Daily Update: Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Today is Easter Sunday, the most important Feast of the Church Year, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Today is the First Day in the Octave of Easter.

Today begins the Easter Season of the Church, which lasts until the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. The modern English term Easter is speculated to have developed from Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre or Eoaster, which itself developed prior to 899. The name refers to Ēostur-monath, a month of the Germanic calendar attested by the Venerable Bede as named after the goddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism. Bede notes that Ēostur-monath was the equivalent to the month of April, and that feasts held in her honor during Ēostur-monath had died out by the time of his writing, replaced with the Christian custom of Easter. (Ēostre saved a bird whose wings had frozen off by turning it into a rabbit. Since the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that’s where the Easter Bunny comes from.) In all Romance languages the name of the Easter festival is derived from the Latin Pascha, or Passover. There was dispute in the early Church as to whether Easter ought to be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan, or on the Sunday after Passover, or some other date; presently, most Christians date Easter as being on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. (There is a question in some circles as to how you can say Jesus was in the tomb for three days, when he died on Friday at 3:00 pm and arose from the dead very early on Sunday morning. The answer is that our concept of counting from zero (so that Friday is zero, Saturday is one, and Sunday is two) is a modern concept; throughout history, most peoples counted from one. So the count in New Testament times becomes that Jesus went into the tomb on Friday (part of one day), was there through Saturday (that’s two days), and arose from the dead on Sunday (on the third day.) The Octave of Easter lasts from today through next Sunday. The Octave of a feast refers to an eight-day festal period commencing with that feast. Presently in the Roman Catholic Church, Easter is one of only two solemnities that carries an octave, the second being Christmas Day, although until 1969 many feasts had octaves.

Our #10 ranked LSU Tigers lost the third game of their baseball three-game away series with #2 Texas A&M by the score of 1 to 3; our Tigers will play a single home game with Tulane on Tuesday, March 29th. I found myself, to my great regret, unable to go to the Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00 pm; when I woke up at 6:00 pm from my nap, I could barely hobble to the bathroom. Once back in bed I posted to Facebook that due to my back I was unable to go to the Easter Vigil, and (still in bed) used WordPress for Android to finish my Daily Update for Saturday. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their home Pro Basketball game with the Toronto Raptors by the score of 91 to 112.

I had hopes of getting to work today; at 10:00 pm, when I got up to go to the bathroom, on my way back to bed I missed the bed, and Richard had to get up to help pull me up and get me back into bed. When I woke up at 12:30 am, I was still very hobbled, and called in to the Casino. Richard put another Icy Hot® patch on my lower back, and went to work. (He was on Macau Mini Baccarat, closed that table, closed a Blackjack table in one of the Overflow pits, and ended up on Pai Gow.) I finished reading The Truelove by Patrick O’Brian, and went back to bed, hearing thunderstorms when I would wake up occasionally.

When I woke up again at 8:30 am, my back was still out, but I was able to move much better (if my back had been this good at 12:30 am, I’d have gone to work). I did my Book Devotional Reading (while eating the chocolate bars I was going to eat after Mass last night), then did my Internet Devotional Reading, said the Third Day of my Divine Mercy Novena, and said the Second Day of my Annunciation Novena. I then posted to Facebook an update on my back, and had an exchange of text messages with Amy (Matthew and Callie’s friend and roommate). I then did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Truelove by Patrick O’Brian, and posted to Facebook that today is Easter Sunday (Alleluia!) At 10:30 am I went to feed the cats and to get the papers; our (unbagged) Acadiana Advocate was a papier-mâché project, so I got some quarters out of Richard’s hat and drove to the bakery to get the last Acadiana Advocate out of the newspaper machine. Back home, I made my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday, and made my donation online to Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl for $96.00, which is how much I had put into my Rice Bowl. I then ate my lunch salad and read the Sunday papers; our local paper had the headline “Active Shooter Training”, so if I ever want to be an active shooter I can get training. (They meant training to deal with possible active shooters, of course.) Richard came home with some more Icy Hot® patches for me, and an Icy Hot® Back and Hip Pain Therapy system, and put another Icy Hot® patch on my back. I started reading The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O’Brian, and Richard and I then watched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) uncut on TV, which is the only way to watch that movie. I then came to the computer and did some Advance Daily Update Drafts. I then continued reading The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O’Brian, and at 4:45 pm we had dinner: grilled pork steaks, whole boiled potatoes, and canned corn. When I am done with my dinner and with this Daily Update, I will take off my Icy Hot® patch, and try out both the adjustable Back Brace and the Icy Hot® Back and Hip Pain Therapy system, to see which I will try using tomorrow. Then I will get ready for bed.

