Daily Update: Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Martha

Today is the Memorial of Saint Martha (died about 80). And it is 90 days until my Casino Badge expires.

Today’s Saint was the sister of Lazarus and of Mary of Bethany (outside of Jerusalem), and all three were especial friends of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus visits the home of Lazarus, and the two sisters are contrasted: Martha was “cumbered about many things” while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen “the better part,” that of listening to the master’s discourse. (In devotional literature Mary is often thus regarded as better than Martha; but presumably, if Jesus had been sleeping or eating or otherwise not discoursing, Martha would have been deemed to have the better part of keeping the household running.) In the Gospel of John, Martha and Mary appear in connection two incidents: the raising from the dead of their brother Lazarus (John 11) and the anointing of Jesus at the home of Simon the Leper. (The name “Martha” comes from the Greek transliteration of the Judæo-Aramaic word Martâ meaning “the mistress” or “the lady”.) The Golden Legend (circa 1260) records that Martha, Mary (who is conflated with Mary Magdalene) and Lazarus went to Avignon, France after the Resurrection to evangelize; Martha is further recorded in The Golden Legend as having traveled further, to Tarascon, where she subdued a monster, the Tarasque, and then settled in the now peaceful city to live out the rest of her life. She is the Patron Saint of maids, housewives, cooks, and all things having to do with domestic work. It is also 90 days until my Casino Badge Expires. On August 8th it will be 90 days until Richard’s badge expires, and on Tuesday, August 11th, we will go to Compliance to see about getting our badges renewed. (Without a valid Badge, we cannot work as Table Games Dealers.)

I woke up at 8:00 am, later than I wished to; I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. There was not enough bread for me to have my breakfast toast, so I went without breakfast while reading the morning paper. I then came back to the computer, did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Second Day of my Transfiguration Novena, and finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance.

At 10:45 am (about forty-five minutes later than I had wished) I left the house for Lafayette. On Johnston Street I passed the Grand 16 Theatre, where the shooting took place last Thursday evening; the part of the marque out on the curb at Johnston which scrolls the movies and times (a fairly useless feature, as one is usually going on Johnston too fast to read it) was still dark, and at the foot of the marque sign was the ad hoc memorial for those slain at the shooting. I ate lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria and continued reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. I then went to Barnes and Noble, and put in a couple of hours of comfy chair time; I also called Nedra, who is looking forward to me coming up on Monday. (She asked me to get her a couple of bottles of Zatarain’s Crawfish Boil; I hope I do not have any trouble getting those past Airport Security.) I then went to the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch and returned Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities by Jeffrey Rosenthal and checked out Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition (Second Edition) by E. Christian Bruder, which the library got for me via interlibrary loan from the Southeastern Louisiana University Library in Hammond, Louisiana. I then called Richard, who had just lain down for a nap; I asked him if I should stop and get bread on my way home, and we agreed no. At the Kajan Mart in Rayne I got gas for my car and purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing.

When I got home at 5:45 pm, Richard was sleeping. I had gotten the Email that our latest casino schedules had been posted, and found that the schedule for August 3rd and August 4th now shows me off with PTO. Richard woke up, and asked me if I wanted something to eat; I did not (having had a big lunch), and he went to Crispy Cajun to get himself some fried chicken while I worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts. (I have them done through Friday of next week.) And now I am doing today’s Daily Update; when I finish I will start the Weekly Virus Scan and take a coolish bath (it has been beastly hot today) to do some reading.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor (died 450). And in the predawn hours to the south tomorrow is the Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower; however, viewing will be washed out by the full moon (which isn’t until Friday, but the sky is quite bright). I will finish my laundry and iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts; I will also make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday.

Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Tom Snyder, American television personality, news anchor, and radio personality. Born as Thomas Snyder in 1936 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and no relation to my father, who was a Snyder from Pennsylvania), he went to Jesuit-run Marquette University High School. He also attended Marquette University, after which he had originally planned to study medicine and become a doctor. Snyder had loved radio since he was a child and at some point changed his field of study from pre-med to journalism. He began his career as a radio reporter at WRIT-AM (unrelated to the present-day FM station) in Milwaukee and at WKZO in Kalamazoo (where he was fired by John Fetzer) in the 1950s. For a time he worked at Savannah, Georgia AM station WSAV (now WBMQ). After moving to television in the 1960s, he was a news anchor for KYW-TV in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and WNBC-TV and WABC-TV in New York City. He drove cross country in an early Corvair from Atlanta to Los Angeles around 1963, where he landed a news job at KTLA-TV “Live On 5″ then on to KNBC-TV also in Los Angeles, where from 1970 to 1974 he was an anchor for the 6 p.m. newscast working with KNBC broadcaster Kelly Lange, who was then a weather reporter before serving as a long-time KNBC news anchor. He gained national fame as the host of Tomorrow with Tom Snyder (more commonly known as The Tomorrow Show), which aired late nights after The Tonight Show on NBC from 1973 to 1982. It was a talk show unlike the usual late-night fare, with Snyder, cigarette in hand, alternating between asking hard-hitting questions and offering personal observations that made the interview closer to a conversation. Unique one-on-one exchanges were common to the program, notably with author Harlan Ellison, musician John Lydon of The Sex Pistols and PiL, musician John Lennon, actor and writer Sterling Hayden, and author and philosopher Ayn Rand. A one-on-one program with David Brenner as the sole guest revealed that Snyder and Brenner worked together on several documentaries. An infamous edition of The Tomorrow Show broadcast on October 31, 1979, saw Snyder interview the rock group KISS. During the episode, a visibly irritated Gene Simmons (bass) and Paul Stanley (guitar) tried to contain the bombastic (and inebriated) Ace Frehley (lead guitar), whose nonstop laughter and joking overshadowed the content and conversation taking place between Snyder and the rest of the band. In 1981 he interviewed the singer Meatloaf and called him “Meatball” for the first ten minutes in error. When not grilling guests, Snyder would often joke around with offstage crewmen, often breaking out in the distinctively hearty laugh that was the basis of Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Snyder on Saturday Night Live (12 occasions, 1976-1979 and 1995). Following a disastrous experiment with turning Tomorrow into a more typical talk show by renaming it Tomorrow Coast to Coast and adding a live audience and co-host Rona Barrett (all of which Snyder resented), the show was canceled in 1982 to make way for the up-and-coming young comedian David Letterman. After Tomorrow was canceled Snyder returned to news reporting, joining WABC in New York. In September 1982 Snyder and Kaity Tong began anchoring the 5PM Eyewitness News programs for the station. He stayed at WABC for two years, leaving the station in 1984. In 1985, he returned to the talk format at KABC-TV in Los Angeles with a local afternoon show he had planned to gear up for national syndication the following year; those plans were scratched after Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based syndicated show entered the market first and took over his time slot on KABC-TV. An older, slightly more mellow Snyder returned to virtually the same format on ABC Radio. The show’s three-hour format was a natural for Snyder. The first hour was spent chatting with a celebrity guest, during the second hour he engaged someone in the news, and the final hour was consumed chatting with his legion of fans. Occasionally the caller would be a well-known fan like David Letterman or Ted Koppel. One of Tom’s favorite callers was Sherman Hemsley, the actor who played George Jefferson on the hit television sitcom The Jeffersons. The Tom Snyder Show for ABC Radio Networks went off the air in late 1992. He returned to television on CNBC in the early 1990s, adding the opportunity for viewers to call in with their own questions for his guests. Snyder nicknamed his show “the Colorcast”, reviving an old promotional term NBC-TV used in the early 1960s to hype its color broadcasts. He also continued his trademark of talking to offscreen crew and made frequent reference to the studio, reminding viewers of its location in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Letterman had moved on to CBS and was given control of creating a new program to follow his at 12:35 am. Letterman, who had idolized Snyder for years, hired him in 1995 as host of The Late Late Show. The idea had actually begun as a running joke on Letterman’s show, that Snyder would soon follow him on the air as he had once followed Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; the unlikely suggestion caught on. This show aired live in the Eastern and Central Time Zones, and was simulcast to other time zones on radio to allow everyone a chance to call in. Snyder’s CNBC show was taken over, largely unchanged in format, by Charles Grodin. One of the many memorable Late Late Show interviews was with Gloria Vanderbilt about her son’s suicide, told dramatically over an entire hour. Another was a lengthy interview with Robert Blake very soon before Blake was charged with murder. In 1999 Snyder left The Late Late Show, which was then reformatted for Craig Kilborn. Snyder also hosted a video production called A Century of Legendary Lionel Trains (2001), commemorating 100 years of Lionel Trains. Additionally, he hosted another program from the same production company called Celebrity Train Layouts 2: Tom Snyder (2003), featuring his own collection of trains. In 2005 he announced that he was discontinuing his website that he had maintained for six years, and abruptly removed his webpage from the Internet. That same year, he revealed that he was battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but that his doctors had told him it was “treatable”. The next year, he sold his Los Angeles home, where he had lived for almost 30 years, and moved north to the San Francisco Bay area, where he owned a second home (died 2007): “I learned a long time ago that if you bet on yourself, you win. If you bet on others, you lose.”

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