Hawaii 2012

This is the start of a pretty special series of posts. I had the opportunity, through work, to get Tyson on our Hawaiian client trip this year.. This was only finalized a fortnight ago, so it was a bit of a panic getting passports etc, but Trisha got totally organized and we had the paperwork back in a week.
It will be great to get some father and son bonding happening. First stop is Maui for three days then over to Honolulu for 4 days.

Interesting Engineering Facts

Some very interesting engineering facts.

Railroad tracks.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 designed 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 had 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 inEngland , 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/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. (Two horses’ asses.)

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 two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.

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

So, Horse’s Asses control almost everything…

…Explains a whole lot of things,

doesn’t it?

Tool Guide.

For all of you who have asked for tools for Xmas and are bamboozled about which tool does what .. here’s a quick guide to the tools in my garage, and what they are best used for….. enjoy.

A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it  smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the  corner where nothing could get to it.WIRE WHEEL

Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench at the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in  about the time it takes you to say, “Oh, shit!”SKILL SAW

A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.PLIERS

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.BELT SANDER

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into  major refinishing jobs.HACKSAW

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the  more dismal your future becomes.VISE-GRIPS

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.OXYACETYLENE TORCH

Used almost entirely for setting on fire, various flammable objects in your shop. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race..TABLE SAW

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK

Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed  your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the  bumper.BAND SAW

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminium sheet into smaller pieces that more easily  fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead  of the outside edge.TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to  disconnect.PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip  out Phillips screw heads.FLAT BLADED SCREWDRIVER

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.PRY BAR

A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.HOSE CUTTER

A tool used to make hoses too short.HAMMER

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit. STANLEY KNIFE

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your  front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records,  liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or  plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. Great at removing stubborn ends of fingers.‘F$#KING THING’ TOOL

Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling “F$#king thing” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

received via a friend who got it from an unknown source.


In 1986 Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant’s foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly,turned, and walked away.

Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teen-aged son.

As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at Peter,lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down.

The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant.

Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure.

He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing,
killing him instantly.

Probably wasn’t the same fucking elephant.

This is for everyone who sends me those heart-warming bullshit stories.

Camels Balls Candy .. WTF?

What on earth were thay thinking. Trust the Mexicans. This Camel Balls Candy is a product in Mexico. They certainly didn’t waste any marketing dollars on panel research.  How’s this for an advertising slogan.

“You’ll go nuts over Camels Balls”

“They’ll make you testy”

Universal Truths

Every now and again you get a funny email that deserves to be shared with people other than those that would normally be on your forward list. This is one of those an absolute cracker.


1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Google Maps really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighbourhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page document that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” option.

21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent an arse from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

31. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their mobile phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my last 5 cents everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Thanks BoingBoing

Some people are just naturally bloody hilarious. Take Zack as an example. He was the author of the internet site I found with the help of BoingBoing the other day. How many times have you been bamboozled about what to make for dinner. It’s now so easy … simply type “whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com” in your browser address bar and see what happens.

Splinters in your arse.

Why is it that I think today’s decision by the independents is going to get us nowhere ?

On one side there was the radical ratbag Bob Katter who called it early. “I’m going with the coalition”. No surprises here folks.

Tony Windsor was next up, short and sweet really ..
“Yep I’m going with the ranga” or words to that effect.

Then along came Oakeshott. Bloody Hell…… Hey Rob, it’s fifTEEN minutes of fame not bloody FIFTY, and in the end you insinuated that there is an offer on the table for either the position of speaker or a ministerial position “which had no influence on my decision” …….. OH RIGHT.

Someone please explain to me why someone who is elected as an Independent in an electorate that has always been conservative, can ignore the status quo and blatantly fly in the face of the way the electorate has always voted.

Why is the title “splinters in you’re arse”? I just figure that fence sitting will be a popular pastime in the current term.

I’m bamboozled. BUT …… my RAPT party will run at the next election.
Rangas Are People Too !!!!

Ice Pups to Spoil Your Pet.

While browsing around last night I discovered this product. Why I was browsing pet products, or in fact anything to do with pets has me bamboozled. I think I was playing with my new ipad app called Cool Hunting and this site came up somewhere in one of the catagories. Don’t get me wrong I love our dog, and have to admit that I do have a tendency to spoil him a bit. So will I bite the bullet and see if I can get some ICE PUPS ? Probably.

Terry Pratchett

I have never been a huge reader of fantasy however listening to a TWIT network blog a couple of months ago I heard Andy Ihnatko mention the author Terry Pratchett. He gave him such a wrap I decided to give him a try. The man is a machine and the fact that one of the world’s most prolific and popular authors has completely escaped my notice totally bamboozles me. I’m hooked and now can’t get enough. I’m not sure that you have to read them in sequence, but here’s a neat web site that outlines the themes and reading orders.