Daily Update: Monday, November 9th, 2015

Dedication of Saint John Lateran

Today is the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. Today is also the birthday of my first cousin Marianne (1962). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

In the early 4th century the Lateran Palace (built on the site of a Roman fort) was given to the Bishop of Rome by Emperor Constantine. The official dedication of the Basilica and the adjacent Lateran Palace was presided over by Pope Sylvester I in 324, declaring both to be Domus Dei or “House of God.” The Papal Throne was placed in its interior, making it the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. After suffering destruction by earthquake (in 897 and two fires (one in 1308 and one in 1360), most of the present building dates from the late 14th century, with the facade being erected in 1735. Officially named Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sancti Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano (English: Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Sts. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran), it is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter’s Basilica (which is not a Cathedral). For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica. The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican City boundaries, territorially located within the city of Rome in the Italian Republic; however, it has been granted a special extraterritorial status as a property of the Holy See. It claims the title of ecumenical mother church (mother church of the whole inhabited world) among Roman Catholics. And today is also the birthday of my first cousin Marianne, the youngest of my four cousins on my father’s side (I only have nine first cousins, four on my father’s side, and five on my mother’s side) (1962). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

We were up at 7:45 am at the Sleep Inn in Bridgeport, West Virginia. It was 30°, by far the coldest temperature we have seen on our vacation. (It is almost a given on our vacations that our arrival brings unseasonably warm weather.) Richard and I checked out at 8:15 am, and drove on up I-79 North to the Cracker Barrel in Fairmont, where we ate breakfast and read the USA Today. We reached Pennsylvania at 9:30 am, and took I-70 West. We crossed back into West Virginia at 10:30 am, and reached Ohio at 10:45 am. We then took I-77 North.

At 12:30 pm we arrived at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. 20151109_122702 We enjoyed our visit, 20151109_135051 20151109_143149 and in the gift shop I purchased a t-shirt and a Christmas ornament (both for the New Orleans Saints).

We left the Pro Football Hall of Fame at 3:30 pm, and at 3:45 pm checked in at the Quality Inn in Canton, Ohio. At 5:30 pm we ate dinner at Outback Steakhouse, and at 7:30 pm we watched Jeopardy! And when I finish this Daily Update I will do some reading.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor (died 461). Tomorrow is also the Marine Corps Birthday (1775), and the birthday of my good friend Dago in Mississippi (1956). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election. We will see the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, Ohio, then head down I-77 South (past the town I grew up in, in West Virginia along the A-hi-a River) to Liz Ellen’s new house in Ashland, Kentucky. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans (0-6, 15th Western) will play a home game with the Dallas Mavericks (3-3, 9th Western).

Our Parting Quote this Monday evening comes from R. A. Montgomery, American publisher. Born as Raymond Almiran Montgomery, Jr. in 1936 in Greenwich, Connecticut, he received a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College in 1958. He held several jobs in education before developing a role-playing game about marshaling electricity resources for Edison Electric Institute. He also worked on role-playing games aimed at encouraging cultural sensitivity for Peace Corps volunteers. In the mid-1960s he married Constance Cappel, with whom he founded Vermont Crossroads Press. In 1975 he received a manuscript from a first-time author, a lawyer named Edward Packard, which had the reader choose between two actions at key points in the story, then turn to a specific page for each action; the diverging story led to several possible endings. Mainstream publishers had rejected the idea for years, but Montgomery recognized its potential. The manuscript, titled Sugarcane Island, was published by Vermont Crossroads in 1976, and Packard signed a deal for his next book with Lippincott. In 1977 Montgomery published his own variation, Journey Under the Sea, under the pen name Robert Mountain. In 1978 he sold his share of the company but kept the rights to the book. Bantam Books bought Journey Under the Sea that same year and agreed to publish five similarly interactive books. Montgomery, Packard and Douglas Terman wrote the first books for the Choose Your Own Adventure series, and young writers like Laban Carrick Hill were enlisted as demand for the books increased in the 1980s and ’90s. Montgomery and Cappel divorced in 1980, and he subsequently remarried. The Choose Your Own Adventure series published 184 titles through Bantam Books between 1979 and 1998, including many by Montgomery himself and several by his sons. Choose Your Own Adventure books placed readers on expeditions to Atlantis or deep space. Some had more than forty endings. Their success inspired spin offs using characters from Star Wars, Disney movies and Nintendo games. Bantam Doubleday Dell, by then a Random House imprint, stopped publishing new Choose Your Own Adventure books in 2000 because of diminished sales. Montgomery began reprinting old titles and publishing new ones in 2006 under the name Chooseco, both as printed books and e-books. The company says it has sold more than 10 million copies. Montgomery penned more than 50 books for the series and its various offspring, including a six book non-interactive series for young adult readers entitled Trio. His last book, Gus vs. the Robot King, was published in 2014 (died 2014): “I Xeroxed 50 copies of Ed’s manuscript and took it to a reading teacher in Stowe. His kids — third grade through junior high — couldn’t get enough of it.”

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