Daily Update: Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Conversion of Paul (Parmigianino) and Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul, Apostle. Today also is the Eighth and Final Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with the overall theme for 2017 being Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20); for today, we meditate on “Reconciled To God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

The story of the conversion from the virulently anti-Christian Saul to the Apostle Paul is told no less than five times in the New Testament; on the road to Damascus with a mandate to persecute the Christians there, Saul was blinded by a light from heaven, fell to the ground, and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” When Saul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” the answer came back, ”I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” He regained his sight upon being baptised, changed his name to Paul, and became the Apostle to the Gentiles. The Christian theological implication of the Conversion of Paul is that it witnesses the absolution of sin that is offered by faith and grace through belief in Jesus Christ. The magnitude of Paul’s transgressions, such as his attempts to completely eradicate Christianity, indicate that any sinner may be forgiven, no matter how terrible his sins, except for the Unforgivable Sin against the Holy Spirit. Today also is the Eighth and Final Day of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with the overall theme for 2017 being Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20); for today, we meditate on “Hearts Burning for Unity”, and we pray, “Lord Jesus, you have made our hearts burn within us, and have sent us back upon the road towards our brothers and sisters, with the Gospel message on our lips. Help us to see that hope and obedience to your commands always lead to the greater unity of your people. Amen.”

I woke up at 9:30 am, started my laundry, ate my breakfast toast while reading the morning paper, and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I then did my Book Devotional Reading, my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the First Day of my Novena to Saint Blaise. I finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started the Weekly Virus Scan, finished my laundry, and finished the Weekly Virus Scan.

At 1:00 pm Richard and I left the house, and we ate lunch at D. C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse. We then went to the Hit-n-Run, where Richard checked some lottery tickets, then we went out to the lake, where Richard walked around the far edge of the lake. We arrived back home at 2:30 pm. I worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog, and Richard went to his brother Slug’s house here in town to see how Rose was doing (she had surgery for a melanoma on her head last week). I watched Jeopardy!, then came to the computer to work on Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. And I am now going to take a bath and finish reading March by Gwendoline Brooks. Our New Orleans Pelicans (18-27, 1-6) are now playing a home NBA game with the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-19, 5-3), and our LSU Tigers (9-9, 1-6) will be playing a home College Basketball game with the #19 Florida Gators (14-5, 5-2); I will record the scores of both games in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Timothy (died 97) and and Saint Titus (died c. 96), Bishops. At 10:30 am I have an appointment with my oncologist in Opelousas. In the afternoon I will get my salad supplies and make my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday, and I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from Mary Tyler Moore, American actress. Born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, her father was a clerk. The Catholic family lived in Flushing, Queens, and when she was eight years old the family moved to Los Angeles, California. Moore decided at age seventeen that she wanted to be a dancer, and she married the next year. Her television career began with Moore’s first job as “Happy Hotpoint”, a tiny elf dancing on Hotpoint appliances in TV commercials during the 1950s series Ozzie and Harriet. After appearing in 39 Hotpoint commercials in five days, she received approximately $6,000. After she became pregnant, Hotpoint ended her stint when it was too difficult to conceal her pregnancy with the elf costume. Moore modeled anonymously on the covers of a number of record albums and auditioned for the role of the older daughter of Danny Thomas for his long-running TV show Make Room For Daddy,  but was turned down. Much later, Thomas explained that “no daughter of mine could have that [little] nose.” Moore’s first regular television role was as a mysterious and glamorous telephone receptionist on Richard Diamond, Private Detective. On the show, Moore’s voice was heard, but only her shapely legs appeared on camera, adding to the character’s mystique. About this time, she guest-starred on John Cassavetes’s NBC detective series Johnny Staccato. She also guest-starred in Bachelor Father in the episode titled “Bentley and the Big Board”. In 1960 she guest-starred in two episodes, “The O’Mara Ladies” and “All The O’Mara Horses”, of the William Bendix-Doug McClure NBC western series Overland Trail. Several months later, she appeared in the first episode, entitled “One Blonde Too Many”, of NBC’s one-season The Tab Hunter Show, a sitcom starring the former teen idol as a bachelor cartoonist. Moore made her film debut in 1961’s X-15. Also in 1961, the same year she divorced her husband, Moore appeared in several big parts in movies and on television, including Bourbon Street Beat, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Steve Canyon, Hawaiian Eye, Thriller, and Lock-Up. In 1961 Carl Reiner cast Moore in The Dick Van Dyke Show, an acclaimed weekly series based on Reiner’s own life and career as a writer for Sid Caesar’s television variety show, telling the cast from the outset that it would run no more than five years. The show was produced by Danny Thomas’s company, and Thomas himself recommended her; he remembered Moore as “the girl with three names” whom he had turned down earlier. Moore’s energetic comic performances as Van Dyke’s character’s wife, begun