2021, My Book, and the Metric System

Well folks, it’s 2021 and I have an announcement to make: Before the end of the year, I plan to have a draft of my book on the metric system done. Main title: America’s Biggest Miscalculation.

That means a couple of things for this blog:

A visual refresh of the website to show the work’s new direction. It should be up by the next blog post in a couple of weeks;
– A change in the content on these pages. I will still write about the metric system, but I’ll also write about the journey of working on the book and getting it into the right hands. In fact, my next post will talk about what I’m doing now to prepare to construct the book’s pitch proposal;
– However, I do have blogs in the cue on subjects such as the fact that we’re losing a foot in this country starting this year [Which one? In what direction? You’ll have to check back.] and the unbelievable number of references to the metric system and measurement in The Simpsons in its more than 30 years on the air and;
– Posts will be shorter, but I’ll post more often.

I had to buy a new bookcase just to store all of my research materials.

To all my faithful readers, I wanted you to be the first to know of the new direction the project is taking. In the eight-plus years since I started working on this metric system project I’ve had two different producers, but neither came up with the (then projected) $300,000 needed for the documentary.

Since writing a book is much less expensive (but—alternately—extremely labor intensive at the front end), it’s my hope that the book will drum up the interest needed to finance the documentary. If the book gets enough interest to ignite a real discussion toward metric system adoption [which has always been my goal], then we’ll have take it from there given that implementation is a whole different issue and beyond my scope of work…for right now.

This also means I’m going to become slightly more urgent about getting traction on this blog and other social media. It’s really important because the more views, comments, and subscribers the subject garners, the easier it will be to pitch agents and publishers. [I’ll talk more about this shortly.]

I think most authors want to see their books in print…not just electronically.

Consider that I’m already pushing a rock uphill since I’ve got to convince agents and publishers that there is the need for a book on a subject that has been mostly ignored for ~30-40 years in this country.

So, the more you can help bring attention to these efforts, the easier it will be to get to publication.

It’s going to take a huge awareness campaign so the American public knows just how much our lack of metric system adoption is hurting us—every…single…day. I’m trying to do my part with the book and now and I thank those folks who encourage me on. You are much appreciated.

You’ll hear more soon.

Linda

To those few, but wonderful people who donated to my MainStreet campaign several years ago: I paid the taxes on the money out of my pocket so I could deposit the full amount into a savings account where it will reside until such time as I make the documentary. My hope is that you will eventually get a special copy of both the book AND the documentary when the times come. Thanks for your patience.

7 thoughts on “2021, My Book, and the Metric System

  1. Good work Linda! I look forward to following your progress. I am curious about the book’s main title. Why not use “More Than A Mile Behind” to match the name of this blog and (I assume) the documentary title?

    • Paul: As I began to start thinking about how to answer your question, the response is actually quite long and complicated.

      Here’s the primary reason: I like the title of the book as a title for a book and I like the title of the documentary as a title for a documentary.

      Four years into the project (once I realized that the two different producers weren’t going to “produce” for lack of better words) I recognized that the best path forward was to try to gain attention for our metric system plight was within a book. A very time-consuming, but relatively inexpensive path to go down.

      So, did I want to carry the documentary title forward as a title for a book or was there a better path?

      After many thought exercises I decided that, while I like the name for the documentary, a book would appeal to a different audience, need to take a more scholarly approach, and face much fiercer competition (There are 600,000 to 1 million books published each year compared with a far, far fewer documentaries.) and, therefore, a book needed a stronger, more controversial title.

      If I picked a new title for a book version, would the documentary be left behind? Nope. Nothing about writing the book would keep the documentary from being made with or without the same title. If the book is successful, it could carry the title to the documentary like most—if not all—of print to “film” projects.

      And unlike the documentary title, where some people would counter that the title should be “More Than a METER Behind” (Americans would immediately assume something with “meter” in the title wasn’t meant for them so I stuck with the word “mile”), the overwhelming response (maybe 100 percent) to “America’s Biggest Miscalculation” is along the lines of “Nice,” “Perfect,” and “Great title” so I think I made the right decision.

      And this was the short answer!

