Today is the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle (died c.72). In astronomy, the Earth will reach Aphelion today at 3:00 pm local time (local being SouthWestCentral Louisiana).
Thomas was one of the twelve Apostles, and was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ’s wounds. After the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, Thomas preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way. He eventually gave in to God’s will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. An old tradition says that Thomas baptized the wise men from the Nativity into Christianity. His symbol in art is a builder’s square; legend holds that he was martyred by being stabbed with a spear while in prayer on a hill in Mylapore, India. In 232 the relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to have been returned by an Indian king and brought back from India to the city of Edessa, Mesopotamia; the date of his feast is more accurately the date of the translation of his remains to Edessa. He is the Patron Saint of architects, converts from Atheism, Saint Thomas Christians, and India. The Earth will reach Aphelion today at 3:00 pm local time, the point in the orbit where the Earth is farthest from its point of orbit, which is the Sun. Earth’s distance from the Sun does not significantly affect what season occurs. Instead, Earth’s seasons come and go because Earth does not rotate with its axis exactly upright with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. Earth’s axial tilt is 23.4 degrees which puts the Sun further south in December and January, so the north has winter and the south has summer. Thus winter falls on that part of the globe where sunlight strikes least directly, and summer falls where sunlight strikes most directly, regardless of the Earth’s distance from the Sun. With the Sun about 94.5 million miles away, only 93.55% of the solar radiation from the Sun falls on a given square area of land than at perihelion in early January. (But you can still get sunburned if you go to the beach today.)
Last night I continued reading A World Without Smells by Lars Lundqvist via Kindle on my tablet, and 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 Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb.
On waking up to get ready for work today, I had an Email from one of the people in my Third Tuesday Book Club that Blister by Jeff Strand (our September selection) was available on Kindle for $0.99, so I purchased the book. I posted to Facebook that today was Earth Aphelion and did my Book Devotional Reading. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. When we clocked in, Richard was on Three Card Blackjack all day. I was first the Relief Dealer for Pai Gow, Mini Baccarat, and the second Pai Gow table, which they began closing during my twenty minutes on the table. I was then the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, the Sit-Down Blackjack Table, and the Pai Gow table. Now, Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow are in Pit 5, while the Sit-Down Blackjack table is at the far end of Pit 2; so for the greater portion of our shift I was doing what we call a Boomerang: I would break Mini Baccarat in Pit 5, then go to the end of Pit 2 to break the Sit-Down Blackjack table, then walk back to Pit 5 to break Pai Gow. During one of my breaks I went to the Shift Office and got my work order to get my casino uniforms exchanged.
On our way home I continued reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet, and Richard went to Wal-Mart to get supplies for tomorrow (more anon). When we got home from work he mowed the grass, and I ate a cantaloupe and read the morning paper. I then came to the computer, did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts, then worked on Weblog Photos. Earth Aphelion occurred at 3:00 pm. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, then I came to the computer to work on today’s Daily Update. Michelle stopped by, and I gave her the box of clothes from her Aunt Liz Ellen to look through to see if any one them would fit her or one of her friends. She left after checking the rest of her mail. And when I finish this Daily Update, I will do some reading and go to bed.
We have no Saints to honor tomorrow; in most of the world the Optional Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen (died 1336) is celebrated tomorrow, but the American bishops moved her celebration to July 5th. And tomorrow is Independence Day in these Fifty States. (Speaking of the Fourth of July, remember, O my best beloved Three or Four Loyal Readers and Army of Followers: He who goes Forth with a Fifth on the Fourth may never come Forth on the Fifth!) Tomorrow is both the Observance of the Fourth of July and the legal holiday for the Fourth of July, so there is no mail delivery or banking tomorrow. At the casino it will be a Heavy Business Volume Day, and a Paid Holiday (so we will be paid time and a half for our hours worked tomorrow); on my breaks I will continue reading A Time to Kill by John Grisham via Overdrive on my tablet. After lunch I will take a nap, and for dinner Richard will make barbeque; Michelle might come over for that. And tomorrow night at 9:00 pm is our town’s Fireworks Display, which we can go to, since we do not have to work on Wednesday.
