Today is the Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!) Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Sylvester I, Pope (died 335). Today is the Seventh Day of Christmas (our last day with birds as a gift).Our # 20 LSU Tigers (7-4, 5-3 SEC) will play their Postseason College Football game with #13 Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 7-1 ACC) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Today is New Year’s Eve, the last day of the calendar year. And tonight is the Eighth and Final Night of Hanukkah.
The son of a Roman named Rufinus, Saint Sylvester was the reigning Pope in the reign of Emperor Constantine I. During his pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine, e.g. the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the first St. Peter’s Basilica, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. Sylvester did not himself attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325, but he was represented by two legates, Vitus and Vincentius, and he approved the council’s decision. At an early stage copious legend supplemented his scanty history, bringing him into a close leadership relationship with the first Christian emperor. The Donation of Constantine (Latin: Donatio Constantini) is a forged Roman imperial decree by which the emperor Constantine the Great supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Pope. Composed probably in the 8th century, it was used, especially in the 13th century, in support of claims of political authority by the papacy. It was widely accepted as authentic, even by those who deplored the primacy of Rome; the poet Dante Alighieri lamented it as the root of papal worldliness in his Divine Comedy. It was not until the mid 15th-century, with the revival of Classical scholarship and textual criticism, that humanists, historians, and eventually the bureaucracy of the Church, began to realize that the document could not possibly be genuine, and Pope St. Sylvester I went back into the shadows of unrecorded history. He is the Patron Saint of the Order of Sylvestrine Benedictines and of the town of Feroleto Antico in Italy. Today is also the Seventh Day of Christmas, with the gift that my true love gave to me being seven swans a-swimming. In England there is a popular belief that all swans are the property of the reigning Monarch, in accordance with the Act of Swans passed by the English Parliament in 1482. In fact the right to ownership of swans was restricted by that Act to landowners who had freehold valued at 5 marks (£3-13-4) and who thus had the right to mark swans on their land. Unrestricted and unmarked Mute Swans on open water were preserved to the King. Today, the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked Mute swans in open water, but the Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the River Thames and some of its tributaries between Windsor and Abingdon, and the extremely elaborate ceremonial Swan Upping takes place during the third week of July. Our # 20 LSU Tigers (7-4, 5-3 SEC) will play their Postseason College Football game with #13 Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 7-1 ACC) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game was originally the Tangerine Bowl (1947–1982), then the Florida Citrus Bowl (1983–1993), then the CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl (1994–1999), then the Ourhouse.com Florida Citrus Bowl (2000), then the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (2001–2002), then the Capital One Bowl (2003–2014). Currently, the bowl has tie-ins with the SEC and the Big Ten, holding the first selection after the CFP selection process for both conferences. As of 2015 at $4.25 million per team, it has the largest payout of all the non-CFP bowls. In nearly every year since 1985, the game has featured both teams ranked in the Top 25. After the 2014 formation of the College Football Playoff, the Citrus Bowl has a chance to occasionally host an ACC team, replacing the Big Ten representative (which indeed will happen this year). And today is is New Year’s Eve, celebrating the end of the calendar year. At the casino this year they will have at midnight a few hundred pounds of confetti shot out of cannons up into the main dome. (We will see the results when we arrive at work on Friday morning; last year Housekeeping was told not to start sweeping up until about 5:00 am or so, which meant that in the dome area we were ankle deep in confetti.) Finally, tonight is the Eighth and Last Night of Hanukkah; with all eight candles (plus the shamash candle in the middle) lit, it is easy to see why this is the Festival of Lights.
Last night while taking my bath I started reading the December 19th – 26th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and our New Orleans Pelicans won their NBA game with the New York Knicks by the score of 104 to 92; our New Orleans Pelicans (14-21, 1-6) will next play an Away NBA game with the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-7, 3-4)on Monday, January 2nd, 2017.
I woke up for work half an hour early, did my Book Devotional Reading, posted to Facebook that today was New Year’s Day, and brought in the Christmas flag and put out the LSU flag. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Epiphany Novena. We signed the Early Out list, but (as I expected) we did not get out early; they could have gotten one of us out, but I told them to skip over us if they could not get both of us out. At the Pre-Shift Meeting Richard won a Golden Ticket (that, when used, puts one at the top of the Early Out list), but he gave it to a friend of his to return a favor. Richard was on the second Mississippi Stud game; I was on the Sit-Down Blackjack game all day, although when my game went dead at about 5:30 am they opted to us my table (and me) to change the Blackjack cards.
