Benny and Al

Today is the shared birthday of two American icons, Benjamin Franklin and Al Capone, in 1706 and 1899 respectively. One is widely respected but also known as a bit of a scoundrel, and the other widely known as a scoundrel but also a little bit respected.

I’m not about to suggest they would have been friendly, though it’s possible Franklin would have found Capone interesting. And Capone? He might have found Franklin a pine box to lie down in, given the right circumstances.

Of course the Internet is lousy with quotes from each, and who knows if they’re accurate? But by process of elimination, it’s easy to tell who said what.

This one is not from the author of “The Art of Virtue”:

“Today I got a letter from a woman in England. She offered to pay my passage to London if I’d kill some neighbors she’s been having a quarrel with.”

And this one is not from the author of “The Valentine’s Day Massacre”:

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

These, I suppose, could have come from either one:

“My booze has been good and my games on the square.”
“Drive thy business or it will drive thee.”
“I’ll have to hand it to Napoleon as the world’s greatest racketeer.”
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
“Public service is my motto.”
“He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”

Could there be a book or a movie in the meeting of these strange fun-loving bedfellows? All it would take is a nifty solution to the problem of time travel, and finding a proper wig for Mr. Capone or a suitable hat for Mr. Franklin.

Nominate someone to be your foil in a true “Odd Couple.”

About these ads

77 thoughts on “Benny and Al”

  1. Martha Stewart, for about a million reasons.
    but also my BFF, whom i visited this weekend in Mpls. we are so unlike each other in many ways but have been friends since 5 y.o. Our values are very similar, but our paths are very different.
    happy day to you All.

    Like

    1. barb, I’m sure you and Martha would be an odd couple. Martha might have common ground wirth you when it comes to goat milk and goat cheese, but I think she too much of an “elite” person to fit, even as a odd couple, with a down to earth person like you. The pairing with your BFF sounds better.

      Like

  2. Good morning to all. I think I could pair with Albert Einstien. We certainly are very different. I know very little abou things like the theory of relativity, but I would be interested in learning about those things. Albert seems to be a fun guy with his wild hair and droppy socks. I’m a little on the serious side but I like being with fun guys and I’m not too carerful about my grooming. Maybe Albert would have fun getting his hands dirty in my garden. I could invite him to make comments on Trail Baboon and see if he would like to come to Blevins’ Book Club.

    Like

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I would nominate MB as my foil–we are both born in Iowa, transplanted to MN. OK, that’s the end of our similarities. I don’t know when her birthday is–I hope we do not share that.

    Like

    1. WE in the 6th District know she wasn’t born. Have you ever seen her belly button??? NO!
      We have not figured out if she was made from Marcus’ rib or if she is a figment of her own imagination.

      Like

    1. Odd couple? I don’t know about that. I did taste some good home made meade that he was putting bottles when the book club was ar your house Sunday and enjoyed visiting with him about gardening..

      Like

  4. Seriously, though, maybe Pigpen from Peanuts. When son Joel was two, he would make forts with the couch cushions, afghans, etc. I was always cleaning or straightening this up before he was finished (he was gonna come back, right?). He finally got so frustrated with me he said his first full sentence: “I need lour couch bein’ not so clean!” (Didn’t have the “y” sound yet…)

    Like

  5. The easiest way to find a foil for me to identify a perfect foil would be to look in the ranks of prominent Republican politicians. Like Scott Walker, Rick Perry or Dubya himself. That’s probably too easy. I’m also a faithful person, so maybe I should identify as my foil someone who can’t remain faithful to his spouse. Who is the jerk who cheated on Sandra Bullock? Jesse James? I can safely guarantee that if I were married to Sandra Bullock, I wouldn’t make the tabloids by fooling around with the maid.

    Like

    1. Feel free to have the best of both worlds. I cannot think of an odder couple than Steve in Saint Paul and Gingrich the Newt.

      Like

  6. Margaret Thatcher – way more ambition and a much higher need for pearls than I’ll ever have. Then there is the issue of politics: I would have *so* handled the Falklands differently…never mind that my ideas and hers about economics are vastly different. Wouldn’t mind having Meryl Streep play me in a movie, but not if I have to be like Maggie. Especially if I have to wear dowdy suits and use enough hairspray to keep my hair from ever budging. Just not gonna happen.

