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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Opera Therapy Revisited

Six years ago I wrote a synopsis of an opera that didn't exist --click here if curious. It was about love and plumbing. It had a hero, a pretty girl, an old father with a secret, a villain and a Pope. In those six years, ten people viewed it. Nobody commented.

Six years.

Obviously it was too short. I have lengthened it and added doodles.

We've become accustomed to the belief that the world of fact is, in some hidden way, harmonious with the world of sanity. Nothing could be further from the truth. By natural selection, those who couldn't bear this disappointment exploded. Those determined to live learned to dream. It is they who invented opera, for emotional survival.

The world has been dreaming a long time, so there are many operas, but it is also useful to make up your own opera, your own mind. I do this as therapeutic meditation and always feel better. Here is one currently under construction. It is about plumbing:

Don Fulano de Tal --Portuguese/Spanish variant of the American term "John Doe"-- (synopsis):

Jorge, a poor young plumber (tenor)
Papa, Jorge's father, also a plumber (baritone)
Don Fulano de Tal, a wealthy Portuguese or possibly Spanish nobleman (bass)
Yolanda, his daughter (soprano)
Ragudo, an agent of the Inquisition --character is based upon a real person, a kid named Ragudo who, in 1960, would punch me and other kids in the stomach whenever we encountered him in the school halls. In 1966 he rifled my gym locker and stole my wallet-- (baritone)
The Pope (bass)

Story opens at Papa's house in a rustic village. Jorge sings about how poor he is --"Mis Primos y Yo". He was forced to wear the worn-out clothes of relatives, often while worn-out relatives were still in them. This embarrassed Jorge, especially on dates and upon it he blames his loneliness.

His father joins him in a duet. Papa expresses sorrow at the plight of his son and regrets his poverty but says it couldn't be helped. Someday, he assures Jorge, the reason will be known. He advises Jorge to leave their rustic village and go to the city, where he can practice his trade "where plumbing at least exists".

Beautiful Yolanda, delighted by picking wildflowers (with the assistance of elves and other magical Elementals), has wandered away from her father's castle. She sings about how happy, lost and worried she is because she has wandered quite out of her native country as well --an aria overheard by the evil Ragudo!

Ragudo jumps out of a ditch and demands Yolanda prove she is not a witch gathering herbs for wicked rites he might like helping with. She is horrified and they sing a duet in which her part consists entirely of the word, "Eeewwwno!". Ragudo  steals her wallet, ties her to a stake and builds a fire under it.

Jorge, off to seek his fortune with only a biscuit in his pocket, hears Yolanda's protestations and hurries to the scene. Ragudo punches him in the stomach and flees. Jorge uses a hacksaw from his plumbing toolkit to cut the smoldering stake away from the fire. Yolanda is unconscious. He carries her back to Papa's hovel.

Papa helps Jorge lay Yolanda onto their rustic chaise longue while singing praises of his son's heroism. "Leave her here and I'll get you another biscuit, a second and even better biscuit for your pocket!", he sings. They repair to the kitchen. Jorge leaves home again. Unfortunately, he and Papa forget to remove the smoldering stake tied to Yolanda's back and the hovel burns down.

Years later, at the castle of Don Fulano de Tal, there is excitement in the courtyard. The Pope is coming to visit! In honor of this occasion Don Fulano will give his daughter in marriage to the most worthy and deserving guest. Wine flows and the guests are jubilant but soon need to relieve themselves. Don Fulano is compelled to make the recitative announcement that although his castle boasts a thousand rooms, only one is a bathroom --and it is broken, "La Cisterna de Water No Funciona!"

The guests form a chorus, "Pista de Baile", and perform, upon the courtyard --now dance floor-- a rousing peepee dance to ease their discomfort. Ragudo enters laughing evilly with a broken sewer pipe in his hand, punches people in the stomach and steals their wallets.

Jorge, the simple plumber, arrives disguised as a complicated plumber. He vows to repair the bathroom and ascends the stairs toward Don Fulano de Tal. He stops in surprise midway because he recognizes Yolanda by the smoldering timber roped to her back so many years ago. An impassioned trio sings of true love and closes with Don Fulano's promise to bless the union if Jorge can fix the toilet.

