Daily Update: Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Andrew and 11-30 - Hurricane Season Ends

Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle (died mid- to late 1st century), and today is the last day of the annual six-month Hurricane Season. Early Voting continues today for the Louisiana Open Election and Congressional Election on December 10th.

Today’s Saint was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and a fisherman like his brother. The Synoptic Gospels state that Jesus called Andrew and Peter from their boats to be fishers of men; the Gospel of John states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus, and that Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah and hastened to introduce him to his brother. In the gospels Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus. Legend holds that he preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, and along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (Constantinople) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours, describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or “saltire”), now commonly known as a “Saint Andrew’s Cross”, supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been (though of course, the privilege of choosing one’s own method of execution is a rare privilege, indeed). He is the Patron Saint of fishermen, and rope-makers, and of the countries of Scotland, Barbados, Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, and Romania. And today is the last day of the annual six-month Hurricane Season. The most active season was 2005, during which 28 tropical cyclones formed, of which a record 15 became hurricanes (including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita). The least active season was the 1914 season, with only one known tropical cyclone developing during that year.Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, NOAA predicted the following ranges for 2016: ten to sixteen named storms, with four to eight of those named storms becoming hurricanes, and one to four of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes of at least Category 3 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. We actually had fifteen named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.  Hurricane Alex formed in the Northeastern Atlantic in mid-January, the first Atlantic January hurricane since Hurricane Alice in 1955. The strongest, costliest and deadliest storm of the season was Hurricane Matthew, the southernmost Category 5 Atlantic hurricane on record, and the first Category 5 hurricane to form in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007. (My son, daughter in law, Kitten, and their cats evacuated from South Carolina to Louisiana because of Hurricane Matthew; fortunately, their house and property did not sustain any damage.) This season is, again, a vivid reminder of what is always said at the beginning of each season; it does not matter what the forecast numbers say. If the season is active and no storm hits you personally, you think it was a good year. If the forecast is for a slow year, and one storm hits you personally, you think it has been a bad season. One should prepare for each hurricane season the same way, no matter what the long-term forecast may be. And early Voting continues today for the Louisiana Open Election and Congressional Election on December 10th.

Last night our New Orleans Pelicans won their NBA game with the Los Angeles Lakers by the score of 105 to 88; our New Orleans Pelicans (7-12, 0-3) will next play a Home NBA game with the Los Angeles Clippers (14-5, 2-0) on Friday, December 2nd. And our LSU Tigers won their College Basketball game with the Houston Cougars by the score of 84 to 65; our LSU Tigers (5-2, 0-0) will next play a Home College Basketball game against the North Carolina Central Eagles (4-2, 0-0) on December 13th.

I woke up at 10:00 am, did my Book Devotional Reading, and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. Richard got a call from the clinic that as his lab results were good, he does not have to go to the Clinic on Monday for his scheduled appointment with the Nurse Practitioner. Richard then took a nap. I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper, then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Novena to the Immaculate Conception. I then got on the computer and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts. I also finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance and started the Weekly Virus Scan.

Richard woke up at about 2:30 pm; I checked our Texas and Colorado Powerball tickets, but we did not have any winners. Our mail brought us a Christmas card from Richard’s friends Bart and Natalie in Louisiana. I watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, and at 5:00 pm we left the house and ate dinner at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse. We then went to the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing (and won $11.00 from my previous batch of tickets, which sounds good until you realize that to purchase the last batch of tickets I spent $60.00 to cover several drawings). We arrived home at 6:00 pm and lit the Advent Candle; I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update, and when I finish this Update I will take a bath and do some reading before going to bed. I was not in a good mood today, and I hope that tomorrow will be better.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, but tomorrow is Sweet Baby James Day (from the song “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor). Early Voting continues for the Louisiana Open Election and Congressional Election on December 10th. I will be doing my First of the Month maintenance on my phone, and I also need to go to the grocery to get my Salad Supplies. I will be making my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday before I watch Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. And at some point I will start putting up Christmas decorations.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from Kent Haruf, American author. Born as Alan Kent Haruf in 1943 in Pueblo, Colorado, his father was a Methodist minster who moved often, and he grew up in Wray, Holyoke and Yuma, all towns in the northeastern part of the state, before moving to Canon City for junior high and high school. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln and in 1965 moved to Turkey as a Peace Corps volunteer. He received conscientious-objector status during the Vietnam War, and worked in a hospital and an orphanage as part of his alternative service. He was rejected when he first applied to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in his 20s, and also met rejection when he sent early stories and novels to publishers. After several years he was accepted at the Writers’ Workshop; its overseers relented when they learned that he had moved his family to Iowa City, determined to enroll. He spent a decade teaching high school English in Colorado and Wisconsin before being hired as an assistant professor at Nebraska Wesleyan. He was 41 when he sold his first literary work, a short story, to the magazine Puerto del Sol. He published his first novel, The Tie That Binds, about a woman who gives up her chance for love to care for her father, in 1984. Six years later he wrote Where You Once Belonged, about a football hero turned criminal. In 1999 he wrote Plainsong, which  described the interlocking lives of several families: aging brothers, a pregnant teenager they take in, and young boys whose mother suffers from depression. It was the first book he wrote using his distinctive regimen — he produced much of it in the summers while he taught at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale — and he spent six years writing it. Critics praised his spare sentences and the depth and believability of his characters and their circumstances. Writing in Newsweek, Jeff Giles called the book “a moving look at our capacity for both pointless cruelty and simple decency, our ability to walk out of the wreckage of one family and build a stronger one where it used to stand.” Plainsong earned Haruf enough money to allow him to retire from teaching at Southern Illinois.The book was named a finalist for the National Book Award and was made into a television movie in 2004. That same year he published Eventide, which focused on some of the same characters as Plainsong. Reviewing the book in The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani said that it had “the whiff of the formulaic” but that “Mr. Haruf makes us care about these plain-spoken small-town folks without ever resorting to sentimentality or clichés.” Nine years later he wrote Benediction, also set in the fictional town of Holt. It was a finalist for the inaugural Folio Prize, awarded by the Folio Society in Britain. Our Souls at Night, another novel set in Holt, was published posthumously in 2015 (died 2014): “[On his writing his first drafts on a manual typewriter with a wool cap pulled over his eyes] “It takes away the terror when you’re blind and you can’t go back and rewrite a sentence. It calls for storytelling, not polishing.”

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