Classics (Part 1)


An anthology of really old and mostly unattributed lore.
Collected by Walter Driedger, P. Eng., 2001 Nov 12.  walter(at)driedger(dot)ca
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orthopedic pain management

Questions and Answers

We have not succeeded in answering all your questions. Indeed we sometimes feel we have not answered any of them. The answers we have found have only served to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel that we are as confused as ever, but we think we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.

Answers Price Sheet

Simple Answers -- $1

Answers requiring thought -- $5

As usual, dumb looks are still free

Proverbs 11:1      False scales are the Lord’s abomination
                               Correct weights are dear to his heart

Real Programmers don’t comment.
If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read.

Oh Damn!

Are You part of the Solution? If not, you’re part of the precipitate.

Engineering Glossary

Engineer says:     A number of different approaches are being tried.
Engineer means: We are still grasping at straws.

Engineer says:    We're working on a fresh approach to the problem.
Engineer means: We just hired three kids fresh out of school.

Engineer says:    Close project coordination.
Engineer means: We know who to blame.

Engineer says:     Major technological breakthrough.
Engineer means: It works OK, and looks very hi-tech.

Engineer says:     Customer satisfaction upon delivery is assured.
Engineer means: We are so far behind schedule that the customer is happy to get it delivered.

Engineer says:     Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive.
Engineer means: The damn thing blew up when we threw the switch.

Engineer says:    Test results were extremely gratifying.
Engineer means: We are so surprised that the stupid thing works.

Engineer says:    The entire concept will have to be abandoned.
Engineer means: The only person who understood the thing quit.

Engineer says:     It is in process.
Engineer means: It is so wrapped up in red tape that the situation is hopeless.

Engineer says:    We'll look into it.
Engineer means: Forget it! We have enough problems for now.

Engineer says:    Please read and initial.
Engineer means: Let's spread the responsibility for the mistake.

Engineer says:    Give us the benefit of your thoughts.
Engineer means: We'll listen to what you say as long as it doesn't interfere with what we've already done.

Engineer says:    Give us your interpretation.
Engineer means: I can't wait to hear this!

Engineer says:    See me/Let's discuss.
Engineer means: Come into my office, I'm lonely.

Engineer says:    All new!
Engineer means: Parts not interchangeable with the previous design.

Engineer says:     Rugged.
Engineer means: Too heavy to lift.

Engineer says:    Lightweight.
Engineer means: Lighter than rugged.

Engineer says:    Years of development.
Engineer means: One finally worked.

Engineer says:     Low maintenance.
Engineer means: Impossible to repair.

Extra Notice to Bidders


The work we want did is clearly showed on attached plans and specifications. Our Engineer, whose had plenty of College, spent one hell of a lot of time when he drawed up these here plans and specifications. But nobody cant think of everything. Once your bid is in, that’s it, Brother! From then on, anything wanted by our Engineer, or any of his friends, or anybody else (except the Bidder) shall be considered as showed, specified, or implied and be provided by the Bidder without expense to nobody but himself (meaning the Bidder).

Extra Costs

If the work is did without no extra Expense to the Bidder, then the work will be took down and did again until the extra expense to Contractor is satisfactory to our Engineer.


Our Engineer’s plans are right as drawed. If sumpthin is drawed wrong, it shall be discovered by the Bidder, corrected and did right with no extra expense to us. It won’t cut no ice with us, or our Engineer, if you point out any mistakes our Engineer has drawed. If you do, it will be one hell of a long time before you do any more work for us or him (meaning the Engineer).

Vendor Conduct

The Bidder is not supposed to make fun of our Engineer, his plans, or the kinda work we’re having done. If he do, it’s just too damn bad for him (meaning the Bidder).

Any Bidder walking around the job with a smile on his face shall be subject to a review of his bid.


If the Bidder don’t find all our Engineer’s mistakes before he bids on the job, or if the Bidder ain’t got enough sense to know that our Engineer’s gonna think up a bunch of new stuff that’s going to have to be did before the job is completed, then it’s just to damn bad for him (meaning the Bidder).


The Bidder has got to use good stuff on this job – none of that crap from Taiwan.

Administratium discovered!.

The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major US research university. The element, tentatively named "Administratium", has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons. It is also surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons change places. Some studies indicate that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.

Research at other laboratories indicates that Administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as Government agencies, large corporations and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best appointed and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that Administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how Administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

Change Management

A certain old lady inherited a puppy of the variety whose tail is traditionally cropped. She thought this was a rather drastic, not to mention painful, thing to do to the poor puppy. In order to minimize the pain she decided to crop it only one inch a week.