Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest (died 1859). Today is also Coast Guard Day. Because today is the First Friday in August, today is International Beer Day. And today is the first day of the two-day Louisiana Back to School Sales Tax Holiday.
The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today’s Saint was born into a farm family in 1786 in Dardilly, Lyons, France, and in his youth taught other children their prayers and catechism. Due to the French Revolution anti- Catholic policies he had to make his first progress in the Church secretly; when he had his First Communion at the age of thirteen the windows were covered so that the light of the candles would not be seen from outside. The Catholic Church was re-established in France in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, resulting in religious peace throughout the country, culminating in a Concordat. By this time, Vianney was concerned about his future vocation and longed for an education. He was twenty when his father allowed him to leave the farm to be taught at a presbytery-school in the neighboring village of Écully, conducted by the Abbé Balley. The school taught arithmetic, history, geography and Latin. Vianney struggled with school, especially with Latin, since his past education had been interrupted by the French Revolution. Only because of Vianney’s deepest desire to be a priest, and Balley’s patience, did he persevere. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted into Napoleon’s armies in 1809. He should have been exempt, as an ecclesiastical student, but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in certain dioceses because of his need for soldiers in his fight against Spain. Two days after Vianney reported at Lyons, he became ill and was hospitalized, during which time his draft left without him. Once released from the hospital, on January 5th, 1810, he was sent to Roanne for another draft. He went into a church to pray, and fell behind the group. He met a young man who volunteered to guide him back to his group, but instead he was led deep into the mountains of Le Forez, to the village Les Noes, where deserters had gathered. Vianney lived there for fourteen months, hidden in the byre attached to a farmhouse; he assumed the name Jerome Vincent, and under that name he opened a school for village children. An Imperial decree proclaimed in March 1810 granted amnesty to all deserters, which enabled Vianney to go back legally to Ecully, where he resumed his studies. He was tonsured in 1811, and in 1812 he went to the minor seminary at Verrières-en-Forez. In autumn of 1813, he was sent to the major seminary at Lyons. Considered too slow, he was returned to Abbe Balley. However, Balley persuaded the Vicar general that Vianney’s piety was great enough to compensate for his ignorance, and the seminarian received minor orders and the subdiaconate on July 2nd, 1814, was ordained a deacon in June 1815, and was ordained priest on August 12th, 1815 in the Couvent des Minimes de Grenoble. He said his first Mass the next day, and was appointed the assistant to Balley in Écully. After Balley’s death in 1818 Vianney was assigned to the parish of Ars-sur-Formans, France, a tiny village near Lyons, which suffered from very lax attendance (the bishop had gotten lost trying to find the place). Vianney began visiting his parishioners, especially the sick and poor, spent days in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, did penance for his parishioners, and attempted to lead his people by example. He was reputed to have the gifts of discernment of spirits, prophecy, hidden knowledge, and of working miracles. Vianney came to be known internationally, and people from distant places began traveling to consult him as early as 1827. He spent at least eleven or twelve hours a day in the confessional during winter, and up to sixteen hours in the summer; by 1855, the number of pilgrims had reached twenty thousand a year. He is the Patron Saint of priests and of confessors. Today is also Coast Guard Day, commemorating the founding of the United States Coast Guard (as the Revenue Cutter Service) on August 4th, 1790 by then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy by the President or Congress during time of war. The Coast Guard’s enduring roles are Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Maritime Stewardship. The motto of the Service is ”Semper Paratus”, Latin for “Always Ready” or “Always Prepared”, and to honor the Day I always put out my flag. Since today is the first Friday in August, today is International Beer Day. The celebration was founded in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California. Since its inception, International Beer Day has grown from a small localized event in the western United States into a worldwide celebration spanning two hundred and seven cities, fifty countries, and six continents. Specifically, International Beer Day has three declared purposes: to gather with friends and enjoy the taste of beer, to celebrate those responsible for brewing and serving beer, and to unite the world under the banner of beer by celebrating the beers of all nations together on a single day. From 2007 through 2012, International Beer Day was celebrated on August 5th. After International Beer Day 2012, the founders took a poll of fans and chose to move the holiday to the first Friday in August. So drink a beer today! And today is the first day of the two-day Louisiana Back to School Sales Tax Holiday, held on the first consecutive Friday and Saturday in August of each year. During the sales tax holiday, eligible purchases of most items of tangible personal property are subject to a state sales tax rate of only three percent (as opposed to the usual five percent). This sales tax exemption applies to the first $2500 of the sales price or cost price of any consumer purchase of an eligible item.
Last night I continued reading The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems…and Create More by Luke Dormehl via Kindle on my tablet, and started reading Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon via Kindle on my tablet.
