Daily Update: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

02-24 - Inter gravissimas

We have no Saints today to honor (and none for several more days). On this date in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII issued the Papal Bull Inter gravissimas mandating a major Calendar reform. And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th.

The name of the bull consists of the first two words of the bull, which starts: “Inter gravissimas pastoralis officii nostri curas…” (“Among the most serious duties of our pastoral office…”). The Gregorian calendar reform contained two parts, a reform of the Julian calendar as used up to Pope Gregory’s time, together with a reform of the lunar cycle used by the Church along with the Julian calendar for calculating dates of Easter. Gregory’s bull did not ordain any particular year-numbering system, but used the Anno Domini system which counts years from the traditional Incarnation of Jesus, and which had spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. That is the same year-numbering system that is the de facto international standard today. Though Gregory’s reform was enacted in the most solemn of forms available to the Church, in fact the bull had no authority beyond the Catholic Church and the Papal States. The changes which he was proposing were changes to the civil calendar over which the church had no authority, and the changes required adoption by the civil authorities in each country to have legal effect. Only four Catholic countries adopted the new calendar on the date specified by the bull. Other Catholic countries experienced some delay before adopting the reform; and non-Catholic countries, not being subject to the decrees of the Pope, initially rejected or simply ignored the reform altogether, although they all eventually adopted it (one of the last holdouts was Turkey, who adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1926). And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th.

I woke up at 8:00 am, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I then started my laundry, and Richard went to Winn-Dixie for some groceries and made bacon and biscuits, which I ate while reading the paper. We then watched CSI: Cyber “The Walking Dead”. I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance. And I started the  Weekly Virus Scan, and finished my laundry.

Richard took a nap from about 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and I spent my time working on Advance Daily Update Drafts. I also tried giving Nedra a call, but reached a voicemail box and left a message not knowing if it was her number or not. We watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. And for some reason I am tired, so I am going to do this Daily Update and then take a hot bath. Our #5 ranked LSU Baseball team is playing a single away game with Lamar tonight; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, with again no Saints to honor, so we will remember the Last Land Invasion of Britain in 1797. And Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election on March 5th. I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shorts, and get my salad supplies from the grocery so that I can make my Lunch Salads for Friday and Sunday. Our New Orleans Pelicans will play a home game with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and our LSU Women’s Basketball team will play a home game with Florida; I will record the scores of those games in Friday’s Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from Harold Ramis, American actor, director, and writer. Born in 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, his parents were shopkeepers on the city’s far North Side, and he had a Jewish upbringing. After high school he attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, from which he graduated in 1966. He had begun writing satirical plays in college; he worked in a mental institution in St. Louis for seven months (which he said well prepared him for working with actors), and avoided the draft by taking methamphetamine before his draft physical. Following his work in St. Louis, Ramis returned to Chicago, where by 1968, he was a substitute teacher at the inner-city Robert Taylor Homes. He also became associated with the guerrilla television collective TVTV, headed by his college friend Michael Shamberg, and wrote freelance for the Chicago Daily News. Additionally, he had begun studying and performing with Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe. Ramis’s newspaper writing led to his becoming joke editor at Playboy. After leaving Second City for a time and returning in 1972, having been replaced in the main cast by John Belushi, Ramis worked his way back as Belushi’s deadpan foil. In 1974 Belushi brought Ramis and other Second City performers, including Ramis’s frequent future collaborator, Bill Murray, to New York City to work together on the radio program The National Lampoon Radio Hour (which ran November 1973 to December 1974). During this time Ramis, Belushi, Murray, Joe Flaherty, Christopher Guest, and Gilda Radner starred in the revue The National Lampoon Show, the successor to National Lampoon’s Lemmings. Later, Ramis became a performer on, and head writer of, the late-night sketch-comedy television series SCTV during its first three years (1976–1979). Characterizations by Ramis on SCTV included corrupt Dialing for Dollars host/SCTV station manager Maurice “Moe” Green, amiable cop Officer Friendly, exercise guru Swami Bananananda, board chairman Allan “Crazy Legs” Hirschman, and home dentist Mort Finkel. His celebrity impressions on SCTV included Kenneth Clark and Leonard Nimoy. Ramis left SCTV to pursue a film career and wrote a script with National Lampoon magazine’s Douglas Kenney which would eventually become National Lampoon’s Animal House. They were later joined by a third collaborator on the script, Chris Miller. The 1978 film followed the struggle between a rowdy college fraternity house and the college dean. The film’s humor was raunchy for its time. Animal House “broke all box-office records for comedies” and earned $141 million. Ramis next co-wrote the comedy Meatballs, starring Bill Murray. The movie was a commercial success and became the first of six film collaborations between Murray and Ramis. His third film and his directorial debut was Caddyshack, which he wrote with Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray. The film starred Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray. Like Ramis’s previous two films, Caddyshack was also a commercial success. In 1982 Ramis was attached to direct the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Confederacy of Dunces  by John Kennedy Toole. The film was to star John Belushi and Richard Pryor, but the project was aborted. In 1984 Ramis collaborated with Dan Aykroyd on the screenplay for Ghostbusters, which became one of the biggest comedy hits of the summer, in which he also starred as Dr. Egon Spengler, a role he reprised for the 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II (which he also co-wrote with Aykroyd). His later film Groundhog Day (1993), which he co-wrote with Danny Rubin, has been called “Ramis’ masterpiece”. His films were noted for attacking “the smugness of institutional life … with an impish good [will] that is unmistakably American”. They are also noted for “Ramis’s signature tongue-in-cheek pep talks”. Sloppiness and improv are also important aspects of his work. Ramis frequently depicted the qualities of “anger, curiosity, laziness, and woolly idealism” in “a hyper-articulate voice”. He had a role in the 1997 film As Good As It Gets as Helen Hunt’s son’s doctor. Through the 1990s he took the Ghostbusters franchise to television, and during the 2000s he took the franchise into video games. In an interview in the documentary American Storytellers in 2003, Ramis said he hoped to make a film about Emma Goldman (even pitching Disney with the idea of having Bette Midler star) but that none of the movie studios were interested and that it would have been difficult to raise the funding. In 2004 he turned down the opportunity to direct the Bernie Mac – Ashton Kutcher film Guess Who, then under the working title of The Dinner Party, because he considered it to be poorly written. That same year Ramis began filming the low-budget film The Ice Harvest, “his first attempt to make a comic film noir”. Ramis spent six weeks trying to get the film greenlit because he had difficulty reaching an agreement about stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton’s salaries. The film received a mixed reaction. His typical directing fee, as of 2004, was $5 million. In 2004 Ramis was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and in 2005 was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival’s Distinguished Screenwriter Award.  He had a daughter by his first wife (whose godfather is Bill Murray), and two sons by his second wife. A Chicago Cubs fan, he attended home games every year to conduct the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field. In May 2010 Ramis contracted an infection that resulted in complications from the autoimmune disease vasculitis. He lost the ability to walk, but after relearning to do so, he suffered a relapse of the disease in late 2011 (died 2014) ”It’s hard for winners to do comedy. Comedy is inherently subversive. We represent the underdog as comedy usually speaks for the lower classes. We attack the winners.”

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