The Power of Music

Both Alan Turing and Harvey Milk were music lovers. Alan enjoyed singing out-of-season hymns, loved British Pantomines, which are full of silly songs, and even took up the violin. Even as he had the police over at his residence, he entertained them with an Irish Classic, “Cockles and Mussels.” There is a statue in Dublin honoring Molly Malone, the subject of the song, up during  the mayoralty of Lord Mayor Ben Briscoe, who was a Lithuanian Jew like Harvey Milk. Alan’s musical interests are typical of scientists and mathematicians, many of whom are confirmed music lovers, recognizing that music is a form of audible math.

From the age of eleven Harvey was a determined Opera and Classical music fan. He did not care much for Verdi but loved the music of Wagner, Bruckner, and Mahler. For Harvey listening to music was tantamount to religious experience. Harvey also was fond of ballet. A substantial number of Opera composers are or were gay such as Benjamin Britten and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Harvey also was crazy about Broadway musicals, which is not surprising since they are an homage to Opera. Harvey’s favorite musical was Man of La Mancha, a tribute to Cervantes’ Don Quixote. But he also makes allusions to Guys and Dolls and The King and I. His famous “and you and you and you” may allude both to So Long Farewell from Sound of Music at to the Good Morning song in Singin’ in the Rain. Likewise Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim are/were  important gay figures in this arena.

For Harvey to work as producer or stage mananger for productions such as Hair, Lenny, and Jesus Christ Superstar must have been a dream come true. These experiences enriched his theatrical skills as a politician.

Like many gay men of his time, he enjoyed The Rolling Stones as well. According to his biography, however, he got irritated when neighbours played San Francisco based Jefferson Airplane (now Starship) too loud. Harvey also serenaded his last major boyfriend, Doug Franks, with “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca.

Harvey did not typically care for disco, but he was close friends with Sylvester, who performed Mighty Real for Harvey’s last birthday in May 1978. This song is featured in both the movie MILK and in THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK.

Harvey also told his relatives how sad he was he could not come back to Long Island for Passover because he loved singing at seders.

There are many ways to express, experience and further the holy. The music of the Blues, Jazz, and Motown comes to mind as they allowed Black People to pour out their souls and help save White America. Such is the magic of music.

In this novel series, music is used as a vehicle of healing. In all difficult moments experienced by Harvey and Alan, there is a built-in songtrack to help them get through, and many scenes of the novel series involve them enjoying music together.

And of course, Harvey and Alan make beautiful music in other ways too. It is the same energy, expressed in a varied form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Autistically Awesome Alan Turing

The future of our society and our planet lies in recognizing Neurodiversity. Different brains are organized in different ways and are skilled at different tasks. People with so-called Bipolar Disorder have different brains. People with so-called Attention Deficit Disorder have different brains and people who are Autistic have different brains. Having a Neurodiverse mind presents all kinds of challenges and may require learning certain skills both for dealing with sensory stimuli and with social settings, but it does not mean that the Neurodiverse individual is not completely beautiful as they are and that they cannot do amazing wonderful things that can save the world.

Alan Turing was on the Autistic Spectrum. Harvey Milk was almost certainly Bipolar (II) and had a lot of ADHD traits. Would we want them any other way? No.

In the novel series, you will see how Alan has many of the traits associated with Autism. He was brutally honest, trusting, pure, and at times child-like.  He has at his disposal a huge supply of facts. He takes people’s words literally. He is always evaluating fresh data to build up his incredible mental map of the universe. When Alan is interested in something, he goes all the way and learns it, and that will include anyone lucky enough to be loved by him. Alan’s eye contact is either non-existent or full-on staring. Often he has a distant look in his eyes. He cannot understand a world in which being Gay is illegal, since he sees it only in its natural purity. He has trouble figuring out what other people are thinking but his tender heart is full of kindness and he has enormous empathy, so much so, it often floods his system.

Oh yes, and he did stop World War II and invent the field of Artificial Intelligence, and many more achievements.

