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The building industry never ceases to amuse us with its colorful characters and creative solutions. The following is our collection of images, jokes and videos that have crossed our path.
For thousands of years, asbestos has been mined and used in numerous applications. From it’s earliest uses as a fibrous reinforcement for earthenware pots, to it’s uses as a fire-resistant cloth, to it’s latest uses as thermal and electrical isolation. What was once considered a wonder material, asbestos became the source of much scrutiny within the last 50 years as a cause of severe lung disorders. What a difference time can make in the building industry.
“The first thing you’ve got to remember is that it’s your client’s money you’re spending. Your goal is to achieve the best results by following their wishes. If they want you to build a house upside down standing on its chimney, it’s up to you to do it. “- Richard Morris Hunt, founding member of the American Institute Architects
Curtis &Leroy saw an ad in the Starkville Daily in Starkville, MS and bought a mule for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day.
The next morning the farmer drove up and said,”Sorry, fellows, I have some bad news, the mule died last night.”
Curtis &Leroy replied,”Well, then just give us our money back.” The farmer said,”Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
They said, “OK then, just bring us the dead mule.”
The farmer asked, “What in the world ya’ll gonna do with a dead mule?”
Curtis said, “We gonna raffle him off.”
The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead mule!”
Leroy said, “We shore can! Heck, we don’t hafta tell nobody he’s dead!”
A couple of weeks later, the farmer ran into Curtis &Leroy at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and asked. “What’d you fellers ever do with that dead mule?”
They said,”We raffled him off like we said we wuz gonna do.”
Leroy said,”Shucks, we sold 500 tickets fer two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998.”
The farmer said,”My Lord, didn’t anyone complain?”
Curtis said, “Well, the feller who won got upset. So we gave him his two
Curtis and Leroy now work for the government.
They’re overseeing the Bailout & Stimulus Programs.
Limit all U.S. politicians to two Terms.
One in office.
One in prison.
A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timing so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. Small variations in the environment (which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get ticked-off and buy another product instead.
Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort. The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution — on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.
A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. “That’s some money well spent!” – he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report. It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. It should’ve been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren’t picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.
Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin. “Oh, that,” says one of the workers — “one of the guys put it there ’cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang”.
Thousands of metres up the vertiginous slopes of Shifou Mountain in Hunan Province, China, a team of workers, operating with hardly any safety measures, are building a footpath.
The plank road, once it is finished, will stretch for 3km (9843 ft) and be China’s longest sightseeing footpath.
48-year-old Yu Ji is one of the workers and he has been working on high cliffs building such plank roads for more than 10 years. He comments: “Young people don’t want this job, as it requires them to stay deep in the mountains for months or even years.”
Yu Ji takes charge of the most dangerous part of the project – drilling the holes to set up pipes to support the footpath.
Your favorite James Bond character is “Q”.
You see a good design and still have to change it.
You still own a slide rule and you know how to use it.
You have modified your can-opener to be microprocessor driven.
You think the real heroes of “Apollo 13” were the mission controllers.
You think “cuddling” is simply an unproductive application of heat exchange.
You have owned a calculator with no equal key and know what RPN stands for.
You make four sets of drawings (with seven revisions) before making a bird bath.
You have trouble writing anything unless the paper has horizontal and vertical lines.
Your ideal evening consists of fast-forwarding through the latest sci-fi movie looking for technical inaccuracies.
You think the value of a book is directly proportionate to the amount of tables, charts and graphs it contains.
An engineer dies and reports to hell. Pretty soon, the engineer becomes dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.
One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer: “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”
Satan replies: “Hey things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.”
God replies: “What??? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake – he should never have gotten down there; send him up here!”
Satan says: “No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”
God says: “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”
Satan laughs uproariously and answers: “Yeah, right! And just where are you going to get a lawyer?”
Three engineers and three managers have to go to a business meeting in the City and they all decide to take the train. The three managers get to the station first, buy their tickets, and are waiting around talking when the three engineers show up and buy only one ticket. They all board the train, and the managers are wondering, “How the hell? They’ll get kicked off…”
The managers take their seats and the engineers pile into a bathroom. The Conductor comes by takes all the passengers tickets then knocks on the bathroom door and takes the one ticket and moves on to the next car. Moments later the engineers come out and take their seats.
The managers are impressed… They decide to try the same thing on the way home. So on the return trip the managers buy only one ticket, but this time, the engineers don’t buy any at all…
They all board the train, managers pile into one bathroom, engineers into another. Moments later one of the engineers leaves their bathroom, knocks on the door of the other and says “Ticket please”…
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a little bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air ballon hovering approximately thirty feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.
“I am,” replied the woman. “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
The woman below responded, “You must be in management,” to which he replied, “I am, but how did you know?”
“Well,” the woman responded, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”
Does the statement, “We’ve always done it that way” ring any bells…?
The US standard railroad gauge 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 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 ass.
And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important ??
Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.
