Daily Update: Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Isidore and 04-04 - Martin Luther King Jr and 04-04 - International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor (died 636). Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement (died 1968) and today is the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. And, last but not least, today is my daughter Michelle’s birthday (1988).

Isidore was born about 560 at Cartagena, Spain, and was the son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. Initially a poor student, Isidore gave the problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. Becoming a priest, he helped his brother Leander, Archbishop of Seville (who had raised him after their parents’ deaths), in the conversion the Visigoth Arians. He became Archbishop of Seville in about 601, succeeding his brother to the position. He was a teacher, founder, and reformer; he required seminaries in every diocese, and wrote a rule for religious orders. A prolific writer, his works include a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. He completed the formulation of the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. He presided at the Second Council of Seville and the Fourth Council of Toledo, and introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722. He is the Patron Saint of the Internet, computer users, computer technicians, programmers, and students. We also honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement (died 1968). His father was originally named Michael King, and his son was named after him when he was born in 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia; after a trip to Germany in 1934, his father changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader. King married Coretta Scott on June 18, 1953, and became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama when he was twenty-five years old in 1954. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964 King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his assassination in 1968 he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and opposing the Vietnam War, both from a religious perspective. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. national holiday in 1986 on the third Monday of January. Today is also the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Since the United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, opened for signature in 1997, 156 countries have ratified or acceded to it (the United States, shamefully, is not one of those countries). On December 8th, 2005, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared that April 4th of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It called for continued efforts by States, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels. The theme for 2017 is Needs driven. People Centred. And, last but not least, today is my daughter Michelle’s birthday (1988); she was born on the day after Easter, and ever since, her birthday has always been near this holiday.

We woke up at 7:00 am in our room at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Midway, Florida. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and we checked out and ate the Continental Breakfast (love those waffle machines). I posted to Facebook that today was when Dr. Martin Luther King died in 1968, and posted to Facebook that today was the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. We got on the road at 8:15 am, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading and read the local paper. We crossed into the Central Time Zone at 9:00 am EDT, and I continued reading Son by Lois Lowry via Overdrive on my tablet. We reached Alabama at 10:30 am, and Mississippi at 11:30 am. For lunch, we discovered The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint, a ramshackle collection of buildings in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. We had a marvelous lunch, and we bought two T-shirts, one for me and one for our granddaughter. We crossed over into Louisiana at 1:15 pm, and I finished reading Son by Lois Lowry via Overdrive on my tablet. We arrived in Baton Rouge at 2:30 pm, and headed for Butch’s apartment, where Richard got Butch’s mail and put it in the apartment while I did my Book Review for this Weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Son by Lois Lowry. We then went to the Rehab Center to see Butch; he no longer has to wear a back brace, but he is still on a catheter; they are making an appointment with a urologist to see him to see if he can dispense with the catheter (which would make it a lot easier for him to go home). We regretfully had to tell Butch that we could not break him out of the rehab center. After our visit Richard called Susan to update her on Butch’s progress, and back at Butch’s apartment Richard paid Butch’s rent. We were on the bridge across the Mississippi at 4:30 pm, I began reading Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra via Kindle on my tablet, and we arrived home at 6:00 pm.

Once home we said hello to the cats and unloaded the car. Richard then went to Little Caesars for pizza pizza, which we ate for dinner, and I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update. And when I finish this Daily Update I will take a bath and do some reading before falling into bed. Our #8 LSU Tigers (20-8, 6-2) will be playing a Home College Baseball game with the Grambling Tigers, and our New Orleans Pelicans (33-44, 6-10) will be playing a home NBA game with the Denver Nuggets (36-40, 5-9).

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Vincent Ferrer, Priest (died 1419). I will be doing my laundry and my Weekly Computer Maintenance tomorrow, and at some point I will go to Opelousas to see if they have Shanghai Girls by Lisa See on hand for me to borrow at the Parish Library.

