Give ’em 2.54 cm, They’ll Take 1.609344 km #JusJoJan

Don’t have to link to anyone today, because I came up with today’s prompt, which is “inch.”

We Americans take a lot of crap for not using the metric system in everyday life. Food is sold in pounds and ounces (or gallons, quarts, pints and cups), distance is measured in miles, length in feet, yards and inches, temperatures are reported in Fahrenheit, etc. We “should be” using grams, meters, liters and degrees centigrade/Celsius. So, why don’t we?

You got me. I’ve been hearing for years (more than Jim Gaffigan) that we had to learn the metric system, that the United States was going metric, we’d better get used to seeing milk sold in 4-liter bottles and buying meat by the kilogram, not to mention that our speed limit would soon be 88 km/hr rather than 55 mph and we’d be buying gas by the liter rather than the gallon, and the distance from Chicago to Milwaukee (or Atlanta to Chattanooga) would now be 144 kilometers instead of 90 miles, blah blah blah…

Then, nothing. A bag of pretzels would (and still does) tell us that it was 1 lb. (454 g), a can of Coke would tell us it was 12 oz (355 ml), and the temperature would be reported as 37° (3°C), and some distances, like the length of the left-field line at Comiskey Park, would be shown as 355 ft (108 m), but given the choice between feet and meters, ounces or milliliters, and Fahrenheit or Celsius/centigrade, we went with the former, because we did have a choice.

See, officially the United States uses the metric system, but it’s not mandatory. Companies have learned that there are advantages to using the metric system, and that it’s a whole lot easier to do business internationally using it. The scientific community has used it for years. My guess is, if the US Customary units of measure were to disappear from cereal boxes and gas pumps, we’d manage. There’d be a lot of grousing about it, naturally…

Personally, I don’t care. Given my choice, I’d probably use metric, if for no other reason than I had to learn it in grammar school. Converting between the two is a bitch, though.

And now a word from Pepsi-Cola. Pepsi-Cola Hits The Spot!

“Pepsi-Cola hits the spot,
355 milliliters, that’s a lot!”

Nah, doesn’t work…

30 thoughts on “Give ’em 2.54 cm, They’ll Take 1.609344 km #JusJoJan

  1. LOL – great video choice, and entertaining thoughts for the prompt. I was curious to see what you came up with, and you once again did not disappoint! Happy Thursday, John, hope it measures up to be a great one for you!


  2. Great prompt, John. I switch back and forth at the oddest times. I got so tired of converting Fahrenheit to Celsius for my readers (I think we are the only country using Fahrenheit) that I wrote an app to do it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried to upgrade to Windows 10, and it didn’t work, so I said “screw this” and went to Linux. I’ve used Mac OS on the desktop since 2007. All the command line commands on Mac are the same as on Linux, and I was already familiar with those. Windows is like IBM was 40 years ago: not the best to work with, but sold well and supported not as well, but well enough.

      The US customary units work well enough, and it’s relatively easy to convert to metric if need be. It’s really a non-issue.


  3. Spent the whole trip to Spain doing the math for Sheila on temperatures and distances. I could have pointed out her iPhone would do it for her, but I get so few opportunities to be an expert I never did.

    Best advice I received on the metric system was from Mr. Koontz at New Trier: don’t convert, just learn it separately. 0 is freezing, 22 is perfect, 30 is hot. 37 is body temperature, above 40 is a serious fever.


    1. Exactly. When I would go to Canada I would forget miles, quarts, and pounds and think kilometers, liters, and kilograms. The speedometer was in km/hr and the signs were all km/hr, so I didn’t have to know that 80 meant 50 mph. Fahrenheit to Celsius (or centigrade, if you like Peggy Lee) is easy enough if you just remember Mr Koontz’s rules. The tough part comes with relating barometric pressure in inches versus kilopascals…


  4. I never paid much attention to the US not using the metric system. Seems we should? And F vs C – doesn’t seem to be difficult to figure it out. I love Windows 10 – installed it from the get-go on 3 computers and have had no problems. Happy Thursday.


    1. I tried the upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 and it screwed up my machine big time, and I couldn’t get 7 back, so I just said the hell with it and went Linux.

      I think the problem is that we have a hard time visualizing a kilometer, or a kilogram, and need somehow to relate it back to what we’ve used, and unfortunately the metric unit is either a little smaller or a little bigger than the units we do know. A pint is 473 milliliters, not 450 or 500 or even 475, and a liter is 33.7 ounces, bigger than a quart but not by much. The thing that threw me this morning was the difference between A4 and letter-sized paper. Letter size is 8.5 x 11 inches, where A4 is 8.3 x 11.7, longer and narrower. Trying to print an A4 document on letter-size paper means you lose whatever’s at the bottom, as I learned…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dad who, as you know, was a mathematician used to say that the metric system was more logical than what we use. I don’t remember what his reasoning was – do you?


  6. Stupidly temperature is the one that muddles me the most (probably because the conversion is strange) I know what a warm temperature is in both F and C but give me one scale and ask me to estimate what it is in the other and I fail miserably! lol


  7. Ours changed when I was in grade school and I hate the metric…I still understand inches better to this day. I don’t mind KM and can understand it when I drive…100 km is often our max on freeways although we go faster…many go 140km/hr which is too fast.


    1. You work with what you’re comfortable with. Mary knits, and skeins of yard are sold by the meter and the gram, but she still uses inches to calculate gauge and most of her patterns use the US customary units, so she just wings it, and if she needs to know, she asks me…


    1. Baking is tricky, because a recipe for baked goods is actually a formula (I heard Emeril Lagasse say that once) and a little bit more or less can be the difference between a perfectly-baked cake and a soupy mess. Better to stay with what you’re familiar with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My grandmama probably never saw a set of measuring spoons or cups. She was an amazing cook and baker. Of course she was also very Italian, ❤ and that was a good thing <3. She had a family of seven kids, 6 of which were boys and 1 girl my mom <3. I had 4 boys and 1 girl. She would say you only need to have 2 boys to get into heaven 😉


  8. I very much agree with you, but why make things simple if they can be complicated ?? People are so used to inches etc they are to lazy to learn the metric system, as I probably would be too lazy to learn your inches etc.
    That’s the same when we switched to the Euro I didn’t have any problems but older people still calculate in Belgian Francs which is ridiculous because it’s still the value from 2001 ! Of course everything seems to be more expensive and therefore is the fault of the Euro !!


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