davidbrucehaiku: Who are these people?






Who are these people?

They are all my relatives

Your relatives, too


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davidbrucehaiku: Vietnam






This is Vietnam

It doesn’t match the image

I have of this place


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David Bruce: Work Anecdotes


[E.B.] White Literary LLC [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

While working at The New Yorker, E.B. White declined to come in for regular hours, although he did turn in his work on time. In fact, he once set off for a vacation in Maine — without first informing The New Yorker.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft together, made their first splash in computers by writing a BASIC operating program for the Altair computer. They first contacted Ed Roberts, the owner of the computer company that manufactured the Altair, and told him that they had already written the program — even though they hadn’t even started. Mr. Roberts expressed interest in the program, so they feverishly set about writing it in eight weeks. Mr. Gates even fell asleep occasionally at the keyboard while writing code. He would dream about writing code, then wake up and start writing code again. The presentation of the software went well, they made the sale, then Mr. Gates and Mr. Allen celebrated with soft drinks and ice cream.

The first time Margaret Bourke-White wanted to take Mahatma Gandhi’s photograph, she had to show that she knew how to use a spinning wheel before she was allowed to meet the great man. At the time, the British took cotton from India, shipped it to Great Britain where it was made into clothing, then shipped it back to India to be sold. To create jobs for the citizens of India, Gandhi wanted them to weave the cotton into cloth. After taking a quick lesson in spinning, Ms. Bourke-White was able to demonstrate sufficient competence to see Gandhi and to take a world-famous photograph of him.

When Jerome Robbins decided to devote himself to dance, his parents opposed him. They strongly preferred that he choose a different occupation — even shoe making — and they sent him to talk to various relatives in an attempt to bring him to his senses. However, he declined to give up his ambition, and he even scrubbed floors at times to pay his dance tuition. Later, he became world famous as the choreographer of On the Town, The King and I, Peter Pan, West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof.

In 1903, union organizer Mother Jones led a march to New York City of children working in mills in Philadelphia. In Hoboken, New Jersey, Mother Jones was invited to stay free of charge at a hotel by its owner. While there, she talked to the hotel employees and discovered that they were badly treated and badly paid. Therefore, Mother Jones did what she always did in such situations — she organized the mistreated, ill-paid workers into a union. That night, the newly unionized workers struck (refused to work), and Mother Jones was ordered to leave the hotel.

During war, supplies are limited, and so governments must make decisions about where cutbacks can be made in order to divert material to the use of the military. During World War II, the United States War Production Board decided to phase out the manufacture of alarm clocks, but when workers began to arrive late for their shifts in factories manufacturing much-needed materials, it realized that it had made a mistake and authorized their production once more.

Famous detective Allan Pinkerton did some good in his life. His hatred of slavery led him to become involved with the Underground Railroad, and he was an early advocate of using women operatives in the detective business. Unfortunately, although he had been a working man who had supported unions when he was a young man, his agency was used to protect strikebreakers and to bust unions when he was old.

Before becoming an entertainer, Whoopi Goldberg worked in a mortuary, where she dressed the hair of corpses. To do this particular job, she pretended that the corpses were just very large dolls. Later, she joked that dressing the hair of the corpses was better than dressing the hair of the living because the corpses never complained about how Ms. Goldberg made them look.

Mexican artist Diego Rivera put his art before everything else. Often, he worked 15 to 18 hours a day, every day of the week. He would snack rather than eat, and his common-law wife, Guadalupe Marín, once complained that he didn’t stop working long enough even to take a bath. During 1932-1933, Mr. Rivera worked so hard painting murals that he lost 100 pounds!

Being a Supreme Court Justice can be a time-consuming job. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sometimes reads legal briefs while sitting in a restaurant and waiting for friends to arrive. In addition, she sometimes reads papers with a flashlight in a movie theater while the Coming Attractions are displayed on the movie screen.

As a teenager, Julie Krone went to the Tampa Bay Downs in Florida to become a jockey. She met a trainer, Jerry Pace, who said to her, “I’m told you want to be a jockey.” Mr. Krone replied, “No, I’m going to be a jockey.” She did, and in 1993, she won the Belmont Stakes to become the first woman to win a Triple Crown race.

The last rivet to be used in the construction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge was special — it was made of gold. It was set in the bridge on April 28, 1937, by a construction worker nicknamed Iron Horse — the same construction worker who had set the first rivet in the bridge.

Oprah Winfrey became the first black co-anchor and the first woman co-anchor in Nashville after she auditioned for WTVF-TV. She knew that her race and sex had helped her to get the job, but she says, “Sure, I was a token. But, honey, I was one happy token.”

“At one time in our history when a person worked 12 hours per day, it was called economic slavery. Nowadays, it’s called moonlighting, and many people hold two jobs so they can drive from one to the other in a more expensive car.” — Tom Mullen.

Lesbian stand-up comedian Judy Carter wore her freedom-ring necklace to a store, where one of two men behind a counter said, “I like your necklace.” This was a safe way for him to come out to her, while still remaining closeted to his boss.

Some musicians played for Duke Ellington for most of their careers. For example, Harry Carney joined Mr. Ellington’s band in 1927 when he was 17 years old and was still playing for him 47 years later, when Mr. Ellington died.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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