# Daily Update: Thursday, June 18, 2015

Again, no Saints (we will have one tomorrow, my little ones). However, we can celebrate Φ Day, or Golden Ratio Day, today. And we note that today at sunset (inshallah) the Islamic month of Ramadan begins, according to an edict from the Fiqh Council of North America.

In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887 (which is why today, 6/18, is Φ Day), and is denoted by the Greek letter Φ. Mathematicians have studied the golden ratio because of its unique and interesting properties, and at least since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio (especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio) believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing.  Salvador Dalí explicitly used the golden ratio in his 1955 masterpiece The Sacrament of the Last Supper. The dimensions of the canvas are a golden rectangle, and a huge dodecahedron, with edges in golden ratio to one another, is suspended above and behind Jesus and dominates the composition. Turning to the Islamic world, Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days according to the visual sightings of the crescent moon, As there are no interlocutory months in the Islamic calendar, any given month usually begins each year about 10 to 12 days earlier than in the previous Gregorian calendar year (and the determining of when a given month starts is an art, not a science; I depend on the ruling of the Fiqh Council of North America). It is the Muslim month of fasting, in which Muslims refrain from dawn until sunset from eating, drinking, and sexual relations. Muslims fast in this month for the sake of demonstrating submission to God and to offer more prayers and Quran recitations. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. It also teaches Muslims to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity. It becomes compulsory for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting. Also exempt are pregnant women if they believe it would be harmful to them or the unborn baby, women during the period of their menstruation, and women nursing their newborns. At sunset, the family will gather the fast-breaking meal known as Iftar. The meal starts with the eating of three dates, just as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do. Then the Maghrib prayer, which is the fourth of the five daily prayers, is said, after which the main meal is served. Over time Iftar has grown into banquet festivals. This is a time of fellowship with families, friends and surrounding communities, but may also occupy larger spaces at mosques or banquet halls, where a hundred or more may gather at a time. (In the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice falls during Ramadan this year; thus, the observant have many more hours of daylight when they must fast as opposed to darkness when they may break the fast.)

Last night we heard from Michelle; she was flying from Baton Rouge to Providence, Rhode Island, with a layover in Atlanta. However, she missed her connection in Atlanta, and ended up flying to Boston, where her brother picked her up. (When we flew, it was direct from Houston to Boston; a lot of driving at both ends, but no worries about missing connecting flights.) And when the Backup finished last evening Richard ran the Weekly Virus Scan for me.

Richard bagged up the trash and put the new dumpster-style trash can out on the curb before I woke up at 8:30 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then read the Thursday papers while eating my breakfast toast. I then came to the computer, where I did my Internet Devotional Reading, printed out the names and dates of the National Parks I have been to (more anon), and prepared the monthly package to send to Liz Ellen. (It turns out that Liz Ellen will not be able to come down when Matthew and Callie and the baby come down in October; drat. Perhaps I can check with Callie when they come down to see if they are coming down when Liz Ellen will be here for Christmas.) I also downloaded the new Encyclical from the Pope, Laudato Si, which is subtitled “On Care for Our Common Home”, i.e., the Environment. I have it saved on my Galaxy Note 4, to read when I get a chance.

I left the house on my own at 12:15 pm. My first stop was the post office, where I mailed off Liz Ellen’s package and was complimented on my 2015 Jazz Fest T-shirt (I told the lady who liked it that my husband had gotten it for me when he went to Jazz Fest this year). I then went to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. I ate Chinese for lunch at Peking and continued reading The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. Finally, I went to Wal-Mart, where I got my salad supplies and some groceries and household items.

Returning home at 2:00 pm, I cleaned up the music I had downloaded and put the songs on a new album. (I have several Miscellaneous S**t albums; I am now starting #12.) I then did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts through Sunday. Next, I made my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday, and watched Jeopardy! I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. And tonight at the College World Series in Omaha, our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will face TCU (the same team they lost to on Sunday, 3 to 10), with the loser of the game going home and the winner of the game playing Vanderbilt tomorrow evening. Geaux Tigers!

Tomorrow is the first full day of Ramadan. We will also celebrate the Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, Abbot, and tomorrow is Juneteenth. We will be heading to the casino to start our work week. On my breaks I will start plugging the National Parks I have been to, and the date I first visited each park, into my Passport to Your National Parks application on my Galaxy Note 4. (I had this app on my Galaxy S-4, but unaccountably did not do a backup before switching to my Galaxy Note 4.) I will also continue to organize my photos of the baby from our trip to Connecticut. And I have nothing planned for the afternoon.