Daily Update: Friday, December 18th, 2015

O Antiphons - December 18 and 12-18 - Matthew and Callie Anniversary

We have again no Saints to honor this date. Our O Antiphon for the day is O Adonai, “O Lord”, and today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year.  Today is also the Fifth Anniversary for my son and daughter-in-law Matthew and Callie (who produced their first child, and our first grandchild, this past May).

Our O Antiphon for today is “O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.” In English, the translation is “O Lord, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.”  Isaiah had prophesied (Isaiah 11:4-5): “[…] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins,”  and (Isaiah 33:22) “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Today is also the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13 (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. And it was five years ago that my son Matthew married Callie, with the wedding at our church in town, and the reception at Callie’s church in town; they are now living in Groton, Connecticut (where the Navy has stationed him), and they are both very happy with their daughter (my first grandchild, born in May 2015), two cats and their TIVO.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, wished my son and daughter in law a Happy Anniversary on Facebook, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Third Day of my Christmas Novena, and said the First Day of my Holy Family Novena. When we clocked in Richard was first on Three Card Poker. He was moved to the second Three Card Poker table, closed that table, helped change blackjack cards, and then became the Relief Dealer for Three Card Poker and Mississippi Stud, with the Second Mississippi Stud table added to his string at the end of the shift. I was on Mini Baccarat, and did not have much to do, as the table was dead from about 5:30 am until about 9:30 am. On my breaks I requested The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs from the Lafayette Parish Library. The First Quarter Moon arrived at 9:15 am. I found, on checking with the Assistant Shift Manager, that we could take three weeks in September off, or three weeks in November, but not three weeks in October.

