If you don't mind my saying so you look almost too artistic to be convincing. He took me to a rather large restaurant in a side street, crowded even at that early hour with people dining and furnished heavily in the German medieval style. A table covered with a red cloth, well away from the air, was reserved for George and his friends and when we went to it four or five youths were at it.
There was a Pole studying Oriental languages, a student of philosophy, a painter I suppose the author of George's cubist pictures , a Swede, and a young man who introduced himself to me, clicking his heels, as Hans Reiting, Dichter , namely Hans Reiting, poet. Not one of them was more than twenty-two and I felt a trifle out of it.
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They all addressed George as du and I noticed that his German was extremely fluent. I had not spoken it for some time and mine was rusty, so that I could not take much part in the lively conversation. But nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They ate sparingly, but drank a good deal of beer. They talked of art and women. They were very revolutionary and though gay very much in earnest. They were contemptuous of everyone you had ever heard of, and the only point on which they all agreed was that in this topsy-turvy world only the vulgar could hope for success.
They argued points of technique with animation, and contradicted one another, and shouted and were obscene. They had a grand time. At about eleven George and I walked back to his studio. Munich is a city that frolics demurely and except about the Marienplatz the streets were still and empty. When we got in he took off his coat and said:. I sat in one of the dilapidated arm-chairs and a broken spring stuck into my behind, but I made myself as comfortable as I could.
George played Chopin. I know very little of music and that is one of the reasons for which I have found this story difficult to write. When I go to a concert at the Queen's Hall and in the intervals read the programme it is all Greek to me. I know nothing of harmony and counterpoint. I shall never forget how humiliated I felt once when, having come to Munich for a Wagner Festival, I went to a wonderful performance of Tristan und Isolde and never heard a note of it.
The first few bars sent me off and I began to think of what I was writing, my characters leapt into life and I heard their long conversations, I suffered their pains and was a party to their joy; the years swept by and all sorts of things happened to me, the spring brought me its rapture and in the winter I was cold and hungry; and I loved and I hated and I died. The only thing I know is that when the curtain for the last time fell I woke with a start.
I had had a wonderful time, but I could not help thinking it was very stupid of me to come such a long way and spend so much money if I couldn't pay attention to what I heard and saw. I knew most of the things George played. They were the familiar pieces of concert programmes. He played with a great deal of dash. Then he played Beethoven's Appassionata.
I used to play it myself when I played the piano very badly in my far distant youth and I still knew every note of it. Of course it is a classic and a great work, it would be foolish to deny it, but I confess that at this time of day it leaves me cold. It is like Paradise Lost , splendid, but a trifle stolid. This too George played with vigour. He sweated profusely. At first I could not make out what was the matter with his playing, something did not seem to me quite right, and then it struck me that the two hands did not exactly synchronise, so that there was ever so slight an interval between the bass and the treble; but I repeat, I am ignorant of these things; what disconcerted me might have been merely the effect of his having drunk a good deal of beer that evening or indeed only my fancy.
I said all I could think of to praise him. I'm only a beginner, but I know I can do it. I feel it in my bones. It'll take me ten years, but then I shall be a pianist. He was tired and came away from the piano. It was after midnight and I suggested going, but he would not hear of it. He opened a couple of bottles of beer and lit his pipe. He wanted to talk. I've never had such fun in my life. This evening, for instance. Wasn't it grand? But one can't go on leading the student's life.
Your friends here will grow older and go away. Is there anything more lamentable than the middle-aged man who tries to go on living the undergraduate's life? The old fellow who wants to be a boy among boys, and tries to persuade himself that they'll accept him as one of themselves--how ridiculous he is.
It can't be done. My poor father wants me to be an English gentleman. It gives me gooseflesh. I'm not a sportsman. I don't care a damn for hunting and shooting and playing cricket. I was only acting. I loved Eton, and Oxford was a riot, but all the same I knew I didn't belong. I played the part all right, because acting's in my blood, but there was always something in me that wasn't satisfied. The house in Grosvenor Square is a freehold and daddy paid a hundred and eighty thousand pounds for Tilby; I don't know if you understand what I mean, I felt they were just furnished houses we'd taken for the season and one of these days we'd pack up and the real owners would come back.
I listened to him attentively, but I wondered how much he was describing what he had obscurely felt and how much he imagined now in his changed circumstances that he had felt. I thought it so damned mean. I understand now; it was a safety valve. My God, the strain of being a man about town. It's easier for daddy, he can play the old English squire at Tilby, but in the City he can be himself.
He's all right. I've taken the make-up off and my stage clothes and at last I can be my real self too. What a relief! You know, I don't like English people. I never really know where I am with you. You're so dull and conventional. You never let yourselves go. There's no freedom in you, freedom of the soul, and you're such funks. There's nothing in the world you're so frightened of as doing the wrong thing. I'm not English. I haven't got a drop of English blood in me. I'm a Jew and you know it, and a German Jew into the bargain. I don't want to be English. I want to be a Jew.
My friends are Jews. You don't know how much more easy I feel with them. I can be myself. We did everything we could to avoid Jews at home; Mummy, because she was blonde, thought she could get away with it and pretended she was a Gentile. What rot! D'you know, I have a lot of fun wandering about the Jewish parts of Munich and looking at the people.
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I went to Frankfort once, there are a lot of them there, and I walked about and looked at the frowzy old men with their hooked noses and the fat women with their false hair. I felt such a sympathy for them, I felt I belonged to them, I could have kissed them. When they looked at me I wondered if they knew that I was one of them. I wish to God I knew Yiddish. I'd like to become friends with them, and go into their houses and eat Kosher food and all that sort of thing.
I wanted to go to a synagogue, but I was afraid I'd do the wrong thing and be kicked out.
