That word signifies a law of the universe — the tendency of all things to decompose, to fall apart, to decay. Eventually, of course, it means the end of the universe itself. We get a glimpse of it in the fall (this is not just physics, it’s biology as well) amid the splendor of the dying maple leaves. It poses a question.
That question was articulated by Leonard Mlodinow, the physicist and screenwriter: “…if the natural tendency of the universe is disorder, then where does the order of life come from?” Einstein loved simple answers to complicated questions, and this one comes from a seven-year-old — “Isn’t God the author of life?” He designed life’s questions to be understandable to the simple. Why not everybody?
Sometimes when we consider the complexities of life, we wonder, what can the uneducated make of it? That may be why Einstein looked for the simplest answer.
The Alp horn, outside the organ or the piano, must be the largest musical instrument made. It is eight feet long, made by boring the length of a spruce or pine sapling, and fitted with a hardwood mouthpiece. It plays a mournful but resounding tune, with many of its pieces immortalized by Rossini in his famous opera, William Tell. It was originally used in Europe by the Alpine folks, but can best be viewed today in Switzerland at many of their festivals. It is said to have been used in the alpine valleys in lieu of church bells as a means of communication.
To hear a chorus of Alp horns playing is a memorable experience. It resounds with the history of humankind, mentioned as early as 1527 AD in the books of a Cistercian monastery. Human ingenuity goes back further, of course, but the Alpine regions were not in the forefront of inventions.
But if you like the history of music, to hear world-famous opera, get the Metropolitan Opera to bring back William Tell once again. I don’t think modern day terrorists will go to see it to be inspired by Tell’s revolutionary ideas. I don’t consider it dangerous.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump by several million—all accumulated in New York City and Los Angeles. Do you think for a moment I want those two cities determining our President, and negating my vote, for the rest of my and your lives?
Representative Steve Israel, a former student of mine, spelled out distinctly how the Electoral College was designed to correct a one-sided vote during the time of slavery, what was then a racist remedy. But we don’t live in the time of slavery; we live now, and the Electoral College, miracle of miracles, now serves to make the farmer’s vote count. The rest of America still has a say! Trump won almost all of America, yet had we had a popular vote, Hillary would have won, just by those two cities, and the rest of America would have voted for nothing!
There are Democrats who now want to abolish the Electoral College, using the term racism. But we don’t live in the Nineteenth Century. That Electoral College survives as the last living hope of a total America where everybody is heard, not just select cities. It prevents the tyranny of the Two Cities.
They were here for the July 4th weekend, my only son and his family, and my wife Loretta, at my urging, had ordered steak dinners so she wouldn’t spend all her time cooking. Ben’s delicatessen delivered a superb dinner, and our sweet granddaughter, too young still to take part in adult conversations, entertained herself on her mother’s i-phone.
That’s a no-no in polite adult circles, but there were no companions her age, so her mother relented. We talked about “my ship coming in,” a New England phrase for sure, when the clipper ships ran the China trade. The thing is, though, that my clipper ship got lost, and my writing pursuits never produced the big bonanza I had hoped for.
Loretta teases me about that. Well, the friendly teasing companionship is worth the effort I put in, anyway.
Apparently the users of social media don’t like long articles, and so I’ve used three or four paragraph tracts to get readers for my blogs. Behold! It worked! The high school composition was reborn, and became a stand-by on social media. It flew on Twitter, it presented an appearance on Facebook, and its conquests will increase, I hope.
You have to work the punch line into the last paragraph, and you need an introduction followed by rising suspense. Just what your English teacher was trying to get across in your teen confusion. But it works now on social media; little did you know that at the time.
Today’s reader has little time for long exegesis, and would rather pick up a detailed narrative from a magazine or even a newspaper. And who will protect him from a tale that is one-sided? A composition is just a short statement, not a term paper, and if you don’t agree with it you can just forget it. After forty-five minutes, you can go on to the next class, maybe more exciting or duller.
It would be the appropriate time to end the universe now. The whole world is besieged by an unbeatable pandemic, the foremost democracy is divided by an incident in which neither the victim nor the perpetrator are faultless people, and nobody will let this unfortunate accident rest. Is there room for hope?
I think so. Humankind has survived seemingly hopeless situations in the past, much to its credit (or should we say divine intervention?) and we look forward to better things to come. Neither side is faultless, neither the descendants of slaves nor the promoters of advancement, and neither side seems to take a daily prayer, the Our Father, seriously.
Is there a time for a revolution? What, fourteen percent of the population is going to start a revolution? Even with the radical Left to support them, that would never work. I put more hope in people realizing what they are saying in the Our Father.