Happy Pi Day!!!

In honor of "Pi Day" (3/14), here are the first 256 digits of Pi set to music... (which was achieved by taking the numbers in Pi and overlaying them on a C major scale).

At first I thought about overlaying the digits on a pentatonic scale to create a little more harmony, but it turns out that it wasn't necessary. (Of course, the bass line and drum parts add a lot, too.)

I also thought about doing something with a pentatonic scale, but as I said earlier it didn't appear to need it. I also thought using about some sort of timing extraction from the numbers in Pi instead of using 8th notes, but most of my experiments started to sound far too random and chaotic.

FWIW - I also did a version in 7/8 time, just 'cause... you know... RUSH.

When Pianists Talk While Playing

Here is my truthful rendition of what piano players think they sound like when they attempt to talk while playing the piano, versus what they actually sound like to everyone else around them. Winking smile

Note that the preceding video is by-product of the author's sarcastic nature and created for entertainment purposes only. Time signatures, tempos, keys, chords and embellishments are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a facetious manner. Any resemblance to pianists, living, dead, or undead, or actual music is purely coincidental.

Open-mouthed smile

Always Check Your Foxhole

In honor of Veteran's Day, I thought I'd share an amusing story from my first days in the Army. One of the infamous Murphy's Laws of Combat states, "When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy." While the following anecdote isn't exactly what is meant by that statement, my situation always reminds me of that saying.

From April through June of 1986, I attended Basic Training in Fort Leonard Wood (FLW), Missouri. (Or, as we trainees liked to call it, "Fort Lost-in-the-Woods, Misery.") At the time, Basic Training was eight weeks long, during which trainees were taught all of the basic essentials for becoming a soldier; combat skills, physical fitness, navigation, communications, first aid, and - of course - basic marksmanship.

The standard-issue rifle at the time was the M-16A1, and soldiers were taught to fire from several positions: prone, sitting, and standing supported in a foxhole. However, foxholes on the FLW ranges were not actual foxholes; they were culvert pipes buried vertically in the ground, with wood pallets in the bottom on which shorter soldiers could stand to gain a little more height, and each foxhole was fitted with a wood cover to keep the rain out at night. (At least in theory; I still spent a lot of time in the mud at the bottom of a foxhole...)

All of that being said, on one particular occasion, our company had an unexpected lesson in checking out your environment before settling in. One of the ranges had 40 foxholes arranged in a single firing line, and I was assigned to lane #1. We were the first trainees on the range, so the first order of action was for everyone to uncover their foxhole for that day's marksmanship training.

When the Range Safety NCO in the tower gave the appropriate command over the range loudspeaker, everyone pulled the cover off their foxhole, and then everyone but me jumped in. However, I actually looked down before jumping in; that was a very good thing for me to do, because I saw the tail end of a black snake slither under the wood pallet at the bottom of my foxhole. I spent part of my childhood living near the Florida swamps, so I knew of several black snakes with which no one should be taking any chances, so I simply stood up and raised my hand for assistance.

The Range Safety NCO saw me from his lofty perch in the tower, and he bellowed over the loudspeaker, "Lane 1: what is your problem???"

As loudly as I could, I shouted back, "Snake, Drill Sergeant!"

And then I watched as the soldiers in firing lanes 2 through 40 looked beneath them in panicked unison to see if they had snakes in their foxholes; it was suddenly and abundantly obvious that I had been the only trainee who had bothered to check his foxhole before jumping in. (Note: No one else had an uninvited visitor; I was the only 'lucky' one.)

One of the drill sergeants quickly made his way down the firing line to my foxhole, whereupon he grabbed my M-16, jumped into the foxhole, and proceeded to beat the snake to death with the butt of my rifle. Once the snake - which turned out to be a lethally-venomous Water Moccasin - was good and dead, the drill sergeant climbed out of the foxhole, returned my M-16 to me, and headed back down the firing line to check on the other trainees.

With my area secured and my miniscule misadventure at an end, I finally climbed down into my foxhole, and I proceeded to blast lots of little holes in the downrange targets.

If D-Day had happened in 2017...

