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Deep Thoughts from a Scatterbrain

By December 27, 2022Energy Rant
Deep Thoughts from a Scatterbrain

With most people off this week, it is a good time to probe the mysteries of life that I have accumulated in recent years.


Let’s start with a great food mystery; the hamburger. Every other burger has the key ingredient in the name: turkey burger, walnut burger, pork burger. Ham? What would a burger made of ham be called?

Next up: Grapes, grape nuts, and grapefruit. What is the common denominator? Orange, lemon, lime, tangerine… Fruit namer: “I’m tired. To hell with it. We’ll call this largest citrus fruit a grapefruit and call it a day.”

Steel-cut oats. What cutting devices are not made of some steel alloy?

Tin foil hasn’t been used for food since World War II, but the name endures as a misnomer for aluminum foil. Why? Tin foil is still used in dental applications (apparently) for the low cost of $90 per lb.

Clothing & Tools

We know what pairs are, but who started calling singular articles of clothing and tools pairs: pants, shorts, underwear, glasses, scissors, or plyers? I thought, maybe because there are two legs, two eyes, and two parts to these tools. Why, then, do these goofy rules not apply to shirts?

By the way, did you know seven is a famous number in the Bible? That is the (pun alert) genesis of the term Lucky 7. How many times is it used in the Bible? Seven hundred and seventeen, including derivatives, like seventy.


Here are some eye-rolling or irritating figures of speech.

  • “Let me get right to the point” You just didn’t.
  • “Listen, blah, blah, blah…” Don’t tell me what to do. I will listen if you have something worthwhile to say.
  • “Hi there” – as opposed to somewhere else?
  • “At the end of the day,” The end of the day is when I go to bed.
  • “How are you?” This question prompts more lies than any sentence in the human experience. “Pretty good, [leave me alone].”
  • “Thrown under the bus.” What gets thrown under a bus? How about shoved in front of a bus?
  • “Up a creek without a paddle.” I’d rather be up the creek than down the creek without a paddle.
  • “Out of order.” 1, 2, 4, 3, 5 is out of order. Try “broken” or “does not work.”


Why is a supermarket a grocery store instead of a large shopping mall with everything known to man for sale?

Fairtrade – as opposed to stealing?


Oh, I’ll bet you’re interested in this one.

  • A jellyfish looks like jelly, and a starfish, a star, but neither are fish. Discuss.
  • A horned toad is a lizard and not a toad.
  • Nails? How about claws or, my favorite, meat hooks?
  • Phosgene gas[1] smells like freshly cut hay. How do they know this? “Quickly tell us what it smells like before you’re dead. Here, write it on this napkin in case you can’t breathe.”


Yes, I do have eye roller terms in the energy efficiency business.

Value engineering provides no value and no engineering. It’s a way to hack out costs, often energy efficiency features, decreasing the value of the asset and increasing its risk of high operating costs.

Efficient windows and insulation. Efficiency is the desired output ratio (heat, cooling, distance) per unit of energy consumed. Windows and insulation consume no energy and, therefore, cannot have an efficiency rating.

“Uses three times less energy.” One can only use 100% less energy, and that would be a second law[2] reversing process or machine. Did you know that according to Fool, crypto requires 50 times less energy than traditional banking transactions? Yes! I guess they mean crypto requires one-fiftieth of the energy compared to the conventional system, and I would also guess this is after it has been mined if it was mined. The misleading motive is likely to make it sound grandiose. “Fifty times more efficient” may sound better than “uses 98% less energy.”

[1] A World War I chemical weapon.

[2] See last week’s post for second law definitions.

Jeff Ihnen

Author Jeff Ihnen

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