Tagged what is

“Blurtso gets a check-up”

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Hmm, said the doctor, the cuff won’t fit around your front leg…

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… that’s better.

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Turn your head and bray…

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Great news, you’re as strong as a horse. Really?! said Blurtso. A horse?! Yes, said the doctor. However, I’m concerned about your teeth. They’ve become an alarming, pumpkin-orange color.

“Blurtso hears a whisper” (VI)

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Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Are you awake? Yes, said Harlan. What are you thinking about? Mortality, said Harlan. Mortality? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, do you believe in reincarnation? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, what’s reincarnation? That’s when your soul comes back as a different animal. After you die? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, if you live a good life you come back as a higher one, and if you live a bad life you come back as a lower one. A lower animal? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Like a human? said Blurtso.

“Blurtso hears a whisper” (V)

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Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Are you awake? Yes, said Harlan. What are you thinking of? Einstein’s theory of time, said Harlan. What? said Blurtso. You know, said Harlan, the discovery that time passes more slowly the faster you move. Is that true? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. So I would live longer, said Blurtso, if I moved more quickly? Yes, said Harlan. And if I ran in my sleep, said Blurtso, I would get more sleep?

“Weohryant University” (XXIII)

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The question for today’s class, said Blurtso, is: “What does two plus two equal?”
Two whats, said Morton, plus two whats?
Two cats, said Frank, plus two dogs?
I believe, said Glouster, it means the number two plus the number two, which equals four.
Four whats? said Morton.
Four of the same, said Glouster.
Is it possible to have four of the same? said Emma Lou.
What do you mean? said Morton.
Are any two things, said Emma Lou, exactly alike?
No, said Glouster, they’re not, but the number two plus the number two equals the number four because numbers are a human invention, they only exist in imagination.
So two pumpkin pies, said Morton, are not two pumpkin pies?
The name “pumpkin pie”, said Emma Lou, is an invention that refers to the “idea” of a pumpkin pie—words and numbers are ideas. There are no individual things in the universe.
What? said Chelsea.
There are no individual things, said Emma Lou.
What about me? said Morton. I’m an individual thing.
So am I, said Chelsea.
At the subatomic level, said Emma Lou, there is only the ebb and flow of energy.
E=mc², said Glouster.
Exactly, said Emma Lou.
I’m not good at math, said Chelsea.
Neither am I, said Morton.
E=mc², said Glouster, suggests that a physical system (like the universe) has a property called energy and a corresponding property called mass; the two properties are equivalent in that they are always present in the same proportion to one another. The mass–energy equivalence arose from the theory of special relativity, developed by Albert Einstein, who proposed the idea in a 1905 paper entitled, “Does the inertia of an object depend upon its energy-content?” In the equation E=mc², “E” is the amount of energy, “m” is the amount of mass, and “c” is the speed of light.
The speed of light, said Morton, is 186,000 miles per second.
Very good! said Emma Lou.
Thank you, said Morton, I remembered when Glouster told us last week.
Donkeys, said Chelsea, have very good memories.
Yes, said Morton, we do.
So what’s the point? said Frank.
The point, said Emma Lou, is that you can describe everything in the universe as either energy or mass. And if mass is energy, then everything is in a constant state of flux.
Flux? said Frank.
“Flux,” said Glouster, “is the process of flowing, the process of continual change.”
And that’s why, said Emma Lou, there are no individual things in the universe, because everything is a constant flow of changing energy.
Like a river? said Chelsea.
Yes, said Emma Lou, a river of energy.
And words and numbers, said Glouster, are inventions we use to chop the river into separate parts.
But those parts, said Emma Lou, are not really separate.
If they’re not really separate, said Morton, why do we pretend they are?
Perhaps, said Emma Lou, because we’re uncomfortable with change, and like to believe that individual, unchanging things exist.
Like individual pumpkin pies? said Morton.
Yes, said Emma Lou, and individual donkeys, crows, ducks, porcupines, and mooses.
If everything is a river of energy, said Frank, and we are all just fluctuations of a single stream, does that mean that two plus two equals one?
Yes, said Enma Lou, and it also means that Einstein, the Upanishads, and the Tao Te Ching are talking about the same thing.

“Blurtso ventures a definition of happiness”

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Happiness, thought Blurtso, sitting on his haunches with his boxing-glove nose supported on his front left hoof. I see the others, he thought, moving here and there, sniffing and peering, obeying and straying, leading and following with a need on the pillow, a need that stirs them in the morning and settles them in the night. And somehow the reward emerges, from the silence and babble, from above or below, a series of notes rising, repeating in the sound of hoof after hoof after hoof.

“Blurtso feels good about his final exam” (III)

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Final Exam – Greek 201
Name: Blurtso

1.) Why did Oedipus kill his father and marry his mother?
Because his friend, Sigmund, told him to.
2.) Who is the goddess Aphrodite?
Aphrodite is the barnyard goddess who visits donkeys in the spring.
3.) What lessons can be learned from the “House of Atreus”?
Don’t talk with your mouth full, don’t contradict your wife, and always lock the bathroom door.
4.) Why did Zeus become a swan?
Because Leda didn’t like woodpeckers.
5.) Why did the Greeks go to war against Troy?
Because Paris stole Helen’s pumpkin pie.
6.) How did the Greeks win the battle of Troy?
They built an enormous donkey that scared away all the Trojan horses.
7.) Why was Athena considered the goddess of wisdom?
Because she had grey eyes, and grey is a sign of strength, beauty, and extraordinary intelligence.
8.) Why was Prometheus bound to a rock?
Because trees can catch fire.
9.) Who was Homer and what did he write?
Homer was a poet who wrote a story about a hero named Ysseus who was very odd.
10.) What is a lyre?
A lyre is an ancient, string instrument that was popular until the invention of the trombone.
11.) Explain “hubris”:
Hubris is the idea that “pride comes before the fall”—like when you think you’re going to get an “A”, and then you don’t.

“Blurtso plays Für Elise”

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Curse these clumsy hoofs! said Blurtso. How am I ever going to play Für Elise? I don’t know, said Pablo, maybe you could play it on the trombone…

“Blurtso considers puzzles”

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Curse these clumsy hoofs! said Blurtso, kicking away his rubik’s cube and trying to fit two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They’re not good for anything! He looked at his hooves, then he looked at the puzzle, then he looked at his hooves. Well, he said, they have carried me down many roads and across many fields… maybe solving puzzles isn’t so important.