Humor Selections for June 25th, 2008

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Does the statement, 'We've always done it that way' ring any bells?

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. Okay! 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. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

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 army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

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 at 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. 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 arse ... and you thought being a HORSE'S ARSE wasn't important!

Submitted by Lindsay, Melbourne, Australia

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How you can tell if your mutual fund adviser might be a crook
  • He is representing some new companies, like Little Billy’s Funds, Rosie O'Donnell's Magazines Ltd, or the presidential campaign of Rudy Guiliani.
  • He keeps returning your phone calls from different area codes—like from California, China, Borneo, Sri Lanka and Brooklyn.
  • You have discovered that all of your prospectuses are from companies controlled by the heirs of Edi Amin.
  • Then he sends you money, the colored dye in the Twenty Dollar Bills keep rubbing off.
  • Every time he visits you, he has a nicer car.
  • A cell phone call from someone named Abdul repeatedly interrupts him
  • When he visits you, he constantly takes stock in the artwork you have on the walls, the Persian Rugs on the floor, and the age of your eldest daughter. 8. He brags about winning company financed vacations to Buenos Aires.
  • The first time he came to your house, he said that his wife's name was Becky, the next time it was Sandy. The last time he said that he had never been married.
  • On his last hunting trip with rich clients, three of them got lost and never returned.
  • He calls and tells you that he is getting out of finance and found a lucrative career being a church pastor in French Equatorial Africa.
  • He's just become an investment counselor to Martha Stewart.
  • He wants to turn your proceeds from your old life insurance policy into salvaging old quartz movements from ten-dollar Wal-Mart wristwatches.
  • Every time you see him, he is in some new South Moroccan disguise claiming to be an heir of Prince—or at least the one who used to say he was Prince.
  • You caught him on the Internet sending messages offering a part-time job to anyone who would send him their name, address, social security number and the whereabouts of their bank account to a blind email site in Kenya.
Submitted by Bruce, Carol Stream, Illinois

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Recent Quips From Late Night ...

"Gay folks are now allowed to get married in San Francisco. All of California. So right now, gay men are asking themselves the big question: who's driving and who nags." --David Letterman

"I got to mention this right right away, 'cause we were all watching it here at the show. At the U.S. Open, 32-year-old Tiger Woods came back to beat 45-year-old Rocco Mediate. It was amazing. ... And apparently, when he heard that a younger, African-American beat an older white man, John McCain said, 'Uh oh. That's not good.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Congressman Anthony Wiener of New York -- listen to this -- that's his name. Yeah, he has introduced a bill that will grant immigrant status, immigrant visas, to supermodels that want to come here. Well, I have never been prouder to be an American. Of course, the nice thing about bringing these foreign supermodels here, you don't have to worry about them taking food out of American mouths. So that's one thing." --Jay Leno

"John McCain is actively courting women over 60. And I'm thinking, who does this guy think he is, Ashton Kutcher?" --David Letterman

"President Bush said that, after he retires, he wants to write a book. .... Bush said, he's not sure if it will be about politics or about his personal life, but he is sure it will be a pop-up book." --Conan O'Brien

"Tonight, we're going to examine the audacity of fear. You know, there's an awful lot to be afraid of in the world. Terrorists, tomatoes. ... There's one emerging fear that trumps all others. Baracknophobia. It is defined as the irrational fear of hope. The irrational fear that behind the mild-mannered facade, Barack Obama is intent on enslaving the white race. It's true. Wake up, white people." --Jon Stewart

Submitted by Kenneth, Shropshire, England

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Only in Florida...

Ya just can't make this stuff up!! When southern Florida resident Nathan Radlich's house was burglarized recently, thieves ignored his wide screen plasma TV, his VCR, and even left his Rolex watch. What they did take, however, was 'a generic white cardboard box filled with a grayish-white powder.' (That's at least the way the police report described it.)

A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said that it looked similar to high grade cocaine and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time.

Later, Nathan stood in front of the numerous TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago."

The next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a local drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was there too; about half of Gertrude's ashes remained. Taped to the box was this note: Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister.

No hard feelings. Have a nice day.

Submitted by Bob, Rockville, Md.

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Good thing the creator of the artwork doesn't have a gun - Download Video

Submitted by Dewey, Pensacola, Fl.

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My four-year old grandson is learning to read.

Yesterday he pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said, 'Look! It's a frickin' elephant!'

I took a deep breath, then asked...'What did you call it?'

'It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!'

...and so it does...

'A f r i c a n  Elephant'

Hooked on phonics! Ain't it wonderful?

Submitted by Dave, Bolder, Co.

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June 23rd Humor Page