Daily Update: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Marcellinus and Peter

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Marcellinus and Saint Peter, Martyrs (died 304).

Very little is known about the lives of our two Saints today. Marcellinus, a priest, and Peter, an exorcist (one of the minor orders leading up to becoming a priest, which were, in order, porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte), died in the year 304, during the persecution of Diocletian. Pope Damasus I (died 384) gave the earliest account of their deaths, and claimed that he heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner who became a Christian after their deaths. He further stated that they were killed at an out-of-the-way spot by the magistrate Severus (or Serenus), so that other Christians would not have a chance to bury and venerate their bodies. The two saints happily cleared the spot chosen for their death themselves, in a thicket overgrown with thorns, brambles, and briers three miles from Rome. They were beheaded and buried in that spot. Two women, Lucilla and Firmina, assisted by divine revelation, found the bodies, however, and had them properly buried near the body of St. Tiburtius on the Via Labicana in what became known as the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter. The martyrs were venerated by the early Christian church. Their sepulcher is mentioned in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (late 6th century), which gives their feast day as June 2, and from the seventh century onwards, their sepulcher became a site of pilgrimage, and their feast day is recorded in local liturgies and hagiographies.

I woke up at 7:45 am today, and did my Exercise Walking, but for reasons unknown my MapMyWalk app did not work right. However, I did listen to NPR while on my walking. When I got home I did my Book Devotional Reading, and then ate bacon biscuits for breakfast (which Richard had gone to McDonald’s for; thank you, Richard) while reading the Thursday papers. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading, and did an Advance Daily Update Draft.

At 1:00 pm we left the house; at the Hit-n-Run Richard gave me a dollar to get a Mega Millions ticket, along with my usual lottery tickets, so I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing, and the Mega Millions ticket for Richard, but I won $7.00 from my last batch of tickets, so I came out even. We then ate Chinese for lunch at Peking, but when we left it had started storming, so we did not go to the grocery store. At 3:00 pm the rain had quit, so Richard went out to get my salad supplies for me, and some stuff for tonight’s dinner. I uploaded to the computer the photos that I had taken (or acquired) in May 2016. When Richard came back from the store with my salad supplies (thank you, Richard), I made my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. At 5:30 pm we ate our dinner of barbequed chicken and brussels sprouts, with a baked sweet potato also for me. And I am eating as I finish up today’s Daily Update; it has quit storming outside, but will doubtlessly continue later. (A noted scholar, Caroline Spurgeon (died 1942) carefully counted the number of times certain images occurred in Shakespeare’s plays, and of course she did so using pen and paper. I just used the awesome power of the computer and the Internet to discern that “Storm Still” occurs six times in King Lear.)

Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga (died 1886) and Companions, Martyrs (died 1885 – 1887), and the annual Day of Prayer and Fasting for Protection from Storms as determined by the Bishops of Louisiana. It is also Jefferson Davis’s Birthday (1808), the Celebration of Confederate Memorial Day in the State of Louisiana (celebrated by some, but only noted by me), Billie Joe McAllister Day, and National Doughnut Day. (I will warn my Four or Five Loyal Readers and Army of Followers that all of these events will make for a long Second Paragraph for my Daily Update.) We will return to the casino for the start of our work week. After lunch I will do my exercise walking (unless it is storm still, then I will ride my Recumbent Bike), then I will head to the Adoration Chapel to do my First Friday devotions. And tomorrow afternoon in the College World Series Regional at Alex Box in Baton Rouge, our LSU Tigers will face Utah Valley, again unless we have storm still.

Our Parting Quote on this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Irwin Rose, American biologist. Born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York into a secular Jewish family, his father owned a flooring store. For a time he attended Hebrew school. When he was thirteen his family was advised to move to “a high and dry climate” for the benefit of his brother, who had rheumatic fever. With his father remaining behind to tend to his business, the rest of the family moved to Spokane, Washington, where his mother’s sister took them in. His mother worked at a Navy supply depot, and the children went to public schools. Rose attended Washington State University for one year prior to serving in the Navy during World War II. Upon returning from the war he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 and his PhD in biochemistry in 1952, both from the University of Chicago. Rose served on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine’s department of biochemistry from 1954 to 1963. Rose became fascinated with the problem of protein disposal in the 1950s, when few biochemists shared his enthusiasm. Scientific inquiry was focused then on how things were created: how cells read the blueprints encoded in DNA and use the information to manufacture proteins. He then joined the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1963. He joined the University of Pennsylvania during the 1970s and served as a Professor of Physical Biochemistry. In 1975, other scientists discovered a small protein that was present in numerous tissues and organisms — so many places that it was named ubiquitin. But they had no idea what the protein did. To pursue the answer, starting in the late 1970s, Rose collaborated with Avram Hershko of the Technion institute of technology in Israel and Aaron Ciechanover, a graduate student of Dr. Hershko’s. In 1979, their work took them to Fox Chase’s Institute for Cancer Research, where its director at the time, Dr. Alfred G. Knudson Jr., proposed that they extend their stay to a year. The experiments showed that ubiquitin served as an inventory control tag — or, as some called it, a “kiss of death” — that is attached to a protein that had outlived its usefulness. The tagged protein is then taken to one of many barrel-shaped chambers called proteasomes, where it is sliced into bits to be recycled into new proteins. An understanding of this process helped researchers understand diseases, like cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s and many types of cancer, that occur when the process goes awry. The team’s research led directly to the development of the drug Velcade, Dr. Chernoff said. Velcade, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003, is used to treat multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, by disrupting the protein disposal system. The pileup of protein produced by growing cancer cells then kills them. Rose remained at Fox Chase until 1995. He trained several postdoctoral research fellows while at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, including Art Haas, the first to see Ubiquitin chains, Keith Wilkinson, the one to first identify APF-1 as Ubiquitin, and Cecile Pickart, a world class enzymologist in many parts of the Ub system. After his retirement from Fox Chase he moved to Laguna Hills, California with his wife, and soon showed up at the office of his friend Ralph Bradshaw, who then worked as a physiology and biophysicist professor at University of California, Irvine, asking for laboratory space to conduct some research; Bradshaw cheerfully let him have some of his space, and the university soon appointed Rose to a research position. He was thus a distinguished professor-in-residence in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine at the time he, with Ciechanover and Hershko, was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation (died 2015): “I don’t have any hobbies. You know, I’m very embarrassed when people ask me what are my hobbies; I don’t have any hobbies. I mean, it’s just enough to keep up with the things I’m trying to solve.”

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