Today is the the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life in the Church (we will celebrate the Day in the Parishes on Sunday). In the secular world, today is Groundhog Day.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord celebrates the events of the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, when the infant Jesus was presented in the Temple of Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son in obedience to the Law of Moses. In addition to being known as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. Traditionally, this had been the last feast day in the Christian year that was dated by reference to Christmas; subsequent movable feasts are calculated with reference to Easter. The Western term “Candlemas” (or Candle Mass) referred to the practice whereby a priest on this date blessed beeswax candles for use throughout the year, some of which were distributed to the faithful for use in the home. Within the Roman Catholic Church, since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of Presentation of the Lord, with the references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasised in favor of the Prophecy of Simeon the Righteous. Pope John Paul II connected this feast day with the renewal of religious vows, and in 1997 he instituted the World Day for Consecrated Life, a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. The World Day for Consecrated Life is celebrated today (February 2nd) in the Church, and will be celebrated again next Sunday in Parishes. Please pray for all those who have made commitments in the consecrated life, and be sure to thank them on their special day. May they continue to be inspired by Jesus Christ and respond generously to God’s gift of their vocation. Today is also Groundhog Day; according to folklore, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day fails to see its shadow, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog. The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as high as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886. (In SouthWestCentral Louisiana, we pay more attention to the prediction given by Pierre C. Shadeaux, the resident nutria in New Iberia; if he sees his shadeaux, we are in for a long hot summer, but if he does not see it and and roams around, we will have a long pleasant spring before summer arrives.)
Last night our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Detroit Pistons by the score of 98 to 118; our New Orleans Pelicans (19-31, 2-6) will next play an Away NBA game with the Washington Wizards (28-20, 5-5) on Saturday, February 4th. The Weekly Virus Scan finished with no problems, and our LSU Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the #19 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks by the score of 68 to 88; our LSU Tigers (9-12, 1-8) will next play a Home College Basketball game with the Texas A&M Aggies (11-10, 3-6) on Saturday, February 4th.
I woke up at 9:00 am, posted to Facebook that today was Groundhog Day, did my Book Devotional Reading, and ate my breakfast toast while reading the Thursday papers. Richard found that his new Otterbox fit his Galaxy S7 just fine, but that the screen protector did not (it was far too long). I finished my laundry, did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Ninth and Last Day of my Novena to Saint Blaise. I then repaired some jewelry, not altogether to my satisfaction with a few pieces, but I’m done with that project.
Richard and I left the house at 12 30 pm and ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse. Upon checking, I found that Pierre C. Shadeaux did not see his shadeaux, so we will have a long spring and less summer heat (which I put on Facebook, as one of my friends had asked if the groundhog had seen its shadow). We then went to the Hit-n-Run, where Richard checked his latest batch of lottery tickets (he had no winners; meanwhile, there is $60 in the kitty where I am putting the money I would have spent on lottery tickets), then we went to Wal-Mart, where Richard got my salad supplies for me.
We arrived back home at 1:30 pm, and I cranked up the TurboTax. While it was installing I ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts. We had gotten a large chunk of change last year from Chase, which we sent on to Matthew, as I judged it was really his money, but I did put a portion of the money first in a Savings Account to account for the effect the money would have on our taxes. When I did the taxes, I found that the amount in the Savings Account will cover our Federal and State tax liabilities, with $39 left over for riotous living. Richard got on his phone and transferred the amount in the Savings Account to our Checking Account, but I did not finish the taxes (more anon). I then did an Advance Daily Update Draft for my Daily Update for tomorrow, then made my lunch salads for Friday (or perhaps Saturday) and Sunday. We then watched Jeopardy!, then I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. When I finish this Daily Update I will climb into bed and do a bit of reading. Our LSU Lady Tigers (15-6, 4-4) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers (13-7, 4-3); I will record the score of the game in Friday’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tomorrow is als0 the Optional Memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (died 316), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Ansgar, Bishop (died 865). And tomorrow is Four Chaplains Day, the anniversary of The Day The Music Died in 1959, and (since tomorrow is the First Friday in February) National Wear Red Day. Richard and I will return to the casino for the start of our work week; we will wear our red dealer shirts, and we will bring a couple of T-shirts with us. On my breaks at work I will continue reading one or another of my books. After we clock out at 11:00 am we will change into T-shirts and (if my $30 coupon is still good) eat lunch at Gumbeaux’s (if my coupon is not good, I will eat a salad at home). After we get home and I read the morning paper, I will go to the Rectory and get my names in the Mass Book and see if Deacon is around to give me the Blessing of St. Blaise. I will also do my First Friday devotions at the Adoration Chapel. And long after I do my Daily Update and go to bed, the First Quarter Moon will arrive at 10:20 pm.
