Friday, March 14, 2008

Happi π Day!

Pi pie baked by VROG in Bristol!

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel...

Yep, it's Pi Day today. Go forth, eat pie, be merry.

Hard 'n Phirm - Pi
We kick off the celebrations with pretty much the greatest π song ever, a staple of Pi Day posts for many years to come. Also check out the hilarious Keith Schofield-directed music video, which is where I first heard the song.

Hard 'n Phirm - Rodeohead [a medley of Radiohead songs]
From the same album as Pi and available on CD Baby, this distant relative of the Weird Al polka is both a funny and brilliant bluegrass medley of Radiohead songs.

This piece of π art is by the wholly remarkable Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant who once set the European record in 2004 for reciting digits of pi from memory: 22,514 digits in just over 5 hours in a charity event. The subject of an engrossing British TV documentary called Brainman (highly recommended), Tammet can speak 11 languages including Icelandic, which he was challenged to learn in one week as part of the program. One of the more curious aspects of his abilities is that he sees numbers in his head as colours, shapes, and textures. When answering mind-boggling math equations or reciting pi, he isn't exactly calculating... but rather the answers just appear as visual landscapes in his head. The picture above is how he sees pi. This is where Keanu would say "Whoa."

Unbelievably, the unofficial world record for reciting pi digits is 100,000 recited over 16.5 hours in Tokyo by a retired Japanese engineer, Akira Haraguchi.

In lieu of re-posting the same π songs every year-- with the exception of Hard 'n Phirm's Pi which WILL be posted every year-- I started thinking about how to incorporate some covers into the mix. And the circular imagery of the Oscar-winning Windmills of Your Mind is a perfect fit. The song was written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Michel Legrand for the 1968 Norman Jewison film The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Originally performed by Noel Harrison, when the movie was remade in 1999 with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo in the leads, the song was also covered for the new soundtrack by Sting.

Dusty Springfield - The Windmills of Your Mind
Arguably the most well-known version of the song.

Dorothy Ashby - The Windmills of Your Mind
Awesome jazz-funk instrumental cover by jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby.

Sting - The Windmills of Your Mind

Tina Arena - The Windmills of Your Mind
An excellent track from her 2007 cover album Songs of Love and Loss.

Oh yeah, free swag blah blah blah here. Winners will be picked on Sunday.


harrymonster said...

thanks for introducing me to lots of great new stuff

Anonymous said...

So... did Keith Schofield watch a lot of the insistently multicultural children's programming on PBS in the '70s? 'Cause, like, flashback, man.

Rob W said...

That pie image is great.
But it's protected by copyright.
I know.
Because I baked that pie.
And took the photo.

The original is on my flickr pages here:

I'd be happy for you to keep the image on your blog - but only if you can credit "VROG in Bristol" and link to the original on flickr.


Fongolia said...

My apologies, Rob. I'm pretty careless when to comes to stuff I find on google images and I suspect I swiped it from someone who swiped it from you. In any case, it's a great pie and I've updated the post with your info. Early Happy Pi Day to you. Cheers!