Does the statement, “We’ve always done it that way”
ring any bells? The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is
4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an odd number, don’t you think? Why was that gauge
- Because that’s the way they built railroads in England, and English
expatriates built 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
- Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that
they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Then 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 U.S.
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 ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the
Imperial Roman war 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 (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 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 ass.
And you thought being a Horse’s Ass wasn’t important...
I should like to be a horse. - Queen Elizabeth II
Horse ovaries (hors d'oeuvres) - Archie Bunker
Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run. - Unknown
Use a little of your horse's sense. - Archie Bunker
A Horse! A Horse! My kingdom for a horse! - William Shakespeare
Life looks better from the back of a horse. - Unknown
Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse. - Groucho Marx
Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse. - Christopher Morley
A unicorn is just a horse with a point of view. - Ron Sexsmith
The speed of a runaway horse counts for nothing. - Jean Cocteau
The old horse in the stable still yearns to run. - Mongolian Proverb
Marry me and I'll never look at another horse! - Groucho Marx
Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse. - Groucho Marx
I had the best buffalo horse that ever made a track. - Buffalo Bill
Life is like a horse - either you ride it or it rides you. - Unknown
Horse Manure: 50p per pre-packed bag. 20p - do it your self. - Unknown
Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong. - Unknown
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him float. - Unknown
The only thing worse than beating a dead horse is betting on one. - Relient K
The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never. - Yiddish Proverb
You can not lead a battle if you think you look silly on a horse. - Napoleon Bonaparte
All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song. - Louis Armstrong
It's too late to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. - French Proverb
Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. - WC Fields
A horse doesn't care how much you know until it knows how much you care. - Tom Smith
You can lead a horse to water but I'd rather ride it to the liquor store. - Wayne Nowazek
It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse. - Adlai Stevenson
In fifty years, he never worked a day. To him, nine to five was odds on a horse. - Archie Bunker
Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship. - Leonardo da Vinci
Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on. - Robert Frost
You've got to concentrate on one idea. You can't ride a horse with two asses. - Joe Segal
Half of the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping.
- Thomas Hood
And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse. - Bedouin Legend
One of the worst things that can happen in life is to win a bet on a horse at an early age. - Danny McGoorty
I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse. - Woody Allen
Thank you, horseradish, for being neither a radish nor a horse. What you are is a liar food. - Jimmy Fallon
When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' - Elon Musk
Like the old adverb, "you can lead a gift horse to the water but ya can't look in his mouth." - Archie Bunker
A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still. - Samuel Johnson
Do you ever get halfway through eating a horse and go, 'You know, I'm not as hungry as I thought I was'? - Tim Vinel
Horse, Language & Travel
A New “Brand” of Pain - OUCH!!!
Frog To Horse Illusion
Neigh Be Barn With It
Quarter Horse or Quarterhorse?
Tonto’s Horse Coolant
World’s First Horse Power Vehicle
Quebec Stop Sign
Playground Child Eliminator
2021 Hooters Owl and Birds of Prey Calendars
Glass World - Where Plumbers Buy
Three Wise Women
One More Drop
Idling Eric Idle
High Heel Diver
Rising To The Occasion
Annual Meeting of the Ontario Summer Tires Club
I See You
Get Off Your High Horse
Revenge of the Stallion
Spot the Hidden Barred Owl