Daily Update: Monday, March 20th, 2017

Joseph and Vernal (Spring) Equinox

Today is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary (died early first century) (moved from yesterday). We note that the Vernal Equinox occurs today, which makes today the First Day of Spring.

A descendant of the house of David (from Solomon, son of David, in Matthew, and from Nathan, son of David, in Luke), tradition holds that Joseph was a carpenter, but he may have been a stone worker or general contractor as well. He was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. He was also a visionary; he had one vision telling him to marry Mary, even though she was with child, another telling him to flee with his family to Egypt, and another vision telling him to return home. Tradition holds that he died before the start of Jesus’s public life; the last time he is mentioned in Scripture is when Jesus was lost and then found in the Temple as a boy. He is noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him to do, and for the fact that he never speaks a word in Scripture. Catholic tradition is that Joseph was married and had sons; when his first wife died, when he was quite elderly he became betrothed to Mary, with whom he never had sexual relations. The “brothers” of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels would then be Jesus’s older half-brothers, or else cousins. Joseph is the Patron Saint of  the diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, of working people, and of fathers, and he is invoked by the dying for the wish of a happy and peaceful death. (Normally we celebrate the Solemnity of Sating Joseph on March 19th, but that was a Sunday in Lent this year.) Turning to Astronomy, on this date (and on the date of the Autumnal Equinox) the center of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, with night and day being of roughly the same length. When Julius Caesar established his calendar in 45 BC, he fixed the Spring equinox on March 25th, but the date was changed with the advent of the Gregorian Calendar to March 21 (although the actual date is usually the 20th, as it is this year). The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon. The Western Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. The official church definition for the equinox is March 21th; however, as the Eastern Orthodox Churches use the older Julian calendar, while the Western Churches use the Gregorian calendar, both of which designate March 21st as the equinox, the actual date of Easter differs. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22th on each calendar, and the latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25th. In Japan, Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no hi) is an official national holiday, and is spent visiting family graves and holding family reunions.

Last night Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb (and put out the old ladder as well). Our New Orleans Pelicans won their NBA game with the Minnesota Timberwolves by the score of 123 to 109.

I did my Book Devotional Reading, and remembered to take a couple of catnip cat toys with me to work. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Fifth Day of my Annunciation Novena. Before we clocked in I called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions. Once we clocked in on this first day of the new two-week pay period, Richard was on a Mississippi Stud table, closed that table, and spent the rest of the day on Mini Baccarat; I was on the second Three Card Poker table, closed that table, and spent the rest of the day on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table. I was dealing to a guy who told me this wasn’t his first time playing Blackjack, but his second time; when his wife started playing, I had a hard time conveying to her that she did not get to use my cards in her hand. (For whatever sins I may have committed, dealing on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table is ample penance.) On my breaks I continued reading Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan via Kindle on my tablet. The Vernal (Spring) Equinox arrived at 6:28am.

After we clocked out I went to the Pharmacy, but I was told that it was too early to renew my prescriptions, so I will try again next Monday. I continued reading on our way home, and Richard stopped at Wal-Mart to get Flex-Seal and at the Valero to get gas. The Last Quarter Moon arrived at 12:01pm. By the time I got home I had finished reading my book. Once home I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad; meanwhile, Richard used the Flex-Seal to fix the gutter on the garage. He also pruned the satsuma tree and mowed the lawn. I filed away the Piers Anthony Xanth books I had purchased last week at the book sale and at Alexander Books, did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan, and did an Advance Daily Update Draft. We then watched MST3K Episode 524 12 to the Moon With the short film Design for Dreaming. Richard then went to bed, and I am doing today’s Daily Update before joining him in bed.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, so instead we will not that on tomorrow’s date in 1804 the Code Napoléon was adopted as French civil law. We will be working our eight hours tomorrow at the casino, and I will return to reading some of my other books on my breaks. Afte lunch Richard will head to Baton Rouge to see Butch, and I will head for Lafayette to put in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble before our Third Tuesday Book Club meeting to discuss Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan. Our #12 LSU Lady Tigers (23-7, 1-2) will be playing a Home College Softball game with the Nicholls State Lady Colonels, and our New Orleans Pelicans (29-41, 4-9) will be playing a home NBA game with the Memphis Grizzlies (40-30, 7-4).

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes to us from Gregory Walcott, American actor. Born as Bernard Mattox in 1928 in Wendell, North Carolina, he was raised in Wilson, North Carolina. Walcott served in the United States Army towards the end of World War II and the Korean War. While serving in the United States Army he appeared as a drill instructor in the film Battle Cry (1955), then as a military policeman in 1955’s war-themed classic Mister Roberts with Henry Fonda, and as the drill instructor with Tony Curtis in The Outsider (1961). He  appeared in a number of western films, beginning with an uncredited role in Red Skies of Montana (1952) opposite Richard Widmark, then later more prominently as a gunslinger who tried to romance Claudette Colbert in 1955’s Texas Lady. Walcott had roles in many television series, including that of Stone Kenyon in two episodes of the NBC sitcom The People’s Choice with Jackie Cooper. He was frequently cast in westerns such as Bonanza (seven times), Maverick, Frontier Doctor, Wagon Train, The High Chaparral, 26 Men, Sugarfoot (with Will Hutchins and cast opposite another guest star, Joi Lansing, in the 1958 episode “Bullet Proof”), Laramie, The Rifleman, The Tall Man, The Dakotas, and in several episodes of CBS’s Rawhide, through which he began a long collaboration with Clint Eastwood. Walcott made a guest appearance on Perry Mason as Bill Johnson in the 1959 episode, “The Case of the Howling Dog.” He is best remembered for having played pilot Jeff Trent in director Ed Wood’s cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). He also was one of the stars of a 1961–1962 NBC television series, 87th Precinct, as Detective Roger Havilland. Walcott accepted guest roles on many popular television series, such as CBS’s Dennis the Menace with Jay North. He had recurring roles too in the original Dallas, and Murder, She Wrote, and he appeared as Captain Diggs on the 1970s series Land of the Lost. His theatrical film work included the comedy On the Double (1961) alongside Danny Kaye, the 1963 Gregory Peck film Captain Newman, M.D., Prime Cut (1972) with Lee Marvin, The Last American Hero (1973) starring Jeff Bridges, and the chase film The Sugarland Express (1974), directed by a 27-year-old Steven Spielberg. Walcott played a sheriff in the 1979 film Norma Rae, the film that won an Oscar for star Sally Field, and appeared in the Brooke Shields film Tilt the same year. Walcott had featured roles in Eastwood’s films Joe Kidd (1972), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), The Eiger Sanction (1975), and Every Which Way But Loose (1978). He made a cameo appearance in the 1994 Ed Wood bio-pic starring Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton, which was Walcott’s final role (died 2015): “It’s better to be remembered for something than for nothing, don’t you think?”

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