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By Pete Moore On January 31st, 2019

Apparently it’s cold in Chicago. They don’t know the half of it. I wasn’t scraping the ice off the motor early this morning, I was chipping it off. Total brass monkeys.

At some point today I thought that Diane Abbott was presenting the news on the radio. A woman told me that it’s “minus twelftytenhundred degrees” in the US. Then I realised she must have been reading an American weather report, all of which are incomprehensible because they use those Fahrenheits.

Look, Bud, water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees. Ten degrees is cool, 20 degrees is pleasant and 30 degrees is getting hot. Simples.

So we’re all agreed on that, yes?


  1. I am so disappointed in Pete Moore

    If he were a true British tradition man, he’d sneer at centigrade and only use miles, pounds and degrees as expressed in farenheit, the way that God intended it

    Next thing he’s going to do a post about how great Remain is

  2. I deal with people in Chicago.

    Their office is empty, but very many are working from home.

    Technology is good.

  3. Almost everyone in the UK and Ireland still use miles and pounds. And despite that almost everyone uses Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. The move to Celsius predates both decimalisation and the move to the metric system.

  4. So we’re all agreed on that, yes?

    Yes, by several country kilometers.

  5. The internets tells me that the UK only switched to the celcius in 1955. That’s five minutes ago. You boys joined a continental trend. Stop it.

  6. “The internets tells me that the UK only switched to the celcius in 1955. That’s five minutes ago.”

    Yeah my mother wasn’t even born yet. Ancient history.

  7. I am as convinced as it is possible to be that I saw weather forecasts with Fahrenheit when I was growing up in Northern Ireland (so mid 70s onward) and yet this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Weather has a picture of a Michael Fish weather forecast from 1974 with Celsius temperatures.

  8. “Almost everyone in the UK and Ireland still use miles and pounds. ”

    and stones

  9. Fews,

    I have the same probably inaccurate recollection. And my parents used to talk in Fahrenheit – but only in the Summer (70 nice, 80 very hot, 90 very hot and not in Ireland). Of course they used Celsius in the cold weather.

  10. I love the stone measure

    There would be very few in the US who have any idea what that even is

    It is the most wonderfully ancient term.

  11. Phantom –

    Pleased to report that I do use miles and pounds. However Fahrenheits are a Continental invention.

    I use the traditional British measure of looking up while holding my hand out.

  12. It’s true about using Fahrenheit in summer. We talk about temperatures being “in the nineties” but in winter we switch to the Celsius and talk about it going into minus figures.

  13. Zero degrees C is usually the freezing point for water, so all kidding aside, centigrade is the more logical system

  14. I like the metric system, and the way the units relate to nature and to each other.

    Water freezes at 0 deg C and boils at 100 deg C. 1 litre of water weighs exactly 1 kilo. 1 litre is also the volume of a cube with sides of 10 cm each. The distance from the North Pole to the equator is 10,000 km, or 10,000,000 metres. Each degree of latitude is 111 kilometers from the next.

    The 2 c coin weighs 2 g and the 50 c coin 7 g.

    Even God thinks in metric, as the speed of light is almost exactly 300,000 km/second.

  15. Neol, metrics really is a beautiful thing. We could not have modern medicine without it. Milliliters, microliters, nanoliters can’t compare to 1/5 of a teaspoonful like they did in the old days.

  16. sorry, Noel!

  17. Every US manufacturer uses metric measurements AFAIK, not just the exporters

    But the general public here still uses quarts and feet and all that for the most part.

  18. Well said Pete. I believe our weather forecasts have finally abandoned giving the temperature in both scales. We are centigrade people at last, and it’s so much simpler.

    But I still mentally convert kilometers to miles (5/8), metres to yards (3 foot 3 inches) and centimeters to inches 2.5 :1). Can’t help it, even though I was taught metric at primary school.

  19. I just think of a km as a bit more than half a mile.

    Not that precise but it’ll do

  20. Miles/Kilometres is easy enough. A kilometre is 5/8ths of a mile. So if it is miles, then divide by 5 and multiple by 8. If it is in kilometres then do the opposite, divide by 8 and multiple by 5.

    Dublin to Belfast is 100 miles, or a 160 kms.

  21. *Sorry didn’t see Peter’s comment

  22. Cheers Seamus

    Belfast to Dublin was 103 miles in the old days and it will always be six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee.

