Daily Update: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Autumnal Equinox and 09-22 - Hobbit Day

With no Saints to honor this date, we will note that today is the the Autumnal Equinox, and that in Middle Earth today is Hobbit Day, the joint birthday of Bilbo Baggins and of his nephew, Frodo Baggins, as related in J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Today is the birthday of Aimee, Richard’s niece, the middle daughter of his sister Nita in Georgia, who is not a Hobbit (I think) (1989).

Today is the date of the Autumnal Equinox; the center of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth on this date (and on the date of the Spring Equinox), night and day being of roughly the same length. The word autumn comes from the ancient Etruscan root autu- and has within it connotations of the passing of the year. It was borrowed by the neighbouring Romans, and became the Latin word autumnus. Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as it is common in other West Germanic languages to this day. The alternative word fall for the season traces its origins to old Germanic languages. The exact derivation is unclear, with the Old English fiæll or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning “to fall from a height” and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year”. During the 17th century, English emigration to the British colonies in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them. It became the more common term in North America, while the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain. In North America, autumn is usually considered to start with the September equinox, but in other cultures, it is considered to be the mid-point of autumn; and a case can be made that in modern America autumn starts on the day after Labor Day and ends at Thanksgiving. (My personal reckoning, based on the average daily temperatures in SouthWestCentral Louisiana, is that Autumn starts on the day that Daylight Savings Time Ends.) As related in The Lord of the Rings (and its many appendixes), Bilbo Baggins was born on September 22nd in the year of 2890 in the Third Age (1290 in Shire-Reckoning). Frodo Baggins was born on September 22nd in the year of 2968 in the Third Age (1368 respectively in Shire-Reckoning) and was (or is) exactly 78 years younger than Bilbo, so that when Frodo came of age at the age of 33, his uncle (actually his first and second cousin once removed) was 111. It is suggested that one celebrate this day by giving parties and giving gifts, or by going barefoot. Today is the birthday of Richard’s niece Aimee, the middle daughter of his Sister in Georgia (1989).

I woke up at 9:15 am and did my Book Devotional Reading. Hearing Richard talking to someone out in the front room, I investigated, and Richard told me that the guys had come over to check out our right-hand side porch light (as one faces the house) to see why it was no longer working; Richard said they said the transformer had busted, and that they would fix it. I read the Thursday papers, and posted to Facebook that today was the Autumnal Equinox, and posted to Facebook that today was Hobbit Day. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Novena to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

Leaving the house at 12:30 pm, my first stop was the Valero, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing. I then went to Wal-Mart, where I purchased groceries, household supplies (including new garage door opener batteries), and my salad supplies. I then went to Twisted Wings, where I got a cheeseburger combo for Richard to go and a shrimp poboy combo for me to go (my poboy was free, courtesy of my co-worker Mario, who owns Twisted Wings, which is run by his nephew).

Arriving home at 2:00 pm, I put new batteries in the garage door openers (one lives in my car, and the other lives next to the back door) and ate my poboy combo (or half of it) while continuing my reading of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. I then made my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday, forgetting to put grated cheese on top of each salad (I will do so when I eat the salads). Richard went to bed, and I watched Jeopardy!; and I will now finish this Daily Update and get ready to go to bed, doing a bit of reading first.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Priest (died 1968), the second of three Ember Days for this season of the year, and the Anniversary of the Republic of West Florida (1810). Richard and I will return to the casino for the start of our work week, and on my breaks I will continue reading The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet. The Last Quarter Moon will arrive at 4:59 am. After Jeopardy! tomorrow afternoon I will do my Daily Update, then go over to the St. Thomas More Fall Festival for a bit to play bingo before coming home and going to bed.

On this Autumnal Equinox and Hobbit Day afternoon  our Parting Quote comes to us from Phyllis Tickle, American author. Born as Phyllis Alexander in 1934 in Johnson City, Tennessee, her father was the Dean of East Tennessee State University. She studied for three years at Shorter University and received her BA from East Tennessee State University in 1955, the same year she married Samuel Milton Tickle, Sr., who became a a prominent pulmonologist. She began her career as a Latin teacher in the Memphis public schools (1955-1957). She received an MA degree from Furman University in 1961. Tickle then taught at Furman (1960-1962) and Rhodes College (1962-1965), before being appointed Dean of Humanities at the Memphis College of Art (1965-1971). In 1972 Tickle transitioned from teaching to writing and editing. She worked as the managing editor (1975-1982) and senior editor (1982-1987) for St. Luke’s Press, then the senior editor for Peachtree Publishers (1987-1989). She was the Director of the Trade Publishing Group for the Wimmer Companies from 1987 until 1990. In 1991 Tickle launched Publisher’s Weekly religion department, as religion publishing was becoming a force to be reckoned with, and she remained with the magazine until 2004, when she resigned in order to devote more time to her work with Emergence thought in general, and Emergence Christianity in particular. During her tenure at Publisher’s Weekly, Tickle was famous for such bon mots as referring to religion books as “portable pastors”. and for what USA Today referred to as her “rigorous mind and hand-in-the dirt humility.” She is perhaps best known for The Divine Hours series of books, published by Doubleday Press, and her book The Great Emergence – How Christianity Is Changing and Why (2008). She was founding president of the Publishers Association of the South in 1984-85 and was re-elected for an additional term in 1985-86. In 1996, she received the publishing industry’s Mays Award in recognition of lifetime achievement in writing and in publishing, and specifically in recognition of her work in gaining mainstream media coverage of religion publishing. Tickle was a member of the Episcopal Church, where she was licensed as both a lector and a lay eucharistic minister. Tickle served as Fellow of the Cathedral College at the National Cathedral in Washington for three years prior to its closing in 2009. In 2007 she was the recipient of the prestigious Life-Time Achievement Award from The Christy Awards “…in gratitude for a lifetime as an advocate for fiction written to the glory of God.” In 2007, in honor of their friendship and in recognition of Tickle’s on-going interest in the interface between religion and the rapidly expanding neuro-science of the 21st century, the Italian painter, Mario Donizetti, a leading figure in contemporary realism, published Lettera a Phyllis, to honor their friendship by presenting some of his more recent theories of aesthetics and argues the groundlessness, for him, of artistic informalism, in view of the most recent discoveries about the human brain. She also served on a number of advisory and corporate boards.  She was appointed Fellow of the University by Furman University. Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2004, and she received a second degree from North Park University in 2009. In 2013 and in honor of her retirement from public life, Tony Jones edited a book, Phyllis Tickle: Evangelist of the Future, that contained a series of essays in tribute to Tickle; contributors included Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Jon M. Sweeney, Lauren Winner, and Diana Butler Bass. In June 2015, as part of its Modern Spiritual Masters series, Orbis Books released a compendium of Tickle’s writings: Phyllis Tickle — Essential Spiritual Writings, Selected and with an introduction by Jon M. Sweeney. Sweeney, authorized biographer for Tickle, is also on the board of the Phyllis A. Tickle Literary Trust established to manage her literary estate and copyrights. In July 2015 the Wild Goose Festival was dedicated to her honor. The Festival’s web page cited her as a major contributor to the festival’s success saying, “Her enthusiasm and affirmations of this journey have called so many of us together.” The Festival’s coordinators announced that they would be “incorporating prayers from the pocket edition of The Divine Hours prayer book into the schedule of the festival” as a response to the announcement that Tickle was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. In fall 2015 Logos Bookstores, the largest nationwide association of Christian book sellers, declared Tickle as their author of the year 2015. Tickle’s papers are archived at the Livingston Library at Shorter University  (died 2015): “A hot market (in religion books) requires a golden heart and black hands.”

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