Daily Update: Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Anthony

Today is the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot (died 356).

Born about 251 in Heracleus, Egypt, the parents of today’s Saint died when he was about 20; Anthony insured that his sister completed her education, then he sold his house, furniture, and the land he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, joined the anchorites who lived nearby, and moved into an empty sepulchre. At age 35 he moved to the desert to live alone; he lived 20 years in an abandoned fort. Anthony barricaded the place for solitude, but admirers and would-be students broke in. He miraculously healed people and agreed to be the spiritual counselor of others. His recommendation was to base life on the Gospels. Word spread, and so many disciples arrived that Anthony founded two monasteries on the Nile, one at Pispir, and one at Arsinoe. Many of those who lived near him supported themselves by making baskets and brushes. Anthony briefly left his seclusion in 311, going to Alexandria, Egypt to fight Arianism, and to comfort the victims of the persecutions of Maximinus. At some point in his life, he met with his sister again. She, too, had withdrawn from the world, and directed a community of nuns. Anthony retired to the desert, living in a cave on Mount Colzim. Descriptions paint him as uniformly modest and courteous. His example led many to take up the monastic life, and to follow his way. Late in life Anthony became a close friend of Saint Paul the Hermit, and he buried the aged anchorite upon his death; he himself died at the age of 105. He is the Patron Saint of basket makers, brushmakers, and gravediggers, and his aide is invoked against skin diseases.

I neglected to mention in my Friday Daily Update that I got a call yesterday afternoon from the Casino Clinic, confirming my appointment with my nurse practitioner on Monday after work.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and ironed my Casino Shirt du jour; on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Before we clocked in I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Friday, January 16th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. At the Pre-Shift Meeting I won a $15.00 coupon at Feather Fuel, the casino’s very own gas station convenience store. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I started my day on Macau Mini Baccarat; once that table closed I was a utility dealer sending dealers to the office (so I was briefly on two Blackjack tables and Three Card Poker), then I was the Check Racker for Roulette until I ended up on Pai Gow. On my breaks I plugged the bills Richard had paid yesterday into my PocketMoney program, then continued re-reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

After work we used the coupon I had won at the Pre-Shift Meeting to get gas for the truck. When we got home our LSU Men’s Basketball team was playing Texas A&M in the PMAC on TV. I set up my medications for next week (I have two medications to renew). I read the morning paper, then headed for the Adoration Chapel; as I got there I got the text message that LSU had lost the game by the score of 64 to 67. (Our LSU Men’s Basketball team next plays an away game with Florida on January 20th.) At the Adoration Chapel during my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration I finished reading the January 6 – 12, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and started reading the January / February 2015 issue of The Bible Today. When I left the Chapel I got some items we needed from Winn-Dixie,, and at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. When I got home I worked a bit on my music library. Richard (who had been snoring in his chair in the front room) went to bed, and I started working on today’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. We have no Saints to honor, but tomorrow is the First Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Theme for 2015 is “Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink'” (John 4:7), and tomorrow our meditation is based on John 4:4, “It is necessary to go through Samaria”. Richard and I will work our eight hours, and I will devote my breaks to continuing my re-reading of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. In the early afternoon our LSU Women’s Basketball team will play a home game against Kentucky.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Don Kirshner, American song publisher and rock producer. Born as Donald Krishner in 1934 in The Bronx, New York, he attended Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey. He achieved his first major success in the late 1950s and early 1960s as co-owner of the influential New York-based publishing company Aldon Music with partner Al Nevins, which had under contract at various times several of the most important songwriters of the so-called “Brill Building” school, including Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Jack Keller. As a producer-promoter, Kirshner was influential in starting off the career of singers and songwriters, including Bobby Darin (his high school classmate,with whom he collaborated on a number of advertising jingles and pop ditties, their first was called “Bubblegum Pop”), Neil Diamond, Carole King, and Sarah Dash of Labelle, as well as discovering the occasional rock act such as Kansas. Kirshner also had three record labels. The first was Chairman Records, a subsidiary of London Records. Although he was responsible for scores of hits in the 1960s, he was only to have one on the Chairman label, 1963′s “Martian Hop” by The Ran-Dells, which reached #16 nationally. Kirshner later had two other record labels, Calendar, which had early hits by The Archies, and the Kirshner label, which had later hits by The Archies and Kansas. Calendar/Kirshner recordings were first distributed by RCA Records, then CBS Records. He was also involved in Dimension Records. He was described by contemporaries as playing only one instrument. the telephone, which he used throughout the day for business. In 1966 Kirshner was hired by the producers of The Monkees to provide hitworthy songs to accompany the television program, within a demanding schedule. Kirshner quickly corralled songwriting talent from his Brill Building stable of writers and musicians to create catchy, engaging tracks which the band could pretend to perform on the show. This move was not because of any lack of Monkee talent (Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork were already experienced musicians, and Davy Jones was an established musical performer; but as a working band they had little experience, and Micky Dolenz was completely new to drums) but to churn out ready-to-go recordings to give each new episode its own song. Each Monkee was retained for vocal duties, but they were not allowed to play on the records. The formula worked phenomenally well: the singles “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer” were hits, and the first two Monkees albums were produced and released in time to catch the initial wave of the television program’s popularity. Future Taj Mahal and John Lennon guitarist Jesse Ed Davis sat in on guitar. After a year the Monkees wanted another chance to all play their own instruments on the records. They also wanted additional oversight into which songs would be released as singles. Further, when word belatedly came out that the band had not played on the first season’s songs, a controversy arose, and the public expressed a desire to hear the television stars perform their own music. The matter reached a breaking point over a disagreement regarding the Neil Diamond-penned “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” in early 1967. The song, released by Kirshner as a single without Columbia Pictures’ consent, led to his dismissal. The initial B-side was replaced with a Nesmith song, performed by the Monkees, and they performed on the next year’s recordings, featured in the show’s second season. Allegedly, Monkees record sales dropped by nearly half after Kirshner’s departure. Kirshner’s later venture was The Archies, an animated series where there were only the studio musicians to be managed. In the fall of 1972 Kirshner was asked by ABC Television to serve as executive producer and “creative consultant” for their new In Concert series, which aired every other week in the 11:30 p.m. slot normally showing The Dick Cavett Show. The following September, Kirshner left In Concert to produce and host his own syndicated weekly rock-concert program called Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. With its long-form live performances, as compared to rehearsed, often lip-synced performances that were the staple of earlier television shows like Shindig!, it was a new direction for pop music presentation. The program presented many of the most successful rock bands of the era, but what was consistent week-to-week was Kirshner’s deliberately flat delivery as the program host. In its final season Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert was mostly hosted by Kirshner’s son and daughter, whose delivery was the same as their father’s. The last show aired in 1981, the year that the MTV music video channel was launched. Kirshner’s wooden presentation style was later lampooned on Saturday Night Live by Paul Shaffer, most notably in Shaffer’s introduction of the Blues Brothers during the duo’s television debut. Shaffer and Kirshner worked together on the short-lived situation comedy A Year at the Top (1977), which Kirshner co-produced with Norman Lear, and in which Shaffer starred. For the next twenty years he was a staple on rock documentaries and rock retrospective shows. Kirshner received the 2007 Songwriters Hall of Fame Abe Olman Publishing Award. He was a creative consultant for Rockrena, a company founded by Jack Wishna, launching in 2011, to promote new music talent online (died 2011): “I can hear a kid hit a note and know if he has it or not.”

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