Daily Update: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

02-12 - Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

We have no Saints to honor today, so we note that today is the anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 1809.

The anniversary of the birth of our sixteenth president on February 12, 1809 is marked by traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The latter location has been the site of a ceremony ever since the Memorial was dedicated in 1922. Observances continue to be organized by the Lincoln Birthday National Commemorative Committee and by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). A wreath is laid on behalf of the President of the United States, a custom also carried out at the grave sites of all deceased US presidents on their birthdays (so that on this date, a wreath is also laid at Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Illinois). Lincoln’s Birthday is a legal holiday in some states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Indiana; California celebrates it on the Monday nearest February 12, while Indiana celebrates it the day after the fourth Thursday in November. The earliest known observance of Lincoln’s birthday occurred in Buffalo, New York, in 1874. Julius Francis (died 1881), a Buffalo druggist, made it his life’s mission to honor the slain president. He repeatedly petitioned Congress to establish Lincoln’s birthday as a legal holiday, but his wish never came to pass. Many states that had formerly observed Lincoln’s birthday have created a joint holiday to honor both Lincoln and George Washington, sometimes calling it “Presidents Day”. It coincides with the Federal holiday officially designated “Washington’s Birthday”, observed on the third Monday of February. (It is a fairly rare occurrence for two authentically famous people to have been born on the same exact date; but Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were both born on February 12th, 1809.)

Last night the New Orleans Pelicans lost their game with the Indiana Pacers by the score of 93 to 106; the Pelicans will next play the Orlando Magic in an away game on February 20th.

As promised, I slept in today, and did not wake up until 10:00 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, read the Thursday papers, and did my Internet Devotional Reading and the Fourth Day of my Lenten Novena.

At 12:15 pm Richard and I left the house. Our first stop was at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse for lunch. At the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing (and won $3.00 in last night’s drawings). At Winn-Dixie Richard got my salad supplies for me, as well as a carton of eggs (more anon). Finally, we made a stop at the Post Office, where I got some more If It Fits It Ships boxes (which I use for mailing stuff to Liz Ellen).

We arrived home at 1:30 pm; I spent the next couple of hours filling out, and then copying, my Awards Certificate Application with the National Park Travelers Club for the National Parks I visited during 2014. (More anon). I then made my lunch salads for tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday. While making my salads Richard and I discussed our plans for this coming Tuesday. Since the weather report is pretty solid that Tuesday will be cold and rainy (though not as cold as last year), we decided that we will not talk to the Graveyard Table Games Shift Manager about getting off Tuesday, and that we will work our eight hours (and get paid time and a half for doing so). After work we will do what we did last year, which was to go up the Chataignier Road until we found the Courir, then park and watch the Courir. (This year, we might fortify ourselves with potent potables.) I then watched Jeopardy!, then got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update while eating barbecued pork steak, canned baked beans, and box garlic mashed potatoes. Tonight our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing an away game with South Carolina; I will give the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor; we will instead note that it will be Friday the Thirteenth. I will bring some catnip cat toys to work to give to a couple of our co-workers, and I will also bring with me the envelope containing my Awards Certificate Application with the National Park Travelers Club. We will work our eight hours at work, and I will try to get back to doing some reading. On our way home from work I will mail the Awards Certificate Application with the National Park Travelers Club at the post office. In the afternoon after lunch I will make Deviled Eggs for Saturday’s Graveyard Shift Pot Luck Dinner. And tomorrow evening our LSU Baseball team will start its season with a home game against Kansas.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Barnaby Conrad, American author. Born in 1922 in San Francisco, California, Conrad graduated from Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was captain of the freshman boxing team. He also studied painting at the University of Mexico, where he also became interested in bullfighting. After being injured in the bullring, he returned to college and graduated from Yale University in 1943. Conrad was American Vice Consul to Seville, Málaga, and Barcelona from 1943 to 1946. While in Spain, he studied bullfighting with Juan Belmonte, Manolete, and Carlos Arruza. In 1945 he appeared on the same program with Belmonte and was awarded the ears of the bull. He is the only American male to have fought in Spain, Mexico and Peru. In 1947 he worked as secretary to famed novelist Sinclair Lewis. Conrad published his first novel, The Innocent Villa, in 1948. It largely went unnoticed, but his second novel, Matador, sold 3 million copies. John Steinbeck chose Conrad’s Matador as his favorite book of the year, and the novel has been translated into 28 languages. Royalties from Matador provided Conrad with the capital to open El Matador nightclub in San Francisco in 1953, In 1958 Conrad was gored almost fatally in a bullfight that was part of a charity event. After learning of the incident, Eva Gabor is said to have run into Noël Coward at Sardi’s in New York and asked him, “Did you hear about poor Barnaby? He was terribly gored in Spain.” Coward replied, “Oh, thank heavens. I thought you said he was bored.” Conrad served as a Golden Gate Awards juror at the 1959 San Francisco Film Festival. In 1965 he joined the Festival board and served for five years. Conrad started the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in 1973 at the Cate School, inviting well-known authors such as Eudora Welty, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion and Ross Macdonald. During his life he continued writing both fiction and nonfiction. In 1997 he wrote Name Dropping: Tales From My San Francisco Nightclub, “a jaunty account” about the 10 years he ran El Matador. In 2004 he and his wife ceased hosting the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His last nonfiction book was The World’s Shortest Stories : Murder. Love. Horror. Suspense. All this and much more in the most amazing short stories ever written—each one just 55 words long! (2006), and his last work of fiction was The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth (2010). He was also an artist; his charcoal portraits of Truman Capote and James Michener hang in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (died 2013): “Only bullfighting, mountain climbing and auto racing are sports, the rest are merely games.”

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