## I is for the idiosyncrasy of inches

Mary is every inch the schoolteacher.

While the metric system is very logical there’s something wonderfully daft about the United States customary systems of measurement:

1 inch = 254 millimeters, exactly
12 inches = 1 foot
36 inches = 3 feet = 1 yard
63,360 inches = 5,280 feet = 1,760 yards = 1 mile

Except for inches in a mile, I KNEW all of those by heart.

I love the etymology. “The English word inch comes from Latin uncia meaning “one-twelfth part” (in this case, one twelfth of a foot); the word ounce (one twelfth of a troy pound) has the same origin.”

Of course, I know it’s now 16 ounces = 1 pound = approximately 453.59237 grams.
And, confusingly, 16 fluid ounces = 2 cups = 1 pint = 0.5 quart = 0.125 gallon = approximately 0.473176 liter

“The vowel change from u to i is umlaut; the consonant change from c (pronounced as k) to ch is palatalisation.” But you knew that.

“In many other European languages, the word for ‘inch’ is the same as or derived from the word for ‘thumb’, as a man’s thumb is about an inch wide (and this was even sometimes used to define the inch); for example, Catalan: polzada inch, polze thumb; French: pouce inch/thumb; Italian: pollice inch/thumb; Spanish: pulgada inch, pulgar thumb; Portuguese: polegada inch, polegar thumb; Dutch: duim inch/thumb; Afrikaans: duim inch/thumb; Swedish: tum inch, tumme thumb, Danish and Norwegian: tomme / tommer inch/inches and tommel thumb; Czech: palec inch/thumb; Slovak: palec inch/thumb; Hungarian: hüvelyk inch/thumb.”

There are lots of sayings based on the US system. On one’s birthday, a child gets a “pinch for an inch,” to grow. A noted saying is “give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile”, which means that if you agree to part of what someone wants they will get, or take, ALL of what they want.

Then “every inch a” something means completely; in every way. “Mary is every inch the schoolteacher. Her father is every inch a gentleman.”

The great thing about the metric system is that you can always deduce the relationships – 1000 milliliters is a liter, 1000 grams is a kilogram, and the same is true for meters. But there’s something quaint about the measurement scale that was initially not only defined, but named, for people’s feet and fingers.

## December rambling #1: 21st Century Schizoid Man

If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar…

New York Times investigation: Guards punish black inmates more severely than whites inside New York State prisons

The Essential Selfishness of School Choice

Why didn’t Andrew Cuomo’s special-session wish list include closure of LLC loophole?

Reagan press aide’s response to AIDS crisis

John Key departs as New Zealand prime minister, and the civility of opposition leader Andrew Little was stunning, compared with American politics

The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere

John Glenn Dies At 95. He was the first American to orbit the earth, before his political career. He was a Presbyterian ruling elder, for whom one of my pastors was named.

##### Faux news

From Richard S. Vosko: Benjamin Corey, who studies theology and culture said, “the problem isn’t that people write things that are untrue, but that so many people are quick to believe things that are untrue.”

Fake news is like Jessica Rabbit and No facts? What does that mean?

Weather Channel: Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans

Despite social media outrage, the “Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset” is not real

Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts

Revealing fakery – and stupidity

I was telling one of my sisters, just this weekend, what a pain this “fake news” is for a librarian, who deals with the dispensing of information every day.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but don’t all Americans live in their own little worlds?

##### DJT

The Trump Dump: Tracking the New Administration’s People and Policies

If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar and a man so in love with himself that his fondest wish is to die in his own arms.
– From an Oklahoma pastor

Demagogue in Chief

War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Trump Won In A Landslide.

WHY SCIENTISTS ARE SCARED OF TRUMP

Trump to Remain Executive Producer on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

The president-elect is issuing statements to world leaders that benefit his family’s corporate empire

Fox’s Shepard Smith Debunks Trump’s False Claims Scrubbing Russia Of Involvement In The US Election

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter

Saturday Night Live Is Basically Just Reciting Facts About Donald Trump Now

Only a ‘Love Army’ Will Conquer Trump

It’s difficult to deny his incredible impact on the news this year ― for better or worse

Will Ivanka Trump Be the Most Powerful First Daughter in History? If she weren’t doing the family business, I’d have no problem with her unpaid advising her father in govt. It’s, as Big Brother and the Holding Company noted, The Combination of the Two that’s the REAL problem.