at age 24 (11 years Van Dyke’s junior), made both the actress and her signature tight capri pants extremely popular, and she became internationally famous. When she won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Laura Petrie, she said, “I know this will never happen again.” During the show’s run she married Grant Tinker, a CBS executive (later chairman of NBC), in 1962. After the show ended in 1966 she was the star of a new musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in December 1966, but the show, titled Holly Golightly, was a flop that closed in previews before opening on Broadway. In reviews of performances in Philadelphia and Boston, critics “murdered” the play; Moore later claimed that she was singing with bronchial pneumonia. She was in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews, and the 1968 films What’s So Bad About Feeling Good? with George Peppard, and Don’t Just Stand There! with Robert Wagner. In 1969 she starred opposite Elvis Presley as a nun in Change of Habit; the film received poor reviews, and she returned to television, appearing in a pivotal one-hour musical special called Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman. In 1969 (the same year she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes) Moore and her husband formed the television production company MTM Enterprises, which created and produced the company’s first television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which they.successfully pitched to CBS. The Mary Tyler Moore Show starred Moore as a single working woman in a television newsroom. Her co-stars included Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, and Cloris Leachman, all of whom were spun off into their own television shows. After six years of ratings in the top 20, the show slipped to number 39 during season seven. Producers argued for its cancellation because of falling ratings, afraid that the show’s legacy might be damaged if it were renewed for another season. After the announcement of the series’ cancellation, the series had a strong finish and the final show was the seventh most watched show during the week it aired. The 1977 season would go on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, to add to the awards it had won in 1975 and 1976. All in all, during its seven seasons, the program held the record for winning the most Emmys – 29. That record remained unbroken until 2002 when the NBC sitcom Frasier won its 30th Emmy. The Mary Tyler Moore Show became a touchpoint of the Women’s Movement because it was one of the first to show, in a serious way, an independent working woman. MTM Enterprises, Inc. included a record label, MTM Records, and MTM Enterprises produced a variety of American sitcoms and drama television series such as Rhoda, Lou Grant and Phyllis (all spin-offs from The Mary Tyler Moore Show), The Bob Newhart Show, The Texas Wheelers, WKRP in Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Friends and Lovers, St Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues, and was later sold to Television South, an ITV Franchise holder, during the 1980s. The MTM logo was very similar to the Metro Goldwyn Mayer logo, but featured Moore’s cat Mimsie meowing instead of the lion roaring. During season six of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Moore appeared in a musical/variety special for CBS titled Mary’s Incredible Dream, which featured Ben Vereen. In 1978 she starred in a second CBS special, How to Survive the ’70s and Maybe Even Bump Into Happiness. This time, she received significant support from a strong lineup of guest stars: Bill Bixby, John Ritter, Harvey Korman and Dick Van Dyke. In the 1978–79 season, Moore attempted to try the musical-variety genre by starring in two unsuccessful CBS variety series in a row: Mary, which featured David Letterman, Michael Keaton, Swoosie Kurtz and Dick Shawn in the supporting cast. CBS canceled the series. In March 1979, the network brought Moore back in a new, retooled show, The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, which was described as a “sit-var” (part situation comedy/part variety series) with Moore portraying a TV star putting on a variety show. Michael Keaton was the only cast member of Mary who remained with Moore as a supporting regular in this revised format. Dick Van Dyke appeared as her guest for one episode. The program was canceled within three months. She starred in Whose Life Is It Anyway with James Naughton, which opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on February 24, 1980, and ran for 96 performances. During the 1960s and 1970s, Moore had a reputation as a liberal or moderate liberal and endorsed President Jimmy Carter for re-election in a 1980 campaign television ad. She received her only nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1980 coming-of-age drama Ordinary People, in which she portrayed a grieving mother unable to cope with the drowning death of one of her sons and unable to cope with the other son for his attempted suicide. On October 14th, 1980, at the age of 24, Moore’s son died of an accidental gunshot to the head while handling a sawed off shotgun. The model was later taken off the market because of its “hair trigger”. Moore and Tinker divorced in 1982. She then went with her mother to the Vatican, where they had a personal audience with Pope John Paul II; on their return her mother was treated by Dr. Robert Levine, whom Moore married in 1983. In the 1985–86 season, she returned to CBS in a series titled Mary, which suffered from poor reviews, sagging ratings, and internal strife within the production crew. According to Moore, she asked CBS to pull the show as she was unhappy with the direction of the program and the producers. In 1986 she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Then, in 1987, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy from the American Comedy Awards. She starred in Sweet Sue, which opened at the Music Box Theatre on January 8th, 1987, later transferred to the Royale Theatre, and ran for 164 performances. She also starred in the short-lived Annie McGuire in 1988. She won an Emmy for her role in the 1993 television movie Stolen Babies. In 1995, after another lengthy break from TV series work, Moore was cast as tough, unsympathetic newspaper owner Louise “the Dragon” Felcott