Our Parting Quote on this afternoon of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord comes to us from Bob Elliott, American actor and comedian. Born as Robert Elliott in 1923 in Winchester, Massachusetts, his father was an insurance salesman; his mother refinished antiques. An only child, while attending high school he developed his radio skills over the school’s public address system. After high school Elliott went to New York to enroll in the Feagin School of Drama and Radio. Back in Boston, he briefly worked as an announcer at WHDH before serving in Northern Europe with the Army during World War II. After his discharge in 1946, he returned to WHDH, where he met Ray Goulding, who had been hired as a D.J. and had a morning show. Within a few months, WHDH gave them their own show, Matinee With Bob and Ray. Together they specialized in debunking gasbags, political airheads, no-talent entrepreneurs and Madison Avenue hype masters. Their weapon was not caustic satire but wry understatement. New Englanders liked their patter so much that the station soon gave them another, Breakfast With Bob and Ray. The team’s ersatz advertisements included exhortations on behalf of the Monongahela Metal Foundry (“Steel ingots cast with the housewife in mind”), Einbinder Flypaper (“The flypaper you’ve gradually grown to trust over the course of three generations”) and Height Watchers International. After five years in Boston, they went to New York, auditioned for NBC and were given a 13-week contract. They quit their jobs in Boston and started doing a one-hour Saturday night show on NBC radio in 1951. On television, Elliott and Goulding hosted The Bob and Ray Show from 1951 to 1953. Their career quietly picked up steam throughout the 1950s. They were prominently featured on the NBC weekend radio show Monitor, recorded comedy albums, and began appearing on television variety shows; over the years, they were the guests of Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, David Letterman and others. Along the way, they acquired a silent partner, Tom Koch, the uncredited writer or co-writer of many of their routines. A typical bit of theirs was called “The Bob and Ray Overstocked Warehouse,” in which Elliott announced, deadpan: “We have 124 full cases of canned corned beef, which are clearly stamped ‘San Juan Hill, 1898.’ If you do not find this corned beef all you had hoped it would be, just leave word with the executor of your estate to return the remaining unopened cans to us.” Perhaps the most enduring, and endearing, character they created was Elliott’s mild-mannered but indefatigable radio reporter, Wally Ballou. Wally, whose reports always began a split-second late (“…ly Ballou here”), was a self-promoter, but a modest one — he was known to introduce himself as “radio’s highly regarded Wally Ballou, winner of over seven international diction awards.” His interview subjects (all played by Goulding, of course) had even more to be modest about than he did. They included a farmer who was plagued with bad luck, even though his crop consisted of four-leaf clovers, and the owner of a paper-clip factory whose idea of efficiency was paying his workers 14 cents a week. They brought their act to Broadway in 1970 with The Two and Only, in which Elliott appeared as Wally Ballou and as, among other characters, the president of the Slow Talkers of America, who talked so slowly that he drove his interviewer, Goulding, into a rage. (He was still talking as the curtain fell for intermission — and still in mid sentence when it rose again for the second act.) It ran for five months. In 1982 they returned to the airwaves with The Bob and Ray Public Radio Show on NPR. In 1982, Elliot was in Author! Author! as Patrick Dicker. In 1989 Elliott co-authored his son Chris Elliott’s mock autobiography, Daddy’s Boy: A Son’s Shocking Account of Life with a Famous Father. After Goulding’s death in 1990 Elliot portrayed a bank guard in Quick Change and portrayed Fred Peterson in the television series Get a Life, which starred his son Chris Elliott as his son. Four years later, the elder Elliott appeared in the Tim Burton production Cabin Boy, playing Chris’ father again. In 2004 he appeared in a skit on the Air America radio program The O’Franken Factor. His last television appearance (voice only) was on the 2008 King of the Hill episode “Square-Footed Monster” (died 2016): “Maybe the secret of our success is that we emerge only every few years. We don’t saturate the public, and new generations seem to keep discovering us.”