Tell you what…. The coffee article seems to be the most popular one on this blog… ah well… when it comes to a contest between coffee and archaeology even I know who wins.. well at least until I have had two cups!I complained last time about the weird and whacky names that were given to sizes of coffee, well now I have an update. I went into a new coffee shop in Dunbar, Scotland opposite a 16th century town house – (well worth a visit! Plug plug!) and sidled up to the counter, ready for my daily battle against the evils of grandes and regulars. Imagine my surprise when instead of asking if I wanted a Muckle (Scots for big) or a Mickle (Scots for small) he went… “Small or Large”. Well that threw me, and I realised I actually wanted something in between .. “you don’t have a middle size do you? ” I could feel myself start to blush.. here I was, after grumbling about simple terms.. and when someone actually uses them, I was now wanting more ! Some people are never happy… well not until I have had my two cups! So if you are in Dunbar, pop along to the 1650 and have a small cup! Or even two!
It did remind me of a story I heard once about condom sizes in the cold war:
During the war, Russian soldiers would place condoms over the barrels of their rifles to prevent water damage. As the war grinded on, condoms were in short supply, leading Stalin to send a request to president Roosevelt for a shipment of “standard small U.S. condoms.”
Roosevelt agreed, with one request of his own: The condoms were to be extra large in size and stamped with the words “Standard U.S. Size.”
Of course this is just an anecdote, as to be pedantic.. and with a bit of googling.. this site give the lowdown on the myths and variations, as well as some technical data about why it is not true!
“The soviet PPSh 41 ( below) which was standard for world war 2 Soviet infantry couldn’t possibly be fitted with a condom or if it could, it wouldn’t really help with the push in Stalingrad and the freezing winters when the Soviet Army pushed forward. Rain wasn’t really a concern in Stalingrad, I’ve fired the PPSH 41 before ( long story, the 80’s Central America) it tends to jam a lot and it’s a lousy gun, prolly one of the worst in world war 2, thus it was quickly replaced in the 1950’s with the Kalashnikov 47, which mos def can not take a condom over it. The only one that could arguably hold a condom would be the Simonov, which is the standard soviet sniper rifle for that era, but it was replaced by the tokarjev when the Russian army made its push. The M-1 Garand which US soldiers used in world war 2 could take a condom, and probably would have been helpful in the Pacific.”
Pity, as I did like that story! Puts a new slant on coffee sizes as well… can’t help but think it would make a good novelty coffee grinder!