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I like the smell of the Ghetto and the sense of life, and the mystery and the dust and the squalor and the romance. I shall, never get the longing for it out of my head now. That's the real thing. All the rest is only pretence. Why can't he let me go? There's Harry. Harry would love to be squire of Tilby. He'd be an English gentleman all right. You know, mummy's set her heart on my marrying a Christian. Harry would love to. He'll found the good old English family all right.
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After all, I ask so little. I only want five pounds a week, and they can keep the title and the park and the Gainsboroughs and the whole bag of tricks. Now that I know what life has to offer I wouldn't be an English country gentleman for anything in the world. My God, the boredom of it! I want none of the things it can buy, and I don't happen to be a snob. It was growing very late and I had to get up early next day.
It seemed unnecessary for me to pay too much attention to what George said. It was the sort of nonsense a young man might very well indulge in when thrown suddenly among painters and poets. Art is strong wine and needs a strong head to carry it. The divine fire burns most efficiently in those who temper its fury with horse sense. After all, George was not twenty-three yet. Time teaches. And when all was said and done his future was no concern of mine.
I bade him good-night and walked back to my hotel. The stars were shining in the indifferent sky. I left Munich in the morning.
I did not tell Muriel on my return to London what George had said to me, or what he looked like, but contented myself with assuring her that he was well and happy, working very hard, and seemed to be leading a virtuous and sober life. Six months later he came home. Muriel asked me to go down to Tilby for the week-end: Ferdy was bringing Lea Makart to hear George play and he particularly wished me to be there.
I accepted. Muriel met me at the station. I think he's pleased to be back again. He's been very sweet to his father. I gave her a smile of amusement. We were sitting in a Rolls, and there was a footman as well as a chauffeur on the box. She wore a string of pearls that had probably cost forty thousand pounds. I recollected that in the birthday honours Sir Adolphus Bland had not been one of the three gentlemen on whom the King had been pleased to confer a peerage. Lea Makart was able to make only a flying visit.
She was playing that evening at Brighton and would motor over to Tilby on the Sunday morning for luncheon. She was returning to London the same day because she had a concert in Manchester on the Monday. George was to play in the course of the afternoon. We turned in at the park gates and drove up the imposing avenue of elms that led to the house.
I found that there was no party. I met the dowager Lady Bland for the first time. I had always been curious to see her. I had had in my mind's eye a somewhat sensational picture of an old, old Jewish woman who lived alone in her grand house in Portland Place and, with a finger in every pie, ruled her family with a despotic hand. She did not disappoint me. She was of a commanding presence, rather tall, and stout without being corpulent.
Her countenance was markedly Hebraic. She wore a rather heavy moustache and a wig of a peculiarly metallic brown. Her dress was very grand, of black brocade, and she had a row of large diamond stars on her breast and round her neck a chain of diamonds. Diamond rings gleamed on her wrinkled hands. She spoke in a rather loud harsh voice and with a strong German accent. When I was introduced to her she fixed me with shining eyes. She summed me up with despatch and to my fancy at all events made no attempt to conceal from me that the judgment she formed was unfavourable.
Where is Sir Adolphus, Muriel? Does he know your guest is arrived? And will you not send for George? If he does not know his pieces by now he will not know them by to-morrow. Muriel explained that Freddy was finishing a round of golf with his secretary and that she had had George told I was there. Lady Bland looked as though she thought Muriel's replies highly unsatisfactory and turned again to me. He was not very strong then. His mother, Queen Margherita, was a great friend of mine. They thought he would never marry. The Duchess of Aosta was very angry when he fell in love with that Princess of Montenegro.
She seemed to belong to some long-past period of history, but she was very alert and I imagine that little escaped her beady eyes. Freddy, very spruce in plus-fours, presently came in. It was amusing and yet a little touching to see this grey-bearded man, as a rule somewhat domineering, so obviously on his best behaviour with the old lady. He called her Mamma. Then George came in. He was as fat as ever, but he had taken my advice and had his hair cut; he was losing his boyish looks, but he was a powerful and well set-up young man.
It was good to see the pleasure he took in his tea. He ate quantities of sandwiches and great hunks of cake. He had still a boy's appetite. His father watched him with a tender smile and as I looked at him I could not be surprised at the attachment which they all so obviously felt for him. He had an ingenuousness, a charm and an enthusiasm which were certainly very pleasant. There was about him a generosity of demeanour, a frankness and a natural cordiality which could not but make people take to him.
I do not know whether it was owing to a hint from his grandmother or merely of his own good nature, but it was plain that he was going out of his way to be nice to his father; and in his father's soft eyes, in the way he hung upon the boy's words, in his pleased, proud and happy look, you felt how bitterly the estrangement of the last two years had weighed on him. He adored George. We played golf in the morning, a three-ball match, since Muriel, having to go to Mass, could not join us, and at one Ferdy arrived in Lea Makart's car.
We sat down to luncheon. Of course Lea Makart's reputation was well known to me. She was acknowledged to be the greatest woman pianist in Europe. She was a very old friend of Ferdy's, who with his interest and patronage had greatly helped her at the beginning of her career, and it was he who had arranged for her to come and give her opinion of George's chances. At one time I went as often as I could to hear her play. She had no affectations; she played as a bird sings, without any appearance of effort, very naturally, and the silvery notes dripped from her light fingers in a curiously spontaneous manner, so that it gave you the impression that she was improvising those complicated rhythms.
They used to tell me that her technique was wonderful. I could never make up my mind how much the delight her playing gave me was due to her person. In those days she was the most ethereal thing you could imagine, and it was surprising that a creature so sylphlike should be capable of so much power. She was very slight, pale, with enormous eyes and magnificent black hair, and at the piano she had a childlike wistfulness that was most appealing. She was very beautiful in a hardly human way and when she played, a little smile on her closed lips, she seemed to be remembering things she had heard in another world.
