Daily Update: Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Guardian Angels (The Guardian Angel, Pietro da Cortona) and Respect Life Sunday 2016 and Rosh Hashana

Today is the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. Since today is the first Sunday in October, today is Respect Life Sunday. And the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana 5777 starts at sunset tonight.

Belief in the reality of angels, their mission as messengers of God, and man’s interaction with them, goes back to the earliest times. The concept of each soul having a personal guardian angel is also an ancient one, and a concept long accepted by the Church. The feast celebrating the angels who helped bring us to God began in many local calendars centuries ago, and was widely known by the 16th century. Pope Paul V placed a feast venerating the angels on the general calendar on September 27th, 1608. Ferdinand of Austria requested that it be extended to all areas in the Holy Roman Empire. Initially placed after the feast of Michael the Archangel, it was seen as a kind of supplement to that date. Pope Clement X (died 1676) changed the date of the feast to its present date of October 2nd and elevated the status of the Feast, while Pope Leo XIII further elevated the status of the Feast in 1883. Saint John XXIII, Pope, wrote a Meditation for the Feast of the Guardian Angels, which read, in part: “We must remember how admirable was the intention of divine Providence in entrusting to the angels the mission of watching over all mankind, and over individual human beings, lest they should fall victims to the grave dangers which they encounter.” The Guardian Angels are the Patron Saints of Spanish police officers. Since today is the First Sunday in October, today is also Respect Life Sunday. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops so designated this date as Respect Life Sunday in 1972, a day for us to remember the sanctity of life, from conception through illness through death. The theme for Respect Life 2016 is “Moved by Mercy”; “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.” — Pope Francis. Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah, the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), or of the Asseret Yemei Teshuva (Ten Days of Repentance), which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur. Jews believe Rosh Hashana represents either analogically or literally the creation of the World or of the Universe. The Mishnah, the core text of Judaism’s oral Torah, contains the first known reference to Rosh Hashanah as the “day of judgment.” In the Talmud tractate on Rosh Hashanah it states that three books of account are opened on Rosh Hashanah, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life, and they are sealed “to live.” Those who are not yet righteous are allowed a respite of ten days, until Yom Kippur, to repent and become righteous; the wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living”.

Last night, for Interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron’s first game since the firing of former Head Coach Les Miles, our LSU Tigers beat the Missouri Tigers in a home SEC matchup by the score of 42 to 7. Our LSU Tigers (3-2, 2-1) will next travel to play the #23 ranked Florida Gators (4-1, 2-1) on Saturday, October 8th, 2016. And our New Orleans Pelicans, in a Preseason NBA game with the Dallas Mavericks in Bossier City, Louisiana, won the game by the score of 114 to 97. Our Pelicans will next play another Preseason NBA game at home with the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, October 4th.

Upon waking up I did my Book Devotional Reading. I brought in the LSU flag, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and Richard picked up a 5-Hour Energy Drink at a convenience store. Once we clocked in, Richard was on the Sit-Down Blackjack table until that table was closed; he then changed Blackjack cards, and then became the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud, the second Mississippi Stud table, and Three Card Poker. I spent my day dealing Blackjack.

On our way home from work Richard got gas for the truck at the Valero. Once home I made my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday, and ate a lunch salad while reading the Sunday papers. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; and when I finish this Update, I will do a bit of reading, then go to bed for the duration. Our New Orleans Saints (0-3, 0-1) will be playing an away NFL game with the  San Diego Chargers (1-2, 1-2) later this afternoon; I will post the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow Rosh Hashana continues, and it is the the Optional Memorial of Saint Théodore Guérin, Virgin (died 1856). Tomorrow is also the anniversary of when Hurricane Lili made landfall in Louisiana in 2002 (not that I was here to experience it). And since tomorrow is the First Monday in October, tomorrow is World Habitat Day. Tomorrow is the first day of the new two-week pay period at the casino, and we will work our eight hours; after we clock out Richard will go to the Clinic to have blood drawn for lab work ahead of his appointment with the Nurse Practitioner on October 10th. In the afternoon I will do filing of books, and start figuring out which National Parks we might try to see on our upcoming vacation.

