Sunday, October 27, 2013

191 Quiz Answer

Here’s the answer: The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell.  The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cents raise are going unheeded.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "P" is for "Bob Porter")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question.  I wrote the following to see if it might remind you of a famous musical.  Which musical?

Friend of mine, Bob Porter, was hurt badly by the recent recession.

He was depressed.  No job, no money coming in; for him it was the old 1929 crash all over again.

He’s an old-fashioned type.  He still believes in trade unions, even though in our twenty-first century they seem to have lost a good deal of their power.

When Bob was a lad, and it goes for me too, unions ruled.  In some industries you couldn’t get a job if you weren’t in the union and the Catch 22 was that you couldn’t get in the union if you didn’t have a job.

I believe many folks think trade unions are now just a thing of the past, like running-boards on a 1930 Studebaker.  But they’re still around; they’re just not as sharp as they like to think they once were.  Bob, though, had hung on to his membership in his union – for what reason?  For la nostalgie, maybe, or perhaps it was like believing in a myth, a sense of loyalty to the old days.

But what do you know, it paid off.  He got a job, after months of no work, with a clothing manufacturer specializing in nightwear.  The pay certainly wasn’t great and the work wasn’t interesting, but it was a job.

As fate would have it, he had joined the work force of this company while all its workers were in the middle of a brawl with management about wages.  For some reason, very unusual for employees, they felt their work was worth more money.

Well, when Bob learned what their demands were, he nearly burst out laughing.  They were asking for an hourly raise of less than ten cents!  They were marching around, carrying signs, chanting slogans, all for the fuzzy goal of less than a dime an hour increase.

Bob thought this made little sense.  But one of the working stiffs explained it to him.  You’re right, he said, a raise of less than ten cents an hour is very little, almost nothing.  But give it to me every hour, forty hours every week, and that's enough for me to be living like a king.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

190 Quiz Answer

Here’s the answer.  In the Hitchcock film “Vertigo,” the character played by James Stewart is depressed because the woman who had been the love of his life had died the previous year.  He is therefore understandably startled to see her on the street one day, chatting with friends.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "N" is for "Nelson")
Bloggers did well with last week’s quiz; quite a number found it easy.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, as Socrates used to say.  Wonder how they’ll find this week’s ?
Here’s the question.  I wrote the following, thinking that perhaps it might remind folks of a famous movie.  Which movie? 

I got quite a shock when I ran into Ron Nelson last week.

He had been one of those types who always seemed to be both cheerful and contented.  Not “I-just-won-the-lottery” cheerful; rather, “Things-are-going-along-okay” cheerful.

But last week he was a wreck, doleful and miserable-looking.  You know the old gag about the horse that walked into a bar and the bartender asked: “Why the long face?”

Well, it was daunting but I felt like asking Ron that same question.  But I shouldn’t joke about it because I knew what the problem was.

You see, Ron and his girl-friend Helen were the perfect couple.  There was not one of the characters I hung out with that didn’t envy Ron; Helen was just about perfect.  She was beautiful, no question about that, but she also managed to be fastidious, smart and somehow pleasant to everyone. 

Incredibly, she and Ron were to be married in just a couple of weeks when disaster struck.  Helen was killed in an accident.  That happened last year but obviously Ron has not gotten over it.  I can hardly blame him but still, it was a year ago.   

When we met last week he suggested we have a drink together; he wanted to talk.  It occurred to me that he should be talking with a professional, someone who could be of some help, but I thought I could at least listen.

In the bar Ron ordered some of the hard stuff, doubles, and began putting them away right off the bat.  After knocking back more than a couple, he proceeded to tell me a highly improbable story.

The conversation went something like this:

Ron: “I saw Helen last week.”

Me: “You saw a girl who looks like Helen?”

Ron (whose voice began to intensify with emotion as he spoke): “No, that’s what makes this all so difficult; it was her.

Me: “Listen, Ron, you had the greatest relationship.  It’s only natural that the memory of that poor dead girl would always be with you.”

Ron: “You don’t get it.  I knew you wouldn’t.  This was no look-alike, no memory and not a ghost either.  It was Helen!”

Well, I’m afraid I wasn’t full of help for Ron.  Outside of suggesting he slack off a bit from the booze I literally didn’t know what to say.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

189 Quiz Answer

Answer: The noted polymath, Benjamin Franklin, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. 

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "M" is for "Master")
Speaking of clocks, and time, let me tell you about a couple of kids I find fascinating.

Meet Benny and Jenny, a brother and sister combo who lived quite a while back in time – two centuries or more in fact – and whose existence illustrates vividly what lives were like in those old days.

First, the boy.  As a kid he had a pretty dreadful time.  One of 17 – that’s seventeen – children (he was the youngest), he had to drop out of school at the age of ten and go to work.

But if he had it rough, consider his sister.   Girls then often didn’t receive much of an education; they had a different function.  They were supposed to have babies.  Sis complied; she got married and had twelve children.  She never got to do much of anything but take care of her kids.  After that she took care of her grandchildren and then of her great-grandchildren.  That was her life.

As for her brother, he handled the fact that he had little education neatly; he educated himself.  And he became a polymath.  That, by the way, is not a parrot that can add and subtract, it’s a guy who sustains mastery of a number of subjects.

He and his sister loved each other and wrote regularly over a period of many years.  Some say she was the only person he ever really did love.

As the word “master” suggests, he hastily went on to compile quite a resume.  He was a musician (who invented new musical instruments).

He wrote a regular column in a newspaper at a time when there weren’t many columns – or, as far as that goes, many newspapers.  He was a politician, an inventor and satirist.  As a scientist, he was a major figure in the history of physics for his discoveries regarding electricity.  He served his country as a diplomat.

He kept, in other words, fairly busy.

He was known for his many “sayings,” inspirational and motivational quotes about everything in life.  One I like very much could serve as a motto for us, today’s bloggers: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.J
That's his bio.  What’s his name?

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

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