When we got in the truck to head home, I cranked up Watch ESPN on my tablet, and we watched the second quarter of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Once in town Richard stopped at the Superette to get boudin, and once home from work I read the paper, and we watched the second half of the game, which LSU won in a very commanding manner (against the team with the 2016 Heisman Winner) by the score of 29 to 9. Our Tigers will now prepare for the 2017 season, which will begin on September 2nd with our Tigers playing the Brigham Young University Cougars in the Advocare Texas Shootout in Houston, Texas. I came to the computer and did an Advance Daily Update Draft. Leaving the house at 2:30 pm and driving in the pouring rain, I stopped at Wal-Mart to get some breakfast bars; I also found some LSU athletic pants, and texted a photo of them to Liz Ellen to see if she wanted them. I then went to McDonald’s, where I ate a late lunch and continued reading the December 19th – 26th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then went to the 4:00 pm Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; by the time I got out at 5:00 pm the rain had let up, but the usual places in town where it floods were flooded. When I got home I lit the Hanukkah candles for the last night of Hanukkah, and came to the computer to finish this Daily Update. And Liz Ellen responded to my text that the LSU athletic pants from Wal-Mart would work, so I will get them tomorrow on our way home from work. And now I will finish this Daily Update and get ready to go to bed.
Tomorrow is the Eighth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!) It is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a Holy Day of Obligation for the faithful. Tomorrow is also the World Day of Peace. In the secular realm, tomorrow is the Eighth Day of Christmas, our first day where the gift from one’s true love is not birds. (So far, not counting tomorrow, my true love has given me seven partridges in a pear tree, twelve turtle doves, fifteen French hens, sixteen calling birds, fifteen golden rings, twelve geese a-laying, and seven swans a-swimming; that’s a lot of birds.) Finally, tomorrow is New Year’s Day. We will work our eight hours at the casino; tomorrow is both the second day of the two-day Heavy Business Volume Period for New Years, and a Paid Holiday, so that we will be paid time and a half for our hours worked tomorrow. In the afternoon our LSU Lady Tigers (11-2, 0-0) will open their SEC season by playing an away College Basketball game with the Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (13-0, 0-0), and our New Orleans Saints (7-8, 2-3) will play their final regular season NFL game (no post-season play for them this year) in an away game with the Atlanta Falcons (10-5, 4-1).
Our last Daily Update of the year on this Seventh Day of the Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!) brings us a Parting Quote from Norm Phelps, American author and activist. Born as Norman Phelps in 1939, he was raised in a devout Southern Baptist family, and in 1962 received his bachelor of arts degrees in History and Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1984 he became a vegetarian and then a vegan after the death of his dog; that same year he retired from the federal government and joined the campaigns office of The Fund for Animals in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he became active in the campaign to end the live pigeon shoot which was then held every Labor Day in the village of Hegins, Pennsylvania. In 1994 he was arrested at a pigeon shoot in Pikeville, Pennsylvania for releasing 200 pigeons who were slated to become living targets. He spent two days in Berks County Prison and was subsequently convicted of malicious mischief. (The shoot ended in 1998.) In 1985 he took vows and became a Tibetan Buddhist in the Sakya tradition. When The Fund for Animals merged with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Phelps joined the staff of the HSUS wildlife protection campaign. He was a founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV), and a former outreach director of the Fund for Animals. As an animal rights theorist, Phelps argues that the animal rights movement must: 1) Engage religious communities on the side of animal rights, 2) Join with progressive movements for social and economic justice and environmental protection to create a genuine universal rights movement, and 3) pursue a “two-track” strategy of advocating veganism and the abolition of all animal exploitation while simultaneously campaigning for more moderate reforms, such as Meatless Mondays and the abolition of battery cages for laying hens. Although he was generally opposed to militant direct action on the grounds that it is counterproductive, Phelps supported live rescues of animals from farms and laboratories. He authored three books on animal rights: The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (2002), The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights (2004), and The Longest Struggle: Animal Advocacy from Pythagoras to PETA (2007). Phelps spoke at numerous conferences, including the National Conference on Organized Resistance, the University of Oregon’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, several of the annual Animal Rights Conferences sponsored by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), and the Compassionate Living Festival. He also published articles, essays, and book reviews in several periodicals, such as the Journal of Critical Animal Studies, Philosophia, Satya, The Animals’ Voice, and VegNews (died 2014): “Czar [my dog] was a person. He had a personality as individual and well-defined as any human being. He could love, he could trust, he could share, he could enjoy, he could fear, he could worry, he could look forward to the future and remember the past, he had a sense of who he was, and he would have sacrificed himself for me without a moment’s hesitation. . . . If Czar was a person, what about other animals? What about cows, pigs, chickens and sheep? Weren’t they people, too? How could we love some and eat others?”