Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mathematical Reason for Pie

As if you need an excuse to fork into a tender slice of pie, along comes March 14 - aka 3.14 in date form. That's pi, if you’ve forgotten your geometry: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Actually, the number is 3.14159265358, plus another trillion or so digits (see the first million in order here). 

Random facts abound for pie, as well:

•    Kansas once had a law making it a crime to serve ice cream on cherry pie.

•    Pie preference links to personality. Pumpkin pie eaters tend to be funny and independent. Apple pie people are realistic and compassionate, while pecan pie fans are thoughtful and analytical. And chocolate pie lovers? They're loving (duh).

•    Indiana is the only state to have legislation on both pi and pie. The Indiana Pi Bill of 1897 defies easy explanation. Best to read the wiki. Easier to digest is 2009's Senate Resolution No. 5, making sugar cream pie the official pie.

Whether a fan of pi or pie, you can now face the day with confidence.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sweet Pork Magic: Spam Turns 75

2012 is shaping up to be a helluva year for anniversaries: Charles Dickens' 200th, Chicago's 175th, the Titanic's 100th, and the reason we're gathered here today: Spam turns 75.

Ah, the peculiar meat - Spiced Ham, so they say. The blue tins have fed armies, become a Hawaiian food staple and inspired legions of haiku writers. Our favorite:

Spam volcano blows.
Stratosphere laden with pork.
Gorgeous pink sunset.

Even slack key guitar great Keola Beamer (recent strummer on The Descendants soundtrack) collects Spam haiku.

The best place to get in on the gelatinous pink action is MOMA. No, not the one in New York City. We're talking the Museum of Meat-Themed Awesomeness - aka Spam Museum - in Austin, Minn. Here, at Spam's birthplace, you can indulge in free samples (with bacon!) and try your hand at canning the porktastic slabs. The town's Spam Jam over July 4th weekend will host the big birthday blowout.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy 175th Birthday to Chicago

On March 4, Chicago will blow out 175 candles on its fiery-cow-bedecked birthday cake.

It all began on March 4, 1837, when Chicago incorporated as a city. Population: 4170. Only 340 people lived in the onion-y patch four years prior, so clearly the place had its mojo from the get-go. William B. Ogden - a wealthy, politically connected Democrat - took the reigns as mayor, setting the iron-fist precedent for City Hall.

Aside from the aforementioned cake, which the Chicago History Museum cuts on Sunday, the birthday parties are pretty tame. Mayne Stage hosts concerts of Windy City music throughout the weekend. The tourism office releases its guide of celebrations during the year. The Sun-Times lists 175 reasons to celebrate.

Whatever you do on the occasion, remember Ferris Bueller's wise words: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."