Daily Update: Friday, May 20th, 2016

Bernardine of Siena

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest (died 1444), and today is the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year.

Today’s Saint was born in 1380 at Massa di Carrara, Italy; left orphaned at age six, Bernardine was raised by a pious aunt. On the completion of his education he spent some years in the service of the sick in the hospitals. While he was studying civil and canon law in Siena, he worked in the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala throughout the bubonic plague outbreak of 1400 and even urged other young men to stay and help. He thus caught the plague, of which he nearly died. In 1402 or 1404, he joined the Franciscan order in the strict branch called the Observants. For more than 30 years, he preached all over Italy, and played a great part in the religious revival of the early fifteenth century. Enormous crowds came to hear him speak. It was said that feuds and factionalism were reconciled by his counsel and that miracles took place. Donations to the Holy Name of Jesus (which he preached particularly) increased dramatically. He popularized the use of the three letters of the Holy Name (IHS) on the background of a blazing sun to displace both popular pagan symbols and seals of political factions like the Guelphs and Ghibellines in public spaces. Furthermore, “bonfires of vanities” were held at his sermon sites, where people were encouraged to burn objects of temptation. In 1425 he preached every day for seven weeks in Siena. In 1427 he was summoned to Rome to stand trial on charges of heresy; he was found innocent, and he impressed Pope Martin V sufficiently that Martin requested he preach in Rome, whereupon he preached every day for 80 days. A typical sermon would last for an hour long, but some lasted for more than four. His zeal was such that he would prepare up to four drafts of a sermon before starting to speak. That same year, he was offered the bishopric of Siena, but declined in order to maintain his monastic and evangelical activities. In 1431, he toured Tuscany, Lombardy, Romagna, and Ancona before returning to Siena to prevent a war against Florence. Also in 1431, he declined the bishopric of Ferrara, and in 1435 he declined the bishopric of Urbino. The Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund sought Bernardine’s counsel and intercession and the future saint accompanied him to Rome in 1433 for his coronation. Soon after he withdrew again to Capriola to compose a series of sermons. He resumed his missionary labours in 1436, but was forced to abandon them in the following year, when he became vicar-general of the Observant branch of the Franciscans in Italy. In 1438 Bernardine was elevated to vicar-general of the Franciscan Order in Italy. This cut back his opportunities to preach, but he continued to speak to the public when he could. Having in 1442 persuaded the pope to accept his resignation as vicar-general so that he might give himself more undividedly to preaching, he resumed his missionary labours. Despite a Papal Bull issued by Eugene IV in 1443 and which charged Bernardine to preach the indulgence for the Crusade against the Turks, there is no record of his having done so. In 1444, notwithstanding his increasing infirmities, Bernardine, desirous that there should be no part of Italy which had not heard his voice, set out to the Kingdom of Naples. He died that year at L’Aquila, in the Abruzzi. According to the tradition, his grave continued to leak blood until two factions of the city achieved reconciliation. Reports of miracles attributed to him multiplied rapidly and he was canonized in 1450, only six years after his death, by Pope Nicholas V. He is the Patron Saint of advertisers and those in public relations work, and his aid is invoked against chest problems and gambling addictions. And today is the second 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.

Our #8 ranked LSU Tigers started playing the first game of their three-game home College Baseball series with #1 Florida last night, but due to severe weather the game was suspended with the score tied 0 to 0 in the bottom of the third inning, and with a runner on second base with one out. (More anon.)

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and set up my Special K cereal for snacks while on my breaks at work. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Corpus Christi Novena. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker and Let It Ride; when Let It Ride closed, he added Flop Poker to his relief string. I was on a Blackjack table for about five minutes, then was moved to the Flop Poker table. Normally, the Flop Poker table closes once it goes dead about about 4:00 or 5:00 am; but I had one player who stayed at the table for a solid eight hours, so it never closed. On my last break I called Uniforms, and was told that the rust (orange) dealer shirts were now ready.

