Daily Update: Monday, June 5th, 2017

Boniface

Today is the Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (died 754). Today is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jean in California (1968).

Today’s Saint was born about 673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, christened with the name of Winfrid, and was educated at the Benedictine monastery at Exeter, England, where he became a Benedictine monk. Starting in 719 he became a missionary to Germany, assisted by Saint Albinus, Saint Abel, and Saint Agatha. They destroyed idols and pagan temples, and then built churches on the sites. In 723 Boniface encountered a tribe worshiping a Norse deity in the form of a huge oak tree. Boniface walked up to the tree, removed his shirt, took up an axe, and without a word he hacked down the six foot wide wooden god. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, “How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he.” The crowd’s reaction was mixed, but some conversions were begun. Boniface was made Bishop, and then Archbishop of Mainz. He reformed the churches in his see and built religious houses in Germany, along with founding or restoring the dioceses of Bavaria, Thuringia, and Franconia. He also made three trips to Rome to confer with the Pope. He had the support of Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, in his evangelizing efforts in Germany. He then evangelized in Holland, but was set upon by a troop of pagans, and he and fifty-two of his new flock, including Saint Adaler and Saint Eoban, were martyred at Dokkum, Friesland (modern Netherlands). He is the Patron Saint of the city of Fulda, Germany, of the country of Germany, and co-Patron Saint of England with Saint Augustine of Canterbury and Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.  Today is also the birthday of my Internet friend Jean in California (1968).

Last night at the NCAA College Baseball Regionals in Baton Rouge, our #3 LSU Tigers beat the Rice Owls by the score of 5 to 0; our #3 LSU Tigers (46-17) will move on to the Super Regionals in Baton Rouge, and will first play either the Southern Miss Golden Eagles or Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday, June 9th (we will know after today’s game(s) which opponent LSU will face).

On waking up to get ready for work, I did my Book Devotional reading, and Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on the second Pai Gow table until it was closed; he was then on the second Mississippi Stud table for the rest of the day. I was on Mini Baccarat briefly, but was moved to Pai Gow so that they could let the Swing dealer go home, and I stayed there for the rest of the day. Late in the morning our Assistant Shift Manager told me that she had approved my vacation time later this month, even though I did not have 40 hours of PTO to use to take it. When I protested that I would have 40 hours (for the pay period ending 05/28/17 I have 32. 51 hours, and for the pay period ending on 06/11/17 I will have 40.20 hours accrued, so I will have 40 hours before taking my vacation), she told me that one needs to have the PTO necessary to take one’s trip when she starts working up the schedules for the week when one’s vacation starts. Since they do the schedules two or three weeks ahead of time, that means to take 40 hours of vacation, one needs to have 40 hours accrued about three weeks (or more accurately, two two-week pay periods) before the week that one’s vacation starts. I thanked her for approving my vacation, and conveyed all this to Richard, who was royally peeved, as am I (but I am smart enough not to complain to the ASM). First we were told that one needed to have all of the vacation time one wishes to take before one’s vacation begins, and now they say one needs to have all the vacation time one needs to take two full pay periods before one’s vacation. I think that they can make whatever rules they like, but I do think they could let us know when they change the rules. (And I have just realized, on checking my accrued PTO, that for the pay period ended 08/06/17, the pay period before our projected trip to South Carolina, I will have only 30.96 house of PTO accrued; so there is a chance that I will have to let Richard go to Carolina without me. I need to talk to Richard about this, and see what he thinks, or if he thinks I should cancel my trip to see Liz Ellen in two weeks. Or perhaps they would let me take a couple of days without pay, for our August trip.)

