The Office

Jennifer surprised Tom with a surprise visit to the office with Tristan. In order to give dad a break, Tristan took over for a while…



Arghhh… We got haCkED! Here is a snapshot of what this site looked like last night. Hopefully all is well now. Sorry if anyone was offended.

Spending the night fixing it….


Engineering fun

Only Tom’s engineer friends will appreciate this story:
Does the statement, “We’ve always done it like that” ring any bells? Read this email to the end; this is a new one for me
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 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 therefore 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 army 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, or SRBs.
The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory at 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.


Sunset Beach

Tristan took his first trip on an airplane to visit his relatives in the Myrtle Beach area. Although he slept through most of the flight, he seemed to have a good time hanging out with his mommy.

After flying into Myrtle Beach, Tristan went with his mom, dad and “pops” (Grandpa Norman) to Sunset Beach to meet up with the rest of the family. Here, he was introduced to his cousin Madeline.

Tristan wasn’t thrilled when mommy “christened” him with his first bit of the Atlantic Ocean…but by the end of the week, he was lovin’ it.

Eventually, everyone showed up at the same time…so we took another picture (surprise). Here is the whole gang:


Abbott and Costello Buy a Computer

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.


NOLA: Mass in honor of St. Pio

The Lord is kind and merciful. That is the refrain of our congregation today as we gathered to celebrate the Mass of St. Pio. The prophetic readings announce to us Gods call to follow His will and to announce to others that HE is the Christ, our Savior, who walks with us in faith.


Memorial of St. Januarius (in Gretna)

Dear Family and friends,
Today was another difficult day for St. Rosalie parish. We began, as usual, with the celebration of the Eucharist and the numbers begin to pick up. The Harvey Fire Department came during Mass and gave us five cases of fresh fruit to distribute thru the parish. Teachers began to return and view the damage of their classrooms and the school campus. There were many, many tears. At ten o?clock we gathered for a Prayer Service in Church, shared a few stories of faith, and then quickly made plans to begin to clean up.


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Gretna)

Greetings from Harvey and St. Rosalie Parish!
Today was a great day to celebrate the Gift of the Eucharist with family and friends. We celebrated two Masses, 8am and 11am. They were great expressions of faith for parishioners and my family. My Aunt Dee and her family attended the 11am Mass and shared where their children and grandchildren are located. It is a great relief to know that they are all safe, even if they are in Texas, Florida, and Virginia.


More news from New Orleans

From Father Jon:
Dear Friends,
There is always light at the end of the tunnel. Today we began with the celebration of Mass in St. Rosalie Church. The Parishoners had to use the side entrance since the front door, blown off by the storm, is still boarded up and had cinder blocks for extra security. There were 11 people at Mass, grateful for the opportunity to gather and pray. Many cried as the Blessed Sacrament was placed once again in the Tabernacle and the sanctuary light was lit for the first time in over two weeks.


St. Rosalie after Katrina

Father Jon Parks, pastor of St. Rosalie in Gretna (across the Mississippi from the French Quarter) and the man who presided over Jennifer and Tom’s wedding, is currently here in NY at the Salesian headquarters. He hopes to be back in NOLA to say mass on Monday.
He sent some pictures of his church after the storm:

When he returns, Fr. Jon will be collecting donations to help get his flock back on their feet. Check back here for details.