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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
March 4, 1994

I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan, KS.

I asked for her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

The lady took out the required information and handed it to me.

In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box.

Something—body language, or the way she said it—made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also having a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more
time if that was all.

She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said, “Not a thing!”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 23, 1995

A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things.

They decide to go to the doctor for a checkup. The doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.

Later that night while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair.

His wife asks, “Where are you going?”

“To the kitchen,” he replies.

“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?”

“Sure.”

“Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks.

“No, I can remember it.”

“Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. You’d better write it down, because you know you’ll forget it.”

He says, “I can remember that! You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”

“I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, so you’d better write it down!” she retorts.

Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Leave me alone! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream — I got it, for goodness sake!” Then he grumbles into the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stares at the plate for a moment and says… “Where’s my toast?

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 14, 2015

Does the statement, “Because we’ve always done it that way”… ring any bells?

The U.S. standard railroad gauge (the 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 built 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 used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! 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 United States 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 spec and told we have always done it that way and wonder what horse’s ass came up with that, 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, here’s 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, 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 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 tail.

And you thought being a horse’s tail wasn’t important.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 9, 2009

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married — for the fourth time.

The interviewer asked her questions about her life.  About what it felt like to be marrying again at 80.  Then about her new husband’s occupation.

“He’s a funeral director,” she answered.

“Interesting,” the newsman thought.  He then asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.

She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years.

After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that:
She’d first married a banker when she was in her early 20’s.
Then a circus ringmaster when in her 40’s.
Later on a preacher when in her 60’s.
And now, in her 80’s, a funeral director.

The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

She smiled and explained…… “I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
November 24, 2004

I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.

I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

I may have been in Continent, but I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.

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Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
August 19, 2000

I’ve been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they’re welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. “This is Luke, my baby brother, and I’m going to tell you about his birthday.”

“First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom’s stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.”

She’s standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I’m trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

“Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts going, ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!’ (Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans.)

“She walked around the house for, like an hour, ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

“My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn’t have a sign on the car like the Domino’s man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.” (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

“And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!” (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

“Then the middle wife starts saying ‘push, push,’ and ‘breathe, breathe.’ They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom’s play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there in the first place.”

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat.

I’m sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it’s Show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another “Middle Wife” comes along.

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