My working theory is that Autistic people are emissaries from a galactic civilization way more advanced than ours. They probably are a telepathic civilization, hence the inability to read faces. They saw all the manipulation and cruelty and poor critical thinking of the humans on earth and volunteered to help us out.

Stuck in an elevator, there is no contest. I would want an Autistic companion. I cherish every time I spent hours discussing Computer Science or Math or Theology with someone who is Autistic, It is joyful, fun and mind-stretching. An Austistic person expressing their passions is a most beautiful life-enhancing thing.

In my novel series. Autistic Alan is the perfect match for Harvey Milk, who like Alan, also has his special interests (Opera) and does not really fit in anywhere. Harvey has had some rather difficult romantic relationships in which he was treated very cruelly. What a blessing and relief for him to find such an honest, caring love, who like many Autistic people, could be incredibly funny when in his natural habitat. Harvey desperately needs to be with someone who can cast mental as well as sexual sparks and Alan usually does both at once! Autistic people can make incredible partners and be incredible parents!

Long live Neurodiversity! Let’s build educational systems that support all kinds of brains  and help them thrive!

Support my Harvey Milk-Alan Turing  novel series on Kickstarter.

How Alan Would Like to Be Remembered (Gay YES, Martyr NO)

Alan’s Sponge Cake

Mathematical Knitting with Alan

How Did Alan Turing Break the Enigma?

In the Navy

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How Alan Would Like to Be Remembered: (Hint: Gay yes, Martyr no!)

There is no denying it. Alan Mathison Turing, one of the most magnificent beings to grace this planet, was treated most shabbily and we cannot even begin to comprehend the repercussions of his loss.

But that does not mean that he wanted to be remembered as a tragic figure.

Yet time and time again on Twitter, in movies, it is his torture and his end that is given so much prominence.

You don’t have to hold up the man who pretty much stopped World War II, invented artificial intelligence and won marathons to make the rather obvious point that no human should be persecuted for acts of love between consenting adults. A crime against a person of lesser fame is no less a crime.

I’ve studied Alan very closely, read his biography, his writings, including an unpublished short story, and I can almost hear him whisper in my ear, “Enough of that rot, why don’t they remember me by considering my ideas, my philosophies, my speculations? I shan’t mind if they disagree; I would most certainly be delighted. Just focus on the ideas, please!”

Alan, I think, would cringe at being thought of as a gay martyr. But he would be thrilled at being remembered for his pride at being a “queer” man. He writes in his short story that he liked to parade his homosexuality.

He also took a distinct thrill in being a gay codebreaking warrior against a regime that forbade to employ gay codebreakers. He enjoyed the risk involved in partaking in an illicit subculture.

Alan would also have liked to be remembered as a free-thinker with a fierce code of ethics, as a decent chef and baker, and as a lover of maths and games, for his kindness to others and for his ability to give wise counsel in a wide range of fields.

On June 7, 2017, the 63rd anniversity of Alan’s transition to another realm, let’s honor Alan’s equally beautiful mind and heart and study closely how he broke the Enigma, consider his idea of the Turing Machine and his brilliant work on morphogenesis. Explore too all that he thought might be possible with artificial intelligence.

In contrast with this rather cold world of Big data, Fintech, Internet of Things, Machine learning and Deep learning, Alan retained a sense of humanism in his wonder in how a computer might enjoy strawberries and cream, how one might have a meangful conversation with a computer, how a computer might create music or write poetry.

Put down your smartphone (Alan does not strike me a fan of the ‘phone) and  go outside tonight and gaze with wonder at the stars like Alan, who so loved stargazing, he slept with his tools in his bed. It says in the book of Daniel 12:3:

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Alan was no bible-thumper by any stretch of the term, but I think he might have liked that quotation. His light will never go out.

The best source of Alan on the Internet is the Alan Turing Scrapbook., which will give you access to many of these papers.

I love and miss you every day, Alan!

Support my Harvey Milk-Alan Turing  novel series on Kickstarter.

Alan’s Sponge Cake

Mathematical Knitting with Alan

How Did Alan Turing Break the Enigma?

In the Navy

LIST OF ALL BLOG POSTS

 

 

Chechnya — What Would Harvey Do?

