Super Star Member
- Jan 15, 2013
- St Helens, Tasmania, Australia
- JD 4105 / JD Z355E (48" deck)
The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.Well, if we're talking about horses and horse's asses,..
an old friend moved to utah to work for Thiokol....i think it was called Morton ThiokolThe 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?
Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same 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 more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, 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 (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk 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 SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs 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 SRBs 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 you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything......
Lost Words From Our Childhood
Mergatroyd! Do you remember that word? Would you believe the spell-checker did not recognize the word Mergatroyd? Heavens to Mergatroyd!
The other day a lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy; and he looked at her quizzically and said, "What the heck is a Jalopy?" He had never heard of the word jalopy! She knew she was old ... But not that old.
Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.
About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included: Don't touch that dial, Carbon copy, You sound like a broken record, and Hung out to dry.
Back in the olden days we put on our best bib and tucker.
Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy Moley!
We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley ; and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!
We wake up from a short nap, and before we can say, "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" Or,"This is a fine kettle of fish!"
Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. Where have all those great phrases gone?
Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Well, Fiddlesticks! I'll see you in the funny farm. Wake up and smell the roses.
Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth...
See ya later, alligator! Okidoki.
You'll notice they left out "Monkey Business"!!!
WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE FABULOUS 40’s and 50'S ... NO ONE WILL EVER HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY AGAIN .. WE WERE GIVEN ONE OF OUR MOST PRECIOUS GIFTS: LIVING IN THE PEACEFUL AND COMFORTABLE TIMES, CREATED FOR US BY THE "GREATEST GENERATION!"