Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Night Music Club XXXI


(...fucken Romans, with their stupid non-decimal numbering system...)

Yes, it's time for yet another Sunday Night Music Club installment. This week, it's The Church and their 1988 song "Under the Milky Way".

This song has long been sort of in the background of my consciousness, ever since it received fairly substantial airplay in the late 80s/early 90s. The melody and lyrics evokes in me images of everyday life unfolding under a canopy of nighttime stars. It's one of those songs that just seems to flow seamlessly from beginning to end, and all too soon is over.

The Wikipedia page for this song describes how the haunting instrumental break that sounds much like bagpipes is actually "composed with an EBow on a Fender Jazzmaster, and recorded on a Synclavier..."

Huh. Interesting. The shit you can learn on the internet, right?

Anyway, my fondness for the song grew exponentially when it was used to great effect in the 2001 film "Donnie Darko", which is firmly in my Top 100 list of favorite films.

Someday I'll actually have to put together that list. It'll be a fun project for a theoretical time when I have nothing else pressing for a week or so.


oldswede said...

Bob, the Roman system is decimal. That X is ten and represents a unit of counting. What you want it the Arabic numbers that people normally use. Don't tell the T-baggers this, or we will have to ditch the system. Like we were supposed to replace French fries with Freedom Fries, or something.

Connecticut Bob said...

I beg to differ. The Roman numerals don't repeat themselves after incrementing 10 (or any other number of) times. X is ten and ten only.

In a decimal system 1 is one, unless it is in the second position to the left of the decimal point, then it's a ten, and in the third position it's a hundred. This is decimal, or base-10 numbering.

Roman numerals do not represent any number but themselves. C is always 100, I is always 1, and so on. You simply add up the string of numbers (or subtract if a smaller numeral is to the left of a larger one) to get the value of the entire string.

Maybe I'll start using binary for a change of pace!

oldswede said...

Bob, you are describing decimal notation. I referring to the fact that the Roman system is uses ten as its base, that it is base 10 or denary.
It derives from counting on our fingers, like the systems in many other cultures.
Look at how it builds:
I = 1
V = 5 (fingers on one hand)
X = 10 (fingers of both hands)
L = 50 (V x X)
C = 100 (X x X)
D = 500 (V x C)
M = 1000 (X x C)

Connecticut Bob said...

Perhaps the X was derived from our fingers, but it still doesn't help when creating a large number. That's where the multiples in decimal come in handy. 1958 in decimal is easy, MCMLVIII takes a lot more thinking to create.

And more space!