    Like

    1. What’s the old addage about “Pearls and Swine? Like Pearls before Swine.” You could be the Pearls within yourself and she could be the swine. Then you would not have to WEAR them and she could step all over you , as she tended to do to others. Poor Dennis. l always pitied hiim. Gotta see that movie.

      Like

  7. Some other birthday folks that would also be interesting to throw into this mix:
    Betty White
    Eartha Kitt
    Shari Lewis
    Maury Povich (can you just imagine what he’d do with a group like this?)
    Muhammad Ali

    Like

    1. thanks tgith. i didn’t know all these dates but i knew ali and thought he would make a good third guy and the ben franklin al cpone round table. all interesting guys with an attitude for sure. actually that gorup would make for an intereting meeting of the minds. lambchop and alcapone between eartha kitt and mohammad ali would be my seating arangement.

      Like

  8. i think my odd couple mate would be someone slow and methodical and engineer brain tilted with a tendancy toward the fox news channel. maybe donald rumsfeldt or william buckley. i dont know if id hold uplong enough to find out. i have little patience for situations where there is no resolution in sight. i went to one of those grass roots political discussion groups last night and had to leave. the endless noise coming out of interrupting blowhards headed nowhere and listening to no one is something i can handle for so long then i am gone. bill oreiley or newt may do the trick too.

    Like

  9. My friend Mary is my foil. Polar opposites, we make a great team when making arrangements or planning something. I dream up the big pictures, she tends to the details. She’s a former nun, very Catholic and devout, I’m an atheist. We obvious don’t agree on a whole lot of issues but have some very interesting debates. We respect and like each other, but both recognize that we’re very different, and I think we both learn a lot from the other.

    Like

    1. Just realized that three of my very good friends are heavy into religion: a nun, and ex-nun, and Greek Orthodox priest. Guess I’m determined to have religion in my life, one way or another!

      Like

  10. My opposite might be someone like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for her elegance, confidence, social graces and numerous accomplishments. Her politics and mine might align fairly closely, but there’s no other resemblance. Wish there were.

    Like

  11. I think my foil would be Tammy Faye Baker. I don’t wear make up for the most part, and while I an a religious person, I am pretty quiet about it. Her mascara dripping testimonials gave me the grues.

    Like

  12. Morning–

    My opposite would be anybody on the cover of GQ…
    Is it just me or have the questions on the trail been really hard the last week? Gosh, unknown songs, advice, opposites… Dale, you’re making me think too hard! [whining on] ‘This is haaard! [whining off].

    Was supposed to drive son back to school in Chicago yesterday but woke up dizzy and sweating, so Mom drove him back instead. And we are both are taking it easy today.

    Like

  13. OT – I should keep this to myself so I’d have a better chance of winning, but thought I should alert TC baboons to the fact that Radio Heartland has a drawing for free tickets to an upcoming Keb Mo concert.

    Like

    1. I’m going to that concert Monday night. Night on the town in the big city. Love Keb.

      Like

  14. It seems to me that the two photos have an eerily similar expression – they both have slightly pursed lips as if they’re a bit disgusted with something…

    Like

  15. Laura Bush.

    Neat, tidy, quiet and unassuming. There is so much in about her life (as seen on TV, no one probably has any idea of the real story) up with which I would not put.

    That said, I am sure we would probably get along just fine, as neither of us would feel free to be critical of the other. We just simply would not have any understanding of each other.

    Like

  16. Okay. I think I need to make another choice. Maybe I should look for somebody who is very much my oposite an not as nice as Albert Einstien.

    How about Jesse Ventura? We would be a very odd couple. In fact, I think many people would find him to be very odd, but he was our govenor. How did that happen?

    I can put up with people who are “way out there”, but he would really streach my tolerance. I might have some interesting experiences partnering with him. I don’t think he would find me to be very interesting,but how do I know?

    Like

      1. I just realized that the name for the odd couple would be “Jim and Jesse”. Those two names go good together. Maybe I should get in touch with Jesse.

        Like

  17. My friend Pam and I are polar opposites. I really admire her because she is everything I can never be. She goes to the extreme in everything – completely over the top on things to which I won’t put any effort. I feel a little annoyed with her sometimes because she goes to such extremes and she doesn’t need to, but then I scold myself because she is the most thoughtful and generous person around. She’s also a devout Christian and prays for my heathen soul every day. I think she admires my stubbornness and independence – either that or she can’t understand me at all.

