Daily Update: Sunday, February 12th, 2017

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time and 02-12 - Abraham Lincoln's Birthday and 02-12 - Darwin Day and 02-12 - Red Hand Day

Today is the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. With no Saints to honor, we note that today is the Celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday, and Darwin Day, celebrating the great naturalist’s birthday (both in 1809). And today is Red Hand Day, the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.

The Gospel reading for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) is from Matthew 5:17-37, and begins, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.” Turning to the secular world, the anniversary of the birth of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, on February 12th, 1809 is marked by traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The latter location has been the site of a ceremony ever since the Memorial was dedicated in 1922. Observances continue to be organized by the Lincoln Birthday National Commemorative Committee and by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). A wreath is laid on behalf of the President of the United States, a custom also carried out at the grave sites of all deceased US presidents on their birthdays (so that on this date, a wreath is also laid at Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Illinois). Lincoln’s Birthday is a legal holiday in some states including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Indiana; California celebrates it on the Monday nearest February 12th, while Indiana celebrates it the day after the fourth Thursday in November. The earliest known observance of Lincoln’s birthday occurred in Buffalo, New York, in 1874. Julius Francis (died 1881), a Buffalo druggist, made it his life’s mission to honor the slain president. He repeatedly petitioned Congress to establish Lincoln’s birthday as a legal holiday, but his wish never came to pass. Many states that had formerly observed Lincoln’s birthday have created a joint holiday to honor both Lincoln and George Washington, sometimes calling it “Presidents Day”. It coincides with the Federal holiday officially designated “Washington’s Birthday”, observed on the third Monday of February. Today is also Darwin Day, celebrating the birth of the great naturalist Charles Darwin, also on February 12th, 1809.  The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science and to promote science in general. (I am a reasonably devout Roman Catholic who sees no problem with the theory of evolution; far be it from me to tell God how to create and maintain the world.) Finally, today is Red Hand Day, the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. Red Hand Day was initiated in 2002 when the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict entered into force on February 12th, 2002.This protocol was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in May 2000 and currently has signatures from over 100 different nations. A number of international organizations are active against the use of children as soldiers. These organizations include, for example, the United Nations Child Fund (UNICEF), Amnesty International, Terre des Hommes or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The work of these organizations can be summarized by the abbreviation DDR: Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration.

Last night our LSU Lady Tigers won both of the College Softball games in their double header; they beat the McNeese State Lady Cowboys by the score of 4 to 3, and beat the Penn State Lady Lions by the score of 14 to 1. And our LSU Tigers lost yet another College Basketball game, this time to the Arkansas Razorbacks, by the score of 70 to 78; our Tigers, who are dead last in the SEC standings (9-15, 1-11), will next play an Away College Basketball game with the Ole Miss Rebels (15-10, 6-6) on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017.

Upon waking up to get ready for work, I did my Book Devotional Reading; I then posted to Facebook that today was Lincoln’s Birthday, that today was Darwin Day, and that today was Red Hand Day, the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for the Sit-Down Blackjack table, another Blackjack table, and the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table. I was on Mississippi Stud until they moved me to the combination Macau / Regular Mini Baccarat table.

When we got home from work I read the Sunday papers and ate my lunch salad; and I am now doing my Daily Update, as I will go to bed for the duration after I finish this Daily Update. Our LSU Lady Tigers will play a Home College Softball game against the Oklahoma State Lady Cowgirls, and our New Orleans Pelicans (21-33, 2-6) will play an Away NBA game with the Sacramento Kings (20-32, 3-5); I will record the scores of those games in Monday’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Remembrance of Servant of God Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos (died 2005). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and I will get to my reading on my breaks at work. Our LSU Lady Tigers (17-7, 6-5) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores (11-13, 1-10), and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an Away NBA game with the Phoenix Suns.

Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Barnaby Conrad, American author. Born in 1922 in San Francisco, California, Conrad graduated from Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was captain of the freshman boxing team. He also studied painting at the University of Mexico, where he also became interested in bullfighting. After being injured in the bullring, he returned to college and graduated from Yale University in 1943. Conrad was American Vice Consul to Seville, Málaga, and Barcelona from 1943 to 1946. While in Spain, he studied bullfighting with Juan Belmonte, Manolete, and Carlos Arruza. In 1945 he appeared on the same program with Belmonte and was awarded the ears of the bull. He is the only American male to have fought in Spain, Mexico and Peru. In 1947 he worked as secretary to famed novelist Sinclair Lewis. Conrad published his first novel, The Innocent Villa, in 1948. It largely went unnoticed, but his second novel, Matador, sold 3 million copies. John Steinbeck chose Conrad’s Matador as his favorite book of the year, and the novel has been translated into 28 languages. Royalties from Matador provided Conrad with the capital to open El Matador nightclub in San Francisco in 1953, In 1958 Conrad was gored almost fatally in a bullfight that was part of a charity event. After learning of the incident, Eva Gabor is said to have run into Noël Coward at Sardi’s in New York and asked him, “Did you hear about poor Barnaby? He was terribly gored in Spain.” Coward replied, “Oh, thank heavens. I thought you said he was bored.” Conrad served as a Golden Gate Awards juror at the 1959 San Francisco Film Festival. In 1965 he joined the Festival board and served for five years. Conrad started the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in 1973 at the Cate School, inviting well-known authors such as Eudora Welty, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion and Ross Macdonald. During his life he continued writing both fiction and nonfiction. In 1997 he wrote Name Dropping: Tales From My San Francisco Nightclub, “a jaunty account” about the 10 years he ran El Matador. In 2004 he and his wife ceased hosting the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His last nonfiction book was The World’s Shortest Stories : Murder. Love. Horror. Suspense. All this and much more in the most amazing short stories ever written—each one just 55 words long! (2006), and his last work of fiction was The Second Life of John Wilkes Booth (2010). He was also an artist; his charcoal portraits of Truman Capote and James Michener hang in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (died 2013): “Only bullfighting, mountain climbing and auto racing are sports, the rest are merely games.”

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