Daily Update: Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Martha and 07-29 - International Tiger Day

Today is the Memorial of Saint Martha (died about 80). And today is International Tiger Day.

Today’s Saint was the sister of Lazarus and of Mary of Bethany (outside of Jerusalem), and all three were especial friends of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus visits the home of Lazarus, and the two sisters are contrasted: Martha was “cumbered about many things” while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen “the better part,” that of listening to the master’s discourse. (In devotional literature Mary is often thus regarded as better than Martha; but presumably, if Jesus had been sleeping or eating or otherwise not discoursing, Martha would have been deemed to have the better part of keeping the household running.) In the Gospel of John, Martha and Mary appear in connection with two incidents: the raising from the dead of their brother Lazarus (John 11) and the anointing of Jesus at the home of Simon the Leper. (The name “Martha” comes from the Greek transliteration of the Judæo-Aramaic word Martâ meaning “the mistress” or “the lady”.) The Golden Legend (circa 1260) records that Martha, Mary (who is conflated with Mary Magdalene) and Lazarus went to Avignon, France after the Resurrection to evangelize; Martha is further recorded in The Golden Legend as having traveled further, to Tarascon, where she subdued a monster, the Tarasque, and then settled in the now peaceful city to live out the rest of her life. She is the Patron Saint of maids, housewives, cooks, and all things having to do with domestic work. Today is also International Tiger Day, an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held annually on July 29th. It was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. I am an LSU supporter who bleeds purple and gold, and on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge is the habitat  for our live mascot, Mike the Tiger, It is situated between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, features state-of-the-art technologies, and includes among its amenities lush plantings, a waterfall, a flowing stream that empties into a wading pond, and rocky plateaus. The habitat has, as a backdrop, an Italianate campanile tower that creates a visual link to the Italianate architectural vernacular of LSU’s campus. The new habitat (installed in 2005) ranks among the largest and finest tiger preserves in the United States and expanded Mike’s home to 15,000 square feet. Alas, Mike VI died in October of 2016. On January 19th, 2017, LSU announced a timeline concerning searching for and acquiring a tiger to become Mike VII, hoping to have him join an incoming freshman class in August 2017; they also announced that Mike’s habitat will be fully accredited as a tiger sanctuary by the time he arrives on campus, and that the tiger would no longer visit the stadium during game days. So Geaux Tigers! (and not just the LSU ones!)

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

Upon waking up to get ready for work today I posted to Facebook that today was International Tiger Day. 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 Transfiguration Novena. At the Pre-Shift Meeting everyone got a $5.00 meal comp, as the casino did well again in rankings this quarter. When we went onto the casino floor, Richard was at first the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. Alas, he was not feeling well; the dealer who was on Mini Baccarat offered to take his relief string, which he accepted. (He thinks that maybe he overdid it yesterday, mowing the grass in the heat, or else he ate something that disagreed with him.) I was on the second Mississippi Stud game all day.

Once we arrived home from work I set up my medications for next week (I have three prescriptions to renew on Monday). Richard paid the bills and I read the morning paper; I then came to the computer, plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Checkbook Pro app, and did my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for Kiss My Asterisk: A Feisty Guide to Punctuation and Grammar by Jenny Baranick. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will take the polish off of my toenails and go to bed for the duration.