The Pope arrives and demands to know why Ragudo is still acting as an agent of the Inquisition, which ended centuries before. They argue, but hush at a moan from the top of the stairs. Jorge has repaired the loo, but cannot accept Don Fulano's blessing because he is poor and can offer Yolanda only love and the other biscuit.

With dramatic fanfare, Papa runs up with a duffel bag, which he opens with a flourish to reveal his secret. He has distrusted banks since the Great Depression, and so refrained from cashing his paychecks for 80 years. After the hovel fire he got therapy, did his banking and now has a duffel bag of cash.

Jorge, learning he is of moneyed family, embraces Yolanda. The Pope declares he will personally conduct their wedding ceremony. He also forgives Ragudo, re-Christens him Count Impetigo, presents him with friendly dinosaur --handled by three of Jorge's cousins, also named Jorge-- and leads a joyous chorus, "Ha Llovido Mucho Desde Entonces", all water under the bridge! Count Impetigo (Ragudo) punches the Pope in the stomach, steals his wallet and tries to run away but is tangled by a festoon to the dinosaur, which runs off dragging him to Scotland to live in the Loch Ness. Everyone laughs and dances.

As epilogue, Don Fulano de Tal's wife, Donna, arrives from the bakery leading a sort of Jurassic peacockostrichosaurus beast of burden, laden with biscuits.
She sings a short duet with the creature,"Traemos galletas tan Opera podrá seguir a través de las edades!"  --"We bring biscuits so Opera may continue through the ages!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Poppy Works The Now Harvest

To resume: "Hello Poppy!"

"Hello Geo.! So glad I finally got through."

"Poppy, the backporch phone is calibrated for the Hawking radiation signal spectrum."

"Uh huh... That's the only frequency that can escape from where I am."

"Did you fall in a hole? Poppy, you ok?"

"I guess. It's these shoes. I was assigned to explore humanity's place, its role in the Cosmos. I walked and walked, poked into ages and eons then walked some more. I was walking across The Einstein-Rosen Bridge when I realized I'd worn out my footwear. I stopped to lean on the railing. The view was wonderful! That's when it happened."

"Want to talk about it?"

"No...Yes, I fell through a hole in my shoe! A Black Hole! Is your view-screen still in the living room, Geo.?"

"Yes, of course. I'll patch your x-ray transmissions through to my hearing aids and go down the hall...
....What am I looking at here, Poppy? It's blurry!"

"Well, Geo., they're sunflowers that bloom above the clouds, and put your glasses on. No offense, but your photos are crappy. Could you get Norma to do the rest?"

"Ok, better. What's that thing flying around?"
"That's my rocket ship, Geo. It's called "Harvester".

"Gee, the sunflowers are huge."

"No Geo., they're normal, only about ten, twelve feet high. Everything else is miniaturized by gravitational compression. Sunflowers thrive on all the trapped light in here. Their seeds are the only form of local currency and are collected in rocket ships. Lookee:"
"Gosh, Poppy, it's like watching a hummingbird go from blossom to blossom."

"Yes, very close analogy. Except this isn't seasonal; this is all the time."

"Ah, as in a Black Hole, time doesn't proceed sidereally --as determined by the stars."

"Right. It's always just NOW. I know worlds go through adolescent phases where everybody wants to live in the present, the exclusive now, and that's ok, I guess."


"But, Geo., even though NOW is just fine, I hate being stranded in it. Seed harvest is hard work!"

"There's no tragedy in hard work, Poppy. I've done enough of it. What you need is a plan." 

"I'm open to suggestions, Geo."

"Land, spend your seeds, get your shoes resoled, refuel Harvester and put the pedal to the metal."

"What heading?"

"Hmmm,  Barrie good question. 'Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning.'"

"But I can't see any stars from here. It's all one light! No up. No down!"

 "Then try forward, Poppy."

"Oh my gosh it WORKED!!!!!"

"Thought it might. Forward has always been one of my favorite directions."

"Should I go back to the Einstein-Rosen Bridge?"

"If you wish, but I'd steer clear of this part of it."


"Superbowl's coming to Santa Clara. All Bay Area bridges will be clogged up."

"Even theoretical ones, Geo.?"

"Especially theoretical ones, Poppy. Now look for that star."

