Alleluia! on the Octave of Christmas, the Eighth Day of Christmas. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a celebration of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus and a Holy Day of Obligation. Today is also The World Day of Peace. It is the Eighth Day of Christmas (without birds, for a change) and the first day of the Civil Year of 2017. (And may we all be more civil to each other this year.)
Turning to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the term Theotokos was adopted at the Council of Ephesus (431) as a way to assert the Divinity of Christ, from which it follows that what is predicated of Christ is predicated of God. So, if Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is also, logically, the Mother of God. Therefore, the title “Mother of God” and the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, which celebrates her under this title, are, at once, Mariological and Christological (and very Catholic). The feast was celebrated in the east before the west, but by the 5th century it was celebrated in France and Spain on the Sunday before Christmas. In Rome, even before the 7th century, January 1st was used as a celebration of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the Marian feast on January 1st. The celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision on January 1st was expanded to the entire Roman Catholic Church in 1570 when Pope Pius V promulgated the Roman Missal. In 1914 the feast of the “Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary” was established in Portugal, occurring on October 11th. In 1931 this feast was extended to the entire Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI and maintained on October 11th. Following the Second Vatican Council in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar, and replaced it with the feast of the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.” Today is also The World Day of Peace, introduced by the Church in 1967 and inspired by the encyclicals Pacem in Terris (1963) and Populorum Progressio (1967) of Saint John XXIII, Pope, and Blessed Paul VI, Pope. The World Day of Peace has often been a time when popes make magisterial declarations relevant to the social doctrine of the Church. Our theme and title for Pope Francis’s message for 2017 is “Non-Violence: a Style of Politics for Peace.” The Holy Father urges us to practice active nonviolence and work to prevent conflict by addressing its causes, building relationships, and facilitating healing and restoration. Today is also the Eighth Day of Christmas; this is the first verse of the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas that does not involve birds, but instead has eight maids a-milking. (Presumably the maids have brought their own cows to milk.) Today is also the First Day of the Civil Year of 2017. On the modern Gregorian calendar the first day of the civil year is celebrated on January 1st, as it was also in ancient Rome (though other dates were also used in Rome). In all countries using the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, except for Israel, it is a public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1st on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 14th on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year. It is a Federal Holiday unless it falls on a Saturday (in which case the Federal Holiday is on the Friday before) or unless if falls on a Sunday (as it did this year, which means the Federal Holiday will be tomorrow, January 2nd).
Upon waking up for work, I did my Book Devotional Reading. I then put up my 2017 Wall Calendars (except for the one on order, which has not arrived yet), and put the 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac on the nail in my bathroom. I then put my spare Galaxy Note 4 battery into my phone, posted to Facebook that today was New Year’s Day, and changed my badge cover for work. I also put out a new powder puff to use for the next four months. I wore my New Orleans Saints jersey to work for the last time this season (we can wear NFL jerseys to work on Sundays through Super Bowl Sunday, but today is the last day the Saints will play this year.). My LSU flag that I had put out was too soaked from the rain to bring inside. On our way to work I cleared out my predictive data on Swiftkey on my phone, did my Book Devotional Reading, said the Third Day of my Epiphany Novena, cleared out the browser data on Wikipedia, Google Play Store, Facebook, and Chrome, cleared out my phone call lists and voice mail lists, deleted my Google search history, and did screenshots of my current Galaxy Note 4 home screens. At work, today was the second day of the two-day Heavy Business Volume Days for New Years, and today was a Paid Holiday, with Richard and I being paid time and a half for our eight hours worked today. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for the second Mississippi Stud table, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker; he then became the dealer on Macau Mini Baccarat until they closed that table. He then changed Blackjack cards, was on a Blackjack table, and at the end of the day he opened up the Four Card Poker table. I was on a Blackjack table, was moved to become the Relief Dealer for the two Pai Gow Poker tables, and then spent the rest of the day on the Sit-Down Blackjack table. Before work, and on a later break for me, Richard and I ate of the free meal in ADR, which was ham / chicken, cooked cabbage, and black-eyed peas, so we had our traditional New Year’s Day meal. (I love cooked cabbage; when I was a kid in West Virginia we had to eat sauerkraut at New Year’s, which I hated.)
