Singing parts; cream of tartar

the Pips

lemon merengue pieCarla, who I’ve known since high school choir – was she an alto? – decided she needed to know stuff:

Ok… when you sing alone… do you mostly sing the melody, or do you sing your “part?”

Almost always, in four-part music that I’m familiar with, it’s the bass line. In pop music, it’s usually the Pips response, not the Gladys Knight lead. On Lola (Kinks) or The Boxer (S&G), it’d be the high harmony, not the melody. I just hear them better.

To that end, I can sing a higher pitch in harmony than in melody. This makes no physical sense, so it must be mental. We had a church play in March, Once On This Island. I hated singing the high parts in my solo; it made me anxious. But the harmony, I absolutely LOVED doing. Harmony almost always I find relaxing.

No lemon merengue pie?

She also wants to know – those people from Binghamton, NY always inquisitive, especially when the extended family runs the Little Venice restaurant:
OK here is another question…. why are you unfamiliar with cream of tartar? You never make lemon merengue pie? Or soufflés?

I think I’ve made lemon merengue pie exactly once in my life. To the best of my recollection, I’ve NEVER made a soufflé. Or snickerdoodle cookies, which also can use cream of tartar.

But that’s about it. WHY have cream of tartar when it has such limited use? It’s not like cinnamon or nutmeg or any number of other spices I’ve used regularly. AND there are reasonable substitutes.

Now, there was a period in the 1980s, I was into making pumpkin pies, and even baking cookies. And it wasn’t always in the autumn. But it wasn’t for my own consumption. It was either for a food pantry or some benefit auction. I don’t even like eating pumpkin pie as much as I like apple. Or lemon merengue. But they were easier to make; no top crust.

Since I got married, I almost never make pies or cookies. My wife is WAY better at it. I’m not all that interested in doing things only so-so. And frankly, if I were to make them, I’d want to eat them, and I don’t need to do that.

Family health report: usual, or not so much

Blueberry, cherry, five-fruit, some lemon custard thing, pecan, pumpkin

cortisoneFamily health report, but no news about the Wife, which is good news.

I woke up early the week of Thanksgiving with about a dozen scratches on my upper back, at the shoulder blade level and above. I didn’t really notice the wounds until I realized how much it itched back there. They’re deep enough that I’d think I’d notice when they happened, but apparently not.

Did one of the cats do this? They remain the prime suspects; Arthur knows about cat scratches, though none of mine was nearly that long. The Wife wondered if she could have done so in her sleep, but it seems highly unlikely; talking in her sleep, yes, but not scratching. And it’s virtually impossible for me to have done that to myself, as I can barely reach the area.

The Wife treated it with some topical lotions, including cortisone and Eucerin, and it feels SO MUCH better.

Too much pie, even for a dozen of us. Blueberry, cherry, five-fruit, some lemon custard thing, pecan, pumpkin, made mostly from some Amish folks. Surprisingly, no apple. With vanilla ice cream. I ate only the first four over the two days, but it was enough to make Friday night dinner totally unnecessary.

The Daughter and one of her cousins were playing on Thanksgiving day. Trying to climb a wall, she got an abrasion on her abdomen that apparently looks worse than it feels.

Her cousin somehow hit The Daughter’s foot with her elbow(?) on Thanksgiving Day, and it remained bruised into the next day. We took her to the urgent care place about 9:42 a.m., maybe 15 seconds after another guy showed up. HE needed two 20-minute sessions, so we got pushed back to 11:20 a.m., as the earlier slots were also filled.

We left, then came back. No, the foot isn’t broken. But it still hurts. She SHOULD be taking an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to relieve the inflammation, but she’s not the best patient.

Pie, and the love thereof

Apple pie in the sky as dreamer.

apple pieI am on the record, stating my great preference for pie over cake. Pie, as a form, is more flexible than cake, as it can be savory (chicken pot pie, e.g.) or sweet.

Picking this totally random day, here are some of my favorite songs about pie.

American Pie- Don McLean. Also the name of a series of movies about libidinous teenagers.

Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie – Jay & The Techniques. I remember that game. This 1966 song I’m fairly sure one of my sisters owned, perhaps on the album. “Marry you so you don’t roam.” What a controlling guy.

Custard Pie -Led Zeppelin. I was shocked, SHOCKED to find out that this song from Physical Graffiti might be about…something else. Would Zeppelin actually use food items as metaphors for sex?

Flaming Pie – Paul McCartney. The album’s title track about how John Lennon named the Beatles.

Honey Pie – the Beatles. This doesn’t talk about food at all, but is rather a term of endearment. What IS it with Macca and pie?

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – Four Tops. More affectionate use of the term.

Sweet Potato Pie – Ray Charles. From the Genius Loves Company album (2004), this track features James Taylor, who had written and performed the song for his Never Die Young album (1988).

High Hopes – Frank Sinatra. Specifically: “He’s got high, apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes.” Apple pie in the sky as dreamer.

Lots of pie songs out there in a simple Google search. Here’s one list .


