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Friday Morning Latin Lesson: Vol. CX

March 14, 2014

Much to do this morning and many things to see, so let's jump right in, shall we?

Today is March 14th.  The significance? you ask.  Well, shame on you for not knowing that today is a holiday--two holidays, in fact, rolled into one.  And, oh my stars and garters, what a beautiful pair of holidays we have--delicious holidays, even.

March 14th, or (as we Americans note it) 3-14, is special because 3.14 is the first three significant figures of the number pi, which is the universal ratio of a circle's circumference (distance around) to its diameter (cross-section).  No matter the size of the circle, no matter the location, pi is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter.  It is an irrational number in that it has no end, so while we may conveniently refer to pi as 3.14, the actual measure of the number is 3.1415926535897...  The ellipses mean that pi continues on forever without any repeating sets of numbers deep within its minuscule fractional world.

Go check out Boomerang's Aussie Pies!
Pi is also a Greek letter, the Ancient Greek equivalent to our "p," which happens to share a pronunciation with our tasty and delicious dessert treat, pie.  Naturally, one wonders if there's a connection between "pi" and "pie" (especially given this blog's predisposition and love of ancient languages).  The answer is...not so much.

However, the word "pie" is, most likely, a derivation of a Latin word pica, which means "magpie."  No, seriously.  I'm not kidding you (this time).  The word magpie itself arrives in the langue from the word pica, coming into English sometime in the late Middle Ages, when magpies were simply "pies".  As magpies tend to be mottled, black-and-white, things that were a mixture of black-and-white were described as "pie" or "pied."  A horse or a dog with large portions of black and then smaller patches of white are described as piebald; a certain Piper from Hamelin probably also got his epithet from this source.

Now, there are two schools of thought as to how "pie" went from meaning "black and white" to "Oh my God, I'm so full but I NEED another slice!"  The connection is made either through the lighter crust of the pie standing as a stark difference to the dark and mottled interior of the pie.  This is feasible, sure.  However, pie used to be less like the delicious dessert we so enjoy nowadays, and more like an entire meal shoved in a crust and baked.  Bits of meat, vegetables, grain and sometimes fruit were all put together and baked within a flaky fold of dough.  It was nutritious, fairly balanced, and, more to the point, fucking delicious.  It might not necessarily have been dark or mottled on the inside.

This whole discussion is even more amusing when you think about pie as being a euphemism for pussy.

Getting back to magpies and their close avian relatives, crows and ravens, these birds are famous for collecting bits of string or brightly colored cloth or other such trinkets.  The notion that lots of little pieces of whatever, coming together, was something that a foodstuff "pie" resembled is not necessarily a stretch.  Think of chick pot pie (something I do on a regular basis...) and you can see the connection.  This could be the link between a raucous, obnoxious bird and a delicious treat made up of lots of smaller bits that come together with delicious consequences.

Thanks to pie (our dessert) and pi (our circumstantial ratio) being homonyms, some of the more mathematically- and gustatorially-enthusiastic decided to link the two on March 14--hence, Pi Day, on which you eat a pie!  Just, be sure to pace yourself...

Non possum credere me totum edisse...

Pronounced:  "Nohn poh-soom cray-day-ray may toh-toom aye-dee-say..."


Get it?  Because it's Hot Pie, from Game of Thrones?!?!? Delicious translation in the hovertext...


As mentioned, pie did not necessarily start out as a delicious, fruit-and-sweet-filled concoction, but instead was more savory, featuring meat, some delicious sauces, and a bit of salt.  Since Pi Day falls on a Friday in 2014, and it's during Lent, Catholics will have to get a special dispensation from the Pope in order to enjoy the more traditional pie filling today.  However, Francis seems to be down with that sort of thing, so I'm sure he'll be more than happy to let you enjoy your meat-filled pies on Pi Day.  So long as you share.

Speaking of delicious meat, saltiness and sauces, March 14, as it falls one month after Valentine's Day, is also known as Steak and Blow Job Day.  The logic here is that, since men did so much for their ladies a month prior, it's time for the fellas to recoop some of their losses spent making their women happy.  Hence, Steak and Blow Job Day, which are two things that (most) men dearly love.  Because, you know, I want to eat a steak and get blown only one day a year...

The Romans did not eat a whole lot of beef.  Typically, especially in earlier civilizations, cattle provided a lot more than just tasty hunks of meat.  Milk and cheese were more valuable commodities.  Sure, if a cow got old and could no longer produce milk, then she might get slaughtered and be eaten for dinner; for the most part, cattle were seen as a source of wealth.  Not to back ourselves into a corner here on Steak and Blow Job Day, the Romans did enjoy the sensual pleasures of having a mouth wrapped around their cocks.  The word "fellatio" comes from the Latin word fello, fellare which meant "I suck" and was taken a step further to mean "I suck cock."

I hope you see what I did there in the paragraph previous...

If you're lucky enough to celebrate both holidays today, don't forget to praise your partner:

Quod fellas et aquam potas, nil, femina, peccas!

Pronounced:  "Kwoad fay-lahs et ah-kwahm poh-tahs, nill, fay-mee-nah, pay-kahs!"

More deliciousness in the hovertext!


The actual, word-for-word translation would probably better read "you can do no wrong, woman" or "you do not err, woman," but I went ahead and extrapolated some meaning.

Again, don't forget that it's Friday and it's Lent.  Celebrate the holidays as best you can during this holy time...just don't expect the Pope to give you another dispensation for the second celebration tonight.

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