Daily Update: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Chiara Silvia Lubich and Pi Day

Today is the Remembrance of Servant of God Chiara Silvia Lubich (died 2008). And we note that today is π Day, because today is 03-14, and the value of π (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, to two decimal places) is 3.14. And Early Voting for the Municipal Primary Election on March 25th continues.

Born as Silvia Lubich in 1920 in Trento, Italy, the father of today’s Servant of God lost his job because of the socialist ideas that he held during Italy’s period of Fascism; consequently, the Lubichs lived for years in extreme poverty. To pay for her university studies in philosophy, Lubich tutored other students in Venice and during the 1940s began teaching at an elementary school in Trent. During World War II, while bombs were destroying Trent, Lubich, then in her early twenties, against a background of hatred and violence, made the discovery of God who is Love, the only ideal that no bomb could destroy. It was a powerful experience which Lubich immediately communicated to her closest friends. Their lives changed radically. They declared that, should they be killed, they wished to have only one inscription carved on their tomb: “And we have believed in love”. Her discovery of “God is Love” (1 John 4:16), led her, on December 7th, 1943, alone in a small chapel, to promise herself to God forever and to change her name to Chiara, in honour of the Saint from Assisi. This date is considered the beginning of the Focolare movement; the Movement’s name comes from the Italian word for “hearth” or “family fireside”. These Focolare (small communities of lay volunteers) seek to contribute to peace and to achieve the evangelical unity of all people in every social environment. In 1948 Lubich met the Italian member of Parliament Igino Giordani, writer, journalist, pioneer in the field of ecumenism. He was to be co-founder, together with Lubich, of the movement because of the contribution given by him in the context of the spirituality of unity’s social incarnation, which gave rise to the New Families Movement and the New Humanity Movement. 1949 marked the first encounter between Lubich and Pasquale Foresi; he was the first Focolarino to become a priest. He helped give life to the Movement’s theological studies, to starting the Città Nuova Publishing House and to building the little town of Loppiano. Along with Lubich and Igino Giordani, he is considered a co-founder of the Movement. In 1954 Lubich met in Vigo di Fassa (near Trent), with escapees from the forced labour camps in Eastern Europe and after 1960 the spirituality of unity and the Movement began to take shape clandestinely in those countries. Internationalism became a hallmark of the Movement which rapidly spread, firstly in Italy, and afterwards, since 1952, throughout Europe, and since 1959 to other continents. She founded the New Families Movement in 1967. In 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, during a trip to Brazil, as a response to the situation of those who live in sub-human conditions in the outskirts of the metropolises there, Lubich launched a new project: the “Economy of Communion in Liberty”. This quickly developed in various countries involving hundreds of businesses, giving rise to a new economic theory and praxis. In 1996 Lubich received an Honorary Degree in Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. The same year she was awarded the UNESCO Prize for education to peace, in Paris, motivated by the fact that, “in an age when ethnic and religious differences too often lead to violent conflict, the spread of the Focolare Movement has also contributed to a constructive dialogue between persons, generations, social classes and peoples.” She received honorary degrees in various disciplines: from theology to philosophy, from economics to human and religious sciences, from social science to social communications. These were conferred not only by Catholic universities, but also by lay universities, in Poland, the Philippines, Taiwan, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The Focolare Movement operates in 182 nations and has over 100,000 adherents. In January 2015 Lubich’s Cause for Canonization was opened, making her a very new Servant of God. Turning to π Day, if you wish to get technical, you can extend π out to seven decimal points to 3.1415926, making March 14th at 1:59:26 am (or pm) today’s π Second. One may celebrate this day by eating pie while reciting π out to as many decimal points as time permits. On her Aeriel album (2005), in the song “π”, Kate Bush sings the number to its 137th decimal place (though she omits, for an unknown reason, the 79th to 100th decimal places. The Internet is rife with speculation as to the reason for her omission). One could, alternatively, celebrate by having a marathon viewing session of Magnum P.I., or else read the book Life of Pi (2001), or watch the movie version of the book, Life of Pi (2012). In 2009 the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of π Day. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology often mails its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on π Day; starting in 2012, MIT announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on π Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers π and τ equally. And Early Voting for the Municipal Primary Election on March 25th continues.

Last night our LSU Women’s Basketball team found that they will face the California Lady Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, on March 18th in Waco, Texas.

When I woke up to get ready for work I did my Book Devotional Reading. I posted to Facebook that today was π Day, and on our way to work in the car I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once at work we signed the Early Out List. When we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on Three Card Poker. I was on Three Card Blackjack, closed that table, became the Relief dealer for a Blackjack table and the Mississippi Stud table, then was on a Blackjack table for the rest of the day. On one of my later breaks I got a call from my dentist’s office reminding me of my appointment tomorrow. Only three people got out early, because Spring Break in East Texas started this week.

