Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the last Sunday before Christmas, with no Saints to honor. Our O Antiphon for the day is O Adonai, “O Lord”. Today is also the Sixth Wedding Anniversary for my son and daughter-in-law Matthew and Callie, who will be celebrating with my granddaughter (born in 2015) in their new home in South Carolina.
The fourth Advent Candle lit during this week is purple or violet, signifying our desire to repent to be ready for the arrival of Christ in our hearts. The last week of Advent can last from one to seven days, always ending with Christmas. Since Christmas Day this year is on a Sunday, this last week of Advent will last a full seven days; next year, Christmas will be on the Monday after the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Today’s Mass was historically called the Golden Mass and celebrated with special solemnity, because it focuses on the role of Mary in the Incarnation. The first reading is the famous prophecy from Isaiah about the virgin who will conceive and bear a son. The Gospel is the Annunciation account. In manuscripts of the Middle Ages, the capital letters of the text of the Annunciation Gospel were written in gold as a sign of the secret grace hidden within the words of the Angel Gabriel and within the response of the Virgin Mary. Our O Antiphon for today is “O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.” In English, the translation is “O Lord, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.” Isaiah had prophesied (Isaiah 11:4-5): “[…] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins,” and (Isaiah 33:22) “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” And it was six years ago that my son Matthew married Callie, with the wedding at our church in town, and the reception at Callie’s church in town; they are now living in South Carolina (where the Navy has stationed him), and they are both very happy with their daughter (my first and thus far only grandchild, born in May 2015), their two cats and their TIVO.
Last night our LSU Tigers beat the Texas Southern Tigers in College Basketball by the score of 88 to 80.
On getting up for work I did my Book Devotional Reading. When we left for work at 1:15 am, it was 72°. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Christmas Novena. I also posted to Facebook that today was the kids’ anniversary. We met the cold front, and it was pour down rain when we reached the casino. My friend Sue gave me a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card in ADR. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mississippi Stud, and I was on Pai Gow; and at 4:15 am it was 42°.
On our way home from work Richard got gas at Valero. Once home I read the Sunday papers, and then ate chili that Liz Ellen had made. She and I then went to Cash Magic, where I lost $30.00 on video poker. We came back, and did nothing for the rest of the afternoon; and now I am going to bed. Our LSU Lady Tigers (8-2, 0-0) are playing a College Basketball game in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with the North Carolina Lady Tarheels (8-1, 0-0). and our New Orleans Saints (5-9, 1-3) are playing an away NFL game with the Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1, 2-1-1). Later our New Orleans Pelicans (9-19, 0-5) will play an Away NBA game with the San Antonio Spurs (21-5, 4-1); I will record the scores of these games in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor; our O Antiphon will be “O Radix Jesse…”. I will wake up half an hour early and drive myself to work, and wait to sign the Early Out list; Richard will drive to work in the truck. If I get out early, I will go home and nap; if I do not, I will go home at my usual time. Either way, Liz Ellen and I will then head to Lafayette to get massages at Massage Envy. Our LSU Tigers (7-2, 0-0) will play a home College Basketball game with the Charleston Cougars (8-3, 0-0) tomorrow evening.
