The story of the train that broke through a building in Paris in 1895


Originally published at:


I have a print of that framed and in my office.


same thing happened in Dublin in 1900…


a train wreck as prominent feature in your office. is this some kind of metaphor for work?




On the contrary, it’s a metaphor for the indomitability of the human spirit, and its capacity to break through the artificial barriers we surround ourselves with in an effort prevent ourselves from fucking up royally.


I also seem to recall the image appearing in some Dada artwork. Something very Parisian and avant-garde.


Something similar also happened in Washington DC in 1953.


Once again it seems like what the French accomplish with flair and elegance, we just manage to turn into a garden-variety trainwreck.


I did too! Shortly before I quit. I didn’t bother framing it.


When I was a kid, one of the neighbors drove her car through the back wall of her garage. It wasn’t at high speeds; she’d just gotten into the wrong gear before letting out the clutch, and fortunately, nobody was injured and the wall was just facing the back yard, not the inside of the house.


I’ve always liked this picture. It was used as the cover for the Error Analysis textbook I used back in college.


In 1980, when I was in 4th grade, my family moved into a 1200-square-foot tract house in El Cajon, CA. A previous owner had converted the garage into a paneled, carpeted living space, which became our family room. The sofa sat across from the TV, and directly in front of the wall that was formerly the garage door.

One day when I was sixteen I was driving home from school in the rain in my 1978 Mercury Zephyr station wagon. As I pulled into the driveway, my rain-slicked sneaker slipped off the brake pedal and onto the gas pedal, so I crashed into the garage door. Not too hard, but at probably 12 miles per hour. My mom, who had been watching TV while sitting on the couch, definitely felt the impact; I think the couch moved a few inches. She came outside and read me the riot act, culminating with a dark “wait until your father gets home.”

I was nervous as hell, but met my dad in the driveway and showed him what happened. It actually wasn’t bad.

As you can see, the front bumper of the Zephyr has a pair of hard plastic rubberbabybuggybumpers on it. Those punched a pair of holes in the garage door, but otherwise the wall was pretty sound. So my dad sighed (remembering how much worse his own boyhood automotive misadventures had been), and he and I patched the wall together. He didn’t even get a little bit mad.

He was a great dad.


Your Dad indeed sounds cool. See, this is why I never had kids. My child would be some internet person bitching about me now. My punishment would have been to make you remove those sweet, sweet Craigers and put the stock steel wheels back on. Everyone knows that you get at least 10mph top speed increase using the mags.


Heh. That’s not my old Zephyr there. Mine was a bonestock wagon, not the fancy Z7 we see here, though mine was indeed that color. But I sold that wagon in 1989, and I don’t think I have any pictures of it.

I do have Cragar S/S wheels just like that on my Cougar, though. :wink:


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