Now, however, a woman in the early forties, she was sylphlike no more; she was stout and her face had broadened; she had no longer that lovely remoteness, but the authority of her long succession of triumphs. She was brisk, business-like and somewhat overwhelming. Her vitality lit her with a natural spotlight as his sanctity surrounds the saint with a halo.
She was not interested in anything very much but her own affairs, but since she had humour and knew the world she was able to invest them with gaiety. She held the conversation, but did not absorb it. George talked little. Every now and then she gave him a glance, but did not try to draw him in.
I was the only Gentile at the table. All but old Lady Bland spoke perfect English, yet I could not help feeling that they did not speak like English people; I think they rounded their vowels more than we do, they certainly spoke louder, and the words seemed not to fall, but to gush from their lips. I think if I had been in another room where I could hear the tone but not the words of their speech I should have thought it was in a foreign language that they were conversing.
The effect was slightly disconcerting. Lea Makart wished to set out for London at about six, so it was arranged that George should play at four. Whatever the result of the audition, I felt that I, a stranger in the circle which her departure must render exclusively domestic, would be in the way and so, pretending an early engagement in town next morning, I asked her if she would take me with her in her car.
At a little before four we all wandered into the drawing-room. She chose instinctively a high-backed Jacobean chair that had somewhat the air of a throne, and in a yellow dress, with her olive skin, she looked very handsome. She had magnificent eyes. She was very much made up and her mouth was scarlet.
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George gave no sign of nervousness. He was already seated at the piano when I went in with his father and mother, and he watched us quietly settling ourselves down. He gave me the shadow of a smile. When he saw that we were all at our ease he began to play. He played Chopin. He played with a great deal of brio. I wish I knew music well enough to give an exact description of his playing. It had strength, and a youthful exuberance, but I felt that he missed what to me is the peculiar charm of Chopin, the tenderness, the nervous melancholy, the wistful gaiety and the slightly faded romance that reminds me always of an Early Victorian keepsake.
And again I had the vague sensation, so slight that it almost escaped me, that the two hands did not quite synchronise. I looked at Ferdy and saw him give his sister a look of faint surprise, Muriel's eyes were fixed on the pianist, but presently she dropped them and for the rest of the time stared at the floor. His father looked at him too, and his eyes were steadfast, but unless I was much mistaken he went pale and his face betrayed something like dismay. Music was in the blood of all of them, all their lives they had heard the greatest pianists in the world, and they judged with instinctive precision.
The only person whose face betrayed no emotion was Lea Makart. She listened very attentively. She was as still as an image in a niche. For a moment there was dead silence. Freddy's head sank and he looked down at the carpet at his feet. His wife put out her hand and took his. But George continued to look steadily at Lea Makart. Nothing of this is very important. Art is the only thing that matters. In comparison with art, wealth and rank and power are not worth a straw. We give the world significance. You are only our raw material. I was not too pleased to be included with the rest under that heading, but that is neither here nor there.
Don't think it's been wasted. It will always be a pleasure to you to be able to play the piano and it will enable you to appreciate great playing as no ordinary person can hope to do. Look at your hands. They're not a pianist's hands. Involuntarily I glanced at George's hands. I had never noticed them before. I was astounded to see how podgy they were and how short and stumpy the fingers. I don't think you can ever hope to be more than a very competent amateur. In art the difference between the amateur and the professional is immeasurable.
George did not reply. Except for his pallor no one would have known that he was listening to the blasting of all his hopes. The silence that fell was quite awful. Lea Makart's eyes suddenly filled with tears. Ask somebody else. You know how good and generous Paderewski is. I'll write to him about you and you can go down and play to him. I'm sure he'll hear you.
George now gave a little smile. He had very good manners and whatever he was feeling did not want to make the situation too difficult for others. To tell you the truth it's not so very different from my master's in Munich. He got up from the piano and lit a cigarette. It eased the strain. The others moved a little in their chairs. Lea Makart smiled at George. She got up and went to the piano. She took off the rings with which her fingers were laden. She played Bach. I do not know the names of the pieces, but I recognised the stiff ceremonial of the frenchified little German courts and the sober, thrifty comfort of the burghers, and the dancing on the village green, the green trees that looked like Christmas trees, and the sunlight on the wide German country, and a tender cosiness; and in my nostrils there was a warm scent of the soil and I was conscious of a sturdy strength that seemed to have its roots deep in mother earth, and of an elemental power that was timeless and had no home in space.
She played beautifully, with a soft brilliance that made you think of the full moon shining at dusk in the summer sky. With another part of me I watched the others and I saw how intensely they were conscious of the experience. They were rapt. I wished with all my heart that I could get from music the wonderful exaltation that possessed them.
She stopped, a smile hovered on her lips, and she put on her rings. George gave a little chuckle. The servants brought in tea and after tea Lea Makart and I bade the company farewell and got into the car. We drove up to London. She talked all the way, if not brilliantly at all events with immense gusto; she told me of her early years in Manchester and of the struggle of her beginnings.
She was very interesting. She never even mentioned George; the episode was of no consequence, it was finished and she thought of it no more. We little knew what was happening at Tilby. When we left George went out on the terrace and presently his father joined him. Freddy had won the day, but he was not happy. With his more than feminine sensitiveness he felt all that George was feeling, and George's anguish simply broke his heart. He had never loved his son more than then.
When he appeared George greeted him with a little smile. Freddy's voice broke. In a sudden and overwhelming emotion he found it in him to surrender the fruits of his victory. Would you like to go back to Munich for another year and then see? And there's nothing doing. It's a bit thick if you come to think of it. You can get one of your Oxford pals to go with you and I'll pay all the expenses.
