Daily Update: Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Barnabas and Belmont Stakes 2016 and Coushatta Pow Wow and Shavout

Today is the Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle (died c. 61). Today is also the Belmont Stakes, the third Triple Crown horse race (alas, no chance of a Triple Crown winner this year), and the second day of the two-day annual Coushatta Pow Wow. And at sunset today the Jewish feast of Shavuot begins.

Born in Cyprus with the name of Joseph, today’s Saint was a Levite Jewish convert; coming to the faith soon after Pentecost, he took the name Barnabas, “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement”. He was the companion of Saint Paul, who introduced him to the other Apostles. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the demands of stricter church leaders. They gained many converts in Antioch (c 43-44), traveled together making more converts (c 45-47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the “God-fearing” gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia. Barnabas’ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria ascribed an early Christian epistle to Barnabas (The Epistle of Barnabas), but that is highly improbable. Martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, he is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church. He is the Patron Saint of Cyprus and of Antioch; his aid is invoked as a peacemaker, and his aid is invoked against hailstorms. The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile horse race, open to three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds; fillies carry 121 pounds. The Belmont Stakes is traditionally called “The Test of The Champion” or “Run for the Carnations” because the winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations after the race, in similar fashion to the blanket of roses and black-eyed susans for the Derby and Preakness, respectively. The winning owner is ceremonially presented with the silver winner’s trophy, designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co. It was first presented to August Belmont, Jr. in 1896 and donated by the Belmont family for annual presentation in 1926. The race is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. (Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978; Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2004, but was beaten at the Belmont by Birdstone. But, after a very long time without a Triple Crown Champion, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015. But we will not have a Triple Crown winner this year, as Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby, and Exaggerator won the Preakness Stakes.) And the Twenty-First Annual Coushatta Pow Wow, which began yesterday, ends today. The Pow Wow attracts participants from all over the United States, who come to compete, mingle, and have a good time. At one time the Pow Wow was held in October, but the date was changed so as not to conflict with other Pow Wows around the nation. Finally, the two-day Jewish holiday of Shavuot is connected to the season of the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. 5:24; Deut. 16:9-11; Isa. 9:2). It began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat. Shavuot was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest, just as the eighth day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) was the concluding festival of the fruit harvest. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem an offering of two loaves of bread from the wheat harvest was made on Shavuot. Shavuot was also the first day on which individuals could bring the Bikkurim (first fruits) to the Temple in Jerusalem (Mishnah Bikkurim 1:3). The Bikkurim were brought from the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai, although the association between the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) and Shavuot is not explicit in the Biblical text. The custom of all-night Torah study goes back to 1533 when Rabbi Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, then living in Ottoman Salonika, invited his Kabbalistic colleagues to hold a night-long study vigil, in the course of which an angel appeared before them and commanded them to go live in Eretz Yisrael. According to a story in the Midrash, the night before the Torah was given, the Israelites retired early to be well-rested for the momentous day ahead, but they overslept and Moses had to wake them up because God was already waiting on the mountaintop. To rectify this flaw in the national character, religious Jews stay up all night to learn Torah on this night.

I neglected to mention in yesterday’s Daily Update that Richard got a call from the Clinic confirming his appointment to have blood drawn for lab work on Monday (he politely told them that he would be there at 11:00 am, not at 10:40 am), and soon after I got a call from the Clinic confirming my appointment to have blood drawn for lab work on Monday (I politely told them that I would be there at 11:00 am, not at 10:20 am). And after we had gone to sleep Richard missed a phone call from Matthew.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. In ADR I had a salad, using the salad dressing I had brought from home. After the Pre-Shift Meeting, Richard was on Three Card Blackjack all day, while I was on Three Card Poker all day. It was reported that they did not have as many participants in the Coushatta Pow-Wow as they had thought they would have; whether that was in fact the case is something I do not know, but it was relatively quite for a Friday night / Saturday morning, especially after the large crowds of inebriated Native Americans drifted away from the Main Bar at about 5:00 am or 6:00 am. On my breaks I started reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.

On our way home I continued reading my book (until I reached a good stopping point), and Richard got gas for the truck from the Valero in Kinder. He then called Matthew, but it went to voice mail. He dropped me off at the house, and went to Dollar General to get cat food for Bobby Brown. Meanwhile, I set up my medications for next week (no prescriptions to renew, but I will pick up my over-the-counter Sodium Bicarbonate on Monday after work). I then ate my lunch salad (the one I did not eat yesterday) and read the morning paper. I then went to the Adoration Chapel, where I did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the May 9th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. And now I am doing today’s Daily Update. When I finish, I will get ready to go to bed. The Belmont Stakes will be run this afternoon, and tonight at the College World Series Super Regional in Alex Box Stadium our LSU Tigers will play Coastal Carolina in the first game of a best-of-three game format; I will record the results of the horse race and of the baseball game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow the Jewish feast of Shavuot continues, and it will be the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Tomorrow is the last day of the two-week pay period; the First Quarter Moon will arrive at 3:11 am,  and on my breaks at work I will continue reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. After lunch I will make my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday, then I will do my Daily Update and go to bed early. Tomorrow night at the College World Series Super Regional in Alex Box Stadium our LSU Tigers will play Coastal Carolina in the second game of a best-of-three game format; I will record the results of the baseball game in Monday’s Daily Update.

