Thursday, February 28, 2008

Numbers Game

In the Bible, Methuselah was Enoch son's and Noah's grandfather, a spry old fellow still fathering children past the century mark, who died at the age of 969, in the year of the Great Flood. (Bible doesn't say whether he drowned or not.)

In California, Methuselah is the name of a Great Bristlecone Pine tree that is estimated to have germinated in 2832 BC, making it more than 4800 years old, and the oldest non-clonal organism on the planet. (Prometheus was older, but got cut down in 1964 -- apparently somebody wanted to know how old it was and the corer used to collect a plug of the rings broke, so they just toppled the sucker and cut it up. The world is full of assholes.)

And, a champagne bottle that is eight times the size of a normal bottle is also called a Methuselah. For those of you who are curious, the standard champagne bottle sizes, in liters and percentages or multiples of the standard bottle are:

Quarter 18.75 cl 1/4
Half-Bottle 37.5 cl 1/2
Bottle 75 cl 1
Magnum 1.5 l 2
Jeroboam 3 l 4
Rehoboam 4.5 l 6
Methuselah 6 l 8
Salmanazar 9 l 12
Balthazar 12 l 16
Nebuchadnezzar 15 l 20

Some of the names you'll recognize. (The Magnum was apparently named after Tom's Selleck's TV character on his Hawaiian TV series, Magnum P.I., who knew? And did you know that Selleck was the actor originally picked to play Indiana Jones in the movies? The TV producers wouldn't let him out of his contract, and so Harrison Ford got the job. Hard to imagine anybody else in that role.)

I'd love to go to a restaurant and order a Nebuchadnezzar of the best French, if you please.

All of which is to say that I suddenly realized when I looked over my book list that I had lost count of how many I had done. I had thought it was somewhere in the mid-fifties, but, as it turns out, I am working on my sixtieth novel. If I can do one a year from now on, I can keep up with my age.

And, as Sonny Bono used say, the beat goes on ...


Tiel Aisha Ansari said...


writermef said...

I surfed in doing research for a story (trying to confirm whether there was windowpane acid in the 70s that looked like Goofy) and stayed to read several posts and liked your stuff very much, particulary Road Rage and the camouflage done right video.

One nitpick--I thought you might be pulling your readers' collective leg with the Magnum PI reference, so I looked in the OED, which lists magnum as a quantity of something to drink going back to Robert Burns in 1788.

But then again, it also has as an alternate definition "The section of a bird's oviduct which secretes albumen", which I'd never have found without you pointing the way, which is why I love the OED and love random blogs, especially ones as well-written as yours.

(I blog at, if you have any spare time, and an interest modern life in the UK)