You've been working very hard for a long time. Then George did a strange thing. He put his arm round his father's neck, and kissed him on the lips. He gave a funny little moved laugh and walked away. Freddy went back to the drawing-room. His mother, Ferdy and Muriel were sitting there. It would take his mind off his troubles and when he is married and has a baby he will soon settle down like everybody else.
Lady Frielinghausen came to see me the other day with her daughter Violet. She is a very nice maiden and she will have money of her own. Lady Frielinghausen gave me to understand that her Sir Jacob would come down very handsome if Violet made a good match. George is much too young to marry.
He can afford to marry anyone he likes. She knew as well as if Muriel had said it in so many words that she wanted George to marry a Gentile, but she knew also that so long as she was alive neither Freddy nor his wife would dare to suggest it. But George did not go for a walk. Perhaps because the shooting season was about to open he took it into his head to go into the gun-room. He began to clean the gun that his mother had given him on his twentieth birthday.
No one had used it since he went to Germany. Suddenly the servants were startled by a report. When they went into the gun-room they found George lying on the floor shot through the heart. Apparently the gun had been loaded and George while playing about with it had accidentally shot himself. One reads of such accidents in the paper often.
I suppose that very few people know how Mrs. Albert Forrester came to write The Achilles Statue ; and since it has been acclaimed as one of the great novels of our time I cannot but think that a brief account of the circumstances that gave it birth must be of interest to all serious students of literature; and indeed, if, as the critics say, this is a book that will live, the following narrative, serving a better purpose than to divert an idle hour, may be regarded by the historian of the future as a curious footnote to the literary annals of our day.
Everyone of course remembers the success that attended the publication of The Achilles Statue. Month after month printers were kept busy printing, binders were kept busy binding, edition after edition; and the publishers, both in England and America, were hard put to it to fulfil the pressing orders of the booksellers. It was promptly translated into every European tongue and it has been recently announced that it will soon be possible to read it in Japanese and in Urdu.
But it had previously appeared serially in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and from the editors of these Mrs. Albert Forrester's agent had wrung a sum that can only be described as thumping. A dramatisation of the work was made, which ran for a season in New York, and there is little doubt that when the play is produced in London it will have an equal success. The film rights have been sold at a great price. Though the amount that Mrs. Albert Forrester is reputed in literary circles to have made is probably exaggerated, there can be no doubt that she will have earned enough money from this one book to save her for the rest of her life from any financial anxiety.
It is not often that a book meets with equal favour from the public and the critics, and that she, of all persons, had if I may so put it squared the circle must have proved the more gratifying to Mrs. Albert Forrester, since, though she had received the commendation of the critics in no grudging terms and indeed had come to look upon it as her due the public had always remained strangely insensible to her merit. Each work she published, a slender volume beautifully printed and bound in white buckram, was hailed as a masterpiece, always to the length of a column, and in the weekly reviews which you see only in the dusty library of a very long-established club even to the extent of a page; and all well-read persons read and praised it.
But well-read persons apparently do not buy books, and she did not sell. It was indeed a scandal that so distinguished an author, with an imagination so delicate and a style so exquisite, should remain neglected of the vulgar. In America she was almost completely unknown; and though Mr. Carl van Vechten had written an article berating the public for its obtuseness, the public remained callous. Her agent, a warm admirer of her genius, had blackmailed an American publisher into taking two of her books by refusing, unless he did so, to let him have others trashy novels doubtless that he badly wanted, and they had been duly published.
The reception they received from the press was flattering and showed that in America the best minds were sensitive to her talent; but when it came to the third book the American publisher in the coarse way publishers have told the agent that any money he had to spare he preferred to spend on synthetic gin. Since The Achilles Statue Mrs. Albert Forrester's previous books have been republished and Mr.
Carl van Vechten has written another article pointing out sadly, but firmly, that he had drawn the attention of the reading world to the merits of this exceptional writer fully fifteen years ago , and they have been so widely advertised that they can scarcely have escaped the cultured reader's attention.
It is unnecessary, therefore, for me to give an account of them; and it would certainly be no more than cold potatoes after those two subtle articles by Mr. Carl van Vechten. Albert Forrester began to write early. Her first work a volume of elegies appeared when she was a maiden of eighteen; and from then on she published, every two or three years, for she had too exalted a conception of her art to hurry her production, a volume either of verse or prose.
When The Achilles Statue was written she had reached the respectable age of fifty-seven, so that it will be readily surmised that the number of her works was considerable. She had given the world half a dozen volumes of verse, published under Latin titles, such as Felicitas , Pax Maris and Aes Triplex , all of the graver kind, for her muse, disinclined to skip on a light, fantastic toe, trod a somewhat solemn measure. It is admirable not only for the noble sonority of its rhythms, but also for its felicitous description of the pleasant land of France.
Albert Forrester wrote of the valley of the Loire with its memories of du Bellay, of Chartres and the jewelled windows of its cathedral, of the sun-swept cities of Provence, with a sympathy all the more remarkable since she had never penetrated further into France than Boulogne, which she visited shortly after her marriage on an excursion steamer from Margate.
But the physical mortification of being extremely seasick and the intellectual humiliation of discovering that the inhabitants of that popular seaside resort could not understand her fluent and idiomatic French made her determine not to expose herself a second time to experiences that were at once undignified and unpleasant; and she never again embarked on the treacherous element which she, however, sang Pax Maris in numbers both grave and sweet.
There are some fine passages too in the Ode to Woodrow Wilson , and I regret that, owing to a change in her sentiments towards that no doubt excellent man, the author decided not to reprint it. But I think it must be admitted that Mrs. Albert Forrester's most distinguished work was in prose. It was her prose that gained her that body of devoted admirers, fit though few, as with her rare gift of phrase she herself put it, that proclaimed her the greatest master of the English language that this century has seen.