Our Saturday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Ann Rutherford, Canadian-American actress. Born as Therese Ann Rutherford in 1917 in Vancouver, British Columbia, her mother was a silent film actress. When Rutherford was still a baby the family moved to San Francisco; her parents separated and she and her sister moved to Los Angeles with their mother. While roller skating home from middle school in Hollywood, Rutherford would stop at some of the radio studios to listen to voice actors perform. After being criticized one day by her English teacher, Rutherford decided to show her teacher up by falsifying an acting history and applying for work at radio station KFAC. A month later, Rutherford had a part in a radio serial drama. In 1935, at the age of 18, Rutherford began her Hollywood film career in the starring role of Joan O’Brien in the dramatic film Waterfront Lady for Mascot Pictures, later to be Republic Pictures. Rutherford soon established herself as a popular leading lady of Western films at Republic, costarring with actors Gene Autry and John Wayne. In 1937 she left Republic and signed a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. At MGM, Rutherford appeared as the Spirit of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol (1938) and as Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1940), among other roles. In 1938 MGM loaned Rutherford to Selznick International Pictures to appear as Carreen O’Hara, the sister of Scarlet O’Hara, in the film Gone with the Wind (1939). MGM boss Louis Mayer originally refused the loan because he considered the role too minor, but Rutherford passionately appealed to him to change his mind. In December 1939, while promoting the new movie, Rutherford visited six Confederate Army veterans at the Confederate Soldiers Home near Atlanta, Georgia. One of the veterans gave Rutherford a rose corsage tied with Confederate colors. From 1937 until 1942, Rutherford portrayed Polly Benedict in the MGM Andy Hardy youth comedy film series with actor Mickey Rooney. Her first film in this series was You’re Only Young Once (1937) and the last was Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942). Rutherford’s performances as Andy Hardy’s sweet and patient girlfriend established her screen popularity. Rutherford also played Carol Lambert, comedian Red Skelton’s screen girlfriend, for MGM in a series of mystery comedies: Whistling in the Dark (1941), Whistling in Dixie (1942), and Whistling in Brooklyn (1943). Rutherford was the heroine of a novel, Ann Rutherford and the Key to Nightmare Hall (1942 by Katherine Heisenfelt), where “the heroine has the same name and appearance as the famous actress but has no connection … it is as though the famous actress has stepped into an alternate reality in which she is an ordinary person.” The story was probably written for a young teenage audience and is reminiscent of the adventures of Nancy Drew. It is part of a series known as “Whitman Authorized Editions”, 16 books published between 1941 and 1947 that featured a film actress as heroine. On December 31st, 1942, Rutherford married David May II, the grandson of the founder of the May Company department stores; the couple had a girl in 1943. In the early 1940s Rutherford left MGM to work without contract with different studios. During this period she starred in films such as Orchestra Wives (1942) with 20th Century Fox, Two O’Clock Courage (1945) with RKO Radio Pictures, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), also with RKO. In 1950 Rutherford retired from films. Despite Mickey Rooney’s pleas, she turned down returning as Polly Benedict in Andy Hardy Comes Home, stating that she didn’t believe most people married their first sweethearts and that Andy Hardy now being a judge was implausible. She and David May were divorced in a court in Juarez, Mexico, on June 6th, 1953. On October 7th, 1953, in New York City, Rutherford married actor and producer William Dozier, the creator of the Batman (1966–68) TV series. She appeared in the Perry Mason 1959 episode, “The Case of the Howling Dog,” when she played defendant Evelyn Forbes. In 1972 Rutherford returned to MGM to make the film They Only Kill Their Masters. Ironically (given the film’s grisly name), the film was shot on the old Andy Hardy set. Her two final television appearances were in 1973 and 1974 on The Bob Newhart Show, playing Aggie Harrison, the mother of Suzanne Pleshette’s character Emily Hartley. Her second husband, William Dozier, died in 1991. Rutherford was offered the role of Rose Calvert in the film Titanic (1997), but turned it down. The role instead went to actress Gloria Stuart. On November 2nd, 2002, Rutherford celebrated her 85th birthday, surrounded by her fans and friends at a luncheon in Beverly Hills, California. Neither Evelyn Keyes (Suellen O’Hara) (1916–2008), then suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, nor Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton Wilkes) (1916 – ), two of her surviving Gone with the Wind co-stars, were able to attend. In October 2004 Rutherford made a guest appearance at the Margaret Mitchell Birthday celebration in Jonesboro, Georgia, to honor the film Gone With the Wind. Rutherford signed autographs and reminisced with fans about old times. In June 2007 she was the guest star at the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum in Marietta, Georgia. The occasion was “The Heart and History of Hollywood” event with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) host Robert Osborne serving as emcee (died 2012): “It’s titillating to do an occasional film, but really, I don’t need it. Oh, I suppose, if you were a Helen Hayes, it might mean something if you left the business. You’d be depriving the show world of something. I’m depriving that world of nothing.”

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