Monthly Archives: December 2004

The Metric System: Odi et Amo


11.27 ≠ 12. Not in any mathematical universe I am aware of.
You might think, “What’s a mere .73? No one in their right minds would complain about so small a difference. But the difference is significant, trust me.

What am I talking about? Soda cans. The metric system steals .73 ounces from the loyal soda drinker. How? Simple. 1/3 of a liter = 11.27 ounces. It’s as close as they can get to the standard 12 oz US can in the metric system with a “logical” metric unit. They could have used .35 liters, which is 11.835 ounces, or even .36 liters, which is 12.173, which would have gifen the metric consumer a benefit. But neither 7/20 of a liter, nor 9/25 of a liter really make any sense. So they used 333 ml, or 1/3 of a liter.

These soda cans look small. If there was a six pack of 11.27 ounce cans next to a six pack of 12 ounce cans, I doubt there’s anybody on this earth who would buy the 11.27 ounce cans. (Assuming the price per ounce was equivalent.)

Sure…it’s kind of nice to know that 1 sixpack is exactly equivalent to a 2 liter bottle, but that’s about the only thing that can be said in its favor. (And the 2 liter bottle is a strange anomaly in the US…one of the few things we buy in metric units)

2 liters, by the way, is 67.628 Ounces. A US sixpack is 72 ounces. So there’s 4.372 extra ounces of soda in every US sixpack compared to a European Metric sixpack.

The significance of this difference was easily detectable on the grocery store shelves of the British Caribbean island I recently vacationed at by one fact alone: They sold beer in 12 oz cans. Your loyal beer drinker will absolutely refuse to accept anything less. Soda drinkers are forced to suffer.


  • Multiplying and dividing by 10 is so easy.
  • The French Revolutionary Calendar is a thing of beauty

Happy New Year

I am back from my vacation.

I may have some things to say about that vacation later, such as why I have an odi et amo relationship with the Metric system.

Megapoints to those who know who wrote the poem “Odi et Amo”, and what it means. (Latin is as dead as dead can be. First it killed the Romans, now it’s killing me.)

Ego booster of the day: Someone from the Council on Foreign Relations emailed me asking for the source of a Victor Hugo quote. I have no clue where he said it…or even if it is correctly attributed to him, but it’s a cool quote:

“The future has many names
For the weak it is unattainable
For the fearful it is unknown
For the bold it is opportunity”

I have 10 gmail invitations to hand out. Those who want them should email me directly (don’t ask me in the comments). Send me an email at gavroche at gmail dot com.


I found a French blog that has the quote in French. So unless they found it in English, and translated it back into French, it suggests French is its original language, and there’s a good chance this isn’t a misattribution.

Le futur a beaucoup de noms: Pour ceux qui sont faibles il est l’inaccessible. Pour ceux qui sont craintifs il est l’inconnu. Pour ceux qui sont courageux il est l’occasion.

Google translates this as “Future A much of names: For those which are weak it is the inaccessible one. For those which are apprehensive it is the unknown. For those which are courageous it is the occasion.” This is about as close as one would expect from a computerized translation.

Targeting the Salvation Army

Target has banned the Salvation Army Santas from in front of their stores. They say if they let any not-for-profits solicit, they have to allow all. Christian groups are spreading the gossip that it was due to homosexual activism.

I haven’t given a penny to the santas this year because I don’t support the Salvation Army Mission

The Salvation Army was founded as an evangelical organization dedicated to bringing people into a meaningful relationship with God through Christ. Its doctrinal basis is that of the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. It is composed of persons who are united by the love of God and man, and who share the common purpose of the organization – to motivate all people to embrace the salvation provided to them in Christ.

The word “army” indicates that the organization is a fighting force, constantly at war with the powers of evil. Battles are effectively waged through an integrated ministry that gives attention to both body and spirit. It is a total ministry for the total person. The Army cooperates with churches of all denominations to meet the needs of the community.

Those who have drifted away from God and those estranged from their own religious affiliations are often attracted to The Salvation Army. The are first urged to seek Christ for pardon and deliverance from sin. Then they are encouraged to return to active memberships in their own churches or to enroll as soldiers in a corps community center. Young people often are attracted through local music groups, youth camps, and recreational centers.