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May be I should buy it for my husband as well. I heard about these pills but after seeing all these positive comments I want to see it for myself ;. All Rights reserved. Does Peins Pumps Work 2,, In a quiet corner stood three men discussing trucks and transport and distribution, since one was the present distribution manager, and the other two were past holders of the post, having retired many years ago. The three men represented three generations of company distribution management, spanning over sixty years. The present distribution manager confessed that his job was becoming more stressful because company policy required long deliveries be made on Monday and Tuesday, short deliveries on Fridays, and all other deliveries mid-week.
The third man nodded, and was thinking hard, struggling to recall the policy's roots many years ago when he'd have been a junior in the despatch department. After a pause, the third man smiled and then ventured a suggestion. During the Second World War fuel rationing was introduced. So we mothballed the trucks and went back to using the horses. On Mondays the horses were well-rested after the weekend - hence the long deliveries.
By Friday the horses so tired they could only handle the short local drops The boards of the two fiercely competitive companies decided to organize a rowing match to challenge each other's organisational and sporting abilities. The second company was more 'theory y': a culture of developing people, devolved responsibility and decision-making.
Race day arrived. The Y company's boat appeared from the boat-house first, with its crew: eight rowers and a helmsman the cox. Next followed the X company boat and its crew - eight helmsmen and a single rower. The next day the X company board of directors held an inquest with the crew, to review what had been learned from the embarrassing defeat, which might be of benefit to the organization as a whole, and any future re-match.
After a long and wearing meeting the X company board finally came came to their decision. They concluded that the rower should be replaced immediately because clearly he had not listened well enough to the instructions he'd been given. Following a poor first-half year performance the board of Company X tasked a senior manager to investigate what was happening on the factory floor, since the directors believed poor productivity was at the root of the problem. While walking around the plant, the investigating manager came upon a large warehouse area where a man stood next to a pillar.
The manager introduced himself as the person investigating performance on the factory floor, appointed by the board, and then asked the man by the pillar what he was doing. The investigator thanked the man for his cooperation and encouraged him to keep up the good work. The investigator next walked into a large packing area, where he saw another man standing next to a pillar. The investigator again introduced himself and asked the man what he was doing. Two weeks later the investigator completed his report and duly presented his findings to the board, who held a brief meeting to decide remedial action.
The board called the investigator back into the room, thanked him for his work, and then instructed him to sack one of the men he'd found standing by pillars, since obviously this was a duplication of effort. Five minutes later he called the reception desk and said: "You've given me a room with no exit. How do I leave? The man said, "Well, there's one door that leads to the bathroom.
There's a second door that goes into the closet. And there's a door I haven't tried, but it has a 'do not disturb' sign on it. An elderly couple, married for sixty years, took a rare vacation. They were not well-off but were in good health, perhaps because the wife had insisted on a strict diet of healthy foods, no alcohol, no smoking, and lots of gym exercise for most of their lives. Sadly their plane crashed however, and duly they both entered heaven, where St Peter escorted them through the Pearly Gates, and into a waiting limousine. Driving through beautiful countryside they drew up at a beautiful mansion and were shown inside.
It was furnished in gold and fine silks, with a splendid kitchen and a sumptuous lounge stocked with wonderful food and drink - there was even a waterfall in the master bathroom. A maid was hanging beautiful designer clothes in the walk-in wardrobes. They gasped in astonishment when St Peter said, "Welcome to heaven. This will be your home now. The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.
Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them. Anticipating the old man's next question, St Peter said, "Don't ask, this is heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy. The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife. The old man glared at his wife, "You and your bloody bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago! Two sons work for their father on the family's farm. The younger brother had for some years been given more responsibility and reward, and one day the older brother asks his father to explain why.
The father says, "First, go to the Kelly's farm and see if they have any geese for sale - we need to add to our stock. The father asks the older brother to wait and listen, and then calls to the younger brother in a nearby field, "Go to the Davidson's Farm and see if they have any geese for sale - we need to add to our stock. The father turned to the older son, who nodded his head in appreciation - he now realised why his brother was given more responsibility and reward.
A mother wished to encourage her small girl's interest in the piano and so took her a local concert featuring an excellent pianist. In the entrance foyer the mother met an old friend and the two stopped to talk. The little girl was keen to see inside the hall and so wandered off, unnoticed by her mother.
The girl's mother became concerned when she entered the hall and could see no sign of her daughter. Staff were notified and an announcement was made asking the audience to look out for the little lost girl. With the concert due to start, the little girl had still not been found. In preparation for the pianist's entrance, the curtains drew aside, to reveal the little girl sitting at the great piano, focused in concentration, quietly picking out the notes of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.
The audience's amusement turned to curiosity when the pianist entered the stage, walked up to the little girl, and said "Keep playing. The pianist sat down beside her, listened for a few seconds, and whispered some more words of encouragement. He then began quietly to play a bass accompaniment, and then a few bars later reached around the little girl to add more accompaniment. At the end of the impromptu performance the audience applauded loudly as the pianist took the little girl back to her seat to be reunited with her mother.
The experience was inspirational for everyone, not least the small girl. It takes just a few moments to make somebody's day, to help someone with their own personal aims and dreams - especially someone who looks up to you for encouragement and support. Ack PC. Allegedly a true story from the old airport in Denver: a major airline had cancelled a very busy flight and a lone check-in agent is busy trying to sort out all the displaced passengers.
A very angry and aggressive man barges his way to the front of the queue to confront her. He says says that he is flying first class and demands to go on the flight. The agent politely explains the situation and asks that people take their place in the queue. The man bellows at her, "Do you know who I am? If anyone can come and identify him please do so.