1843 Magazine/The Economist: The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

Altruistic People Have More Sexual Partners

Metric matters

Will Lacey was just a baby when doctors diagnosed a rare form of cancer and told his family there was only one end. Nobody then could imagine the journey ahead

Chaz Ebert: A BAKER’S DOZEN: 13 MORE MUST-SEE FILMS OF 2016

Denzel Washington reunites with his childhood librarian for her 99th birthday

Medieval graffiti ‘peacock’ discovered in Sudbury church

NOT ME: One of those held hostage was Roger Green, who said he spent the entire time praying

Now I Know: Ring Around the Lunar Orbit and NASA-L and When Your Brain Nose Something Is Missing and Home Sweet Apartment Building

Color of 2017: Greenery

##### Music

Greg Lake, Emerson, Lake & Palmer Co-Founder, Dead at 69 – the first Greg Lake vocal I recall: 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson ; also from that album, Epitath; Welcome Back My Friends – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature was accepted on his behalf by the musician Patti Smith -it was transcendent; Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Ravel, Bolero

Cantina Auditions

Ain’t No Sunshine

Come Together With More High-Caliber Beatles Analysis

The Definitive List of the 41 Best-Selling Cast Recordings of All Time

What if, instead of writing and starring in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda et al. had instead done Sweeney Todd

The Secret Jewish History of Robbie Robertson and The Band

Leon Russell in the Dark

The Four Functions of a Church Choir

The Great Guitar Drought of 1960-1963

## August Rambling: Deep dark secrets

I wrote this blog post about my ambivalence about blogging on the Times Union website.

The Hook-Up Culture Is Getting 20-Somethings Nowhere. On the other hand, Casual Love.

Nixon’s still the one. And What We Lost 40 Years Ago When Nixon Resigned. See Harry Shearer recreate Richard Nixon as he preps and delivers his resignation speech. Plus George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason.

New Zealand’s non-partisan Get Out the Vote campaign. I don’t see such things often in the US. Sure, there’s get our SUPPORTERS to vote, but that’s a different animal.

Deep Dark Fears is “a series of comics exploring those intimate, personal fears that mostly stem from your imagination getting darkly carried away.” Read more about it.

Rod Serling’s closing remarks from The Obsolete Man episode of The Twilight Zone. “It remains profoundly prescient and relevant.”

All these in a 48-hour period: How games’ lazy storytelling uses rape and violence against women as wallpaper and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has come forward with several stories of being called “chubby,” “fat,” and “porky” by her male colleagues in Congress and Fark prohibits misogyny in new addition to moderator guidelines and Snappy response to sexist harasser in the tech field.

Modern Office with Christina Hendricks.

FLOWCHART: Should You Catcall Her?

Guns and The Rule of Intended Consequences.

What our nightly views might look like if planets, instead of our moon, orbited Earth.

Cartoon: Pinocchio, Inc.

Remember when I wrote about flooding in Albany this month? Dan explains the systemic reason WHY it happened.

Arthur makes the case against “the case against time zones.” I’m not feeling the abolition of time zones either, at this point.

Nōtan: Dark and Light principles of Design.

The jungle gym as math tool.

The disaster drafts for professional sports.

The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It.

One of my favorite movie quotes, maybe because it’s so meta: “That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” (Grand Canyon, 1991)

Seriously, Rebecca Jade, the first niece, is in about four different groups, in a variety of genres. Here’s The Soultones cover band – Promo video. Plus a link to her latest release, Galaxy, with Jaz Williams.

Tosy’s U2, ranked 40-31 and 30-21.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, 2004.

August 22, 1969: The Beatles’ Final Photo Shoot

Coverville 1043: The Elvis Costello Cover Story III, in honor of him turning 60.

4 chairs, 4 women; 4 women, no chairs.

12 billion light-years from the edge. A funny bit!

Don Pardo, R.I.P..

Lauren Bacall: always the life of the party. And cinema icon of Hollywood’s golden age, 1924-2014. A Dustbury recollection.

More Robin Williams: on ‘cowardice’ and compassion. Also, a Dan Meth drawing and Aladdin’s Broadway cast gave a him beautiful tribute. Plus, a meeting of Yarmy’s Army and Ulysses.

Jaquandor remembers little Quinn. Damn middle recording made me cry.

The Wellington Hotel Annex in Albany, N.Y. was… murdered in plain sight in front of hundreds of onlookers. “If I were a building, this is how I’d like to go.” Here’s another view.

SamuraiFrog’s Muppet jamboree: C is for Clodhoppers and D Is for Delbert (who evolved) and E is for Eric the Parrot and F is for a Fraggle and G Is for the Gogolala Jubilee Jugband.

New SCRABBLE words. Word Up has identified some of the new three-letter words.

I SO don’t care: one space or two after the period. Here’s a third choice.

The ultimate word on that “digital natives” crap.

Whatever Happened to the Metric System?

Freedom from fear.

Ever wondered what those books behind the glass doors of the cupboard might be thinking or feeling?

The New Yorker thinks Yankovic is weirdly popular.

Here’s a nice Billy Joel story.

Pop songs as sonnets.

House of Clerks, a parody of House of Cards.

Saturday Night Live Political Secrets Revealed.

This Sergio Aragonés masterpiece is included as a fold-out poster within Inside Mad. His priceless gift to all Mad fans shows over six decades of Mad contributors and ephemera within a mish-mash of Mad office walls. The only thing missing in this beautiful mess is a key. Doug Gilford will be attempting to label everything you see with brief (pop-up) descriptions and links to pertinent pages…

Hello Kitty is not a cat. You may have known that; somehow, I missed it.

You May Have Something Extremely Valuable Hiding In Your Change.

