Daily Update: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Agatha

Today is the Memorial of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (died c. 250).

We have little reliable information about today’s Saint, who has been honoured since ancient times, and whose name is included in the canon of the Mass. Born about 231 in prison at Catania or Palermo, Sicily (sources vary), she was young, beautiful and rich, and lived a life consecrated to God. When Decius announced the edicts against Christians, the magistrate Quinctianus tried to profit by Agatha’s sanctity; he planned to blackmail her into sex in exchange for not charging her as a Christian. Handed over to a brothel, she refused to accept customers. After rejecting Quinctianus’s advances, she was beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and her breasts were crushed and cut off. She told the judge, “Cruel man, have you forgotten your mother and the breast that nourished you, that you dare to mutilate me this way?” One version of her legend has it that Saint Peter healed her. She was then imprisoned again, then rolled on live coals; when she was near death, an earthquake stuck. In the destruction that followed, a friend of the magistrate was crushed, and the magistrate fled. Agatha thanked God for an end to her pain, and died. Legend says that carrying her veil, taken from her tomb in Catania, in procession has averted eruptions of Mount Etna. Her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551. She is the Patron Saint of Sicily, her aid is invoked against fire, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, and her aid is also logically invoked against breast cancer. She is also a popular figure (so to speak) in church art, but it’s hard to find a painting of her that isn’t somewhat pornographic in nature.

Last night while taking my bath I read the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports.

This morning Richard bagged up our trash and put the trash can on the curb. I woke up at 9:15 am, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, ate my breakfast toast, and got the Nook Ebook of The Martian by Andy Weir (more anon). I then read the Thursday papers, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and finished my laundry.

For the rest of the afternoon I did Advance Daily Update Drafts through this coming Tuesday. Richard went to bed at 2:00 pm; along about 3:00 pm Michelle came by with the last stuff for her taxes; she also brought over Cody’s W-2, and asked if we could check to see if he will owe money; I told her I would do that in the next few days. I then watched Jeopardy!, and came to the computer to do my Daily Update. I also got an Email from the casino that the times for the Mandatory Meeting with Max (the Table Games Director) have been changed, so that we will be Meeting with Max on Wednesday the 25th instead of on Tuesday the 24th. I will finish this Daily Update and take a short bath before going to bed; I will report on the scores of both the LSU Women’s Basketball team away game with Auburn and our LSU Men’s Basketball team home game with Auburn in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tomorrow is also the Memorial of Saint Paul Miki, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs. Richard and I will start our work week at the casino, and on my breaks I will start reading The Martian by Andy Weir on my Nook.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Brian Jacques, English author. Born as James Brian Jacques in 1939 in Liverpool, the family name was pronounced “Jakes”, and his ancestors were from Lancashire in the 1890s. Jacques grew up in Kirkdale near to the Liverpool Docks, and was known by his middle name because his father and a brother were also named James. At age 10, assigned to write an animal story, he wrote about a bird that cleaned a crocodile’s teeth. His teacher could not believe a 10-year-old wrote it, and caned the boy for refusing to admit copying the story. He left school at age 15 and set out to find adventure as a merchant sailor. In the 1980s he was a milk deliveryman, and one of his stops was at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool. He began to spend time with the children at the school, and eventually began to write for them; his first book was in a very descriptive style suitable for reading to blind children. His friend Alan Durband, without telling Jacques, showed the work to his own publisher, who published Redwall in 1986 and gave Jacques a contract for five more books in the series. The series eventually grew to some twenty or so books, not counting the Tribes of Redwall series and various Redwall books unconnected with the main series. In 1991 he published the short story collection Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales. In 2001 he started a new series of books, starting with Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, and in 2004 he published The Ribbajack & Other Curious Yarns. In June 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Liverpool. All told, his novels have sold more than twenty million copies worldwide and have been published in twenty-eight languages (died 2011): “I still pinch meself when I wake up of a morning, … Who ever thought I’d be a children’s author — let alone a best-selling children’s author? I feel I should still be driving a truck, or (working as) a longshoreman.”

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