from ME!!

carrot- I pooped at the museum on Monday. I can now add that to my "list of places I've never pooped at before but now have list. They were family bathrooms on the lower level. Very nice. Soft, supple toilet paper too. I give it 4 flushes out of a possible 5.

carronin said...

B.F. ROCKS!!

Anonymous said...

ACTUALLY GEORGE WASHINGTON WAS NOT THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY AS WAS WRITTEN BUT OL BEN WHO SOWED HIS WILD OATS IN SO MANY WAYS THAT INDEED I PROPOSE THAT HE IS NAMED THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY AND MAYBE THE REASON WHY THE FRENCH STILL HATE US IS THAT HE WAS OVER SEXED AND OVER THERE.....JB

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Dad? Is that you? Why are sneaking around here in disguise? Yeah, apparently, there was nothing that Ben Franklin couldn't do, and maybe nobody that he couldn't do either! Did you know that his wife was just a common law wife? He never married her. I would have thought that to be scandalous for the times, but I guess only women had to suffer The Scarlet Letter Syndrome.