  23. For our American friends:


  24. How long is an imperial piece of string in metrics 😉

  25. Colm, converting imperial to metrics is difficult; and as for converting metrics to imperial ….. converting to Judaism is easier.

  26. “six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee.”

    Lol. I haven’t heard that one in a while! My late father used to regularly quote that statistic (Not sure why. Was it a song?)

  27. Aye its an old folk song. Pretty sure the Clancy Brothers used to sing it.

  28. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=The+Clancy+Brothers+old+orange+flute&t=iphone&ia=videos&iax=videos&iai=CNjhZ9ZolH8

    Charles has this on his tape player 🙂

  29. Fahrenheit forever!

  30. I’ve loved that song since I was a kid, such great humor.

  31. Yes, they had good humor, good stage presence

    Some may not know, but the Clancy Brothers ( Tipperary ) and Tommy Makem ( Armagh ) were a very big deal in America, part of the great folk revival in the late fifties and early sixties. Dylan admired them and was a friend.

    They appeared several times on the Ed Sullivan Show, which in that era commanded a huge share of the US Sunday night audience. Singing rebel songs, and romantic songs to all of America.

    They’re all gone now, but they had a good run.


  32. They were fantastic.

  33. The Clancy Brothers were popular in Ireland only among a certain generation. Everyone else sort of looked down on them, including the Folk boom crowd of the 1960s, for whom the CB were too commercial, too much of the stage stuff.

  34. anybody ever read Battlefield Earth…… L Ron Hubbard wrote it before becoming a cult leader.

    The alien race the Psychlos had a unique math system everytime the Fahrenheit vs Centigrade debate comes up I think of that book.

  35. totally off topic but the Bolsheviks are making a hard play to take over the country led by AOC and the rest of the dems via The Green New Deal….

    You have to read this….. it’s Marx’s dream.


  36. There’s Bolsheviks in the US? Who knew?

    Lucky for you, Pat, that Trumpolini is in power, eh?

  37. Clancys, Dubliners, Paddy Reilly on the same stage

  38. The Bolsheviks have always been in the US they just call themselves “Progressives”

  39. No need to debate policy when you can just demonize the other side with Trumpy name calling.

    Why not call them Manson Followers? It would be about the same in accuracy.

  40. There was green alligators and long-necked geese,
    Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.
    Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,
    The loveliest of all was the unicorn.

  41. Phantom, on February 1st, 2019 at 4:35 PM Said:
    No need to debate policy when you can just demonize the other side with Trumpy name calling.

    Why not call them Manson Followers? It would be about the same in accuracy.

    Phantom there’s the proposal right here http://www.gp.org/green_new_deal

    Read it in their own words…….. The truth hurts…..

  42. Socialist, commie, pinkos…. and they ain’t hiding it.

  43. The proposed actions may be good, they may be bad, but they are not bolshevism.

  44. The US Progressives are the American Communists…. they have been since before there was a Soviet Union and they believe the ONLY reason the Soviet Union failed was because they weren’t running it…. period.

    Learn your damn history.

  45. In Medicare for all, they want to nationalize 1/5 of the US economy. Sounds Commie to me!

    Also, Cory Booker announced today for POTUS. Not the sharpest knife in the Dem drawer.

  46. Spartacus……. came into office 50,000 dollars in debt within his first year of being in congress he’s worth over 2 million…… no corruption there.

  47. Charles

    You I believe are a single payer supporter

    Now, you are criticizing single pair as commie

    Are you a communist sir?

  48. Noel – isn’t typical that once they were a success they then got looked down on. A very Irish career arc. However, they remained very influential among musicians (Macgowan, Bono, The Dubliners, Snead O’Connor). I don’t no many Irish people of any generation who don’t know their songs.

  49. The Clancy Brothers sang music that included music from the past, music which was about a real and sometimes an imagined past. So, sure many wouldn’t like them. And the sweaters, how easy were they to mock.

    But IMO they were very authentic. They were commercial, but so were the Beatles, so was Shakespeare. Commercial and accessible is good, not bad, so long as it’s real.

    Tommy Makem owned a pub / restaurant on 57th Street in Manhattan for years. Bono was in town, doing a press conference for a tour or whatever, and he held the presser in Tommy Makem’s pub, as a gesture of respect. He said that though their music was very different, that he loved the Clancys, and also that the Clancys showed that it was possible for Irish musicians to compete on a large and international stage.