Given the increasingly-ridiculous levels of political correctness and unnecessary inclinations towards white guilt, here is a bit of alternative history for today, which examines how the contemporary mainstream media might have handled the D-Day invasion if it had happened in the present:

7:30am, Tuesday, June 6, 1944
From various World News Services
:

This just in - American and Allied forces, undoubtedly with imperialist ambitions, are currently attacking hundreds of undermanned and outgunned German soldiers, who are now desperately fighting for their lives amidst an onslaught of unprovoked Anglo-Saxon aggression. Just four years earlier, these same German forces successfully liberated France from centuries of colonial and imperial oppression, and yet they now find their comrades senselessly slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy while trying to defend the innocent people of France from foreign invaders.

American soldiers landing on the coast of France under heavy Nazi machine gun fire.

Joseph Goebbels, the distinguished spokesman for the widely-popular German National Socialist Party, condemned the heinous atrocities of the invaders by stating, "This is a sad day for Europe. German sovereignty has been deliberately and ruthlessly challenged in a cowardly, pre-dawn surprise attack by those who wish to see Europe returned to the Dark Ages. After we have forced these intruders back into the sea from whence they came, history will remember this as a triumph for humanity, and henceforth remember this day as 'Deutschland-Day!'"

General Eisenhower, the duplicitous 'commander' of the invading forces, could not be reached for comment.

Who Says the Military Doesn't Have a Sick Sense of Humor?

When I was stationed with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda, Germany, I lived in a sleepy little village named Kleinl├╝der, which was over the hill and through the woods from post. At the time that I lived there, a Surface-to-Air Missile Battery was situated on top of the nearby mountain. Actually, they were kind of annoying, because we could hear them from our apartment every time they had an alert. (Oh sure, they were protecting us from invasion and all that... but I still wanted a peaceful night's sleep.)

Anyway, it's been more than 25 years since I left, and the land where that missile battery was located has long-since been sold off. However, I found it interesting one day recently when I was scrolling through the area on Google Maps and I noticed that the SAM battery's motto has managed to survive on one of the old launch platforms:

if-it-flies-it-dies

Now, who says that the Military doesn't have a sick sense of humor?

Smile

 

Note: Click the following link for the original map: https://goo.gl/maps/1gAHfk62oYH2

Road Signs for Cyclists

I tend to pay attention to this warning sign more than any of the other warning signs when I'm riding around Saguaro National Park...

cyclists-beware

Open-mouthed smile


PS - True story: the sign depicted above is posted right before a very steep descent into a 90-degree right turn, which is immediately followed by an almost 180-degree turn to the left into a steep climb. I have ridden that section of the park almost 200 times, and yet I still navigate it very slowly, because I am reminded of the cyclist I once met who lost control of his bicycle in that section of the park; he woke up in a hospital with a femur which was broken in four places and no memory of the preceding two weeks before the accident.

Surprised smile

Bicycle-Friendly Rock Classics

I first mentioned this in my Ride Notes for Cool Breeze 2015 blog, but I like to rewrite classic rock songs with a cycling theme while I'm out on my weekly rides. As a reminder of past contributions, I came up with the following offerings during the Cool Breeze Century:

  • Sung to the tune of "Safety Dance":
    "We can pass if you want to,
    We can leave your friends behind.
    'Cause your friends can't climb, and if they can't climb -
    Well they're no friends of mine."
  • Sung to the tune of "Hotel California":
    "Welcome to the Cool Breeze California,
    Such a tiring race, such a grueling pace.
    You'll question your mind at the Cool Breeze California:
    I'm no competitor; why'd I register?"
  • Sung to the tune of "Margaritaville":
    "Climbing the hills again in California,
    Wondering why I'm still here at all.
    Some people say that there's a friend I can blame,
    But I know - it's my own dang fault."

During this week's ride (on a particularly blustery day) I penned the following:

  • Sung to the tune of Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around with Jim":
    "You don't coast on all of your downhills,
    You don't ride into the wind,
    You don't pass the leader before the first mile marker,
    And you don't buy a bike from Schwinn."

Winking smile