Our Parting Quote on this Respect Life Sunday afternoon comes to us from Abraham Nemeth, American mathematician and inventor. Born in 1918 in New York City, he was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a large family of Hungarian Jewish immigrants who spoke Yiddish. He was blind from birth from a combination of macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Nemeth attended public schools at first but did most of his primary and secondary education at the Jewish Guild for the Blind school in Yonkers, New York. His undergraduate studies were at Brooklyn College where he studied psychology; he did not major in mathematics on the advice of his academic advisors He earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Columbia University. However, tired of what he felt were unfulfilling jobs at agencies of the blind, and with the encouragement of his first wife Florence, he decided to continue his education in mathematics. Nemeth taught part-time at various colleges in New York. Though his employers were sometimes reluctant to hire him knowing that he was blind, his reputation grew as it became apparent that he was a capable mathematician and teacher. Nemeth distinguished himself from many other blind people by being able to write visual print letters and mathematical symbols on paper and blackboards just like sighted people, a skill he learned as a child. Nemeth said that this skill allowed him to succeed in mathematics, during an era without much technology, during which even Braille was difficult to use in mathematics. During the 1950s he moved to Detroit, Michigan to accept a position at the University of Detroit working with Keith Rosenberg, where he remained for 30 years. As the coursework became more advanced, Nemeth found that he needed a braille code that would more effectively handle the kinds of math and science material he was tackling. Ultimately, he developed the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, which was published in 1952. The Nemeth Code has gone through four revisions since its initial development, and continues to be widely used today. In the course of his studies, Nemeth found that he needed to make use of sighted readers to read otherwise inaccessible math texts and other materials. Likewise, he needed a method for dictating his math work and other materials for transcription into print. The conventions Nemeth developed for efficiently reading mathematical text out loud have evolved into MathSpeak, a system for orally communicating mathematical text. During the late 1960s he studied computer science and began the university’s program in that subject. He retired from the University of Detroit in 1985. Nemeth was instrumental in the development of Unified English Braille (UEB) from 1991 to at least 2001, though he eventually parted ways with others developing that code, and instead worked on a parallel effort called the Universal Braille System (sometimes abbreviated as NUBS with his name appended to the front). As of 2012, UEB was officially adopted by BANA as the standard for literary braille, but Nemeth Code was also fully retained as an optional official coding system. Work on NUBS may continue, or it might be merged into a future rules-update to the official Nemeth Code (the most recent official rules-update to Nemeth Code was in 2013). Nemeth was still working on the Nemeth code when he died. Nemeth had been active in the Jewish community since childhood, and since his retirement from academic mathematics he had been transcribing Hebrew prayer books into Braille. Nemeth was an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. He wrote several short stories and made speeches for the NFB about his life as a blind mathematician. On February 11th, 2006, Nemeth suffered a massive heart attack, but recovered and was well enough to attend the July 2006 NFB convention and accept the 2006 Louis Braille award which the organization gave him. On July 9th, 2009, he was honored by the NFB as a co-recipient of the Dr. Jacob Bolotin award (died 2013): “Now I want you to know that in recent years I have read two obituaries of myself. The first time when my brother passed away I was very well known at the Jewish Braille Institute and my sister called them to inform them of my brother’s death. My brother’s name was Aaron. And the busy secretary wrote down A. Nemeth died. The following month my obituary appeared in the Jewish Prayer Review. I was very flattered…So next time was about two years ago. No, four years ago. My wife died in March of the year 2000. And somebody mistook her death for my death and published an obituary for me in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness that is published by the American Foundation for the Blind. They had to publish a retraction and labels for the libraries. So anyway I was very pleased with both obituaries.”

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