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Posts Tagged ‘rail

“The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train”*…


When General Electric debuted a new lower-emissions locomotive, the company commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning aerial photographer Vincent Laforet to take some glamor shots. The results are industrial porn at its most artful.

Check it out at: “Vincent Laforet’s Aerial Shots Of Trains Look Like Abstract Art.”

* Robert Lowell


As we hop aboard, we might spare a thought for Ephraim Shay; he died on this date in 1919. An inventor and logger, Shay invented and patented the “Shay locomotive,” a small, geared steam engine used to haul heavy logging (and ultimately also mining) trains at low speeds over rough terrain with poorly-laid, uneven track, sharp curves, and grades up to 14 percent.  By 1945, when production ended, 2,771 Shays had been built.

Shat at the throttle of one of his locomotives




Written by LW

April 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“OPIATE, n. An unlocked door in the prison of Identity. It leads into the jail yard”*…


From 1999 to 2010, the sale of prescription painkillers to pharmacies and doctors’ offices quadrupled. In the exact same time span, the number of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers also quadrupled, rising to almost 17,000…

How the American opiate epidemic was started by one pharmaceutical company: “Poison Pill.”

* Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


As we note that “one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small,we might send re-engineered birthday greetings to Sir Thomas Bouch; he was born on this date in 1822.  A railway engineer and executive whose career began at age 17, Bouch was knighted for designing the two-mile-long Tay River Bridge— on which an estimated 75 people died when the bridge collapsed.  An enquiry found Bouch to be liable, by virtue of bad design and construction; he died four months after the verdict.

Bouch is thus also indirectly responsible for the best-known poem, “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” by the gentleman widely-regarded to have been the the worst published poet in British history, William Topaz McGonagall.

Sir Thomas Bouch



Written by LW

February 25, 2015 at 1:01 am

Get *on* your ass…

The good folks at View from Fez have put together a guide to Buying a Donkey in Fez

The advice is quite complete, ranging from the strategic…

Determine why you need a donkey. Donkeys are used as pets, companions for other animals, guard animal, breeding, work, riding and showing. Know what you need a donkey for before looking at one to purchase. The use of donkeys as guard animals is increasingly popular and, fitted with reflective stripes and a fetching red flashing light, they can be quite scary.

…through the tactical…

Visit the donkeys you think are suitable for your needs. Remember a donkey may have mood swings during the day. It is very upsetting to find the animal that was so happy in the morning has a fit of the grumps every afternoon and throws hissy fits at night. Don’t bring a carossa with you the first time, as you may be tempted to bring home the animal even if it isn’t exactly what you want or need.

…to the practical…

Do check you budget, because the initial purchasing price does not include, vaccinations, stabling, outfitting with GPS and, of course, the fitting of special non-slip Medina shoes.

The full tutorial is here.

As we saddle up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that the official world speed record for steam locomotives was set on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham  on the East Coast Main Line in England by the express locomotive Mallard when it reached a speed of 125.88 mph.  The Mallard, which was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and was completed in March of that year, was in service until 1963.

The Mallard at the National Railway Museum at York

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