Daily Update: Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

01-10 - Julius Caesar Crossing the Rubicon

Our Season of Ordinary Time begins today, which will continue until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. With no Saints today, we note that on this date in 49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legion, sparking civil war in the Roman Republic.

Our Season of Ordinary Time begins today, which will continue until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. During the Roman republic the Rubicon River marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper (controlled directly by Rome and its socii allies) to the south. Governors of Roman provinces were appointed Promagistrates with imperium (roughly, “right to command”) in their province or provinces. The governor would then serve as the general of the Roman army within the territory of his province or provinces. Roman law specified that only the elected magistrates (consuls and praetors) could hold imperium within Italy itself. Any appointed promagistrate who entered Italy at the head of his troops forfeited his imperium and was therefore no longer legally allowed to command troops. Exercising imperium when forbidden by the law was a capital offense, punishable by death. Furthermore, obeying the commands of a general who did not legally possess imperium was also a capital offense. If a general entered Italy whilst exercising command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. Generals were thus obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy. So, when ordered to return to Rome, promagistrate G. Julius Caesar led the Legio XIII Gemina south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy and deliberately broke the law on imperium, making armed conflict inevitable. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die has been cast”). Caesar’s decision for swift action forced Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus), the lawfully elected consuls (G. Claudius Marcellus and L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus), and a large part of the Roman Senate to flee Rome in fear. Caesar’s subsequent victory in the civil war ensured that punishment for the infraction would never be rendered. The phrase “crossing the Rubicon” has survived to refer to any individual or group committing itself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action, similar to the modern phrase “passing the point of no return”. (After the fall of the Empire, and centuries of flooding, the identification of which river in Italy was indeed the Rubicon was lost until 1933; at present the river has become one of the most polluted in the Emilia-Romagna region.)

Last night I watched Jeopardy!, then went to bed. Our New Orleans Pelicans in their NBA game beat the New York Knicks by the score of 110 to 96; our New Orleans Pelicans (15-24, 1-6) will next play an Away NBA game with the Brooklyn Nets (8-28, 0-6) on Thursday, January 12th. And last night in the College Football Playoff National Championship between #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson, Clemson won the game with a last-second touchdown and the score of 35 to 31.

I woke up ½ hour early and did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and once we were waiting to sign the Early Out List I made my reservation at the Bourbon Orleans through Hotels.com. We signed the list, and when we clocked in Richard was on Mini Baccarat and I was on the Let It Ride table, which I promptly closed. We got out at 3:15 am. On our way home the ATM at our bank was still not working. We got home at 4:00 am; I started my laundry, and stayed awake long enough to put my laundry in the dryer before going to sleep at 5:00 am.

When I woke up at 9:00 am I read the morning paper. I then finished my laundry, ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and put away my Nativity stuff. I put my suitcase and a bag of books for Julie in the car, and left the house at 10:45 am.

At our bank in Opelousas I took $250 out of our savings account ($100 of the was to replace my Hat Money), and cashed a 36¢ refund check from Chevron. I then texted Julie that I was on the road. I then called Richard, who was beginning a Sons of Anarchy marathon on Netflix. At 1:00 pm I got lunch via the drive through at the McDonald’s in Lowell. Julie called me at 1:30 pm. I arrived at Julie and Gus’s house at 3:00 pm, and called Richard. At 4:00 pm Julie and I left, and we checked in at the Bourbon Orleans in New Orleans at 5:00 pm. I called Richard, and we ate dinner at Frank’s on Decatur, where we ate an adequate meal. We returned to the room, and listened to music on my Bluetooth speaker, and I did today’s Daily Update.

We note, with no Saints to honor, that on tomorrow’s date in in 1863 ended the Battle of Fort Hindman, near the mouth of the Arkansas River at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, which was part of the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Julie and I plan to go to Metairie Cemetery and otherwise hang out in the City. Our LSU Tigers (9-5, 1-2) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Texas A&M Aggies (8-6, 0-3) tomorrow evening.

Our Tuesday Evening parting quote comes to us from David Bowie, English singer, songwriter and actor. Born as David Jones in 1947 in Brixton, London, and raised in South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. Dissatisfied with his stage name as Davy (and Davie) Jones, which in the mid-1960s invited confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees, Bowie renamed himself after the 19th-century American pioneer James Bowie and the knife he had popularised. “Space Oddity” became his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of his single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975 Bowie’s style shifted radically towards a sound he characterised as “plastic soul”, initially alienating many of his UK devotees but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the album Young Americans. In 1976 Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth and released Station to Station. The following year, he further confounded musical expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low (1977), the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that would come to be known as the “Berlin Trilogy”. Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached his commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, with its title track topping both UK and US charts. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including industrial and jungle. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Bowie also continued acting; his roles included Major Celliers in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), the Goblin King Jareth in Labyrinth (1986), Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006), among other film and television appearances and cameos. He stopped concert touring after 2004, and his last live performance was at a charity event in 2006. In 2013 Bowie returned from a decade-long recording hiatus with the release of The Next Day. He remained musically active until he died of liver cancer two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar (2016). During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications (died 2016): “I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.”

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