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Today's stories [10.21.08]

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Think of this guy the next time you think you are having a bad day! 

Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He 
performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. 

Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to Laughline, 
who was sponsoring a "worst job experience" contest.  Needless to say, 
she won. 

Hi Sue, 

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother.  Last week I had 
bad day at the office.  I know you've been feeling down lately at work, 
so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's 
not so bad after all. 

Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with 
a few technicalities of my job.  As you know, my office lies at the 
bottom of the sea.  I wear a suit to the office.  It's a wetsuit. 

This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm 
is this:  We have a diesel powered industrial water heater.  This 
$20,000 piece of shit sucks the water out of the sea.  It heats it to a 
delightful temperature.  It then pumps it down to the diver through a 
garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a damn 
good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, 
when I get to the bottom and start working is, I take the hose and stuff 
it down the back of my wetsuit.  This floods my whole suit with warm 
water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. 

Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my ass started to 
itch.  So, of course, I scratched it.  This only made things worse. 
Within a few seconds my ass started to burn. I pulled the hose out from 
back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened.  
The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my 

Now since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't 
stick to it.  However, the crack of my ass was not as fortunate. When I 
scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the 
jellyfish into my ass. 

I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator.  
His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with 5 
other divers, were all laughing hysterically. Needless to say I aborted 
the dive. 

I was instructed to make 3 agonizing in-water decompression stops 
totaling 35 minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber 
dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing 
but my brass helmet. 

As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter 
running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub 
it on my ass as soon as I get in the chamber. 

The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't shit for 2 days because my 
asshole was swollen shut. 

So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much 
worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your ass! 

Tight lines and calm seas, 


Engineering history lesson

It's not very often that we ask why things are the way
they are but here's an answer for you, The US standard railroad gauge
(distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That is 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 build them that way? 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 

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools
that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. So
why did the wagons have that particular odd 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 was the spacing of 
the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? The first long 
distance roads in England were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. 
The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? The ruts 
in the roads, which everyone had to match for fear of destroying their
wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots 
were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter
of wheel spacing. The US standard railroad gauge of 4 feet-8.5 inches
derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war
chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time
you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's arse came up
with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots
were made just wide enough to accommodate the back end of two war
horses. Thus we have the answer to the original question. Now for the
twist to the story. When we see a space shuttle sitting on it's
launching pad, there are two booster rockets attached to the side 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 might 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 had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The
tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track
is about as wide as two horses' rumps. So, a major design feature of
what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system has
determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's arse!
Don't you just love engineering?


A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her
5 and 6 year-olds. After explaining the commandment "Honor thy Father
and thy mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us
how to treat our brothers and sisters?

Without missing a beat one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."


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