On our way home Richard and I decided to put in for our three weeks off in November, and I sent a text message to Nedra. At Champagne’s I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing and purchased some generic Cortizone 10 cream for my ears. We also got the price sheet, should we decide this year to have Champagne’s provide us with our Christmas dinner (this is something we will discuss with Liz Ellen, once she gets here on Sunday). Once home from work I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad. Nedra answered my text message; she has been having problems with her hopefully soon to be ex, and she provided me with her new mailing address. I wrapped presents to put under the tree for Liz Ellen, addressed a Christmas card to Nedra and put it out in the mail, and taped up the Christmas Cards we have gotten thus far to the usual doorway in the house. I then arranged my Weblog photos for January, and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts. I am finishing up this Daily Update a bit early; when I finish I will watch Jeopardy!, light the Advent Candles, and get ready for bed. Our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the Phoenix Suns late tonight; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor; our O Antiphon will be “O Radix Jesse…”. Tomorrow is also the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Tomorrow at the casino will be a Heavy Business Volume Day, as they are having a $300k Drawing tomorrow night. (At one time, they had decided to have HBVDs for Graveyard associates be the next day after an event, as we work from 3:00 am t0 11:00 am, and most Events start around 7:00 pm. However, that innovation was apparently too challenging for our Scheduling Department, and it went by the wayside.) Richard and I will talk to the Assistant Shift Manager to reserve the month of November for our annual three-week vacation. After I eat my salad for lunch (Richard will be paying bills), Richard will head to Wal-Mart with the shopping list (which will include Liz Ellen’s supplies), and I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing an away game with Rutgers, and our LSU Men’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with Oral Roberts, with both games scheduled for 1:00 pm. When I get home I will take a nap, then wake up to light the Advent Candles and to do my Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Robert Simpson, American meteorologist. Born in 1912 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he survived the devastating landfall of a hurricane in 1919 at age six; one of his family members drowned. Simpson graduated with honors from high school in 1929. Fascinated by the weather, he went on to get a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1933, and a Master of Science degree in physics from Emory University in 1935. Finding no work as a physicist during the Great Depression, he taught music in Texas high schools. On April 16th, 1940, he was hired by the United States Weather Bureau. First assigned as a junior observer of meteorology at Brownsville, Texas, he was then temporarily assigned to Swan Island. After the Pearl Harbor attack, he was promoted to forecaster at the New Orleans office. As part of a United States Weather Bureau scholarship, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago in 1943 and 1944. After a stint as a hurricane forecaster in Miami under Grady Norton, he was assigned to help create the Army Air Force weather school in Panama. There he had his first flight into a tropical cyclone. After the war, he persuaded Air Force Hurricane Hunters to allow him to fly along on what he called ‘piggy back missions’, where he would take scientific observations using the primitive instruments. Following VJ day and the dissolution of the weather school in 1945, Simpson returned to Miami. He was then assigned to Weather Bureau headquarters, working directly for Dr. Francis Reichelderfer. In 1949 Reichelderfer assigned Simpson to Hawaii to be in charge of consolidating the Weather Bureau’s Pacific operations. There he founded a weather observation station on Mauna Loa, studied Kona lows, and flew a research mission into Typhoon Marge aboard a specifically equipped Air Force weather plane. He continually urged Weather Bureau management to fund modest levels of hurricane research, but budgets during the early 1950s did not allow for such studies. Then the devastating 1954 Atlantic hurricane season changed the minds of several New England congressmen, and a special appropriation was passed to improve the Weather Bureau’s hurricane warning system. Reichelderfer appointed Simpson to head up the National Hurricane Research Project in 1955. For the next four years, Simpson navigated NHRP through the shoals of bureaucratic uncertainty. Once NHRP was assured longevity in 1959, Simpson left the Project to finish his doctorate in meteorology at the University of Chicago, studying under his friend Dr. Herbert Riehl. On completing his degree in 1962, he returned to Washington to become the Weather Bureau’s Deputy Director of Research (Severe Storms), where Severe Storms Project (later to become the National Severe Storms Laboratory). In 1961 he obtained a National Science Foundation grant to study seeding hurricanes with silver iodide. He put together an experiment using NHRP and United States Navy aircraft to seed Hurricane Esther. The encouraging results led the Weather Bureau and the Navy to start Project Stormfury in 1962, with Simpson as Director. He headed up the Project for the next three years, including the seeding of Hurricane Beulah in 1963. He married Joanne Malkus in 1965 and persuaded her to take over as Director of Stormfury for the next two years as he became Director of Operations for the Weather Bureau. In 1967 Simpson became Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center. Simpson reorganized NHC, making it separate from the Miami Weather Bureau office, and established the position of ‘hurricane specialist’ for NHC’s senior forecasters. He directed NHC from 1968 to 1974, during which time he co-developed the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) with Herbert Saffir, established a dedicated satellite unit at NHC, studied neutercanes, and began issuing advisories on subtropical storms. His controversial remarks to Vice President Spiro Agnew in the wake of Hurricane Camille led to an upgrade of the Air Force and Navy Hurricane Hunter squadrons, and persuaded NOAA (then ESSA) to improve their hurricane research aircraft. He retired from government service in 1974, turning NHC over to his Deputy Director Neil Frank. The Simpsons returned to Washington, where they established a weather consulting firm, Simpson Weather Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia. At this time he became a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. Both he and his wife joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in the Environmental Sciences department. In that capacity, he participated in several international scientific experiments, such as GATE, MONEX, ITEX, and Toga COARE. He co-authored the book The Hurricane and Its Impact (1981) with Herbert Riehl, and was a senior editor and contributing author to Hurricane! Coping with Disaster (2003). He was an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York. He was the recipient of Gold Medals from both the United States and from France, and of the Cleveland Abbe Award from the AMS. Simpson, whose wife died in 2010, resided in Washington, D.C. until his death after a stroke (died 2014): “The problem of evacuating people and getting warnings out that are understood and which will evoke a response in the people who need to move has always been a difficult one. When I first came down to the Hurricane Center in 1967, I tried to come to grips with how we could do a better job of communicating. And that’s very difficult; scientists communicate with each other very easily, but a scientist trying to communicate with a person who is a non-scientist on a technical problem is very difficult at times. So it occurred to me if we could find some means of expressing the gradations of risks that people have in a hurricane, it would help people like the American Red Cross and the Emergency Management people to decide how best to make their decisions and to deal with the people they were responsible to.”

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