Daily Update: Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Ember Days and Landry and Antoni Gaudi and Belmont Stakes 2017 and Coushatta Pow Wow 2017

Today is the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Landry, Bishop (died about 661) and the Remembrance of Servant of God Antoni Gaudí (died 1926). Today is also the Belmont Stakes, the third Triple Crown horse race (alas, no chance of a Triple Crown winner this year), and the second day of the two-day annual Coushatta Pow Wow.

Today is the third of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13th (the feast of Saint Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14th (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. All that is known of Saint Landry, Bishop (died about 661) for certain is that he was consecrated Bishop of Paris in 650 and that he built the first major hospital in the city, dedicating it to Saint Christopher, which is now the Hôtel-Dieu. He also, with twenty-three other French bishops, subscribed to the charter Clovis II gave to Saint-Denis Abbey in 653. The Golden Legend (circa 1260) reported that he was the twenty-seventh Bishop of Paris, and also reported three miracles to his credit. The French community of the Opelousas Post in Louisiana built a church in 1776 and dedicated it to Saint Landry; in 1805 the civil parish (what other States call a County) of Saint Landry was established and named after the church, which was named after the Saint. In the civil parish of St. Landry, Louisiana (the parish in which I live), the current St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas was dedicated in 1908; a statue of Saint Landry stands behind the altar (and is shown above, from when I took the photo a few years ago). There is also a stained glass window with his image on the southwest end of the church (which I haven’t seen, as of yet, and I keep forgetting to go over there to get a photo). While Saint Landry is not an official Patron Saint of anything (being a rather obscure Saint), I think it safe to say that he is the Patron Saint of the Civil Parish of St. Landry, Louisiana. We also honor today Servant of God Antoni Gaudí (died 1926). Born as Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet in Reus, Catalonia in 1852, between 1875 and 1878 he completed his compulsory military service in the Infantry regiment in Barcelona as a Military Administrator. Gaudí studied architecture at the Llotja School and the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1878. After a few years under the influence of neo-Gothic art, and certain oriental tendencies, Gaudí became part of the Catalan Modernista movement which was then at its peak, towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Gaudí’s work, however, transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style that was inspired by nature without losing the influence of the experiences gained earlier in his career. Today he is admired by both professionals and the general public: his masterpiece, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, is one of the most visited monuments in Catalonia. He awakened to his Roman Catholic faith during his life and many religious symbols can be seen in his works, a fact which has led to his being nicknamed “God’s Architect” and to his being named a Servant of God in 2000. There was a report in May 2014 that Gaudí would be Beatified within the next year by Pope Francis. (If you know of any miracles that can be attributed to him, please contact the Vatican.) The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile horse race, open to three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds; fillies carry 121 pounds. The Belmont Stakes is traditionally called “The Test of The Champion” or “Run for the Carnations” because the winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations after the race, in similar fashion to the blanket of roses and black-eyed susans for the Derby and Preakness, respectively. The winning owner is ceremonially presented with the silver winner’s trophy, designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co. It was first presented to August Belmont, Jr. in 1896 and donated by the Belmont family for annual presentation in 1926. The race is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. (Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978; Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2004, but was beaten at the Belmont by Birdstone. But, after a very long time without a Triple Crown Champion, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015. But we will not have a Triple Crown winner this year, as Always Dreaming won the 2017 Kentucky Derby and Cloud Computing, won the 2017 Preakness Stakes. And the Twenty-Second Annual Coushatta Pow Wow, which began yesterday, ends today. The Pow Wow attracts participants from all over the United States, who come to compete, mingle, and have a good time. At one time the Pow Wow was held in October, but the date was changed so as not to conflict with other Pow Wows around the nation.

My earliest call-in at the casino dropped off the calendar today; my next one drops off the calendar on September 25th. When I woke up to get ready for work I posted to Facebook that today was the Running of the Belmont Stakes, and that today was the Second Day of the Two-Day Coushatta Pow-Wow. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Corpus Christi Novena. We clocked in, attended the Pre-Shift Meeting (there are Mandatory Meetings with Max (the head of Table Games), and all Table Games are to attend one of the four scheduled meetings on Monday, June 26h and Tuesday, June 27th – unless one has previously scheduled PTO, as I do.) Once on the casino floor, Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was on Pai Gow; Richard did not have any guests until 10:00 am (seven hours into our shift), and I had two guests for half an hour, and one guest for twenty minutes. At the beginning of our shift, at 3:00 am, a large group of Native Americans were partying around the Main Bar under the dome (or playing dice), but they had all left, more or less under their own power, by about 5:00 am or 6:00 am.

On our way home Michelle called me to ask for Butch’s address again. Richard stopped at the barbeque truck that was in the parking lot of our nearest strip mall and got barbeque for his lunch. Once home from work, I set up my medications for next week (I have two prescriptions to get on Monday) and read the morning paper. I then headed to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration; during my Hour I read the June 12th, 2017 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. Once home from Adoration I ordered two more Gadget Guard Screen Protectors for my Galaxy Note 4 from Amazon (the one I have on my phone now is cracked). And now, I will finish this Daily Update and go to bed for the duration. The Belmont Stakes will be run later this afternoon, and this evening

Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and the Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle. We will work our eight hours for the end of the two-week pay period. After work we will head to Lisa’s to see the baby. At the NCAA College Baseball Super Regional in Baton Rouge our #3 LSU Tigers (46-17) will play their second game with the #18 Mississippi State Bulldogs (36-24).(If necessary, a third game will be on Monday night.)