    Back to Dylan

    Bob Dylan : Irish music has always been a great part of my life because I used to hang out with the Clancy Brothers. They influenced me tremendously.

    Bono: Yeah, they have so much balls as a sound, you know, when they sing, it’s like punk rock.

    Dylan: Yeah, they were playing clubs as big as this room right here and the place – you couldn’t put a pin in it, it would be so packed with people.

    Bono: You could smell their breath?

    Dylan: Yeah!

    Bono: I bet you could. They blow you over with their lungs! God, I’d love to sing like that.

    Dylan: Yeah, I spent years with them running around, 61, 62, 63.

    Bono: Greenwich Village?

    Dylan: All over the place, I played on the same bill with them once.

    Bono: Get their autographs? (laughs)

    Dylan: No, I didn’t get their autograph. But you know one of the things I recall from that time is how great they all were – I mean there is no question, but that they were great. But Liam Clancy was always my favorite singer, as a ballad singer. I just never heard anyone as good, and that includes Barbara Streisand and Pearl Bailey.

    Bono: You got to be careful here!

    Dylan: He’s just a phenomenal ballad singer.

    Bono and Bob Dylan, 1884


  50. 1984

  51. There would be few trad or Irish/British folk fans who wouldn’t admire Christy Moore.

    Here’s what he said about them

    “I first heard the Clancy Brothers singing Trad songs 60 years ago. I went to hear them in 1962 and my whole life changed. As did the lives of many who heard them,” said Moore as part of a video series celebrating the 25th anniversary of the University Concert Hall Limerick.

    “If I could stand among the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and sing a few songs, that would bring me right back to where it started for me when I was 16. Give me the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and I will be a happy man.”


  52. Phantom, I support a public/private mix in healthcare. I think you should be able to opt of of the government portion if you’re happy with what you’ve got. I think, or maybe I am a commie! 🙂

  53. Didn’t you express possible support for single payer, including very recently?

    But I think I agree with what you just said. Let me embellish

    I support mandatory health coverage at a dignified level that everyone would have an obligation to pay into. Government plans should be available to all citizens and legal residents, private plans should be available to those who want them.

    Do you agree with the above. ( If you can opt out, nothing works )

  54. If you can opt out of participating in anything, nothing works

    You should be able to opt out of the government plan, as you can in Communist UK

  55. I do agree with the above. When I said opt out I meant you could either have government or private insurance, but you must have something. I know this is not the Republican position, but I’m sure glade I have Medicare!

  56. We’re on the same page.

    This is an issue that has been idioted for the next 20 years thanks to Trump and the GOP.

    There will be many more bankrupted and who die because of what they did.

    Again, Trump went entirely against what he had been saying for decades, that it was necessary to cover everyone, and what he explicitly promised in the campaign – that everyone would be covered with better care at a lower cost. He supported the exact opposite, towards breaking hard won protections recently given, replacing it with nothing that was in any way good.

  57. Wow, that’s some praise from the hard-to-please Dylan. Dylan’s also a big fan of Paul Brady.
    Dylan wrote in Chronicles about the effect Irish rebel songs (he called them “Rebellion” songs) had on him at the time.

    “What I was hearing pretty regularly, though, were rebellion songs, and those really moved me. The Clancy Brothers – Tom, Paddy and Liam – and their buddy Tommy Makem sang them all the time”

    Dylan’s song “With God on Our Side” is based – all the melody, some of the lyrics and the general theme – on the IRA song “The Patriot Game”, by Dominic Behan, which Dylan probably heard sung by the CB in Greenwich Village. Other early Dylan songs are based on older Irish, English and Scottish songs.

    After Dylan’s famous 30th Anniversary concert in Madison Square Gardens (where Sinead O’Connor made a show of herself, and the Clancies played a shanty version of Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In”), Dylan dragged all the musicians present off for a drink in the Tommy Makem bar Phantom mentions.

    Speaking of things Irish, anyone else celebrating St Brigid’s Day this evening?

  58. Aye its an old folk song.

    Yes, I posted a Youtube link at 1.06 above.

  59. “Yes, I posted a Youtube link at 1.06 above.”

    Apologies. I seem to be missing your comments a lot recently Peter.

  60. No worries Seamus. I can just about remember that tune, must be getting old.

  61. My Granny had an old Clancy Brothers cassette tape with it on it. Things was likely about 20-30 years older than I am.