Humor Selections for January 25, 2006

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Reflections on the photo used in the bogus '1954 article on future computers'

The other day I received an e-mail with the following photo and caption from a old friend of mine, Dave, who over the years has sent me some many uncharacterizable jokes that I named the folder I store them in 'dave' ... (Mouse over the link above and read the URL address.)  The photo as you'll see in my note back to Dave, has been doctored.  It is a photo of a reactor control room of a US Submarine, upon which I severed for five years.  As I sat looking at it, old memories came flooding back ...

This picture was taken from a 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine.
Be sure to read the text under the picture.


This photo is a fake ... the background is a control room of a S5W submarine reactor control room ... it was on display at the navy memorial and someone took a photo of it and modified it ... I should know, I stood watch in one for five years of my life.

On that note, where the teletype machine stands was the rear wall of 'maneuvering' as the control room was called. It was 12 feet long and 5 feet wide ... when the crew were seated behind the panels, there back was against the back wall, that was how tight it was.

The 'Throttleman' stood watch behind the wheel. The wheel was used to control the flow of steam to the submarine propulsion turbines. As more steam was pulled out of the steam generator, it 'drew' more heat from the reactor coolant, the cooler water reentered the reactor, and the slight decrease in temperature caused less neutrons to leave the 'core' which caused the reactor to increase the number on nuclear reactions that were occurring, which resulted in more heat being generated, which was transferred to the water exiting the reactor and returning to the steam generator ... At one time I could explain this all with mathematical equations, but that was long ago. Suffice it to say, it was self-balancing operation that I enjoyed watching.

The middle panel is the reactor control panel. Here is where the reactor operator used to sit. the upside down "L' looking stick at the bottom of the panel was the reactor control switch, which was used to move control rods in and out of the core ... which is how we started up the reactor as we went to sea. 99.99% of the time the reactor operator had nothing to do other the tell 'tall stories'. On the other hand, the tiny switch to the left of the lowest set of dials was the 'Reactor Scam Switch.' In an emergency, all he had to was turn the switch and all the control rods would be forced into the reactor instantly shutting it down.

We used to scram and restart the reactor on a routine basis ... just to keep ourselves sharp. I think my fastest time was 4 minutes .... but the real fun was in starting the plant up from cold shutdown ... there were hundreds of things that had to be done in a proper order, and you had to know all of them by memory ... I loved the challenge.

The far left station was where the Electrical Operator sat, he was responsible for controlling the main breakers that distribute electrical power through-out the submarine. We had two steam powered electrical generators that created over 2 mega-watts of power ... enough to power a small city.

I would sit on a chair behind the electrical operator and supervise all three ... We stood 6 hour watches, on a three watch rotation, for up to 12 weeks while at sea. No days off, no vacations, no sun. The average temperate in maneuvering was usually 85 degrees. We we're not allowed to read anything but operations manuals.

I was only 22 when I was qualified to run the reactor by myself. My three-man crew were between 18 and 21 ... It was a lot of responsibility ... and we knew it, and while the reactor compartment was only 40 feet from reactor itself, I never felt safer, more sure of myself, or sure of what was expected of me in my life.

In a lot of ways it was very hard, and stressful work, but in other hand , it was a very easy job to do ... for we all knew we would never get a second chance if we did something wrong, so there was no question, everything had to be done right the first time.  I learned the importance of team work ... We all knew our lives depended upon each other doing their jobs correctly, and because we always worked as a tem, we always came home safely. 

Its a lesson I've carried with me, and while I don't always meet the standards expected of that young 22 year old fresh out of college, I still try to archive them when and where I can.

Thanks for jogging a few old memories.


PS: Did I mention that I discovered I was claustrophobic when they closed the hatch?

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Getting Married Too Young

My sister went to the department store to check out the bridal registry of our niece whose wedding was coming up soon. When my sister returned from the store, she tossed the gift list on a table and declared, "I think she's too young to get married."

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Because," she said, "they registered for Nintendo games."

Submitted by Don, Hagerstown, Md.

