Daily Update: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Eid-ul Adha 2 and 09-24 - Hurricane Rita

Since sunset last night, and until sunset tonight, is Eid-ul Adha, one of the major feasts of the Islamic calendar. With no Saints to honor we note that it was on this date in 2005 that Hurricane Rita (known as Hurricane Katrina’s Evil Little Sister) made its landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Johnsons Bayou, Louisiana, as a Category 3 hurricane.

In the lunar Islamic calendar Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year. Islamic tradition holds that after Abraham had dreams in which he was ordered to slay his son Ishmael, he consulted his son, who unhesitatingly agreed that his father should follow his dreams. When Abraham attempted to cut his son’s throat upon the altar, he found that a ram had been substituted for his son. Abraham had shown that his love for God superseded all others: that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dearest to him in submission to God’s command. God then rewarded him by announcing the birth of his second son, Isaac. Muslims commemorate this ultimate act of sacrifice every year during Eid al-Adha by sacrificing their best halal animals. The sacrificed animals have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. This tradition accounts for more than 100 million slaughtering of animals during the Eid, with some 10 million being sacrificed in Pakistan. Turning to 2005 and Hurricane Rita, damage in southwestern Louisiana from the Category 3 Hurricane was extensive. In Cameron Parish the communities of Hackberry, Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier, Holly Beach, and Johnson Bayou were heavily damaged or entirely destroyed. Even now Cameron Parish is nowhere near its prior population; new building along the coast is not permitted unless one has the proper parish-approved building plans. The Harrah’s Casino Riverboat in Lake Charles temporarily became a land-based casino, as the storm pushed the boat all the way onshore and into the parking lot. And while Hurricane Katrina did not even cause any rain in SouthWestCentral Louisiana, Hurricane Rita closed down the casino I work at for some three weeks, both because there was some damage (the storm took out the cover of the walkway into the Associate’s parking lot), and because FEMA was using the casino grounds as a staging area. (I now point out to my guests at my tables, “We are open 24/7, and only close for major hurricanes that are forecast to come through our parking lot within 24 to 48 hours.”)

Last night I finished reading (or rather, re-reading) H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O’Brian, and began reading (or rather, re-reading) The Mauritius Command by Patrick O’Brian.

I was up at 8:00 am today, and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. I ate my breakfast toast and read the morning papers while watching the television coverage of Pope Francis making his historic speech to the United States Congress. I then ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts, and did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Novena to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

Leaving at 10:00 am in my car, my first stop was to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. I then went to the Clinic, where after some discussion of my schedule and the dietitian’s schedule (she does not work on Fridays), I changed my appointment to 12:00 pm on Wednesday, September 30th. (The last word I had was that the kids would be arriving in town on the 1st.) I then had my appointment with the Renal Specialist; he gave me a clean bill of health, renally speaking, and wants to see me in two months; it will be three months, due to our three week vacation, and I will see him again on December 17th, with blood and urine being drawn for labs on the 7th. When I left the Clinic I tried calling Richard, but got no answer; I tried again when I was five minutes outside of town, but got no answer then, either. So, left to my own devices for lunch, I ate Chinese for lunch at Peking while continuing my reading of The Mauritius Command by Patrick O’Brian. Just when I had left Peking Richard called (he’d left his phone on silent), and I told him I would be home shortly; I ran my car through the car wash and got home at 1:30 pm.

I did my Book Review for this Weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O’Brian, and Richard went to Wal-Mart for some groceries. He also got some oil treatment for the truck from Auto Zone. I then made my lunch salads for tomorrow and Sunday, and watched Jeopardy!; I then came to the computer with my plate of hamburger steak with sauteed mushrooms and boxed mashed potatoes for my dinner to do today’s Daily Update. When I finish with my dinner and the Internet I will do some reading before going to sleep.

