Today is the second of three Minor Rogation Days in the Catholic Church. With no Saints to honor, we note that on this date in 1911 the New York Public Library was dedicated.
This Tuesday is the second of three Minor Rogation Days (the three days before the traditional date of the Feast of the Ascension), and is a day when we ask for the blessings of God upon our crops and our undertakings. The Minor Rogations were introduced by Saint Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne (died c. 475), and were afterwards ordered by the Fifth Council of Orléans (511), and then approved by Leo III (795-816). They were removed from the General Calendar in 1969, but I note them in this weblog. Turning to the secular world, on May 23rd, 1911, the main branch of the New York Public Library was officially opened in a ceremony presided over by President William Howard Taft. The following day the public was invited, and tens of thousands of people attended. The opening day collection consisted of more than 1,000,000 volumes. The New York Public Library instantly became one of the nation’s largest libraries and a vital part of the intellectual life of America. Library records for that day show that one of the very first items called for was N. I. Grot’s Nravstvennye idealy nashego vremeni (“Ethical Ideas of Our Time“), a study of Friedrich Nietzsche and Leo Tolstoy. The reader filed his slip at 9:08 a.m. and received his book just six minutes later. The two famous stone lions guarding the entrance were sculpted by Edward Clark Potter. They were originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, in honor of the library’s founders. These names were transformed into Lady Astor and Lord Lenox (although both lions are male). In the 1930s they were nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude” by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. He chose these names because he felt that the citizens of New York would need to possess these qualities to see themselves through the Great Depression. Patience is on the south side (the left as one faces the main entrance) and Fortitude on the north. The main reading room of the Research Library (Room 315) is a majestic 78 feet wide by 297 feet long, with 52 feet high ceilings; the room is lined with thousands of reference books on open shelves along the floor level and along the balcony, lit by massive windows and grand chandeliers and furnished with sturdy wood tables, comfortable chairs, and brass lamps. Today it is also equipped with computers with access to library collections and the Internet and docking facilities for laptops. There are special rooms for notable authors and scholars, many of whom have done important research and writing at the Library. (That sounds like the height of author credibility to me – to have your own room at the New York Public Library in which to do your work. And I have a strong feeling that producing these Daily Updates and Book Reviews will not get me one of those rooms.)
Last night I continued reading The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault, Translated by Michael J. Miller, and continued reading The Mummy: A History of the Extraordinary Practices of Ancient Egypt by E. A. Wallis Budge. And our #19 LSU Lady Tigers at the NCAA College Softball Regional in Baton Rouge beat the UL – Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns by the score of 5 to 1; our #19 LSU Lady Tigers will now go to the NCAA College Softball Super Regional in Tallahassee, Florida to face the #4 Florida State Lady Seminoles on Friday, May 26th.
On waking up to get ready for work today I did my Book Devotional Reading. When we got to the casino, in ADR I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fifth Day of my Ascension Novena. We signed the Early Out list, and when we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and I was on Mississippi Stud. I got out at 4:45 am, and Richard got out at 5:15 am; when he came to fetch me from ADR 2, he told me that he had put in for eight hours for both of us to cover the time we had gotten out early this pay period; we had to get our ASM to unlock the box so that I could fix my PTO request, as requesting eight hours would have left me with less than 40 hours of PTO before I take my trip to see Liz Ellen. So I changed my request to six hours, after checking my records. On our way home we stopped at Valero, and Richard gassed up the truck. We arrived home at 6:00 am, and I went back to bed while Richard did his laundry, after which he came to bed for a nap.
I woke up at 10:45 am, and I ate my lunch salad while reading the morning paper. I then started packing for our trip, and I got on the computer, adjusted our PTO worksheets on the computer, and worked on today’s Daily Update. I then finished my packing. We left the house at 12:15 pm, and I sent texts to Michelle to let her know we were headed to Baton Rouge and that she had packages at the house from Amazon. I then finished reading the May / June issue of The Bible Today, and we gassed up the car at Krotz Springs. I continued reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet. At 2:15 pm we arrived at the Barnes and Noble at Citiplace Court; we looked for a book for Butch, I ate an Asiago Stuffed Pretzel, and I finished reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet. I then did my Book Review of the book for this Weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts.
We left Barnes and Noble at 3:45 pm, and at 4:00 pm we checked in at the Hampton Inn by the interstate. Richard got a call that Butch’s follow up on his eye surgery will be tomorrow after lunch (not at 9:00 am) We watched Jeopardy!, and then we headed over to Butch’s apartment, dropped off the new mount for his new TV, and confirmed which book he wanted from Barnes and Noble. We then ate a wonderful dinner at Gino’s Restaurant, where we used to go in the mid-1980s (the food and atmosphere were just as they were before). We then went to the local Wal-Mart, where we got sodas and breakfast bars; I also got a red patriotic shirt. We then returned to our room at the Hilton. I will now finish this Daily Update and do some reading before going to sleep.
