Daily Update: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Casmir and - March Fourth Marching Band and Purim

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Casimir, Prince (died 1484). And today is a date, a command, and a marching band; the MarchFourth Marching Band, out of Portland, Oregon. Finally, tonight at sunset we will celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Born in 1458, today’s Saint was a Polish prince, the son of King Casimir IV, and became Grand Duke of Lithuania at the age of 13. He lived a highly disciplined, even severe life, which included practices such as sleeping on the ground, spending a great part of the night in prayer, and dedicating himself to lifelong celibacy. He had a great devotion to Mary, supported the poor, and lived a virtuous life amid the dissolute court. When he was 15, Hungarian nobles prevailed upon Casimir’s father to send his son to be their king; Casimir obeyed his father’s order and went to Hungary to take the crown. However, his army was outnumbered, and when his troops began deserting because they were not paid, he returned home to Poland, and was a conscientious objector from that time on. He returned to prayer and study, and maintained his decision to remain celibate even under pressure to marry the daughter of Emperor Frederick III. He reigned briefly as King of Poland during a five-year absence by his fathering during his father’s absence. He died at the age of 25, and was canonized in 1522; he is the Patron Saint of Poland and Lithuania, and of youth, and his aide is invoked against plague. And, today is a date, a command, and a marching band; the MarchFourth Marching Band is an American musical and performance group based in Portland, Oregon, which had its first performance in Portland, Oregon on March 4, 2003, which was Mardi Gras that year. They perform mostly instrumental brass band music in a marching band style, combined with a visual performance by stiltwalkers and fire- and flag-dancers. MarchFourth (or M4) consists of a horn section (trombone, trumpet, saxophone), apercussion section, electric bass guitar, and electric guitar. The band members’ uniforms are mismatched, and are often redesigned traditional marching band uniforms. The percussion section’s drum harnesses are made from recycled bicycle parts. Thus far they have four albums, and are usually on tour, with the March 4 date being traditionally played in Portland. In 2013 the song “Gospel,” taken from MarchFourth’s 2009 Rise Up album, was featured in the Disney/Pixar film Monsters University. The song played twice during the film and during the film’s closing credits, and was also used in the official trailer for the film. And turning to tonight’s Jewish holiday, the first religious ceremony ordained for the celebration of Purim is the reading of the Book of Esther (the Megillah) in the synagogue, a regulation ascribed in the Talmud (Megillah 2a) to the Sages of the Great Assembly, of which Mordecai (the cousin of Esther) is reported to have been a member. Originally this enactment was for the 14th of Adar only; later, however, Rabbi Joshua ben Levi (3rd century CE) prescribed that the Megillah should also be read on the eve of Purim. Further, he obliged women to attend the reading of the Megillah, inasmuch as it was a woman, Queen Esther, through whom the miraculous deliverance of the Jews was accomplished. Oddly enough, the Hebrew text of the book does not mention God at all. During the public service in many congregations, when the reader of the Megillah mentions the name of the villain Haman (54 occurrences), there is boisterous hissing, stamping, and rattling. Since the Book of Esther is long, with many descriptions, the term “megillah” is now also slang for “A tediously detailed or embroidered account”.

Last night our LSU Baseball team beat Stephen F. Austin by the score of 8 to 1.

I was up today at 8:45 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, started my laundry, ate my breakfast toast while reading the morning paper, did my Internet Devotional Reading, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, finished my laundry, and ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts. I then set the Weekly Computer Maintenance to doing its last task, the Weekly Backup.

At 1:00 pm Richard and I left the house. We ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, and at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. On our way home Richard noticed some guys doing yard work outside of the funeral home, and stopped to talk to them (more anon). We got home at 2:00 pm, and I started working on photos for my weblog. The yard guys came by, and mowed the jungle our front and back yards had become and did the edging; they will come back next week to trim the hedges and the bushes alongside of our driveway. Michelle came by; I had no idea that she did not know that the baby shower for Callie is this Saturday, but she did not know until she happened to talk to Callie on the phone and asked in passing if she was coming down soon. (More anon.) I watched Jeopardy!, and then got the word that our LSU Baseball team beat Grambling by the score of 7 to 1; our Tigers will play an away game with Houston on March 6th. We ate our dinner of leftover barbequed chicken (alas, my chicken breast was too tough for me to eat), steamed fresh broccoli, and boiled small whole potatoes. Our LSU Men’s Basketball team lost their game with Tennessee by the score of 63 to 78; our Tigers will play their last regular season game as an away game with Arkansas on March 7th. And our New Orleans Pelicans are playing the Detroit Pistons; I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. When I finish this Daily Update I will start the Weekly Virus Scan and go join Richard; we will be watching the season premiere of CSI: Cyber. And her I will note that our temperature was quite unseasonably warm today, getting all the way up to 80°; tomorrow the temperature will drop all day, and tomorrow night it will get down to freezing again.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, and the Jewish feast of Purim continues Tomorrow is also the birthday of Sarah, the younger sister of several of the former Assembled (1992; we saw her today at D.C.’s, where she is now working as a hostess). I will try to get up early, so as to head for Baton Rouge relatively early, as I want to go to the Friends of the LSU Libraries Book Bazaar. The Full Moon will arrive tomorrow at 12:07 pm, and while in Baton Rouge I will go to Massage Envy to get a gift card good for an hour and a half prenatal massage, which will be Michelle’s present to Callie (Michelle gave me a blank check to pay for it). And I will try to get home in time for me to make my lunch salads.

Our Parting Quote as Purim begins this Wednesday evening comes to us from Joanne Simpson, American meteorologist. Born in 1923 as Joanne Gerould in Boston, Massachusetts, she became interested in weather and clouds while sailing off Cape Cod. At the University of Chicago, she planned to go into astrophysics, but was fascinated by the prerequisite course in meteorology. She entered the World War II meteorology program as a teacher-in-training, and until the war ended had great fun teaching meteorology to Aviation Cadets, many older than herself. After the war she completed her Masters and ultimately received her Ph.D. (the first woman to receive one in meteorology) against the opposition of some of the faculty at the University of Chicago, who were skeptical that a woman could ever be a good meteorologist. After being turned down repeatedly for jobs due to her gender, she eventually landed a position at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she eventually became an Assistant Professor of Physics. She was at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, UCLA, NOAA, and the University of Virginia before eventually becoming NASA’s lead weather researcher and authored or co-authored over 190 articles. Simpson contributed to many areas of the atmospheric sciences, particularly in the field of tropical meteorology. She has researched hot towers, hurricanes, the trade winds, air-sea interactions, and helped develop the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. Simpson was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient in 1983 of the American Meteorological Society’s Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, its highest honor, for “outstanding contributions to man’s understanding of the structure of the atmosphere” (died 2010): “I have always felt that I’ve been carrying a big burden for other women, because if I mess up then the chances for other women to get the same kind of job are going to be diminished.”

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