Daily Update: Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Back To the Future Day

No Saints today, but today is Back to the Future Day. And the Orionid Meteor Shower is today.

In the 1989 movie Back to the Future Part II (the sequel to the 1985 movie Back to the Future), Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown arrives in his flying DeLorean time machine and persuades Marty McFly and his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, to come back to the future with him to help their future children. They arrive on October 21, 2015, which, of course, makes today Back to the Future Day. (And after today, this date will no longer be in the future, but will be in the past.) While the movie did correctly predict the use of drones and wide-screen TVs, we do not have self-tying shoelaces, and the Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series. (Yet.) I should note that I never got around to seeing any of the Back to the Future movies, which is not really a lack that I feel the need to correct anytime soon. (Maybe in the future…) And, returning to now, the Orionid Meteor Shower occurred today.

Richard left for Baton Rouge to see Butch (he and his brother Slug promised their sisters that they would look in on Butch every few weeks), and I woke up at 9:00 am. I started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started my laundry, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then did my Daily Update for yesterday, Tuesday, October 20th, 2015. I then finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance and started the Weekly Virus Scan, then did my Internet Devotional Reading. I then read the morning paper and finished my laundry. Richard then sent me a text message with a photo of two LSU hoodies he had found, and asked me to call him; I called and told him I wanted the purple one. He said he had checked all of the stores on the Tilley Store Finder in Baton Rouge, but no one had a T3 Tilley hat. He also said that Butch was fine.  After getting off of the phone I finished setting up my medications for my vacation, then ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts.

I left the house at 1:00 pm, and ate Chinese for lunch at Peking. (I always get the Shrimp with Garlic Sauce lunch combo, which comes with large-sized shrimp, a healthy portion of fried rice, and an egg roll, plus my iced tea. However, I am not surprised when I do not get the egg roll with my lunch; the girl who usually at the register has a very limited command of Vietnamese-accented English.) While eating I continued reading The Fortune of War by Patrick O’Brian. I then went to Fantastic Sam’s, but they told me that the girl who does my hair was out, due to a death in the family, and that she would be back maybe on Friday. (So, I will stop in after work on Friday to get my hair cut, if it has not strangled me in my sleep before then.)

When I got home at 2:15 pm, Richard had gotten home just ahead of me, with my LSU Hoodie (which looks great). We watched CSI: Cyber “Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes” via On Demand. I then started packing stuff in my two bags and the car, although I am severely limited to what I can pack right now. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy! while Richard researched places that might have my Tilley hat along our route when we are on vacation. I then got on the computer; it looks like my best bet might be DelMonico Hatter in New Haven, Connecticut, or else (if we call them tomorrow and they do not have what I want), to order a hat online from Tilley.com and have them mail it to the kids up in Connecticut. I am now eating my dinner of grilled pork steak, boxed mashed potatoes, and fresh steamed brussels sprouts, and when I finish with my dinner and with this Daily Update I will take a bath and do some reading. And right now our New Orleans Pelicans are playing an away Preseason Professional Basketball game with the Orlando Magic; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint John Paul II, Pope (died 2005). Tomorrow is also the Anniversary of the Creation of the Earth in 4004 BC per Archbishop James Ussher (died 1656), whose Chronology represented a considerable feat of scholarship. Tomorrow I plan to review the PAR (Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana) Guide to the 2015 Constitutional Amendments and to also decide who I will vote for in the October 24th Louisiana Gubernatorial Primary Election. And I will also set up my on my Google Calendar the Sundays and feasts for 2016.

Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Ben Bradlee, journalist. Born as Benjamin C. Bradlee in 1921 in Boston, Massachusetts, his father was a direct descendant of Nathan Bradley, the first American Bradley, born in the colony of Massachusetts in 1631, and his mother was awarded the French Legion of Honour for starting an orphanage that sheltered children from Nazi Germany during World War II. The second of three children, Bradlee grew up in a wealthy family with domestic staff; with his siblings he learned French, took piano lessons, and went to the symphony and the opera. The stock market crash of 1929 put an end to the family’s wealth. During the Great Depression, Bradlee’s father worked odd jobs to support his family, including keeping the books for various clubs and institutions and supervising the janitors at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Bradlee contracted polio while at high school, but exercised regularly at home and developed strong arms and a strong chest. He was able to fight off the effects of polio and could walk without limping. Thereafter he attended Harvard College, where he was a Greek–English major and joined the Naval ROTC. Bradlee received his naval commission two hours after graduating in 1942, joined the Office of Naval Intelligence, and worked as a communications officer in the Pacific during World War II. His duties included handling classified and coded cables, serving primarily on the destroyer USS Philip fighting off the shore of Guam and arriving at Guadalcanal with the Second Fleet. Bradlee’s main battles were Vella Lavella, Saipan, Tinian, and Bougainville. He also fought in the biggest naval battle ever fought, the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines Campaign, in the Borneo Campaign, and made every landing in the Solomon Islands campaign. His first marriage, in 1942, was to Jean Saltonstall, who also came from a wealthy and prominent Boston Brahmin family; they had one son, Ben Bradlee, Jr., who later became a deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe. After the war, in 1946, Bradlee became a reporter at the New Hampshire Sunday News, a venture he helped launch. After he sold the paper, in 1948 he started working for The Washington Post as a reporter. He became close friends with then-senator John F. Kennedy, who had graduated from Harvard two years before Bradlee, and lived nearby; Bradlee’s wife was related to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy through her father’s sister Rosamund who married Charles Auchincloss. He got to know associate publisher Philip Graham, who was the son-in-law of the publisher, Eugene Meyer. On November 1, 1950, Bradlee was alighting from a streetcar in front of the White House just as two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to shoot their way into Blair House in an attempt to kill President Harry S. Truman. In 1951 Graham helped Bradlee become assistant press attaché in the American embassy in Paris, France. In 1952 Bradlee joined the staff of the Office of U.S. Information and Educational Exchange (USIE), the embassy’s propaganda unit. USIE produced films, magazines, research, speeches, and news items for use by the CIA throughout Europe. USIE (later known as USIA) also controlled the Voice of America, a means of disseminating pro-American “cultural information” worldwide. While at the USIE, according to a Justice Department memo from an assistant U.S. attorney in the Rosenberg Trial, Bradlee was helping the CIA manage European propaganda regarding the spying conviction and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on June 19, 1953. Bradlee was officially employed by USIE until 1953, and he began working for Newsweek in 1954. While based in France, Bradlee divorced his first wife and married Antoinette Pinchot in 1957. In 1957, while working as a reporter for Newsweek, Bradlee created controversy when he interviewed members of the FLN. They were Algerian guerrillas who were in rebellion against the French government at the time. As a result of these interviews, Bradlee was forced to leave France. In 1960 Bradlee toured with both Kennedy and Richard Nixon in their presidential campaigns. Bradlee was, at this point, Washington Bureau chief for Newsweek, a position from which he helped negotiate the sale of the magazine to The Washington Post holding company. Bradlee maintained that position until being promoted to managing editor at The Washington Post in 1965. He became executive editor in 1968. Under Bradlee’s leadership, The Washington Post took on major challenges during the Nixon administration. In 1971 The New York Times and the Post successfully challenged the government over the right to publish the Pentagon Papers. One year later, Bradlee backed reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they probed the break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Ensuing investigations of suspected cover-ups led inexorably to congressional committees, conflicting testimonies, and ultimately to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. For decades, Bradlee was one of only four publicly known people who knew the true identity of press informant Deep Throat, the other three being Woodward, Bernstein, and Deep Throat himself, who later revealed himself to be Nixon’s FBI associate director Mark Felt. (In the 1976 movie All The President’s Men, Bradlee was played by Jason Robards, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.) In 1975 Bradlee wrote Conversations With Kennedy (1975), recounting their relationship in the 1950s and 1960s. After Bradlee and Pinchot divorced, Bradlee married fellow journalist Sally Quinn in 1978, and they had one child. In 1981 Post reporter Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for “Jimmy’s World”, a profile of an 8-year-old heroin addict. Cooke’s article turned out to be fiction: there was no such addict. As executive editor, Bradlee was roundly criticized in many circles for failing to ensure the article’s accuracy. After questions about the story’s veracity arose, Bradlee (along with publisher Donald Graham) ordered a “full disclosure” investigation to ascertain the truth. Bradlee personally apologized to Mayor Marion Barry and the chief of police of Washington, D.C., for the Post’s fictitious article. Cooke, meanwhile, was forced to resign and relinquish the Pulitzer. In 1983 he gave the inaugural Vance Distinguished Lecture at Central Connecticut State University. Bradlee retired as the executive editor of The Washington Post in September 1991 but continued to serve as vice president at large until his death. That same year he was persuaded by then–governor of Maryland William Donald Schaefer to accept the chairmanship of the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission and continued in that position through 2003, and delivered the Theodore H. White lecture at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He had an acting role in Born Yesterday, the 1993 remake of the 1950 romantic comedy. Bradlee published an autobiography in 1995, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures. On May 3, 2006, Bradlee received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2005, Jim Lehrer conducted six hours of interviews with Bradlee on a variety of topics, from the responsibilities of the press to Watergate to the Valerie Plame affair. The interviews were edited for an hour-long documentary, Free Speech: Jim Lehrer and Ben Bradlee, which premiered on PBS on June 19, 2006. Bradlee received the French Legion of Honor, the highest award given by the French government, at a ceremony in 2007 in Paris. He was named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on August 8, 2013, and was presented the medal at a White House ceremony on November 20, 2013 (died 2014): “Lying has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture and among our institutions in recent years, that we’ve all become immunized to it.”

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