Daily Update: Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Patrick, Bishop (died 493).

Born in 387 in Scotland as Maewyn Succat, at the age of 16 today’s Saint was kidnapped from the British mainland and shipped to Ireland as a slave; he was sent to the mountains as a shepherd, and spent his time in the field in prayer. After six years of this life, he had a dream in which he was commanded to return to Britain; seeing it as a sign, he escaped. A few years later, he had a vision that the pagans in Ireland were calling for his help, and he resolved to return to them to Christianize them. Towards this end, he studied in several monasteries in Europe and became a priest. Pope Celestine sent him to evangelize England and Ireland, and to assist the Bishop in Ireland; upon the death of that bishop, Patrick was ordained in his place. In 33 years he effectively converted all of Ireland; he famously illustrated the concept of the Trinity with the three leaves of the shamrock. Two Latin letters survive which are generally accepted to have been written by Patrick; these are the Declaration (Latin: Confessio) and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus (Latin: Epistola). The Declaration is the more important of the two. In it Patrick gives a short account of his life and his mission. In the Middle Ages Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and during the Dark Ages its monasteries were the great repositories of learning in Europe, all consequences of Patrick’s ministry. He is the Patron Saint of Ireland, of Boston, Massachusetts, of Puerto Rico, of the Archdiocese of New York, of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and his aid is invoked against snakes, due to the tradition that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland. (The modern celebration of the day with parades and green beer was initially an American phenomenon; the first parade in Boston was in 1737, and the first parade in Dublin was in 1931.)

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Annunciation Novena. When we got to work we ate breakfast in ADR and signed the Early Out list. Once we clocked in, Richard was on Pai Gow and I was on Mississippi Stud. Richard got out at 6:15 am; he went to the break room to wait on me and went to sleep, with various of my co-workers cheerfully reporting on his sleeping status to me. I did not get out until 7:30 am; I woke Richard up the usual way (I swat him, he starts and looks at me, and I ask him where he is. Usually he does not know, in which case I swat him again, which wakes him up all the way), and we headed home via Super 1 Foods for groceries. We got home at 8:15 am, and I got on the computer and worked on my weblog while he made breakfast; mine was scrambled eggs (with ketchup), bacon, and biscuits. At 10:30 am I went to take a nap, after checking to make sure that my Sellfie Stick works (which it does).

When I woke up from my nap at 2:15 pm, I read the morning paper, then went back to the computer to work on my weblog. After Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, I left the house at 5:00 pm for Lafayette, went to the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch, and picked up the DVD of Season One of Bones (due back on the 24th). I then went to Barnes and Noble, and was able to read the next chapter in The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell while sitting in the comfy chairs. At 7:00 pm I attended the Third Tuesday Book Club meeting to discuss A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar; we all agreed that the basic story was good, but that there was far too much description. I got home at 9:15 pm and got on the computer to do my Daily Update. Our New Orleans Pelicans beat the Milwaukee Bucks by the score of 85 to 84; our Pelicans will next play an away game with the Phoenix Suns on March 19th. And our #1 ranked LSU Basketball team beat Southern by the score of 4 to 2; our Tigers will next play an away game with Arkansas on March 19th.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor. I will try to wake up relatively early to do my laundry and to start the Weekly Computer Maintenance. At about 9:30 am or so Richard and I will head to Lake Charles to have lunch cooked by our co-worker Deborah, as a combination thank-you-for-helping-us-move and housewarming meal. Richard and I will then go to a local Wal-Mart in search of the shoes he wants for work.

Our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote on this St. Patrick’s Day comes to us from Andre Norton, female American writer of science fiction and fantasy. Born as Alice Norton in 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio, she began writing while in high school, and was the editor of the literary page in her high school newspaper, for which she wrote short stories. During this time, she wrote her first book, Ralestone Luck, which was eventually published as her second novel in 1938, the first being The Prince Commands in 1934. After graduating from high school in 1930, Norton planned to become a teacher and began studying at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. However, in 1932 she had to leave because of the Depression and began working for the Cleveland Library System, where she remained for 18 years, latterly in the children’s section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability, since boys were the main audience for fantasy and it was felt that they would not read something written by a woman. From 1940 to 1941 she worked as a special librarian in the cataloguing department of the Library of Congress, involved in a project related to alien citizenship. The project was abruptly terminated upon the American entry into World War II. In 1941 she bought a bookstore called the Mystery House in Mount Rainier, Maryland. The business failed and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950. Then she began working as a reader for publisher and editor Martin Greenberg (not the science fiction author Martin H. Greenberg) at the Gnome Press company, where she remained until 1958, after which she became a full-time professional author. She was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers’ Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, some of whose works were anthologized in Lin Carter’s Flashing Swords! anthologies. Norton was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1964 for the novel Witch World and in 1967 for the novelette Wizard’s World. She was nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, winning the award in 1998. She won a number of other genre awards, and regularly had works appear in the Locus annual “best of year” polls. Often called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy by biographers such as J.M Cornwell and organizations such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Publishers Weekly, and Time, Norton wrote novels for over 70 years. She had a profound influence on the entire genre, having over 300 published titles read by at least four generations of science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. In later years, as Norton’s health became uncertain, she moved to Florida in November 1966, and then to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. From February 21, 2005, she was under hospice care. Her final complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, was published on April 1, 2005 (died 2005): “Always the cat remains a little beyond the limits we try to set for him in our blind folly.”

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