Daily Update: Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Hilary

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Hillary, Bishop and Doctor (died 368). And today is the birthday of my Internet friend Dwanna (1962).

Today’s Saint was born c. 300 in Poitiers, France to wealthy, polytheistic, pagan nobility. The early life of Hillary was uneventful as he married, had children, and studied on his own. Through his studies he came to believe in salvation through good works, then in monotheism. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted to Christianity by the time he had finished reading the New Testament. Hilary lived the faith so well he was made bishop of Poitiers from 353 to 368. He opposed the emperor’s attempt to run Church matters and was exiled; he used the time in exile to write works explaining the faith. His teaching and writings converted many, and in an attempt to reduce his notoriety he was returned to the small town of Poitiers where his enemies hoped he would fade into obscurity. However, his writings continued to convert pagans. He introduced Eastern theology to the Western Church, fought Arianism, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1851 (nearly fifteen hundred years after his death). He is the Patron Saint of backward children, and his aid is invoked against snakes and snakebites. One also runs across his name in English novels; in the context of English educational and legal institutions Saint Hilary’s festival lies at the start of the Hilary Term which begins in January. And today is the birthday of my Internet friend Dwanna (1962).

Last night our New Orleans Pelicans lost their away game with the Los Angeles Lakers by the score of 91 to 95.

I woke up at 8:30 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and read the morning paper while eating my breakfast toast. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan.

At 11:15 am I left the house; my first stop was to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased gas for my car, and purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. I then drove to Lafayette; I ate my lunch at Piccadilly Cafeteria, and continued reading The Ionian Mission by Patrick O’Brian. I then went to Barnes and Noble, and put in a few hours of comfy chair time while continuing my reading of Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell. I left Barnes and Noble at 3:00 pm; at the Wal-Mart on Ambassador Caffrey, I purchased bread and breakfast bars. I got a text message from Richard that he was napping, and that the funeral of the father of our friend Chookie here in town will be at 1:00 pm tomorrow.

I arrived home at 4:30 pm, and watched Jeopardy!; I then finished my laundry and ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts. I did not feel like eating (my stomach has been a bit not well since about 3:00 pm), so I then got on the computer and organized my March 2016 photos for my weblog. And I will now finish this Daily Update, and take a bath and do some reading. Our LSU Men’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with Mississippi tonight, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the Sacramento Kings tonight; I will record the scores of the games in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor (and will have none to honor for a few days). In the meantime, we note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the date in 1784 when the United States Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, thereby ending the Revolutionary War (in our favor). I will be taking down the crèche tomorrow (a few days late; I should have done this on Monday), and making my salads for Friday and Sunday. Our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing an away game with Vanderbilt tomorrow evening, and I will record the score of the game in Friday’s Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday Evening comes to us from Teddy Pendergrass, American soul singer and songwriter. Born in 1950 as Theodore Pendergrass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his father left the family early, and was murdered when his son was twelve years old. He grew up in a local Philadelphia slum and sung often at church, becoming a junior deacon, and took up drums. He dropped out of high school in eleventh grade to pursue a musical career; he became a drummer for local groups, eventually ending up in The Cadillacs. In 1970 Blue Notes founder Harold Melvin invited him to play drum for his group; however, upon hearing Pendergrass sing from his drum set during a performance, Melvin promptly made him the lead singer. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes landed a recording deal with Philadelphia International Records, in 1971; their first single the next year was “I Miss You”, followed by their biggest hit “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”, which brought the group to the mainstream with the song reaching the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 while also reaching number-one on the soul singles chart. By 1975 Pendergrass and Melvin were at odds, mainly over monetary issues and personality conflicts. Despite the fact that Pendergrass sang all of the group’s songs, Melvin was controlling the group’s finances; and at one point, Pendergrass wanted the group to be renamed Teddy Pendergrass & the Blue Notes because fans kept mistaking him as Melvin. Pendergrass left the group in 1977 and released his self-titled album, which went platinum on the strength of the disco hit, “I Don’t Love You Anymore”. His single “Close the Door” was a hit the next year, with “Love TKO” becoming a solid hit single in 1970. Between 1977 and 1981, Pendergrass landed five consecutive platinum albums, which was a then-record setting number for a rhythm and blues artist. By early 1982 he was the leading R&B male artist of his day, usurping competition which included his closest rivals Marvin Gaye and Barry White. On March 18th, 1982, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia on Lincoln Drive, the brakes failed on his 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, causing the car to hit a guard rail, cross into the opposite traffic lane, and hit two trees. Pendergrass and his passenger, Tenika Watson, a nightclub performer with whom he was acquainted, were trapped in the wreckage for 45 minutes. While Watson walked away from the accident with minor injuries, Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He got well-wishes from thousands of his fans during his recovery. Philadelphia International released two more albums, including material recorded before his accident; these albums did not achieve chart success, but completed Pendergrass’s contact with the record company. Pendergrass decided to return to the studio to work on new music and struggled to find a recording deal, eventually signing a deal and completing physical therapy, He released Love Language in 1984, which included the pop ballad “Hold Me”, featuring a then unknown Whitney Houston. On July 13th, 1985, Pendergrass made an emotional return to the stage at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia in front of a live audience of over 99,000 and 2 billion television viewers. It was the 35-year-old’s first live performance following his 1982 accident. He tearfully thanked the audience for keeping him in their well-wishes and then performed the Ashford & Simpson classic, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”. In 1988, Pendergrass scored his first R&B number-one hit in nearly a decade when the new jack swing-styled “Joy”, off his album of the same name, was released. A video of the song was in heavy rotation on BET. It was also his final Hot 100 charted single, peaking at number 77. Pendergrass kept recording through the 1990s. One of the singer’s final hits was the hip-hop leaning “Believe in Love”, released in 1994. In 1996 he starred alongside Stephanie Mills in the touring production of the gospel musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. In 1998 he released his autobiography, Truly Blessed. He did a concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California on February 14th, 2002 entitled “The Power of Love”. The concert became the album From Teddy, With Love, which was released on the Razor & Tie record label later that year. It was his second live album (after Live! Coast to Coast, 1979) and final live album. In his later years, “Wake Up Everybody” (from his Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes days) has been covered by a diverse range of acts from Simply Red to Patti LaBelle and was chosen as a rallying cry during the 2004 Presidential campaign by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds to mobilize voters. In 2006 Pendergrass announced his retirement from the music business. In 2007 he briefly returned to performing to participate in Teddy 25: A Celebration of Life, Hope & Possibilities, a 25th anniversary awards ceremony that marked his accident date, but also raised money for his charity, The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, and honored those who helped him since his accident (died 2010): “Life didn’t promise to be wonderful.”

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