The Holocaust took place while Harvey was a teenager and its events impressed upon him greatly. Were he alive today, he would be in the forefront of the protests, urging us to fill the streets everyday, stand outside the embassies and consulates every day, and be relentless with our pressure about the media and government officials.

Here are some actions you can take today.

NUMBER ONE

Donate to LGBTQ activists to rescue LGBTQ men in Chechnya. They are a reputable organization and have rescued at least 25 men. But they are getting more calls for help every day. @RainbowRailroad is also an excellent group to support.

 

NUMBER TWO

Spread the word through social media and with your friends and family.

NUMBER THREE

•Pressure the Media to do more.  Here is a sample message:

Please speak out or continue to speak out about #Chechnya @msnbc @time @abc @npr @nbc @latimes @WSJ @BostonGlobe @denverpost @NewYorker

Since I wrote this some of these media outlets have spoken out.

You can also thank any media outlet that does mention Chechnya

NUMBER FOUR

•Pressure Government officials. Even if these officials are not humane, putting on relentless pressure is a good thing.  Examples: @realDonaldTrump @StateDept ‏ @theresa_may ‏ @Number10gov ‏.

, the US Ambassador to the UN has recently called for an investigation. However her language was not very strong. You can thank her for what she has done and encourage her to do more.  Here is a tweet I wrote her.

 

You can also thank any leader like @JoeBiden who speaks out.

NUMBER FIVE

•Petitions.

GENERAL — ALL SIGNERS

Outright Petition addressed to Oil Companies

Amnesty International Petition

PETITION TO PROTECT BRAVE JOURNALIST WHO BROKE THE STORY

PETITION ADDRESSED TO ANGELA MERKEL 

Change.org Petition to Russian Prosecutor General

US CITIZENS

PETITION TO THE US PRESIDENT

UK Citizens and Residents

UK SHOULD SPEAK OUT CHECHNYA

NUMBER SIX

• Be a Twitter Activist.

1.RT and like tweets about Chechnya. Use the Hashtag #Chechnya to find these tweets and use it in all your posts. You may also use #closethecamps

You can thank people for their tweets. Here is how I thanked Elton John

 

2. Create your own tweets that create awareness and encourage action.

3. Collect tweets and create a Moment. Here’s how to create a Moment.  It can make topics more viral. Share other people’s moments as well.Here’s mine

NUMBER SIX

• Pressure the Russian Embassy by email. The email to the Russian ambassador to the US is rusembusa@mid.ru ; to the UK you can try bilateralrelations@rusemb.org.uk

NUMBER SEVEN

•Be a Community Activist

  1. Organize a local protest.
  2. Organize a protest near a consulate or embassy. Here is a list of Russian Embassies and Consulates in the US. The info is outdated but will tell you what cities they may be in.
  3. Plan a special event to host for signing petitions and raising funds.
  4. Find a creative way to keep Chechnya on everyone’s minds.
  5. Organize a boycott of oil companies that do not speak out.

If you ever wondered what you could do to honor Harvey’s memory, I’m sure this would be it!!!

 

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What Would Harvey Think of These Times?

Harvey got his start in politics because of Watergate. Before he spoke of hope, his first message was “get the bums out!” He would definitely share that attitude today although the language he would use would be even more colorful.

Harvey was a very strong proponent of getting in the streets and making a bold statement. Coming out not only was an act of public courage, it was healing and empowering of the self, and it opened the eyes of friends and families who suddently realized a loved one was a member of a stigmatized group. It was also essential to be visible to give real faces to the movement. Harvey, who learned much from Black civil rights movements, also understood the power that is created when like-minded souls walk together hand and hand, singing, chanting, and carrying empowering signs. Kissing too!

Harvey was also a big fan of the boycott. Invented in Ireland by Charles Stewart Parnell, it was used effectively by Gandhi, MLK and Harvey, who led a boycott against Coors beer to great success. With his strong background in the stock market, Harvey knew that much could be accomplished for good or for evil in the realm of the economic and that it is important to revitalize our cities through fair measures of taxation. Harvey was definitely an example of thinking and acting both globally and locally. Whether urging sanctions of South Africa or fighting San Francisco gentrification, Harvey put his heart and soul into everything he did.