Our Parting Quote on this Saturday afternoon is from Gordie Howe, Canadian-born hockey player. Born as Gordon Howe in 1928 in Floral, Saskatchewan,  his family moved to nearby Saskatoon when he was a few days old. He grew up there as the fifth of nine children, playing hockey on frozen ponds with makeshift equipment. He honed his physique by doing construction work with his father. At age fourteen, he lifted five 86-pound bags of cement at one time while building sidewalks. Howe signed with the Detroit Red Wings organization at 16, spent two years in the juniors and minors, then made his National Hockey League debut at Olympia Stadium in Detroit on October 16th, 1946, scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie and future Hall of Famer Turk Broda. Howe played professional hockey for 32 seasons, most of them with the Red Wings. Playing at right wing, Howe scored with subtle maneuvers when the slap shot had yet to become a favorite offensive weapon and defensive play was strong. He handled the puck magnificently, setting up teammates with precise passes. He inflicted crushing body checks and well-placed elbows or stick-ends on opponents who incurred his ire. There was hockey’s traditional hat trick, three goals by a player in a single game, and what became known as the Howe hat trick: a goal, an assist and a fight, which he only did twice in his career. At 6 feet and 205 pounds, Howe was relatively big for his era and had a tailor-made body for hockey, with long arms, a strong torso and outstanding balance. He teamed with his fellow Hall of Famers Sid Abel at center and Ted Lindsay at left wing on a unit known as the Production Line when the Red Wings achieved dominance in the early 1950s. Playing before helmets were required, he endured numerous injuries and some 500 stitches in his face. He almost died during the 1950 playoffs when he crashed into the sideboards attempting to check Ted Kennedy, a star forward with the Maple Leafs; Howe sustained a fractured skull and required emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Howe was named a first- or second-team NHL All-Star 21 times. The four Stanley Cups he helped the Red Wings win came in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955, when the NHL was a fiercely competitive six-team league. He met his future wife in 1949 at a bowling alley, and they married in 1953. In his 25 seasons with the Red Wings, Howe was among the NHL’s top five scorers for 20 consecutive years. Howe never equaled what had been the single-season goal-scoring record of 50, set by the Canadiens’ Maurice Richard in 1944-45, falling one goal short eight seasons later. But he broke Richard’s career goal mark of 544 in 1963. After playing for Detroit from 1946 to 1971, he retired to take a front-office post with the Red Wings, presumably intending to remain off the ice. inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, the normal three-year waiting period having been waived, he was given little to do in the Red Wings front office. His wife was his agent in his last years in hockey, formally registered the name Mr. Hockey, and developed extensive family business enterprises along with his endorsements. They promoted the Howe Foundation for charitable work. After two seasons off the ice, when the World Hockey Association was created in 1973, he returned to the game, playing with his teenage sons Mark Howe, a future Hall of Fame defenseman, and Marty Howe, a left wing. Howe scored 174 goals in the WHA, playing with his sons through four seasons with Houston and two with the New England Whalers. In 1979-80, the three Howes played together in the NHL when the New England team, having been renamed the Hartford Whalers, joined the league after the dissolution of the WHA. Howe scored 15 goals and had 26 assists in his last NHL season. By the time he retired for the second and final time in 1980 as the oldest player in NHL history, Howe had set records for most seasons (26), games played (1,767), goals (801), assists (1,049) and points (1,850). He won both the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top points scorer six times. At the age of 69, he took a one-shift turn on October 3rd, 1997, for the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers to become hockey’s only six-decade professional. In 1998 The Hockey News released their List of Top 100 NHL Players of All Time and listed Howe third overall, ahead of Mario Lemieux, but behind Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. Of the list, Orr was quoted as regarding Howe as the greatest player. In 2000 Howe was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. His wife was found to have Pick’s disease, a rare form of dementia, in 2002 and died seven years later at 76. On April 10th, 2007, Howe was honoured with the unveiling of a new bronze statue in Joe Louis Arena. The statue, created by Omri Amrany, is 12-feet tall, weighs about 4,500 pounds, and contains all of Howe’s stats and history. Another statue of Howe was erected in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on the corner of 20th Street and 1st Ave. He is depicted wearing a Detroit Red Wings sweater. The statue has since been relocated to the SaskTel Centre. In February 2011, various groups proposed naming the New International Trade Crossing bridge, a proposed bridge that will connect Detroit and Windsor by linking Highway 401 in Ontario with Interstate 75 and Interstate 94 in Michigan, in honour of Howe. Howe received a diagnosis of dementia in 2012. Canadian actor Michael Shanks portrayed Howe in the Hallmark movie Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. The film aired April 28th, 2013, on CBC and on the Hallmark Channel in the US on May 5th, 2013. Howe had a stroke in 2014 that impaired his speech and movement. On May 14th, 2015, during an event attended by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it was officially announced that the New International Trade Crossing bridge would be known as the Gordie Howe International Bridge (died 2016): “To succeed, you’ve got to love what you’re doing. I tell kids, if you don’t love it, get out of the way for someone who does.”

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