April 1, 2009

Theme Thursday - Ten



The Metric System was introduced in my school when I was TEN. I think it was adopted by Canada one or two years earlier but I definitely remember being introduced to it in Grade 5.

Being based on the number TEN, the metric system should be simple, but I don’t find it so. It has no meaning for me; no personality, no soul.

I guess I must have picked up the Imperial system effortlessly in the years leading up to the 5th Grade. Now it’s ingrained.

Kilometres I can handle. I’m used to temperature in Celsius but Farenheit is much more specific. Cooking – I use cups, teaspoons and pounds. Height – feet and inches. 186 cm means nothing to me. It means nothing to my son who is over 30 years younger than me. Centimetres! Are you kidding? He’s 5 foot 10.

Weight – I always weigh myself in pounds, despite the much higher result. I have an English cousin who still talks about her weight in stones. As in “I’ve lost ½ a stone”. Archaic. But no more so than tablespoons or yards.

But hey, the original definition of a metre, officially adopted by France, was 'one ten-millionth of the distance between the North pole and the Equator along the meridian of Paris'. That’s pretty crazy too.

Roger Daltry doesn’t sing “I can see for kilometres and kilometres and kilometres. Oh yeah”

100 centimetres might make a metre but 12 inches makes a Ruler.

picture lifted from www.npl.co.uk

37 comments:

Poetikat said...

Hallelujah! (Leonard's on CBC t.v., right now).
I measure things exactly the way you do and I was a year or so older than you when it was introduced. I still can't figure out why we did it.

Every person I speak with in the States doesn't understand me when we're talking weather. I always have to find an online converter to explain.

Kat

K. said...

You make a good artistic point about Roger Daltry (and is that a great song or what?). But when driving in Ireland, I find that I like kilometers because it feels like I'm covering distance more quickly. Admittedly, "covering distance quickly" and "Ireland" aren't often used in the same sentence, and for good reason. "Irish miles" are a thing unto themselves.

Margaret Gosden said...

I am very much in sympathy here, though I never thought about weight in terms of stones. In my 20s I was like Twiggy and weighed 99 lbs. Now it is more like 150 lbs. And a ruler is still a ruler - not a measure. I am stuck with the words and numbers I learned by rote in the 1040s! And I do prefer miles and miles (as in another song). Thank you for visiting my blog the other day - you took me by surprise because I had hardly finished posting!
I also liked the look of the Australian linocut very much, being a fan of Ukiyo-e prints.

Kris said...

Metric all the way baby!

It's where it's at.

Colette Amelia said...

I think I was about 12 or 13 and it ruined my life...well maybe not but it sure does make it difficult having to convert things back to imperial so you even have an idea of what is happening.

Buying meat at the store...miles and inches and pounds...it is just madness I tell you.

John-Michael said...

So entertaining and oh-so-real! Thank You, Dear One, for this Moment.

Lovingly ...

K. said...

"And I do prefer miles and miles (as in another song)"

How about this:

I was born in Loosiana
Down on the old bayou
Raised on shrimp and catfish
Mammy's good gumbo
Got that ramblin' fever
Said good-bye to Maw and Paw
Crossed that old Red River
This is what I saw:

I saw kilometers and kilometers of Texas
All the stars in the sky
I saw kilometers and kilometers of Texas
I'm gonna live there 'til I die

It just doesn't work!

Anna said...

I'm a metric convert. I run races measured in K's so it's a lot easier than it used to be. Like your Theme.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Well, I'm in the States, and like the rest of my countrymen, I am a total numpty when it comes to the metric system. Sigh.

Ronda Laveen said...

Roger Daltry's song just doesn't work in metric, does it? Good point.

tony said...

I have to admit I think still in Imperial ..........I look Forward to The Who reissue!!!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Hi Clever Pup........new reader :)
I was horrible at the metric system when we learned it in school and still am!! My Prince is from London and everytime he says he weighs this much in "stones" or speaks of loading aircraft based on kilos and centimeter space I just know that I have that charming blank look on my face!!
Your artwork is stunning.....lovely. I am very partial to the lady at the top with the back hat, though they are all beautiful.
Take good care and.......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Mrsupole said...

Hubby was already living with me in the States when it happened and so when his family would talk to us about certain things we had no idea about what they were saying. We sorta do now, but one of us has to convert. Then when someone drives their car down here we get to see that they usually still have both miles and kilometers on them, the same as our cars.

Very interesting take on Ten. I think I would not like my weight to be so high.

God bless.

willow said...

The metric system does not compute in my American brain! Teehee, yes, loosing a stone of weight does sound a little on the caveman side!