Our Parting Quote on this Tuesday evening comes to us from Bob Clark, American actor, director, screenwriter and producer. Born as Benjamin Clark in 1939 in New Orleans, Louisiana, he grew up poor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as his father died during his childhood and his mother was a barmaid. After attending Catawba College majoring in philosophy, Clark won a football scholarship to Hillsdale College in Michigan, where he played quarterback. Eventually he studied theater at the University of Miami, turning down offers to play professional football, although he did briefly play semi-pro for the Fort Lauderdale Black Knights. His first film was She-Man, which was banned upon its release in 1967. His next film, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972), was a blend of comedy and graphic horror. Clark and his collaborator for this film, screenwriter and makeup artist Alan Ormsby, would revisit the zombie subgenre in 1972′s Deathdream, also known by its alternate title, Dead of Night, a Vietnam War allegory that takes its cue from the classic short story The Monkey’s Paw. The slasher film Black Christmas (1974) was one of his most successful films in this period, and is remembered today as an influential precursor to the modern slasher film genre. Clark had moved to Canada, then a tax haven for Americans, and these productions were small by Hollywood standards but made Clark a big fish in the small pond of the Canadian film industry of that era. Clark executive-produced the moonshine movie Moonrunners (1975), which was used as source material for the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. Turning toward more serious fare, Clark scored a critical success with the Sherlock Holmes film Murder by Decree (1979), starring Christopher Plummer and Geneviève Bujold, which won five Genie Awards including Best Achievement in Direction and Best Performance for both leads. He followed this with a TV movie of the Bernard Slade play Tribute (1980), starring Jack Lemmon reprising his Broadway role, for which Lemmon was nominated for an Academy Award and eleven Genies, including a win for Lemmon’s performance. Clark returned to his B-movie roots, though, co-writing, producing, and directing Porky’s (1982), a longtime personal project. Clark had a detailed outline based on his own youth in Florida, which he dictated into a cassette recorder due to illness, and collaborator Roger Swaybill said of listening to the tapes, “I became convinced that I was sharing in the birth of a major moment in movie history. It was the funniest film story I had ever heard.” Though set in the United States, the film would go on to gross more than any other English-language Canadian film. The film was the third most successful release of 1982 and by the end of the film’s lengthy initial release, in 1983, Porky’s had secured itself a spot, albeit short-lived, as one of the top-25 highest grossing films of all time in the United States. The film was (also briefly) the most successful comedy in film history. Porky’s overwhelming success is credited as launching the genre of the teen sex comedy so prevalent throughout the 1980s and which continued into the millennium in such movies as the American Pie franchise. Clark wrote, produced, and directed the film’s first sequel, Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983), which shifted the focus away from the title character to two new antagonists with perhaps greater relevance, a sleazy local politician who cynically caters to the influence of a blustering fundamentalist preacher while seducing a teenage girl. Clark refused involvement with a third film, Porky’s Revenge!, which brought Porky and the sexual exploits of the cast back front and center as in the first installment. He instead collaborated with Jean Shepherd on A Christmas Story (1983), which critic Leonard Maltin described as “one of those rare movies you can say is perfect in every way”. Although not a box-office smash in its theatrical release, A Christmas Story would go on to become a perennial a holiday favorite via repeated TV airings and home video. Clark later produced the 2000 TV movie The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood. Clark and others sued Warner Bros. over the studio’s 2005 movie The Dukes of Hazzard, winning a $17.5 million settlement just prior to the movie’s release. Clark continued to stay active in the film industry with lower-budget fare mixed in with brief runs at higher targets. He was nominated twice for the Razzie Awards as “Worst Director” for Rhinestone (1984) and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004). He and his 22 year old son were killed in a head-on car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles; the crash occurred when an SUV crossed the median and struck Clark’s Infiniti I30, causing the closure of the highway for eight hours. Police determined that the SUV’s driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava, had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit and was driving without a license (died 2007): “Clearly [Porky’s] was the first film to treat the sexual coming of age of young men. It horrified some people, but it also had some very strong supporters.”

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