Daily Update: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Gregory the Great

Today is the Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor (died 590). Today is also Papa Was A Rolling Stone Day.

Born about 540 in Rome, Italy, today’s Saint was the son of Gordianus, a Roman regionarius, and Saint Silvia of Rome; he was also the great-grandson of Pope Saint Felix III (died 492). He was educated by the finest teachers in Rome, and served as Prefect of Rome for a year, then he sold his possessions, turned his home into a Benedictine monastery, and used his money to build six monasteries in Sicily and one in Rome, becoming a Benedictine monk.  In 579 Pope Pelagius II chose Gregory as his apocrisiarius (ambassador to the imperial court in Constantinople). Gregory was part of the Roman delegation (both lay and clerical) that arrived in Constantinople in 578 to ask the emperor for military aid against the Lombards. With the Byzantine military focused on the East, these entreats proved unsuccessful. Gregory left Constantinople for Rome in 585, returning to his monastery on the Caelian Hill. He was elected the 64th Pope by unanimous acclamation, the first monk to be chosen as Pope. Upon seeing English children being sold in the Roman Forum, he sent Saint Augustine of Canterbury and a company of monks to evangelize England, and other missionaries to France, Spain, and Africa. He collected the melodies and plain chant so associated with him that they are now known as Gregorian Chants. One of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church, he wrote seminal works on the Mass and Divine Office, several of them dictated to his secretary, Saint Peter the Deacon. He is the Patron Saint of the Pontificate, of Popes, of Choir Boys, of Musicians and Singers, and of Students and Teachers, and of the West Indies. On another plane of existence altogether, according to the Temptation’s song “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, “It was the third of September / That day I’ll always remember, yes I will / ‘Cause that was the day, that my daddy died”.

I woke up at 8:15 am, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and started my laundry. I then ate my breakfast toast while doing my Internet Devotional Reading, worked on my Music Conversion Project, and wrote and mailed out a letter to Matthew and Callie. I then read the Thursday papers, finished my laundry, and ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts.

Richard and I left the house at 1:00 pm; at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. We ate Chinese for lunch at Peking, and then at Wal-Mart Richard purchased my salad supplies for me.

We arrived home at 2:00 pm, and I returned to my Music Conversion Project. I finished with my Artists / Groups starting with the letters R and S, and got a start on those beginning with the letter T. Also, my Weather Tech® floor mats for my 2015 Chevrolet Cruze arrived. At 4:00 pm, Richard and I put my new Weather Tech® floor mats into my car, and at 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!. In the Tropics, Tropical Storm Fred is slowly moving along, still in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. And tonight our New Orleans Saints will play an away game with the Green Bay Packers in their final Pre-Season football game; I will give the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We have no Saints to honor, but will instead recall that tomorrow is the anniversary of when Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas called out the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Tomorrow is the birthday of Callie’s father Ken (1955), and tomorrow is also the first day of the three-day Louisiana Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, held on the first consecutive Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of September. We will return to the casino for the first day of our work week, and on my breaks I will start reading Rivers by Michael Farris Smith for my Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club meeting next Tuesday evening. In the afternoon I will continue my Music Conversion Project.

On this Thursday Afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Michael Clarke Duncan, American actor. Born in 1957 in Chicago, Illinois, he grew up with only his older sister and his mother after their father left the family; his mother worked as a house cleaner to support her children. He was in the Communications program at Alcorn State University in Mississippi (playing basketball for one season) when he had to drop out to support his mother and sister when his mother became ill. His large frame helped him in his jobs digging ditches for the People’s Gas Company and being a bouncer at several Chicago clubs. In 1979 he participated in the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, where he was among the first 100 people to run onto the field and slid into third base. During the ensuing riot he stole a baseball bat from the dugout, but his silver belt buckle was stolen. He also tried out for a walk-on position with the Chicago Bears football team. He moved to Los Angeles and took security jobs while trying to get some acting work in commercials. During this time he worked as a bodyguard for celebrities like Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G., all the while doing bit parts in television and films. When the Notorious B.I.G. was killed in 1997 Duncan quit this line of work. After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth (1998) and A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Duncan first came to prominence when he was cast as Bear in the blockbuster Michael Bay action film Armageddon (1998). During the production of the film Duncan struck up a friendship with castmate Bruce Willis, and it was Willis’ influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont-directed The Green Mile (1999). Starring alongside Tom Hanks, Duncan’s acclaimed performance netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Following his iconic dramatic turn as Coffey, Duncan was then cast in a string of films that helped to establish him as a star adept at both action and comedy: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002) (where he starred alongside his friend Dwayne Johnson, The Rock), and Daredevil (2003) (reuniting him with Armageddon co-star Ben Affleck) as Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin. When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002, he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character and having to gain 40 pounds to fit the character’s large physique. In 2005 Duncan appeared in two prominent action films, The Island (his second Michael Bay Film) and Sin City (again alongside Bruce Willis) where he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington. In July 2006 Duncan showed interest in returning for the role of the Kingpin, but stated that he would not be willing to regain the weight that he had lost. In 2009 he stopped eating meat and later appeared in a PETA ad campaign, touting the health benefits and his increased strength from a vegetarian diet. Also in 2009 he played Balrog in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and starred as the titular Cleon “Slammin’” Salmon in Broken Lizard’s farce The Slammin’ Salmon. Famous for his deep baritone, Duncan also provided his voice for a number of roles in films such as Brother Bear (2003) and its sequel, Brother Bear 2, Kung Fu Panda (2008), Green Lantern (2011), TV series such as Loonatics Unleashed and Operation: Z.E.R.O., Quiznos commercials, and a number of video games such as Demon Stone, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Saints Row, Soldier of Fortune, and God of War II, where he provided the voice of the Titan Atlas. He additionally reprised his role as the Kingpin in Spider-.Man: The New Animated Series. In addition to his film roles, Duncan also guest starred in numerous television shows. Among these, he appeared in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and a first-season episode of CSI: NY. In 2008 he appeared as Mr. Colt in the second-season premiere of Chuck, “Chuck Versus the First Date” and as a guest star on two episodes of Two and a Half Men. Most notably, in April 2011, Duncan guest starred on an episode of the television series Bones as Leo Knox which, in 2012, led to Duncan receiving his first starring role as the same character in the spinoff series The Finder. During the week of May 14, 2012, Duncan appeared on the late night talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as a guest, when the show was taping for a week in Scotland. Duncan was one of the show’s most frequent guests, appearing a total of eighteen times, and, the day after Duncan’s death in September, Ferguson began his show with a special tribute to him. In January 2013 during the Late Late Show‘s winter break, reruns of the Scotland episodes were broadcast with a memoriam to Duncan at the beginning of each of the 5 episodes featuring Duncan on a pink background and the text “In memory of our friend Michael Clarke Duncan” (died 2012): “My sister used to say I had a frail chest and she’d beat me up all the time.”

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