Tomorrow is Easter Monday (Alleluia!), the Second Day in the Octave of Easter. We have no Saints to honor, but we will recall that in 1979 a coolant leak at the Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania led to the core overheating and a partial melt down. I sincerely hope that I can return to work tomorrow, and we will work our eight hours, with me reading magazines on my breaks. After work we will go to the Pharmacy so that I can pick up my Over the Counter medication. In the afternoon I may take a nap, but I will wake up for Jeopardy! and to do my Daily Update. Our New Orleans Pelicans will play a home Pro Basketball game with the New York Knicks tomorrow evening; I will post the score in my Tuesday Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on this Easter Sunday (Alleluia!) afternoon comes to us from Richard N. Frye, American scholar. Born in 1920 in Birmingham, Alabama, he first attended the University of Illinois, where he received an BA in history and philosophy in 1939. He received his MA from Harvard University in 1940. Frye served with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. He was stationed in Afghanistan and traveled extensively in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Upon his return, he received his PhD from Harvard in 1946, in Asiatic history. His professional areas of interest were Iranian philology and the history of Iran and Central Asia before 1000 CE. He spoke fluent Russian, German, Arabic, Persian, Pashto, French, Uzbek, and Turkish, and had extensive knowledge of Avestan, Pahlavi, Sogdian, and other Iranian languages and dialects, both extinct and current. He was a member of the Harvard faculty from 1948 until 1990. His first book, The Near East and the Great Powers, was published in 1951. Although Frye was mostly known for his works about Iran and Iranian Central Asia, the scope of his studies was much wider and included Byzantine, Caucasian, and Ottoman history, Eastern Turkistan, ancient and medieval Iranian art, Islamic art, Sufism, Chinese and Japanese archeology, and a variety of Iranian and non-Iranian languages including Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Khotanese, and Bactrian, New Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and even Chinese, beside research languages which include French, German, Italian, and Russian. Frye helped found the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, the first Iranian studies program in America. He also served as faculty, guest lecturer, or visiting scholar at Habibiya College in Kabul (1942–44), Frankfurt University (1959–60). Hamburg University (1968–69), Pahlavi University of Shiraz (1970–76), and University of Tajikistan (1990–92). Frye also served as Director of the Asia Institute in Shiraz (1970–1975), was on the Board of Trustees of the Pahlavi University at Shiraz (1974–78), was Chairman of the Committee on Inner Asian Studies, at Harvard (1983–89), and was Editor of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute (1970–1975 and 1987–99). Frye was also directly responsible for inviting Iranian scholars as distinguished visiting fellows to Harvard University, under a fellowship program initiated by Henry Kissinger. Among Frye’s students was author Michael Crichton, whose 1976 novel Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in A.D. 922 was loosely based on Frye’s translation of Ibn Fadlan’s account of his travels up the river Volga. (The film version of the book, The 13th Warrior, came out in 1999.) A ceremony was held in Iran on June 27th, 2004 to pay tribute to the six-decade endeavors of Frye on his lifetime contribution to Iranian Studies, research work on the Persian language, and the history and culture of Iran. That same year he spoke at an architectural conference in Tehran, expressing his dismay at hasty modernization that ignores the beauties of traditional Iranian architectural styles. In 2005 he spoke at UCLA, encouraging the Iranians present to cherish their culture and identity. Frye expressed his wish to be buried next to the Zayandeh River in Isfahan (which he also included in his will). This request was approved by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2007. Two other American scholars of Iranian Studies, Arthur Pope and Phyllis Ackerman, are already buried there. In 2010 a house in Isfahan was gifted by the Iranian government to  Frye in recognition of his services to Iranian studies. On June 8th, 2014, the family of Dr. Frye decided to cremate his remains after waiting more than 2 months for official Iranian permission to bury him in Isfahan. His death coincided with growing resentment by Iranian hard-liners over signs of reconciliation with the United States after decades of estrangement. It was not clear what the family intended to do with his ashes (died 2014): “Arabs no longer understand the role of Iran and the Persian language in the formation of Islamic culture. Perhaps they wish to forget the past, but in so doing they remove the bases of their own spiritual, moral and cultural being…without the heritage of the past and a healthy respect for it…there is little chance for stability and proper growth.”

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