A small boy was auditioning with his classmates for a school play. His mother knew that he'd set his heart on being in the play - just like all the other children hoped too - and she feared how he would react if he was not chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, the little boy's mother went to the school gates to collect her son.
The little lad rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. I am assured this is a true story from a UK bank. The bank concerned had introduced a charge to be levied when people paid in money to be credited to an account held by a different bank. The charge was 50p and had been in force for about 6 months or so. A well to do, upper-class lady enters the bank and presents the cashier a cheque check which she asks to be paid into an account held by a different bank. The cashier duly tells the lady that there will be a charge of 50p.
Indignantly, she tells him, "I wasn't charged the last time. A little girl was watching her mother prepare a fish for dinner. Her mother cut the head and tail off the fish and then placed it into a baking pan. The little girl asked her mother why she cut the head and tail off the fish. Her mother thought for a while and then said, "I've always done it that way - that's how babicka Czech for grandma did it.
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Not satisfied with the answer, the little girl went to visit her grandma to find out why she cut the head and tail off the fish before baking it. So the little girl and the grandma went to visit great grandma to find ask if she knew the answer. One day a farmer's donkey fell into a well. The farmer frantically thought what to do as the stricken animal cried out to be rescued.
With no obvious solution, the farmer regretfully concluded that as the donkey was old, and as the well needed to be filled in anyway, he should give up the idea of rescuing the beast, and simply fill in the well. Hopefully the poor animal would not suffer too much, he tried to persuade himself. The farmer asked his neighbours help, and before long they all began to shovel earth quickly into the well. When the donkey realised what was happening he wailed and struggled, but then, to everyone's relief, the noise stopped.
After a while the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished by what he saw. The donkey was still alive, and progressing towards the top of the well. The donkey had discovered that by shaking off the dirt instead of letting it cover him, he could keep stepping on top of the earth as the level rose. Soon the donkey was able to step up over the edge of the well, and he happily trotted off.
Life tends to shovel dirt on top of each of us from time to time. The trick is to shake it off and take a step up. A shepherd was tending his flock in a field, when a new sports car screeched to a stop on the road nearby in a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in expensive designer clothes and sunglasses, leans out of the window and shouts over to the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have here, can I take one? The shepherd looks up slowly up at the young man, then looks at his peaceful flock, and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?
The young man steps out of his car holding a state-of-the-art palmtop pda, with which he proceeds to connects to a series of websites, first calling up satellite navigation system to pinpoint his location, then keying in the location to generate an ultra-high resolution picture of the field. After emailing the photo to an image processing facility, the processed data is returned, which he then feeds into an online database, and enters the parameters for a report.
Within another few seconds a miniature printer in the car produces a full colour report containing several pages of analysis and results. The young man studies the data for a few more seconds and returns to the shepherd. The young man makes his choice and loads the animal onto the back seat of his car, at which the shepherd says, almost as an afterthought, "Hey there, if I can tell you what your business is, will you give me back my sheep? You took a fee for giving me an answer that already know, to a question I never asked, and you know nothing about my business.
Now give me back my dog. This allegedly true story, supposedly leaked by the Australian Department of Transport, concerns four Australian young men and a mobile speed camera police van. Three of the four lads engaged the speed camera operators in conversation about the camera equipment, and the number of cars caught, etc. Bidding the police farewell, the lads returned home, screwed the registration plate to their own car and proceeded to complete 17 very fast round trips through the speed camera's radar.
The traffic penalties department subsequently issued 17 speeding tickets to itself. A mechanical engineer, a systems engineer, and a software engineer are in a car driving down a steep mountain road when the brakes fail. The driver desperately pumps the brake pedal, trying to control the speeding vehicle around cliff-edge bends, while the passengers do their best not to panic.
As the car hurtles towards an impossible corner the driver spots an escape route into a hedge and a haystack beyond, where the car eventually grinds to a surprisingly safe stop. The three engineers all get out, shaken, relieved, and take turns to assess the situation. The systems engineer thinks for a while and says, "Maybe we need to contact the manufacturer and the dealer to confirm exactly what the problem is The software engineer slowly climbs into the driver's seat and, gesturing for the others to join him, says, "How about we get back on the road and see if it happens again?..
An alternative final line, suggested kindly and brilliantly by David Shiell, is: "How about if we close all the windows and try again.. And an equally brilliant suggestion for an alternative final line, contributed kindly by Nancy Falcon, is: "Did you turn the car off and then back on again?.. A little old couple walked into a fast food restaurant.
The little old man walked up to the counter, ordered the food, paid, and took the tray back to the table where the little old lady sat. On the tray was a hamburger, a small bag of fries and a drink. Carefully the old man cut the hamburger in two, and divided the fries into two neat piles.
He sipped the drink and passed it to the little old lady, who took a sip and passed it back. A young man on a nearby table had watched the old couple and felt sorry for them. He offered to buy them another meal, but the old man politely declined, saying that they were used to sharing everything. The old man began to eat his food, but his wife sat still, not eating. The young continued to watch the couple. He still felt he should be offering to help. As the little old man finished eating, the old lady had still not started on her food.
I received the e-mail originally back in , with around 20 reasons why it's good to be a bloke I spent most of the following 3 days making the number up to A teacher told her young class to ask their parents for a family story with a moral at the end of it, and to return the next day to tell their stories. In the classroom the next day, Joe gave his example first, "My dad is a farmer and we have chickens. One day we were taking lots of eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the truck when we hit a big bump in the road; the basket fell off the seat and all the eggs broke.
The moral of the story is not to put all your eggs in one basket.. Next, Mary said, "We are farmers too. We had twenty eggs waiting to hatch, but when they did we only got ten chicks. The moral of this story is not to count your chickens before they're hatched.. Next it was Barney's turn to tell his story: "My dad told me this story about my Aunt Karen Aunt Karen was a flight engineer in the war and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a bottle of whisky, a machine gun and a machete.
