Daily Update: Friday, June 30th, 2017

First Martyrs of the See of Rome - The Christian Martyrs Last Prayer by Leon Gerome

Today, on the day after the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul., we have the Optional Memorial of the First Martyrs of The Church of Rome (died c. 64 through 67 AD).

After the Great Fire of Rome in 64 had finally run its course, rumors arose that the Emperor Nero had caused the fire to be set. According to Tacitus, “As a consequence, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but, even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. In accordance, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not as much of the crime of firing the city as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.” Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero is a historical novel written by Henryk Sienkiewicz and published in 1895 that centers on the Christians during the time of Nero; I strongly advise not eating before reading the sections on the martyrdom of Christians.

Last night I continued reading Beethoven’s Skull: Dark, Strange, and Fascinating Tales from the World of Classical Music and Beyond by Tim Rayborn via Kindle on my tablet, and I continued reading A World Without Smells by Lars Lundqvist via Kindle on my tablet. And I missed a call from Nedra that went to my voicemail (I had called her on Tuesday, but she did not check her voicemails until Thursday).

On waking up to get ready for work today, I did my Book Devotional Reading. When we left for work, the kitten Richard had taken to calling Death Wish (because he would sleep in the middle of the street when we would be leaving for work at 1:30 am) was dead, but not from being run over (the little kitten had been in poor health). On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and I requested Sycamore Row by John Grisham (our July Third Tuesday Book Club book) from the Lafayette Public Library. Once we arrived at the casino, I picked up our Fourth of July T-shirts in the shift office, and while in the break room before work my friend Deborah gave me the Patriotic beaded bracelet she had made for me. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for the second Mississippi Stud table, Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, and for the Let It Ride table (once), and at the end of the shift he broke the second Mississippi Stud table again. I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, Three Card Blackjack (once), and a Blackjack table (once). On my breaks I started re-reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet. At 8:30 am the computer repair store called, and it went to voice mail; on my breaks I called the Pharmacy and renewed two prescriptions, then called the computer store and talked to Josh (one of the former Assembled who used to hang out with my kids, who works there), who told me the computer was ready. Finally, the zipper broke on my work pants just before I clocked out. (We wear aprons, so a busted zipper is not critical; but I am going to wear one of my other two pairs of pants tomorrow.)

When we clocked out we went to the Pharmacy and I picked up my prescriptions; I continued re-reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet on our way into town; and we picked up the computer. When we got home I ate my lunch salad while Richard ran the vacuum under the desk; I then spent the next half hour or so plugging the computer back in and getting it working again. I then worked on photos and Advance Daily Update Drafts until 4:30 pm, when we watched Jeopardy!. And now I am finishing up this Daily Update, and when I am done I will do some reading before going to sleep. And the First Quarter Moon will arrive at 7:52 pm.

Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is also the Optional Memorial of Saint Junípera Serra, Priest, Canada Day, and the birthday of my daughter’s friend Kim here in town (1986). Tomorrow is the first day of the Heavy Business Volume Days for the Fourth of July Holiday (which are Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, per the last memo from the scheduling department). On my breaks I will continue re-reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet, and I will get a work order so that I can exchange my casino pants, aprons, and shirts at Uniforms next week. In the early afternoon I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. After my Hour I will eat lunch at McDonald’s, and I will try to go to Mass.

