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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Sermon: Entropy?

In physics, we learn entropy is the degree of disorder in a closed system, and it is always accompanied by heat. This is how we get TIME and why we have to pull off the road when the temperature gauge says our car engine has got too hot and, if we continue, will be broken. But this Sunday evening sermon deals with a conflicting definition, one that Norma brought to my attention this morning. Here is her alarming photograph of our garden sundial:
It is covered with frost! Its gnomon casts no shadow! There is only one explanation: the rotation of our planet has frozen to a standstill. There is disorder afoot, but no heat. Is it entropy?

I repaired to the bathroom for further experiment. I brushed my hair and heard a snapping sound and something fell onto the floor. Either my old brush handle had broken or my head had snapped off. Sudden hearing-loss is a symptom of decapitation, so I tried talking to myself to see if I could hear what I was saying. I said, "It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done," and thought immediately of Ronald Colman. Yes, like every highschooler of my vintage, I read A Tale Of Two Cities as a sophomore but couldn't recall an important particular: did Sydney Carton deliver that line before or after he was decapitated? I came out here and looked it up:
The result was inconclusive.

I reached for my pen to take notes but it flew from my fingers, skittered energetically across the kitchen floor then out the door and down the road. Some vigorous sort of disorder was at work but what? I did my best to puzzle it out. My first step was to repair the seal on our stove door.

I thought of other things too. Was the Phoenix rising from ashes a Greek myth of rebirth or caution about smoking in bed? Does the universe think because time and thought are inseparable or is it the other way around? Does Genesis mention God taking his finger off the clay? Nothing! I could not think! Surely this indicated calamity but there was no heat involved --only cold. Norma said "Brrrrrrr!"

Second step is to get some logs glowing in there and use the poker to knock a blaze out of them.
I shall keep this up until bedtime which should restart entropy, time and thought in the universe, but if morning arrives and the planet is not yet rotating I must call upon all able-bodied Earthlings to get out and push.

Go in peace.



28 comments:

  1. We are old, Father William. The rest is silence!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1B-YjgbHsM

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    1. Ah Will! Thank you for understanding why I stand on my head again and again and not kicking me downstairs. But silence? I hope not.

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  2. You outdid yourself this time, dude. You made me laugh out loud a couple times.

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    1. My pleasure and privilege, Susan.

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  3. Considering how cold it was here in Kentucky this weekend I indeed think the world may be frozen at a standstill

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    1. Judging by our frozen plumbing this morning, I'm inclined to agree. There was pressure in the tank but nothing reached the house til a half hour ago!

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  4. You live in the land of warm and cool, not hot and cold. Not to worry though, this too shall pass. We in the East are not as lucky. During the winter months, falling heads are a daily occurrence (especially in DC).

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    1. In this sheltered valley we seldom get weather extremes and panic when we do. I still had my head on but it didn't help this iced-up morning. Your words are comforting

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  5. Dear Geo.,
    powdered sugar on a sundial (I collect sundials with my camera), a beautiful actor (I collect - äh, em) who warms the heart even by looking at him - and then a fire in the stove, ablaze - no entropy anymore, thanks to your endeavour (if you take entropy out of the first letter 'e', you'll get Inspector Morse Christian name, which he always tried to hide). Thank you for your remarkable post! Britta (indulging in reading, not writing :-)

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    1. Yes, past few days everything outside resembles a sugary confection. I delight that you read my blog!

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  6. I seem to have a natural talent for maximal disorder so maybe I am actually a superhero - "Entropy Man"?

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    1. Promise me you will use your power of super-disorder only for purposes of Good!

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  7. That is a very nice stove, exactly right for entropy, time and thought. At least I think so :-)

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    1. Yes, it is a good stove for hovering and whimpering over on days like this.

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  8. Hope the world starts turning and warms up for you soon. I think it's turning too fast over here as one day it is 40 degrees and the next it is 80. Back down again today and I'm wrapped up in a blanket.

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    1. 40 to 80 and back in 3 days is too much variety for me. I'd wear even more blankets.

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  9. My first time here, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Next time I pass this way, I really must ensure I get all my 'must do' jobs out of the way first. :)

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  10. "Sudden hearing-loss is a symptom of decapitation, so I tried talking to myself to see if I could hear what I was saying."

    Oh, this made me laugh. :)

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    1. Good! Laughing is also a good sign that one's head is on.

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  11. I don't know what I like more - - your stove or your ingenious way of thinking.
    I wanted to light my fireplace this week, but I was too cold. So I just sat and stared at it, wishing for warmth.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. That's what we need, combustible wishes! Lot's easier than hauling logs in.

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  12. I now have visions of a decapitated head quoting Dickens. Thanks, Geo.! LOL LOL :)

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    1. We must try not to let it join visions of sugarplums dancing in our Christmas heads. Clement Moore wouldn't like it. He kicked Yorick out of it when he tried for a comeback.

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  13. Well, the sun still appears to be rising each morning, so I'm relieved you solved the problem.

    The fact that my hearing is failing....possibly a sign of incremental decapitation, do you think?

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    1. Personally, I had come to suspect that the world took to mumbling some years ago, but I will have my otologist check for incremental decapitation too.
      Thanks!

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  14. Frozen dials, frozen pipes. We live in cold times.

    Loved that clip of Tale of two cities. I think Ronald Coleman said those lines after he died. Just a thought.

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  15. Beautiful lines, however they were managed!

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