WOW #70

I was recently reading an historical novel.  In it, a commoner performed an uncommon act of intelligence and bravery.  As a reward for this selfless act, the Grand Panjandrum – or Grand Poobah – they both indicate a pretentious or self-important official, like a High Muckedy-Muck, bestowed upon him the reward of a

Carucate
[keyr-oo-kate, (yoo)]

Because I was reading a dead-tree book, I couldn’t just tap the Kindle screen to find out what a carucate was.  I had to play Twenty Questions until I got upstairs to the computer.  Was it a gem – a jewel, like the Blue Carbuncle in the Sherlock Holmes novel?  Was it a lavish dinner in his honor?  Was it a warm, if not willing, bed-companion?  Was it a mani-pedi down at Omar’s Tent and Sail Shop, and Spa?  Don’t ask – don’t tell.   😉 

It turns out that it’s another archaic measurement quantity, equal to 40 acres of land, or a quarter-section – one quarter of a square mile.  It was the amount of land that a team of oxen could plow, and the amount of tilled land that it took to produce enough food for a farm family.

While the measurement is described as square, especially those with water frontage, were a mile long, and a quarter-mile wide, farming spaghetti, or rhubarb.  It was hard to turn an ox-team and unwieldy plow around. It was easier to let the team catch their breath, and just start another furrow in a straight line, for eight furlongs, and this gave more tenants shipping/travel access . Quebec’s Eastern Townships, in Canada are like this, only larger, all fronting on the St. Lawrence River, and looking like a bowling alley on a map. 

Was it possible that this Grand Vizier – Why do all these $3 potentates describe their titles as Grand??! – wanted this potter…. or leather-worker…. to leave the city, and become just another subsistence farmer??  He could sell it, or lease it to a share-cropper.  At least he took his dictionary along, and I learned a new old word.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – Y

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Here she is, ladies and gentlemen – this week’s featured artist, fresh from her tour of the Egotism Hilton, singing a medley of her greatest hit, ‘Here’s My Number, Call Me Maybe.’  or as the inattentive among us mondegreen, Here’s My Number, So Call Me Baby.   😯

CARLY RAE JEPSEN

That ain’t all we call you.  As the band Sugarloaf says in their song Don’t Call Us, We got your number when you walked through the door.  She joins a list of artists that Canadians have to apologize for inflicting on Americans, not quite beginning with William Shatner, but including Neil Yoda Young, Jim Carey, Celine Dion, Mike Meyers, Brent Butt, Alanis Morisette, Avril Lavigne, Mister Nickleback – Chad Kroeger, and Canada’s answer to McCauley Kulkin, Justin Bieber.

Carly Rae Jepsen (born November 21, 1985) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actress. Born and raised in Mission, British Columbia, Jepsen performed several lead roles in her high school’s musical productions and pursued musical theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, BC. After completing her studies, she relocated to Vancouver and later competed on the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007, placing third, in 2008.

Wait a minute!!?  The old eyes (and memory) aren’t what they used to be.  This post is supposed to be about a word beginning with the letter Y.  A heartfelt Canadian apology!  Sorry!  It’s not supposed to be about Jepsen.  It’s supposed to be about

YEPSEN

yepsen – the amount that can be held in two cupped hands

WHO IN HELL NEEDS/NEEDED SUCH AN AMOUNT??!

While I welcome and appreciate the accuracy and interlinked logic of the Metric System, it took me more than a few years to get used to it.  I still mourn and bemoan the loss of the British Imperial System of measurement but – what were those guys smoking?   It was more than idiosyncratic; it bordered on idiotic.  They just made (sh)it up as they went along.

Three barleycorns, side by side was an inch.  The length of a King’s foot became the ‘foot’ measurement.  A yard, was from his nose to the tip of his outstretched arm, and the distance between the tips of two outstretched arms was the fathom.  Everyone’s hands are different sizes, so everyone’s Yepsen was a different size.  (Somehow, that sounds faintly pornographic.)  😯 

In the 16th century the rod (5.5 yards, or 16.5 feet) was defined (as a learning device and not as a standard) as the length of the left feet of 16 men lined up heel to toe as they emerged from church, with variations from 9 to 28 feet.  (Why must the measurement be taken after these good men attended church?  Did their feet swell (or contract?) during service?)
There were several versions of the pound.  Eventually, they coalesced down to the Troy Pound, which was used to weigh medicines and precious metals, and the Avoirdupois (French = have weight) Pound, which weighed everything else.

The Troy Pound weighs less than the Avoirdupois Pound.  That screws up the silly old riddle, Which weighs more, a pound of gold, or a pound of feathers?  Since gold is weighed in Troy, the pound of feathers actually weighs more.

In the past, there has been talk – before the medication kicked in – of Metric Days, consisting of an AM and a PM of 10 Metric hours each with 100 Metric minutes.  A Metric week would have 10 days.  This has not been one of my Seinfeld blogs, about nothing.  It’s been a distraction post about something – anything – else.  Fortunately, it’ll only be two standard Imperial days till I publish something less frivolous.  If you’re out of therapy from worrying about those Metric days and weeks, stop by.

Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Ruler

Canada became metric in 1973….  Or did it??!

So, there was Canada, wedged between England and the United States.  We measured things with the Imperial System – all except where the British 160 ounce gallons, the 40 ounce quarts, and the 20 ounce pints became the wimpy, American Lite 128 oz. gallons, 32 oz. quarts, and 16 oz. pints – and except where you bought a pint of beer, and it was only 12 ounces.

In “Metric” Canada, you can’t buy a pound of butter; you get a 454 gram block.  The wife’s Not-Legally-Pint and Quart glass canning jars are 473ML, and 946ML.  A 12 American ounce can of Pepsi is 355ML in Canada.  At least Canada is not alone in this No-Man’s-Land.  I recently found that the serving ‘Standard’ for beer in Australia is 256ML – or, an 8-ounce cup.  The only time an Aussie bar ever serves just 8 ounces, is to some opal-miner’s 10-year-old daughter.

The weather forecast on the radio doesn’t say that we’ll get an inexact 2 to 3 centimeters of snow, it says that we’ll receive 2 ½ centimeters, because the old guy at Environment Canada still says that it’ll snow an inch.

I thought that all this back and forth might confuse immigrants who are thoroughly embedded in the Metric System, but the Polish women at the EuroFoods store seem to be just as capable of dishing out 300 grams of sliced salami, as they are ¾ of a pound.

We’ve only been at this Metric thing for 45 years now, and with typical Canadian lack of determination, we still haven’t fully committed to it.  This is about the softest conversion that I’ve ever seen.  I wonder if there’s some type of Metric Viagra that could firm things up a bit.  😆

As usual, I hope to see you here again in a couple of days.  Now, let’s see.  In Metric, that’s….  😳  Oh well, come back whenever you like.

A To Z Challenge – Y

april-challenge

M – I – C – K – E – Y….

Letter Y

are we all shouting Yay?? Because we’re almost finished with this Mickey Mouse challenge!

Mickey Mouse

It seems like just yesterday that I began this series, but it’s more like ‘days of yore.’  I’ve written about yummy food, and my long-past though perhaps not sufficiently-misspent, youth.  I can’t find any reference to all the wife’s knitting yarn, although I did include some in other posts.

I imagine that you are yearning for me to get back to publishing posts that are at least a little more serious.  I can’t think of what to do with ‘yardstick.’ You are free to imagine on your own, as long as you don’t make any inappropriate suggestions.

There’s only one more letter, and I’m done with this task. Then I’m giving it up for Lent.  😆