What would Ben Franklin do?

Greetings, Citizens from G.Robin Smith. I present Chautauqua (1st person presentations) on Benjamin Franklin as fundraisers and educational programs around the Puget Sound (and beyond). This Blog (such an un-musical term) is to try out the medium and to leave (if I stay with it) an account of how the performances go, since they are beginning to take off, it seems. anon, G.Robin.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

see www.Ben-Franklin.org and www.InteractiveHistory.net

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Good Book, connections

Thursday Feb 23. Today, in 1778, Baron Von Stuben arrived at Valley Forge. He was essential in training the troops Washington had left (~5,000 out of 17,000 when he took camp in the Fall).
Also, in 1848, John Quincy Adams died, in the House of Representatives where he was serving.
Re-read Gordon S. Wood's "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin". Focused work on the transforming periods of Franklin's life and the moments of transformation of our collective national awareness of BF and of ourselves. A recommended book, although in his telling of the reactions to Franklin's death, he leaves out the attendance of some 20,000 people in Philadelphia.
- in other news - Got word that the 20+ brochures arrived at my Shoreline PTA contact's house and she will distribute to the PTA Council on Monday. Networking, a very good thing. What would Franklin do? Network.:-) More anon, Robin.

Progress and the US Post Office

Sunday, Feb 19, did some training in my martial art to keep fit (Ben was a big fitness fan, he swam, rode horse, lifted weights.) We think of him as an old, fat, bald man, but remember, he was a lusty, physical man for most of his life as well. Prepared mailings of our brochure to local venues (community colleges and theatres) as ones in Albany Oregon (one of my home towns). Time to let the publicity work for its keep.

Monday, Feb 20. Met with Rhizome about the design for the Ben Franklin Website (www.ben-franklin.org). Many good thoughts. Big change in my thought when one of the team said "this is not an educational site. It's a business site". What i do is educational, but the site is to drive business. New concept. Also, had a lunch meeting with William Hardwick (my sponsor). Brought him up to date. He continues happy with the publicity and community representation. I am the most fortunate of performers. I intend for his investment to be well returned in all my works.

Tuesday, Feb 21. Mailed off 24 brochures (mine and for The interactive History Company) to our DAR and Shoreline School District contact. She is distributing them to the entire Shoreline School District for us. What a great connection. Gave a tape of my presentation at Peninsula High School to a guy at work whose Mom (in Florida) is a big fan. Seeds planted:-)

Wednesday, Feb 22 (Geo. Washington's Birthday)
Mailed off the brochures to the many community colleges I mentioned before and a set to Connie Petty, newspaper goddess from the Albany Democrat Herald. Also, CD's of music to Verne (an occasional musical partner in performances) and Robert H. (long time friend, teacher (he arranged my first Ben Franklin work for his school) and musician. Attended and worked out at a Seattle fight practice.

More anon, Robin.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another Opportunity: Tool Show

Today (02/18/06 Saturday), a guy came into the shop (my main sponsor is Hardwick & Sons, Inc. www.eHardwicks.com. I work there and they sponsor the Ben Franklin presentations as well.)
He asked who he would talk to about the store having a booth at an upcoming tool swap at one of the larger woodworking schools in the area (it's associated with Seattle Central Community College.)
I said he was talking to the bloke. I do several trade shows and faires around the area with a Hardwick's Tool display table, and this would be one more. It's in May, on the 20th. I may be out of town, but we will see what we can provide.
Other news: I am preparing for our meeting with Rhizome on Monday, laying out the design (my ideas anyway) of the web pages. I assume that, like a battle, no plan will survive longer than 40 seconds after meeting with the enemy (in this case, my creative partners... who are NOT the enemy... well, you get the idea.)
OT, watched "The Dish", a great movie about Australia's part in bringing the television pictures of the 1st Moon Walk to the world. re: Franklin? Everyone in the world, it seemed, was united in this attempt (not just the TV, but the Moon Walk). How can we do that again? Let the experiment begin.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Getting the word out.

Friday, Feb 17, 2006, big weekend ahead (well, a 3 day).

Great reviews (some glowing) from my presentation at the DAR function. Sent copies to my Web team for inclusion on the new pages.

Got word from a local PTA contact that a PTA Council is interested in our fliers to give out to their members at their next meeting, but cannot fit in an actual visit by me to explain the fundraising the show can provide. Is this a way to "put it in committee" so they do not have to deal with it?
"What would Franklin do?" He would, I feel, take it for what it is, an opportunity, and make the best of it. If they really wanted to not be bothered, they could have said "just send one brochure and we will copy it for anyone who wants one." They did not. I am sending 27 and should include a very nice introductory letter. And we will contact them afterwards about doing fundraisers for their schools. I rely on the brochure (by Rhizome Design www.rhizomedesign.com, one of my Sponsors). It is very appealing. It should open a few doors.
Monday we meet with Rhizome about designing the Web Site (currently at www.Ben-Franklin.org). The current site is designed by a friend and is very serviceable, but Rhizome convinced me that it would be best if there was a consistent "look" to the brochure, business cards, Web site, etc.
Also today, confirmed a gig (as Shakespeare) with two musical fellows I sometimes perform with; Mel and Monroe. A good place to sing "Rain it Raineth Every Day" (from 12th Night.)
Re-Reading Gordon S. Wood's "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin" today. Not a broad biography (there are lots of those) but a very focused one on certain developments of BF's Character and Thinking. Very good stuff.
More anon, be well, G.Robin.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

1st day, what WOULD Ben Franklin do?

What WOULD Ben Franklin do? In trying to prepare for presenting "Benjamin Franklin - Innovative American" for audiences, one question I imagine (and have not yet had) is:

Q: "Regarding modern political parties, especially Democrats and Republicans, if Benjamin Franklin was alive today, what would he be?"

A: "Disgusted"

Turning that over in my mind, I am still not sure it's more than a laugh line. Would he be disgusted? Would he be bemused, or inspired, or even interested? Interested, yes, certainly. He was interested in nearly everything and I think our current political goings-on would interest him greatly, even if it was a bit familiar. The arguing, the contention and chaos, the power grabs and the occasional golden moment of Humanity all would be too familiar. It might be frustrating in how familiar it all would be to him in that it might indicate how little we have advanced since his time. It might yet fascinate him in that Humanity continually has to deal with itself. Only the appliances change.

So, this is begun (a blog. Hmmm, Poor Richard's Blog. Lacks an enticing ring, though). "Let the experiment begin", as he said about studying electricity to see if it was the same as lightening.
This Blog is to capture some of my thoughts and discoveries as I continue to capture the Mind (or at least the perspective) of Franklin.

Your most obedient and humble servant, G.Robin Smith (presenter of Benjamin Franklin - Innovative American
"Benjamin Franklin - Innovative American"
Providing performances benefiting non-profits.
Sponsored by Hardwick & Sons, Inc.