Tomorrow is the third of the three Minor Rogation Days. Tomorrow is the World Day of Prayer for China – Our Lady of Sheshan, Help of Christians. Tomorrow is also the birthday of my daughter’s friend Chelsie here in town (1988). At the SEC College Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, our #6 LSU Tigers will be playing either the #22 Texas A&M Aggies or the Missouri Tigers. At some point Richard will pick up Butch and take him to his appointment. And in the evening we will visit with Richard’s sister Nita and her husband Bill from Georgia.
Today our Tuesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from Anne Meara, American actress. Born in 1929 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, her parents were of Irish descent, and she was raised as a Catholic. An only child, she was raised in Rockville Centre, New York on Long Island; her mother committed suicide when Meara was twelve. When she was eighteen she spent a year studying acting at the Dramatic Workshop at The New School in Manhattan. The following year, 1948, she began her career as an actress in summer stock. Meara met actor-comedian Jerry Stiller (born 1927) in 1953 and they married the following year. Until he suggested it, she had never thought of doing comedy. They joined the improvisational company The Compass Players (which later became The Second City), and after leaving, formed the comedy team of Stiller and Meara. In 1959 she converted to Reform Judaism. In 1961 they were performing in nightclubs in New York, and by the following year were considered a “national phenomenon,” said the New York Times. Their often-improvised comedy routines brought many of their real-life relationship foibles to live audiences. Their skits focused on domestic themes, as did Nichols and May, another comedy team during that period. They also added a new twist to their comedy act, he adds, by sometimes playing up the fact that Stiller was Jewish and Meara was Catholic. After Nichols and May broke up as a team in 1961, Stiller and Meara were the number one couple comedy team by the late 1960s. And as Mike Nichols and Elaine May were not married, Stiller and Meara became the most famous married couple comedy team since Burns and Allen. After some years honing the act, Stiller and Meara became regulars on The Ed Sullivan Show, with thirty-six appearances, and other TV programs, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. They released their first LP in 1963, Presenting America’s New Comedy Sensation: Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara Live at The Hungry I, which became a hit. They also had two children during the 1960s. By 1970, however, they broke up their act because it was affecting their marriage. During the 1970s Meara and Stiller wrote and performed many radio commercials together for Blue Nun Wine. She had a recurring role on the sitcom Rhoda as airline stewardess Sally Gallagher, one of the title character’s best friends. She also had a small role as Mrs Curry opposite Laurence Olivier in The Boys from Brazil (1978). In 1975 she starred in her own series Kate McShane on CBS, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award, but the series was cancelled after only ten episodes (the show also had the debut of Meara’s son Ben Stiller). Meara costarred with Carroll O’Connor and Martin Balsam in the early 1980s hit sitcom Archie Bunker’s Place, which was a continuation of the influential 1970s sitcom All in the Family. She played the role of Veronica Rooney, the bar’s cook, for the show’s first three seasons (1979–1982). During that time, she acted in the movie Fame (1980), in which she played English teacher Elizabeth Sherwood. She also appeared as the grandmother in the TV series ALF in the late 1980s. Her own 1986 TV sitcom, The Stiller and Meara Show, in which Stiller played the deputy mayor of New York City and Meara portrayed his wife, a television commercial actress, was unsuccessful. In 1995 Meara branched out to writing with the comedy, After-Play, which became an Off-Broadway production. From 1999 to 2007, Meara guest starred on The King of Queens (where her husband played Arthur Spooner), first as Mary Finnegan, then as Veronica Olchin (mother of Spence, who was played by Patton Oswalt). She and her husband’s characters were married in the series finale, but divorced a year later. She, her husband, and her son were in Zoolander (2001). During the 2004–05 season series run, she appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In Night at the Museum (2006), she played the unemployment agent who is reluctantly trying to find a job for the fairly unemployable character played by Ben Stiller. She was the consulting director of J.A.P. – The Jewish American Princesses of Comedy, a 2007 Off-Broadway production that featured live stand-up routines by four female Jewish comics juxtaposed with the stories of legendary performers from the 1950s and 1960s: Totie Fields, Jean Carroll, Pearl Williams, Betty Walker and Belle Barth. In 2009 Meara wrote her personal life reflections in a New York-focused online blog, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood — New York City Stories. Starting in October 2010, Meara and her husband began starring in a Yahoo! web series called Stiller & Meara produced by Red Hour Digital, a production company owned by their son Ben Stiller. She accepted a role in the Off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore for an April 27th through May 29th, 2011, run with Conchata Ferrell, AnnaLynne McCord, Minka Kelly and B. Smith. She continued actively developing the next generation as demonstrated by teaching a technique and scene study class at HB Studio. Her last television work was in a 2012 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and her last movie work was as one of the voices in Planes: Fire & Rescue, a 2014 American 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure film (died 2015): “Comedy, drama, it’s the same deal. You don’t really act differently; you just make adjustments.”