Sunday, April 26, 2015

267 Quiz Answer

“Mending Wall” is one of the poet Robert Frost’s popular poems, a story of a wall that sits between two properties in the countryside.  Familiar lines from the poem are “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” and “Good fences make good neighbors.”

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "P" is for "Pell")

The following scenelet should remind you of a well-known literary work.  Give us its name.

“I really appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.  May I sit down?”

“What?  Oh, sure.  Uh - I don’t understand what this is about.”

“Well, it’s simple.  I represent your friend and neighbor, Mr Pell.”

“Pell sent you?  Why didn’t he come himself?”

“Well, I do work for him in his business, so he thought I could handle this personal situation.”

“What kind of work do you do for him?”

“I’m his attorney.”

“He sent a lawyer?  My next-door neighbor has sent a lawyer?  Again, what is this about?”

“Please relax, it’s nothing serious.  It’s about that land you both have out back.  It needs to be fenced in so there’s a clear line of demarcation between your property and his.”

“But who says that?  It’s fine as is.”

“Not really.  Now people can just stumble from one place to another, nothing to stop them.  Things on your side can easily drift over to his property.”

“I have a couple of glorious apple trees out back.  Far as I know, no apples have ever wandered over to Pell’s area.  And if they did, so what?  They’re fine apples.”

“Believe me, situations like this often cause problems, legal problems.  I’ve handled a number of such cases.  People can live side by side in peaceful propinquity for quite a while, but…”

“Did you say ‘propinquity’?  This is quite an occasion.  I’ve never met anyone who used the word ‘propinquity’ before.”

“Well, to get to the point.  Please be assured that Mr. Pell likes you and wants very much to continue to be your friend and neighbor.  He would just like to avoid a situation that often leads to bitter problems and clearly marking off the two properties in this manner is the way to do it.”

“But I would have to go to the expense and trouble of …”

“Mr Pell would share the initial expense.  After that you would of course do the necessary maintenance on your side, repairing as necessary.”

“So I would have to constantly fix this thing, even though I see no use or need for it.”

“You’ll soon see the need.  Once it’s installed you’ll see how pleasant life can be when you have a good relationship with those who live near you.”

(The answer will be posted Saturday.) 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Berowne's 266

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "O" is for "Owen")

This is the week of Will Shakespeare’s birthday, which may – (or maybe not) - be April 23rd.  In the following scenelet, a conscientious father grills his son, Owen, on his Shakespeare homework.

“Did you find the play difficult?”

“Not really, Dad. I got through it okay.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Well, it’s about this couple, Lady Macbeth and her husband, Mister Macbeth.”

“That’s a good start. Go on.”

“They’ve got this friend – wait a minute, I’ve got his name here somewhere – yeah, it's Duncan; I knew it had something to do with donuts. Anyway, they’ve got this friend named Duncan who comes to visit. Didn’t turn out well. He sort of checked in and didn’t check out, if you see what I mean.”

“You mean he was killed?”

“You could put it that way.”

“And who did the killing?”

“Well, that’s the thing. They both were in on it, Lady MacB and her old man. Both of ‘em. At first it was just a whim; something they talked about, but then it got serious. Actually, MacB had a firm belief that you didn’t do crap like that – kill your best friend -- but she egged him on. ‘You can do it! You de man!’ she’d yell at him, and like that.”

“So he went along and committed the murder?  What about motive? Why did they kill Duncan?”

“Well, you see, Macbeth had a title; he was Thane of Cawdor. Now Cawdor may have been a beautiful town but it just wasn't important, so being whatever a Thane is was sort of small potatoes, if you see what I mean. He wanted something better.”

“As did Lady Macbeth?”

“Oh, man, did she ever! She was sort of desperate; she figured that if they offed Duncan she could wind up as First Lady. She’d be able to throw all the wild parties and so on. Which is exactly what happened.”

“But later she had a change of heart?”

