Daily Update: Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

04-26 - John Wilkes Booth Captured

With no Saints to honor today, we note that on this date in 1865 John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was shot and fatally wounded by his pursuers. (Several writers have pursued the theory that Booth was not the man killed, and actually escaped to live either in Texas or Japan; but it has been fairly well established it was Booth who was shot on this date, and that he was really most sincerely dead.)

Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger, an intelligence officer, learned that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, and his associate David Herold (both the subject of a massive manhunt since the assassination of the President on April 14th in Washington, D.C.) were at Richard H. Garrett’s farm, just south of Port Royal, Caroline County, Virginia. Before dawn on Wednesday, April 26th, the soldiers caught up with the fugitives hiding in Garrett’s tobacco barn. David Herold surrendered, but Booth refused Conger’s demand to surrender, saying “I prefer to come out and fight”, and the soldiers then set the barn on fire. As Booth moved about inside the blazing barn, Sergeant Boston Corbett shot him. According to Corbett’s later account, he fired at Booth because the fugitive “raised his pistol to shoot” at them. Conger’s report to Secretary Stanton, however, stated that Corbett shot Booth “without order, pretext or excuse”, and recommended that Corbett be punished for disobeying orders to take Booth alive. Booth, fatally wounded in the neck, and paralyzed by a severed spinal cord, was dragged from the barn to the porch of Garrett’s farmhouse.  In his last dying moments, he reportedly whispered “tell my mother I died for my country”. Asking that his hands be raised to his face so he could see them, Booth uttered his last words, “Useless, useless,” and died as dawn was breaking, at the age of 26. In Booth’s pockets were found a compass, a candle, pictures of five women including his fiancée Lucy Hale, and his diary, where he had written of Lincoln’s death, “Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment.”

When I woke up today my right eye was bothering me. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work took off my contacts, put on my glasses (which I wore all day), and did my Internet Devotional Reading. When we got to the casino we signed the Early Out list. When one signs the list, one is to put one’s hours already worked during the pay period down, as those on the list with the most hours already worked get out first (not counting those who have Golden Tickets or birthdays). So, Richard asked me what our hours were, and I told him, “forty two-five”  (40.25). He thought I had said, “forty-two five” (42.50), and that’s what he put down. Our pencil noticed, and Richard fixed it, but Richard was not happy with me, because if you highball your hours (on purpose or accidentally), you are banned from the Early Out list for three months. According to Richard, we are not banned, because the pencil was looking out for us (which, to me, smells a lot like favoritism in our favor), but I am not resting easy until Friday and Saturday with our shift manager goes by with no ban. (And the next time Richard asks me how many hours we have, I will tell him “forty point two-five” or whatever.) As it turned out, we did not get out early; in fact, only two people got out, and they had more hours than us. Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, with a Blackjack table added to his string for the first few hours of the shift, and I was on Mini Baccarat, dealing to two guys who were there until 9:30 am or so.

When we left the casino I had a pack of used dice waiting for me at the security office (which, in the fullness of time, I will send to Liz Ellen) On our way home I got back to reading The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O’Brian. Once home, I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper, then I finished reading The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O’Brian while Richard mowed the grass. I then sent a text to Michelle asking her if she would like to have dinner with me; she answered back that Thursday after 5:00 pm would work out best for her, so that is when we will meet. Before I went to sleep, the doorbell rang; it was a guy offering to pressure-wash our house for a hundred bucks, which Richard has been wanting to do or have done. Richard accepted the guy’s offer and got $100 cash for him. (The pressure washing kit Richard had gotten from Wal-Mart can now go back to Wal-Mart; the receipt for it is still in the truck.)

