Daily Update: Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Cyril and Methodius and St. Valentine's Day

Today is the Memorial of Saint Cyril, Monk (died 869) and his brother, Saint Methodius, Bishop (died 885). In the more secular world, today is Valentine’s Day.

Cyril was born about 827–828 to the Greek nobility in Thessalonica, Greece as Constantin. He studied at the University of Constantinople and taught philosophy there. Becoming in turn a deacon and a priest, and serving as librarian at the church of Santa Sophia, he next became a monk, taking the name Cyril. He and his brother were sent by the emperor in 861 to convert the Jewish Khazars of Russia, a mission that was successful, and which allowed them to learn the Khazar’s language. Two years later, he was sent with Methodius to convert Moravians in their native tongue. Though some western clergy opposed their efforts and refused to ordain their candidates for the priesthood, they did good work. Cyril developed an alphabet for the Slavonic language that eventually became what is known today as the Cyrillic. After initial criticism for their use of it, the brothers achieved approval of the Liturgy in the Slavonic language. Cyril may have been appointed a bishop, but if he was, he died before the consecration ceremony, thereby voiding his appointment. Big brother Methodius (born about 815–820) studied at the University of Constantinople, and taught philosophy there. Becoming a priest, he went on the mission with his brother to convert the Jewish Khazars of Russia, and was then sent in 863 with Cyril to convert Moravians in their native tongue. Methodius became a Bishop, and evangelized in Moravia, Bohemia, Pannonia, and Poland. He next became Archbishop of Velehred, Czechoslovakia, but was deposed and imprisoned in 870 due to the opposition of German clergy with his work. He was often in trouble over his use of Slavonic in liturgy, with some claiming he preached heresy; repeatedly, he was cleared of all such charges. He translated the Bible into the Slavonic languages, and pioneered the use of local and vernacular languages in liturgical settings. The two brothers are the Patron Saints of Bohemia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, ecumenism, Moravia, Yugoslavia, and Europe, and of the unity of the Eastern and Western Churches. Finally, today is Valentine’s Day, sometimes known as St. Valentines Day; the feast was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As it is uncertain whether the feast of this date celebrates only one saint or more saints of the same name, the official liturgical celebration of the Saint’s Day was suppressed in 1969. The Saint (or Saints) was not linked to romance until the 14th century; by the end of that century, the use of this day for the sending of notes to one’s love was in full swing. In the second half of the twentieth century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States, usually from a man to a woman. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s the diamond industry began to promote Valentine’s Day as an occasion for giving jewelry. The day has come to be associated with a generic platonic greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day is also referred to as Singles Awareness Day. In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and eat sweets. My mother, who always gave up chocolate for Lent, always hated it when Valentine’s Day was in Lent, which it will be in 2018, when Ash Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. She would save the Russell Stover’s box of chocolates my dad always got for her, and eat it on Easter Sunday. (And may you and your Sweet have a Happy Valentine’s Day.)

Our LSU Lady Tigers lost their College Basketball game to the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores by the score of 68 to 70; our LSU Lady Tigers (17-8, 6-6) will next play a home College Basketball game with the Texas A&M Lady Aggies (19-6, 9-3) on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. And our New Orleans Pelicans won their NBA game with the Phoenix Suns by the score of 110 to 108.

On waking up to get ready for work I did my Book Devotional Reading and posted to Facebook that today was Valentine’s Day (tagging Richard). On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading; while he was parking the truck Richard called the Clinic and left a voice mail canceling his appointment with the Dietician after work. We signed the Early Out list; if I had known that Richard had called the Clinic (I did not know until after we clocked out at 11:00 am), I would have told him not to call and cancel his appointment, since we had almost no chance of getting out early. Richard spent his day dealing on the Sit-Down Blackjack table, and I was first on the Second Mississippi Stud table, closed that table, then was on Mississippi Stud for the rest of our day. I continued reading The Death House by Sarah Pinborough via Kindle on my Tablet, and got to a good stopping place.

After work I reminded Richard about his appointment with the Dietician (which is when I found out he had canceled the appointment, expecting to get out early, which we did not). On our way home Richard called the clinic to see the next time he had labs and an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner (as I did not have a card, nor did I have labs and an appointment in my calendar), and found that he did not have labs or an appointment scheduled. He set up to have blood drawn for lab work after we clock out on Monday, March 27th, 2017, and he will have his appointment with the Nurse Practitioner on Monday, April 10th, 2017 after work; he also rescheduled his appointment with the Dietician for Monday, April 10th, 2017 after his appointment with the Nurse Practitioner. He stopped at the Superette for boudin, and I got an Email from the Scheduling Department that we have been approved for our PTO day for Tuesday, February 28th (Mardi Gras).

