Back to Basics

Several Moral Hazard readers have recently complained that the blog has become too cheerful in tone.  Actually, that’s a lie; nobody reads this blog.  Nonetheless, I’ll devote today’s post to doing what I do best: bitching and moaning about utterly insignificant bullshit.  Without further ado, here’s the latest installment of Things That Piss Me Off ©.

1. “College” t-shirts.

Comic legend.

Comic legend.

Unoriginal douchebag and probable circle-jerker.

Unoriginal douchebag and probable circle-jerker.

When John Belushi wore this shirt in the National Lampoon classic Animal House, it was original and clever.  When some closet case fratboy asshole does so over 20 years later, it is neither.  I bet a lot of these idiots don’t even get the joke.

2. The standard system.

Question: how many inches are in a mile?  Answer: nobody knows.  The standard “system” (a loosely used term if there ever was one) makes it impossible to make these sorts of everyday calculations.  Compare that to the metric system: if you want to know how many centimeters are in a kilometer, you just move the decimal point.  The standard units of volume are almost as bad: you’ve got tablespoons, cups, pints, quarts, gallons, and who the fuck knows what else.

I don’t get it: the base 10 number system was around when the standard system was invented, and yet for some reason they thought that 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, and 5,280 feet in a mile sounded about right.  Really, what were they thinking?  At least they have the excuse of living in an age before science, however; what’s the United States’ excuse for continuing to use this cumbersome nonsense?  Probably that Europe uses the metric system, so switching would be unpatriotic.  This is the same reason we don’t have universal health care.

3. Those push-button faucets in public toilets.

You know the ones I’m talking about, right?  The ones where you push down on the faucet(s) and water comes out for about 1.5 seconds?  Those fucking things drive me absolutely nuts.  You push the faucet with your soapy hands and race to get them under the brief flow of water, but you don’t have time to rinse them completely.  You have to push the faucet again, getting more soap on your hands in the process; this cycle continues until you give up and wipe your hands while there’s still soap on them, leaving behind a most unpleasant residue.  These faucets should be banned as a crime against humanity; they’ve caused at least as much human suffering as land mines.

4. Dogs with human names.

The other day I stopped to pet a dog in Frick Park.  I asked its owner what its name was; “Joe,” he replied.  “Joe?” I asked.  “You named your dog Joe? You must be the least creative motherfucker on the planet!  It’s a dog, not a person; give it a badass name like Cujo or Bonecrusher,” I suggested.   “Alternatively, you could go for humor; Steve Martin had a dog named ‘Shithead’ in The Jerk.  Anything, absolutely anything, would be better than Joe!”

I would have continued, but by then he had motored pretty far away on his Rascal scooter.

Meet my dog, Pete.

Meet my dog, Jerry.

5. Lottery drawings during sports games.

I don’t have a problem with the lottery, which is really just a tax on people who don’t understand probability.  If they want to flash the day’s winning numbers across the bottom of the screen during a ballgame, I’d be fine with it.   But no; they devote 3/4 of the screen to showing the little white balls being drawn, distorting the game and reducing it to the size of a postage stamp.  As there are several drawings, this can go on for several minutes.  Why is this necessary?  Do people really need to see the drawing to confirm that it’s not rigged and that their chance really is one in 300 million?  I hate everyone.

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4 Responses to Back to Basics

  1. Patricia says:

    Some comments on your complaints:

    First off, there are some very obvious reasons why the US has not converted to the metric system. One is money. From what I’ve heard, street signs are not exactly cheap, and buying new speed limit signs (and installing them) would require a lot of tax dollars and probably large increases in the fees drivers have to pay for registrations, titles, etc. People would have to get used to reading the smaller metric numbers on their dashboards instead of the large standard ones, and I have little faith that people in general would take this adjustment well. Do we really need to make it harder for old, vision impaired, or inexperienced drivers, or those just set in their ways, to operate their vehicles? This would be a problem for perhaps 20 or 30 years until all the cars manufactured before the switch had been taken off the road. American car parts are also on the standard system, so people who have always bought American cars and used standard measure wrenches to fix them would have to buy some new metric tools to go along with their metric American car, when the time came. I don’t know that the everyday person would appreciate this cost.

    Where else does the standard system enter glaringly into our lives? Cookbooks and anywhere recipes are found. If we start using the metric system in cookbooks, people will either have to buy new measuring implements for their kitchen or use conversion tables to figure out how many cups are in a liter so that they can continue using their old implements with new recipes. Conversion tables would also be needed to use new measuring cups with old recipes, for those too young to have owned standard measuring cups. Granted, some measuring cups have both systems printed on them, but many do not, and the transition would undoubtedly cause many people headaches. Considering the fact that most people who cook already have all the measuring cups and spoons necessary to follow recipes without doing much math, a switch would be an unnecessary hassle.

    I’m sure there would be many other inconveniences associated with a switch to the metric system. This is not to say that we should stubbornly avoid changing our ways forever; track and field and some other sports in America went metric long ago with minimal difficulty. You just need to be aware that there would be considerable cost involved in some parts of the switch, and that the adjustment period would not be fun for everyone. There’s a hell of a lot more to the problem than a desire to be different from the rest of the world.

    Regarding push-button faucets, while they do suck, the motion-sensor ones are worse. I prefer a split second of water from the sink to five minutes of no water while I try to set of a sensor that doesn’t work properly.

    Regarding dog names, I seem to recall you thinking it stupid that I had had a dog named Scheisskopf. Let’s be consistent here!

  2. Barack Hussein says:

    Haha this is a good post. Keep em’ coming!

  3. Nick says:

    “Possibly related posts (automatically generated):

    Womb With a View: The ten best things about being pregnant”

    I can only imagine how it all ties in.

  4. Rick says:

    The metric system is a good way for the amateur mechanic to explain stripping a bolt-head. “must have been metric” followed by “goddamned metric bullshit”

    If the US adopted the metric system I guarantee they be preaching the apocalypse at my old church. “See folks, it’s that one world government falling into place just like it says here in revelations”

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