She killed seventy of them with the machine gun until she ran out of bullets. Then she killed twenty more with the machete till the blade broke. And then she killed the last ten with her bare hands. This allegedly took place in a factory in the USA which manufactured the 'Tickle Me Elmo' toys, a children's plush cuddly toy which laughs when tickled under the arm. The legend has is it that a new employee was hired at the Tickle Me Elmo factory and she duly reported for her first day's induction training, prior to being allocated a job on the production line.
At the next day the personnel manager received a visit from an excited assembly line foreman who was not best pleased about the performance of the new recruit. The foreman explained that she was far too slow, and that she was causing the entire line to back-up, delaying the whole production schedule. The personnel manager asked to see what was happening, so both men proceeded to the factory floor.
On arrival they saw that the line was indeed badly backed-up - there were hundreds of Tickle Me Elmos strewn all over the factory floor, and they were still piling up. Virtually buried in a mountain of toys sat the new employee earnestly focused on her work. She had a roll of red plush fabric and a bag of marbles. The two men watched amazed as she cut a little piece of fabric, wrapped it around a pair of marbles and carefully began sewing the little package between Elmo's legs. The personnel manager began to laugh, and it was some while before he could compose himself, at which he approached the trainee.
Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles. The story goes: upon completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagara Falls in appalling wind and rain, 'The Great Zumbrati' was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along. The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, "You can do it - I know you can," he urged.
Charles Plumb was a navy jet pilot. On his seventy-sixth combat mission, he was shot down and parachuted into enemy territory. He was captured and spent six years in prison. He survived and now lectures on the lessons he learned from his experiences. One day, a man in approached Plumb and his wife in a restaurant, and said, "Are you Plumb the navy pilot? Plumb was amazed - and grateful: "If the chute you packed hadn't worked I wouldn't be here today Plumb refers to this in his lectures: his realisation that the anonymous sailors who packed the parachutes held the pilots' lives in their hands, and yet the pilots never gave these sailors a second thought; never even said hello, let alone said thanks.
Now Plumb asks his audiences, "Who packs your parachutes?
Who helps you through your life? Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Think about who helps you; recognise them and say thanks. Ack JK, and thanks to the person who wrote to confirm that Charles Plum still speaks and lectures. This is allegedly a true story. Engineers at a major aerospace company were instructed to test the effects of bird-strikes notably geese on the windshields of airliners and military jets. To simulate the effect of a goose colliding with an aircraft travelling at high speed, the test engineers built a powerful gun, with which they fired dead chickens at the windshields.
The simulations using the gun and the dead chickens worked extremely effectively, happily proving the suitability of the windshields, and several articles about the project appeared in the testing industry press. It so happened that another test laboratory in a different part of the world was involved in assessing bird-strikes - in this case on the windshields and drivers' cabs of new very high speed trains. The train test engineers had read about the pioneering test developed by the aerospace team, and so they approached them to ask for specifications of the gun and the testing methods.
The aerospace engineers duly gave them details, and the train engineers set about building their own simulation. The simulated bird-strike tests on the train windshields and cabs produced shocking results. The supposed state-of-the-art shatter-proof high speed train windshields offered little resistance to the high-speed chickens; in fact every single windshield that was submitted for testing was smashed to pieces, along with a number of train cabs and much of the test booth itself.
The horrified train engineers were concerned that the new high speed trains required a safety technology that was beyond their experience, so they contacted the aerospace team for advice and suggestions, sending them an extensive report of the tests and failures. Like most great stories, this one exists in different versions, although the meaning is the same. Many feature a poodle, or another small breed of dog instead of a chihuahua.
A lady takes her pet chihuahua with her on a safari holiday. Wandering too far one day the chihuahua gets lost in the bush, and soon encounters a very hungry looking leopard. The chihuahua realises he's in trouble, but, noticing some fresh bones on the ground, he settles down to chew on them, with his back to the big cat. As the leopard is about to leap, the chihuahua smacks his lips and exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard.
I wonder if there are any more around here. A monkey nearby sees everything and thinks he'll win a favour by putting the stupid leopard straight. The chihuahua sees the monkey go after the leopard, and guesses he might be up to no good. When the leopard hears the monkey's story he feels angry at being made a fool, and offers the monkey a ride back to see him exact his revenge. Thinking quickly, the little dog turns his back, pretends not to notice them, and when the pair are within earshot says aloud, "Now where's that monkey got to?
I sent him ages ago to bring me another leopard A big corporation hired several cannibals. A few weeks later the cannibals' boss remarked, "You're all working very hard, and I'm satisfied with you. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to her? After the boss left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others angrily, "Right, which one of you idiots ate the secretary? A hand rose hesitantly in admission. A dog held a juicy bone in his jaws as he crossed a bridge over a brook.
When he looked down into the water he saw a another dog below with what appeared to be a bigger juicier bone. He jumped into the brook to snatch the bigger bone, letting go his own bone, He quickly learned of course that the bigger bone was just a reflection, and so he ended up with nothing. Apparently this is based on a true incident. A quality management consultant was visiting a small and somewhat antiquated English manufacturing company, to advise on improving general operating efficiency. The advisor was reviewing a particular daily report which dealt with aspects of productivity, absentee rates, machine failure, down-time, etc.
The report was completed manually onto a photocopied proforma that was several generations away from the original master-copy, so its headings and descriptions were quite difficult to understand. The photocopied forms were particularly fuzzy at the top-right corner, where a small box had a heading that was not clear at all. The advisor was interested to note that the figure '0' had been written in every daily report for the past year.
