Sunday, March 14, 2010


It’s raining. Boy, is it raining. This is one of those rainy days that we’re always saving it for, whatever it is. I missed Donald Duck’s Birthday yesterday. (See ) But I should get behind Pi Day today.

I am no mathematician, and the whole notion of giving pi a day strikes me as a little geeky. But as an almanacker and time-twiddler, I like that this constant, 3.14159… is celebrated on 3/14, especially at 1:59 a.m. (one minute before Daylight Savings Time!) and again at 1:59 p.m, and that it coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday.

So it behooves me, as the centaur said, to spend a little time with π, which is the lower-case of the sixteenth Greek letter (the upper-case being Π), and which the Greeks, by the way, pronounce “pee.” And it is pretty cool that no matter what size a circle is, the circumference of that circle is always 3.141593 etc. times the diameter. And it is also worth noting that the reason that letter pi was chosen is that it’s the first letter of the Greek words for periphery and perimeter. And of course there’s the matter of a circle’s area being π r squared, which is ironic because pie are round, normally, not square— the exception, not ironically, being a Greek pie, spanikopita (spinach pie), which are often square, and even when they’re not, spinach pie are a square meal, yessiree bob.

Still raining, and looking just as dark at 5:30 as it did yesterday at 5:30, so where’s the fun in that?

One more pi thing that comes to mind. There’s a song whose title is trapped in my brain and today’s a good day to say it: Push-ka-pi-shi-pie!

It’s a kind of faux calypso number written by Louis Jordan et al. and revived recently in the Broadway revue called “Five Guys Named Moe.” Here’s how it starts:

Saigo boy from Fyzabad
a little town in Trinidad
took a plane to New York town
he dressed up like a circus clown
with the tenor sax in hand
say he maestro of a band
ask him what's the latest thing
Saigo boy begin to sing:

Push ka pi shi pie — eh eh
Push ka pi shi pie — eh eh
oobli aayee eye yay abla
it's the new calypso bop

So now it’s in your head. And if you want to hear what it sounds like in Danish, which is related to pie, here’s a group called the Linie 3 doing it.

Happy Push ka pi shi pie, especially good on a rainy day!

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