Daily Update: Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and 08-09 - International Day of the World's Indigenouss People and Games of the XXXI Olympiad - Rio, Brazil

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Virgin and Martyr (died 1942). Today starts the peak period for star-gazing for Perseid meteors, today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Today’s Saint was born in 1891 at Breslau, Dolnoslaskie, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) as Edith Stein, the youngest of seven children in a Jewish family; she lost interest and faith in Judaism by the age of thirteen. A brilliant student and philosopher with an interest in phenomenology, she studied at the University of Göttingen, Germany and in Breisgau, Germany, and earned her doctorate in philosophy in 1916 at age twenty-five. Witnessing the strength of faith of Catholic friends led her to an interest in Catholicism, which led to studying a catechism on her own, which led to “reading herself into” the Faith. She converted to Catholicism in Cologne, Germany, and was baptized in Saint Martin’s church, Bad Bergzabern, Germany in 1922. Becoming a Carmelite nun in 1934, she took the name in religion of  Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was a teacher in the Dominican school in Speyer, Germany and a lecturer at the Educational Institute in Munich, Germany; however, anti-Jewish pressure from the Nazis forced her to resign both positions. To avoid the growing Nazi threat, her order transferred her to the Carmelite monastery at Echt in the Netherlands. There she wrote Studie über Joannes a Cruce: Kreuzeswissenschaft (The Science of the Cross: Studies on John of the Cross). The Nazis occupied the Netherlands in 1940, and on July 20th, 1942, the Dutch Bishops’ Conference had a public statement read in all the churches of the country condemning Nazi racism. In a retaliatory response on July 26th, 1942, the Reichskomissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts, who had previously been spared. Sr. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa, also a convert, were captured and shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were gassed on August 9th, 1942. The Anti-Defamation League challenged the beatification and subsequent canonization of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) as a martyr, stating Stein was killed for her Jewish nationality rather than for her faith, and that the misappropriation and Christianization of an event that targeted Jews diminished the memory of the Holocaust. The position of the Catholic Church hierarchy was, and is, that she also died because of the Dutch hierarchy’s public condemnation of Nazi racism in 1942; in other words, that she died to uphold the moral position of the Church, and is thus a true martyr. She was canonized in 1998, and is the Patron Saint of converts and of martyrs, and is one of the Patron Saints of Europe (with St. Benedict of Nursia, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, St. Bridget of Sweden, and St. Catherine of Siena). Today is also the date that begins the peak viewing period for seeing the Perseid meteors, which are associated with Comet Swift-Tuttle. During the peak, which lasts through August 14th, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour, with the best viewing towards the north-east after-midnight sky. All this assumes, of course, a clear night and no moon. Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day is observed on August 9th each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting in 1982 of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Today we have competition in Archery, Basketball, Boxing, Field Hockey, Football (from now on I will not point out that this is not American football), Handball, Rowing, Rugby Sevens, Sailing, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and Gold Medal Competition in Canoeing (Slalom), Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Gymnastics (Artistic), Judo, Shooting, Swimming, and Weightlifting.

I neglected to mention in yesterday’s Daily Update that I had called my psychiatrist’s office about another bill we had gotten (for lab work on September 1st, for which the lab charged us some $3,000), but that the call had gone to voice mail.

I woke up half an hour early, did my Book Devotional Reading, and posted to Facebook that today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. I then drove myself to work, and as I got to the casino my Low Fuel Notification and light came on (good to know I have both of those), and arrived in the Hallway to Nowhere at the casino to find that I was going to be second on the Early Out list (Ryan got there at 12:45 am). I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fourth Day of my Assumption Novena. Richard arrived at his usual time, and went on to ADR; I signed the Early Out list and joined him in ADR. When we clocked in, Richard was first on Let It Ride, closed that table, then went to the second Mississippi Stud table, closed that table, and then went to Mini Baccarat. I was the dealer on Mini Baccarat, and Richard tapped me out, telling me I was out for 4:30 am.

On my way home I stopped at the Valero in Kinder and got gas for my car, purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Wednesday night’s drawing, and got a small can of Vienna Sausages for the cats who live at the Valero and the next-door hotel parking lot. When I got into town I stopped at Wal-Mart and got my salad supplies and some eggs (on Friday I will make Deviled Eggs for the Saturday Graveyard Shift Pot Luck Dinner). I then stopped at the ATM for some cash.

