Tally Me Banana

Today is singer and activist  Harry Belafonte’s birthday.  He’s 89 years old.

Belafonte has done many worthy things as an outspoken champion of human rights.  I don’t know how he feels about it, but it seems unfortunate that he is best known for  singing a Jamaican work song that prominently features the world’s most politically loaded and inherently humorous fruit – the banana.

Working all night on a drink of rum is no small trick.  But you would want to be sure the tally man was counting your bundles fairly when it was time to go home.

And please, let’s not think about spiders.

What motivates you to do your work?

81 thoughts on “Tally Me Banana”

    1. what motovates me is the realazation that all the great icons and heros i looked up to are shing do fast it hard to compute and now thst they are old they are relegated to recall rather than initiate, i find my story telling skills less than world changing and the realazation that i only have another couple of years left is enough to add a needed push for the day.

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  1. My Dad told me that it is important to be proud of the work you do and do the best that you can. He said: “If you end up as a ditch digger, be a good ditch digger”.

    It is great if you can find a job you really like in which case you probably will not have any trouble being motivated to do your work. If you don’t like the the work you are doing, you can keep going at it by concentrating on doing it in a skillful manner.

    Also, don’t worry about the tarantula. They aren’t poisonous and are not interested in biting you.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. A lot of what I do, and have done for the last several years, boils down to making work easier for other people. Currently that does lead (we hope) to more people buying TVs and laptops and blenders, but if you look baldly at most of what I do on any given day, it’s greasing the skids so that my teammates and the consumers of the data we expose can do that work with less effort and less interruption. If I can make someone else’s day go a little more smoothly, that is a good thing. I am certainly not saving the world selling appliances and electronics, but I am, essentially, in the helping business, and that makes this girl feel good about what she does.

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    1. i have developed a huge respect for the trouble that is taken to make the skids feel greased. you tend to remember the ones that giv you trouble and not think about the ones that dont. it should be the other way around. the ability to make life easier translates sideways in many ways

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    There is always the making-a-living part of earning money, but I never last long doing something without meaning. I get bored or cynical and walk out the door. The meaning that goes with the money is helping people to learn to function.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Fear of dying from sheer boredom if not doing something I perceive as beneficial to someone, somewhere, at some time. And also, that thing tim said about not knowing how many years I have left and wanting to be able to point to some small accomplishment (such as leaving a novel or two or more for history to remember me by).

    Chris in Owatonna

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      1. That’s my “old age vocation/avocation” intention, too. Once I’m too old to golf, I’ll become an extremely prolific writer for another seven months per year. 😉

        Chris in O-town

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  5. Pleasing other people by the work I do pleases me immensely. On those rare occasions that I fail to meet or exceed a client or boss’ expectations, it pains me greatly. I’ve even fantasized about winning the lottery and buying the whole ho

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      1. I have a deep appreciation for people who 1) work on their knees, like flooeres and roofers. 2) people who do the same task many times and are driven to get it to very high level.

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        1. I share that respect, Clyde. It seems sad that contractors in the roofing and flooring fields cannot find good workers unless they hire Hispanic laborers. Or that, at least, is what they say.

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        2. Reply to Steve.
          For the last ten years or so, I’ve lost work to folks who are basically giving away their labor. My prices have never been extremely high and most times people are willing to pay extra for quality but I’ve seen prices per yard installed at 1975 rates. I was hoping to retire to Florida and work one week per month, so I talked with a union rep down there. He informed me that there was one unionized flooring contractor in all of Florida, South Carolina and southern Georgia and they were doing very little work. My local rep would give me a good report but I can’t expect to make any more than 15.00 per hour and zero benefits despite my decades of experience. Most all of the finish trades are in the same impossible situation. I know Hispanic workers work hard but employers are ripping them off.

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        3. I’m sorry to hear that, Wes. Thanks for the reply. Of course, you are frustrated. As a writer I often competed against guys who literally were giving away their work, enjoying the “glory” of being published. But I didn’t have to work on my knees or in difficult weather.

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  6. I visited Jamaica two years ago and the folks there are very proud of Harry Belafonte. A taxi driver serenaded me with two Belafonte songs – Day O (of course) but also John Henry!

    Work. This will sound cynical but I work for the money. If I won the lottery, quitting my day job would be near the top of my “to do” list. I do like my job because it engages my mind and talents at just the right levels (organization skills, people skills) but truly there are so many things I’d like to do if I weren’t tied to making a living!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These days, post retirement, not much motivates me to work…enjoying the time at home with a bit of guilt for not taking on the many projects which need to begin, work on, finish…but animals needing to be fed does get me up and out of the house twice a day.

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    1. One of my favorite moments in popular culture is Harry Belafonte leading his audience singing along on Mathilda. He calls out different groups in the crowd to take a chorus. And when he calls for “women over 40” the audience goes silent . . . then breaks into guffaws.

