Daily Update: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

12-24 - Mary and Joseph>

No Saints or Antiphons; the Christian world awaits the birth of the Savior.

Before the reforms of the Vatican II Council (1965), the Church celebrated the Christmas Vigil Mass, the Mass at Midnight, the Mass at Dawn, and the Mass During the Day. The celebration of the Vigil Mass was considered to occur before Christmas, with the other Masses being considered the Christmas Masses. Today, the Vigil is a true Christmas Mass (often a parish will have two Christmas Vigil masses) and the Mass at Midnight is now the Mass During the Night, to be celebrated anytime between 9:00 pm Christmas Eve and 4:00 am Christmas Day; after 4:00 am the Mass at Dawn is celebrated, and all celebrations later in the day are celebrated as the Mass During the Day. (My parish church will have two Vigil masses, the Mass During the Night at 10:00 pm, the Mass at Dawn at 7:00 am, and two Masses During the Day.) In 1914 an unofficial Christmas Truce took place between British and German troops in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, after a call earlier that year by Pope Benedict XV for an official truce between the warring governments had been ignored. The following year, a few units arranged ceasefires, but the truces were not nearly as widespread as in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting fraternisation. And on December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast to that date, the astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman of Apollo 8 surprised the world with a reading of the Creation account from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon. In 1969 the United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp (Scott # 1371) to commemorate the Apollo 8 mission and the reading. Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist activist, responded by suing the United States government, alleging violations of the First Amendment. The suit was dismissed by the Supreme Court due to lack of jurisdiction.

Last night Richard and I watched CSI: Cyber “Shades of Grey” via CBS On Demand.

I woke up at 9:00 am, posted to Facebook that today is Christmas Eve, and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. Richard had gone to the store when I came out to the front room, which annoyed me because I had things on my list that need to be gotten. I read the Thursday papers and ate my breakfast toast (I had to borrow a slice of bread from Liz Ellen’s loaf of bread). Richard returned from the store, and then went out again to the bakery for pies for dessert tomorrow. I came to the computer and did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Ninth and Final Day of my Christmas Novena, and said the Seventh Day of my Holy Family Novena. I then marked and recorded my folding money for Where’s George?.com. I then called our satsuma orchard person here in town, and was told that they had satsumas at their house.

Liz Ellen and I left the house at 12:30 pm, but I had to turn around and go back to the house because Richard called me to tell me I had left my wallet on the desk. We stopped and got Liz Ellen’s satsumas, so she is very happy with the number and quantity of satsumas she will be bringing back to Kentucky. At the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing, and made $3.00 from the previous batch of tickets. We ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, then went to Wal-Mart, where I got a flagpole for my LSU flag and some Christmas candy (they were out of Christmas M&Ms; in fact, they had the Valentines Day candy out), and Liz Ellen bought herself a Cube ice chest. We then went to Cash Magic, where I lost $20.00 playing Video Poker.

We arrived home at 3:00 pm, and I wrote out my check for the collection at church. We opted not to set up the Luminaria Candles, as the weather was still very unsettled (it was nice earlier, but got more unsettled as the day progressed). Richard took photos of Liz Ellen and me with his phone, then Liz Ellen and I left in her car at about 3:35 pm, and went to the 4:00 pm Christmas Vigil Mass (lots of families with very young kids). We then stopped at Tobacco Plus after church so that Liz Ellen could get gas for her car. When we got home Richard took photos of Liz Ellen and me with Liz Ellen’s phone and my phone, then we lit the Advent Candles (leaving them lit to burn down, or at least to burn until Liz Ellen goes to bed), and lit two Christmas Candles, one outside the front door and one outside the back door. I then took videos of Liz Ellen with her lighted hoop outside with her phone and my phone, against the backdrop of our Christmas Lights. I then came to the computer to finish today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will take a photo of the Christmas Tree before going to sleep.

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of Christmas (Alleluia!), a Holy Day of Obligation for the faithful, and the First Day in the Octave of Christmas. Tomorrow is also a civil holiday (so I will put out my flag), and the First Day of Christmas. I will put out my flag in honor of tomorrow’s Civil Holiday of Christmas, and Richard and I will head to the casino. Tomorrow is the first of two Heavy Business Volume Days for the Christmas Holiday. On my breaks I plan to do some reading. The Full Moon will arrive at 5:12 am. Our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game tomorrow at 11:00 am with the Miami Heat. In the afternoon we give out presents from under the tree, and we will have Christmas Dinner (with Richard, Liz Ellen, Michelle, Cody, and me).

This Christmas Eve evening brings us a Parting Quote from Harold Pinter, English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, political activist and poet. Born in 1930 in Hackney, East London, to Jewish parents, after publishing poetry and acting in school plays as a teenager in London, he began his professional theatrical career in 1951, touring Ireland and then performing in repertory throughout England for several years. Beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter’s writing career spanned over 50 years and produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches, and letters. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film. His screenplay adaptations of others’ works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He directed almost 50 stage, television, and film productions and acted extensively in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others’ works. In 1981, Pinter stated that he was not inclined to write plays explicitly about political subjects; yet in the mid-1980s he began writing overtly political plays. This “new direction” in his work and his left-wing political activism stimulated additional critical debate. Pinter received numerous awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play in 1967 for The Homecoming, the BAFTA awards, the French Légion d’honneur, and 20 honorary degrees. Festivals and symposia were devoted to him and his work. In awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, the Swedish Academy note “That he occupies a position as a modern classic is illustrated by his name entering the language as an adjective used to describe a particular atmosphere and environment in drama: ‘Pinteresque’”. Despite frail health after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer in December of 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett’s one-act monologue Krapp’s Last Tape for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre in October 2006 (died 2008): “US foreign policy could be best defined as follows: kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in. It is as simple and as crude as that. It can hardly be said to be a complicated foreign policy. What is interesting about it is that it is so incredibly successful.”

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