Among cards I recently purchased at antique stores is one depicting the inside of the most famous opera house in the world, La Scala in Milan, Italy in 1900. Also shown is an exterior view in modern times.

La Scala

Among cards I recently purchased at antique stores is one depicting the inside of the most famous opera house in the world, La Scala in Milan, Italy in 1900. Also shown is an exterior view in modern times. It was restructured inside in 2002-2004. In addition to being the venue for the world’s most famous opera singers it is where the most famous Italian operas were premiered by such legendary composers as Donizetti [ Lucrezia Borgia], Verdi [Otello], and Puccini [Madame Butterfly and Turandot,] Every famous conductor has conducted there and resident conductors included Toscanini, and Riccardo Muti, and Daniel Barenboim. The opera performed opening night in 1778 was by Salieri, the composer who went mad because of his jealously of Mozart in the 1984 film Amadeus.

The Vespers

Gari Melcher’s 1888 painting, “The Vespers,” depicts a man dozing in church while a lady next to him reads the Bible. I doze because of intrusive narcolepsy and pain medications, but this guy looks merely bored with the Word and probably a sermon not interesting to him. Actually, Jesus’s words were very relevant as he got his sermon topics and performed his miracles in response to the conditions he met in the lives of folks in first century Israel.

Most of Jesus’s words were of the forth telling type. Perhaps if the pastor implied in this picture had emulated Jesus the guy in this picture wouldn’t have been dozing. Or, he is just an old geezer like me with intrusive narcolepsy [falls asleep].

A friend of mine told the story of his Sunday School class when he was a boy. It seems they had a boy in class who slept in class. They cured him by whispering in his ear that the teacher had called on him to pray. So, in the middle of the teacher’s lesson this boy jolts upright and prays! It cured him.

Organs

I’ve never been a member of a church that didn’t have an organ—some small ones a bit wider than a person, that you had to pump with your feet, and some ginormous ones with the longest pipe 32 feet in length. The greatest classical composers wrote for the organ. My wife has played the organ in two of our churches and I certainly have admiration for the organist we have had in our church for decades until he moved to another local church in downtown Shawnee.

But, young persons’ preferences in music and musical instruments have changed in recent decades away from organs leading to churches removing them. I looked in vain for information and data on this trend, but I know it to be true that organs are becoming extinct in churches. I may be wrong, and I hope so, but I think it to be true and am truly sorry to report it.

Houses and Homes

Living quarters have manifested the wealth of the nation. The pioneers in New England began in dugouts then small houses. With the wealth from cod fishing they quickly flourished economically and built houses to match. The massive Texas mansion pictured here is copied today in the more affluent neighborhoods.

Over the last 42 years the average new U.S. house has increased in size by more than 1,000 square feet from 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2687 square feet in 2016. However, if you look at graphs of home size you will notice a large increase in size as the nation recovered from the 2008 recession to a peak of 2700 square feet in 2015 then a definite downturn to perhaps 2500 square feet now.

The ‘tiny house’ pictured here is greatly increasing in popularity because it is adequate in size for many young, childless couples, can be moved with job changes, and is affordable for couples burdened with college debt. With the continuing inequality in income smaller homes are the future for the masses. Manufactured housing is another trend brought about by this crunch between stagnant personal incomes and larger, more expensive homes.

The metrics of home buying don’t make sense to me, but I’ll provide them here. The median earnings of wage and salary workers 2nd quarter 2018 were $45,708/year. The median selling price of pre-owned homes in July 2018 was $269,600 or 6 times median earnings. The mortgage rates now in OKC are 4.4% which creates a monthly payment on a 30 year mortgage on a $300,000 home ranging from $960 to $1,000. Down payments are 20% [$60,000] on this home and fees range from $0 to $1742.

I don’t see how average workers can afford to buy the houses making up these figures. The proportion of the adult workers having $60,000 cash for a down payment is miniscule. It suggests to me folks will be shifting from buying to renting and from these capacious new homes with needlessly high-pitched roofs to smaller homes. You heard it here first!