Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and today is the Tenth Day of Christmas (leapin’ lizards lords!).
The celebration of the Most Holy Name of Jesus has been held on different dates, usually in January, because January 1st, eight days after Christmas, commemorates the circumcision of the child Jesus; as recounted in the Gospel read on that day, “at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Medieval Catholicism, and many other Christian churches to the present day, therefore celebrated both events as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, usually on January 1st. The famous preacher Saint Bernardine of Siena (died 1444) placed great emphasis on the Holy Name, which he associated with the IHS sign, taken from the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek (IHSOUS) and also referring to Iesus Hominum Salvator, Jesus Savior of Mankind); he may be responsible for the decoupling of the two elements. This Feast was instituted in the 15th century by the bishops of Germany, Scotland, England, and Belgium, and extended to the universal Church in 1721. (There is no truth to the rumor that IHS is the high school that Jesus went to.) Finally, today is the Tenth Day of Christmas; being in these United States, I have never seen a leaping lord. (Which may be a good thing.)
Last night our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Cleveland Cavaliers by the score of 82 to 90.
When I woke up to get ready for work (and doing my Book Devotional Reading), Richard woke up with a killer migraine. He said that we would go and sign the Early Out list, so we went to work together; my LSU flag was still far too wet to bring in. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fifth Day of my Epiphany Novena. We waited in the appropriate hallway at work, and signed the Early Out list as the first dealers, with all of our hours. Richard was on Let It Ride, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and a Blackjack table, so I took first break, and then one of our dealers came to tell me that I was out with no time. Richard and I got home at 4:00 am, and I went back to bed, while Richard went to watch TV in his chair and / or sleep.
Richard came to bed to sleep properly when I woke up at 10:00 am. I started my laundry, then read the paper while finishing off the baklava (which usually does not last so late into the Christmas Season). Richard woke up, I finished my laundry, and ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts.
I left the house at 1:00 pm, and deposited the in-town bill payments in the proper boxes. At Tobacco Plus I checked my last batch of lottery tickets, and won nothing (more anon). I headed down to the Hub, and my first stop was at the Wal-Mart on Ambassador Caffrey; I was in search of three things (6-hour Xmas lights, jewelry repair stuff, and a long hook to use to hang something above my creche), and found only a couple of boxes of Xmas lights that I wanted in Clearance. I then went to the Wal-Mart on Evangeline Thruway, but their Xmas stuff was very much picked over, and I could not find anything. I then went to the Piccadilly Cafeteria on Johnston for a very late lunch / early supper, and continued reading the December 19th – 26th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then went to Barnes and Noble, where I hung out in the comfy chairs and finished reading the December 19th – 26th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then went to the drive-through window at the Lafayette Public Library – Southside Branch and took out Finders Weepers by Stephen King. On my way home I stopped at the Wal-Mart in Crowley, but they had no Xmas stuff whatsoever.
I arrived home at 8:30 pm; our mail included my wall calender to put out in the kitchen and a Christmas Card (postmarked December 3oth) from Richard’s nephew Rob in Pittsburgh. (I really did not think I would get any more Christmas Cards, especially this late; but Rob’s Brenda is UberCatholic, and she might not have considered writing them out until the actual Christmas Season started at Christmas.) And I am now doing my Daily Update, and will go to bed after I finish this.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of St. Elizabeth Seton, Religious (died 1821). It is also the Eleventh Day of Christmas (pipers!), Earth Perihelion (the closest approach of the Earth to the Sun this year), the date of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, and the birthday of Richard’s sister Juanita in Georgia (1959). I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and then spend the rest of the day working on filing of books and other items. I have decided not to purchase lottery tickets any more; instead, I will put the $6.00 I was spending on lottery tickets twice a week into a special savings fund. Our LSU Tigers (8-4, 0-1) will be playing an away College Basketball game with the Missouri Tigers (5-7, 0-0).
Our Parting Quote this Tuesday evening comes to us from Betty Freeman, American philanthropist and photographer. Born as Elizabeth Wishnick in 1921 in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, her father was a chemical engineer who had graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology and who made a fortune in chemical and petroleum products., and her mother was a mathematics teacher and graduate of the University of Wisconsin. At Wellesley College she rediscovered a childhood passion for music and began studying piano with the intention of becoming a concert pianist, graduating in 1942 with a major in English literature and a minor in music. She continued her studies after moving to California in 1950 and raising four children with her first husband, Stanley Freeman. During the 1950s she became a collector of Abstract Expressionist art. She was close to painters Sam Francis and Clyfford Still and wrote books about them. Her art world involvements led her in 1961 to La Monte Young, a groundbreaking minimalist composer whose works incorporated elements of conceptual and performance art. Freeman knew little about new music then but contributed $100 to help bail Young out of jail after he was arrested on marijuana charges in Connecticut. He thanked her with tapes of his music, known for its long tones and high volume. After listening to the recording, she was hooked. In 1964 as a producer of a new music series at what is now the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, she met many of the composers she later sponsored. Among them was Harry Partch, the cantankerous visionary who invented a 43-tone scale and an array of odd instruments on which to play his unconventional pieces. She was captivated by Partch, a virtual hobo who was living in his car. A year after meeting Partch, Freeman closed her piano and never touched it again, despite 20 years of piano studies that included training at Juilliard, and was the inspiration for the David Hockney painting “Beverly Hills Housewife” (1966), a 12-foot double canvas that shows the pink-sheathed collector on her patio, flanked by a zebra-print lounge chair and an abstract sculpture. Freeman found Partch a studio and a house, underwrote his opera Delusion of the Fury at UCLA in 1969, and covered his living expenses for 10 years until his death in 1974. Because of Partch, Freeman discovered a latent talent; while producing a documentary about him in 1972 (The Dreamer That Remains), she was pressed into duty as the still photographer. In 1981, a few years after marrying her second husband, sculptor-painter Franco Assetto, Freeman began hosting musicales in their art-filled Beverly Hills home that lasted until Assetto’s death in 1991. During the last 15 years of her life, Freeman focused her support almost exclusively on European composers, a switch that upset many of her American beneficiaries. As of 2003 Freeman had made (since 1961) 432 grants and commissions to 81 composers, often early in their careers. The composers she assisted include Lou Harrison, John Cage, La Monte Young, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Harrison Birtwistle, Virgil Thomson, Helmut Lachenmann, and Kaija Saariaho (died 2009): “I’ve always been interested in the new, and don’t understand why everybody isn’t. I like complexity, challenge, ambiguity, abstraction.”