Harvey had no illusions about the corruption of city and state politics. Yet he felt that there was so much one could do within the system. Harvey would be very heartened that more and more people are thinking of running for office. Harvey was never afraid to ruffle feathers. When he joined the Board of Supervisors, he voted for a progressive person to lead instead of the expected person. I think that Harvey would say right now the time is not to be timid. There are many loving ways to be completely outrageous and we are seeing this in many of the street protests.

Harvey believed strongly that when dangerous lies are spoken it is essential that one give a public response, which is what he did when he debated the person who sponsored Proposition 6 (would get rid of gay and lesbian teachers). Harvey knew there was no chance of convincing the liar, he spoke the truth for the benefit of the populace at large. When public officials were not doing their jobs properly, Harvey would also publicly take them to task, writing open letters detailing what they should be doing.  And although very strident about what he believed in, Harvey also believed strongly in the power of dialogue whenever possible.

Harvey also felt that all non-dominant groups (‘The Uses’): LGBTQ, women, African-Americans, Asians, traditional,minorities, unions, seniors, disabled, etc all needed to work together. Harvey was also strongly in favor of groups bonding together economically both through business associations and by promising to buy from their group. Harvey worked very closely with unions, Chinese people, senior citizens and more. Harvey understood that there is only one big battle, that between love and non-love and that to fight for one is to fight for all. I think he would also say that efforts to secure marriage equality and other rights throughout the globe are essential even as our own country teeters into darkness. It is like when you try to undo a huge knot you have to work at it from several angles.

Above all, Harvey would encourage us not to despair. He was secretly delighted when Anita Bryant drew attention to homosexuality because she made it a household word. While the transexual situation makes us want to cry, I do think that we can find a silver lining in all the people who have come out in support of trans kids. While the current state of affairs is nothing we would have wished for, it is bringing together groups like Jews and Muslims in beautiful ways. Harvey, in opposing Proposition 6  observed that the cruelty of the situation was that it took away rights people previously had  and this administration has done just that, to Muslims, to immigrants, to trans kids, to anyone with a pre-existent condition, and much more. I think that maneuver is what is going to be the administration’s undoing. I really do believe that Harvey’s spirit is still out there, encouraging us to fight, in the streets, in twitter, in doing what we love and in loving what we do. A kind word to a stranger, raising happy and empowered kids, preparing a meal — all of this works together.

Join Harvey and be an outrageous, skillful warrior of love!

 

UPDATE

In light of the recent atrocities in Chechnya I need to add that Harvey would want us protesting in the streets and embassies/consulates across the world every single day until action is taken. He would encourage us to sign petitions, donate to help rescue trapped LGBTQ men, pressure the Media and pressure government officials. He also would like it if all LGBTQ activists and groups got together to work as unified team.

For more details see What Would Harvey Do.

 

 

Mathematical Knitting with Alan

(Photo by Phil Parker)

 

Hand crafts are an excellent way to soothe the nerves and get into a meditative state. Alan Turing, like many wonderful people, could get rather anxious at times. Knitting was thus an excellent hobby for him. It also was a great tie-in with the knitting sheep/White Queen of ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, another favorite of Alan’s.

It has been noted that his attempts at making mittens required some intervention on the part of a relative to complete the project. It also has been observed that Alan liked to knit Möebius strips.

Möebius strips are a rather paradoxical shape because they look like they have two sides but if you follow the strip all the way around with your fingers, you will find it only has one side. A related shape is the Klein bottle whose inside and outside are one. Here I will give you instructions to make your own Möebius strip out of paper and then how to knit your own Möebius strip, just like Alan! Like the knitting blogger we’re citing, Alan was left-handed.

 

Paper instructions are courtesy of http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/math/what-is-a-möbius-strip-and-how-can-you-make-one

1.Cut about a two-inch wide strip of paper from your full sheet and lay it out in front of you so that the long side of the paper is laying horizontally.

