Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2400 Quartile

We live in a world of quantities.  That desire to measure things is one of those traits that make for being human.  I don't believe I've ever seen a crow, no matter how clever, use any device to determine the length of the French fry he is yanking out of the litter on the roadside.

Nor has a chimpanzee, certainty intelligent in being able to select a stick to fish for termites, ever been observed measuring that stick before plunging it hopefully into the hole.

But sometimes we're a little obsessive about it all.  Maybe six out of ten people too obsessive. 

Then there's the marketing folks.  Not content to use well established measurements, they keep foisting new ideas and words on us.  "Family size" and "economy size" on the large end.  "Mini" and "fun size" on the tiny.

I heard one the other day: Quartino.  I read it in an article on wine and the writer was downright puffy in his sense of self important knowledge posturing.  A quartino of wine is an amount, less than a carafe, that two people can still share without buying an entire bottle. 

It means roughly a quarter liter.  It allows restaurants that want to do even more than triple the street value of a bottle of wine to do so.  It's also an E-flat clarinet. 

You'd think quartino would be a little quart.  Or maybe just a little shy of a quart.  But part of some measurement names is to obscure reality.  Like Starbucks' Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta.  Venti is Italian for 20.  Trenta is 30.  Even though the Starbucks Trenta is actually a 31-ounce drink.  Or one ounce short of a quart

Trenta sounds so much more elegant than short quart.  Or Big Gulp. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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