Improved names for everyday things

I wrote this blog post about my ambivalence about blogging on the Times Union website. J. Eric Smith, who used to be a TU blogger, responds at length.

SamuraiFrog responds to my response to 16 Habits of Sensitive People. Also, per moi, he does his #1 songs on his birthday: 1987-1996 and 1997-2006, and 2007-2013. I’ll go back to this myself, eventually.

Dustbury on the theme song to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which a passage in Schutte’s Mass resembles more than slightly. He discovers a Singapore McDonalds product.

Jaquandor answers my questions about vices such as swearing and politics/American exceptionalism.

He also writes of buckets and the dumping of the water therein, which Gordon thinks hurts nonprofits. Snopes, BTW, debunks the claim that 73 percent of donations to the ALS Association fund executive salaries and overhead.

Do you know that ABC Wednesday meme I mention with a great amount of regularity? I think this recent introduction I wrote explains it fairly well.

## The Chinese lesson

It was interesting that, along with their titles, I was given the delegates’ dates of birth.

A couple of months back, I was asked to speak to a Chinese delegation from Shenzhen province about these aspects in the United States: “statistics system in government organizations (structure, operation, management, what they do, etc.)” and the “government division responsible for business registration (when the division established, its history, etc.)” and “a brief overview of the business registration file or database establishment (industry categories, quantity, the geographical distribution of industries, employees, etc.)”

I dutifully prepared some remarks. Some of the questions were lost in translation, I feared. Others were quite overlapping. On the other hand, I DID discover that the NYS Department of State, which registers corporations in the state, was established shortly after the Declaration of Independence.

It was interesting that, along with their titles, I was given the delegates’ dates of birth, which ran from 1958 to 1975

Do you know what was THE most popular thing I talked about? It was after the session was ostensibly over, and they were talking about their itinerary, going to New York City. It was going to be 70F, but they didn’t know what that meant in Celsius. I started feverishly writing two columns by hand on a board in the room:
F/C
32/0
41/5
50/10
59/15
68/20
77/25
86/30
They were SO excited by this information that they started taking pictures of it.

Later, they gave me this lovely scarf in appreciation for my assistance.

Speaking of international, I went to an import/export workshop recently, and the presenter indicated that most products needed to ship in metric units, such as milliliters and kilograms. The instructor said, rhetorically, “I mean, who else besides the United States even USES our system of weights and measures?” I said, with assurance, “Liberia and Burma.” I was remembering the map from this blog post from a little less than three years ago.

Gee, even I learn something from my blog posts, occasionally.

## Vacation Day 3: Toronto

The thing that bugged me the most was the vending machine; it indicated that beverages were \$1 each, a real bargain, but I got only 50 cents back from my Tooney, the \$2 coin.

After we left Niagara Falls, NY for the last time, we crossed the Rainbow Bridge, paid our \$3.25, then had to deal with Canadian customs. After looking at our passports, the fellow asked:
“Where are you going?” Toronto and Peterborough for a total of six days.
“Are you carrying any weapons?” No.
“Do you own any weapons?” No.
And that was pretty much it. We did wonder, though: if we owned weapons, but were not carrying them, what would the outcome have been?

We had directions to Toronto, but the signage was very helpful, and we actually just followed the QEW highway signs until we got to the city.
No problems, either, with the metric stuff, either.

We just multiplied by 0.6 for the kilometers per hour to the miles per hour; 40 kph=24 mph, 100 kph=60 mph. We bought no gasoline/petrol in Canada since the \$1.18 to \$1.25 per liter meant almost \$1 more per gallon than in the U.S.
The temperature quick rule of thumb, at least for positive temperatures Celsius, was to double it and add about 28 to get the Fahrenheit reading. Yeah, I know it’s really multiplying by 9/5 and adding 32, but who wants to multiply by 9/5s, anyway? All I really wanted to know was on a relative scale. 30F is cold, and 30C is hot, as one of the American folks in Peterborough later said.
The one conversion I did find trickier is when I saw in the news that 64 mm of rain fell somewhere; I had to actually calculate that 2.54 cm =1 inch, 25.4 mm=1 inch, so 64 mm is about 2.5 inches.

We got to our hotel, in the heart of Toronto. Here’s a piece of business: parking was some \$23 per night extra at the hotel. But the street parking, while about a third less, felt far less secure. One needed a room key to get to the parking under the hotel.

The hotel itself seems to be one of those places that was higher end at one point in its life, but which is now a Best Western. The promise of “luxury” dining was false, with indifferent service, though the waiter was nicer on our second visit to its restaurant; the air conditioning was sufficient to cool the window curtains, but not the room, and there was mildew I cleaned off the showerhead. Oddly, the thing that bugged me the most was the vending machine; it indicated that beverages were \$1 each, a real bargain, but I got only 50 cents back from my Tooney, the \$2 coin. (The one-dollar coin is the Loonie, named for the bird featured on it.)

The upside is that it was quite convenient for getting around town. In any case, we didn’t go to Toronto to stay in the hotel; we went to see the city.