2.Write the letter “A” at the top-left corner of this strip, the letter “B” at the bottom-left corner, the letter “C” at the top-right corner, and the letter “D” at the bottom-right corner.

3.Hold the strip of paper in front of you. Now twist it one-half a turn so that the letters “A” and “B” on the left still face you but the letters “C” and “D” on the right now face away from you.

4. Bring the two short edges of your twisted strip together and tape them to make one long twisted loop. Corner “B” should match up with corner “C” and corner “A” should match up with corner “D”. Knitting instructions are courtesy of http://www.toroidalsnark.net/mkmb.html

 

Here are two knitting options.

Method 1:

Knit from the inside out, using scrap yarn. You’ll need two different colors of yarn, one for the Möbius band itself and a scrap yarn for casting on. I find plain cotton yarn the easiest to work with in all cases, but especially for the scrap. You’ll also need a sufficiently flexible circular needle. I think I usually use a size 7 or 8 in 24″ length for this, but other sizes should work as well.

Cast on 90 stitches in your scrap yarn. Because you’ll be removing the scrap yarn later, use a cast on method that easily pulls out.

.I create a slipknot loop and, using my fingers, pull another loop through it to start. Then I wrap the free end of the yarn over the needle, and (again using my fingers) pull a loop through the previous loop. Then I repeat.

If that made no sense, try this description instead.) In case you’re wondering why the scrap yarn is necessary at all, it’s to avoid any appearance of a seam in the finished product. This means that your Möbius band will have a central circle of 90 stitches in circumference.

If you’re making a wearable Möbius band rather than just a mathematical manipulative, you will of course want to adjust this number for gauge and fit. Onto the cast-on row, knit one row loosely, using the yarn-for-the-Möbius-band-itself. Leave a bit of a tail when you begin so that you have some to knit in when you’re done. (No knots allowed!) Note: you may want to purl one row instead. I think that whether you should purl or knit depends on the handedness of your cast-on row and the handedness of your knitting; the point is that some ways of knitting will ensnare the scrap yarn so it won’t pull out easily, so be aware of the issue.

Now, if you were doing ordinary circular knitting, you’d continue by stretching the other end of your row to the other tip of the needle, and knitting onto that. However, you’re going to introduce the intrinsic twist by instead knitting into the loops between the stitches of the row you just knit.

In order to do this, don’t stretch the other end of the row. Leave it where it is, and bring the tip of the needle to it. Then rotate the-other-end-of-the-row a bit so that you can access the loops between your stitches. Because these loops are not at the tip of a needle, you cannot do the ordinary (insert needle into loop)-(wrap yarn ’round needle)-(pull new loop through old)-(slide old loop off needle).

Instead, you’ll just do the first three of these operations, leaving your old loops still on the skinny part of the circlar needle… but instead of just knitting or just purling, you must *k1p1*. This has the effect of casting on an additional 89 stitches so that each ‘row’ has 179 stitches. (Note that if you cast on n stitches originally, knitting into the loops between will add n-1 stitches, giving an odd number of stitches total. This ensures that your *k1p1* will become seed stitch rather than ribbing, and that your seam will be invisible.)

Bizarre though this may seem, it’s consistent with the fact that a Möbius Band has only one edge, so it will appear that you’ll be knitting twice ’round the strip to traverse the edge once. Also, this will probably hurt your fingers or at least be rather uncomfortable, so don’t be shocked when that happens. When you’ve finished knitting into the loops-between-the-stitches, your needle will be loop-de-looped. Now you can just do *k1p1* forever, or rather, until you feel like you’re done. For a cute li’l strip, five ‘rows’ should be fine.

For a scarf, you’ll want more like twenty. When you’re done, just cast off as usual. There are three tasks that remain: knit in the end of the yarn, get rid of the scrap yarn, and knit in the beginning of the yarn.

When knitting in the beginning of the yarn, look carefully at your stitches so that you don’t create a hole or piece of seam. This is a modified/expanded version of Maria Iano-Fletcher’s translation of Miles Reid’s pattern.

