Washington’s Dream – SNL – Weights and Measures – Excellent Slow News

I do not know who wrote the Saturday Night Live skit above, but it is very funny. It was probably a team of writers. But nobody knows.

I have always wondered why comedians today do not make more use of historical figures, especially the “founding fathers.” Humor can then merge with irony in a way that reaches a wider audience. It is like slow news, perhaps “slow humor,” where the vantage is long, and the costumes essential. You do not cringe. Instead everyone simply laughs as the truths are often of the everyday, non-political, small world. It is humor that is self-evident.

A while back I had the idea of a skit where Benjamin Franklin uses a time-machine that he had invented but did not tell anyone about as the plans were lost in a fire. Ben travels to the United States in our current era and then to a drawing room where seated are Jefferson, Washington, Adams and probably others. Someone’s wife. Perhaps a black enslaved person or mistress.

Hand on his knee, Franklin would calmly explain what he saw – explain what he had observed in the twenty-first century America on his time-travel. The majority of the content would be the others commenting and asking questions. These comments would be based on history and their actual writings, personalities and known beliefs. The possibilities are endless. It would shine a light on how originalism is an absurd concept. The world changes, but things also stay the same as in the ending line, “where all Black men are free,” to which Washington ignores like a Florida history book. Evidently, we still have much work to do with our weights and measurements. Equality on many fronts is still but a dream.



16 ounces in a pound. 2000 pounds is a ton There is no word for 1000 pounds


Liters and milliliters are used for soda, wine and alcohol

Gallons, pints and quarts are used for milk and paint.

There are 3.78541 liters in a gallon (but nobody knows).

1 liter = 33.814 Fl oz


Inches, feet, yards and miles

12 inches to a foot. 3 feet to a yard,

5028 feet to a mile

1760 yards to a mile (but nobody knows).


Meters are used in unpopular sports like track and swimming. (Also springboard diving, but no one asked.)

In football, where the field is 100 yards long, an extra-point after the touchdown is worth 1 point. A field goal is worth 3. A touchdown is  worth 6. A safety is worth 2.


The great nation of the United States of America measures temperature in Fahrenheit. You spell Fahrenheit  F-a-h-r-e-n-h-e-i-t.

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Celsius.

To convert temperatures in degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply by 1.8 (or 9/5) and add 32

For example

10 C = 50 F
20 C = 68 F
30 C = 86 F
40 C =  104 F

You can also, multiply Celsius by 2 and add 30 to get an approximation.


Mel Brooks used recent political history and satire in The Producers. He did it very daringly in “Springtime for Hitler” which is over the top. It combines Broadway showtunes and dance numbers in a Busby Berkeley style with the Third Reich. It is absurd and you laugh because of this absurdity. Oddly, it was a premonition for things to come.

Another amazing use of history and satire in humor is Monty Python’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail..

Let us know of other routines that have taken this tack. So far, nobody knows.