Through the wormhole and into the belly button
Like many, I have been enjoying the recent update of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos.”
Not only is the show visually lush with colorful galaxies, useful infographics and charming animation, it also manages to demystify the most mystifying of all things – space.
You go on a journey though space and time, beginning with an empty, black universe and ending with a boundless cosmos, filled with planets and stars and things we cannot even begin to fathom.
Host Neil deGrasse Tyson does a fine job as the tour guide through the galaxies and beyond. He flies around in this little silver spaceship called The Ship of the Imagination, named thus for its ability to navigate black holes, travel through time and breach the infinite.
I want a Ship of the Imagination so bad. It kind of looks like Boba Fett’s ship from “Star Wars,” only a shiny chrome and a chair on the bridge Captain Kirk would envy.
A long time removed from my astronomy class at Youngstown State, I now hungrily learn about supernovas, relativity, planets and gravity. The chairs in the planetarium at Ward-Beecher Hall were so comfy that a sleep-starved sophomore may not have absorbed her lessons as well as she should have. They even reclined!
So now, when I want to wrap my head around string theory, black holes and antimatter, I have Mr. Tyson and Morgan Freeman and other hosts with sonorous voices to explain them. Now that science geekery is back in fashion, resources abound online. Not that it should ever be faux pas to like science.
Everything about “Cosmos” is so cool. Most of all, however, is how it rekindles the sense of wonder when one looks up at the sky. The whole feeling so insignificant thing.
Much of my thinking is quite earthbound. Where is my phone? What happened to that other sock? I don’t want to do the dishes. Ho-hum non-spacey stuff.
Cosmos contemplation can break you from terrestrial drudgery and fly your mind into the Milky Way and beyond. Your lost socks just might be there.
That reminds me: Those wise sages Ren and Stimpy once got sucked into a black hole, and there they found a mountain of all the missing left socks in the universe. See? I fell asleep in astronomy, but I paid attention during Saturday night Nickelodeon.
Ren and Stimpy taught me another valuable lesson about black holes. Once, Stimpy was contemplating his navel and reached such a trace-like state that he actually climbed inside his, until nothing was left but a small knot of belly button.
When Mr. Tyson explained black holes last week, the resemblance to Stimpy’s belly button adventure was uncanny.
So, relax, sit back and let the Ship of the Imagination take you away. First belly button on the left, and straight on ’til morning.
Are you watching “Cosmos?” Tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.