The first surgeon says, “I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered.”
The second responds, “Yeah, but you should try electricians, Everything inside them is color coded.”
The third surgeon says, “No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.”
The fourth surgeon chimes in: “You know, I like construction workers… those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would.”
But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: “You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There’s no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains and no spine, and the head and the ass are interchangeable.”
(These terms have been updated to fit today’s times…)
CEO: chief embezzlement officer.
CFO: corporate fraud officer.
BULL MARKET – A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.
BEAR MARKET – A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.
VALUE INVESTING – The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E RATIO – The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.
BROKER – What my broker has made me.
STANDARD & POOR – Your life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST! – Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT – When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.
FINANCIAL PLANNER – A guy whose phone has been disconnected.
MARKET CORRECTION – The day after you buy stocks.
CASH FLOW – The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.
YAHOO – What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.
WINDOWS 2000 – What you jump out of when you’re the sucker who bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR – Past year investor who’s now locked up in a mental hospital.
PROFIT – an archaic word no longer in use.
CONTRACTOR – A gambler who never gets to shuffle, cut or deal.
BID OPENING – A poker game in which the losing hand wins.
BID – A wild guess carried out to two decimal places.
LOW BIDDER – A contractor who is wondering what he left out of his bid.
ENGINEER’S ESTIMATE – The cost of construction in heaven.
PROJECT MANAGER – The conductor of an orchestra in which every musician is in a different union.
CRITICAL PATH METHOD – A management technique for losing your shirt under perfect control.
OSHA – A protective coating made by half-baking a mixture of fine print, red tape, split hairs and baloney usually applied at random with a shotgun.
STRIKE – An effort to increase egg production by strangling the chicken.
DELAYED PAYMENT – A tourniquet applied at the pockets.
COMPLETION DATE – The point at which liquidated damages begin.
LIQUIDATED DAMAGES – A penalty for failing to achieve the impossible.
AUDITOR – People who go in after the war is lost and bayonet the wounded.
LAWYER – People who go in after the auditors and strip the bodies.
Lesson 1: A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, ‘I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.’ After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.
The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ‘Who was that?’ ‘It was Bob the next door neighbor,’ she replies. ‘Great,’ the husband says, ‘did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?’
Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.
Lesson 2: A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’ The priest removed his hand But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, ‘Father, remember Psalm 129?’ The priest apologized ‘Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.’ Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.
On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, ‘Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.’
Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.
Lesson 3: A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, ‘I’ll give each of you just one wish.’
‘Me first! Me first!’ says the admin clerk. ‘I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.’ Puff! She’s gone.
‘Me next! Me next!’ says the sales rep. ‘I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.’ Puff! He’s gone.
‘OK, you’re up,’ the Genie says to the manager.. The manager says, ‘I want those two back in the office after lunch.’
Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.
Lesson 4: An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you and do nothing?’ The eagle answered: ‘Sure, why not.’
So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
Lesson 5: A turkey was chatting with a bull. ‘I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree’ sighed the turkey, ‘but I haven’t got the energy.’ ‘Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?’ replied the bull. They’re packed with nutrients.’ The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Moral of the story: Bull S__t might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.
Lesson 6: A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Morals of the story: (1) Not everyone who dumps on you is your enemy. (2) Not everyone who gets you out of doo doo is your friend. (3) And when you’re in deep doo doo, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!
An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week.” The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want.” Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess, that I’ll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?”
The engineer said, “Look I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool.”
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multimillion dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated, “This is where your problem is”. The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The engineer responded briefly:
One chalk mark $1.
Knowing where to put it $49,999.
The bill was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress.
The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.
The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.
The engineer said, “I like both.”
Engineer: “Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the office and get some work done.”
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, “What’s with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!”
The doctor chimed in, “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such ineptitude!”
The pastor said, “Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let’s have a word with him.”
“Hi George, say, what’s with that group ahead of us? They’re rather slow, aren’t they?”
The greens keeper replied, “Oh, yes, that’s a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.”
The group was silent for a moment. The pastor said, “That’s so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.”
The doctor said, “Good idea. And I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there’s anything he can do for them.”
The engineer said, “Why can’t these guys play at night?”
Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?”
The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.”
The second engineer nodded approvingly, “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”
Three contractors are bidding to repair the White House fence.
One was from New Jersey , another from Tennessee and the third was from Iowa .
They go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Iowa contractor takes out a tape measure, does some measuring, then jots down some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900…. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”
The Tennessee contractor also measures and figures, then says, “I can do this job for $700…. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”
Then it’s the New Jersey contractor’s turn. But he doesn’t measure or do any figuring. Instead, he leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.” The official is astonished! “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” “Easy,” the Jersey guy explains,
“$1,000 for you, $1,000 for me, and we hire the guy from Tennessee”
An Architect decided to type in “Architect” into Google images today to see what popped up. It’s kind of a running joke in the profession of how the general public views Architects versus what a real Architect ACTUALLY is. (Click to download.)