Archive for April 2014

Railroad Tracks, Rockets, and a Horse’s Ass   7 comments



Railroad Tracks

The U.S. 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 designed the U.S. 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.

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 (including England) for their legions. Those 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. 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.

In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or 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.

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that 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 larger, 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 2,000 years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.

And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!

Now you know! Horses’ asses control almost everything!

This explains a whole lot of stuff about Washington D.C. , doesn ‘ t it? 






Posted April 29, 2014 by PapaBear in Uncategorized

~~One of Those Nights   6 comments


The pencil is broken.

The pen’s out of ink.


The brain is so tired

I just can’t think !


Good Night Everybody





Posted April 27, 2014 by PapaBear in Experiences, Humor, Personal, Poetry

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~~Into the Night~~   5 comments



Quiet hangs as the sun leaves the horizon

Silently immersed in the coming of night.

One by one, stars make their appearance in the heavens

Jewels, scattered randomly streaming their precious light.

Darkness spreads the night with its calm and peace

Permitting the days cares and worries to, at last, ease

A luminous moon, with its soft and silvery beams

Comes to light the hidden pathways to our dreams.




Good Night Everybody !





Posted April 25, 2014 by PapaBear in Personal, Poetry

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Roses   5 comments


The living roses are now gone
both of them.
The world sings a more sad song
without them.
No more blossoms come
to cheer and light the day.
No sweet scent to guide the way
at night.
In their place two angels sing
Peace to those who loved them bring.
He sat in the garden where, so long ago, she brought him to tell of how she and her mother had tended this place and how beautiful it had been. There were tears of remembrance as she recounted how they had, each springtime, cleared, planted and nurtured the flowers…, and the love they shared for each other…, and how much she missed the warmth of her mother’s tender and sheltering care.  He looked around him at the weeds and overgrowth, and after hearing her, he began to understand how much love had been alive in this place, resolved that it would once again be a tribute to the two women who had shared so much here.

She would be away for a couple of days now, plenty of time for all to be accomplished. He brought out the tools and implements he needed from the shed and began by cutting everything to the ground. All would need to be replaced, even the roses whose canes had died. He had finished by noon and had gone to the nursery to look for flowers. He selected everblooming roses, red ones with large, full blossoms, then a collage of annual and perennial color to complete the vision she had described. By early afternoon the next day it was finished and he was satisfied. He scrubbed and polished the marble bench that was at the end of the walkway in the middle of the plantings, turned and walked back to the house to wait for her return.

Around five o’clock he heard her car in the driveway but was puzzled when she didn’t come into the house. Looking out the front window, he saw her sitting on the bench among the flowers. After a while she came into the house and took him by the hand and led him back out to the garden. She looked up into his eyes and said, “Love is growing here once again…”


The garden, the roses, both of them, the marble bench are all gone now, but not the love that lived there. That is forever.


Greetings   5 comments


To all my wonderful friends…

Happy Easter

May the blessings of the day follow you wherever you are

and wherever you go, for as long as you may live.





Posted April 18, 2014 by PapaBear in Uncategorized

Under a Clear and Starry Sky (an unfinished song)   2 comments


Cooled by a playful summer breeze

Eyes raised up to the stars

Astounded by the twinkling light

Even the planets, Venus…, Mars

Show their faces in the night


The hour of midnight comes and goes

 I sit here with a lonely heart

Under a clear and starry sky




Ursus Major, Orion, Diana

Stretch farther than he sees

Out into universal realms

Of Polaris and Pleiades


The hour of midnight comes and goes

And I sit here with a lonely heart

Wondering how…, and why









Posted April 15, 2014 by PapaBear in A Little Romance, Experiences, Memories, Poetry, Songs

Windows 8   11 comments

New computers are the pits !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Trying to transition from Vista to Win 8 is a real pain !
I’ll be getting back to everyone as soon as I figure this dXXX thing out.

Posted April 13, 2014 by PapaBear in Experiences, Personal, Uncategorized