I woke up at about 5:30 pm, and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O’Brian. Then Richard got me a burger and fries from Crispy Cajun (they remembered this time no pickles, but I should have said no onions, as well), which I am now eating while doing today’s Daily Update. Our #8 ranked LSU Tigers are currently playing a single away Baseball game with Tulane; I will post the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, so we will instead note that on tomorrow’s date in 1865 the steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700 people. I will be doing my laundry and the Weekly Computer Maintenance in the morning, and putting our 2015 Louisiana Income Tax Return in the mail so that we can get our refund (assuming the State of Louisiana has enough money left to pay it). In the afternoon I will either take my Casino pants, aprons, and shirts to Uniforms at the casino to exchange them, and get new sets of everything I wear under said uniforms from Wal-Mart, or I will go down to Lafayette to put in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble. It is also worth noting that Richard and I are seriously rethinking our plans to go to New Orleans on Sunday for the final day of JazzFest; the crowds have been getting really out of hand, with what looks like the total attendance of 400,000 all clustered in front of the Acura Stage.

Our Parting Quote on this Tuesday evening comes to us from Jack Valenti, American political lobbyist and movie industry leader. Born in 1921 in Houston, Texas to Italian immigrants, he graduated from high school at the age of 15. During World War II he was a lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps, flew 51 combat missions as the pilot-commander of a B-25 attack bomber, and received four decorations. He was an alumnus of the University of Houston where he worked on The Daily Cougar newspaper staff and served as president of the university’s student government before being awarded a B.B.A. in 1946. He later received an M.B.A. from Harvard University. In 1952 he co-founded Weekley & Valenti, an advertising/political consulting agency. The agency was in charge of the press during the November 1963 visit of President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson to Dallas, Texas; following the assassination of President Kennedy, Valenti was present in the famous photograph of Lyndon Johnson’s swearing in aboard Air Force One, and rode with the new president to Washington. He then became the first “special assistant” to Johnson’s White House and lived in the White House for the first two months of Johnson’s presidency. In 1964 Johnson gave Valenti the responsibility to handle relations with the Republican Congressional leadership, particularly Gerald Ford and Charles Halleck from the House and Senator Everett Dirksen. In 1966 Valenti, at the insistence of Universal Studios chief Lew Wasserman, and with Johnson’s consent, resigned his White House commission and became the president of the Motion Picture Association of America. With Valenti’s arrival in Hollywood, he and Wasserman became life-long allies who together orchestrated and controlled how Hollywood would conduct business for the next several decades. In 1968 Valenti created the MPAA film rating system. The system initially comprised four distinct ratings: G, M, R, and X. The M rating would soon be replaced by GP, which was later changed to PG. The X rating immediately proved troublesome, since it was not trademarked and therefore was used freely by the pornography industry, with which it became most associated. Films such as Midnight Cowboy and A Clockwork Orange were assumed to be pornographic because they carried the X rating. The PG-13 rating was added in 1984 to provide a greater range of distinction for audiences, and in 1990 the NC-17 rating was introduced as a trademarked “adults only” replacement for the non-trademarked X-rating. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Valenti became notorious for his colorful attacks on the Sony Betamax Video Cassette Recorder (VCR), which the MPAA feared would devastate the movie industry. Despite his prediction, the home video market ultimately came to be the mainstay of movie studio revenues throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, until the DVD displaced the VCR in the American living room. In 1998 he lobbied for the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, arguing that copyright infringement via the Internet would severely damage the record and movie industries. In 2003 Valenti found himself at the center of the so-called screener debate, as the MPAA barred studios and many independent producers from sending screener copies of their films to critics and voters in various awards shows. Under mounting industry pressure and a court injunction, Valenti backed down in 2004, narrowly avoiding a massive and embarrassing antitrust lawsuit against the MPAA. His salary in 2004 was reported to be $1.35 million, which made him the seventh-highest paid Washington trade group chief, according to the National Journal. In August 2004, Valenti, then 82 years old, retired and became involved in technology-related venture capital activities, including joining the Advisory Board of Legend Ventures, where he advised on media investment opportunities. He also remained a supporter of causes linked to his Italian American heritage and was a member of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) for more than 20 years. Valenti became the first President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, an organization founded by philanthropists Edward W. Scott and Adam Waldman in 2004. Under his leadership, Friends of the Global Fight oversaw a steady increase in U.S. funding for the Global Fund, resulting in a large-scale, positive impact in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (died 2007): ”In Hollywood, you’re a veteran if you’ve had a job of more than six weeks’ tenure with one company.”

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