Arriving home at 5:30 am, I started my laundry, and got online to update this Daily Update. I got a text from Nedra that she was about to go into surgery for her back. I then got out my larger carry-on bag and started packing. As soon as I put my laundry in the dryer, I went to bed at 7:00 am. I woke up from my nap at 10:00 am, continued my packing, and finished my laundry. I then ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts. I then finished my packing, loaded up the car, then made my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday (ahead of time, since I’m not sure when I am coming back on Thursday). I then ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. When Richard got home shortly before noon, he asked if I had remembered to call my psychiatrist’s office back. I promptly did so, and this time got hold of Billing. We should not have gotten a bill, as our psychiatrist has the lab on a contract, and I should call the number on the bill. However, that number was not good (an area code, three numbers, and what appeared to be five letters), so I called my psychiatrist’s office back to get the number; they said they would call me back.

Rather than wait on phone calls, I left at 12:30 pm. By 2:00 pm I had gotten a good phone number, but the person I needed to speak to had to leave work early, and they said she would call me tomorrow. I called Richard to report, and then continued on my travels.

I arrived at my room at the Bourbon Orleans at 4:30 pm, called Richard, then sent a text to Julie, which she responded to with a phone call (more anon). I spent the rest of the evening relaxing (and watching Jeopardy!), and when I finish this Daily Update I will read a bit before I go to sleep.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (died 258). It is also the birthday of Richard’s good friend Steve in Baton Rouge (1956), and the Perseid meteor shower continues. The Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tomorrow will feature competition in Archery, Basketball, Boxing, Equestrian, Field Hockey, Football, Handball, Rugby Sevens, Sailing, Tennis, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), Water Polo, and Weightlifting. I will be in New Orleans at the Bourbon Orleans, and about 10:00 am Julie will be showing up; we will hang out in the City and in the hotel all day, and tomorrow evening I will do my Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote this Tuesday evening comes from David Rakoff, Canadian-born American writer. Born in 1964 in Montreal, Quebec, into a Jewish family, his father was a psychiatrist and his mother was a doctor who had practiced psychotherapy. At the age of three his family moved to Toronto. After graduating from high school in 1982 he moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where he majored in East Asian Studies and studied dance. Rakoff spent his third year of college at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and graduated in 1986. He then worked in Japan as a translator with a fine arts publisher, but his work was interrupted after four months when, at 22, he became ill with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. He returned to Toronto for eighteen months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. He then moved back to the United States. Rakoff worked for 13 years in the publishing industry, including as a publishing assistant and a publicist. He worked at a literary agency for three years and then as an editor and communications manager for HarperCollins, where he worked for nine years. For a period starting when he was 25, Rakoff wrote as a freelance while working in the publishing industry. He wrote to David Sedaris in 1992, after hearing him read on the radio his essay about being a Christmas elf, to ask if he could publish Sedaris’s works (which he later confessed he had no intention of doing, since he was desperate to leave publishing). They became friends, with Rakoff doing work in the theater with Sedaris, first directing a play written by Sedaris and his sister Amy Sedaris, and later acting in their plays. Through Sedaris, Rakoff met Ira Glass, who was then a junior reporter on the NPR radio program Morning Edition. When Ira Glass began This American Life, Rakoff became involved with the new show at its inception. Sedaris encouraged Rakoff to go on public radio, where Sedaris himself had achieved fame; at his urging Rakoff took work to This American Life, starting with “Christmas Freud”, an account of Rakoff’s job impersonating Sigmund Freud in the window of Barneys department store during the holidays. In the early 1990s, after living in the United States as a resident alien, he was issued his green card. A prolific freelance writer, whose work was published in Conde Nast Traveler, GQOutside Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Business 2.0, Details, Harper’s BazaarNerve, New York Magazine, Salon, Seed, Slate, Spin, The New York Observer, Vogue, Wired, and other publications, Rakoff published three bestselling collections of essays, which included his own illustrations. Both Fraud (2001) and Don’t Get Too Comfortable (2005, about his efforts to obtain United States citizenship; he became a citizen in 2003, while retaining Canadian citizenship) were awarded a Lambda literary award (which recognizes excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives), both times in the “Humor” category. Half-Empty (2010) won the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Rakoff voiced the part of the US President Thomas Jefferson for the audio book of Jon Stewart’s America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (2004) and provided the voice of Polish-American Leon Czolgosz (the assassin of US President William McKinley) in the audio book version of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation (2005). He did film work (the back of his head is featured in Capote (2005) as a character dismissive of Harper Lee), and appeared as a modeling agent on the television serial As The World Turns. The episode of This American Life that aired on NPR a week after his death was dedicated entirely to his essays on the program. The episode was titled “Our Friend David.” (2012): “The central drama of my life is about being a fraud, alas. That’s a complete lie, really; the central drama of my life is about being lonely, and staying thin, but fraudulence gets a fair amount of play.”

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