Daily Update: Friday, December 30th, 2016

Holy Family and 12-30 - Sixth Day of Christmas and Hanukkah - 7th Night

Today is the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!) Because this year there is no Sunday within the Octave of Christmas (since Christmas was on a Sunday), today is the Feast of the Holy Family, Today is also the Sixth Day of Christmas, with more birds (geese, to be specific). Today is also the birthday of my friend Deborah in Colorado (1958) and of Richard’s nephew Greg, the second son of his brother Slug here in our town (1970). And tonight is the Seventh Night of Hanukkah.

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. This is a very late Feast; veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Mgr François de Laval, a Canadian bishop who founded a Confraternity. The feast of the Holy Family was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany; that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7th through January 13th, all inclusive. In the calendar promulgated in 1969, the feast was moved to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, between Christmas and New Year’s Day (both exclusive), or when there is no Sunday within the Octave (that is, if Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are Sundays), it is held on December 30th, which is a Friday in such years. Turning to the Sixth Day of Christmas, we have six geese a-laying (but no ganders, so unless our geese found a gander in transit, we will not be seeing any goslings). Today is also the birthday of my friend Deborah in Colorado (1958) and of Richard’s nephew Greg, the second son of his brother Slug here in our town (1970). And tonight is the Seventh Night of Hanukkah.

Last night our LSU Tigers lost their opening SEC College Basketball game with the Vanderbilt Commodores by the score of 89 to 96; our LSU Tigers (8-4, 0-1) will next play an away College Basketball game with the Missouri Tigers (5-7, 0-0) on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017.

Upon waking up to get ready for work, I did my Book Devotional Reading. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Epiphany Novena. I requested Finders Keepers by Stephen King (our January Third Tuesday Book Club selection) from the Lafayette Public Library; I also requested the book from Overdrive (now on hold), in case I cannot borrow the book from the library on Wednesday of next week. When we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack game all day. I started my day breaking the Sit-Down Blackjack table, another Blackjack table, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow (working the first hour and twenty minutes of my shift before getting a break). They closed the Sit-Down Blackjack table and the other Blackjack table, so I then became the breaker for the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow. After breaking the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table twice, it was taken from my relief string, so I was just breaking Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow; near the end of our shift I broke Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table again, and another Blackjack table, so I worked the last hour and twenty minutes of the shift.

When we got home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. When I finish this Daily Update I will light the Hanukkah Candles, then take a bath and do some reading before going to bed for the duration. Our New Orleans Pelicans (13-21, 1-6) will be playing a Home NBA game with the New York Knicks (16-15, 1-3) tonight; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, Pope. Tomorrow is also the Seventh Day of Christmas, featuring swans. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, the last day of the civil year. I will wake up half an hour early, and when we get to the casino we will sign the Early Out list; tomorrow will be the first day of a two-day Heavy Business Volume Day period for New Year’s. We are hopeful that we will get out early, so that at 10:00 am we can be at home to watch our #20 LSU Tigers (7-4, 5-3 SEC) play their postseason College Football game with the #13 Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 7-1 ACC) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida; however, this week they have been getting very few dealers out early (today only two people got out), so we might miss the first quarter of the game, and have to listen to the second quarter on the radio on our way home. The Adoration Chapel is closed tomorrow (through January 3rd), so I will not be doing my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; however, I will go to the 4:00 pm Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. And tomorrow at sunset is the Eighth and Last Night of Hanukkah.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday afternoon comes to us from Luise Rainer, German-born Austrian and American film actress. Born in 1910 in Düsseldorf, German Empire, she was raised by her upper-class Jewish family in Hamburg and later in Vienna, Austria. Although generally shy at home, she was immensely athletic in school, becoming a champion runner and a fearless mountain-climber. Rainer began acting in Germany at age sixteen, being trained by Austria’s leading stage director, Max Reinhardt. Within a few years she had become a distinguished Berlin stage actress with Reinhardt’s Vienna theater ensemble. After years of acting on stage and in films in Austria and Germany, she was discovered by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scouts, who signed her to a three-year contract in Hollywood in 1935. A number of filmmakers envisioned she might become another Greta Garbo, MGM’s leading female star at the time. Her first American film role was in Escapade in 1935. The following year she was given a supporting part in the musical biography The Great Ziegfeld, where, despite limited appearances, her emotion-filled acting quality so impressed audiences that she was awarded an Oscar as Best Actress. She was later dubbed “the Viennese teardrop”, for her dramatic telephone scene in the film. For her next role, producer Irving Thalberg was convinced, despite the studio’s disagreement, that she would also be able to play the part of a poor uncomely Chinese farm wife in The Good Earth (1937), based on Pearl Buck’s novel about hardship in China. The subdued character role was such a dramatic contrast to her previous vivacious character that she was again given an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first one given for two performances by the same actress in consecutive years. After a string of unimportant movie parts (in The Emperor’s Candlesticks and Big City in 1937, and in The Toy Wife, The Great Waltz, and Dramatic School in 1938), MGM and Rainer became disappointed with each other, leading her to end a brief three-year career in films, soon returning to Europe. Adding to her rapid decline was the poor career advice given her by then husband, playwright Clifford Odets, along with the unexpected death, at age 37, of her producer, Irving Thalberg, whom she greatly admired, after she completed filming on The Good Earth. She filed for divorce in 1938, and her divorce from Odets was finalized in 1940. While in Europe, Rainer studied medicine and explained she loved being accepted as “just another student”, rather than as a screen actress. She returned to the stage and made her first appearance at the Palace Theatre, Manchester on May 1st, 1939 as Françoise in Jacques Deval’s play Behold the Bride, and her first London appearance at the Shaftesbury Theatre on May 23rd, 1939 in the same part. Returning to America, she played the leading part in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan on March 10th 1940 at the Belasco Theatre in Washington, D.C. under the direction of German emigrant director Erwin Piscator. She made her first appearance on the New York stage at the Music Box Theatre in May 1942 as Miss Thing in J. M. Barrie’s A Kiss for Cinderella. She made one more film appearance in Hostages in 1943 and abandoned film making in 1944 after marrying publisher Robert Knittel. Rainer took her oath of allegiance to the United States in the 1940s, but she and Knittel lived in the United Kingdom and Switzerland, instead, for most of their marriage. She made sporadic television and stage appearances following her and her husband’s move to Britain, appearing in an episode of the World War II television series Combat! in 1965. She took a dual role in a 1983 episode of The Love Boat, and received a standing ovation from the crew. Knittel died in 1989. Rainer appeared in The Gambler (1997) in a small role, marking her film comeback at the age of 86. She made appearances at the 1998 and 2003 Academy Awards ceremonies as part of special retrospective tributes to past Oscar winners. On January 12th, 2010, Rainer celebrated her centenary in London. Actor Sir Ian McKellen was one of her guests. During that month, she was present at the British Film Institute tribute to her at the National Film Theatre, where she was interviewed by Richard Stirling before screenings of The Good Earth and The Great Waltz. She also appeared onstage at the National Theatre, where she was interviewed by Sir Christopher Frayling. In April 2010 she returned to Hollywood to present a TCM festival screening of The Good Earth, accompanied by an interview with host Robert Osborne (died 2014): “For my second and third pictures I won Academy Awards. Nothing worse could have happened to me.”

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