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Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender...

..., "Pour me a stiff one - just had another fight with the little woman."

"Oh yeah?" said Charlie "And how did this one end?"

"When it was over," Mike replied, "she came to me on her hands and knees."

"Really," said Charles, "now that's a switch! What did she say?"

"She said, 'Come out from under the bed, you little chicken.'"

Submitted by Debbie, Middletown, Md.

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Living with O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome By Scooter Grubb

Just recently, after years of research, I have finally been able to give a name to what my wife and I have been living with for years.

It's an affliction, for sure, which when undiagnosed and misunderstood can devastate and literally tear a family apart. Very little is known about O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome. But it is my hope this article will generate interest from researchers involved in the equine and psychological sciences. You will, no doubt, begin to identify similar symptoms in your own family and hopefully now be able to cope.

Obsessive Compulsive Equine Attachment Neurosis Syndrome (O.C.E.A.N.S) is usually found in the female and can manifest itself anytime from birth to the golden years. Symptoms may appear any time and may even go dormant in the late teens, but the syndrome frequently re-emerges in later years.

Symptoms vary widely in both number and degree of severity. Allow me to share some examples which are most prominent in our home.

The afflicted individual:

  1. Can smell moldy hay at ten paces, but can't tell whether milk has gone bad until it turns chunky.
  2. Finds the occasional "Buck and Toot" session hugely entertaining, but severely chastises her husband for similar antics.
  3. Will spend hours cleaning and conditioning her tack, but wants to eat on paper plates so there are no dishes.
  4. Considers equine gaseous excretions a fragrance.
  5. Enjoys mucking out four stalls twice a day, but insists on having a housekeeper mop the kitchen floor once a week.
  6. Will spend an hour combing and trimming an equine mane, but wears a baseball cap so she doesn't waste time brushing her own hair.
  7. Will dig through manure piles daily looking for worms, but does not fish.
  8. Will not hesitate to administer a rectal exam up to her shoulder, but finds cleaning out the Thanksgiving turkey cavity for dressing quite repulsive.
  9. By memory can mix eight different supplements in the correct proportions, but can't make macaroni and cheese that isn't soupy.
  10. Twice a week will spend an hour scrubbing algae from the water tanks, but has a problem cleaning lasagna out of the casserole dish.
  11. Will pick a horse/DONKEY's nose, and call it cleaning, but becomes verbally violent when her husband picks his.
  12. Can sit through a four-hour session of a ground work clinic, but unable to make it through a half-hour episode of Cops.

The spouse of an afflicted victim:

  1. Must come to terms with the fact there is no cure, and only slightly effective treatments. The syndrome may be genetic or caused by the inhaling of manure particles which, I propose, have an adverse effect on female hormones.
  2. Must adjust the family budget to include equine items - hay, veterinarian services, farrier services, riding boots and clothes, supplements, tack, CARTS, HARNESS, DRIVING CLINICS, SHOWS, equine masseuse and acupuncturist - as well as the (mandatory) equine spiritual guide, etc. Once you have identified a monthly figure, never look at it again. Doing so will cause tightness in your chest, nausea and occasional diarrhea.
  3. Must realize that your spouse has no control over this affliction. More often than not, she will deny a problem even exists as denial is common.
  4. Must form a support group. You need to know you're not alone - and there's no shame in admitting your wife has a problem. My support group, for instance, involves men who truly enjoy Harley Davidsons, four-day weekends and lots of scotch. SKIING, SNOWMOBILING, HUNTING, FARMING, FISHING ALSO WORK. Most times, she is unaware that I am even gone, until the precise moment she needs help getting a 50-pound bag of grain out of the truck.

Now you can better see how O.C.E.A.N.S. affects countless households in this country and abroad. It knows no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries. It is a syndrome that will be difficult to treat because those most affected are in denial and therefore, not interested in a cure.

So, I am taking it upon myself to be constantly diligent in my research in order to pass along information to make it easier for caretakers to cope on a day to day basis.

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, Md.

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