Quick Takes.

Measure For Measure.

Historically many measurements have been derived from the human body, which has caused some confusion because every body’s measurements are different and some are even known to change over time. It’s in part what prompted the creation of the metric system—that and no one could remember how many quarts are in a furlong, but that’s another story. Measurements derived from the human body are known as “anthropic” and here’s a brief review of some of them and their origins:

Foot-originally based on the human foot a “foot” is now standardized as twelve inches even though very few feet are that big. A unit of measurement of approximately this length was used by the Romans, and for a long time was adhered to as a standard by European cobblers.

Hand-Primarily used now to measure horses and other livestock and standardized at four inches, the “hand” is one of the oldest and most widespread units of measurement. The standard hand still in use today can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

Finger-Originally this measurement seems to have been used for small quantities of liquid in a container of a specific size. Although no longer in use it appears to have been set at approximately half an inch. It’s still used informally in high end bartending where patrons will sometimes request “two fingers of whiskey”.

Nose-Informally used in horse-racing the “nose” was used by the ancient Romans and measured approximately five and three-quarter inches. According to Juvenal this unit of measurement was derived from the Roman emperor Cochlea who was nicknamed “nasus limax”, usually translated as “conch face”.

Head-Although this measurement is no longer in use it remains in the present word “ahead” and expressions such as “to get ahead”. This measurement was approximately six and a half inches and chiefly used in determining short distances.

Arm’s length-Records indicate this measurement was approximately thirty inches and derived from the safe distance for holding a burning torch before “torch” became the British term for “flashlight” which you can hold right up to your face or stick in your mouth and puff out your cheeks to freak out fellow campers.

Elbow-Unlike other measurements used for length or distance the elbow was used to measure angles in carpentry. “To the shoulder” was a forty-five degree angle while “across the chest” was a right angle.

Hair or hair’s breadth-A very narrow measurement the hair was actually standardized by the Romans. Although infrequently used the measurement was based on a hair from the tail of a horse that belonged to the emperor Gaius Caesar and stored in the library of Alexandria.

Knee-high-Now informally used to describe small children the “knee-high” measurement was approximately seventeen inches and was primarily used to measure the ideal length of a single piece of firewood for a standard fireplace.

Penis-Nothing is known about this measurement except that it was always exaggerated.

Let’s Meet!

Tips For A Successful Meeting from How To Succeed At 7 Highly Effective Top Level Managerial Habits (Gale & Hoover, 2015)

-Create a detailed meeting agenda. Send it out at least one day in advance of the meeting.

-Expect everyone to arrive on time.

-Remain focused on the agenda topics.

-Use a timer to keep the group focused on agenda items for the appropriate amount of time.

-Assign a note taker, preferably someone who can write.

-Prepare a seating chart based on astrological signs.

-Avoid distractions by making everyone wear a blindfold.

-Have an orchestra ready to play off anyone who goes on too long.

-Fire tranquilizer darts at anyone who whispers.

-Limit the scope of the meeting.

-Use paper for handouts and copies, not Silly Putty™.

-Require that all responses be phrased in the form of a question.

-Don’t tell Kevin about the meeting.

-Command people’s attention by making presentations in Sumerian.

-No one can speak without holding the bicycle pump that for your own personal reasons you call “Jimmykins”.

-It wouldn’t kill you to put out some chips or something, would it?

-Before moving on to the next item on the agenda remind everyone that the universe is expanding and that all matter will eventually dissipate, leaving a cold, empty void.

-Tell me more about your mother.

-Take that finger out of your ear.

-Take that finger out of the ear of the person next to you.

-Avoid negativity. Begin all suggestions with, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one…”

-Whatever happened to clipart? It’s like that stuff was on everything in the ‘90’s.

-No one knows why the one chair is painted yellow.

-Have some card tricks ready in case people get restless.

-Conclude meetings with a dramatic flourish. Take off your mask and yell “It was me all along!”

-Set a time for the next meeting. Aim for consensus by suggesting never.

Riddle Rough Drafts.

What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, three legs in the evening, and when would be the ideal time for it to get health insurance?

A box without hinges, key, or a lid, but you followed the directions when you were putting it together. Did you save the receipt?

A train traveling at forty-five miles an hour leaves Vancouver heading east at 4:45am. A train traveling at thirty miles an hour leaves Poughkeepsie traveling northwest at 1:05pm. Explain to me again why this is so much better than flying.

You have two and a half bottles of conditioner and three quarters of a bottle of shampoo you swiped from a hotel. How many times do you have to travel before you have an even number of both?

On Monday there are five coffee cups in the office break room sink. On Tuesday there are four coffee cups in the office break room sink. On Wednesday there are eight coffee cups in the break room sink. Is anyone going to ask Kevin to just rinse one cup if he’s drinking that much coffee?

As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, each cat had seven kits, and what are the odds I turned around and went back when I saw what kind of people lived there?

You have three glasses of milk and three bowls of pudding. You drink one of the glasses of milk and, oh, wait, are you lactose intolerant?

What has no beginning, end, or middle and is circular and, oh, I just gave away the answer there, didn’t I?

A father and son are in a terrible accident. The father is killed and the son is rushed to a doctor. The doctor says, “I can’t operate on him, I’m a psychiatrist!”

Which came first, the chicken or the egg, and is putting mayonnaise on a chicken sandwich a double insult?

