When given one of those customer satisfaction surveys, always try and give a glowing report about the individual who helped you (unless they were terrible, of course) because those surveys are just another tool for corporations to harass their already under-paid, under-appreciated employees.

You don't want to be responsible for getting someone fired just because of some stupid survey, do you?

This is all part of my motto: “People have to stick together against oppressive corporations!” 🙂

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 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/process, and wonder, What horse's behind 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' behinds.)

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 behind. And you thought being a horse's behind wasn't important?

So, horse's behinds control almost everything. Explains a whole lot of things, doesn't it?

Dinkum, also dinky-di, fair dinkum, adjective
True; honest; genuine.

Probably derived, like many other Australian words, from English dialect. The counties of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire had a word or dincum meaning “work; a fair share of work.” The word was first recorded in Australia in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888): “It took us an hour's hard dinkum to get near the peak.” (© Wordsmith Words)

Previous argument/post, continued:


Yes, it’s an excellent justification for not paying attention to what is going on in politics right now.

I think W. proved very nicely that they are NOT all alike, and not making even a small effort to select who might be a little less worse is abdicating one’s responsibility as a citizen.

The two-party corporate-dominated system that we have right now will not allow much change, but it makes it all the more important to do the best we can with what we do have, rather than whine “they are all alike” and go back to watching television.


But it does take a higher power of magnifying glass to tell who’s worse these days. Clinton was “less worse” than Bush, but Bush couldn’t pass NAFTA, which Clinton happily did, as well as repealing Glass-Steagal and other economically ruinuous measures. Obama was less worse than Bush Jr, but Obama re-instituted the Patriot Act, passed corporate dream healthcare bill and escalated the Afghan war. So not voting is starting to look like a more viable option than getting tricked into supporting someone just because you voted for him, forgetting he was the “less worse” then, and still is not worth supporting or defending. I think it’s part of what Noam Chomsky called “manufactured consent.” Partisanship is NOT good citizenship. It is what allowed Bush Jr to balloon the deficit against the principles of many Republican Congressthings that knew better. It is what allowed Clinton to pass NAFTA. It is what is being used against the American people to carry on the corporate agenda.

Plleeaassee reeaadd! It was on Good Morning America!

It's a very old hoax. Anything with a headline like that and mentioning Microsoft, AOL and Good Morning America in the same email almost HAS to be a hoax these days, and this one is.

On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 8:05 PM, wrote:

This is probably a hoax, but just in case it's not, I'm forwarding it.

Filed under: Internet


adjective: Excessively sparing or frugal.

Etymology From Middle English parcimony, from Latin parsimonia, from parcere (to spare). First recorded use: 1598.

Usage “President Calvin Coolidge was so with words that he became known as 'Silent Cal'.” — Rob Christensen; Interesting, But Not Quite Convincing; The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina); Sep 12, 2010. (© Wordsmith Words)