12 October 2010

Questions and Answers

"allow for inflation and say something like 'well that's the $123,267 question...a tinker is a mender of pots and kettles'

Recently at a work meeting the Project Manager said a couple of things which got me thinking. Now I should state that the Project Manager said more than a couple of things, in fact he said quite a lot! In my experience they can talk as much as politicians (without th e rhetoric). Our Project Manager certain does suffer from a case of verbal diarrhoea at times. For the record, I do respect him and think he is very good at what he does.

Anyway, he said a couple of things that woke me from my stupor (be honest, does anyone find long meetings exiting?) and i used my cheap ball point pen to jot them down. What was it that he said that got my inquisitive radar going? Read on, dear reader and all will be revealed.

The first thing he sad was "well, that is the $64,000 question" That got me thinking, where did this expression come from? Also, if it is a fairly old saying shouldn't we allow for inflation and say something like "well that's the $123,267 question"

So I put on my Sherlock Holmes cape and started investigating this saying. Naturally Mr Google was my trusted and very able companion. This is what I discovered...

The phrase "the $64,000 question" originated from an American television show which was called, not surprisingly, "the $64,000 question" (they were very big on originality in the Fifties). For the nerds out there the show ran from 1955 to 1958. Basically contestants would be asked questions and would earn money starting at $1 up to $64,000. The questions would get harder as the contestant progressed.

The show became so popular that the President of the day, Eisenhower, could not be interrupted when it was on. Also, it was the only show of its era to knock "I Love Lucy" off as the number one show on US television. Nowadays we have "who wants to be a millionaire?" which is very similar to the "64,000 question" show.

The second thing that the Project Manager said was "I don't think he will give a tinker's cuss". Now I should say that the PM is English like myself. So I thought it would be great to look into where this originated from. This is what I found...

It would appear that there are conflicting stories regarding the origins of this. So the $64,000 question is what is the true origin? Well, I like the following version:

"Origin 1830 - 40 from tinkers' alleged habit of cursing frequently (hence weakening the force of a curse). For the Celine Dion fans out there a 'tinker' is a mender of pots and kettles, an itinerant.

So there you have it. Who would have thought that a long drawn out project meeting could be so enlightening!

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