Reading the Comics, March 14, 2022: Pi Day Edition


As promised I have the Pi Day comic strips from my reading here. I read nearly all the comics run on Comics Kingdom and on GoComics, no matter how hard their web sites try to avoid showing comics. (They have some server optimization thing that makes the comics sometimes just not load.) (By server optimization I mean “tracking for advertising purposes”.)

Pi Day in the comics this year saw the event almost wholly given over to the phonetic coincidence that π sounds, in English, like pie. So this is not the deepest bench of mathematical topics to discuss. My love, who is not as fond of wordplay as I am, notes that the ancient Greeks likely pronounced the name of π about the same way we pronounce the letter “p”. This may be etymologically sound, but that’s not how we do it in English, and even if we switched over, that would not make things better.

Scott Hilburn’s The Argyle Sweater is one of the few strips not to be about food. It is set in the world of anthropomorphized numerals, the other common theme to the day.

A numeral 3 reads the Personals, and circles one which reads: '.1415 looking for friendship, maybe more.' The caption: 'Pi-Curious'
Scott Hilburn’s The Argyle Sweater for the 14th of March, 2022. Essays with some mention of The Argyle Sweater are at this link. They’re also in near every Reading the Comics post. Hilburn has figured out his audience and it’s me.

John Hambrook’s The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee leads off with the food jokes, in this case cookies rather than pie. The change adds a bit of Abbott-and-Costello energy to the action.

Grandpa, watching Edison bake a tray of pi-shaped cookies: 'What are those?' Edison: 'Pi cookies.' Grandpa: 'What are you going to fill them with?' Edison: Nothing.' Grandpa: 'So ... they're *not* pies, then.' Edison: 'Yeah they are. Look.' (He holds one out.) Grandpa, to Dad: 'That kid of yours doesn't know a thing about baking.'
John Hambrook’s The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee for the 14th of March, 2022. This and other essays featuring The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee should be at this link.

Mick Mastroianni and Mason Mastroianni’s Dogs of C Kennel gets our first pie proper, this time tossed in the face. One of the commenters observes that the middle of a pecan pie can really hold heat, “Ouch”. Will’s holding it in his bare paw, though, so it can’t be that bad.

Will, a dog, addressing the audience, while holding a pie in his hand: 'It's Pi day, which means you go find your nerdiest friend ... ' The pie splorts into Wheeler's face ' ... And hit them with a pie.' Wheeler, munching: 'At least it's pecan this year.'
Mick Mastroianni and Mason Mastroianni’s Dogs of C Kennel for the 14th of March, 2022. It’s been over five years since I had reason to mention Dogs of C Kennel, but you can find that reference here.

Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail makes the most casual Pi Day reference. If the narrator hadn’t interrupted in the final panel no one would have reason to think this referenced anything.

[ On the flight to Oregon, Mark Trail is already on a mission ... to learn everything he can about his father's new business partner, Jadsen Sterline! ] Mark Trail: 'Who is this guy and why's he trying to pull the wool over my dad's eyes?' Cherry Trail 'Mark? I snuck you a piece of pie from the airport cafe.' Mark Trail: 'Aw, thank!' [ Today is a good day for pie! ]
Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail for the 14th of March, 2022. I’m startled to learn this is not the only time I’ve mentioned Mark Trail. This and the other appearance are at this link, and if something comes up, it should be added there.

Mark Parisi’s Off The Mark is the other anthropomorphic numerals joke for the day. It’s built on the familiar fact that the digits of π go on forever. This is true for any integer base. In base π, of course, the representation of π is just “10”. But who uses that? And in base π, the number six would be something with infinitely many digits. There’s no fitting that in a one-panel comic, though.

At an intersection, the numeral 6 says, 'After you ... ' to the leading 3 of a decimal representation of pi. Caption: 'A decision Sharon came to regret.'
Mark Parisi’s Off The Mark for the 14th of March, 2022. You know what’s another comic that gets mentioned all the time in Reading the Comics posts? Off The Mark, as Mark Parisi has also decided I’m his target audience. Enjoy this and other essays mentioning the strip.

Doug Savage’s Savage Chickens is the one strip that wasn’t about food or anthropomorphized numerals. There is no practical reason to memorize digits of π, other than that you’re calculating something by hand and don’t want to waste time looking them up. In that case there’s not much call go to past 3.14. If you need more than about 3.14159, get a calculator to do it. But memorizing digits can be fun, and I will not underestimate the value of fun in getting someone interested in mathematics.

One chicken, sitting at a table with another; there's a clock on the table: 'How many digits of pi can you recite from memory?' Other chicken: 'Um ... you do know that speed dating isn't a contest to see how quickly you can scare away the other person, right?'
Doug Savage’s Savage Chickens for the 14th of March, 2022. This and other essays discussing something mentioned in Savage Chickens are at this link.

For my part, I memorized π out to 3.1415926535787932, so that’s sixteen digits past the decimal. Always felt I could do more and I don’t know why I didn’t. The next couple digits are 8462, which has a nice descending-fifths cadence to it. The 626 following is a neat coda. My describing it this way may give you some idea to how I visualize the digits of π. They might help you, if you figure for some reason you need to do this. You do not, but if you enjoy it, enjoy it.

Two women at a table, eating a pie. First woman: 'I thought Pi Day was yesterday.' Second woman: 'Why question the pie? Just enjoy.'
Bianca Xunise’s Six Chix for the 15th of March, 2022. Essays featuring topics mentioned in Six Chix are at this link.

Bianca Xunise’s Six Chix for the 15th ran a day late; Xunise only gets the comic on Tuesdays and the occasional Sunday. It returns to the food theme.

And this brings me to the end of this year’s Pi Day comic strips. All of my Reading the Comics posts, past and someday future, should be at this link. And my various Pi Day essays should be here. Thank you for reading.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

8 thoughts on “Reading the Comics, March 14, 2022: Pi Day Edition”

    1. So, when I first decided to memorize digits of pi I somehow consistently mis-read the book I was working from and had the idea it started 3.1415892 which makes rather a lot of difference. And yet somehow it felt reasonable that ‘3.14159’ might be rounded up from something rather than rounded down.

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