Tag: humor

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Friday, August 14th, 2015

What's So Funny About ORB's?

During the MAX1 conference Captain Tim Sullivan of Hornbeck Offshore sprung a surprise on us. His presentation dealt with Hornbeck’s very impressive efforts at improving MARPOL compliance and then towards the end of the presentation he mentioned that they needed to simplify their Oil Record Book guidance and therefore had handed all their stuff to a professional manual writer. He then held up a little booklet that looked quite familiar to us, but actually was a brand new version of a well known concept.


Hornbeck Offshore had commissioned Todd Brock (famous author of “Building Chicken Coops for Dummies”) and the Publisher John Wiley & Sons to produce “Oil Record Book for Dummies”!

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True or not, this joke is attributed to Abraham Lincoln:


A farmer’s young son comes running into the house.


Out of breath he says: “Pa, Pa, the hired hand and Sis are in the hayloft. The hired hand has dropped his pants and Sis has pulled up her skirt! Pa, I think they are fixin’ to pee on the hay.”


The farmer says: “Son your facts are correct, but your conclusion is all wrong.”

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There is a Cold War (remember, that was before 1989) engineering joke that goes as follows:


The Russians had built a brand new huge airplane, and it was the pride of Russia, but they had a continuous problem with fatigue fracturing at the wing to fuselage connection.


They tried everything and it just kept fracturing. One day there was a goodwill tour of Americans that came to Russia and one of the tour members was a Boeing engineer.


One of the Russian aerospace engineers discovered this and during a quiet moment approached the Boeing engineer to see if he had any suggestions on the fracturing problem.


The Boeing engineer quickly came up with a solution. He said: “just drill tiny evenly spaced little holes right along the path where the fracture appears and the problem will go away.”


The Russian thought he was kidding, but they were desperate and decided to try it. Surprisingly it worked, the wing never fractured at the wing root again. Years later the Russian met the Boeing engineer again, and asked how he came up with that idea. The Boeing engineer told him it was easy, he just made the wing look like the perforations in Russian toilet paper, since that never tore at the perforations either.


But is there a kernel of truth in the joke?

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My wife, Anne, has two Aunt Pats. That becomes confusing, and many years ago I dubbed one of them Crazy Aunt Pat. Not because she is crazy, but simply because she is a smart, bold person who is afraid of nothing and I needed a way to distinguish her from the other who is equally wonderful. She lives in Oregon, but is a regular visitor to the East Coast and she has driven cross country many a time starting just after WWII and has done it on her own into her eighties.


My daughter just became a freshman at University of Washington, and my wife and I decided to take the time to drive her there to allow us to finally have our first cross country road trip.


Anne calls Crazy Aunt Pat to tell her we are West Coast bound and asked our family cross country expert for good stopping points along the way. Crazy Aunt Pat said: “There is one stop that really stands out. It is a house in Spring Green, Wisconsin, I cannot think of the name right now, but it is the town where Frank Lloyd Wright's house is. It is a four hour stop to see it all, but make sure you do not miss it.”

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