    I went to a funeral for a friend’s father on Sunday. We were in the basement of the Trinity Lutheran Church in New Richland, eating cakes made by church ladies and being unobtrusive and polite. We were there for our friend Kris and that was all. The minister came to us and sat next to me and asked me directly if I was a Christian. I could feel my neck and my cheeks starting to flame. My friend Margo piped up and said that we were all devout Christians. I stared at her in amazement. Anyway, that minister might be another foil.

    All of the couples I’ve ever been half of have been odd. I think it’s what I’ve done best.

    Like

    1. Wow– that’s pretty blunt for a Lutheran minister!
      You could have strung him along just to see if you could get a rise out of him.

      Stop me if I’ve said this story before: We go to a Covenant Church. The minister back when we got married was a pretty cool guy. To the point that I invited him to my bachelor party. AND he agreed to go. I knew that my friends would be throwing me a pretty tame party. Nobody else there knew Pastor Mike. When asked, he said he was in “foundations”…
      The next week, at the rehearsal, he said with a smile “I might look familiar to some of you. I was at Ben’s Bachelor party. And I remember who you are and what you said.”
      One of the groomsmen was sitting behind me. He reached up and grabbed my shoulder and whispered in my ear “I’ll get you for this!”

      Like

      1. Whoa, and I just checked it out and it is even an ELCA Lutheran church, I was guessing either the more conservative Missouri Synod or ultra-conservative Wisconsin Synod.

        As many of you know, my dad is a retired pastor. One of my maternal uncles told me that the first time my mom brought him home to meet the family, he was telling a slightly off-color joke, until his brother gave him a jab in the ribs and informed him that little sister’s young man was studying to be a pastor. All those years later when he was tellling me the story, he remarked, “I should have known she wouldn’t marry just anybody”. I suspect my mother was often the one who didn’t fit in her family-I imagine that was also a point of pride for her.

        Like

      2. The service was traditional and readings came from an older hymnal. It was long. My friends pointed out the use of the word “catholic” in one of the readings/prayers “… your catholic church…” and thought it was a Catholic church. One of them called the minister “Father” even though I said, “No, it’s a Lutheran church. That’s just terminology.” Our friend Kris was baptized and confirmed there and the church itself was a charming old country church. The formality was confusing though. But I don’t go to church, so I don’t know. I did know the hymns, of course.

        Like

      3. Green hymnal?

        and there is this:
        cath·o·lic (kth-lk, kthlk)
        adj.
        1. Of broad or liberal scope; comprehensive: “The 100-odd pages of formulas and constants are surely the most catholic to be found” (Scientific American).
        2. Including or concerning all humankind; universal: “what was of catholic rather than national interest” (J.A. Froude).

        When I was a child, the hymnal gave the option of using “Christian”, I suspect because even with the broader definition, some Lutherans were not going to use that word :)!

        Like

      4. Sorry, I splurged and bought an iPod. I’ve always been a PC and it’s hard for me to learn how to use it. It’s slow, but I’m learning. Anyway, I meant the word “Green,” to be capitalized and I would have typed more but that’s a challenge!

        Anyway, mig, it was a green hymnal, yes. I knew that catholic did not mean “Catholic,” but I wasn’t aware it meant “liberal.” One of my friends honestly thought she was in a Catholic service in a Lutheran church and the pastor was a priest. I was a little confused too, but I understood that much. I didn’t want to talk about it there, so I just let it be.

        Anybody know why my new iPod doesn’t like to connect to my wireless network in my home?

        Like

      5. There was a time, not so very long ago, when folks understood that the world was occupied by two kinds of person: Protestants and Catholics. That is still true, only now it is the PC and the Apple world.

        Like

    2. Krista – I just heard a discussion on manners on Talk of the Nation – one suggestion for rude questions was to ask the asker “Why do you want to know?” Don’t know if it would work in every case, but I’m going to try and remember this! It’s amazing that he asked like that.

      Like

      1. I was really flabbergasted. He was, well, remarkable. He had a rather mousy appearance but really intense eyes. It was as if he zoomed in on me like I had a big target on my back. I’m never quick in these situations. I didn’t like my friend Margo’s answer but it was the best thing. She knows I can’t lie.

