Carl J. Feinersteiner works for an avant-garde performance troupe in New York City, where he is in charge of constructing all their backdrops and scenery. The group's latest show is called Hounds from Heaven, a delightful play in which the deeper existential questions of our time are explored. The twist is that all the characters in the play are depicted by basset hounds and beagles, all trained as professional actors, dancers, and singers.

In one scene, a group of floppy-eared crooners serenade the audience while looking down from a platform suspended from the ceiling, as shown in the picture. Here's what Carl J. Feinersteiner needs to know: If the singing hounds playing angels weigh 360 lbs all together, how much force on the rope's free end is required to keep the caroling canines aloft and safe on their cherubic platform? What is the tension in the rope?

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