On our way home Richard stopped at the Pharmacy and picked up prescriptions. Once home from work I read the morning paper and ate my lunch salad, then I watched MST3K Episode 109 Project Moon Base (In a futuristic version 1970, a group of astronauts are infiltrated by a spy, who inadvertently causes the team to become stranded on the Moon) with the short films Radar Men from the Moon, Part 7: “Camouflaged Destruction” and Radar Men from the Moon, Part 8: “The Enemy Planet”, then I watched MST3K Episode 302 Gamera (Daikaijū Gamera) (A military plane crashes in the Arctic, awakening giant turtle Gamera. It attacks Japan, yet seemingly befriends a young boy). Meanwhile, Richard cleaned the stove top, and vacuumed the living room. Our mail brought me my PETA (People for the Eating of Tasty Animals) T-shirt, and at 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and will go to bed once I am finished.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Norbert, Bishop (died 1134). Tomorrow is our Friday at work, but we will work our full eight hours. Tomorrow Matthew, Callie, and our granddaughter will be flying in, and we may see them tomorrow evening.

Our Parting Quote this Monday afternoon comes to us from Jerome S. Bruner, American psychologist. Born in 1915 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, his parents were Polish Jewish immigrants. He was born blind (due to cataracts), but an experimental operation at age two restored his vision; he never forgot what it was like to perceive shapes and colors for the first time. His father died when Bruner was twelve, and his mother moved the family to Florida, where he attended a series of high schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, in 1937 from Duke, and went on to earn a master’s degree in psychology in 1939 and then a doctorate in psychology in 1941 from Harvard. In 1939 Bruner published his first psychological article on the effect of thymus extract on the sexual behavior of the female rat. During World War II, Bruner served on the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force committee under General Dwight D. Eisenhower, researching social psychological phenomena. Bruner was a researcher at Harvard in the 1940s when he became impatient with behaviorism, then a widely held theory, which viewed learning in terms of stimulus and response: the chime of a bell before mealtime and salivation, in Ivan Pavlov’s famous dog experiments. Bruner believed that behaviorism, rooted in animal experiments, ignored many dimensions of human mental experience. In one 1947 experiment, he found that children from low-income households perceived a coin to be larger than it actually was; their desires apparently shaping not only their thinking but also the physical dimensions of what they saw. In subsequent work, he argued that the mind is not a passive learner, and not a stimulus-response machine, but an active learner, bringing a full complement of motives, instincts and intentions to shape comprehension, as well as perception. His writings, in particular the book A Study of Thinking (1956), written with Jacqueline J. Goodnow and George A. Austin, inspired a generation of psychologists and helped break the hold of behaviorism on the field. To build a more complete theory, he and the experimentalist George A. Miller, a Harvard colleague, founded the Center for Cognitive Studies, which supported investigation into the inner workings of human thought. Much later, this shift in focus from behavior to information processing came to be known as the cognitive revolution. Bruner’s work made him a sought-after expert on development and education. In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first satellite in space, officials and prominent educators called for a deeper commitment to education, particularly in the sciences. In 1959, federal science agencies convened a meeting of top scholars at Woods Hole, in Massachusetts, to brainstorm about possible reforms. Bruner, who ran the meeting, summarized participants’ views in The Process of Education (1960), a book that quickly became a landmark text in education reform and theory. One idea that emerged from the meeting was the “spiral curriculum,” in which teachers introduce students to topics early, in age-appropriate language, and revisit the same subjects in subsequent years, adding depth and complexity. Many school districts have incorporated that approach, beginning in grade school. Later, Bruner drew on his experience at Woods Hole to help design Head Start, the federal program introduced in 1965 to improve preschool development. In 1972 Bruner took a position at Oxford University, where, always intellectually restless, he began arguing that cognitive psychology should be broadened to include narrative construction and culture, which also shape the strategies people use to make sense of the world. Bruner wrote or co-wrote a dozen influential books and won a long list of awards in psychology and education. In the 1990s, he became an educational ambassador of sorts, working with preschools in Reggio Emilia, an Italian town near Bologna, and elsewhere. A number of preschools around the world use the Reggio Emilia approach, inspired by Bruner’s work there. He finished his career at N.Y.U. as a law professor, using his ideas about thinking, culture and storytelling to analyze legal reasoning and punishment. He retired in 2013 (died 2016): “We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any age of development.”

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