#59 Weights & Measures

59-Weights-Measures

 

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So the oth­er day I pop into my local super­mar­ket which hap­pens to bake the best peanut but­ter cook­ies I’ve ever had — deli­cious peanut but­ter fla­vor & loaded with chunks of peanuts. I love peanut but­ter cook­ies & it’s always a treat when this store bakes them, which is too infre­quent­ly. They come in a tray of 50 for $5 which is a good deal itself, but it’s the spe­cial peanut but­ter fla­vor I’m after.

I put a tray in my bas­ket & did the rest of my shop­ping. In line at the reg­is­ter, I sensed some­thing was wrong with my tray of peanut but­ter cook­ies (I had bought many trays before). I count­ed the cook­ies through the trans­par­ent lid & there were only 44. I told the check­er I’d be right back & to take the next peo­ple in line.

I was gone quite awhile.

Back in the bak­ery sec­tion, I count­ed the cook­ies in each & every tray, and they var­ied from 37 to 46 — not a sin­gle one was the full 50. I went back to the check­stand (where my ice cream was melt­ing) and asked for a man­ag­er. Not to make a scene, but rather to inform of the issue & save the next unaware cus­tomer from being cheat­ed. The man­ag­er was rather sur­prised upon count­ing sev­er­al of the trays her­self & quick­ly offered to “rob from Peter” to bring my tray up to the full mea­sure.

She opens the lid, stops for a moment & says “These don’t smell like peanut but­ter.” Hand­ed me one gratis to con­firm & sure enough it was their new dis­gust­ing “apple crisp” cook­ie. (Atten­tion bak­ers: apple crisp is done in a bak­ing pan, not in a cook­ie.) The lit­tle bits of apple sure looked like peanuts but sure did­n’t taste like them. & yes, all the trays con­tained apple crisp cook­ies, not peanut but­ter as labeled.

So one more thing to add to the list in this lit­tle hick town I live in: peo­ple can’t count & they can’t read, either. But they sure can bake excel­lent peanut but­ter cookies…when they’re actu­al­ly peanut but­ter cook­ies.


listen up!

Why isn’t the Unit­ed States on the met­ric sys­tem? I’ll tell you why — we’re too damn lazy, and I got proof. Back in the 70s or 80s sev­er­al free­ways in Cal­i­for­nia installed high­way signs that were black, not green (that alone was beau­ty to my eyes), dis­play­ing the upcom­ing exits in kilo­me­ters. And sev­er­al gas sta­tions switched their pumps to liters. How easy and effi­cient that was, com­put­ing dis­tances and vol­ume sim­ply by fac­tor­ing by 10, 100, or 1000. Easy and effi­cient while it last­ed, any­way. Soon every­thing was con­vert­ed back to our con­vo­lut­ed miles and gal­lons.

I can’t under­stand why archi­tects try to scale things by 8ths and 16ths when using mil­lime­ters and cen­time­ters is so much eas­i­er and accu­rate. I mea­sure every­thing in met­rics – times 10, divide by 10, etc. Any­one who can’t fig­ure out sim­ple met­ric cal­cu­la­tions prob­a­bly still uses a slide rule just to make math dif­fi­cult.

Why are soda bot­tles in the US labeled 1.5L and so on? I’m not sure, but I would­n’t be sur­prised if it was a sneaky way to reduce the vol­ume with­out any­one notic­ing. Remem­ber half-​gallon ice cream tubs? Today they’re 1.5L, which is far less than half a gal­lon. (1/​2 gal­lon = 1.892 liters). I’m all for it, though. Maybe the met­ric sys­tem will catch on in this so-​called pro­gres­sive coun­try after all.

I’ll give us cred­it for the cur­ren­cy sys­tem, though. That’s close to met­ric effi­cien­cy. The Euro has denom­i­na­tions sim­i­lar to the US, but each bill is a col­or­ful con­tem­po­rary design, not black and green on every sin­gle note. Need­less to say, Amer­i­ca is behind on design, too. That’s anoth­er top­ic, though. And then there’s our prud­ish­ness about nud­ism. Yet anoth­er top­ic.

Got­ta go get me a cup of coffee…or is that .23L? Cup is one US term I’ll stick with.


PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
CREDITS:
Pointer: ruby​lane​.com, Antique French Kitchen Scale: Balance de Famille
Apple: http://​www​.fowler​farms​.com/​a​p​p​l​e​-​i​n​t​r​o​d​u​c​t​i​on/ (5oz or 150 g is the average weight of an apple, according to the “great chart of apple varieties” at this website)

#57 Early & Late

57-early-late

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You’ve heard the expres­sion “always ear­ly, nev­er late.” Or is it “nev­er ear­ly, always late”? Well, the oth­er day I was both — which inspired Amper­Art #57, Ear­ly & Late.

I was going to meet a new friend at the movies, and she said she’d be there at 7:15 (the show start­ed at 7:25). Not want­i­ng to make a bad first impres­sion, I arrived at the the­ater at 6:55.

Only to dis­cov­er I had for­got­ten my wal­let. Read More

#55 Returns & Exchanges

AmperArt-55-Returns-Exchanges

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The day after Christ­mas must be as dread­ed to retail­ers as the day after Thanks­giv­ing is wel­come — you know, Black Fri­day, the biggest shop­ping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shop­ping & big box stores, all the depart­ment stores from Sears & Pen­neys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nord­stroms, had a spe­cial win­dow or room all its own (with a classy, dis­creet sign) that han­dled returns, exchanges & com­plaints. Next to that was the gift wrap­ping ser­vice & lay­away depart­ment.

Remem­ber the smell of fresh pop­corn & can­dy when enter­ing your neigh­bor­hood Sears?

Today a cou­ple stores still offer a com­fort­able set­ting for such returns & exchanges (no can­dy or pop­corn, though), but the big box & deep dis­count chains most­ly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hang­ing from the ceil­ing) and a  trail of cus­tomers (all “dressed up” in the lat­est Big Box fash­ion) that extends out the door.

So Decem­ber’s Amper­Art #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equiv­a­lent) that Novem­ber’s Amper­Art #54 por­trayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get tram­pled here). Read More