Method 2:

Knit from the inside out, no scrap yarn needed. Once you’re used to it, this is the fastest method. However, the yarn forming the central circle doesn’t look quite as spiffy as when scrap yarn is used, because this method induces a little bit of additional torque on the yarn. (At least, it does when I do it. This could be a peculiarity of my less-than-orthodox left-handed knitting style.)Also, lots of people seem to have trouble figuring out how to do this, so be forewarned that it does require some thinking.

You’ll need some yarn and a circular needle that can coil twice ’round a circle (the way they’re conventionally used requires that they coil only once ’round a circle). Make a slip knot and slip it over one point of your needle. Grab the point in your right hand and hold the knot so it doesn’t slide away. Bend the needle so that the other point is (a) pointing to the left (b) in front of the point with the slipknot (c) in front of the yarn.

Now, using the cable instead of a piece of scrap yarn, do stranded cast-on. (Online instructions can be found on YouTube by Cat Bordhi—note that to be mathematically correct, you’ll need to omit her last yo in order to have an odd number of stitches—or on Eunny Jang’s blog.

Printed instructions for stranded cast-on can be found in June Hemmons Hiatt’s The Principles of Knitting, p. 138 of the first edition; in Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book, p. 66, it’s called invisible cast-on.) The number of stitches you cast on will be the number in the central circle of the Möbius band, which is roughly half the number of stitches on the boundary of the Möbius band. Pull the yarn to the front, so that it’s coming toward you from behind the cable (not the point of the needle). This will ensure that you end up with an odd number of stitches, which is necessary for the whole seed stitch thing to work out correctly.

What you do next depends on your handedness. If you’re left-handed, like me, you’ll turn the whole business around and knit into the slip knot. If you’re right-handed, you’ll purl into the slip knot.

After that, continue in seed stitch (*k1p1*), always knitting/purling by slipping the needle into the side of the stitch closest to you. I know, that sounds silly to say—that’s how we always knit/purl—but you might feel like you’re putting the needle in from a funny direction or in a funny piece of the stitch.

And you might actually be. Just alter your usual stitch in whatever way you have to, so that none of your stitches twist. (If that confuses you, I recommend reading The Principles of Knitting, pages 23-24 and 32-34 of the first edition, or Anna Zilboorg’s Knitting for Anarchists, pages 14-22.)

 

Then keep going until you’ve reached the desired width. Bind off in pattern and weave in the end. Now go back, untie the slip knot (which may take some doing) and weave in that end in pattern as well, being careful not to leave a hole. If you don’t remove the slip knot, it will be very easy to see where you started.

 

Congratulations! You have now been able to share the joy of knitting and math at the same time!

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READ MORE ABOUT ALAN

Alan’s Sponge Cake

How Did Alan Turing Break the Enigma?

In the Navy

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Alan’s Sponge Cake

Cake from WHR(P).jpg

Alan Turing was a man of numerous talents.  He could break unbreakable codes, invent artificial intelligence, make huge contributions to morphogenesis, run marathons at an Olympic level, knit and bake.

Now Harvey Milk (Alan’s husband in the novel series) was quite the gourmet chef and an excellent host to boot,  but he was not much of a baker. Apparently, on the day of his death he offered to make a carrot cake for a friend who had a birthday and the friend promptly declined. Whereas cooking can be rewarding for those who like to make things up as they go along and like to interact with the dish while in progress, successful baking rewards patience, precision, and following step-by-step procedures to the T, none of which are particular strengths of the otherwise amazing Harvey.

Alan Turing, in contrast, has all these qualites. He liked to cook and was very proud of his baking ventures. This is no wonder since baking is really a form of applied Chemistry. The constant temperature water bath is just but one of many chemistry techniques you can apply to the kitchen. According to Andrew Hodges, Alan was especially pleased in learning how to make a sponge cake.

But which sponge cake?

There are two types of sponge cake in the UK. One is made by the foam method and one was made by the batter method. UK sponge cakes made by the batter method are what are called pound cakes in the US. UK sponge cakes made by the foam method are more like Angel Food cakes in the US. I am grateful for Wikipedia   (“Sponge Cake”) for this information.