You’re faced with two guardians. One always tells the truth, the other always lies. Which one do you ask a question since they’re both major assholes?

There are four days that start with the letter ‘T’: Tuesday, Thursday, and I’ll tell you the other two tomorrow and yesterday.

Pool Rules.

All swimmers must shower before entering the pool.

All swimmers must be appropriately attired to use the pool and pool area.

All swimmers under the age of fourteen must first pass a swim test.

All swimmers under the age of five must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Individuals with open cuts, sores, communicable diseases, or who are Kevin may not use the pool.

No glassware is allowed in the pool or pool area, including tumblers, highball glasses, shot glasses, vases, light bulbs, chandeliers, punch bowls, stemless wine glasses, windshields, Chihuly sculptures, champagne flutes, cake cloches, water coolers, butter dishes, marbles, condiment trays, pitchers, carafes, beakers, decanters, flasks, jars, urns, flagons, cruets, ewers, growlers, or amphorae.

No food or beverages are allowed in the pool.

No chewing gum in the pool area unless you brought enough for everyone.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed in the pool or pool area unless you brought enough for the lifeguard.

No spitting, nose blowing, or bodily fluids in the pool, and, hey, get out of here, Kevin.

No running in the pool area. If you can do it in the pool, hey, go for it.

No horseplay, including Equus, Ben Hur, or the Erik Satie ballet Parade.

In the event of severe weather the pool will be closed.

In the event of a fire calmly and quietly exit the area. Do not stand around and say, “Hey, how did a fire break out in the pool?”

If any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul and loss of turn, unless it is the 8-ball, which is a loss of game. Any jumped object balls are spotted in numerical order.

No person shall throw any item into the pool or pool area that could endanger the safety of any person. Items include weapons, chairs, other furniture, cans, Jarts, refrigerators, scissors, hazardous chemicals, angry housecats, housecats who are not angry but will be when they’ve been thrown into the pool, car tires, cars, suspension bridges, cider, very small rocks, churches, lead, ducks, black holes, needles, shoes, live electrical wires, half-eaten tuna fish sandwiches, bulldozers, and Kevin.

Except during specified times fishing with dynamite is not allowed.

A first aid kit is located somewhere around here.

Drowning is strictly prohibited.

Enter, Pursued By A Bear.

Back in the spring of 2018 the director of the library where I work called me one morning and asked if I’d be willing to put on a bear costume for Shakespeare’s birthday.

“Oh yeah,” I said, “Because of Exit, pursued by a bear, from Act III of A Winter’s Tale.”

I may have been showing off a little bit. Or more than a little bit. Anyway I was unfortunately not available and maybe that’s just as well because the event was rained out last year. And I’m a little annoyed that no one even thought to ask me if I’d be willing to grin and bear it this year because I would. I absolutely would. I did talk to a coworker who was working the event, though, and he told me his favorite Shakespeare play is Titus Andronicus, which I found a little disturbing, and I told him there’s a new play called Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus that opens on a stage covered with corpses, and he probably found the fact that I was laughing a lot disturbing, but that’s another story.

I also managed to get some pictures of the event.

At one point when the musicians stopped playing I said,

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Yeah, I may have been showing off a bit.

One of the activities was writing with a quill. It turned out to be harder than I thought it would be–maybe because I was trying my hand at Omar Khayyam, not the Bard. And contrary to what Ben Johnson said maybe Shakespeare did blot a thousand lines.

And I’m very glad that this year the rain it didn’t raineth every day.
So what’s your favorite Shakespeare play?

Questions I Asked My Grade School Teachers That Made Them Regret Telling The Class “There Are No Stupid Questions”

How much skim milk do you have to add to half and half to make it a quarter and a quarter?

How many liters are in a kilogram?

Is there such a thing as a cake chart?

How do you pronounce a semicolon?

Which of the four food groups is Jell-O in?

Did the first person to say “originality is overrated” recognize the irony?

How much does the Tooth Fairy give for dentures?

Will a trip to Helsinki finish your vacation?

How do I get my grandfather to give my nose back?

Isn’t AC/DC’s music always current?

If there’s just one is it THE moeba?

Why does the sign on the restroom door say “Teachers’ Lounge”?

Remedies To Remember.

Starve a fever, feed a cold.

Ice on a sprain, heat on a strain.

Peroxide on a cut, petroleum jelly on a burn.

Pressure for a bruise, rest for a cramp.

Cooling for sunburn, warming for chilblains.

Sleep for a migraine, exercise for a hangover.

Cayenne oil for soreness, alfalfa juice for swelling.

Breathe deeply with a charley horse, hold your breath with hiccups.

Chicken soup for the flu, broth for the catarrh.

Moisture for itching, wicking for sweating.

Honey for a sore throat, preparations of sulfur for the croup.

Suction for snakebite, ointment for scabies.

Tilt back with a nosebleed, recline with vertigo.

Aspirin for warts, retinoid for carbuncles.

Garlic for gangrene, citrus rind for halitosis.

Warm milk for night terrors, pectin for nervous philtrum.

Poultices for dislocated lobe, molasses for irritable toenail.

Bacon grease for fiddler’s elbow, brandy for well digger’s ass.

Quicklime for a shallow grave, formic acid for badger infestation.

Sticks and stones, rubber and glue.

Bungle in the jungle, that’s all right with me.

 

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