"Second on the right, right?"

"Right, and straight on 'til morning."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Black Hole

What you see here is a gravitational vortex in our universe, our plenum. Rather fine, isn't it? I've been wanting to use that question ever since  I first heard it in a favorite film, posted in my previous entry --click here-- and yes, it is a Black Hole. Don't be alarmed. It's quite far away, but precautions should be observed. For example, I try not to bump my head on a Black Hole --not again, anyway.

The hole is black because gravitational force inside is so strong it won't allow light to escape. Starlight at its rim is accumulated from all the galaxies it has drawn down, but cannot pull away. Because we receive no information about the universe smaller than a photon (a quantum of light), this is their last visible event --and is called the event horizon. Galaxies are made of energy and matter, as are we. What became of them? After they fell in, they were compressed into an irreducible form and all the laws of physics were repealed.

In normal space physical law operates in a universe where all possibilities are assembled, even those possibilities that are mutually exclusive --as when something cannot exist because something else exists that prevents it --but there's room and time for them to avoid each other. In a Black Hole, those events are equal and compressed into singularity. Singularity is what a Black Hole squeezes into existence. Doesn't matter how many Black Holes are in the universe, they all compress their contents into the same indivisible, lawless and timeless state, by definition.

You don't get two singularities.

When that happens, the backporch phone rings:
I always answer it: "Hello, Poppy!"  And a new adventure begins.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Movie Theology

I had computer trouble today. Upon returning home after a mere two-hour absence, I found my favorite browser reluctant to connect to anything Google. So my fingers began flying faster and faster across the keyboard, initiating scans and reconfiguring settings, to where I could barely follow their flurries. After an hour, problem was solved by placing masking tape over a 3/4 inch area of the touchpad where the heel of my hand rests and fouls things up. Then Firefox allowed me to sign into YouTube without telling me it was a "suspicious site!".  I was delighted by what I found there.

Several years ago, I posted an early scene in my favorite Movie Theology film. It is called variously, Stairway To Heaven and A Matter of Life and Death. It was made three years before I was born. I first saw the film as a kid and it got me started on movie theology. Until this most recent visit to YouTube, I had only found snippets of the work, but this time found the whole film, which is posted under the next paragraph.

It begins with a brief survey of the universe, which the gentle-voiced narrator describes as "rather fine".  From there we are drawn into an amazing scene, an aviator calmly watches his airborne craft ruin in fire around him while uttering these lines into his transmitter: the next world starts "...where this one leaves off, or could leave off if we'd listened to Plato, Aristotle and Jesus --with all our earthly problems solved, and greater ones worth solving...are you pretty?"

A Matter Of Life And Death:

And, of course a very young Kim Hunter is quite pretty. I hope you'll enjoy the film (before its assignment to Public Domain is yet again disputed). This post of it celebrates recovery from my laptopical lapse, and tests the proposition that Providence favors the diligent digital defender --I played the keyboard fortissimo-- against cyber-rebellion, even when the problem is solved with masking tape.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pontas Soltas And Sleep-Learning

It is the third day of the year. I reflect upon great issues of the past twelve months and see evidence of disproportion. Decidedly, I reflect! Too much has been written about politics, religion, tremendous upheavals, downheavals, outheavals and heavals of all locative grammatic cases, but not enough about socks. I wrote about socks four months ago but the subject has otherwise been neglected. Let us correct that.
Here, I model Superman socks I got for Christmas from my son. These are socks obtainable only from Krypton. Of course there is no planet Krypton. Krypton is a island in the outer Azores, hence the title of this post. "Pontas Soltas" is  Portuguese for "Loose Ends". What are loose ends?

An example: We were once called Men of Steel because our iron-rich soil affected our diet --to the point of immigration to America. We had to escape incessant island fogs that caused us to rust. This serves as an example of  loose ends, unravels which must be raveled before progress is possible. True facts must be woven to accommodate individual variations without creeping down our ankles.

As a  schoolboy, my preferred method of study was hypnopedia --much in vogue during the 1950s-- but it left many loose ends. Boards of education accepted this innovation across the country, arguably without sufficient research beyond it doing some harm to socks. However, we learned the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence --which is why roll-call was taken each morning and  we wore out a lot of socks.