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  8. Motivation for work? Well, that pension waiting for me at the end of the road, helping people, curiosity and warding off boredom, fun with my coworkers-the list goes on and on. Oh, and I really do like money.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OT – anybody planning on staying up a bit to see Scott Kelly come back to Earth tonight? (Astronaut – been on the space station for a year)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The Board of Directors “job” is turning out interesting. I had thought I was joining because they needed just another body to replace one of those whose term was finished. I am now aware that I do have an “agenda” of things I’d like to see happen, and have adjusted my committee memberships accordingly. I have a smaller window of time to help move these goals along because of the upcoming move to Winona… I find myself more motivated to push my ideas through.
    (Hmmm, did I answer the question?)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I did many things to keep me young and active–working. For all those efforts I went from biking 100 miles a week three years ago to barely able to walk. Sometimes for all your best effort . . .

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  12. Outdoor journalism, the field in which I worked most of my working life, is notorious for paying poorly. Different writers had different strategies for dealing with that. I was struck by a guy named Dave in Michigan who would work for any rate. If the magazine paid well, he took the time to do his best work. If the magazine paid poorly, he chipped off a quick piece full of cliches, recycled ideas and second-rate photos. His system guaranteed that he would make a profit on anything he did.

    I thought about that a lot. I ultimately rejected that approach, and for a simple reason: every article I wrote had my name on it. I couldn’t bear to put my name on an article that didn’t meet my own standards. Maybe that is one reason I didn’t get wealthy. But I couldn’t have done it any other way. So my answer to today’s question is that I was ultimately motivated by pride. I respect workers (like Wes) who take pride in their work even though they don’t get to put their name on it. Good for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The obvious solution would have been a pseudonym for the tossed-off work. I’m trying to think of a good pen name for you as a hack. Anybody?

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  13. Following a sparkling college career, my daughter hit a rough patch when she joined the work force. She was employed by a “temp agency” that paid poorly, was disorganized and managed to insult its employees with lousy communications and policies. My daughter became best friends with a young woman who scared me because she was so much like Mattel’s “Barbie.” Stacy was gorgeous and shallow, an ultimate consumer. The two women, so unlike each other in most ways, bonded because both were so unhappy with their employer.

    Then that management did something unexpected. Tired of their complaints, it named Stacy and my daughter the managers of a new office within the company. The two malcontents realized they had a chance to prove themselves. They determined to run the “most professional” office in the company. By doing things the wrong way so long they had taught themselves what a truly professional temp office would look like.

    Their office almost instantly became the happiest and most profitable unit in that company. Predictably, upper management didn’t respond appropriately. Both women left for jobs famous for having superb management. I was left to ponder the miracle of how a concept of professionalism changed life profoundly for both young women.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My current work is learning photography (plus babysitting the twins, but I won’t talk about that right now). I’m taking just one class right now and I’m having trouble getting motivated for it, which is also taking its toll on my motivation for taking pictures in general. Quite a bit of the class is critiquing and analyzing photographs, and I have trouble putting my feelings into words. We also have a textbook and the author seems to take perverse delight in making something simple complicated, using words that make no sense to me. Here’s one of his sentences: “The edges of the print demand the boundedness of the picture.” I read this stuff and all I can say is “Huh?” Also, the shooting assignments have also been difficult for the way I like to shoot – not just challenging, but they go against the grain of who I am.

    I like this quote from Eliot Porter much better than anything in the entire textbook: “I don’t think it’s necessary to put your feelings about photography in words. I’ve read things that photographers have written for exhibitions and so forth about their subjective feelings about photography and mostly I think it’s disturbing. I think they’re fooling themselves very often. They’re just talking, they’re not saying anything.”

    But I have hope that I will get out of this funk and find some joy and meaning in shooting pictures again, and maybe even enjoy at least one of the assignments. I like shooting pictures that show the beauty of ordinary things in nature, even the little bits of nature in the city. I can’t help seeing these things and the only way I can capture them is with my camera.

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    1. All branches of art are plagued with art theorists like the author of your textbook. In their capacity as theorists, they are not artists and have nothing to say to artists. The complete thought is: ” The edges of the print demand the boundedness of the picture. Except when they don’t.” Art is intelligent play or it is inauthentic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the author is a photographer, for what that’s worth. And the book is in its third edition, so I guess some people are reading it, although I read it only so I could fulfill my assignment. This book has not earned its way onto my bookshelf; I’ll say goodbye to it as soon as the class is over.

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        1. A lot of people buying a book (because we truly don’t know how many people have actually READ the book) doesn’t tell the whole story. Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time was on the NYT Bestseller list for weeks and I would bet my own money that almost everyone who purchased it set it on a shelf at home and never read it. And if they did pick it up, they only got about 10 pages in and only understood 3 of those pages!