This is really only Pi Day, and a very special one this year, to those somewhat backwards countries who post the date in neither descending nor ascending order of significance.

piToday is Pi Day, pi being the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. But you knew that. You probably were even aware that pi was a very old number, and, of course, an infinite decimal, roughly equivalent to 355/113.

But did you know: “Pi (rather than some other Greek letter like Alpha or Omega) was chosen as the letter to represent the number 3.141592… because the letter π in Greek, pronounced like our letter ‘p’, stands for ‘perimeter’.”

Of course, this is really only Pi Day, and a very special one this year, to those somewhat backward countries who post the date in neither descending nor ascending order of significance, but rather Month, Day, Year.

The primary country using this system is the United States, so it gets noticed. The others, as far as I can tell, are Belize and the Federated States of Micronesia, though Canada, Kenya, and the Philippines use multiple designations, including MMDDYYYY.

Since pi and pie are homophones, some people seem to think that today is Pie Day. But Pie Day in 2015 was January 23.

Still, all sophisticated folks, understandably, recognize the pie as the perfect food, available as dinner (pot pie, e.g.) or dessert, and will use any excuse to eat, or get hit in the face with, pie.

Here’s Dustbury’s pi post from last year, which shows that I’m very pi; either I go on forever, or I’m irrational. Take your pick.

Born this date: Albert Einstein in 1879, who undoubtedly used pi in some calculations; and Quincy Jones in 1933, who recorded and produced many albums that were shaped like a circle.

Both my sister’s boyfriend Mike and my friend, artist Stephen Bissette, turn the big SIX-OH today. Happy natal day to them.

September Rambling: Frank Doyle’s daughter, and pie v grief

Congrats to Brian Ibbott of Coverville. Also, kudos to Arthur@AmeriNZ.


My old college friend Claire is 55 and Still Alive. Her late father, BTW, was awarded the Bill Finger Award at Comic-Con 2012.

Jaquandor’s review/reflection about the book Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie by Beth Howard, which is about processing grief. And dessert. Check out her website.

Gemuetlichkeit: Dachau.

9/11: Another View.

Legal Analysis Outlines Potential Crime In Mitt Romney’s Financial Disclosures

“Recent DNA and genealogical evidence uncovered by researchers suggests that President Obama is a descendant of one of America’s first documented African slaves. What surprised many is that Obama’s connection to slavery is through his white mother, not his black father.”

The Strange Story Of The Man Behind ‘Strange Fruit’.

Wells Fargo mistakenly forecloses on the wrong house, destroys elderly couple’s entire lifetime’s worth of possessions. Oops. And if it HAD been the right house, would the action be justified? (My answer is NO.)

The truth comes out: CEO says ‘stupid’ consumers deserve hefty fees.

Gay rights, free speech, politicians and the NFL.

Leo Meets His Internet Troll.

Son of a Bigot. His dad founded the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Nate Phelps is dedicated to reversing that legacy of hate.

I am a First Year, First Semester, M.Div.

Under 18, or know someone who is? Name that asteroid! The deadline is December 2.

Kickstarter for MAN ON THE MOON exhibit at Space Center Houston.

The Big Daddy Kickstarter is still going on. I mentioned it before, but Mark Evanier has mentioned it again and again, so I shall as well.

Harvey Pekar statue to be dedicated at Cleveland Heights’ Lee Road library next month.

Cerebus: The Fantagraphics offer and the Dave Sim response. Follow the thread about other Sim-Fantagraphics product possibilities here.

1922 Kodachrome film.

The Last Record Store Standing?

George Martin: He Had You Hooked on the Beatles.

David Byrne’s How Music Works.

Emily Dickinson ages.

Congrats to Brian Ibbott of Coverville, who recently podcast his 900th show. One of the tunes on that episode was David Garrett – Vivaldi Vs Vertigo.

Also, kudos to Arthur@AmeriNZ, who has been blogging for six years. He’s been musing about modern technology.

Glamour is different on the other side of the pond if Emma Watson is the example.

Bug Comic: Rise and Whine, an insomniac’s lament.

People stuck on an escalator.

Music product placement?

An oldie, but goodie: Troy (MI) Library’s book burning campaign.

Jaquandor answered my questions here and here and here. Which reminds me: you can still Ask Roger Anything.


Visible light communication could simplify car electronics
A team led by Prof Roger Green is planning to demonstrate how visible light communication (VLC), which is already used as an alternative to wireless internet transmissions, could simplify and lighten the electronic systems in cars.

BOWLS: Moulton edged out in centenary match
In the battle of the presidents, Moulton’s Roger Green came out on top on rink four against Stuart Lake winning 24-17. But Green’s rink were pipped for top honours by Tony Keating who led his home quartet to a ten shots success.

Denver “folk & roll” songstress Esmé Patterson is releasing her solo album November 20th
Making appearances on the album are Nathaniel Rateliff, Roger Green (formerly of the Czars), Ben Desoto (Czars, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bare Bones), Genevieve Patterson and Sarah Anderson (Paper Bird), Carrie Beeder, Eric Moon, Mike Fitzmorris, Will Duncan, and many more.