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Today's stories [4.15.09]

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A daughter sends a telegram to her father on her clearing B.Ed (Bachelor 
Of Education) Exams, which the father receives as: "Father, your daughter 
has been successful in BED."


Dear Abby: 

I have been engaged for almost a year. I am to be married next month. 
My fiancee's mother is not only very attractive but really great and 
understanding. She is putting the entire wedding together and invited
me to her place to go over the invitation list because it had grown a
bit beyond what we had expected it to be. When I got to her place, we 
reviewed the list and trimmed it down to just under a hundred... then
she floored me. She said that in a month I would be a married man and 
that before that happened, she wanted to have sex with me. 

Then she just stood up and walked to her bedroom and on her way said
that I knew where the front door was if I wanted to leave. I stood
there for about five minutes and finally decided that I knew exactly
how to deal with this situation. 

I headed straight out the front door............... 
There, leaning against my car, was her husband, my father-in-law to be.
He was smiling. He explained that they just wanted to be sure I was a 
good kid and would be true to their little girl. I shook his hand and
he congratulated me on passing their little test. Abby, should I tell
my fiancee what her parents did, and that I thought their "little test" 
was asinine and insulting to my character?

Or should I keep the whole thing to myself, including the fact that the 
reason I was walking out to my car was to get a condom? 




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?


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