On our way home we stopped at Wal-Mart; I got Liz Ellen’s LSU athletic pants and a new pair of work shoes while Richard got our usual groceries that he normally gets on the Saturday before payday (since our paychecks always hit the bank on the Friday evening before payday). Once home he paid the bills while I made my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday and ate a lunch salad while reading the Sunday papers. I then came to the computer and plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Checkbook Pro app. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, because after I finish this Daily Update I will go to bed for the duration. Our LSU Lady Tigers (11-2, 0-0) will be opening their SEC College Basketball season with an away game with Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (13-0, 0-0), and our New Orleans Saints (7-8, 2-3) will end their regular NFL season (no postseason play for our Saints) with an away game with the Atlanta Falcons (10-5, 4-1); I will record the scores of the games in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Basil the Great, Bishop and Doctor (died 379) and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop and Doctor (died 390). And tomorrow is the Federal Holiday for New Year’s, and the Ninth Day of Christmas, with dancing ladies. Tomorrow is also Earth Perihelion, the closest approach of the Earth to the Sun this year. Richard and I will return to the casino to work our eight hours. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans (14-21, 1-6) will play an Away NBA game with the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-7, 3-4); I will record the score of the game in Tuesday’s Daily Update.
On this first day of 2017 and Octave of Christmas (Alleluia!), our Parting Quote comes to us from Donna Douglas, American actress and singer. Born as Doris Smith in 1932 in the town of Pride in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, she attended St. Gerard Catholic High School (now Redemptorist) in Baton Rouge, where she played softball and basketball and was a member of the school’s first graduating class. Douglas married her first husband, Roland Bourgeois, Jr., in 1949, with whom she had her only child in 1954. The couple divorced that same year. She was named “Miss Baton Rouge” and “Miss New Orleans” in 1957. She moved to New York City to pursue a career in show business and started out as an illustration model for toothpaste advertisements. She was featured as the “Letters Girl” on NBC’s The Perry Como Show in 1957 and as the “Billboard Girl” on NBC’s The Steve Allen Show in 1959. These and other television appearances led New York photographers and newspaper reporters to award her the “Miss By-line” crown, which she wore on CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show. Movie producer Hal B. Wallis saw the Sullivan episode and cast her in the role of Marjorie Burke in the movie drama Career (1959), starring Anthony Franciosa, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine. This was followed by a bit part in the musical comedy Li’l Abner (1959) and the role of a secretary in the comedy / romance Lover Come Back (1961), starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day. She made numerous television appearances in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including The Twilight Zone episode “The Eye of the Beholder” (1960). She played Barbara Simmons in four 1961 episodes of the CBS detective series Checkmate. Her other credits included in U.S. Marshal, Tightrope, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Bachelor Father, Adam-12, and Route 66. Douglas also appeared in Thriller, season 1, episode 16, “The Hungry Glass”. Although she was an active actress in the 1960s, she was still relatively unknown when selected from among 500 young actresses to work alongside veteran actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen on The Beverly Hillbillies. She was cast as Elly May Clampett, the daughter of Buddy Ebsen character J. D. “Jed” Clampett. This series ran for nine consecutive seasons, beginning in 1962 and ending in 1971. During the 1966 summer hiatus of The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas made her only starring feature film appearance, cast as Frankie in Fred de Cordova’s Frankie and Johnny (1966) with Elvis Presley. The film proved popular and is among Presley’s most frequently televised movies, but it did little to advance Douglas’ big-screen career. She was a guest star on a number of other television programs and the subject of paper dolls, dolls, coloring books, and various toys during the height of the show’s popularity. She married Robert Leeds, director of The Beverly Hillbillies, in 1971; they