Daily Update: Friday, July 21st, 2017

Laurence of Brindisi

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor (died 1619). And today is the birthday of Richard’s friend Jack (known as Chookie) here in town.

Born as Giulio Cesare Russo in Brindisi, Apulia, in 1559, to a family of Venetian merchants, today’s Saint was educated at Saint Mark’s College in Venice, and joined the Capuchins in Verona as Brother Lawrence (Lorenzo). He received further instruction from the University of Padua. An accomplished linguist, Lawrence spoke most European and Semitic languages fluently. He was appointed definitor-general for Rome for the Capuchins in 1596; Pope Clement VIII assigned him the task of converting the Jews in the city, and his fluency in Hebrew made many Rabbis convinced that he was a converted Jew. Beginning in 1599, Lawrence established Capuchin monasteries in modern Germany and Austria, furthering the Counter-Reformation and bringing many Protestants back to the Catholic faith. In 1601 he served as the imperial chaplain for the army of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor, and successfully recruited Philippe Emmanuel, Duke of Mercoeur to help fight against the Ottoman Turks. He then led the army during the capture of Székesfehérvár from the Ottoman Empire, armed only with a crucifix. In 1602 he was elected vicar-general of the Capuchins, at that time the highest office in the order. He was elected again in 1605, but refused the office. He entered the service of the Holy See, becoming nuncio to Bavaria. After serving as nuncio to Spain, he retired to a monastery in 1618. He was recalled as a special envoy to the King of Spain regarding the actions of the Viceroy of Naples in 1619, and after finishing his mission, died in Lisbon. He was beatified in 1783 by Pope Pius VI, canonized in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII, and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959, and he is the Patron Saint of the city of Brindisi, Italy.

Last night I continued reading Kiss My Asterisk: A Feisty Guide to Punctuation and Grammar by Jenny Baranick via Kindle on my tablet, and I continued reading Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations by Garson O’Toole via Android on my tablet.

When I woke up to get ready for work today, I did my Book Devotional Reading. On our online schedule, Richard was listed as FMLA (Family Leave) for every day. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and once at work Richard talked to our Shift Manager. When we clocked in, Richard was first on Four Card Poker, closed that table, then helped change Blackjack cards, then was on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table for the rest of the day. I was on the Mississippi Stud table all day. On my later breaks I called the Clinic to set up an appointment for Monday after work to have blood drawn for lab work ahead of my appointment on August 3rd with my Oncologist, and I called my OB/Gyn’s office and made an appointment for my next yearly visit on August 21st. I also called my Psych’s office, and left a voice mail that I would need to have a prescription renewed. (And I made a note to call back on Monday morning, if I have not heard from them.)

When we got home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper; Richard was wrestling on the phone and on the computer with people, so I watched MST3K Episode 316 Gamera vs. Zigra (Gamera tai Shinkai Kaijū Jigura), with our favorite turtle monster fighting evil aliens from another planet. I then watched MST3K Episode 317 Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent; TV Guide called it “one of the strangest films to emerge from the fertile imagination of Roger Corman”) with the short film The Home Economics Story; we paused the movie for a while when Callie and our granddaughter came over for a visit. (They will be back on Sunday afternoon.) We then watched Jeopardy!, and I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update for the edification of my Three or Four Readers and my Army of Minion Followers.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene (died first century). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and after lunch I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration.

Our Friday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from E. L. Doctorow, American novelist. Born as Edgar Lawrence Doctorow in 1931 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, his parents were second-generation Americans of Russian Jewish extraction who named him after Edgar Allan Poe. His father ran a small music shop. He attended city public grade schools and The Bronx High School of Science where, surrounded by mathematically gifted children, he fled to the office of the school literary magazine, Dynamo, which published his first literary effort. He then enrolled in a journalism class to increase his opportunities to write. Doctorow attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he studied with the poet and New Critic John Crowe Ransom, acted in college theater productions, and majored in philosophy. While at Kenyon College, Doctorow joined the Middle Kenyon Association, and he became friends with fellow student and future historian Richard H. Collin. After graduating with honors in 1952, he completed a year of graduate work in English drama at Columbia University before being drafted into the United States Army. He served as a corporal in the signal corps in Germany from 1954 to 1955, and married a fellow Columbia University student. He returned to New York after his military service and took a job as a reader for a motion picture company, where he said he had to read so many Westerns that he was inspired to write what became his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times. He began it as a parody of western fiction, but it evolved to be a serious reclamation of the genre before he was finished. It was published to positive reviews in 1960, with Wirt Williams of the New York Times describing it as “taut and dramatic, exciting and successfully symbolic.” The book was adapted into the movie of the same name in 1967. To support his family, Doctorow spent nine years as a book editor, first at NAL working with Ian Fleming and Ayn Rand among others, and from 1964, as editor-in-chief at Dial Press, publishing work by James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Ernest J. Gaines, and William Kennedy, among others. In 1969 Doctorow left publishing to pursue a writing career. He accepted a position as Visiting Writer at the University of California, Irvine, where he completed The Book of Daniel (1971), a freely fictionalized consideration of the trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was widely acclaimed, called a “masterpiece” by The Guardian, and was said by the New York Times to have launched the author into “the first rank of American writers” according to Christopher Lehmann-Haupt. It was adapted into the movie Daniel in 1983. Doctorow’s next book, written in his home in New Rochelle, New York, was Ragtime (1975), which won the 1975 National Book Critics Circle Award. The book was adapted into the 1981 film and the 1998 Broadway musical of the same name, and was in 2008 named one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library editorial board. His subsequent work included the award-winning novels World’s Fair (1985), winner of the 1986 National Book Award, Billy Bathgate (1989), winner of the 1990 National Book Critics Circle Award, the 1990 PEN/Faulkner Award, and the 1990 William Dean Howells Medal, and The March (2005), winner of the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award, as well as several volumes of essays and short fiction. In 1989 he won the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit for Fiction, and in 1998 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award from the Tulsa Library Trust. Doctorow also taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Yale School of Drama, the University of Utah, the University of California, Irvine, and Princeton University. He was the Loretta and Lewis Glucksman Professor of English and American Letters at New York University. In 2001 he donated his papers to the Fales Library of New York University. The library’s director, Marvin Taylor, said Doctorow was “one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century”. In 2012 he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame and won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction; the next year he was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction. Doctorow received the 2014 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and the same year published his last novel, Andrew’s Brain (died 2015): “The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.”

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