On our way home the dentist’s office called again; they wanted to clarify that my appointment was for today at 12:30 pm. When I pointed out that I would not have made an appointment on a Tuesday, they told me my appointment had been rescheduled from Wednesday (would have been nice if they had told me that earlier). I rescheduled my appointment for Thursday, March 23rd, at 10:00 am. I then sent a text to Callie letting her know that we would be visiting from March 29th through April 4th; she responded that those dates will be perfect, and that she and our granddaughter would be here in town from April 5th through April 12th. I also sent a text to Lisa, and asked her to let us know if there was anything she wanted us to take to Carolina with us. At the auto garage, they told us that they had to put in a new battery, and that it had run down because the parking lights were on. I drove the car home, and read the morning paper.

We left the house at 12:30 pm, and Richard got a call from Bonnie about Butch, which put Richard on edge. I then said something that set him off at me, which upset me enough for me to resolve to keep my mouth shut, as I keep getting into trouble when I say the wrong thing. In Opelousas we ate Chinese at the Cresswell Lane Restaurant. At 3:00 pm in Baton Rouge we arrived at the Chase Bank on Perkins so that Richard could finalize the paperwork to give Richard Power of Attorney over Butch’s assets. We left Chase Bank at 4:00 pm, and we arrived at the nursing home at 4:45 pm. Butch is looking good, and we visited for an hour, talking about LSU sports and national politics. He only got fuzzy when they brought him dinner, right before we left. Richard called Susan and then Bonnie to report, and we left at 6:15 pm. Across the river we opted to get dinner from the McDonald’s drive through. We arrived home at 8:00 pm, and our New Orleans Pelicans (26-40, 3-9) are now playing a home NBA game with the Portland Trail Blazers (28-36, 7-3). And once I finish this Daily Update, I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, but it is the Ides of March, and the day when the buzzards arrive each year in Hinckley, Ohio. And Early Voting for the Municipal Primary Election on March 25th will continue. I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance and my laundry.Otherwise, I plan to catch up on stuff around the house. Our #6 LSU Tigers (12-4, 0-0) will be playing a Home College Baseball game with the New Orleans Privateers, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an Away NBA game with the Miami Heat.

Our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Norman Collier, British comedian. Born in 1925 in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, he was born into a working class family on Christmas Day weighing 15 lb 4 oz. At age seventeen Collier joined the Royal Navy and served as a gunner towards the end of the Second World War. After being demobilised he found work as a labourer. In 1948, while visiting Hull’s Perth Street West club, an act failed to turn up, and Collier volunteered to fill in. He felt natural on stage and started to work a few local clubs. While working at British Petroleum’s chemical factory in Salt End, east of Hull, Collier started making his workmates laugh with improvised comic routines during breaks (and all too often outside them). Encouraged by his managers, he started to work the wider northern England working club scene, becoming a full-time comic in 1962 and enjoying steady success through the 1960s. In 1970 he won an ITV series called Ace of Clubs, in which club entertainers were pitted against each other, performing their full routines in front of a panel of judges. Collier easily won the final by a unanimous decision of the panel. He first came to national media attention after a successful appearance at the Royal Variety Command Performance in 1971. Though occasionally appearing on television thereafter, he made his main reputation on the northern club circuit, and was highly regarded by many fellow comics (notably Frank Carson, Les Dawson, and Little and Large, who were regular house guests). Jimmy Tarbuck dubbed him ‘the comedian’s comedian’. To casual television viewers, he was best known for two routines: one in the guise of a northern club compere whose microphone is working intermittently, and another adopting the noises, gestures and movements of a chicken, using his outturned jacket to suggest the fowl’s wings. He was the originator of the ‘club chairman’ character later popularised by Colin Crompton in the ITV series Wheeltappers and Shunters Club. The ‘soundbite’ demands of television work never reflected the detailed and large-scale routines that characterized Collier’s club work and which brought him enormous success through the 1970s and 1980s. His style was very much in the traditional northern-comic school, based on absurdist situational monologues rather than a series of jokes, and showed a notable influence of the 1950s star Al Read. Unlike some comedians of the 1970s, Collier did not rely on any racist material; however, his zany set-pieces often drew on northern working-class archetypes. His autobiography, entitled Just a Job, was published in 2009 (died 2013): “It’s kept me in good health, making people laugh. And it’s kept them in good health too.”

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