Space Shuttle and Roman Chariots


You may not know this, so let me give you something to wonder about on how the military might of Ancient Rome influenced the US space program. Did you know that the standard US railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches? Of course, if you didn’t know that, you never wondered about it, but now that you do know, please wonder or this post will be meaningless.

 Now, 4 feet 8.5 inches is an odd number for anything. Then how did the brilliant railroad builders come us with that gauge?  They used those exact measurements was beThis picture was taken in 1908 in New York City.cause that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the U.S railroads.

The reason they built them that way in Merry Old England was because the same people who built the horse-drawn streetcars used that same 4 feet 8.5 inches gauge to build the first rail lines.

About now you should be asking why the streetcar makers used that gauge? Well, the people who built the streetcars used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons. Continue reading

A Truth About Thinking

Thinker 1A little while back I posted about the Problem Thinker. Since then I have I have discovered a little more about thinking. The sad truth is that people don’t really care what you think unless you think the same way they do.

Now that is not some great new discovery like finding a diamond ring when you were going through your neighbor’s trashcan. No, this discovery is something you have suspected for some time, but to finally came to the conclusion, to have to accept, to admit to yourself, that no one gives a damn what you think is enough to make you sit down and cry like a baby with a bee sting. Continue reading

I Enjoy Being a Guy

Many, many years ago in a land far, far away— O.K. it wasn’t that long ago or that far away but Steven Spielberg got away with starting a movie with something like that so I thought I’d try— Of course a galaxy far, far away is much more exciting than a land far, far away.

Flower_drum_1958Let’s start again. Back in the late 50s, early 60s (for some of you that is long, long ago) there was a Broadway hit called, Flower Drum Song. One of the songs from that show, “I Enjoy Being a Girl,” had eight verses and this verse gives you an idea for what that whole song was like.

When someone with eyes that smoulder
Says he loves ev’ry silken curl
That falls on my iv’ry shoulder,
I enjoy being a girl!
Continue reading

Don’t Kill the Messenger

TruthNow don’t get angry with me just because I’m about to tell you the truth. I know, I know, the truth hurts, but sometimes we have to face it. Now I am just going to be honest with you, and if the truth hurts, remember I’m just the messenger.

White houseJeffersonThis truth business all came about because a friend, well OK, an acquaintance really, had just returned from D.C. and was rhapsodize about all the monuments and I thought, “Yeah, that’s a city of nothing but liars and monuments and all the monuments are to liars.”

ArlingtonUnknownI realize that may not be a very nice thing to say, so I’ll mitigate it somewhat by saying there may be a monument to someone other than a liar like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and some of those little monuments in Arlington.

Aside from that slight possibility; in all likelihood the greater the liar, the larger the monument, because almost every monument is to a “gone from here” politician and everyone knows there is not a more accomplished liar than a politician. Continue reading

I Have Sand in my Eyes!

Paul J. Stam:

Good thought – read to the end.

Originally posted on Second Wind Publishing:

As a teacher, I look forward to spring break every year, almost more than the students (oh, who am I kidding. I look forward to it way more than the students!). But what is #springbreak2015 without a beach road trip? Incomplete, that’s what. And no one wants that, so this week my sister and I loaded up the munchkins (Sadie, 7; Bailey, 5; and Maggie, 3) into the minivan and headed to the beach.

 Never mind that it was cloudy.

 Never mind that it was 64°.

 Never mind the recovering sickness and ear infection.

 Never mind the 15 mph wind.

We went anyway and the kids were even brave (?) enough to jump in the tide pools. Sure, they may have turned a little blue when they came out, but they had fun (and who are we to deny them such uninhibited enjoyment of God’s creation?).

Everything was good.


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My Paper Hangup

marchIt’s the end of the month. It is just after I have torn off the page from my desk-top calendar that the trauma sets it. It is not the front of the calendar with all its scribblings of appointments and the lines diagonally across dates showing that day is gone and done with that upsets me. It is not because I get all misty-eyed because another month has gone by and I am getting older.

It is when I see the 16×22 inches of blank, white, expanse without a single mark on it that I feel guilty for wasting paper. I fold it in half, and then in half again, and think, “I’m wasting four sheets of letter-size paper.” I actually consider cutting along the folds and creating four sheets of scratch paper. But I have more scratch pads of one kind or another than a chicken has dirt to scratch in. It is all I can do to throw that enormous sheet of paper away. Only one side has been used.

I blame my paper hangup on my father. Well maybe not on my father, but on my childhood. Well maybe not the whole childhood exactly, but the environment of my childhood. Maybe not the environment, but the people who sent us mail. Yeah, that’s it, the environment combined with the mail delivery that determined my childhood chores. Continue reading

Interview with Christian Jennette, Author of “Ties That Bind”

Originally posted on Pat Bertram Introduces . . .:

ties that bindWhat is your book about?

Ties That Bind is a novel that follows its main character, Kristen Bradley, as she navigates her way through a very difficult situation. Kristen’s passion is acting, but she has been so busy with nursing school and a troubled relationship, there hasn’t had time to step foot on stage. So when the opportunity to join a local theater company arises, she jumps at the chance, and it isn’t long before she’s drawn in deeply to the tight- knit group. The company, Riverbend Community Theater, is like a family, only it’s ties are stronger than blood – so strong, it’s almost cult-like. All its actors bow down to one very powerful director. Just when she thinks she’s found her place in the word, Kristen learns that something dark exists behind the surface of Riverbend’s perfect facade, and that the charismatic director she’s learned to trust and…

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