Once home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad; I then took a nap, which was to last only until 4:30 pm so that we could go out to eat and so that I could do my Daily Update, but I instead slept for the duration. In our snail mail the copy of the 2017 Magnificat Lenten Companion that Liz Ellen had sent to me arrived. Richard went to get some dinner and went to the ATM, getting out cash for himself and for me, and I did not do my Daily Update. Our LSU Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the Mississippi State Bulldogs by the score of 76 to 96; our LSU Tigers (9-16, 1-12) will next play an Away College Basketball game with the Alabama Crimson Tide (14-10, 7-5) on Saturday, February 18th, 2017.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, but tomorrow is Susan B. Anthony Day, celebrating her birthday in 1820. I will do my laundry, and the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and I will also do my Daily Update for Tuesday, February 14th, 2017. I will then head to Lafayette to put in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble; I will be back home in time for Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, and Richard and I will go out to eat dinner. Our #8 ranked LSU Lady Tigers will be playing a home College Softball game with the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters. Our New Orleans Pelicans (22-34, 2-6) will be playing an Away NBA game with the Memphis Grizzlies (34-23, 6-1).

Our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Louis Jourdan, French film and television actor. born as Louis Robert Gendre in 1921 in Marseille, France, he was educated in France, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, and studied acting at the École Dramatique. While there, he began acting on the professional stage, where he was brought to the attention of director Marc Allegret, who hired him to work as an assistant camera operator on Entrée des Artistes (The Curtain Rises). Allegret then cast Jourdan in what should have been his first movie, Le Corsaire in 1939 opposite Charles Boyer. Filming was interrupted by the Second World War and was never resumed. Jourdan was too young for army service and was hired by Julien Duvivier along with his brother Pierre to appear in Untel Père et Fils in Rome. This was interrupted by the declaration of war between France and Italy; he returned to France, made some films and spent a year on a work gang. Jourdan was ordered to make German propaganda films, which he refused to do, and fled to join his family in unoccupied France. There he started making movies again, ten films in two years. His father was arrested by the Gestapo; months later he escaped, and joined the French Resistance. After the liberation of France in 1945, he returned to Paris with his childhood sweetheart, Berthe Frederique (“Quique”), whom he married in 1946. Cited by author James McKay as the “epitome of the suave Continental”, Jourdan was spotted in a French film by a talent scout working for David O. Selznick, who offered the actor a contract. His first American film was The Paradine Case (1947) starring Gregory Peck. The movie was a drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who did not want Jourdan cast as the valet in the film. Jourdan frequently argued with Selznick, who put him on suspension a number of times for refusing roles. With Joan Fontaine, Jourdan starred in the Max Ophüls film Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948). In Hollywood, Jourdan became friends with several stars who shared his love of the game of croquet. After appearing in Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Jourdan made his Broadway début in the lead role in the Billy Rose stage adaptation of André Gide’s novel The Immoralist. He returned to the Great White Way for a short run in 1955, and also that year he made his American TV début as Inspector Beaumont in the TV series Paris Precinct. In 1956 he appeared in the film The Swan playing the role of “Dr Nicholas Agi” along with Grace Kelly and Sir Alec Guinness. During the 1950s, Jourdan acted in several major films, taking the male lead in The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful (1956) with Brigitte Bardot as the lead actress. However, he may be best remembered as the romantic lead alongside Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier in the film version of the novella by Colette, Gigi (1958). This film won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Jourdan co-starred with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine in the musical Can-Can (1960). He also sang in the Alan Jay Lerner / Barton Lane stage musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965), at least during its out-of-town tryout at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. He was replaced as leading man by John Cullum before the show reached Broadway. During the 1970s Jourdan recorded a series of spoken word albums of the Babar the Elephant books that were released by Caedmon Records. Jourdan also appeared on television, including 1977’s Count Dracula for the BBC and the 1978 Columbo episode “Murder Under Glass”. He later played Anton Arcane in the movie Swamp Thing (1982) and in its sequel The Return of Swamp Thing (1989). His last film was Night of the Comet (1982)  In 1983 Jourdan played the villainous Kamal Khan in the James Bond movie Octopussy. He played the role of Pierre de Coubertin in The First Olympics: Athens 1896, a 1984 TV series about the 1896 Summer Olympics. In July 2010 he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, which he received accompanied by friends, including Sidney Poitier and Kirk Douglas (died 2015): “I never see my movies. When they’re on television I click them away. Hollywood created an image and I long ago reconciled myself with it. I was the French cliché.”

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