Daily Update: Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Ember Days and 09-24 - National Punctuation Day and 09-24 - Hurricane Rita

Today is the third of three Ember Days for this season. We have no Saints to honor, but today is National Punctuation Day, and we note that it was on this date in 2005 that Hurricane Rita (known as Hurricane Katrina’s Evil Little Sister) made its landfall between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Johnsons Bayou, Louisiana, as a Category 3 hurricane.

Today is the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (the feast of Saint Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14th (The Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. National Punctuation Day is a celebration of punctuation that occurs each year on September 24th in the United States of America. Founded by Jeff Rubin in 2004, National Punctuation Day simply promotes the correct usage of punctuation. Rubin encourages appreciators of correct punctuation and spelling to send in pictures of errors spotted in everyday life to his website at http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/. (I personally prefer using one space after a sentence, and I wish that the Interrobang (‽) was a common character on both my desktop keyboard and my Smartphone keyboards.) Turning to 2005 and Hurricane Rita, damage in southwestern Louisiana from the Category 3 Hurricane was extensive. In Cameron Parish the communities of Hackberry, Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier, Holly Beach, and Johnson Bayou were heavily damaged or entirely destroyed. Even now Cameron Parish is nowhere near its prior population; new building along the coast is not permitted unless one has the proper parish-approved building plans. The Harrah’s Casino Riverboat in Lake Charles temporarily became a land-based casino, as the storm pushed the boat all the way onshore and into the parking lot. And while Hurricane Katrina did not even cause any rain in SouthWestCentral Louisiana, Hurricane Rita closed down the casino I work at for some three weeks, both because there was some damage (the storm took out the cover of the walkway into the Associate’s parking lot), and because FEMA was using the casino grounds as a staging area. (I now point out to my guests at my tables, “We are open 24/7, and only close for major hurricanes that are forecast to come through our parking lot within 24 to 48 hours.”)

I did my Book Devotional Reading and posted to Facebook that today was National Punctuation Day. I also put in to take off Friday, December 23rd, 2016, and put out my LSU flag. On our way to work we stopped by the ATM for cash, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Novena to Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. At the Pre-Shift Meeting I won a $10.00 meal comp. When we went out to the casino floor Richard was on Mississippi Stud, but was moved to Mini Baccarat. I was the relief dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat, Mini Baccarat, and two Pai Gow tables, but after my first rotation I only had to break the Mini Baccarat table and Pai Gow, plus breaking the second Three Card Poker table, with a guest playing Table Max of $1,100 per hand. On my breaks I continued reading The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet.

Once home from work I set up my medications for next week (no prescriptions to renew, and one vitamin to get on my next trip to Wal-Mart). Richard paid the bills while I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then headed to the Adoration Chapel, where I did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I started reading the September 12th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. After my Hour I drove home and went to bed at about 2:15 pm. At 4:30 pm I woke up, and while Richard went to Crispy Cajun, I plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Checkbook Pro. We then settled down at 5:00 pm to watch our #18 LSU Tigers play Auburn and to eat fried chicken. At halftime, with the score at LSU 7, Auburn 9, I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and once I finish this Update I will head to bed, and I will post the final score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We have no Saints, Blesseds, Venerateds, or Servants of God to honor; so instead we will note that, since tomorrow is the last Sunday in September, tomorrow is Gold Star Mothers Day. Tomorrow is also the start of Banned Books Week 2016. We will work our eight hours, and on my breaks I will continue reading The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith via Overdrive on my tablet. After lunch I will try to go play bingo at the St. Thomas More Fall Festival.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Paul Dietzel, American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. Born in 1924 in Fremont, Ohio, he began his football career in Mansfield, Ohio, where his high school team went undefeated and tied for second in the state. After high school he was given a scholarship to play football at Duke University. After one year at Duke, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. From there he moved on to Miami University of Ohio, where he became an All-American at center. He graduated from Miami in 1948, He then began his coaching career as an assistant coach, serving under such legendary coaches as Red Blaik at Army and Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky. In 1955 Dietzel became the head coach at Louisiana State University. During Dietzel’s first three years, none of his teams had a winning season. In 1958, however, Dietzel came up with a unique three-team platoon system. It consisted of three teams of 11 different players, and was designed to keep his players from being fatigued in an era when most players started on both offense and defense. Instead of replacing individual players during the game, Dietzel would bring in an entirely new set of players between plays and series. The three teams were called the White Team (the first-string offense and defense), the Gold (Go) Team (the second-string offense), and the Chinese Bandits (the second-string defense). The system worked, as the Tigers went undefeated and won the a national championship. The Chinese Bandits, the second-string defensive unit, which consisted of less-talented but ferocious players, became hugely popular with LSU fans and remains one of the most legendary pieces of LSU football history. (Even now, one of the pieces of music that the LSU band plays while on defense is the Chinese Bandits Cheer.) Dietzel’s teams finished with 9–1 regular seasons in 1959 and 1961, finishing #3 and #4 in the final AP Poll. The 1959 team was ranked first in the country in both wire-service polls until losing to the Tennessee Volunteers, 14–13, in the eighth game of the season. LSU concluded the season with a 21–0 loss to Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, two months after the top-ranked Tigers beat the third-ranked Rebels 7–3 in Tiger Stadium on Billy Cannon’s 89-yard punt return, a play that helped win Cannon the Heisman Trophy. Deitzel left after the 1961 season, accepting the head coaching job at Army; after their 1958 National Championship, LSU would wait another 45 years to have a National Championship in 2003 under Coach He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and then in 2007 under Les Miles. Dietzel was the first non-Army graduate to hold the Head Coaching position. However, he was not able to match the success he had at LSU, compiling a record of 21–18–1 at Army. He stayed at Army until 1966, when he became head coach and athletic director at the University of South Carolina. Despite coaching South Carolina to the school’s only conference championship in football, the Atlantic Coast Conference title in 1969, Dietzel’s overall record was only of 42–53–1. As the South Carolina athletic director, Dietzel greatly improved the athletic facilities. He oversaw South Carolina’s withdrawal from the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1971. Dietzel felt that the ACC’s higher academic entrance requirements were preventing the South Carolina football program from signing talented players which could propel the program to national prominence. The withdrawal was heavily criticized and questioned over the years. Dietzel’s other lasting legacy at South Carolina is the school’s fight song, “The Fighting Gamecocks Lead The Way”, with music from the Broadway show tune “Step to the Rear” and lyrics written by Dietzel himself. In 1974, amid intense fan pressure, Dietzel announced that he would resign at the end of the season, following an upset loss to Duke as the Gamecocks fell to 0–2. Dietzel had become unpopular due to his team’s mediocrity and failure to realize the lofty dreams that he had promised. Dietzel hoped to remain as the athletic director at South Carolina, but was not allowed to do so. He left coaching in 1975 to become the commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for one year. He then served as athletic director at Indiana University before returning to LSU as the school’s athletic director from 1978 to 1982. Dietzel also served as president of the American Football Coaches Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. When he retired, he remained in Baton Rouge and took up watercolor painting. He also authored a book that was published by Louisiana State University Press in September 2008, titled Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football (died 2013): “You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.”

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