Our Parting Quote this Friday afternoon, as the merry month of June fades away, comes to us from Paul Mazursky, American film director, screenwriter, and actor. Born as Irwin Mazursky in 1930 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, his family was Jewish; his mother was a piano player for dance classes, and his paternal grandfather was an immigrant from Ukraine. Mazursky graduated from Brooklyn College in 1951. and married in 1953. Mazursky began his film career as an actor in Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, Fear and Desire (1953). Kubrick asked for verification of his name for the credits and at that point he decided on a first-name change to Paul. Two years later he appeared in a featured position as one of a classroom of teenagers with issues towards authority in The Blackboard Jungle (1955). His acting career continued for several decades, starting with parts in episodes of television series such as The Twilight Zone and The Rifleman. Soon after starting his acting career, Mazursky became a writer and worked on The Danny Kaye Show in 1963. In 1965 he collaborated with Larry Tucker in crafting the script of the original pilot of The Monkees television series, in which they both also appeared in cameos. Mazursky’s debut as a film screenplay writer was the Peter Sellers comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968). The following year he directed his first film, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (produced and written by Mazursky and Larry Tucker), which proved to be a major critical and commercial success. The film was the fifth highest grossing of the year and earned Mazursky his first Oscar nomination. His career behind the camera continued for the next two decades as he wrote and directed a prolific string of quirky, dramatic and critically popular films. His most successful films were contemporary dramatic comedies and included the Academy Award-winning Harry and Tonto (1974), the Best Picture-nominated An Unmarried Woman (1978), and popular hits such as Moscow on the Hudson (1984) and Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986). Other films made by Mazursky during this time include the Hollywood satire Alex in Wonderland (1970), the cutting Los Angeles relationship comedy Blume in Love (1973), the semi-autobiographical coming of age story Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), the New York City-based Jules and Jim homage Willie & Phil (1980), the contemporary Shakespeare comedy Tempest (1982), the Caribbean-set political farce Moon over Parador (1988; with the Rio Opera House available for only three days of shooting, Mazursky cast himself as a dictator’s mother when Judith Malina was unavailable, playing the character in drag), and the acclaimed Isaac Bashevis Singer adaptation Enemies, a Love Story (1989). Mazursky experienced less success in the 1990s, beginning with Scenes from a Mall (1991), starring Woody Allen and Bette Midler. Following his filmmaking satire The Pickle (1993), which was his last writing credit, Mazursky worked only sporadically as a director on such films as Faithful (1996), Winchell (1998), and Coast to Coast (2003). His final film was the independent documentary Yippee (2006). His films received a total of twelve Academy Award nominations, with one win, and nineteen Golden Globe nominations, with two wins. Mazursky also played supporting roles in The Other Side of the Wind (1972; finished 2015), A Star Is Born (1976), History of the World Part I (1981), Into the Night (1985), Punchline (1988), Man Trouble (1992), Carlito’s Way (1993), Love Affair (1994), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), Miami Rhapsody (1995), Crazy in Alabama (1999), and I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (2006). He also performed the voice of the Psychologist in Antz (1998). In his autobiography Show Me the Magic (1999), Mazursky recounted his experiences in filmmaking and with several well-known screen personalities including Peter Sellers. Mazursky appeared as himself in a number of documentaries on film, including A Decade Under the Influence, New York at the Movies and Screenwriters: Words Into Image. In 2000 he was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival’s Distinguished Screenwriter Award. In later years, Mazursky had a small part as Sunshine the poker dealer in The Sopranos. He also appeared in five episodes of season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Mel Brooks’ associate Norm, a role that he later reprised in a season 7 episode. In 2010 the Los Angeles Film Critics Association honored him with an award for Career Achievement. On December 13th, 2013, Mazursky was awarded the 2,515th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of Musso & Frank Grill. In February 2014, at the WGA Awards, Mazursky received the Screen Laurel Award, which is the lifetime achievement award of the Writers Guild of America. Comedian, filmmaker and close friend Mel Brooks presented the award. In May 2014 Mazursky received the Best of Brooklyn Award at his alma mater Brooklyn College’s annual gala in New York City. In 2015 Joe Swanberg’s film Digging for Fire was dedicated in memory to Mazursky (died 2014): “I find it impossible to spend much time with someone who doesn’t have a real sense of humor. Humor is not just a way of looking at life. It’s the way you experience things. Nobody lives life free of pain, but you can get past the pain with humor. It’s what separates me from some very nice people who simply don’t get the joke.”

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