Our Parting Quote this Monday afternoon comes to us from Noel Neill, American actress. Born in 1920 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, her father was a newspaperman who later became the news editor of what is now The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and her mother was a former dancer and singer. Although Neill sang and played the banjo at fairs as a child, she had planned to follow in her father’s footsteps as a journalist. When she was seventeen, though, a long summer trip with her mother changed her plans. Ending up in Southern California, Neill auditioned for and won a job singing at the Del Mar racetrack. One of the track’s owners, Bing Crosby, noticed her and introduced her to his brother Larry, a theatrical agent. Beginning with a tiny role as a teenager in Mad Youth (1940), Neill appeared in an average of half a dozen movies a year over the next decade, often in uncredited parts. She also married in 1943, but the marriage was annulled. Her movies included The Blue Dahlia (1946), in which she was a hatcheck girl; the Charlie Chan mystery The Sky Dragon (1949); and Henry Aldrich’s Little Secret (1944). In 1945 producer Sam Katzman gave Neill the recurring role of Betty Rogers, aggressive reporter for a high-school newspaper, in his series of “Teen Agers” musical comedies, starting with Junior Prom (1946). She also had small parts in An American in Paris (1951) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). In 1948 Neill was twenty-eight and a veteran of forty or so films when she was first called on to play Lois, the breezy young reporter for The Daily Planet who disdains her mild-mannered colleague Clark Kent but suspects the truth: that he is actually Superman, the dashing defender of truth, justice and the American way. She was cast opposite Kirk Alyn in fifteen episodes of the movie serial Superman, based on the comic books and radio show. Two years later, she reprised the role in the serial Atom Man vs. Superman. In 1952, when Adventures of Superman was created for television, another actress, Phyllis Coates, was cast as Lois, along with George Reeves as Superman. But after one season, Coates left the show and Neill stepped into the role, where she remained until the series went off the air in 1958. Neill’s Lois normally went to the office and on assignment in proper suits, little hats and pearls, despite the likelihood that she would end the day tied to railroad tracks, trapped in a cave or in some other form of deadly peril, until she was saved by her hero. The low-budget Adventures of Superman, a hit during its original run, became a favorite in reruns and Neill became a heroine. There were plans to bring the show back, but they came to a halt in 1959 with Reeves’s death, which was eventually ruled a suicide. After Adventures of Superman was canceled, Neill largely gave up acting. She married twice more, and was divorced from each husband. Eventually she went into public relations and worked in the United Artists television department, where one of her assignments was handling Tom Selleck’s fan mail. By the 1970s however, she had been rediscovered by young fans of Superman reruns, and she began to appear at fan conventions. She was cast in a cameo in Superman (1978), Christopher Reeve’s debut in the title role, as the mother of a school-age Lois Lane. She also appeared in a 1991 episode of the television series The Adventures of Superboy, in the superhero film spoof Surge of Power (2004) and, as a dying woman, in Superman Returns (2006). On the documentary Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman (2006), Neill remarked that a frequent question she would get from children was, “Why don’t you know that Clark Kent was Superman, just wearing a pair of those darn eyeglasses?” She replied to the children (and later to college audiences), “I don’t want to lose my job!” Although Neill was not the original Lois Lane (the first was Joanne Siegel, who as a teenager in the mid-1930s posed for the cartoonist Joe Shuster when he was first developing the Superman comic with the writer Jerry Siegel), but in 2010, when a life-size bronze statue of Lois Lane was unveiled in Metropolis, Illinois, a small town that is also the home of a Superman museum (perhaps because it shares the same name as the fictional city where Superman lives and works), it was modeled after Neil, who attended the statue’s dedication. Later that year a fall at her Tucson, Arizona home resulted in Neill suffering from a hip fracture (died 2016): “It was a man’s world, and you didn’t want to be too cranky. When I played [Lois Lane], I could relate to her more if she wasn’t bossy.”