Sunday, December 16, 2012
Why Specs Live Forever
The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.
Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts.
So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Specs and Bureaucracies live forever.
So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's rear came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
A few years ago the battery in my beat-up VW Beetle had died because I left the lights on overnight. I was in a hurry to get to work on time so I ran into the house to get my wife to give me a hand to start the car. I told her to get into our second car, a prehistoric oversized gas guzzler, and use it to push my car fast enough to start it. I pointed out to her that because the VW had an automatic transmission, it needed to be pushed at least 20mph for it to start.
She said fine, hopped into her car and drove off.
I sat there fuming wondering what she could be doing.
A minute passed by and when I saw her in the rear-view mirror coming at me at about 30 mph, I realized that I should have been a bit clearer with my directions...
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back, it will always be yours.
If it doesn't come back, it was never yours to begin with.
But, if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, uses your telephone, takes your money, and doesn't appear to realize that you had set it free... You either married it or gave birth to it.
Insanity is my only means of relaxation.
Reason to smile: Every 7 minutes of every day, someone in an aerobics class pulls a hamstring.
Women over 50 don't have babies because they would put them down and forget where they left them.
One of life's mysteries is how a 2 pound box of candy can make a woman gain 5 lbs.
Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like, "You know, sometimes I just forget to eat." Now I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, and my keys. But I've never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.
A friend of mine confused her valium with her birth control pills. She had 14 kids, but she doesn't really care.
They keep telling us to get in touch with our bodies. Mine isn't all that communicative but I heard from it the other day after I said, "Body, how'd you like to go to the six o'clock class in vigorous toning?" Clear as a bell my body said, "Listen witch... do it and die."
The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing and then they marry him.
I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That is my idea of a perfect day.
If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a noose around your neck?
My mind not only wanders, it sometime leaves completely.
The best way to forget all your troubles is to wear tight shoes.
The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you're doing, someone else does.
The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.
Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.
Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.
I gave up jogging for my health... when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.
Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks two sizes!
Monday, December 10, 2012
I had eighteen bottles of whiskey in my cellar and was told by my wife that I had a drinking problem, and to empty the contents of each and every bottle down the sink, or else. I said I would and proceeded with the unpleasant task.
I withdrew the cork from the first bottle and poured the contents down the sink with the exception of one glass, which I drank.
I then withdrew the cork from the second bottle and did likewise with it, with the exception of one glass, which I drank.
I then withdrew the cork from the third bottle and poured the whiskey down the sink which I drank.
I pulled the cork from the fourth bottle down the sink and poured the bottle down the glass, which I drank.
I pulled the bottle from the cork of the next and drank one sink out of it, and threw the rest down the glass.
I pulled the sink out of the next glass and poured the cork down the bottle. Then I corked the sink with the glass, bottled the drink and drank the pour.
When I had everything emptied, I steadied the house with one hand, counted the glasses, corks, bottles, and sinks with the other, which were twenty-nine, and as the houses came by I counted them again, and finally I had all the houses in one bottle, which I drank.
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.
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