“You’re assuming she had a heart to begin with. But yeah, after a while she began to feel pretty cruddy about having liquidated their friend. In fact, a hush fell over her; it seems she was totally heading over to the unhinged side of town, if you follow my meaning.”

“You do have a novel way of putting things.”

“Show you how crazy she was, she had a dog named Spot. An indoors-type of pooch; he never liked the outdoors. She’d yell at him: ‘Out, damned Spot!’ but he wouldn’t budge.”

“I see. So we are going to have a bit of humor along with our lessons.”

“Gotta do something to liven things up.”

“What later happened to Macbeth?”

“Well, actually, I didn’t read any farther than this. As I get it, the dude wound up in a forest named Dunsinane, or something like that. Probably got lost in it. Things like that happened a lot in those days.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

265 Quiz Answer

Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States, from 1945 to 1953.
(Also for ABC Wednesday: "N" is for "noteworthy.")

Here’s a really quick quiz for you this week:

He had a record as a soldier that was not outstanding, but he served well and received an honorable discharge.
As an entrepreneur, a businessman, his record was worse than mediocre; he opened a shop that sold items for men – hats, ties, handkerchiefs, etc. – but the place failed.
He did not have a college education.

He had a rather unique relationship with Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Who was he?

P.S. By the way, this noteworthy gentleman had no middle name.  His parents had given him the letter "S," but only that, for a middle name.

(The answer will be posted Saturday.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

264 Quiz Answer

“Mack the Knife” is a famous song from “The Threepenny Opera,” which opened in Berlin in 1928 and was introduced to American audiences in 1933.  “Meckie Messer” is an approximation (mine) of how the Germans pronounced Mack the Knife.

“Und der Haifish, der hat Zahne

Und die tragt er im Gesicht.

Und Macheath, der hat ein Messer

Doch das Messer sieht man nicht.”

“Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,

And he shows ‘em, pearly white.

Just a jackknife has Macheath, dear,

And he keeps it out of sight.”

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "M" is for "Meckie")

In the following conversation, Who is the well-known character they’re talking about?

“Take a look at this knife, Frank.  We think you can help us.  And maybe we’ll be able to help you.”

“Help me?  I don’t need no help.  When you don’t do nothin’ wrong, you don’t need help from cops.”

“Well, this was involved in a tense situation a couple of days ago.  Sort of a homicide.  You know that girl everyone calls Jennie T?”

“Yeah; heard of her.  Seen her around.  Why?  She in trouble?”

“Worse.  She’s dead.”

“Oh.  I don’t suppose it’s worth pointing out that I had nothin’ to do with it.”

“No, but we think you know who did.”

“Tell me, maybe I seen too much TV, too much flimsy evidence, but are you the good cop or the bad cop?”

“Oh, I’m a switch-hitter – good or bad, whatever the situation calls for.  Look, let’s cut to the chase.  We’re looking for your pal Meckie.  If that’s his name.”

“It’s his nickname, actually.”

“All we want to do is ask a few questions.  You’ll be helping him if you let us know where he is because we’ll be able to clear him that much faster.”

“Yeah, sure, I’d bet on that: all you want to do is clear him.”

“And by the way, you know that Meier robbery that’s been in all the papers?  We’re pretty sure he pulled that off.  So there’s a hefty reward if you want to cooperate.”

“I’ll tell you a funny thing about the guy, but maybe you know it already.  He does some heavy stuff but no one ever pins anything on him and whenever they question him he knows nothin’ about nothin’.  You got your work cut out, man.”

“But you had your disagreements, to say the least, with him in the past.  This is a chance to get back at him.”

“I'm not hungry to get back at him because I don’t want him to get back at me.  Let me tell you about this guy; he doesn’t even own a gun.  He usually strolls around with a just a knife, but you’d never see it until it was too late.  So I guess I’ll have to turn down your offer.”

(The answer will be posted Saturday.)

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