on the CBS drama New York News, her third series in which her character worked in the news industry. As with her previous series Mary (1985), Moore quickly became unhappy with the nature of her character and asked to be written out of New York News; the series, however, was canceled before the writers could remove her. In 1995 she wrote her first memoir, After All, in which she acknowledged that she was a recovering alcoholic. In honor of her father, George Tyler Moore, a lifelong American Civil War enthusiast, in 1995 Moore donated funds to acquire an historic structure in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) to be used as a center for Civil War studies. The center, named the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, is housed in the historic Conrad Shindler House (c. 1795), which is named in honor of her great-great-great-grandfather, who owned the structure from 1815 to 1852. Moore also contributed to the renovation of the house used as headquarters during 1861–62 by Confederate Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Use of the house had been offered to Jackson by its owner, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, commander of the 4th Virginia Infantry and a great-grandfather of Moore. A long-time animal rights activist, Moore worked with Farm Sanctuary to raise awareness about the process involved in factory farming and to promote compassionate treatment of farm animals. Moore appeared as herself in 1996 on an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen; the storyline of the episode includes Moore honoring Ellen for trying to save a 65-year-old lobster from being eaten at a seafood restaurant. She was also a co-founder of Broadway Barks, an annual animal adopt-a-thon held in New York City. Moore and friend Bernadette Peters worked to make it a no-kill city and to encourage adopting animals from shelters. She guest-starred on Ellen DeGeneres’s next TV show, The Ellen Show, in 2001. On May 8th, 2002, Moore was present when cable network TV Land and the City of Minneapolis dedicated a statue in downtown Minneapolis of the television character she made famous on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The statue, by sculptor Gwendolyn Gillen, was located in front of the Dayton’s department store – now Macy’s – near the corner of 7th Street South and Nicollet Mall. It depicted the iconic moment in the show’s opening credits where Moore tosses her Tam o’ Shanter in the air, in a freeze-frame at the end of the montage. While Dayton’s is clearly seen in the opening sequence, the store in the background of the hat toss is actually Donaldson’s, which was, like Dayton’s, a locally based department store with a long history and which was cater-cornered from Dayton’s. In late 2015 the statue was placed in storage during renovations to the mall, and in December it was relocated to the city’s visitor center, where it will remain until the renovation is complete in 2017, after which it is planned to be returned to its original location. Moore appeared in previews of the Neil Simon play Rose’s Dilemma at the off-Broadway Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2003, and was using an earpiece on stage to feed her her lines, as Simon kept re-writing the play. She quit the production after receiving a critical letter from Simon instructing her to “learn your lines or get out of my play”. In 2004 Moore reunited with her Dick Van Dyke Show castmates for a reunion “episode” called “The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited”. In August 2005 Moore guest-starred as Christine St. George, a high-strung host of a fictional TV show, on three episodes of Fox sitcom That ’70s Show. Moore’s scenes were shot on the same soundstage where The Mary Tyler Moore Show was filmed in the 1970s. Moore made a guest appearance on the season 2 premiere of Hot in Cleveland, which starred her former co-star Betty White. This marked the first time that White and Moore had worked together since The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977. In addition to her acting work, Moore was the International Chairman of JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). In this role, she used her celebrity to help raise funds and awareness of diabetes mellitus type 1. In 2007 in honor of Moore’s dedication to the Foundation, JDRF created the “Forever Moore” research initiative which will support JDRF’s Academic Research and Development and JDRF’s Clinical Development Program. The program works on translating basic research advances into new treatments and technologies for those living with type 1 diabetes. Her second memoir Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes was released on April 1st, 2009, and focused on living with type 1 diabetes. In a Parade magazine article from March 22nd, 2009, Moore identified herself as a “libertarian centrist” who watches Fox News. In 2011 she had surgery to remove a meningioma, a benign brain tumor. In an interview for the 2013 PBS series Pioneers of Television, Moore said that she was “recruited” to join the feminist movement of the 1970s by Gloria Steinem but did not agree with Steinem’s views. Moore said she believed that women have an important role in raising children and that she did not believe in Steinem’s view that “women owe it to themselves to have a career.” In the fall of 2013, Moore reprised her role on Hot in Cleveland in a season four episode which not only reunited Moore and White, but also former MTM cast members Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Georgia Engel as well. This reunion coincided with Harper’s public announcement that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given only a few months to live. In 2014 friends reported that she had heart and kidney problems and was nearly blind. In October 2015, Moore’s former co-star Dick Van Dyke said on an episode of Larry King Now, “[Diabetes] has taken a toll on her; she’s not well at all.” Moore received a total of six Emmy Awards. Five of those awards (1964, 1966, 1973, 1974, 1976) tie her with Candice Bergen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the most wins for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (died 2017): “I’m not an actress who can create a character. I play me.”

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