On questioning the members of staff who completed the report, they told him that they always put a zero in that box, and when he asked them why they looked at each other blankly. Intrigued, the consultant visited the archives to see if he could find a clearer form, to discover what was originally being reported and whether it actually held any significance. When he found the old reports, he saw that the zero return had continued uninterrupted for as far back as the records extended - at least the past thirty years - but none of the forms was any clearer than those presently in use.
A little frustrated, he packed away the old papers and turned to leave the room, but something caught his eye. In another box he noticed a folder, promisingly titled 'master forms'. Sure enough inside it he found the original daily report proforma master-copy, in pristine condition. In the top right corner was the mysterious box, with the heading clearly shown Here are two letters, according to the story both real, the first allegedly sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan; the second is Mr DeVries' amusing response.
The letters provide a great example of the dangers of making assumptions and jumping to conclusions, and also how to reply to a false accusation with humour and style. It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.
A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that our staff may schedule a follow-up site inspection.
Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at Dagget, Pierson, Michigan. A couple of beavers are in the process State unauthorized of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond.
While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials "debris". As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity. My first dam question to you is: 1 are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or 2 do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.
I have several concerns. My first concern is: aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation, so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing flooding is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect.
In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names. If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers, but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English. In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream.
They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources Beavers and the environment Beavers' Dams. So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality health problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods.
I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not careful where they dump! Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office. Footnote: I'm grateful to J DeKorne for pointing out that these letters are in fact based on real correspondence involving Stephen Tvedten of Marne, Michigan.
The original letters are here. Nevertheless be careful how you use this story. There are various versions of the story of the blind visually impaired men and the elephant. The 'blind men and the elephant' is a legend that appears in different cultures - notably China, Africa and India - and the tale dates back thousands of years. Some versions of the story feature three blind men, others five or six, but the message is always the same. Here's a story of the six blind men and the elephant:.
Six blind men were discussing exactly what they believed an elephant to be, since each had heard how strange the creature was, yet none had ever seen one before. So the blind men agreed to find an elephant and discover what the animal was really like. It didn't take the blind men long to find an elephant at a nearby market. The first blind man approached the beast and felt the animal's firm flat side.
The second blind man reached out and touched one of the elephant's tusks. Intrigued, the third blind man stepped up to the elephant and touched its trunk. The fourth blind man was of course by now quite puzzled. So he reached out, and felt the elephant's leg. Utterly confused, the fifth blind man stepped forward and grabbed one of the elephant's ears. Duly, the sixth man approached, and, holding the beast's tail, disagreed again.
And all six blind men continued to argue, based on their own particular experiences, as to what they thought an elephant was like. It was an argument that they were never able to resolve. Each of them was concerned only with their own idea. None of them had the full picture, and none could see any of the other's point of view. Each man saw the elephant as something quite different, and while in part each blind man was right, none was wholly correct.
There is never just one way to look at something - there are always different perspectives, meanings, and perceptions, depending on who is looking. A little field-mouse was lost in a dense wood, unable to find his way out. He came upon a wise old owl sitting in a tree. The owl looked at him haughtily, sniffed disdainfully, and said, "Don't bother me with the details, I only decide the policy. According to the story, after every Qantas Airlines flight other airlines, and military sources are suggested instead also the pilots complete a a 'gripe sheet' report, which conveys to the ground crew engineers any mechanical problems on the aircraft during the flight.
The engineer reads the form, corrects the problem, then writes details of action taken on the lower section of the form for the pilot to review before the next flight. It is clear from the examples below that ground crew engineers have a keen sense of humour - these are supposedly real extracts from gripe forms completed by pilots with the solution responses by the engineers.
Incidentally, Qantas has the best safety record of all the world's major airlines. One day a small rat surfaced from his nest to find himself between the paws of a huge sleeping lion, which immediately awoke and seized the rat. The rat pleaded with the fierce beast to be set free, and the lion, being very noble and wise, and in no need of such small prey, agreed to let the relieved rat go on his way.
Some days later in the same part of the forest, a hunter had laid a trap for the lion, and it duly caught him, so that the lion was trussed up in a strong net, helpless, with nothing to do than wait for the hunter to return. But it was the rat who came along next, and seeing the lion in need of help, promptly set about biting and gnawing through the net, which soon began to unravel, setting the great lion free. The moral of the story is of course to make the world your debtor - even the humblest of folk may one day be of use.
Two mules travelled regularly together with their loads, from their town to the city. The first mule, a humble beast, wore a tatty cloak, and carried sacks of oats for the miller. The second mule was an arrogant animal, who wore a fine coat with jingling bells. He carried gold and silver coins for the tax collector, and loved to brag about his responsibility and importance. Running late one day, the second mule suggested taking a short-cut, off the main road, despite his companion's warnings about the risks of taking such a dangerous route.
Sure enough, before too long, thieves attacked the second mule, stealing his valuable load, and leaving him injured by the roadside. One day a traveller was walking along a road on his journey from one village to another. As he walked he noticed a monk tending the ground in the fields beside the road. The monk said "Good day" to the traveller, and the traveller nodded to the monk. The traveller then turned to the monk and said "Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question? I found the people most unwelcoming. When I first arrived I was greeted coldly. I was never made to feel part of the village no matter how hard I tried.
The villagers keep very much to themselves, they don't take kindly to strangers. So tell me, what can I expect in the village in the valley? A while later another traveller was journeying down the same road and he also came upon the monk. I would have stayed if I could but I am committed to travelling on. I felt as though I was a member of the family in the village. The elders gave me much advice, the children laughed and joked with me and people were generally kind and generous.
I am sad to have left there. It will always hold special memories for me. And what of the village in the valley? A highly successful Human Resources Manager was tragically knocked down by a bus and killed. Her soul arrived at the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter welcomed her:.