Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Pontian, Pope and Martyr (died 235) and the Optional Memorial of his onetime opponent, Saint Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (died 235 or 236). The Perseid Meteor Shower continues, today is International Left Handers Day, and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Born in Rome, the son of one Calpurnius, Saint Pontian was elected Pope in 230, ending a schism that had begun in 217 (of which we will hear more anon) and reconciling the schismatics with the Church. In 235 he was exiled by Emperor Maximinus Thrax to Sardinia and sentenced to work in the mines; he abdicated the Papacy on September 28th, 235 so that a new Pope could be elected to lead the Church. According to the Liber Pontificalis he died due to the inhuman treatment he received in the Sardinian mines. According to tradition he died on the island of Tavolara; his remains were brought back to Rome by Pope Saint Fabian (died 250) and buried in the catacomb of Callistus. Turning to our second Saint, as a presbyter of the church at Rome under Pope Zephyrinus (died 217) Saint Hippolytus was distinguished for his learning and eloquence. It was at this time that Origen of Alexandria, then a young man, heard him preach. He accused Pope Zephyrinus (died 217) of modalism, the heresy which held that the names Father and Son are simply different names for the same subject, and accused his successor, Pope Callixtus I (died 222), of favoring the Christological heresies of the Monarchians, and, further, of subverting the discipline of the Church by his lax action in receiving back into the Church those guilty of gross offenses. At this time Hippolytus seems to have allowed himself to be elected as a rival Bishop of Rome, and continued to attack Pope Urban I (died 230) and Pope Saint Pontian (died 235). Under the persecution by Emperor Maximinus Thrax, Hippolytus was exiled with Pope Pontian in 235 to Sardinia, and it is very probable that before his death there he was reconciled to the other party at Rome, for under Pope Fabian (died 250) his body and that of Pontian were brought to Rome. Hippolytus’s voluminous writings, including the Contra Haeresim Noeti (Refutation of all Heresies), embraced the spheres of exegesis, homiletics, apologetics and polemic, chronography, and ecclesiastical law. The facts of his life as well as his writing were soon forgotten in the West, perhaps by reason of his schismatic activities and because he wrote in Greek. In later ages he became confused with a possibly mythical Bishop Hippolytus of Portus, with a mythical soldier converted by Saint Lawrence, and also with the Greek mythological figure Hippolytus, and he was represented as having been martyred by being dragged by horses (which is how the mythical Hippolytus met his end). He is the Patron Saint of horses and of prison workers and guards, and of the city of Bibbiena, Italy. Also, the Perseid Meteor Shower continues. Today is International Left Handers Day. It was first observed on August 13th, 1976. As the name suggests, it is meant to promote awareness of the inconveniences faced by left-handers in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates their uniqueness and differences, who are from seven to ten percent of the world’s population. Thousands of left-handed people in today’s society have to adapt to use right handed tools and objects. There is also a more serious side to the day, which spreads awareness about the special needs of left-handed kids. Also, left-handed people may be more likely to develop schizophrenia because of their enhanced creativity and imagination. So Happy Left Handers Day, especially to my daughter Michelle! The Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Today we have competition in Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Diving, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Handball, Sailing, Table Tennis, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and Gold Medal Competition in Athletics, Cycling (Track), Gymnastics (Trampolining), Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Tennis, and Weightlifting.
When I went to bed last night there was a leak in the usual place in our bathroom (due to the torrential rain), and Richard put a pot under the leak. And Michelle came by to pick up her mail (I did not see her).
Upon waking up for work, I found I had missed a call from the co-ordinator at the Adoration Chapel, which went to voice-mail; she said that the Adoration Chapel would be closed until Sunday at noon. I also had a bad bruise on the inside of my right big toe, right by the nail. I posted to Facebook that it was International Left-Handers Day, and I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. We left the house in very heavy rain; although the rain had just about quit by the time we got to the casino, there was again no chance of seeing Perseid meteors. I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Assumption Novena. It was the Graveyard Shift Pot Luck Dinner, but not many people brought stuff (we did not bring anything). After the Pre-Shift Meeting Richard was on a Blackjack table all day, and I was on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table all day. On my breaks I continued reading Quicksand House by Carlton Mellick III on the Kindle app on my tablet. Along about 7:00 am the casino started making announcements that any guests who had vehicles parked in one of the parking lots by the hotels needed to move their vehicles, and rumors started flying about how bad the flooding was in different areas. I texted Michelle to ask if she was ok; she said she had had to move her car because water got in it, but that the car will be ok; I told her that if she and her roommate Katie needed to that they could stay at the house. My toe was not bothering me much at work, since there was no pressure on it while standing or walking.
