Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Measure Of A Man

Don't worry. DEFINITELY nothing deep with this post.

What are my measurements? As in, what are my favorite units of measure?

I put a few hours of thought in to this, give or take. I can't even remember how I got so far off track as to start thinking such thoughts. But I did, none the less.

First of all, with a science background, I am partial to the metric system. To me it is flawless. There is an orderliness to it. Everything seems to fit with perfection. Therefore, I declare the metric system as more "Godly".

The English system...well, it's sinister. Its chaotic randomness is surely in league with the devil himself. Sixteen of these make one of those...twelve of these make one of this...three of this...And a peck? What the heck is up with that? Fathom? Fathom this, baby!

Shoot, we even have two different measures for a mile, one for land and one for sea. As if that should make a bushel of beans difference.

Check out this lineup and tell me if you know what the heck any of it means:
A "stone" of coal?
A "stone" of wool? (They ain't the same thing)

A "load" of straw?
A "spindle" of thread?

A "barrel" of butter?
A "barrel" of flour? (Ain't the same thing)

The first time I started looking for firewood, someone asked me how many "cords" I wanted. I thought to myself, I'll need at least a couple to keep it secure.

Did you know the US gallon is based on the "Queen Anne" gallon, whatever that is? It's 231 cubic inches.

Do you see what I'm saying? 231 cubic inches? 231? What is that? When did 231 become an important number for anything? Was "Queen Anne" insane?

Did you know there is an English unit of volume measurement called the "Pottle"? That's right, Pottle. It's two quarts. That's a half-gallon, folks.

I dare you to go to the supermarket next week and ask the dairy man for a pottle of milk.
"Excuse me, sir, I need a pottle of milk."
"Well take a look, we have all kinds of bottles, sir. What size were you needing?"

Quart is about the only thing in the English system that makes sense.

How insane were the English, anyway? Monty Python's crew couldn't have made up anything as good as this mess.

At any rate, here are my favorite measurements, in English and Metric.

Favorite length
English- The "Yard"
Metric- The "Centimeter"

Favorite volume
English- The "Quart" (yes, I even prefer it to the mighty liter)
Metric- The "Milliliter"

Favorite weight
English- The "Ton"
Metric- The "Kilogram"


  1. More barrel nonsense from those of us in the petroleum industry.

    A barrel of oil is 42 gallons. It is abbreviated bbl because the abbreviation comes from "blue barrel".

  2. 42 gallons? Again, what is up with these numbers?

    It must be code for something. Maybe some DaVinci Code fan can figure out what the English were trying to cover up.

  3. Dear dear husband, this is something I differ with you on; however, you have the scientific mind, not me! I hate the metric system - it has always been more confusing to me than the English system.
    I will just leave it at that!! :)

  4. Lucy, I can't believe you could be confused by anything.

  5. I have long favored the metric system, beginning in 1975, the year of the Metric Conversion Act.
    This was when gasoline was sold by the liter, causing great confusion, metric rulers everywhere, conversion tables everywhere, weather reports in Celsius, etc. It did not last very long.

  6. They tried to teach us the metric system in grade school. I never understood what the problem was, other than it started in France, as I remember.

  7. I think in defense, when you consider how much stuff has to be replaced because metric-specified and English-specified stuff is incompatible, the return on all that conversion investment seems to dwindle.

    That, and "2 by 4" is just a lot easier to say than "5.08cm by 10.16cm". ;)

  8. "5.08cm by 10.16cm".

    Ho-ho! Now you're making the metric system sound arbitrary.

  9. Such a board might be called a 5 X 10.
    Theyy are usually smaller than marked.
    Alternatively, they might be called 50 X 100, if millimeters are used.

  10. See, I have the same problem with sewing and the metric system. A yard of fabric is just nicer than a meter. Plus we have 1/4" or 5/8" seam allowances. How would that translate into metric, oh mathematician?

  11. 1/4, 5/8, 11/16, and 17/32 are all concepts we would no longer need in the metric system.