Death is such a simple — simplistic — thing really.
And it seems we worship Death, as cultures of old worshiped their god on the top of the temple. We make human sacrifices to it.
I learned a few days ago that our Opera friend Linda Muckleroy passed away. I don’t know the details, but over the past few years she had a bout with cancer. I guess she finally lost the battle.
We visited each others blogs and left comments over a period of years. Her posts ranged from nature and birds; language and the origins of euphemisms; her city of Tyler, Texas; her family and her personal life. She was feisty and she could be very stubborn. Also very funny.
At one point, due to an interchange we had (I can no longer remember the details), she sent me two ceramic cows that she had. Just totally out of the blue, she asked for my address and I gave it to her, and a matter of days later I get this big box with two wonderful ceramic cows and also a nice decorative plate with a cow on it. They are still sitting on my shelf. And in fact it was just last week that I looked at them and thought of her. Thanks once again, Linda. I love them.
Besides the cancer she had gone through some tough times of late. Her trailer caught fire, and she lost many of her things. And because of her sickness she lost her beloved bird.
Linda I came across this bird the other day on the Audubon Society page. Thought you would like it. It’s a Bohemian Waxwing. But of course you knew that.
She hadn’t been posting very much lately. As far as is known to me, her blog was not ported to another site; as a consequence, all she did on Opera will be lost as of March 2014. Which just doesn’t seem right. It should stay behind in memory of her. In any case I have decided to do a repost of one of her own below, in the attempt to save just a little something. I don’t think she would mind. And I think this post is appropriate, in a very real way her own elegy.
Linda, thank you for the good times and the friendship. And God’s speed to you out there in the universe.
AND THEN WINTER COMES
by Linda Muckleroy, on Opera
Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:05:30 PM
Hope, Faith, Life, Winter
I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past year. Considering all the health problems I’ve had, it has led me to think about how much future I have left and what will it be like for me henceforward. I’ve gone through depressions, near death episodes, weight loss and weight gain, fear and hope, and faith in my God. So many things have happened to me this past year. The depression at times has immobilized me. Despair has overcome me. Fear has made me shake and cry and quiver inside.
My whole life was centered, all through 2011, on battling cancer, undergoing surgeries, fighting to survive sometimes fatal infections, eye problems, the list goes on and on. Seems like my life is totally and only about health issues now in this winter of my life.
But through it all, I have managed to hang onto my faith and to hang on to hope, and my friends on OC have, in large part, helped me through this whole, unhappy period of my life. But it hasn’t been ALL unhappy. I have discovered who and what friends truly are; how much I depend on prayer — by myself and for others for me; how precious life truly is and that I still have a life, restricted though it may be. I’ve learned to “not sweat the small stuff.” Some things, mundane things, just do not matter when you have looked death in the face –and survived.
I want people to think well of me after I leave this mortal plane. I want people to remember me with a smile when they DO remember me. IF they do remember me, and I hope some will. I don’t want people to feel relief, or indifference, or any of those negative things about me. Hopefully people won’t think long on my faults and bad habits. I’d hate that.
I want you younger friends to live every day as fully as you can. If you want to accomplish something–get busy because time flies and before you know it, you will have waited too long. Patch up quarrels. Don’t hate ANYONE. Forgive everyone. Go on those trips you always wanted (sell stuff to get the money to go if you have to). You can sit at home after you get too old to travel–one of my biggest regrets. Have fun, and above all, have faith.
Came across a term the other day that was new to me — pareidolia. As you can read on the link, pareidolia is the word for the psychological phenomenon that makes us see bunnies in the clouds or the face of Jesus on a piece of toast.
However, I would say that the phenomena of pareidolia could be applied to other things as well, besides toast, things that we normally take at face value — such as economics. Or democracy.
Thank god for science and the empirical method. Which is not to say that is going to help us much when it comes to politics.
“Time is a devourer; man, more so” quotes Victor Hugo in his novel Notre Dame de Paris. Hugo’s concern about the deteriorated state of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral at the time his book was published in 1831 was justified. Time had taken its toll, as had human events such as the Reformation and the French Revolution. By the time of Hugo’s writing the eleven ascending steps to the medieval cathedral had become buried, statues had been removed, stain glass windows destroyed.
