Today is the Fourth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!). Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. And today is the Fourth Day of Christmas, with four calling birds. Tonight at sunset begins the Fifth Night of Hanukkah.
According to the Gospel of Matthew, King Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the village of Bethlehem so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. The story is not mentioned by the contemporary Jewish historian Josephus, nor in the other gospels; in fact, the first appearance of the story in any source other than Matthew is in the 2nd-century apocryphal Protoevangelium of James. The commemoration of the massacre of these “Holy Innocents” (considered by some Christians as the first martyrs for Christ) first appeared as a feast of the western church in the Leonine Sacramentary, dating from about 485. The story assumed an important place in later Christian tradition, with the Byzantine liturgy having 14,000 Holy Innocents and an early Syrian list of saints stating that there were 64,000 Holy Innocents. Coptic sources raised the number to 144,000 and placed the event on December 29th. Taking the narrative literally, and judging from the estimated population of Bethlehem, the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) more soberly suggested that these numbers were inflated, and that probably only between six and twenty children were killed in the town, with a dozen or so more in the surrounding areas. Today is also the Fourth Day of Christmas; the four “calling birds” mentioned in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas were originally four “colly birds”, using another word for a blackbird. And tonight at sunset begins the Fifth Night of Hanukkah.
I woke up at 8:30 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started my laundry. I then did my Book Devotional Reading and ate my breakfast toast and read the morning paper. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Holy Family Novena. I set out the Noel Christmas lights Liz Ellen had gotten me in one of the front windows, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan.
I left the house in my car at 11:00 am; at Cash Magic I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing and put up the Purse Holder in my car, which fits between the front seat backs. I headed to Wal-Mart; Liz Ellen had asked me to get some LSU exercise pants, but I could not find them at the Wal-Mart on Ambassador Caffrey in Lafayette, but I did get some battery powered LED lights and batteries. At the Piccadilly Cafeteria I ate a surprisingly indifferent lunch and started reading the December 5th – 12th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then went to Barnes and Noble and put in an hour or so of Comfy Chair time; I then looked at the 2017 Calendars, but they were fairly well picked over, and I did not find any to my liking. On my way home I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Crowley, but again did not find Liz Ellen’s LSU exercise pants.
I arrived back home just at 4:30 pm, and while watching Jeopardy! I ordered two wall calendars from Amazon, with at least one of them due to arrive before January 1st. Richard and I then went to Rocky’s Cajun Kitchen for dinner. I then lit the Hanukkah candles and went to the computer to work on my weblog. Our LSU Lady Tigers beat the Alabama State Lady Hornets by the score of 93 to 40 in their College Basketball game; our LSU Lady Tigers (11-2, 0-0) will next start their SEC Schedule with an Away College Basketball game with the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (13-0, 0-0) on Sunday, January 1st, 2017. I re-turned on the Noel lights and the wreath on the back of the front door at 9:00 am; that way, they will remain lit until 3:00 am (six hours). And our New Orleans Pelicans won their NBA game with the Los Angeles Clippers by the score of 102 to 98; our New Orleans Pelicans (13-21, 1-6) will play a home NBA game with the New York Knicks (16-15, 1-3)on Friday, December 30th.
Tomorrow is the Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!) It is the Optional Memorial of Saint Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (died 1170). Being the Fifth Day of Christmas, our Gift is five golden rings (actually birds again). And tomorrow is the birthday of my kids’ friend JJ, one of the former Assembled (1986). At sunset will begin the Sixth Night of Hanukkah. I will finish my laundry and iron my casino pants, aprons, and shirts; I will also go to Wal-Mart to get my calad supplies and to look for Liz Ellen’s LSU exercise pants, and then to make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. Our LSU Tigers (8-3, 0-0) will begin their SEC College Basketball schedule with a home game with the Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6, 0-0); I will record the score of the game in Friday’s Daily Update.
Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening is from Claude-Anne Lopez, Belgian-American writer and scholar who specialized in studies of Benjamin Franklin. Born as Claude-Anne Kirschen in Belgium in about 1920, she grew up with French as her native language. When she was in her late teens, she and her family immigrated as refugees to the United States in 1940 to escape Nazi occupation after the German invasion during World War II. They settled in New York City. Kirschen worked in the French section of the Office of War Information in New York. There she met her future husband, Roberto Sabatino Lopez (1910-1986), a wartime refugee immigrant from Italy. They married in 1946 and moved to New Haven, Connecticut, as he had been offered a position as assistant professor at Yale University. They had two sons, Michael and Lawrence. In the 1950s Yale began a project in collaboration with the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia to publish the papers of Benjamin Franklin. Lopez began working on the project, transcribing and translating papers from French, and later from Italian and German. Recognizing that she had insights to contribute from a female perspective, she published some articles on Franklin’s personal life and was promoted to editor. Her first book, published in 1966 (and reprinted in 1990) was Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris. Her 1975 work, The Private Franklin: The Man and His Family (reprinted in 1985), won a PEN award for history in 1976. In 1990 she published Le Sceptre et la Foudre: Franklin à Paris (1776-1785), in French. In addition to serving as associate editor of the Franklin Papers Project, Lopez was a senior research scholar in the Department of History. She was also a co-founder of the Friends of Franklin, devoted to study and preservation of his works. She participated in the Creativity Foundation, established in 2000 in honor of Franklin. That same year she published My Life with Benjamin Franklin, collected essays about her work and his life. In 2002 Lopez was the adviser to the PBS mini-series Benjamin Franklin, directed by Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer. It won a Primetime Emmy Award. She also appeared on a variety of television talk shows, including PBS Think Tank, and that show’s episode “Was Benjamin Franklin the First American?”, which aired in May 2003 (died 2012): “I was looking for a part-time job that I could do, preferably at home, while keeping an eye on the children. That’s exactly what this was. It was a job that I was delighted to get. And so, for my 65 cents an hour, which is what I was paid in those days, I transcribed from French … my native language. I didn’t know what anything was about, and I felt rather lost. Then I began to see that some people appeared regularly. So instead of going day by day, I thought: Why don’t I take out the entire correspondence with one person? You transcribe better when you do it that way. I began to realize that the most interesting and lively letters were written to women. I decided to write my first book, Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris. After the book was done, I was invited to lectures and talk shows, and I realized there was tremendous interest in Franklin’s family life. That’s a topic nobody had addressed.”