Daily Update: Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Thomas and Independence Day (Observed)

Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle (died c.72), and today is the Observance of the Independence Day Holiday by the government of the United States.

The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Turning to our Saint, he was one of the Twelve Apostles. Thomas was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ’s wounds. After the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, Thomas preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way. He eventually gave in to God’s will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. An old tradition says that Thomas baptized the wise men from the Nativity into Christianity. His symbol in art is a builder’s square; legend holds that he was martyred by being stabbed with a spear while in prayer on a hill in Mylapur, India. In 232 the relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to have been returned by an Indian king and brought back from India to the city of Edessa, Mesopotamia; the date of his feast is more accurately the date of the translation of his remains to Edessa. He is the Patron Saint of architects, converts from Atheism, Saint Thomas Christians, and India. In the secular world, Independence Day this year (July 4th) is on a Saturday. It is a holiday for Federal Workers, but when the holiday (or any given Federal Holiday) is on a Saturday, the observance of the holiday insofar as Federal Workers are concerned is on the Friday before the holiday. So, we have no mail today, and the banks are also closed.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, set up my Bluetooth speaker and Selfie Stick to charge, and put out the flag. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, requested Lock In by John Scalzi from the Lafayette Public Library, and organized the photos Michelle had texted me from her trip to Connecticut to see our granddaughter. At the casino today was the first of two Heavy Business Volume Days for the Independence Day Weekend. Once at work I posted to Facebook for today’s Federal Holiday. When we clocked in Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was on Blackjack. On my breaks I continued filling out my National Parks Passport application on my Galaxy Note 4.

On our way home from work we ate lunch via the drive through at McDonald’s, and I continued reading As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley. Once home I read the morning paper, then took a nap for the rest of the day. I thus did not do any First Friday Devotions, and did not do my Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Normally we would have the Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen (died 1336), tomorrow, but since tomorrow is Independence Day in these United States the Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal has been moved to July 5th. (Speaking of the Fourth of July, remember, O my best beloved Three or Four Loyal Readers and Army of Followers: He who goes Forth with a Fifth on the Fourth may never come Forth on the Fifth!) Tomorrow is the second of two Heavy Business Volume Days for the Independence Day Weekend, and tomorrow is a Paid Holiday, so we will get paid time and a half for our hours worked. I will wear a Patriotic T-shirt to work, and on my breaks I will do my Daily Update via WordPress for Android. After lunch I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. And I hope not to sleep the day away afterwards.

Our Parting Quote this First Friday afternoon comes to us from Snoo Wilson, English playwright, screenwriter, author, and director. Born as Andrew Wilson in 1948 in Reading, Berkshire, his parents were teachers, and Snoo was his childhood nickname. At the University of East Anglia, he produced his early plays, the one-act Girl Mad as Pigs and the two-act Ella Daybellfesse’s Machine, in 1967. Two years later, a second one-act play, Between the Acts, was first produced in Canterbury, at the University of Kent. Together with Tony Bicat and David Hare, Wilson founded the Portable Theatre Company, a touring company concentrating on experimental theatre, and was its associate director from 1970 to 1975. His plays from these years included four one-act works, Charles the Martyr (1970), Device of Angels (1970), Pericles, The Mean Knight (1970) and Reason (1972), most of which dealt with overtly political subjects. Wilson’s first full-length works to attract notice were Pignight (1971), a nightmarish fantasy about a mentally disturbed former soldier, who, while on a Lincolnshire pig farm, believes that pigs are about to take over the world, and Blow-Job (1971), a political exploration of urban violence during which a quantity of raw meat is thrown on stage to simulate the corpse of an Alsatian dog that has just been blown up. In Wilson’s 1973 full-length play, The Pleasure Principle, comedy, politics and social comment were again combined, but to less savage effect. Other full-length plays of this period were Vampire (1973) and The Beast (1974), staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the 1970s Wilson’s plays fell from favour with theatre producers who were looking for more commercial projects. He was more successful with screenplays and teleplays in the 1970s, including Sunday for Seven Days (1971), The Good Life (1971), More About the Universe (1972), Swamp Music (1973), The Barium Meal (1974), The Trip to Jerusalem (1974), Don’t Make Waves (1975) and A Greenish Man (1979). In 1975 and 1976 he was dramaturge to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and in 1976 he married the journalist Ann McFerran, a theatre critic, with whom he had two sons and a daughter. In the same year he became script editor of the BBC television anthology drama series, Play for Today. A play that year, The Soul of the White Ant, starring Simon Callow, was first produced at the Soho Poly; it was a dramatic treatment of a murder of a black man by his white lover in South Africa and the ensuing cover-up by the police and the press. In 1978 The Glad Hand, a play in which a South African tycoon employed a troupe of actors and sailed an oil tanker through the Bermuda Triangle, hoping to conjure up the Anti-Christ and kill him in a Wild West gunfight, premiered at the Royal Court Theatre and won the John Whiting Award. Later that year Wilson was appointed Henfield Fellow at the University of East Anglia. In his later years his style grew away from the overtly political manner of his contemporaries David Hare and Howard Brenton, and he often wrote about the arcane, the occult, and the irrational. Wilson often sought to fuse social criticism with a surrealistic, comic style. His first novel, Spaceache (1984) was followed by Inside Babel (1985). A departure from Wilson’s usual theatrical genres was in 1986, when he wrote a new libretto for Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld for the English National Opera. The reviews concentrated on the production designs, which strongly divided opinion; Wilson’s work escaped the sharp censure directed at his colleagues, and his device of turning the bossy character “Public Opinion” into a parody of the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was favorably remarked upon. He wrote some of his later plays for the Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, including More Light (1987), which convened Giordano Bruno with Elizabeth I, Doctor Dee and a female Shakespeare in heaven in 1600, and Darwin’s Flood (1994), in which Charles Darwin was visited on the eve of his death by his fascistic sister Elizabeth, her feckless husband Bernard, a dominatrix Mary Magdalene, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jesus in the guise of a wisecracking Irish bicyclist who seduces Darwin’s wife, Emma, with a mammoth Ark breaking through the lawn of Darwin’s backyard. Wilson’s only play to have a production in the West End was HRH (1997), concerning the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in exile. He wrote I, Crowley: Almost the Last Confession of the Beast 666 in 1999, followed by The Works of Melmont in 2004. In 2007 he did a television movie, Eichmann, about the interrogation of the eponymous character (2007). In 2010 one of Wilson’s last plays to be staged was Reclining Nude with Black Stockings, about the 1912 rape trial of Austrian painter Egon Schiele (died 2013): “It’s only because people like to think that the material world is at base solid that they have to think of magic as a separate category of events. … The stage is very near magic in what it does and it’s also composed of finally the same thing, which is sort of people and tinsel, which is all magic really is.”

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