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      2. i am glad for your misfortune in that respect. i would celebrate the departure of your pain but i celebrate the product of your cnsequence

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  15. I work for money because I have to, and only to the extent I have to, for the most part. I also do volunteer work, for the gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude and appreciation seem to be, for me at least, a very adequate substitute for money as a motivator. Also, the volunteer work is sometimes accompanied by pizza. Again, a very adequate substitute for money…provided there is gratitude and appreciation initiating the pizza.

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  16. I was a volunteer therapist at a mental health crisis center for 17 years until moving to the lake. The drive downtown suddenly was half an hour longer, so I pulled out of the work. Almost no one knows that this center is the only such one in the country which is free, anyone can walk in, and it’s fully staffed with master’s level volunteer therapists. I miss feeling useful that way, but driving into the city now is something I won’t consider because of driving anxiety.

    I remembered today that my 71-year old mother had a minor accident just one minute from the cottage and never drove again. For a while now, I’ve thought that I’m only one accident away from doing the same. This will, if it ever happens, be different than mom’s, though, because she still had my dad to do all the driving.

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  17. Paul Newman achieved a great deal in the nonprofit realm, and even achieved a kind of immortality. You can still see his face smiling out from ketchup bottles and cookie packages every time you go to the store

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  18. I can’t name just one. I admire the multiple ways Harry Connick has worked for New Orleans after Katrina. Ted Turner has supported a wide variety of causes, using his wealth cleverly to promote new thinking. I’ll always have mixed emotions about Jimmy Carter as a person, although his passion for doing good after leaving office is exemplary. Nobody ever toiled for the good of mankind more selflessly than Eleanor Roosevelt. Willy Nelson has proven his commitment to Farm Aid over and over. One of the groups I respect most is Doctors Without Borders. Two strong supporters are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

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    1. I was going to mention Angelina and Brad for Doctors without Borders. Angelina also supports UNICEF and a few other organizations that specifically target children who need intervention in our world.

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  19. OT: Last night Sandy and I watched the last four episodes of Doc Martin for this season. The last two years simply did not have the wit of the first five years. nbd am I the only one distracted by “Louees-er’s” eyelashes thing.?

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    1. Doc Martin was fresh and fun for a few years. Then its great popularity forced it to go on making new shows when there was no reason other than money to do so. The latest season looks like a dead thing that is on life support technology.

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      1. Wait until the last episode.
        But I am not sorry I watch it.
        I fell in love with a series TPT showed only a few times, repeating the same 3-4 episodes, called Vera, dark, dark mysteries set in northern Northumbria. When they quit playing them, I went looking online. Found a thing called Acorn TV from Amazon. It is nothing but BBC material, some all things things like the Rumpole series. It has Vera. It also has doc Martin including all of this season, so we have seen them all.
        Do love Vera. Interesting character is she, well-acted.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops.
      He does trips to Central American with a group to build homes. The hands-on take-his-body-there effort is what I like here.
      I am more impressed with celebrities who do things without the press filming them. Paul Newman and family–they impress me. They use the name but they he and his wife (lost her name for the moment–still living) did not, that I have seen, done the public self-congratulations bit.

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  20. It is part of the spirit of our times–an ugly part, if you care about my opinion–that we are cynical about gestures made by celebrities to support causes. And obviously, in many cases the cynicism is warranted. People with big egos and fat checkbooks have always attempted to improve the public view of them by spending money they don’t need on splashy causes.

    And yet celebrities, just like any empathic person, are moved to try to do good. This becomes poignant when a celebrity tries to do something good even when he or she knows in advance that the attempt will be misunderstood.

    This was painfully evident when I watched a recent 60 Minutes interview with Sean Penn about his ill-fated meeting with El Chapo, the murderous Mexican drug lord. Sean Penn undertook the interview knowing it would not likely do good or improve his image. He went ahead in spite of that because he is passionately opposed to the basic form of the US “war on drugs.” Penn met El Chapo hoping to use that moment to bring about a new look at a failed old policy. He freely admitted to interviewer Charlie Rose that the effort was naive and that it had totally failed. He didn’t seem concerned about the impact of the event on his image; he did care that he had failed to bring about new thinking on the war on drugs. I’m not a fan of Penn, but I had to sympathize with him for trying to encourage reform in one of the most tragically flawed US policies.

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    1. I agree Steve. Unfortunately I think some celebrities get more cynicism than they should. A girlfriend of mind poo-poos everything done by a certain celebrity because “it’s just a photo op”. But this particular celebrity can’t show her face without the paparazzi swarming all over her, so how could anything not be a photo op? I know I couldn’t live under that kind of scrutiny.

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  21. I think both Patty Duke and Merrill Streep have championed support for the psychiatrically disabled.

    I have been preoccupied with dumb things the past couple of weeks, but I am back and I will have a guest post in the next day or so.

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