Daily Update: Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

All Saints Day

Today is All Saint’s Day, otherwise known as the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation. Today is the last day for Early Voting in Louisiana for the Open Primary Election, the Presidential Election, and the Congressional Election. Finally, today is also the birthday of my friend Jocelyne in Ohio, whom I have known since 1965 (1958).

In terms of Western Christian theology, All Saint’s Day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to May 13th, 609 (or 610), when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”, with the day moved to November 1st and the May 13th feast suppressed. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. In professional sports the New Orleans Saints NFL franchise was awarded on All Saints’ Day, November 1st, 1966. Today is the last day for Early Voting in Louisiana for the Open Primary Election, the Presidential Election, and the Congressional Election. And today is the birthday of my friend whom I have known the longest, Jocelyne in West Virginia; we met in second grade, when she was seated just ahead of me in class, since her last name was just before mine when roll was called (1958).

At some point after 8:00 pm last night Richard turned our front porch light back on (while I was sleeping).

I woke up half an hour early, and flipped to the next month in my three wall calendars. I then put my spare Galaxy Note 4 battery into my phone and did my Book Devotional Reading. Richard gathered up the trash and took the bag of trash to a local dumpster. I finished my packing, and Richard loaded my last bags of stuff in the back seat of the car. Before leaving the house I changed the non-computer clocks in the house to Central Standard Time (which starts on Sunday). We drove to the casino in the car, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading, cleared out my phone call list and voice mails on my phone, deleted my Google search history, cleared out my Browsing and Search history on Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google Play Store, and did Screenshots of all of my home screens on my phone. Once at the casino we signed the Early Out list, and Richard got his annual evaluation from the Assistant Shift Manager. When we clocked in Richard was on Mini Baccarat, then changed Blackjack cards, and I was on Three Card Poker. We got out at 3:45 am, headed home, and went back to bed.

We woke up at 8:00 am, and I added three October photos from my phone to the hard drive of the computer, and added the photos to my October 2016 photo CDs I had made yesterday for Liz Ellen and for myself. I then got on the computer and updated my Daily Update for today. Our morning paper had arrived, so I read the paper . 

Richard and I left the house at 9:00 am for the casino, and we attended the 9:45 am Meeting with our Table Games Director. At 10:45 am the Meeting ended and our vacation began, with the speedometer at 12718. We headed north, and I ate a roast beef poboy, as I had not eaten anything since 1:30 am. Outside of Natchitoches I got two crawfish pies. I then read the October 3rd, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and we started listening to the Audiobook of The Gangster by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott, read by Scott Brick. We reached Texas at 2:00 pm, and with the aid of Google Maps got through Dallas. At 8:30 pm we fetched up in Vernon, Texas for the night at the Hampton Inn. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Milwaukee Bucks by the score of l113 to 117. And with the Cubs beating the Indians in Game 6 of the World Series, which would force a Game 7 tomorrow, I smiled going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Feast of All Souls. We will get up early and head for Colorado . And tomorrow night our New Orleans Pelicans will play an Away NBA game with the Memphis Grizzlies . 

Our Parting Quote on this All Saint’s Day comes to us from William Styron, American novelist and essayist. Born in 1925 in Newport News, Virginia, he grew up in the South and was steeped in its history. His birthplace was less than a hundred miles from the site of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, later the source for Styron’s most famous and controversial novel. Although Styron’s paternal grandparents had been slave owners, his Northern mother and liberal Southern father gave him a broad perspective on race relations. Styron’s childhood was a difficult one: his father, a shipyard engineer, suffered from clinical depression, which Styron himself would later experience. His mother died from breast cancer in 1939 when Styron was a boy, following a decade-long battle. Upon graduation from his college preparatory school he enrolled in Davidson College, North Carolina, but dropped out to join the Marines toward the end of World War II. Though Styron was made a lieutenant, the Japanese surrendered before Styron’s ship left San Francisco. Styron then enrolled in Duke University, published his first fiction (a short story heavily influenced by William Faulkner) in an anthology of student work, and and earned a B.A. in English, graduating in 1957. He took an editing position with McGraw-Hill in New York City; after provoking his employers into firing him, he set about writing his first novel in earnest. Three years later, he published the novel Lie Down in Darkness (1951), the story of a dysfunctional Virginia family. The novel received overwhelming critical acclaim, and Styron received the prestigious Rome Prize, awarded by the American Academy in Rome and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His recall into the military due to the Korean War prevented him from immediately accepting this award and traveling to Italy. After his 1952 discharge from the military for eye problems Styron transformed his recent experience at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina into his short novel The Long March, published serially in 1953.  He then took an extended trip to Europe. In Paris he became friends with writers Romain Gary, George Plimpton, Peter Matthiessen, James Baldwin, James Jones and Irwin Shaw, among others, and the group founded the Paris Review in 1953, which became a celebrated literary journal. Also, taking advantage of his Rome Prize, he went to Italy, where he courted and married his wife, poet Rose Burgunder, to whom he had been introduced the previous fall at Johns Hopkins University. They were married in Rome in the spring of 1953. In 1958 his short novel The Long March was adapted for the Playhouse 90 episode “The Long March” in 1958. In 1960 he published Set This House on Fire, a novel about intellectual American expatriates on the Riviera. The novel received, at best, mixed reviews in the United States although its publisher considered it successful in terms of sales. In Europe, however, its translation into French achieved best-seller status, far outselling the American edition. Wounded by his first truly harsh reviews for Set This House On Fire, Styron spent years researching and composing his next novel, the fictitious memoirs of the historical Nat Turner. The Confessions of Nat Turner was published in 1967 ignited much controversy; despite public defenses of Styron by both James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, numerous black critics reviled Styron’s portrayal of Turner as racist stereotyping. The novel became a runaway critical and financial success, eventually winning the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His next novel was Sophie’s Choice (1979), which generated debate due to his decision to portray a non-Jewish victim of the Holocaust. It won the 1980 National Book Award and was a nationwide bestseller. A 1982 film version was nominated for five Academy Awards, with Meryl Streep winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sophie. Styron was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca in 1985. That same year he suffered from a serious depression, which he later wrote about in his popular memoir Darkness Visible (1990). In 1993 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. His short story “Shadrach” was filmed in 1998, under the same title, and was co-directed by his daughter Susanna Styron (died 2006): “Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

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