When we left the casino (they had some twenty-four call-ins on Day Shift, and about ten of our dealers elected to work overtime and head home later), it was pouring down rain; our friends Deborah and Virginia shuttled six dealers (including me) out to the parking lot, while Richard got the umbrella and made his own way out to the truck. Matthew had called Richard, so I called him back on Richard’s phone; he was calling to make sure we were okay with the weather. We got lunch from the McDonald’s in Kinder, and headed home; there was no flooding (although there was water high in the bayous, and in the usual low-lying areas) until we were more than halfway through our town, by which time it had stopped raining (for now). (By the shopping center near our neighborhood it always floods, and the cops were out with barricades.) We swung by Lele’s, saw that her house was ok, and went home.
Our paper was a papier-mâché project on the front driveway, the pot in the bathroom had caught most of the leak, and there was the usual leak in the utility room. I set up my medications for next week (I have one to renew on Monday), posted to Facebook that we had gotten home safely (and answered several text messages about the same), then I got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update. Richard went out to clear the gutter and got himself a nasty scrape on his knee. He then called a roofing company, which is going to send someone out to see what we have early next week to see what work needs to be done. He then went out in search of a large bandage for his scrape and the morning paper. When he returned he said that the whole town is shut up, and that the police were out in force; it took him awhile to find someplace to buy a bandage for when he goes to sleep tonight. I read the morning paper that he also brought back and I will now finish this Daily Update and go to bed.
Tomorrow is the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Remembrance of Venerable Michael J. McGivney, Priest (died 1890), and the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (died 1941). The Perseid Meteor Shower continues, as do the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Competition today is in Badminton, Basketball, Equestrian, Field Hockey, Handball, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and there is Gold Medal Competition in Athletics, Boxing, Cycling (Track), Diving, Fencing, Golf, Gymnastics (Artistic), Sailing, Shooting, Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling. Richard and I will head for the casino, or at least try to; if we cannot get through, we will call in, but I think we won’t have trouble (Richard drives the truck, which has a high wheelbase; he is the final judge on driving matters). On my breaks I will finish reading Quicksand House by Carlton Mellick III on the Kindle app on my tablet. When we get home from work, I will eat my lunch salad, make my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday, and do my Book Review for Quicksand House for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook applications. Then I will do my Daily Update and turn in early.
Our Saturday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Kenny Baker, English actor. Born as Kenneth Baker in 1934 in Birmingham, West Midlands, his parents were of average height, but he himself stood only three feet eight inches tall. He was in his teens when he went to live with his father, stepmother and half sister in Hastings, Sussex, and in 1951 he was approached on the street by a lady who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice-skate, and appeared in many ice shows, including Holiday on Ice. He had formed a successful comedy act called the Minitones with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1976. He appeared in the next five Star Wars films though Revenge of the Sith in 2005, and played an additional role in 1983’s Return of the Jedi as Paploo, the Ewok who steals an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket, but he fell ill and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis. A feud existed between him and his co-star Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO in the Star Wars movies. He claimed Daniels had been rude to him on numerous occasions, and further stated that Daniels is rude to everyone, including fans. Meanwhile, he played the dwarf in the 1982 video of “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, and appeared in Wombling Free (1977; he met actress Eileen Baker during the making of that movie and married her; although she also had dwarfism, their children were of normal height), The Elephant Man (1980), Time Bandits (1981), Amadeus (1984), Labyrinth (1986), Willow (1988), Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1989), and U.F.O. (1993, the same year his wife died). In the late 1990s Baker launched a brief stand up comedy career, and played harmonica with the James Coutts’ Scottish Dance Band at Hugh McCaig’s Silverstone Party in July 1997. Baker was depicted as a knight and courtier for a fictitious Queen Anne in Bryan Talbot’s parallel universe graphic novel Heart of Empire (1999). In November 2009 his biography, written with Ken Mills and entitled From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story, was made available through his website and at conventions and book signings. Baker continued his association with the character of R2-D2 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released on December 18th, 2015 in North America. He was going to be a member of the cast, but he served as consultant for R2 instead. In November 2015 it was confirmed that Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2 in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Baker had been invited to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Los Angeles in December 2015, but was too ill to travel to the United States; he later met up with George Lucas in Manchester (died 2016): “I started out Ice skating with Holiday On Ice and just got offered the part of R2 by chance.”