After work I went to Uniforms and got my orange dealer shirt, and on our way home from work we stopped to get the oil changed in the truck. Once home I tossed today’s shirt, the orange dealer shirt, and a T-shirt that had some apparent grease stains into the washer, then ate my lunch salad while reading the morning paper. I then got on the computer and did some Advance Daily Update Drafts for this Weblog, then I ironed my casino shirts. We watched Jeopardy!, and Richard got some fried chicken from Crispy Cajun for his dinner, while I had my steak and baked potato saved from the other night (plus a baked sweet potato that I baked this afternoon). And when I finish this Daily Update, I will get ready for bed and read for a bit. Our #8 LSU Tigers will play the second game of their three-game home College Baseball series with #1 Florida tonight, and it will be a full nine-inning game; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop (died 1861), the Optional Memorial of Saint Cristóbal Magallanes Jara, Priest and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (died 1927), and the Optional Memorial of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, Layman and Martyr (died 1943); tomorrow is also the Third of Three Ember Days for this season of the year. Tomorrow is Armed Forces Day (so I will be putting the flag out), and also the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the second leg of the Triple Crown, will be run tomorrow (with the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, in the race). Tomorrow is the birthday of my Internet friend Denise in North Carolina (1954), and of my kids’ friend Kyran, one of the Assembled (1985). We will work our eight hours at the casino tomorrow, and just about the time we get off of work our #8 ranked LSU Tigers will play #1 Florida, resuming Game 1 at the bottom of the third inning and playing a full nine innings. I will be going to the Adoration Chapel in the afternoon to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and when I come home I will do my Daily Update and go to bed. Game 3 of the series will start at 3:30 pm tomorrow, and it will be a seven inning game. The Full Moon will arrive tomorrow at 4:17 pm.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Ray Manzarek, American musician, singer, producer, and film director. Born as Raymond Manzarek in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, he took private piano lessons, but was more interested in playing power forward or center on his high school team; he quit the team only when his coach insisted that he play guard or not at all. He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in economics and played keyboard and vocals in many shows at the school. From 1962 to 1965 he studied in the Department of Cinematography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met film student Jim Morrison. At UCLA, he also met Dorothy Fujikawa. At the time Manzarek was in a band called Rick and the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim. Forty days after finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang a rough version of “Moonlight Drive”. Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at that moment. Manzarek met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger at a Transcendental Meditation lecture and brought them into the band. In January 1966 the Doors became the house band at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip. The same day the Doors were fired from the London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whisky a Go Go. Their first performance at the Whisky was with the group Them. The Doors’ first recording contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they learned they were on Columbia’s drop list. At that point, they asked to be released from their contract. After a few months of live gigs, Jac Holzman “rediscovered” the Doors and signed them to Elektra Records in 1966, and the band reached stardom the next year. Also in 1967 Manzarek and Fujikawa were married, with Morrison and his long time companion Pamela Courson as witnesses. The Doors lacked a bassist, so Manzarek usually played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes PianoBass. His signature sound is that of the Vox Continental combo organ, an instrument used by many other psychedelic rock bands of the era. He later used a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo combo organ (which looks like a Farfisa) because the Continental’s plastic keys frequently broke, according to Manzarek. He also occasionally sang for the Doors, including the live recording “Close To You” and on the B-side of “Love Her Madly,” “You Need Meat (Don’t Go No Further).” He also sang on the last two Doors albums, recorded after Morrison’s 1971 death, Other Voices and Full Circle. Additionally, he provided one of several guitar parts on the song “Been Down So Long.” Manzarek played in several groups after the Doors officially disbanded in 1973, including Nite City. He recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with Philip Glass, played with Iggy Pop, backed one track on the eponymous 1987 album Echo & the Bunnymen, backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure’s poetry readings, and did improvisational composition with poet Michael C. Ford. He also worked extensively with “Hearts of Fire” screenwriter and former SRC front man Scott Richardson on a series of spoken word and blues recordings entitled “Tornado Souvenirs”. He produced Los Angeles, the 1980 inaugural album of the punk band X, also contributing on keyboards. His memoir, Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, was published in 1998. In 2000 a collaboration poetry album entitled Freshly Dugwas released with British singer, poet, actor and pioneer Punk rocker Darryl Read. Read had previously worked with Manzarek on the Beat Existentialist album in 1994, and their last poetical and musical collaboration was in 2007 with the album Bleeding Paradise. Also in 2000 Manzarek co-wrote and directed the film Love Her Madly, which was credited to a story idea by Jim Morrison. The film was shown at the closing night of the 2004 Santa Cruz Film Festival, but otherwise received limited distribution and critical review. In the meantime his book The Poet in Exile (2001) was a novel exploring the urban legend that Jim Morrison may have faked his death. In 2006 he collaborated with composer and trumpeter Bal. The album that resulted, Atonal Head, is an exploration in the realm of electronica. The two musicians integrated jazz, rock, ethnic and classical music into their computer-based creations. Manzarek’s second novel, Snake Moon, released in April 2006, is a Civil War ghost story. On August 4, 2007, Manzarek hosted a program on BBC Radio 2 about the 40th anniversary of the recording of “Light My Fire” and the group’s musical and spiritual influences. In April 2009 Manzarek and Robby Krieger appeared as special guests for Daryl Hall’s monthly concert webcast Live From Daryl’s House. They performed several Doors tunes (“People Are Strange”, “The Crystal Ship”, “Roadhouse Blues” and “Break on Through (To the Other Side)”) with Hall providing lead vocals. After living many years in Hollywood, Manzarek moved to Napa County, California, to a house that he remodeled extensively. In his last years he played with local bands in the Napa area. In 2009 Manzarek collaborated with “Weird Al” Yankovic, by playing keyboards on the single “Craigslist”, which is a pastiche of The Doors. Manzarek was a co-producer on a few tracks for Universal Recording artist Michael Barber. In May 2010 Manzarek recorded with slide guitarist Roy Rogers in Studio D in Sausalito. Their album, Translucent Blues, released in mid-2011, was ranked No. 3 on the Top 100 Roots Rock Albums of 2011 by The Roots Music Report. In February 2012 Manzarek recorded Breakn’ a Sweat with DJ Skrillex and his fellow members Robby Krieger and John Densmore. On the day of Manzarek’s death “Weird Al” Yankovic published a personal video of his 2009 studio session with Manzarek, which he said had been an “extreme honor” and “one of the absolute high points of my life” (died 2013): “I’m just a ’60s kind of guy. It’s all love and peace. People say all my playing still sounds like The Doors, but did I sound like The Doors or did The Doors sound like me?”

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