Our Parting Quote on this Fourth Sunday of Advent afternoon comes to us from Robert Simpson, American meteorologist. Born in 1912 in Corpus Christi, Texas, he survived the devastating landfall of a hurricane in 1919 at age six; one of his family members drowned. Simpson graduated with honors from high school in 1929. Fascinated by the weather, he went on to get a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1933, and a Master of Science degree in physics from Emory University in 1935. Finding no work as a physicist during the Great Depression, he taught music in Texas high schools. On April 16th, 1940, he was hired by the United States Weather Bureau. First assigned as a junior observer of meteorology at Brownsville, Texas, he was then temporarily assigned to Swan Island. After the Pearl Harbor attack, he was promoted to forecaster at the New Orleans office. As part of a United States Weather Bureau scholarship, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago in 1943 and 1944. After a stint as a hurricane forecaster in Miami under Grady Norton, he was assigned to help create the Army Air Force weather school in Panama. There he had his first flight into a tropical cyclone. After the war, he persuaded Air Force Hurricane Hunters to allow him to fly along on what he called ‘piggy back missions’, where he would take scientific observations using the primitive instruments. Following VJ day and the dissolution of the weather school in 1945, Simpson returned to Miami. He was then assigned to Weather Bureau headquarters, working directly for Dr. Francis Reichelderfer. In 1949 Reichelderfer assigned Simpson to Hawaii to be in charge of consolidating the Weather Bureau’s Pacific operations. There he founded a weather observation station on Mauna Loa, studied Kona lows, and flew a research mission into Typhoon Marge aboard a specifically equipped Air Force weather plane. He continually urged Weather Bureau management to fund modest levels of hurricane research, but budgets during the early 1950s did not allow for such studies. Then the devastating 1954 Atlantic hurricane season changed the minds of several New England congressmen, and a special appropriation was passed to improve the Weather Bureau’s hurricane warning system. Reichelderfer appointed Simpson to head up the National Hurricane Research Project in 1955. For the next four years, Simpson navigated NHRP through the shoals of bureaucratic uncertainty. Once NHRP was assured longevity in 1959, Simpson left the Project to finish his doctorate in meteorology at the University of Chicago, studying under his friend Dr. Herbert Riehl. On completing his degree in 1962, he returned to Washington to become the Weather Bureau’s Deputy Director of Research (Severe Storms), where Severe Storms Project (later to become the National Severe Storms Laboratory). In 1961 he obtained a National Science Foundation grant to study seeding hurricanes with silver iodide. He put together an experiment using NHRP and United States Navy aircraft to seed Hurricane Esther. The encouraging results led the Weather Bureau and the Navy to start Project Stormfury in 1962, with Simpson as Director. He headed up the Project for the next three years, including the seeding of Hurricane Beulah in 1963. He married Joanne Malkus in 1965 and persuaded her to take over as Director of Stormfury for the next two years as he became Director of Operations for the Weather Bureau. In 1967 Simpson became Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center. Simpson reorganized NHC, making it separate from the Miami Weather Bureau office, and established the position of ‘hurricane specialist’ for NHC’s senior forecasters. He directed NHC from 1968 to 1974, during which time he co-developed the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) with Herbert Saffir, established a dedicated satellite unit at NHC, studied neutercanes, and began issuing advisories on subtropical storms. His controversial remarks to Vice President Spiro Agnew in the wake of Hurricane Camille led to an upgrade of the Air Force and Navy Hurricane Hunter squadrons, and persuaded NOAA (then ESSA) to improve their hurricane research aircraft. He retired from government service in 1974, turning NHC over to his Deputy Director Neil Frank. The Simpsons returned to Washington, where they established a weather consulting firm, Simpson Weather Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia. At this time he became a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. Both he and his wife joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in the Environmental Sciences department. In that capacity, he participated in several international scientific experiments, such as GATE, MONEX, ITEX, and Toga COARE. He co-authored the book The Hurricane and Its Impact (1981) with Herbert Riehl, and was a senior editor and contributing author to Hurricane! Coping with Disaster (2003). He was an Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York. He was the recipient of Gold Medals from both the United States and from France, and of the Cleveland Abbe Award from the AMS. Simpson, whose wife died in 2010, resided in Washington, D.C. until his death after a stroke (died 2014): “The problem of evacuating people and getting warnings out that are understood and which will evoke a response in the people who need to move has always been a difficult one. When I first came down to the Hurricane Center in 1967, I tried to come to grips with how we could do a better job of communicating. And that’s very difficult; scientists communicate with each other very easily, but a scientist trying to communicate with a person who is a non-scientist on a technical problem is very difficult at times. So it occurred to me if we could find some means of expressing the gradations of risks that people have in a hurricane, it would help people like the American Red Cross and the Emergency Management people to decide how best to make their decisions and to deal with the people they were responsible to.”