Daily Update: Saturday, March 14th, 2015

03-14 - Pi day

Today is the Remembrance of Servant of God Chiara Silvia Lubich (died 2008). And we note that today is π Day, because today is 03-14, and the value of π (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, to two decimal places) is 3.14.

Born as Silvia Lubich in 1920 in Trento, Italy, the father of today’s Servant of God lost his job because of the socialist ideas that he held during Italy’s period of Fascism; consequently, the Lubichs lived for years in extreme poverty. To pay for her university studies in philosophy, Lubich tutored other students in Venice and during the 1940s began teaching at an elementary school in Trent. During World War II, while bombs were destroying Trent, Lubich, then in her early twenties, against a background of hatred and violence, made the discovery of God who is Love, the only ideal that no bomb could destroy. It was a powerful experience which Lubich immediately communicated to her closest friends. Their lives changed radically. They declared that, should they be killed, they wished to have only one inscription carved on their tomb: “And we have believed in love”. Her discovery of “God is Love” (1 John 4:16), led her, on December 7, 1943, alone in a small chapel, to promise herself to God forever and to change her name to Chiara, in honour of the Saint from Assisi. This date is considered the beginning of the Focolare movement; the Movement’s name comes from the Italian word for “hearth” or “family fireside”. These Focolare (small communities of lay volunteers) seek to contribute to peace and to achieve the evangelical unity of all people in every social environment. In 1948 Lubich met the Italian member of Parliament Igino Giordani, writer, journalist, pioneer in the field of ecumenism. He was to be co-founder, together with Lubich, of the movement because of the contribution given by him in the context of the spirituality of unity’s social incarnation, which gave rise to the New Families Movement and the New Humanity Movement. 1949 marked the first encounter between Lubich and Pasquale Foresi; he was the first Focolarino to become a priest. He helped give life to the Movement’s theological studies, to starting the Città Nuova Publishing House and to building the little town of Loppiano. Along with Lubich and Igino Giordani, he is considered a co-founder of the Movement. In 1954 Lubich met in Vigo di Fassa (near Trent), with escapees from the forced labour camps in Eastern Europe and after 1960 the spirituality of unity and the Movement began to take shape clandestinely in those countries. Internationalism became a hallmark of the Movement which rapidly spread, firstly in Italy, and afterwards, since 1952, throughout Europe, and since 1959 to other continents. She founded the New Families Movement in 1967. In 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, during a trip to Brazil, as a response to the situation of those who live in sub-human conditions in the outskirts of the metropolises there, Lubich launched a new project: the “Economy of Communion in Liberty”. This quickly developed in various countries involving hundreds of businesses, giving rise to a new economic theory and praxis. In 1996 Lubich received an Honorary Degree in Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. The same year she was awarded the UNESCO Prize for education to peace, in Paris, motivated by the fact that, “in an age when ethnic and religious differences too often lead to violent conflict, the spread of the Focolare Movement has also contributed to a constructive dialogue between persons, generations, social classes and peoples.” She received honorary degrees in various disciplines: from theology to philosophy, from economics to human and religious sciences, from social science to social communications. These were conferred not only by Catholic universities, but also by lay universities, in Poland, the Philippines, Taiwan, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The Focolare Movement operates in 182 nations and has over 100,000 adherents. In January 2015 Lubich’s Cause for Canonization was opened, making her a very new Servant of God. Turning to π Day, if you wish to get technical, you can extend π out to seven decimal points to 3.1415926, making March 14 at 1:59:26 am or pm today’s π Seconds. One may celebrate this day by eating pie while reciting π out to as many decimal points as time permits. On her Aeriel album (2005), in the song “π”, Kate Bush sings the number to its 137th decimal place (though she omits, for an unknown reason, the 79th to 100th decimal places. The Internet is rife with speculation as to the reason for her omission). One could, alternatively, celebrate by having a marathon viewing session of Magnum P.I., or else read the book Life of Pi (2001), or watch the movie Life of Pi (2012). The Massachusetts Institute of Technology often mails its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on π Day; starting in 2012, MIT announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on π Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers π and τ equally. In 2009 the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of π Day. And this year π Day will have special significance at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., as the full date (3/14/15) and time will represent the first 10 digits of π.