And then there were the bells. Today it is almost impossible not to think of the bells apart from Hugo’s great character of Quasimodo, the rather pitiful servant of the archdeacon of the cathedral, whose only real joy came from the ringing of the bells. But in fact the bells have their own history, their own story. All but one of the bells were removed from the cathedral and smelted down during the French Revolution. The remaining bell, called “Emannuel”, cast in 1681, by some miracle survived — perhaps only due to its prodigious weight of 13 tons. In the late 19th century four of the missing bells were replaced. But the casting was inferior, the bells were never really tuned properly and became worse over time.
As a result, in 2012, it was decided to replace the old bells except for Emannuel. Nine new bells were cast, including a new great bourdon bell called “Marie”, which functions as a slightly smaller sister to Emannuel.
Here is a list of the current bells according to Wikipedia:
The tuning of the bells brings up an interesting feature of music history. As you can see on the list the bells are tuned (from lowest to highest)
F# – G# – A# – B – C# – D# – E# – F# – G# – A#
It seems odd today that the bells are tuned in what we today would consider sharps instead of the more natural “white key” notes found on the piano. But when these bells were originally cast, during medieval times or for Emannuel the middle of the Baroque era, the tuning of instruments did not follow the A=440 tuning that we normally follow today. Back then, the value was more like A=415. As a result according to our ears and our modern way of tuning the note historical of A would equal a current G#. Thus the tuning of the bells to us seems a half step downward. Adjusting for today’s tuning, the bells would actually reflect the following
G – A – B – C – D – E – F – G – A – B
And so one could say that the bells of Notre Dame were originally meant to reflect the key of C major.
But here, once again, history comes into play. The same set of notes might well produce the key of G major with a flattened 7th. In fact, given that in medieval times the leading tone to the tonic was most often flattened, one might say that looking at the tunings in an “old school” type of way that the bells are actually tuned for G major. This might also explain why the deepest sounding bell, Emannuel, sounds a G. It would make sense to have the lowest bell sound the tonic.
On March 23, 2013 old Emmanuel rang with the other 9 new bells in the city of Paris for the first time. A wonderful moment. You can listen to them here.
Hopefully, time and man will be kinder to them this time.
1) Definitely wins the Barbarella Award for costumes.
2) Vocals so obviously lip-synched.
3) Yes, Anni Lyngstad IS wearing panties — as the camera makes sure to show you about 5 times
4) Everyone seems so sad about the break-up — except the pianist, who’s like “Wow this is so great!”
All the posts from this one down (earlier in time) are from my old blog on My Opera. That blog was originally called Pat Maginess Private-Eye. It was intended as a dump for my private-eye fiction. But it quickly became more than that, some might say much more than that. Finally, last Spring, due to the amount of fiction that I had on the blog that was not the Pat Maginess fiction, not to mention non-fiction posts, I changed the name of the blog to Edward Piercy: Collected Fiction Etc.
As of March 1, 2014 the My Opera site will be history. And with it, all of the blogs that so many people have worked on over the years. It is a sad thing. But I do have to give the Earthly Powers at Opera credit not only for giving us a good number of months notice, but of setting up a way of transferring our blogs to other platforms such as here on WordPress.
And so the great migration begins. It is my hope that I will see many of my old Opera blog friends here on this site where we may all remain together. The Opera community was a great one. But in my view there is no reason that we cannot rebuild that community here on WordPress. It’s not the place, it’s the people.
One thing about change is that it gives us an opportunity to make new starts occasionally, to perhaps explore new paths. As such I am bifurcating my Opera blog into two blogs here on WordPress. This is one of them. This will be the repository of what manages to come through of the older blog, although to be honest I have no idea just how intact it will be. Much may be lost — embedded links certainly, and perhaps some photos as well. There is nothing to be done about that.
In addition I am starting another blog for the new fiction that I have been doing called Nouvelle Ecriture. I will try to put a link for it somewhere here on the main page, once I learn how to do it.
Lastly, I thought it might be time to change the blog title once again in order to reflect the new and the old combined. And I couldn’t imagine a better one than this one:
“These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind: We are such stuff
As dreams are made of, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
— The Tempest, IV.i.
All endings must bring new beginnings; at least until that final ending, that final beginning, when we finally leave this earth. Until then, I will do my best to keep “my staff and my book.”
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