divorced in 1980. Continually typecast as a result of her Hillbillies role, Douglas decided to focus on her career as a gospel singer. She received her real estate license after The Beverly Hillbillies finished production. She did not work in that field long, however, as she remained in show business and found other projects. With the 1973 death of Hillbillies co-star Irene Ryan (who played Buddy Ebsen’s mother-in-law Daisy May (“Granny”) Moses, and was six years older than her son in law), and the refusal of Max Baer Jr. (who had played Jethro Bodine) to participate, Douglas joined Nancy Kulp (“Miss” Jane Hathaway) and Buddy Ebsen in 1981 as the only original cast members to appear in the reunion movie, The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies. Douglas frequently performed as a gospel singer and was a speaker at church groups, youth groups, schools and colleges across the United States. One focus of her charitable work was speaking in support of various Christian children’s homes, mostly in the American South. She appeared at conventions and trade fairs. She recorded several gospel albums, the first released in 1982, and recorded a few minor country music records during the 1970s and 1980s. Douglas wrote and published a religious-based children’s book titled Donna’s Critters & Kids: Children’s Stories with a Bible Touch. The book included Bible stories featuring animals combined with a coloring book. In 1992 Douglas and Baer attended Buddy Ebsen’s 84th birthday celebration in Beverly Hills, California. In 1993 Douglas, Ebsen, and Baer reunited on The Jerry Springer Show, and for a final time in a CBS-TV television special, The Legend of The Beverly Hillbillies. On June 10, 1993, Douglas and her partner Curt Wilson in Associated Artists Entertainment, Inc., filed a $200 million lawsuit against Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, their production companies, and Creative Artists Agency claiming that Sister Act (1992) was plagiarized from a book, A Nun in the Closet, the rights to which were owned by the partners. Douglas and Wilson claimed that in 1985 they had developed a screenplay from the book. The lawsuit claimed that there were more than 100 similarities and plagiarisms between the movie and the book / screenplay owned by Douglas and Wilson. The lawsuit claimed that the developed screenplay had been submitted to Disney, Goldberg, and Midler three times during 1987 and 1988. In 1994 Douglas and Wilson declined a $1 million offer to settle the case. The judge found in favor of Walt Disney Pictures and the other defendants. Wilson stated at the time, “They would have had to copy our stuff verbatim for us to prevail.” Douglas returned to live in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2005. In December 2010, Mattel released a new collection of three Barbies called the Classic TV Collection. These dolls were Samantha Stephens (from Bewitched, played by Elizabeth Montgomery), Jeannie (from I Dream of Jeannie, played by Barbara Eden) and Elly May Clampett (from The Beverly Hillbillies, played by Donna Douglas). On May 4, 2011, Douglas filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Mattel and CBS Consumer Products used her name and likeness for a Barbie doll in the Classic TV Collection without her authorization. The suit alleged that packaging for the “Elly May” Barbie doll featured a photo of her portraying the character. Douglas maintained she never endorsed the doll nor gave Mattel permission to use her name to promote its sale. In November 2011 she released a new children’s book titled Miss Donna’s Mulberry Acres Farm. On December 27th, 2011, Douglas settled her suit against CBS Consumer Products and Mattel, in which she had been seeking at least $75,000. In the lawsuit, Douglas claimed that CBS and Mattel needed her approval to design the doll, while CBS and Mattel maintained that they didn’t need her consent or approval because the network held exclusive rights to the character. Details of the settlement were confidential; both sides claimed to be content with the outcome. In 2013 Douglas published a cookbook, Southern Favorites with a Taste of Hollywood, which collected recipes of Southern cooking from show business friends and colleagues such as Buddy Ebsen, Phyllis Diller, Valerie Harper and Debbie Reynolds. The book also had a section on good manners called “Hollywood Social Graces” (died 2015): “Elly May was like a slice out of my life. She is a wonderful little door opener for me because people love her, and they love the Hillbillies. Even to this day it’s shown every day somewhere. But, as with any abilities, she may open a door for you, but you have to have substance or integrity to advance you through that door.”