Daily Update: Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Leo the Great and Marine Corps Birthday

Today is the Memorial of  Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor (died 461). Also, today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps and the birthday of my good friend Dago in Mississippi (1956). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

Born about 400 at Tuscany, Italy, to the Italian nobility, today’s Saint and Pope was a strong student, especially in scripture and theology. As a priest, he was an eloquent writer and homilist. Elected Pope in 440, he was a significant contributor to the centralization of spiritual authority within the Church and in reaffirming Papal authority. In 445 Leo disputed with Pope Dioscorus, St. Cyril’s successor as Pope of Alexandria, insisting that the ecclesiastical practice of his see should follow that of Rome on the basis that Mark the Evangelist, the disciple of Saint Peter and founder of the Alexandrian Church, could have had no other tradition than that of the prince of the apostles. This, of course, was not the position of the Copts, who saw the ancient patriarchates as equals. At the Second Council of Ephesus in 449, Leo’s representatives delivered his famous Tome, or statement of the faith of the Roman Church in the form of a letter addressed to Archbishop Flavian of Constantinople, which repeats, in close adherence to Augustine, the formulas of western Christology. In 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, after Leo’s Tome on the two natures of Christ was read out, the bishops participating in the Council cried out: “This is the faith of the fathers … Peter has spoken thus through Leo …” In 452, when the King of the Huns, Attila, invaded Italy and threatened Rome, Emperor Valentinian III sent three envoys to negotiate with him: the two high civil officers Gennadius Avienus and Trigetius, and Leo. The negotiation was successful, and Attila withdrew. The reasons for this choice have been debated among historians for centuries. Christian historians celebrated Leo’s actions, giving him all the credit for this successful embassy. Leo wrote letters and sermons encouraging and teaching his flock, many of which survive today; it is for these writings that Leo was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1574. Also, today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. On this date in 1775 the Second Continental Congress directed the Naval Committee  to raise two marine battalions at the Continental expense. The Naval Committee established a network of appointments for offices such as paymaster, commissions, procurements, equipment, etc., for establishing a future national corps of marines. Tun Tavern, in Philadelphia, is regarded as the birthplace of the Corps, as it was the enlistment station for the first Marines to enlist under Commandant Samuel Nicholas. Since 1921 the Corps has celebrated this birthday with a cake cutting ceremony, the regulations for which have been in the Marine Drill Manual since 1956. Marines are reputed to celebrate the birthday, regardless of where they may be in the world, even in austere environments or combat; and my father (who had been a Marine in Korea) never failed to recall this date. Finally, today is the birthday of my good friend Dago in Mississippi (1956). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

I had set my alarm for 6:00 am, but did not wake up until 7:30 am at the Quality Inn in Canton, Ohio. I elected not to go to the First Ladies National Historic Site. Richard and I checked out of the motel at 8:15 am and headed out into the dreary, rainy day. We ate breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and read the USA Today. We were on I-77 South at 9:30 am and I read the local paper. We reached West Virginia at 11:00 am. If the weather had been better, we would have traveled on interesting roads to Liz Ellen’s house; but since the weather was so dank, we instead stayed on the interstates. At 12:30 pm we took I-64 West at Charleston.

At 1:00 pm we arrived at Blenko Glass in Milton, West Virginia. We took the self-guided tour of the glassblowing floor, and at the gift shop I got stuff for me and a gift for Liz Ellen. We left Blenko Glass at 2:00 pm, and entered Kentucky at 2:30 pm.

We reached Liz Ellen’s new house in Ashland, Kentucky at 3:15 pm; she and Winger are fully moved in, and the house is perfect for them. We left at 4:30 pm and went to Bob Evans, where we ate dinner. We returned to the house at 6:00 pm, and watched Jeopardy! at 7:30 pm. Richard went to bed at 8:00 pm, and I rolled Liz Ellen’s loose change for her. In the College Football Playoff Rankings our LSU Tigers dropped from #2 to #9. And our New Orleans Pelicans are playing a home game with the Dallas Mavericks; I will report the score in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (died 397). It is the traditional date of Veteran’s Day, and, since tomorrow is not a Saturday or Sunday, it is also the date when Veteran’s Day is observed. Finally, tomorrow is the birthday of my kids’s friend Sheila here in town (1984), and Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election. Richard will hang around the house, and Liz Ellen and I will go to nearby Carter Caves. The New Moon will arrive at 11:48 am. And our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Atlanta Hawks.

Our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Dino De Laurentiis, Italian film producer. Born as Agostino De Laurentiis in 1919 in Torre Annunziata, Campania, he grew up selling spaghetti produced by his father. His studies at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. Following his first movie, L’ultimo Combattimento (1940), he produced nearly 150 films during the next seven decades. In 1946 his company, the Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica, moved into production. In the early years De Laurentiis produced neorealist films such as Bitter Rice (1946) and the Fellini classics La Strada (1954) and Nights of Cabiria (1956), often in collaboration with producer Carlo Ponti. In the 1960s De Laurentiis built his own studio facilities, although these financially collapsed during the 1970s. During this period, though, De Laurentiis produced such films as Barabbas (1961) a Christian religious epic; Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, an imitation James Bond film; Navajo Joe (1966), a spaghetti western; Anzio (1968), a World War II film; Barbarella (1968) and Danger: Diabolik (1968), both successful comic book adaptations; and The Valachi Papers (1972), made to coincide with the popularity of The Godfather. In 1976 De Laurentiis relocated to the United States where he set up studios, eventually creating his own studio De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) based in Wilmington, North Carolina; the building of the studio quickly made Wilmington a busy center of film and television production. During this period De Laurentiis made a number of successful and acclaimed films, including The Scientific Cardplayer (1972), Serpico (1973), Death Wish (1974), Mandingo (1975), Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Shootist (1976), Drum (1976), Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg (1977), Ragtime (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Blue Velvet (1986). However, it is for his more infamous productions that De Laurentiis’s name has become known, films such as the legendary King Kong (1976) remake, which was a commercial hit, Lipstick (1976), the killer whale film Orca (1977); The White Buffalo (1977); the disaster movie Hurricane (1979); the remake of Flash Gordon (1980); Halloween II (the 1981 sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 classic horror film); and David Lynch’s Dune (1984); and King Kong Lives (1986). De Laurentiis also made several adaptations of Stephen King’s works during this time, including The Dead Zone (1983), Cat’s Eye (1985), Silver Bullet (1985) and Maximum Overdrive (1986); Army of Darkness (1992) was produced jointly by De Laurentiis, Robert Tapert and the movie’s star Bruce Campbell. De Laurentiis also produced the first Hannibal Lecter film, Manhunter (1986). He passed on adapting Thomas Harris’ sequel, The Silence of the Lambs (1991), but produced the two follow-ups, Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002), a remake of Manhunter. He also produced Hannibal Rising (2007), which tells the story of how Hannibal Lector became a serial killer. In his later choice of stories he displayed a strong preference for adaptations of successful books, especially sweeping classics like Barabbas (1961), The Bible: In the Beginning (1966), and Dune (1984). In the 1980s he owned and operated DDL Foodshow, a specialty retailer with two gourmet Italian markets in New York City and Los Angeles. In 2001 he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (died 2010): “To me the only real star of the movie is the writer. And I work with writers very closely, from outline to first draft and on to the seventh draft, whatever it takes. Then my job is to support the director to make the best movie we can. Some producers try to go past them, but my job is to support them.”

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