How the Unit of Measurement Known as the “Scalzi” Was Ascertained

This is a finely-calibrated, precision-oriented method, I will have you know.

Shortly thereafter the scales were occupied by a duck and by a woman with a carrot tied to her nose. I have no idea what that was about.

Photo: Fred Teifeld

39 Comments on “How the Unit of Measurement Known as the “Scalzi” Was Ascertained”

  1. That person on the right totally has their foot on the scale. RECOUNT!

    (Also, if you wanted fine precision, you really shoulda been nekkid.)

  2. Granted, my experiences are somewhat limited–in other words, I’ve only really been to conferences aimed at crime writers, genetic technologists and various marketeers, etc., for the clinical laboratory industry–but it looks to me like you SF/F folks have a hell of a lot more fun at your conferences. Granted, most of the attendees at the clinical lab conference were MDs, PhDs and CEO et al for big companies and it was February in Tampa, so golf clubs were often involved (alas, I am none of those), so maybe it’s just a different definition of fun.

  3. For accuracy, there should have been identical containers (trash cans, perhaps) on each side. One of those containers would contain our Fearless Leader and the other would be filled with the contents of cans and/or 2L bottles (which would then be returned for the deposit, of course) until the sides balanced.

    For science!

  4. While you’re in Boston next year, we could try rolling you end over end on the Harvard Bridge. Then you could be a unit of length, too. (Note that there might be slippage due to ice and snow.)

  5. John: The woman with the carrot and the duck is a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which they conclude that since all wood burns, all that burns must be wood, and since ducks float, if a woman with a long nose (hence the carrot) weighs the same as a duck, she must be made of wood, and therefore a witch.

    It’s really funny in context.

    Also, this reminds me that various SCA Kings of the East declared the official unit of measurement to be “the ko.” Ko was a very thin and small gentleman with a Japanese persona (even though he was a blond white guy). (Actually he’s still small and white and blond, but not quite as thin as he once was…though still plenty thin.) Ko, you see, weighed one ko; all other weights were to be derived by comparison with Ko’s weight.

    Well, it makes as much sense as comparing to a worn-out chunk of platinum in France! (Well…not quite as much. Dramatically less, in fact. But still.)

  6. It should have been six-packs, not twelve-packs, so he could really have “six-pack abs.” “Twelve-pack abs” sounds like a prawn, or perhaps a horrible mutation of The Situation (if The Situation isn’t enough of a horrible mutation already, being from the Garbage State and all).

    But what inquiring minds want to know is this:

    How will we determine if this new fundamental unit of mass has changed over time? Will there be a balance at every convention, along with certified (or at least certifiable) lab techs in long white coats to recalibrate the Scalzi? Will a platinum-iridium ingot of the Scalzi be deposited in a vacuum chamber in the middle of Paris, to which all fen of the world can turn as the official reference? And is it heavier than wood?

  7. If you want an accurate standard Scalzi, just buy 8 whole and 1 half case of Coke Zero, where there are 24 cans per case and 12 ounces of Coke Zero per can. The total mass is, by definition, one Scalzi.

  8. Seems to me one should pour the contents of all that Coke Zero in a trash can. Then unzip the Scalzi and pour his contents into another trash can. And balance.

    Trust me, John, this is for Science!

    Dr. Phil

  9. Is that an Escape Pod in the background?

    As I pointed out before, it looks like one of our thermal pods. But it’s a very bad design. It flies like a truck.

    Good. What is a truck?

  10. It just occurred to me that that skinny, scrawny crossbar on top of the scale is at least fourteen feet long, supporting roughly four hundred pounds, and exhibits almost zero deviation from a straight line, and all I can think of is, damn, did you pilfer some Unobtanium from Pandora?

  11. Scalzissimo 19: Oops, sorry. I was a little croggled that you’d somehow missed it, but took you at your word. I guess I’m a little on the groggy side.

    Chris Jerrib 22: Happy to oblige.

    Jaws 23: You do know that those stupid venal scumbags are New Yorkers, right? The nice people Down The Shore wish they’d go back to Brooklyn where they came from!

  12. I’m going with the assumption that John’s clothes cancel out the soda’s clothes, and that this is a perfect measurement.

  13. Greg: Stop trying to start a race war in New Jersey. Besides, I’ve run out of copies of Declaration of War (Short Form), and Our Gracious Host is notorious for owning a printer only under protest of his conditions of confinement SFWA office, so I can’t just print off more of them.

    Xopher: Exactly. The Garbage State (both NY and NJ are so arrogant about being the center of the universe that it’s both of them).

  14. The scales remind me of a trebuchet my sister helped build for RenFaire one year. I hope they don’t try to toss you from one next year, because that’s the only direction I can see all this going.

    That, or they’ll try to find out how many scalzis a trebuchet weighs.

  15. Do kids today like Monty Python Holy Grail? That was my All Time Favorite for several years of my life. The awkward years, it is fair to say.

    Since I know you all desperately care, Holy Grail displaced Tron (which displaced Empire Strikes Back), and was later displaced by Princess Bride which lasted all the way to Matrix, which managed to hold on to this very day despite repeated attacks from Peter Jackson.

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