It seems likely that Alan Turing made his cake using the foam method. This kind of cake requires very little in the way of oil or butter. Since the UK was still rationing butter until May of 1954, Alan could only have made the batter kind of cake during the last month of his life.

Yet there are some indications that he also really loved the Victorian Sponge Cake, which is layered with strawberries and cream. Alan was most keen about how artificial intelligence might enjoy strawberries and cream.

In light of this, I will supply recipes for both kinds of cake as well as a special sponge cake made during severe rationing — that yes, includes carrots. And so we have come full circle.

Baking in Britain is different from baking in the US in several respects. Many ovens (and stovetops) are gas and you set the oven not to a numerical temperature but to a gas mark, although that term was not used until 1958. Also, your ingredients are often measured by mass (grams) rather than by volume.

1. Foam Cake

This recipe is courtesy of  http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/3847/angel-food-cake.aspx

10 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

250 g (9 oz) caster sugar

125 g (4½ oz) plain white flour, sifted

Method

Prep:1hr 55min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in: 2hr 40min

Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Sprinkle the cream of tartar and the vanilla and almond extracts over them and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff but not dry.

Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously: the mixture should be shiny and form soft peaks.

Fold the flour in with a metal spoon, blending it thoroughly without breaking down the egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 23 cm (9 in) ring-shaped cake tin; if you do not have one, use a round cake tin and put an empty can upside-down in the centre to make the hole. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and feels dry.

To cool the cake, leave it in the tin and turn it upside-down, supporting the centre column of the cake tin, or the empty can, on a jar so that the cake is not resting on anything and can ‘stretch’ downwards. Leave it to cool for at least 1 hour 30 minutes.

To take the cake out of the tin, run a knife around its outside and turn it upside-down onto a plate. Serve the cake with either of the preserves listed in the description, or with ginger-lemon sauce (see Honeydew Melon with Ginger-Lemon Sauce on this website)

2. Victoria Sponge Cake

This cake traditionally requires both carefully weighing the eggs and being very strict about temperature and cooking time. Recipe is courtesy of http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3201674/strawberry-sponge-cake.

225g unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

3 large eggs

225g self-raising flour

100ml single cream

135g strawberries, mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

Double cream and strawberry jam (optional filling)

Preheat the oven to 180C/electric. Grease two 20 cm cake tins and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until combined. Then, add the eggs one at a time and mix. Then, add all the single cream and mix once again.

With a wooden spoon fold in the flour a third at a time until the mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl place the mashed strawberries and vanilla extract and mix gently with a small metal spoon. Add the strawberry mixture to the smooth cake mixture and combine.

Pour the mixture into the cake tins and bake on a middle shelf for 20 minutes.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 30 minutes before removing. After cooled, spread as much jam as desired on one of the two sponges. Then whip some double cream and place on top of the jam. Take the other sponge and sandwich both sponges together. Serve!

3,  Ration Time Sponge Cake AKA Victory Sponge Cake

This recipe is courtesy of http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/world-war-two-in-western-europe/britains-home-front-in-world-war-two/world-war-two-dessert-recipes/

1 large raw potato, grated

2 medium raw carrots

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon self-raising flour

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla or lemon essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons jam

“Mix together the grated potato and carrots, breadcrumbs, flour, sugar and flavouring. Thoroughly stir in the baking powder. Put the jam in a heated basin and spread it around to cover the inside of the basin. Cool. Put in the pudding mixture, tie on a cover of margarine paper, and steam for 2 hours.”

There you have it. Three different ways to make a UK sponge cake! Why not have a special sponge cake party of your own and compare them?  Alan will surely be smiling down on you from heaven with his cat Timothy, his teddy bear Porgy and of course, his own true love, Harvey.

Photograph by Phil Parker from UK

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READ MORE ABOUT ALAN

Mathematical Knitting with Alan

How Did Alan Turing Break the Enigma?

