Daily Update: Friday, March 13th, 2015

03-13 - Phoenix Lights and Friday the Thirteenth

We have no saints to honor, but today is a Friday in Lent, so today is a Day of Abstinence from Meat for the faithful. In the secular world, we turn to the Phoenix Lights, which (or who) made their appearance on this night in 1997. And today is Friday the Thirteenth, our last one until November.

Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people in Arizona between 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm MST, in a space of about 300 miles from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson. There were two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. The United States Air Force (USAF) identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft which were on training exercises at the Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. Witnesses claim to have observed a huge carpenter’s square-shaped UFO, containing lights or possibly light-emitting engines. Fife Symington, the Governor of Arizona at the time, was one witness to this incident. UFO advocate Jim Dilettoso claimed to have performed “spectral analysis” of photographs and video imagery that proved the lights could not have been produced by a man-made source. Dilettoso claimed to have used software called “Image Pro Plus” (exact version unknown) to determine the amount of red, green and blue in the various photographic and video images and construct histograms of the data, which were then compared to several photographs known to be of flares. Several sources have pointed out, however, that it is impossible to determine the spectral signature of a light source based solely on photographic or video imagery, as film and electronics inherently alter the spectral signature of a light source by shifting hue in the visible spectrum, and experts in spectroscopy have dismissed his claims as being scientifically invalid. Turning to Friday the Thirteenth, the fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: triskaidekaphobia; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”), attached to phobia (from phóbos, meaning “fear”). The word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953. While the number thirteen has been considered unlucky since perhaps the Last Supper (which had twelve disciples, plus Jesus), and while Friday has been considered an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects at least since the 14th century, as witnessed by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the combination of the two does not appear to have been considered doubly unlucky until the 20th century. It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. At the casino, I have never noticed that fear of the day affects our business in any great fashion. (In Italy, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky; the  2000 parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was released in Italy with the title Shriek – Hai impegni per venerdì 17? (“Shriek – Do You Have Something to Do on Friday the 17th?“). And our next Friday the Thirteenth will be in November.

The Last Quarter Moon arrived at 12:49 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, posted to Facebook that it was Friday the Thirteenth (again), and ironed my Casino shirt du jour. Our local paper was sitting on the driveway (it was there when I came home yesterday, but I was too busy to pick it up, and forgot about it), and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. I also requested the DVD of Season One of Bones from the Lafayette Public Library. When we got to the casino we signed the Early Out list for the heck of it. Richard was on Blackjack, and I was on Three Card Poker. On my breaks I started reading A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Salazar on my Nook. I had figured that no one was getting out, as we were working hours and hour twenties, but to my surprise we got out at 7:15 am. On our way home I continued reading my book, and Richard stopped at Donut Queen for some apple fritters. I ate my hot apple fritter while reading the local paper. I then went back to bed.

When I woke up at about 10:00 am, my stomach was upset, so I took a dose of Pepto=Bismol® and went back to bed. I woke up feeling much better at 4:00 pm; Richard told me that our mail had brought us an invite to Rachel’s wedding (she is the oldest daughter of Richard’s sister Nita in Georgia, and is three weeks older than my Matthew) and the bank statement. I read the morning paper, then watched Jeopardy!; meanwhile, our yard guy had showed up to do the trimming of our front hedges, the side of our property, and the back of our property. Our LSU Basketball team lost their semi-final game at the SEC Tournament with Auburn in overtime by the score of 73 to 70; our Tigers will now wait to see if they are invited to the NCAA Tournament (Selection Sunday is in two days, and the Tournament starts on March 17th). I reconciled the bank statement with our checking account (we were out by four cents in our favor), and ate my dinner of fried seafood crab cakes, baked sweet potato, and canned butter beans. When I finish this Daily Update I will take a hot bath and do some reading before I go to bed. Our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will be playing their SEC Opener at home in the first game of a three-game series against Ole Miss; I will report the score in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Remembrance of Servant of God Chiara Silvia Chiara, and tomorrow is also Π Day, because tomorrow is March 14, or 3-14, and the first three digits of Π are 3.14. We will go to work and work our eight hours. After lunch I will go over to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. And tomorrow evening our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play the second game of their home series with Ole Miss.

