Friday, May 26, 2006


I'm just curious. Why do so many movies, tv shows etc. still use Roman numerals to show their copyright date? How many people can still read Roman numerals? Actually, I can if I work at it.  But, we all know I'm moderately weird.

And while we're on the subject of weirdness of a sort. Dear Mapquest. Do you just go by mileage when you recommend a route. 'Cause it's painfully obvious nobody had driven the route you recommended for our little jaunt this afternoon. Granted, where we were headed is about as nowhere as you can get and still be about thirty miles from Portland. We ended up on a narrow state road with no shoulders, more curves than a room full of belly dancers, hill on one side drop off on the other, and a half mile or so of 17% (yes, 17%, most highways try to keep the grade at 6% or so) grade at the end. Lots of fun with soaking wet brakes. I'd mention the rain but Mapquest wasn't responsible for that. Most of the roads date from the homesteading days, but I can't imagine taking anything but a saddle horse up or down that grade. Personally, I'd be leading the horse not trying to ride. Yep, I'm a chicken, hear me cluck.

One thing I've noticed about the little towns up the valley. They're about five to ten miles apart. About as far as you could ride or take a horse and wagon in about a half day trip to town or to church. Actually the mid point would be three or four miles each way. The whole area north of Salem and west of I5 is a network of small towns, state and county roads, farms, truck gardens and vinyards. Pretty country, very pretty country especially this time of year.


fdtate714 said...

So it's just the way I am, but someone asks a question and I think, "Gee, why do they do that?"  and I drive myself crazy until I find an answer.  The Wikipedia entry for Roman Numerals says...

"The film industry has used them perhaps since its inception to denote the year a film was made, so that it could be redistributed later, either locally or to a foreign country, without making it immediately clear to viewers what the actual date was. This became more useful when films were broadcast on television to partially conceal the age of films. From this came the policy of the broadcasting industry, including the BBC, to use them to denote the year in which a television program was made (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has largely stopped this practice but still occasionally lapses)."

I guess that makes as much sense as anything else.  I also read somewhere while searching around that back in the late 1800s & early 1900s using roman numerals was supposedly a sign of sophistication.  Since that was around the time that the movie industry started, maybe they started putting them on movies to show the media's sophistication and it just became a habit.

And yes, some of those Mapquest routes are a little insane.  Where I live you can go up a major highway and get on the interstate but sometimes the routes they plot out call for me to go across town on back roads to get on the freeway.

toonguykc said...

I can't read Roman numerals once they get into L's and M's.  I've always thought it was pretentious to use those instead of regular numbers.  Stupid Hollywood!  


lisaram1955 said...

Don't you just love Duane (fdtate)?  Always the busy little researcher!  (He's a fellow Blue-Voicer...)  Thanks for the info, Duane!

And, RE the country west of Salem:  It really IS beautiful out there.  But not a great place to drive a big rig.  Lisa  :-]