Tomorrow is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Optional Memorial of Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor (died 450). Tomorrow is also International Friendship Day. We will work our eight hours at the casino. The First Quarter Moon will arrive at 10:24 am. And during lunch I will put fresh polish on my toenails.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Tom Snyder, American television personality, news anchor, and radio personality. Born as Thomas Snyder in 1936 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and no relation that we known of to my father, who was a Snyder from Pennsylvania), he went to Jesuit-run Marquette University High School. He also attended Marquette University, after which he had originally planned to study medicine and become a doctor. Snyder had loved radio since he was a child and at some point changed his field of study from pre-med to journalism. He began his career as a radio reporter at WRIT-AM (unrelated to the present-day FM station) in Milwaukee and at WKZO in Kalamazoo (where he was fired by John Fetzer) in the 1950s. For a time he worked at Savannah, Georgia AM station WSAV (now WBMQ). After moving to television in the 1960s, he was a news anchor for KYW-TV in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and WNBC-TV and WABC-TV in New York City. He drove cross country in an early Corvair from Atlanta to Los Angeles around 1963, where he landed a news job at KTLA-TV “Live On 5″ then on to KNBC-TV also in Los Angeles, where from 1970 to 1974 he was an anchor for the 6 p.m. newscast working with KNBC broadcaster Kelly Lange, who was then a weather reporter before serving as a long-time KNBC news anchor. He gained national fame as the host of Tomorrow with Tom Snyder (more commonly known as The Tomorrow Show), which aired late nights after The Tonight Show on NBC from 1973 to 1982. It was a talk show unlike the usual late-night fare, with Snyder, cigarette in hand, alternating between asking hard-hitting questions and offering personal observations that made the interview closer to a conversation. Unique one-on-one exchanges were common to the program, notably with author Harlan Ellison, musician John Lydon of The Sex Pistols and PiL, musician John Lennon, actor and writer Sterling Hayden, and author and philosopher Ayn Rand. A one-on-one program with David Brenner as the sole guest revealed that Snyder and Brenner worked together on several documentaries. An infamous edition of The Tomorrow Show broadcast on October 31st, 1979, saw Snyder interview the rock group KISS. During the episode, a visibly irritated Gene Simmons (bass) and Paul Stanley (guitar) tried to contain the bombastic (and inebriated) Ace Frehley (lead guitar), whose nonstop laughter and joking overshadowed the content and conversation taking place between Snyder and the rest of the band. In 1981 he interviewed the singer Meatloaf and called him “Meatball” for the first ten minutes in error. When not grilling guests, Snyder would often joke around with offstage crewmen, often breaking out in the distinctively hearty laugh that was the basis of Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Snyder on Saturday Night Live (12 occasions, 1976-1979 and 1995). Following a disastrous experiment with turning Tomorrow into a more typical talk show by renaming it Tomorrow Coast to Coast and adding a live audience and co-host Rona Barrett (all of which Snyder resented), the show was canceled in 1982 to make way for the up-and-coming young comedian David Letterman. After Tomorrow was canceled Snyder returned to news reporting, joining WABC in New York. In September 1982 Snyder and Kaity Tong began anchoring the 5PM Eyewitness News programs for the station. He stayed at WABC for two years, leaving the station in 1984. In 1985, he returned to the talk format at KABC-TV in Los Angeles with a local afternoon show he had planned to gear up for national syndication the following year; those plans were scratched after Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based syndicated show entered the market first and took over his time slot on KABC-TV. An older, slightly more mellow Snyder returned to virtually the same format on ABC Radio. The show’s three-hour format was a natural for Snyder. The first hour was spent chatting with a celebrity guest, during the second hour he engaged someone in the news, and the final hour was consumed chatting with his legion of fans. Occasionally the caller would be a well-known fan like David Letterman or Ted Koppel. One of Tom’s favorite callers was Sherman Hemsley, the actor who played George Jefferson on the hit television sitcom The Jeffersons. The Tom Snyder Show for ABC Radio Networks went off the air in late 1992. He returned to television on CNBC in the early 1990s, adding the opportunity for viewers to call in with their own questions for his guests. Snyder nicknamed his show “the Colorcast”, reviving an old promotional term NBC-TV used in the early 1960s to hype its color broadcasts. He also continued his trademark of talking to offscreen crew and made frequent reference to the studio, reminding viewers of its location in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Letterman had moved on to CBS and was given control of creating a new program to follow his at 12:35 am. Letterman, who had idolized Snyder for years, hired him in 1995 as host of The Late Late Show. The idea had actually begun as a running joke on Letterman’s show, that Snyder would soon follow him on the air as he had once followed Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show; the unlikely suggestion caught on. This show aired live in the Eastern and Central Time Zones, and was simulcast to other time zones on radio to allow everyone a chance to call in. Snyder’s CNBC show was taken over, largely unchanged in format, by Charles Grodin. One of the many memorable Late Late Show interviews was with Gloria Vanderbilt about her son’s suicide, told dramatically over an entire hour. Another was a lengthy interview with Robert Blake very soon before Blake was charged with murder. In 1999 Snyder left The Late Late Show, which was then reformatted for Craig Kilborn. Snyder also hosted a video production called A Century of Legendary Lionel Trains (2001), commemorating 100 years of Lionel Trains. Additionally, he hosted another program from the same production company called Celebrity Train Layouts 2: Tom Snyder (2003), featuring his own collection of trains. In 2005 he announced that he was discontinuing his website that he had maintained for six years, and abruptly removed his webpage from the Internet. That same year, he revealed that he was battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but that his doctors had told him it was “treatable”. The next year, he sold his Los Angeles home, where he had lived for almost 30 years, and moved north to the San Francisco Bay area, where he owned a second home (died 2007): “I learned a long time ago that if you bet on yourself, you win. If you bet on others, you lose.”

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