Our Parting Quote for this Friday afternoon comes to us from Malachi Throne, American actor. Born in 1928 in New York City, New York and raised in The Bronx, his parents were immigrants from Austria-Hungary. His first acting role was in 1930, when he was in the New York Parks Department production of Tom Sawyer, playing Huckleberry Finn. He quit high school to go into acting, although he did go back and get his diploma. He also managed to get degrees from Brooklyn College and Long Island University; while he loved acting, he was convinced that he would not make enough money from it to live, and he wanted to ensure that he could have a career as a high-school English teacher if necessary. When he was 21 years old the Korean Conflict broke out, and Throne wound up in the infantry attached to an armored unit. When he returned to the New York theatrical scene, he found out that the revolution Marlon Brando had started in 1947 playing Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) was now the status quo. Possessed of a deep, classically trained voice, Throne was cast in the parts of characters much older than his actual age. His clear enunciation also made him a natural for live television, and he went to work on the now-defunct DuMont TV network. He continued his acting studies in New York, tutored by such luminaries as Uta Hagen and William Hickey. In addition to TV, he continued to work on the the stage, appearing in the landmark Off-Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’sThe Iceman Cometh, in support of Jason Robards. He also played in the famous Off-Broadway revivals of The Threepenny Opera and Clifford Odets’ Rocket To The Moon, as well as appearing on Broadway in such top shows as Jean Anouilh’s Becket in support of Laurence Olivier. In 1958 he found himself in California, playing a season at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater. After his stint with the Globe was over, he went north, to Hollywood, and established himself as a major character actor in guest spots on series television during the 1960s. Throne provided the voice of the Keeper in Star Trek’s 1964 pilot episode “The Cage”, which was not telecast in its original form until 1988, though most of the episode was included within the two-part episode “The Menagerie” which was broadcast in 1966. Throne was also hired to play another role in “The Menagerie,” which was technically a dual role: a commodore in Starfleet named José I. Mendez, the officer in charge of the starbase where the story began, and a replica of him created by Talosian illusion, who presided at Spock’s court martial. As his voice was recognizably the same as that of the Keeper, the Keeper’s voice was electronically altered in pitch. Throne was in six episodes of Ben Casey in 1964 and 1965 (playing two different doctors) and in 1966 he played the villain False Face in two episodes of Batman. The character, who used a variety of disguises to effect his nefarious schemes, wore a semitransparent mask when not in the middle of his crimes. The mask rendered Throne’s real face unrecognizable on screen. Miffed because another guest star was making more money in the episode, Throne refused to let them put his name in the credits, so the show’s producers wrote the onscreen credit as “? as False Face”. However, at the end credits of “Holy Rat Race”, the second episode, Throne’s full name was credited. In 1968 he was cast as Robert Wagner’s boss on the TV show It Takes a Thief (1968) while continuing to guest on other TV shows. Throne also remained committed to the stage, appearing as a resident actor with a variety of regional theaters, including the San Francisco Actors’ Workshop, the Los Angeles Inner City Repertory Co., the Mark Taper Forum and the Louisville Free Theatre. He narrated the teaser trailer for the movie Star Wars in 1977. He continued to act in television through the 1970s and 1980s; in the 1990s in the American television series Babylon 5, Throne became known to a new generation of science fiction viewers as Prime Minister Malachi, a high official of the Centauri government, in the “The Coming of Shadows” (died 2013): “My first agent told me to change my name or I’d only play Jewish parts or Indians. Of course I refused to change it. Shortly thereafter she came up to me and told me I had to keep it, because her numerologist said it was very, very good.”

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