Shire Network News #129 has been released. The feature interview is with Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers Angels, which organizes a surprisingly vast array of methods by which you, the ordinary civilian at home, can show real support for the troops. Whether it be by sending care packages, baked goods, blankets and cards, providing practical assistance for soldiers families, assisting chaplains with their work, or even organizing voice-activated laptop computers for wounded soldiers, Soldiers Angels can help you to help the troops. Go visit You will also find news there of the Mom of the Year award that Patti received on Mother’s day in the US.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.  (OK, not so serious this week.)

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

We have a full-blown international crisis on our hands.  The world does not know how or why this situation continues to get progressively worse, nor does it have any satisfactory solution to the problem.  Scientists from across the globe have put their heads together and come up with precious little to solve something that primarily affects them, but its ripples can be felt throughout our everyday lives.

I speak, of course, of the plight of the Kilogram.  More precisely, the question of, "What is a kilogram, exactly?"  The story in The Los Angeles Times detailing this conundrum starts out like a James Bond novel.

Forty feet underground, secured in a temperature- and humidity-controlled vault here, lies Kilogram No. 20.
It’s an espresso-shot-sized, platinum-iridium cylinder that is the perfect embodiment of the kilogram — almost perfect.

In the more than a century since No. 20 and dozens of other exact copies were crafted in France to serve as the world’s standards of the kilogram, their masses have been mysteriously drifting apart.

The article goes on to say that some kilograms have been apparently sneaking out at night and hitting the Taco Bell drive-through and thus gaining weight, while others have apparently been watching their carbs.  The fluctuations have sent the scientific world into chaos.  "In essence," says the Times, getting to the heart of the matter, "no one really knows today what a kilogram is."

I thought that the Metric System was (allegedly) supposed to make everything so much simpler.  And yet here we are now, totally unaware of what a kilogram is!  It’s a unit of weight, for goodness sake!  I’m sorry, but if it’s that easy to forget what a kilogram is, I’d say that’s a good argument for bringing back the English system, or, as England has pretty much abandoned the English system, the American system.

That’s right, once again, America is going to have to come to the rescue of the world.  The military will have to be deployed, bringing gallons, yards and ounces back to a world gone mad.  Once again, people can extract their pound of flesh, give an inch and take a mile, rename the two-and-a-half-centimeter-worm, and stop having to sing,

You gotta have heart
Kilometers and kilometers and kilometers of heart

And since everybody knows that a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of lead, there’s never any question as to how much a pound is.  As difficult as it may be to have to change so drastically, and as much as I know many countries loathe American intervention, I know you’ll thank us someday.

As for England, we’ll let you call it the "English System" again.  It’s only fair since you have, in at least one respect, stuck with those good old measurements.  Instead of the Euro, you still pay your bills in pounds.

Consider that.

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