Skip to main content

Cryptic Notes


As the world marvels at the first batch of Webb Space Telescope images, I'm reminded we are all made of star stuff. Carl Sagan knew ancient stars were born, lived and died to make the stuff of which we're made (anything heavier than Beryllium originated in a dead star). We borrow these elements for a while to lead our star-struck lives. Then, one day, breathe our last, and the stuff that was us is spread to the four winds, laid to rest in a cemetery, embedded in a columbarium, stored in a mausoleum or buried in a crypt. If you happen to be in Cuenca and in the mood to tour a crypt, there are two options. Located a block apart from each other these very different final resting places sit under the city's old and the new cathedrals --think of them as the Hubble and Webb of crypts. One served its purpose well for many years, the other is newer, and much bigger.

The 16th century old cathedral (Hubble, if you will) is now a museum. It has six small crypts, the largest of which has been restored and opened to the public --its bones removed. It is dim, dank and would make a great setting for a scary story. As you go down the steep narrow steps, an earthy smell takes over. Once your eyes adjust to the din, the stone and brick tunnel leading to a small chamber comes into focus. The benches are actually "rotters", surfaces where bodies were laid and covered with lime to speed the process of freeing the bones from the flesh. A large pit at the center of the chamber is the ossuary, once filled with bones.

Bult in the late 19th century through mid 20th century, Webb... I mean, the new cathedral, is big --as is its crypt. Enter the 300 foot long valut and the greeting sign reminds you "here, we are all equal". The neat rows of smooth white tombstones are in stark contrast with the rough, dark surfaces of its predecessor. While stars can't be seen under a church, a dead star's name (i.e. illustrious person) might make a cameo appearance on a tombstone --I suppose even in death, some are more equal than others.

Coming out of the crypt, the first thing to hit you is the fresh air. Breathe! Then, head down to the restored home of one of the city's late 19th century matrons. Conveniently situated next to the old cathedral, this french-style villa turned food court has among its many options a Dunkin' Donut. Yup! Take your place back amongst the living by indulging in a sweet treat and walking across the street to the central park so you can contemplate the stars. Night has fallen and somewhere out there in the second Lagrange point sits Webb, ready to beam back even more impressive discoveries.

Happy Friday!


Popular posts from this blog

BIrds of a Feather

Friends, The early bird catches the worm, however, as the sun rises I’d much rather have a Denver omelet than a diet of worms . Ready to fly the coop, my ducks all in a row, I ponder one more time whether a bird in hand is truly worth two in the bush. Egged-on by my quest to tuck away a nest egg, I’ve decided to change industries and hope that, like the phoenix, my career will also rise from the ashes of change. After all, I’m no spring chicken –my crow’s feet and gray bely my age – however, I have to trust my judgment and believe you can’t catch this old bird with chaff (whether or not folks think me an odd bird for my actions). And so I shall attempt to soar like an eagle, aware that counting my chickens before they hatch would be ill-advised. As I learn to talk turkey in the language of cybersecurity, I will endeavor not to hide my head in the sand, choosing instead to be like a duck – calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath! And while my excessive use of bird-inspired

Love and Marriage go together like a Horse and... Donut!

Friends, My family gained a new daughter last week. As I welcome the freshly minted Mrs. González, I wish the new couple a lasting, loving, happy and tranquil marriage. I am also reminded of a special delivery I received at the wedding. A few weeks ago, my niece/goddaughter held a “go fund me” and offered to stitch something for the donors. I, of corse, asked for a horse jumping through a donut. The completed masterpiece depicting this unlikely combo now has a special place in my office, and brings a smile to my face every time I see it. That said, I may forgo the obligatory donut today and opt for some of the leftover cake we still have at the house. Happy Friday!   New addition to the Family Horse through donut  with the artist   Horse through donut at it’s new home shelf P.S. The donut wall in action.

The Right Words

Friends, The English language has over 170 thousand words, not counting obsolete and derivative words. With so many words to choose from, selecting the right one can be challenging. The choice between a ten-cent and a fifty-cent word often comes down to the writer’s intent. Informing (or disinforming) the reader vs. amusing (or aggrandizing) the writer. Striking the right balance between clarity and elegance is hard enough without the allure of highfalutin, unnecessary words tempting us to literary lechery (apologies for succumbing to temptation). While the writer’s word choice can hint at their motivation, whether a word is right or not comes down to legibility. If the reader enjoys an article, who cares how much the writer paid for their words. Kind of like a good donut: if it tastes great, who cares about the ingredients. Happy New Year!      The wrong photo ;-)