        Like

    3. I am Lutheran and I would say that the pastor was out of line and it was the last thing i would have expected and ELCA pastor to ask someone, especially in that setting.

      Like

    4. That pastor should have welcomed you, inquired about your relationship with the deceased and his family, comforted you, and encouraged you in your relationship with the family. That is the Lutheran way at funerals.

      Like

  18. OT – Just got this message from MoveOn.org:

    That’s why tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18, we’re joining Reddit, Wikipedia, Mozilla, WordPress, TwitPic, Boing Boing, and thousands of other sites and blacking out MoveOn.org in protest.1

    If that’s true, I suppose there’ll be no Trail Baboon tomorrow. Do you know this to be the case, Dale?

    Like

  19. As is often the case, I find that I must read many Baboon comments before I can begin to grasp the meaning of the kick-off piece or be anywhere near enlightened enough to add anything. That’s what usually has me feeling “less than”. Today, I’ve utterly failed. I don’t get what the question is much less how to contribute a response. What I’d appreciate is a clear statement about what’s behind, beneath, or below the question of the day. Or, would that make it too obvious to answer??

    Like

    1. Don’t worry Crystalbay. If you are puzzeled by what we do here, that is not a problem. Speaking only for myself, I think that there is no need to be very clear about the question and what is behind it. As I see it, it isn’t even necessary to respond to the question. I think you can enter in with a comment whenever and however you please.

      Like

    2. I think it is a reference to the old (and in my case, much loved) sitcom (ok, ok, as a theatre person, I also know it was originally a play by Neil Simon, but I adored Jack Klugman and Tony Randall).

      The two main characters are complete opposites, and yet friends. Felix, the neat freak, seeks emergency housing with his friend, Oscar, the super-slob. They are polar opposites, but somehow, they make it work (sort of). I took the question to mean, who is your opposite?

      Like

    3. Crystalbay – I often have to wait for several comments before an answer comes to me. The more baboon responses there are, the more facets of the question I see, and eventually one will usually elicit something.

      Like

    4. Crystalbay, sometimes I think about the topic for hours and then decide that I just don’t have anything to contribute at that time. It’s okay. We’re glad you have joined us again. Tomorrow will be another day, another question, and more baboonery! See you then!

      Like

    5. I often don’t have anything to say (not inspired, don’t “get” the question, don’t have time to answer, etc.) about a particular question so I don’t say anything or just respond to others’ comments. Or the question triggers some thoughts and I say them, only to realize after I post that I’m really not answering the question. Like Jim said, you can enter in with a comment whenever and however you please. That’s one of the things I like about this place – it’s so relaxed and accepting.

      Like

  20. Kathy Griffin. I don’t know if we’re polar opposites but she makes me sick.

    Steve was apologizing the other day for his absence so I should probably apologize too. This is the toughest year of teaching I’ve had in years. And my dad’s health is worsening and I also agreed to be on the board of deacons at church. Why they wanted me is beyond comprehension. Good God I just joined last March.

    Did I tell you my son is engaged? To be married! I get to be the mother of the groom!!

    Like

    1. Congrats on the mother-of-groom part. And I sympathize about the “toughest year of teaching.” More power to you.

      Like

    2. Just keep your mouth shut, work behind the scenes, and wear beige. I was the groom”s mother in 2009. It can be quite fun.

      Like

  21. I’m sorry your life has been challenging, Donna, and we have missed you. As a former wedding photographer, I have notions of how you can make that work well for you. Three tips: 1) have minimal expectations of the day; 2) don’t try to control things, as there are usually plenty of folks already doing that; and 3) concentrate during the wedding day on making sure other folks are having fun. You’ll end up having a wonderful day.

    Like

  22. hey donna than means odds are next year you will get the easy class. it doesntalways work that way though. i remember my sister the hippy radical who always had principles at her throat trying to figure out how to undermine her teaching philosophy and how she would get the fuzzy end of the lollipop three or four years in a row. good luck.
    sorry to hear about your dad. tough stuff. my thoughts are with you.
    mother of the groom. what could be better. hoe his wife is a reasonable woman. weddings can be whacko.

    Like

Comments are closed.