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The Complete Gentleman, Issue #005
April 17, 2015

225 years ago on 17th April Benjamin Franklin passed away at the ripe old age of 84. I thought it would be a good time and to celebrate this great man with a small homage to one of the founding fathers of the US. Click here for a brief overview of his life, and 120 quotes by him, we posted on the website in the last few days.

Streets of Philadelphia

When I moved from the UK to the US five years ago, “Philly” was one of the first cities I visited. Besides its innate beauty, one begins to gain a sense of the historical importance it has played in the birth of this great nation. With Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Betty Ross’s House and the National Constitution Center all sharing space with many preserved buildings of the era – to mention just a few of the “attractions”. It is difficult not to connect with the persona of Benjamin Franklin through places like the Franklin Institute, the various images & statue of the man and his simple & poignant gravestone. Franklin may not have realized just how admirable or exemplar his life would be to others, when he wrote:

“Histories of lives are seldom entertaining, unless they contain something either admirable or exemplar.”

A Rule for Learning?

Learning should be a constant in our lives and becoming good at anything takes time, patience and application. This month I’ve added an article about the 10,000-hour rule , the approximate time generally required to become an expert at something. Last month we posted Our Mission on the website and it is perhaps interesting to note a connection from this. Under the section regarding “Addiction” I mentioned the following: today it is estimated males will have spent an average of 10,000 hours on computer games by the time they’re 21. Oh how we need to develop positive addictions or vices i.e. good habits! I think Franklin had it right when he said:

“If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master, be ashamed to catch yourself idle.”

NCIS Principles

One of Franklin’s ongoing endeavors in life was his quest for Moral Perfection. Although unattainable it’s clear to me that seeking to lead a good life is enhanced by developing good habits, and having a code to live by certainly helps. I haven’t been caught up in the glut of forensic science crime drama programs on TV but I have become a fan of NCIS. In this the central character LJ Gibbs has a code he seeks to live by and this month I’ve added “Gibbs’ Rules” , trusting this may encourage us in a similar resolute manner. Franklin’s view was:

“Let me resolve to be virtuous, that I may be happy.”

Grooming Medicines

Bit by bit I have been working on creating the Perfect Dopp Kit and am getting close to finishing this series of articles. This time I’ve added a section on Medicine & Health Care Contents - check this out to help maintain your health when on trips away from home. I’m sure Franklin would have approved:

“Wise men learn by others’ harms, fools scarcely by their own.”

Drinks...and a Book

We continue to add Gin reviews to the website, and have now reached over 370! New ones across the last month include: Chilgrove (from The Chilgrove Gin Company Ltd.) plus Heather Rose and Homecoming Scotland both from Strathearn.

I am also pleased to announce a project of mine approaching completion over the next few months. Having sampled over 800 different Gins, I realized by comparison to the vast majority of Gin drinker in the world I was a rare exception. This encouraged me to start writing a book about Gin and I am now in the closing stages of it being finished. The plan is to try and release this book in June and further details will follow next month. While Franklin promoted temperance (not complete abstinence) he enjoyed partaking of a drink and I love his quote:

“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”

Strange Music

Franklin was a keen musician and inventor and one of his unique offerings to the world was an improved form of Glass Harmonica. If you’re not sure what this is, think along the lines of a glass and someone playing a note on it by wetting their finger and running it around the rim. A glass harmonica is a series of glasses containing varying levels of liquid, enabling many different notes to be created. Franklin took the idea and put a series of different sized glass bowls on a revolving rod, allowing the same effect to be achieved. Check out this You Tube video of the “Sugar Plum Fairy” from the “Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikovsky, played on Franklin’s Glass Harmonica.

I leave you with a toast, “To Benjamin Franklin and a good life pursued”.

With the kindest of regards,

David “Woody” Schofield

President and Founder, The Complete Gentleman LLC.

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