Yesterday evening our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat Ole Miss by the score of 6 – 4 in the first of a three-game series.

When I woke up today I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, posted to Facebook that it was π Day, and ironed my Casino shirt du jour. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. At the Pre-Shift Meeting I won three WAY (We Appreciate You) slips filled out by guests. When we went out onto the casino floor Richard was on Mini Baccarat; I was on the second Mississippi Stud table for six hours, then was on the second Pai Gow table for the rest of the shift. On my breaks I continued reading a bit in A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Salazar on my Nook.

After work Richard picked up several prescriptions at the pharmacy, and on our way through town to our house we stopped at the bank to get cash from the ATM. Once home, I set up my medications for next week (I have two prescriptions to renew on Monday), and Richard paid the bills while I read the morning paper. I then went to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the March 9th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. Once I arrived back home I took a nap until about 6:30 pm; when Richard came to bed I woke up. I put the bills Richard paid into my PocketMoney program, and started working on today’s Daily Update. Our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team is now playing the second game of their home series with Ole Miss; I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Lætare Sunday. Tomorrow is also the Ides of March, and the day when the buzzards arrive each year in Hinckley, Ohio. On my breaks at work I will have to read a good half of what is left of A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Salazar on my Nook. Tomorrow afternoon our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play the third game of their three-game series with Ole Miss, our New Orleans Pelicans will play the Denver Nuggets in a home game, and tomorrow evening is the Selection Show for the Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament. (The Women’s Basketball teams will have their Selection Show for the NCAA Tournament on Monday.)

Our Saturday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Norman Collier, British comedian. Born in 1925 in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, he was born into a working class family on Christmas Day weighing 15 lb 4 oz. At age 17, Collier joined the Royal Navy and served as a gunner towards the end of the Second World War. After being demobilised he found work as a labourer. In 1948, while visiting Hull’s Perth Street West club, an act failed to turn up, and Collier volunteered to fill in. He felt natural on stage and started to work a few local clubs. While working at British Petroleum’s chemical factory in Salt End, east of Hull, Collier started making his workmates laugh with improvised comic routines during breaks (and all too often outside them). Encouraged by his managers, he started to work the wider northern working club scene, becoming a full-time comic in 1962 and enjoying steady success through the 1960s. In 1970 he won an ITV series called Ace of Clubs, in which club entertainers were pitted against each other, performing their full routines in front of a panel of judges. Collier easily won the final by a unanimous decision of the panel. He first came to national media attention after a successful appearance at the Royal Variety Command Performance in 1971. Though occasionally appearing on television thereafter, he made his main reputation on the northern club circuit, and was highly regarded by many fellow comics (notably Frank Carson, Les Dawson, and Little and Large, who were regular house guests). Jimmy Tarbuck dubbed him ‘the comedian’s comedian’. To casual television viewers, he was best known for two routines: one in the guise of a northern club compere whose microphone is working intermittently, and another adopting the noises, gestures and movements of a chicken, using his outturned jacket to suggest the fowl’s wings. He was the originator of the ‘club chairman’ character later popularised by Colin Crompton in the ITV series Wheeltappers and Shunters Club. The ‘soundbite’ demands of television work never reflected the detailed and large-scale routines that have characterised Collier’s club work and which brought him enormous success through the 1970s and 1980s. His style was very much in the traditional northern-comic school, based on absurdist situational monologues rather than a ‘series of jokes’, and showed a notable influence of the 1950s star Al Read. Unlike some comedians of the 1970s, Collier did not rely on any racist material; however, his zany set-pieces often drew on northern working-class archetypes. His autobiography, entitled Just a Job, was published in 2009 (died 2013): “It’s kept me in good health, making people laugh. And it’s kept them in good health too.”

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