Day by Day

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I give up

There is a joke once alluded to on the old NBC show "The West Wing":

Pythagorean theorem: 24 words
The Lord's prayer: 66 words 
Archimedes' Principle: 67 words
The 10 Commandments: 179 words
The Gettysburg address: 286 words 
The Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words

The US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words

I am not entirely certain how accurate those numbers are, but I found mention of this earlier today.

I managed to track down an online word-counter, and it reports that the freakin' RECIPE for "COOKIES, OATMEAL; AND BROWNIES; COCOLATE [sic] COVERED", fercrissake, is 13,112 words.

Check for yourself. The counter is  and the text of the recipe is in pdf format here: 

Ten times longer than the contract that has kept a few hundred million of us free and prosperous.

And please remember that every cook and baker in the military - Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard - will be required to have this recipe on file somewhere. And likely be reprimanded for failing to have it, or worse if they get caught using a simple 3"x5" file card (which is where MY brownie recipe is written down, in case it matters).

This is not the problem. This is a symptom.


Anonymous said...

The reason that they have such excruciating detail is that during the civil war, contractors would sell shoddy goods to the government- boots that would shed their soles after a few steps, etc. So, they started writing contracts that detailed down to the gnat's ass exactly how stuff would be made so that unscrupulous contractors couldn't weasel out from supplying crap goods and still saying that they had fulfilled the contract.

Drumwaster said...

In the Navy, the Supply Clerks (SK) were one occupation - responsible for the acquisition of such ingredients from their superiors. But once the ingredients are obtained, why shouldn't the Mess Management Specialists (MS) be able to avoid most of the rigamarole and just cook the stuff?

Duplication of effort makes for lots of waste.

Shorter version: One guy begs/borrows/steals the grub, the other guy under-cooks/charcoals/ruins the grub. (Memories of chili made with Spam and burritos made with black-eyed peas still haunt me.)