Daily Update: Monday, May 8th, 2017


Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Agathius, Martyr (died 304).

According to Christian tradition, Agathius was a Cappadocian Greek centurion of the imperial army. He was arrested for his faith on charges for being a Christian by Tribune Firmus in Perinthus, Thrace, tortured, and then brought to Byzantium (the later Constantinople), where he was scourged and beheaded, being made a martyr because he would not give up his Christian Faith. Constantine the Great built a church in his honor. His relics were translated ca. 630 to a spring at Squillace, close by the Vivarium, the monastery founded in the previous century by Cassiodorus in the heel of Italy, where he was known as San Agario. A relic of his arm was brought to Guardavalle in 1584 by the bishop of Squillace, Marcello Sirleto, hence Agathius’ patronage of this city. Relics from Squillace were also brought to Cuenca and Ávila in Spain, where he was known as San Acato. Agathius is also venerated in Slovenia, where numerous churches and chapels are dedicated to him; this popular veneration goes back to the 16th century, when he was considered the patron saint of the fighters against the Ottoman Turks. For the same reason he became popular among the Maniots, inhabitants of the Mani Peninsula in Greece, who took up his confrontation of the Pagan Roman authorities as a symbol of their own long lasting resistance of the Ottoman Empire’s rule. St. Agathius is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and his aid is invoked against headache.

Last night I continued reading 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know: Religion by Peter Stanford. Our #11 LSU Tigers beat the #21 South Carolina Gamecocks by the score of 7 to 6, and we found that our #19 LSU Lady Tigers (38-17, 12-12) will face the Missouri Lady Tigers (29-24, 7-16) at the SEC Softball Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday.

Upon getting up to get ready for work today I did my Book Devotional Reading. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. He drove the truck and I drove the car, and we left the truck off at the auto garage and went to work in the car, with me doing my Internet Devotional Reading along the way. Once in ADR I called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions. When we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack table, closed that table, and was on Three Card Poker for the rest of the day, while I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and a Blackjack table. At some point Richard called the Clinic and canceled his May 15th appointment with the Dietician, as she is no longer working at the Clinic; he also called the yard care guys, who were to call back in the afternoon, called Butch to remind him of his ophthalmology appointment tomorrow, and called the garage to tell them the noise the truck had been making.

After work we went to the Pharmacy and I picked up my prescriptions. We stopped at the auto garage on our way home  (the noise the truck had been making that concerned Richard had disappeared); I went on home, and Richard deposited the checks to pay for the in-town bills on his way home. Once home I read the morning paper and put polish on my toenails. We then watched MST3K Episode 1004 Future War, an American direct-to-video science fiction film about an escaped human slave fleeing his cyborg masters and seeking refuge on Earth. As  As Crow T. Robot remarked, “You know, I could point out that it’s not the future, and there isn’t a war, but you know me; I don’t like to complain.” I then came to the computer and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts, then worked on my July Weblog photos. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, which is starting the Teacher’s Tournament. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish this update I will do some reading before going to bed.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, so we will instead recall that it is the anniversary of the day in 1671 when Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. For our Friday at work we will work our eight hours, and I will get back to reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Our #11 LSU Tigers (32-16, 15-9) will be playing a Home College Baseball game with the South Alabama Jaguars.

Our Parting Quote on this Monday afternoon comes to us from Maurice Sendak, American writer and illustrator of children’s literature. Born in 1928 in Brooklyn to Polish Jewish immigrants, his childhood was clouded by his parents’ constant reminders to him of how lucky he was not to have been killed in Poland by the Germans, like many of his extended relatives. His love of books began at an early age when he developed health problems and was confined to his bed, and he decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at the age of twelve. One of his first professional commissions was to create window displays for the toy store F.A.O. Schwarz. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s illustrating children’s books written by others (including Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear series of books). In 1963 Where the Wild Things Are was published. The book’s depictions of fanged monsters concerned some parents when it was first published, as his characters were somewhat grotesque in appearance. (Originally the beings were to be horses, but then Sendak found that he had trouble drawing horses, so the beings turned into Wild Things.) The book won the Caldecott Award for Children’s Literature in 1964. When Sendak saw a manuscript of Zlateh the Goat, the first children’s story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, on the desk of an editor at Harper & Row, he offered to illustrate the book. It was first published in 1966 and received a Newbery Award. Sendak was delighted and enthusiastic about the collaboration. He once wryly remarked that his parents were “finally” impressed by their youngest child when he collaborated with Singer. Sendak was an early member of the National Board of Advisors of the Children’s Television Workshop in the late 1960s during the development stages of the Sesame Street television series. His book In the Night Kitchen, originally issued in 1970, has often been subjected to censorship for its drawings of a young boy prancing naked through the story. The book has been challenged in several American states including Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Texas. In the Night Kitchen regularly appears on the American Library Association’s list of “frequently challenged and banned books.” It was listed number 21 on the “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999.” (It was also a favorite book of my children when they were little; my son has since appropriated it for my granddaughter’s library, even though our copy was heavy annotated by random drawings by our kids when they were quite small, since editions published now do not show the little boy naked.) Sendak produced an animated television production based on his work titled Really Rosie, featuring the voice of Carole King, which was broadcast in 1975 and is available on video (usually as part of video compilations of his work). An album of the songs was also produced. He contributed the opening segment to Simple Gifts, a Christmas collection of six animated shorts shown on PBS TV in 1977 and later issued on VHS in 1993. He adapted his book Where the Wild Things Are for the stage in 1979. His 1981 book Outside Over There is the story of a girl, Ida, and her sibling jealousy and responsibility. Her father is away and so Ida is left to watch her baby sister, much to her dismay. Her sister is kidnapped by goblins and Ida must go off on a magical adventure to rescue her. At first, she’s not really eager to get her sister and nearly passes her sister right by when she becomes absorbed in the magic of the quest. In the end, she rescues her baby sister, destroys the goblins, and returns home committed to caring for her sister until her father returns home. Additionally, he designed sets for many operas and ballets, including the award-winning 1983 Pacific Northwest Ballet production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Houston Grand Opera’s productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1981) and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (1997), Los Angeles County Music Center’s 1990 production of Mozart’s Idomeneo, and the New York City Opera’s 1981 production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. In the 1990s Sendak approached playwright Tony Kushner to write a new English version of the Czech composer Hans Krása’s children’s Holocaust opera Brundibár. Kushner wrote the text for Sendak’s illustrated book of the same name, published in 2003. The book was named one of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2003. In 2003 Chicago Opera Theatre produced Sendak and Kushner’s adaptation of Brundibár. In 2005 Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in collaboration with Yale Repertory Theatre and Broadway’s New Victory Theater, produced a substantially reworked version of the Sendak-Kushner adaptation. His final book, Bumble-Ardy, was published in 2011 (died 2012): “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”

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