Daily Update: Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Catherine of Siena

Today is the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin (died 1380), and today is the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946).

Born as Caterina Benincasa in 1347 at Siena, Tuscany, today’s Saint was the 23rd of 25 children (most of her mother’s children died in infancy). At the age of six she had a vision in which Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she became a Dominican tertiary (over the objections of the Tertiaries themselves, who until up to then had all been widows). In about 1366 she experienced what she described in her letters as a “Mystical Marriage” with Jesus. At this time she was told by Christ to leave her withdrawn life and enter the public life of the world. Catherine dedicated much of her life to helping the ill and the poor, where she took care of them in hospitals or homes. Her early pious activities in Siena attracted a group of followers, both women and men, while they also brought her to the attention of the Dominican Order, which called her to Florence in 1374 to interrogate her for possible heresy. After this visit, in which she was deemed sufficiently orthodox, she began traveling with her followers throughout northern and central Italy advocating reform of the clergy, the launch of a new crusade, and advising people that repentance and renewal could be done through “the total love for God.” In the early 1370s she began writing letters to men and women of her circle, increasingly widening her audience to include figures in authority as she begged for peace between the republics and principalities of Italy and for the return of the Papacy from Avignon to Rome. Catherine’s letters are considered one of the great works of early Tuscan literature; more than 300 letters have survived. She carried on a long correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, also asking him to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States. Other correspondents include her various confessors, the kings of France and Hungary, the infamous mercenary John Hawkwood, the Queen of Naples, members of the Visconti family of Milan, and numerous religious figures. Roughly one third of her letters are to women. Her major work was The Dialogue of Divine Providence, a dialogue between a soul who “rises up” to God and God Himself, and recorded between 1377 and 1378 by members of her circle. Often assumed to be illiterate, Catherine was acknowledged by her biographers to be quite literate. In June of 1376 Catherine went to Avignon herself as ambassador of Florence to make peace with the Papal States, but was unsuccessful. She also tried to convince Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome. She impressed the Pope so much that he returned his administration to Rome in January, 1377. Following Gregory’s death and during the Western Schism of 1378 she was an adherent of Pope Urban VI, who summoned her to Rome, and stayed at Pope Urban VI’s court and tried to convince nobles and cardinals of his legitimacy. She lived in Rome until her death in 1380. The problems of the Western Schism would trouble her until the end of her life. An adherent of extreme fasting and prayer, it seems possible that her extreme practices contributed to her early death at the age of thirty-three. She was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970, and is the Patron Saint of the United States, of Europe, of Italy, of the diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, of people ridiculed for their piety, of nurses, and of the sick, and her aid is invoked against fire and miscarriages. Today is also the birthday of Richard’s sister Susan in Iowa (1946).

Last night while taking my bath I finished reading the March / April 2015 issue of The Bible Today. And our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat Alcorn State by the score of 6 to 1.

Richard paid the bills before I woke up at 10:00 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, put the bills Richard had paid into my PocketMoney program, started my laundry, and read the morning paper.

At 12:15 pm Richard and I headed into town. After leaving off the checks to pay for the in-town bills, we went to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. While eating lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, I renewed Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War, and God by Will Durant and The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith, which were due today at the Lafayette Public Library; they are now due on May 20th. We then went to Wal-Mart, where Richard got groceries.

When we got home at 1:45 pm, I found that the Weekly Computer Maintenance had finished. I then finished my laundry (but did not do any ironing; more anon), then set myself to doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. I took a break at 4:30 pm to watch Jeopardy!, and at 7:00 pm we had our dinner of hamburger steak with sauteed mushrooms and boiled whole small potatoes. At 9:00 pm we watched CSI: Cyber. I am now doing today’s Daily Update and printing out my Blood Pressure Record Sheets for January 2015 through April 28th, 2015 (more anon). And when I finish this Daily Update I will start the Weekly Virus Scan and go to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, Pope. It is also the Anniversary of Louisiana Statehood (1812) and the First Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and tomorrow night is Walpurgisnacht. I will be getting up early, and leaving the house at about 8:15 am, with my uniforms, employee badge, and work shoes; I will also have the Blood Pressure Record Sheets that I printed out this evening. My first stop will be at Uniforms at the casino, where I will exchange my casino pants, aprons, and shirts for fresh pants, aprons, and shirts. (The shoes I am bringing along in case Uniforms needs to hem my pants.) I will then go to the Clinic for my Appointment with the Renal Specialist to see how my renal situation is doing. I will then go back to Uniforms, if I need to do so, and head back homeward. When I get into town I will get my salad supplies and other needed groceries, and get my lottery tickets. Once home I will run my new casino pants, aprons, and shirt through the washer and dryer, and iron them. Then I will make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. And tomorrow evening our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will be playing the first game of a three-game away series with Mississippi State.

Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Bob Hoskins, English actor. Born as Robert Hoskins in 1942 in Bury St. Edmunds, West Suffolk, he was raised in Finsbury Park, London. His father was a communist and brought up Hoskins to be an atheist. He left school at the age of 15 with a single O-Level and worked as a porter, lorry driver, and window cleaner. He started on a three-year accountancy course but dropped out. Hoskins’ acting career began in 1968 at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. He played the servant Peter in a production of Romeo and Juliet. In 1969, he worked at the Unity Theatre in London. One evening, he was waiting in the Unity Theatre bar for his friend, the actor Roger Frost, to finish an audition. Whilst drinking at the bar, he was given a script and told, “You’re next.” He got the part, with Frost ending up his understudy. His first major television role was in On the Move (1975-6), an educational series intended to tackle adult illiteracy, in which he portrayed Alf Hunt, a removal man who had problems reading and writing. According to eventual producer George Auckland, up to 17 million people watched the series. Hoskins’ breakthrough television role came in the original BBC version of Dennis Potter’s innovative six-part fantasy-drama Pennies from Heaven (1978) as adulterous sheet music salesman Arthur Parker. Later, he played Iago in Jonathan Miller’s BBC Television Shakespeare production of Othello. Hoskins’ performances in British films, such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and Mona Lisa (1986), won him the wider approval of the critics and, in the case of the latter, a Cannes Award, Best Actor Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also delivered comic turns in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) and as Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993). Hoskins was not initially aware that Super Mario Bros. was based on the popular video game of the same name. His son had asked him what film he was working on, and recognizing it, showed Hoskins the video game on the Nintendo video game console. Hoskins had a small role as a rock band’s manager in the 1982 Pink Floyd film The Wall. In 1983 Hoskins’ voice was used in an advert for the British breakfast cereal Weetabix, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s, he appeared in advertising for the recently privatized companies of British Gas and British Telecom (now BT Group). He was slated to be a last-minute replacement in The Untouchables (1987) if star Robert De Niro had not decided to play Al Capone. When De Niro took the part, director Brian De Palma mailed Hoskins a cheque for £20,000 with a “Thank You” note, which prompted Hoskins to call up De Palma and ask him if there were any more movies he did not want him to be in. Hoskins appeared as Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), for which he received a second Golden Globe nomination. Some of Hoskins’ other notable appearances include playing opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990), boatswain Smee to Captain Hook in Hook (1991), and as the same character in Neverland (2011), and Uncle Bart, the psychopathic and violent “owner” of Jet Li in Unleashed aka Danny The Dog. He returned to television in productions for the BBC, including Flickers, David Copperfield as Wilkins Micawber (1999) and The Wind in the Willows (2006). He played Nikita Khrushchev as a political commissar in the film Enemy at the Gates (2001). He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), a film he also produced with Norma Heyman. Hoskins also directed two films, both of which he starred in; The Raggedy Rawney (1988) and Rainbow (1996). In 2007 Hoskins told The Guardian that he regretted starring in Super Mario Bros. in 1993; he revealed that despite being praised for his performance in the film, he was extremely unhappy with the film and greatly angered by his experiences making it, referring to it as the “worst thing I ever did”. In 2009 he made a return to television in Jimmy McGovern’s drama serial The Street, where he played a publican who stands up to a local gangster. For this role he received his only Emmy when he won Best Actor at the 2010 International Emmys. In 2011 the Scottish film In Search of La Che featured a character called Wermit whose every line of his dialogue was a quote of Bob Hoskins. In August 2012, Hoskins announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. One of his last movies was 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman (died 2014): “My mum used to say to me, ‘If somebody doesn’t like you, f–k ’em, they’ve got bad taste.'”

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