  2. Hello!
    I was guided here by fellow members of the USMA that I recently joined. I look forward to your book, and reading your blog. I am a huge supporter of switching over to the Metric System and I thought it was going to happen when I was a kid back in the 70s. Even back then I couldn’t figure out why they spent so much time making us convert back and forth between the 2 systems. It was my time living abroad later for a period of time did I grasp the system, and once I realized there’s no need to convert it became second nature. Then I entered the military and Metric is used. I use the system now. I hate that we haven’t switched over. I hope to see more of a development awareness to switch and stand ready to be part of this movement.

    Sincerely,
    Tim

  3. I’ve heard the argument that legacy units (foot, pounds, miles, gunters chains, acres, bushels, pecks, long tons, short tons, ozzes and flozzes etc) are somehow “ours” and damned if we’ll change to some “foreign system” as a reason to maintain antiquity and obsolescence in the USA. The empty argument that staying where we are connects us to our ancestors, etc. I ask anyone in that mindset this – Prior to the worldwide metric upgrade, when the world favored the olde Egyptian/Roman/English “system”, why was it acceptable to be a part of that worldwide community but now that the rest of the world has zigged, we insist on zagging as if our very American way of life is threatened if we embrace the metric system? It’s not only stubborn and foolish – it’s downright selfish to deny future generations access to and intuitive knowledge of – the language of science, engineering and manufacturing. IMHO, embracing the metric system should be welcomed and celebrated and we should be eager as a nation to accept the positive change.

    • In my opinion, I feel that when Metrication was moving at an accelerated pace in many countries, like Canada, and Mexico, including our feable attempts back in the 70s I feel the attitude was why should “we” convert to the Metric System, why can’t they convert to ours? I definitely remember my parents, grandparents, all the adults saying this. I was in elementary school during that time. To add, I feel the prevailing attitude of America is that we are better than everyone else, and we are leaders not followers, and I think that attitude has a lot to do why we are slow to convert. I feel the younger generations are more into becoming part of the world where the Baby Boomer generation, feels opposite. I would bet that if the Metric System started here instead of France we wouldn’t even be discussing this topic.

      • Really, Tim? Unlike “old generation, baby boomer,” Americans, like myself, French citizens of the 1790s were happy and excited to hop on the band wagon of change?!? Your quickness to catagorize groups of people is a bit bigoted, don’t you think? How old are you Tim? How do you know our attempts were feeble? Did you witness it? I was there!

        The truth? No one wants to be the ones to change. UK, Canada, Australia, etc. changed to metric in 1975. Even the US changed to metric in 1975. But that doesn’t mean the idea was popular. Actually it was kind of snuck in there with hardly any of us noticing it. By 1980, everyone had noticed it! What happened in America was the law was repealed in 1980. The political climate had changed. Carter and Reagan were polar opposites, just as much as so as Trump and Biden are today. The slo-mo law of duel-labeling, first in US units (with SI in parentheses) for five years, followed by SI units first (US in parentheses), followed by straight SI everafter… Well it never happened. Why? We quit halfway through. I wouldn’t call the effort feeble, it was serious enough. We just changed our minds. Actually, it was more like the true will of the majority of the people caught up to and corrected what the government was doing to them. That’s what really happened. There are a bunch of other reasons why I think the effort failed at that time. I’ll spare you all that here. But I want to clear up this notion that seems to be so generally propagated. The failure of the US to metricate is the fault of an age group or a group of people with a superiority complex. That’s plain wrong.

        I’ll end this by telling this story, a true story:
        A few years ago I visited a spa in Utah and sat in a hot tub there next to a very nice, retired gentleman and his wife from Alberta, Canada. We discussed this very subject at length and he described what he hated about having gone to the metric system in his country. He, like me, was old enough to remember the before and the after. He liked the fact that the US hadn’t changed. Most of the changes that he saw happen in Canada he disliked. He would have voted to repeal it all immediately. I, on the other hand would do the opposite, I would choose to continue the metrification process here in the United States to its conclusion. Both of us are of similar age. No superior attitude existed on my behalf based on citizenship! It was a fun, lively discussion, that’s all.

        Sorry, Tim, you cannot categorize everybody based on where we were born, or when. You’re wrong!

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