Friday, October 30, 2015

Possible Labor Law Violation

A man owned a large rabbit ranch in the upper mid-west. His State's Labor Department got a tip that he was not paying proper wages to all his help and it sent an investigator out to interview this rabbit rancher.

The investigator drove up in his big flashy state vehicle and walked up to rancher flashed his badge and said "I am with the State Department of Labor and I need a complete list of your employees and how much you pay them," .

"Well," replied the rancher, "there's my barn manager over there.  He's been with me for 5 years now. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board."

"And over there is my breeding supervisor and feeder. He’s been with me 3 years and I pay him $450 a week plus free room and board. Finally there is cook - she’s over there.  She has been with us almost 11 months and I pay her $325 a week plus free room and board."

"Oh and then there's the half-wit we have here at the ranch. He’s been here since we started the ranch; he’s a hard worker and a jack of all trades. He can do just about anything on the ranch and he works about 18 hours every day - including Saturdays and Sundays.  He seldom takes a day off and I am pretty sure he does about 90% of all the work around here on the ranch. He makes just a little over $70 per week however he pays for his own room and board."

"But, I have to admit I buy a bottle of Jim Beam every Saturday night, and once in a while I let him sleep with my wife."

"That's the guy I want to talk to ... the half-wit. Where is he" asked the investigator?

"You're talking to him," replied the rabbit rancher.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Unique Relationship Between Brass Monkeys and Cold Weather

 With winter rapidly approaching across many parts of the U.S., it might be wise for you to know the historical connection between "cold weather" and "brass monkeys". I was stunned when I first heard this.  Since organizational leaders and local government public officials are often expected to know everything and have all the answers, hopefully this story will provide you with some information you can use in the future. 

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons on board. Those cannons fired heavy iron cannonballs. It was necessary for each ship to keep a good supply of cannonballs near each cannon should they be attacked by a hostile vessel.

The problem each ship faced was how to prevent the round cannonballs from rolling around the deck. The solution was to stack the cannonballs in a square-based pyramid with one ball on top which would rest on four which would rest on nine, which would rest on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 29 cannonballs could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.

There was only one problem with this method - how do you prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling about from under the others? The solution was the invention of a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls resting in the indentations would quickly rust with the salt water spray. So to prevent the rusting problem, "Brass Monkeys" were developed.

Brass is not a perfect metal and few people are aware that brass contracts more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the wind temperatures on the ship dropped too far, the indentations in the brass monkeys would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs on the bottom tier would roll right off the monkey.

Therefore whenever the outside temperature fell to around 32 degrees, it was quite literally "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey."

Now I am thinking - like most people you probably thought this was an improper expression to use in public.

Hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson.  Remember learning can and should be fun .  That's the reason so many professional associations, business organizations and units of local government invite Gabe Gabrielsen to solve their problems and provide their employees and staffs with great educational programs.