[This is directly, verbatim, from the Salvation Army USA official website]

Target would probably have raised even more eyebrows by saying “If we allow the Salvation Army to solicit in front of our stores, we would have to allow every church, synagogue and coven in the area to solicit in front of our stores.” But it would have been a legitimate argument. The Salvation Army is a church, not a charity.

My cab arrives in 20 minutes. Happy Holidays all.

The most famous man who ever lived

One day at kindergarten a teacher said to the class of 5-year-olds:

“I’ll give $2 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived.”

An Irish boy put his hand up and said: “It was St. Patrick.”

The teacher said, “Sorry Sean, that’s not correct.”

Then a Scottish boy put his hand up and said: “It was St. Andrew.”

The teacher replied, “I’m sorry, Hamish, that’s not right either.”

Finally, a Jewish boy raised his hand and said: “It was Jesus Christ.”

The teacher said, “That’s absolutely right, Marvin, come up here and I’ll give you the $2.”

As the teacher was giving Marvin his money, she said: “You know Marvin, you being Jewish, I was very surprised you said Jesus Christ.”

Marvin replied: “Yeah. In my heart I knew it was Moses, but business is business…”

Oy, I need a tot of rum

I received this in my email a few minutes ago:


I am an historical archaeologist working in Hawaii. I have excavated some light green bottle sherds that are embossed on the base ìROYAL BRITISH NAVY …î (around the base perimeter) and have an indiscernible word horizontally across the base diameter. I am looking for any help your most knowledgeable person might be able to provide in locating someone who could identify this bottle. I would really appreciate it.

How did I become an expert on the Royal British Navy?

I actually think I know the answer. I wrote that article for the “Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” 4 years ago. She thought because I wrote it, I was an expert. Err, lady, this is a ‘guide’ written by fans of Douglas Adams ranging from age 12 on up. Don’t trust the information you see there completely, and no, we’re not experts.

I did a quick google search, found the Royal British Navy’s website, found the address for their historical museum, and provided her with the information suggesting she contact them. I tried to be as polite as possible without implying I thought she was a freaking idiot. But oh, how I wanted to.

her name and email address have naturally been removed from above.

My Religion

Christy created her own religion, so I decided to create mine. You can create yours here.

If one remembers Mad Libs…that’s basically the format of the script. And the below are my results.

In the beginning God created the computer and the God. The God was without books and green. Then God said let there be marijuana and there was marijuana. And God saw the marijuana, that it was fresh. On the 6th day God created the first man, Jerry Garcia. And God saw Jerry Garcia, that he was sticky. God then took one of Jerry Garcia’s arms and made the first woman, Victor Hugo. And God said you shall not eat of the redwood tree of leather whip for if you do you shall surely crash. But unfortunately a wily dolphin tricked Victor Hugo into eating of the redwood tree of leather whip while God wasn’t looking. He eventually found out and kicked them out of the garden. Jerry Garcia and Victor Hugo then had two sons, Cane and Able. Cane was a hugger of vampires, while Able was a herder of owls. Cane then gave God an offering of scrumptious elves and Able gave Him an offering of boxes. But God really preferred the boxes so Cane tastefully forgot Able in the fields. For that God cursed Cane to hug vampires forever.

I’m slightly worried what exactly this says about me.


I have two domains that are currently down. Two separate hosts. (obviously, not this one.)
I mean down down. I log on to the hosts’ control panels and find no files whatsoever.

Neither emailed me prior to shutting down my services to say: “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” That would have been nice customer service if they had.

Of course all my files are backed up, but I leave town tomorrow for a week and a half (as I’ve noted below). So unless I can work things out with them today, and they have a backup to restore the files, the files won’t be retored for a week and a half.

Of course, I pay more to the host for this domain, and it stays up.

I’m there already in my mind

Last year on December 18th, I posted a msg saying I was going to the Caribbean starting on Dec 19th and ending on Dec 30th.

Well, that’s not happening this year. This year I leave on December 17th and return on Dec 29th. (Those good at math may notice I am actually spending an extra day in the Caribbean this year. Woohoo!)

Same island. So the picture I posted last year still applies.

I’m there already in my mind

Last year on December 18th, I posted a msg saying I was going to the Caribbean starting on Dec 19th and ending on Dec 30th.

Well, that’s not happening this year. This year I leave on December 17th and return on Dec 29th. (Those good at math may notice I am actually spending an extra day in the Caribbean this year. Woohoo!)

Same island. So the picture I posted last year still applies.