Tomorrow we have no Saints, Blesseds, Venerateds, or Servants of God to honor; but on this date in 1690 the first multi-page newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, was published in America. Richard and I will begin our work week at the casino. In the afternoon I hope to do some Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog; and I can decide if I want to go over to the St. Thomas Moore Fall Fair to play bingo, or to go to the 6:00 pm book signing by Stefan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine at the Barnes & Noble at LSU, or to just stay home.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Paul Dietzel, American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. Born in 1924 in Fremont, Ohio, he began his football career in Mansfield, Ohio, where his high school team went undefeated and tied for second in the state. After high school he was given a scholarship to play football at Duke University. After one year at Duke, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. From there he moved on to Miami University of Ohio, where he became an All-American at center. He graduated from Miami in 1948, He then began his coaching career as an assistant coach, serving under such legendary coaches as Red Blaik at Army and Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky. In 1955 Dietzel became the head coach at Louisiana State University. During Dietzel’s first three years, none of his teams had a winning season. In 1958, however, Dietzel came up with a unique three-team platoon system. It consisted of three teams of 11 different players, and was designed to keep his players from being fatigued in an era when most players started on both offense and defense. Instead of replacing individual players during the game, Dietzel would bring in an entirely new set of players between plays and series. The three teams were called the White Team (the first-string offense and defense), the Gold (Go) Team (the second-string offense), and the Chinese Bandits (the second-string defense). The system worked, as the Tigers went undefeated and won the a national championship. The Chinese Bandits, the second-string defensive unit, which consisted of less-talented but ferocious players, became hugely popular with LSU fans and remains one of the most legendary pieces of LSU football history. (Even now, one of the pieces of music that the LSU band plays while on defense is the Chinese Bandits Cheer.) Dietzel’s teams finished with 9–1 regular seasons in 1959 and 1961, finishing #3 and #4 in the final AP Poll. The 1959 team was ranked first in the country in both wire-service polls until losing to the Tennessee Volunteers, 14–13, in the eighth game of the season. LSU concluded the season with a 21–0 loss to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, two months after the top-ranked Tigers beat the third-ranked Rebels 7–3 in Tiger Stadium on Billy Cannon’s 89-yard punt return, a play that helped win Cannon the Heisman Trophy. Deitzel left after the 1961 season, accepting the head coaching job at Army; after their 1958 National Championship, LSU would wait another 45 years to have a National Championship in 2003 under Coach He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and then in 2007 under Les Miles.) Dietzel was the first non-Army graduate to hold the Head Coaching position. However, he was not able to match the success he had at LSU, compiling a record of 21–18–1 at Army. He stayed at Army until 1966, when he became head coach and athletic director at the University of South Carolina. Despite coaching South Carolina to the school’s only conference championship in football, the Atlantic Coast Conference title in 1969, Dietzel’s overall record was only of 42–53–1. As the South Carolina athletic director, Dietzel greatly improved the athletic facilities. He oversaw South Carolina’s withdrawal from the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1971. Dietzel felt that the ACC’s higher academic entrance requirements were preventing the South Carolina football program from signing talented players which could propel the program to national prominence. The withdrawal was heavily criticized and questioned over the years. Dietzel’s other lasting legacy at South Carolina is the school’s fight song, “The Fighting Gamecocks Lead The Way”, with music from the Broadway show tune “Step to the Rear” and lyrics written by Dietzel himself. In 1974, amid intense fan pressure, Dietzel announced that he would resign at the end of the season, following an upset loss to Duke as the Gamecocks fell to 0–2. Dietzel had become unpopular due to his team’s mediocrity and failure to realize the lofty dreams that he had promised. Dietzel hoped to remain as the athletic director at South Carolina, but was not allowed to do so. He left coaching in 1975 to become the commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for one year. He then served as athletic director at Indiana University before returning to LSU as the school’s athletic director from 1978 to 1982. Dietzel also served as president of the American Football Coaches Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. When he retired, he remained in Baton Rouge and took up watercolor painting. He also authored a book that was published by Louisiana State University Press in September 2008, titled Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football (died 2013): “You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.”

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