A major problem in the development of Elias Howe's sewing machine was the location of the eye of the needle. The inventor was rapidly running out of money and ideas when one night he had a peculiar dream. He was being led to his execution for failing to design a sewing machine for the king of a strange country. He was surrounded by guards, all of whom carried spears that were pierced near the head. Realizing instantly that this was the solution to his problem, Howe woke up and rushed straight to his workshop. By nine o'clock that morning, the design of the first sewing machine was well on the way to completion.
Jim Moore, founder of a famous New York restaurant, had many friends in the theatrical world. As he grew older, several of them died and were sorely missed by Moore. One Friday afternoon he made a pilgrimage to the graves of those departed friends, remonstrating with them for their thoughtlessness in dying. When he got to George M. Cohan's grave, he took out a parcel of fish and thumped it against the headstone. "In case you don't know," he shouted, "today's Friday, and I just want you to see what you're missing.
During his stint as host of a show called You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx interviewed many participants. On one occasion he interviewed a Mrs. Story, who had given birth to twenty-two children. "I love my husband," Mrs. Story said enthusiastically. "I like my cigar, too," said Groucho, "but I take it out once in a while.
A certain businessman, renowned for his ruthlessness, once made a vow in Mark Twain's presence. "Before I die," he declared, "I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top." "I have a better idea," Twain replied. "You could stay home in Boston and keep them.
Antonio Rivera took refuge with other Nationalists in the Alcázar during the Spanish Civil War. As a pacifist, the youth refused at first to help defend the ancient stronghold, and was put on latrine duty. When the situation of the besieged became more desperate, he decided that it would not be inconsistent with his principles to aid in the defense, provided that he did not kill in hatred. He was assigned the position of loader to a heavy machine gun. It was said that he would give the signal to fire with the words: "Tirad — pero sin odio." (Fire — but without hatred. )