When I woke up today I posted to Facebook that today was Coast Guard Day, International Beer Day, and the first day of the two-day Louisiana Back to School Sales Tax Holiday. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and put out the Flag in honor of Coast Guard Day. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. When we clocked in at 3:00 am, Richard was on the Sit Down Blackjack table; he then switched with the dealer on Pai Gow (at her request), then became the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, with Four Card Poker added to his relief string on his last rotation. I was on a Blackjack table all day, and on my breaks I continued reading The Waking Engine by David Edison.
After clocking out at 11:00 am, I picked up two flats of used cards from the security podium to mail to Liz Ellen. We went to the Pharmacy, and I picked up three prescriptions. I continued reading The Waking Engine by David Edison on our way home. Once home, I read the morning paper and ate a lunch salad while Richard mowed the grass. I then watched MST3K Episode 24 Master Ninja II (The Master: “State of the Union” and The Master: “Hostages”), which was a movie made of two more episodes of the thirteen episode TV series with Lee Van Cleef, Ninja, and Timothy Van Patten, Apprentice Ninja, traveling about doing good deeds. (They are nominally searching for Lee Van Cleef’s daughter, but the series was cancelled before they ever found her. Presumably she is hanging out with Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, and Judge Crater.) I then came to the computer and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, and now I am finishing up today’s Daily Update. I will then continue reading The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems…and Create More by Luke Dormehl via Kindle on my tablet, and Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon via Kindle on my tablet before going to sleep
Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (fifth century). And tomorrow is also the second day of the two-day Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday that happens each year on the first and second consecutive Friday and Saturday in August. Finally, tomorrow is the birthday of Richard’s grand niece Hannah (the granddaughter of his sister Bonnie in Texas) (1991). We will return to the casino to deal table games to rich drunk Texans (or to Texans who are only moderately inebriated, or sober, who are responsibly playing with disposable income), and I will continue reading The Waking Engine by David Edison. After lunch I will probably do my Daily Update and then turn in early for the duration.
Our Friday afternoon Parting Quote come to us from Jim Brady, American Presidential assistant and White House Press Secretary. Born as James Brady in 1940 in Centralia, Illinois, he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a member of Sigma Chi with a Bachelor of Science in political science in 1962. He began his career in public service as a staff member in the office of Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL). In 1964 he was the campaign manager for Wayne Jones of Paris, Illinois in the race for United States Congressman in the 23rd District. He again directed a campaign in the 23rd Illinois Congressional District in 1970 for Phyllis Schlafly. He went on to hold various positions in the private sector and in government, including service as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development James Thomas Lynn, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and member of the staff of Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE). He also served as Press Secretary to then-presidential candidate John Connally in 1979. After Connally dropped out of the race, he eventually became Director of Public Affairs and Research for the Reagan-Bush Committee and then Spokesperson for the Office of the President-Elect. After Reagan took office in 1981, Brady became White House Press Secretary. On March 30th, 1981 Brady was among the four people shot during John Hinckley, Jr.’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, suffering a serious head wound. During the confusion that followed the shooting, all major media outlets except CNN erroneously reported that Brady had died. When ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds, one of Brady’s friends, was later forced to retract the report, he angrily said on-air to his staff, “C’mon, let’s get it nailed down!”, resulting in Sam Donaldson joining him after the commercial. During the hours-long operation, surgeon Dr. Arthur Kobrine was informed of the media’s announcement of Brady’s death, to which he retorted, “No one has told me and the patient.” Although Brady survived, the wound left him with slurred speech and partial paralysis that required the full-time use of a wheelchair. Kobrine, his neurosurgeon, described him as having difficulty controlling his emotions while speaking after the shooting, saying “he would kind of cry-talk for a while”, and suffering deficits in memory and thinking, such as failing to recognize people. Brady was unable to work as the White House Press Secretary but remained in the position until the end of the Reagan Administration with Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater performing the job on an “acting” or “deputy” basis. With his wife Sarah (his second wife, whom he married in 1973), who served as Chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., co-founded by N.T. “Pete” Shields), Brady subsequently lobbied for stricter handgun control and assault weapon restrictions. The 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, also known as “the Brady Bill”, was named in his honor. Brady’s recovery after the shooting was dramatized in the 1991 film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, with Brady portrayed by Beau Bridges. Brady received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, in 1982. He and his wife were each awarded a doctorate degree (of Humane Letters) by Drexel University in 1993. In 1994 they received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. Brady received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 from President Bill Clinton, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2000 the Press Briefing Room at the White House was renamed as the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room (died 2014): “[I remember] as little as possible. I’ve worked very hard at forgetting as much about that as I possibly can. But I’ve not been able to do it … once you’ve been shot in the head, it’s hard to forget.”