Mariane said...

So true :o)

Wings said...

They tried the metric system on me, but I couldn't take to it, either. No one I know measures in the metric system.

Michael Rawluk said...

Metric temperature is easy but trying to cut a cook metrically is a challenge when you have to translate recipes. We seem to live in a combination world. Half Metric - Half Imperial.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

just what is a stone????

I am an old dog and fear I will never learn new metric tricks...

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I'll have to try the Robertson Davies books you mentioned. Did you read The World According to Garp and/or Hotel New Hampshire? Irving can write some odd stuff! In "Hotel" the story of the dog named Sorrow was unique to say the least! "Sorrow floats."

Tom said...

why in the world did they push metrics in school, when absolutley no business or government in the country followed through with it? You bring up some good points

Alan Smithee said...

They tried to teach us the metric system in the US, but it didn't take.

Coffee Messiah said...

Funny, in HS we were told all of the usa would convert to the metric system.

It hasn't and I can't remember a darn thing from that class ; (

Megan said...

I wonder why they never followed through with the conversion here. Was it just because of public distaste for it or are there other reasons?

corine said...

Tell me about it. I had to convert from the metric to the whatever they use in the US from weight to temperature to length. I've been confused for 20 years.

Cinnamon said...

I am gradually getting used to metric. Especially weight- I do a lot of weighing people at work, so now have a mental image of what 65kg is!
I can remember hating it when the decimal currency was introduced to UK. I was sure our sweet shop was profiting from the changeover!

Jaime said...

i'm bad with measurements in general - but i've never really grasped the metric system

Baino said...

OH Loved this. I always think it weird that Americans have a decimal currency and still imperial measures but we are much the same as Canada. I think it was 1965 before I arrived that we went decimal and I can cope with kilos, temperature, currency but distance and height . .bloody hopeless. Plus there's something nice about six foot two with eyes of blue! 175 centemetres just doesn't cut it and what on earth rhymes with centemetres!

David said...

Well, I'm with you on this, only twelve inches makes a RULE. Queen Elizabeth 11 is a ruler!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

It's all Greek to me! If it has to do with numbers, I run! Have a wonderful weekend, Ms. Hazel! Oh - loved the Daltry reference...really funny!
Catherine

sallymandy said...

That's really funny, Hazel, about Roger Daltry.

How about "If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred kilometers."

I don't remember that singer's name, but my hubby/trivia boy told me recently he was Canadian (pre-metric).

Have a great weekend. I love Polly Jackson's painting of your house. Beautiful.

The Clever Pup said...

K. Thanks for the song!

Sallymandy - I think it was Ian Tyson of Iand and Sylvia.

Kimy - a "stone" equals 14 pounds

David - I've heard it called a slide-rule, but most kids in Canada just call a "measuring stick" a "ruler". Any hoo it was a joke I was trying to tie in with the image above. The king is trying to define a yard as the distance from the end of his nose to his thumb. Congratulations on your fund-raising bike ride from Yorkshire to Vienna. I love your paintings and you're easy on the eye too!

Lizzy Frizzfrock - I've read all Irving except the very latest. Loved Hotel New Hampshire and Garp. When in Salzburg (not vienna) we stayed in a pension on Grillparzer just because.

K. said...

Peter, Paul, and Mary (not Canadian) also sang "500 Kilometres."

I wish Canada would be more active promote its music south of the border. There's a lot of talent up there.

Premium T. said...

When my nephew, who was 12 at the time, was living in England, I told him that I had lost 20 pounds, and he was very upset! (He thought I was referring to money.)

Betty said...

I was 13 when the UK went metric and I still use a combination of the 2 systems, depending on what I'm doing.

Kilometres to go before I sleep ...
Nope. Not good!

Films.... said...

Hi! Clever Pup,
Thanks, for stopping by "me" blog...argh!last Thursday and I read you loud and clear when it comes to
"The Metric System."
Sorry, but I never use it!....But, Thanks, for sharing, your
thoughts about the Metric System vs.The Imperial system with me.


I hope you don't mind if I "swap" the following blog...
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/
and I think that the French paintings that you are featuring here on your blog are very beautiful!

Tks,
Deedee ;-D

clueless comrades said...

In India we've always been using the metric system forever.. so anything in pounds/miles etc. leaves us pretty clueless. :)

David McCann said...

Good Morning... From the Gilbert Stuart blog - and to your question about the portrait of Catherine Wister Miles of Philadelphia
(1796) - yes - it was painted by Gilbert Stuart. Thank you for your interest! Dave McCann boniface.fulda@gmail.com