In the Navy

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Harvey’s Special Pancake

When I was a kid, we often visited my maternal grandparents for Passover. And one of the best things my grandmother made was Matzah Meal pancakes. They are soft, savory and all round delightful. The official name for them is Bubaleh, not to be confused with Bubbele (which is an affectionate term that means literally ‘little grandmother’ from the Russian babushka). Matzah meal pancakes was Harvey’s signature dish, part of his courting behavior. One of the great travesties is that the Harvey Milk opera refers instead to matzo brei. Matzo brei is nothing like Bubaleh. It’s soggy matzah in eggs, also eaten on Passover, and even a huge dropping of cinnamon sugar cannot save this dish.

So if you would like to try your hand at Harvey’s favorite here’s a recipe courtesy of  Tori Avey.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp matzo meal
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (for Passover use a kosher for Passover-certified brand)
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray or vegetable oil to grease the pan

YOU WILL ALSO NEED

  • Nonstick skillet or griddle
Get Ingredients
Total Time: 5 Minutes

Servings: 1

Kosher Key: Pareve

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READ MORE ABOUT  HARVEY

Chechnya: What Would Harvey Do?

Harvey Milk as Prophet: Thoughts on Harvey Milk Day 2017

What Would Harvey Think of These Times?

Remembering Harvey

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Welcome

Today, November 27, 2016 is the 38th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Bernard Milk on November 27, 1978. If he were alive today he would be 86 years old.  To think of all that could have happened had he and Alan Turing lived out a full lifespan, providing hope and technology to make our world a better place. EVER I SAW TOUR FACE and the series 8008 gives them just that chance.

Both Harvey and Alan had difficulties in their romantic relationships, which is covered thoroughly in their biographies. But they are simply great for each other. Alan needs someone he can talk with about his math and science interests and it just so happens Harvey was a math minor and high school math teacher who used advanced math in jobs such as an actuary. Harvey as a busy politican needs a love who can do well alone for long periods of time and it turns out that that is exactly Alan’s best working style!

They also share a common sense of humor, equally powerful drives for intimacy, and love boats, music, flowers, adventure, new experiences, and fun times in the kitchen! Harvey’s outrageous extroversion is well balanced by Alan’s quieter and more careful introversion. In addition they both love silly and witty banter, going to the movies, playing in the water, chilling at the beach, and being out and proud!

Clearly a Harvey-Alan affair is a match made in heaven. Harvey and Alan are both kind, loving and caring people who would do anything to keep their lover happy. This time, however, it will be a two-way street in which each of them both gives and receives love and support. After all that they went through, noble Alan and awesome Harvey, who had such tough lives, can now find a kind of passionate happiness they both so richly deserve!

This blog is intended to introduce you, a potential reader, to the novel about this love affair which has many different dimensions to it, but at its backbone it is about the beautiful love of two beautiful people and how that love can change the world for the better. Thanks for reading!

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If you would like to join other Beta readers in enjoying EVER I SAW YOUR FACE,  say in a few sentences below why you would like to be a Beta reader and any skills or background you might have. If you offer substantial feedback you will be thanked in the novel and also receive a print of signed original artwork.

 

Remembering Harvey

Q: How did you remember Harvey on the anniversary of his death?

A: We just happened to be meeting up with friends at a New York style Deli. To my delight I noticed that they served Egg Cream. I first heard of this New York specialty in my childhood reading Louise Fitzhugh’s HARRIET THE SPY. To the uninitiated, an Egg Cream contains neither egg nor cream but rather chocolate syrup, milk, and fizzy water. But after all these years, even making a joke about it in the 8008 series, I had actually never tried one. But for the sake of Harvey, I was determined, but was not entirely sure what to expect.

The waitress set it before me, a tall glass filled to the brim with frothy goodness.At the first sip I exclaimed out loud that how could I  have  been missing this my whole life! It reminded me of a personal favorite of mixing fudge ripple ice cream with ginger ale (I’m so much more healther these days!). And as I sipped and sipped, I hoped that Harvey, somewhere in the ethers, was enjoying it with me.

READ MORE ABOUT HARVEY, ALAN AND FOOD

Harvey’s Special Pancake

Alan’s Sponge Cake

Why Harvey and Alan Are Meant for Each Other

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Support my Harvey Milk-Alan Turing  novel series on Kickstarter.