Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint John I, Pope and Martyr (died 526). And today is the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year.
Born about 470 in Siena, Tuscany, he may have been be the “Deacon John” who signed the acta (ecclesiastic publication) of the Roman synods of 499 and 502; the fact that the Roman church only had seven deacons at the time makes identifying him with this person very likely. He he was known to have been a partisan of the Antipope Laurentius (reigned 498 until 506). For in a libellus written to Pope Symmachus in 506, John confessed his error in opposing him, condemned Peter of Altinum and Laurentius, and begged pardon of Symmachus. He might have been the “Deacon John” to whom Boethius, the 6th-Century philosopher, dedicated three of his five religious tractates, or treatises, written between 512 and 520. John was very frail when he was elected to the papacy as Pope John I in 523. Despite his protests, Pope John was sent by the Arian King Theodoric the Great (ruler of the Ostrogoths, a kingdom in present-day Italy) to Constantinople to secure a moderation of a decree against the Arians, issued in 523, of Emperor Justin, ruler of the Byzantine, or East Roman, Empire. King Theodoric threatened that if John should fail in his mission, there would be reprisals against the orthodox, or non-Arian, Catholics in the West. John proceeded to Constantinople (the first Pope known to have traveled to Constantinople during his papacy) with a considerable entourage; his religious companions included Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna, Bishop Eusebius of Fanum Fortunae, and Sabinus of Campania. His secular companions were the senators Flavius Theodorus, Inportunus, Agapitus, and the patrician Agapitus. Emperor Justin was recorded as receiving John honorably and promised to do everything the embassy asked of him, with the exception of restoring converts from Arianism-to-Catholicism to their original beliefs. Although John was successful in his mission, when he returned to Ravenna, Theodoric’s capital in Italy, Theodoric had John arrested on the suspicion of having conspired with Emperor Justin. John was imprisoned at Ravenna, where he died of neglect and ill treatment. His body was transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. Today is the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13 (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.
Last night our #8 ranked LSU Tigers beat Northwestern State in a single home College Baseball game by the score of 7 to 2.
I slept in today, and did not wake up until 10:00 am. I started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started my laundry, then read the morning paper. The guys showed up to take care of our electrical problems with the back porch, and I asked that they also look at our problems on the front porch as well. I did my Book Devotional Reading, then did my Internet Devotional Reading. I finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan. Richard went to get some new lights to put on the front porch; he also got me some lunch from McDonald’s, which I ate while at the computer. In due time the guys working on the electrical finished the back porch and the front porch, although it remains for dusk to see if the lights in both places do what they are supposed to do (i.e., that the ones on the front porch come on dusk to dawn, and that the ones on the back porch come on only when there is movement between dusk and dawn). I then finished my laundry and the Weekly Virus Scan. At 3:00 pm Richard took a nap, and I took the opportunity to finish reading Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, then I came to the computer to do my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Blue at the Mizzen by Patrick O’Brian. I then started re-reading Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It’s a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey Maturin Novels by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas.
At 6:00 pm Richard and I left the house, and went to D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse to eat dinner; after a few bites of my filet mignon, my esophageal dysphagia kicked up, and I had to take most of my meal home with me. We then went to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. And as of now (not quite 9:00 pm), my esophageal dysphagia has not yet eased up. I will take some more meat tenderizer, and hope it does ease up soon. (Note: it finally eased at 9:40 pm.)
Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor; instead, we will note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1536 execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry the Eighth of England. I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, and then I might go down to Lafayette. At some point I will purchase my salad supplies and make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. And our #8 ranked LSU Tigers will play the first game of a three-game home College Baseball series with #1 Florida tomorrow evening (these games will finish out the Tiger’s regular season; the SEC College Baseball Tournament will start in Hoover, Alabama on Tuesday, March 24th).
This Wednesday evening brings us a Parting Quote from Raymond Gosling, British scientist. Born in 1926 in Wembley, London, England, he studied physics at University College London from 1944 to 1947 and became a hospital physicist at the King’s Fund and Middlesex Hospital between 1947 and 1949 before joining King’s College London as a research student where he eventually received his PhD. At King’s College Gosling worked on X-ray diffraction with Maurice Wilkins, analyzing samples of DNA which they prepared by hydrating and drawing out into thin filaments and photographing in a hydrogen atmosphere. Gosling was then assigned to Rosalind Franklin as his academic supervisor when she joined King’s College in 1951. They worked under the direction of Sir John Randall, and together they produced the first X-ray diffraction photographs of the “form B” paracrystalline arrays of highly hydrated DNA. During the next two years, the pair worked closely together to perfect the technique of x-ray diffraction photography of DNA and obtained at the time the sharpest diffraction images of DNA. Gosling made the X-ray diffraction image of DNA known as “Photograph 51.” This work led directly to the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine being awarded to Francis Crick, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins. Gosling was the co-author with Franklin of one of the three DNA double helix papers published in Nature in April 1953. His other KCL colleagues included Alex Stokes and Herbert Wilson. Gosling briefly remained at King’s College following the completion of his thesis in 1954 before lecturing in physics at Queen’s College, University of St Andrews, and at the University of the West Indies. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1967 and became Lecturer and Reader at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, and Professor and Emeritus Professor in Physics Applied to Medicine from 1984. Here he helped develop the underlying basic medical science and technology for haemodynamic doppler ultrasound vascular assessment in the Non Invasive Angiology Group, and set up the clinical Ultrasonic Angiology Unit. Gosling served on numerous committees of the University of London, notably relating to radiological science, and retained an active professional involvement in medical physics almost to the end of his life (died 2015): “I wanted to do Medicine, but Father said we couldn’t afford Medicine because it would take x years to qualify and so on. And so the next best thing to doing medicine I thought was to do a fundamental subject like physics. I was very attracted by the thought that the Scots always refer to physics as ‘natural philosophy’.”