A Backhanded History Lesson

Railroad tracks. A simple thing we take for granted. Wait till you see how one thing leads to another… 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 English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English 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.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in  England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial  Rome  built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a Specification/ Procedure/ Process and wonder “What horse’s ass came up with this?” you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses’ asses.)

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRB’s. The SRB’s are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRB’s would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB’s had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRB’s had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as
you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.

And I bet you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!

A Backhanded History Lesson
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Getting Serviced.

I became confused when I heard these terms which reference the word “service”.

Internal Revenue “Service”

U.S. Postal “Service”

Telephone “Service”

T.V. “Service”

Civil “Service”

City & County Public “Service”

Customer “Service”

and “Service” Stations

This is not what I thought “service” meant.

Today I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had bought a bull to “service” a few cows. BAM! It all came into perspective. I now understand what all those “service” agencies are doing to us.

I hope you are now as enlightened as I am!

Getting Serviced.
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Lost Old Man

An older man approached an attractive younger woman at a shopping mall.

“Excuse me; I can’t seem to find my wife. Can you talk to me for a couple of minutes?”

The woman, feeling a bit of compassion for the old fellow, said, “Of course, sir. Do you know where your wife might be?”

“I have no idea, but every time I talk to a woman with tits like yours, she seems to appear out of nowhere.”

Lost Old Man
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Searching For “Crisco”

A little old guy is walking around in a supermarket calling out, “Crisco, Crissssssscoooo!”

Soon an assistant manager approaches and says, “Sir, the Crisco is in aisle 3.”

The old guy replies, “Oh, I’m not looking for the cooking stuff. I’m calling my wife. She’s in here somewhere.”

The clerk is astonished. “Your wife’s name is Crisco?”

The old guy answers, “Oh no, no, no. I only call her that when we’re out in public.”

“I see,” said the clerk. “What do you call her at home?”

“Lard ass.”

Searching For “Crisco”
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The Offerings

Offerings had been down the past several Sundays and the preacher decided he had to do something to change the trend. The next Sunday, as the plate was being passed he said…

“Brothers and Sisters, I don’t like to have to do this, but there is a man in the congregation who is having an affair with another parishioner’s wife, and if there is not at least twenty dollar bills in the collection, I will reveal his name.

Later, as he counted the money he found 50 twenty dollar bills, and a two dollar bill with a note that read “Forever hold your peace, I’ll have that other eighteen dollars before sundown.

The Offerings
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