Daily Update: Saturday, August 5th, 2017

First Saturday - Immaculate Heart of Mary and Dedication of Saint Mary Major and Louisiana Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

Today is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and it is the  Optional Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Today is the final day of the two-day Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday, held annually on the first and second consecutive Friday and Saturday in August. It is also the birthday of Richard’s niece Hannah, the granddaughter of his sister Bonnie in Texas (1991).

The First Saturday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Basilica of Saint Mary Major is the greatest church and major church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to tradition a patrician couple in the fourth century prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would let them know how to dispose of their wealth in her honor; on August 5th, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple financed the building of a basilica in honor of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow, during the papacy of Pope Liberius (died 366). Archaeological evidence, on the other hand, indicates that the church was probably first built in the early 400s and completed under Pope Sixtus III (432–440); the feast commemorates the dedication of the restored Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore by Pope Sixtus III just after the First Council of Ephesus in 431. The feast was known as Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ ad Nives (Dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows); in 1741, a congregation set up by Pope Benedict XIV proposed that the reading of the legend be removed from the Roman Breviary and that the original name, Dedicatio Sanctæ Mariæ, be restored. This recommendation was implemented, but not until 1969 (another indication, if one was needed, that things at the Vatican move at a steady, but glacial, pace). Closer to home, Louisiana shoppers will pay three percent state sales tax rather than the full five percent state sales tax on most retail items during the second day of the 2017 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday, held on the first and second consecutive Friday and Saturday in August. The exemption applies to the first $2,500 of the purchase price of each eligible item. Today is also the birthday of Hannah, one of Richard’s grand-nieces and the eldest granddaughter of his sister Bonnie in Texas (1991).

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 continued reading Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon via Kindle on my tablet.

On waking up to get ready for work today I did my Book Devotional Reading, and Richard brought in my flag that I had put out yesterday for Coast Guard Day. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Ninth Day of my Transfiguration Novena. After the Pre-Shift Meeting (Richard won a $10.00 meal comp), we headed out to the casino floor. Richard was on Four Card Poker for about half the shift until that table closed; he was then on the Second Mississippi Stud table for the rest of our shift. I was on the Second Pai Gow table, closed that table, was a Check Racker on Roulette for about an hour, then became the Relief Dealer for a Blackjack table and the Sit-Down Blackjack Table. When the Sit-Down Blackjack Table closed, I became the Relief Dealer for the second Mississippi Stud table, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker.

On our way home from work I read the August 7th, 2017 issue of Sports Illustrated. Once home from work I set up my medications for next week (I have two prescriptions to renew on Monday), then I ate my lunch salad while reading the morning paper. I then came to the computer to do my Daily Update, and when I finish this Daily Update I will be going to bed for the duration.

Tomorrow would be the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, but tomorrow is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Tomorrow is also the date of the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, to console the victims of the 1945 atomic bombs and to pray for the realization of lasting world peace; at dusk is the Peace Memorial Lantern Floating Ceremony. Tomorrow the earliest call-in for Richard at the casino will drop off of the calendar. We will go to the casino for the last day of the current two-week pay period and work our eight hours. After work we will go to Wal-Mart to get some groceries and household items, and once home I will make my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday and eat a salad while reading the Sunday papers.

Our Parting Quote upon this First Saturday afternoon comes to us from Jesse Steinfeld, American physician. Born in 1927 in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, he received his B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1945 and his M.D. degree from Western Reserve University (now called Case Western Reserve University) in 1949. Steinfeld then completed an internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles and residencies at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach, California and at the University of California, San Francisco in the Laboratory of Experimental Oncology. Steinfeld became instructor in medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in 1952. From 1954 to 1958, he served as director of the Radioisotope Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and simultaneously held an appointment as instructor in medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. In 1959 he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California School of Medicine as assistant professor of medicine, rising through the ranks to associate professor in 1963 and professor in 1967. His research interests focused on cancer. In 1968 Steinfeld returned to the National Cancer Institute as Associate Director for Programs. The following year, he was made Deputy Director of the Institute. That same year, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs in President Richard Nixon’s first administration, and became the eleventh Surgeon General in December 1969, replacing Dr. William H. Stewart. A reorganization of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1968 had transferred the leadership of the Public Health Service to the Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs, so Steinfeld no longer had the line management authority of Surgeons General in the pre-1968 period. During his tenure there was an effort to do away with the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and a 1971 report made such a recommendation. The report also called the position of Surgeon General “an organizational anomaly,” thus calling into question the need for such a position. Steinfeld spoke on behalf of the internal opposition to the report, and thanks to strong support for the Corps and the Surgeon General on the part of certain members of the United States Congress, the recommendations of the report were not implemented. He established  the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the National Health Service Corps. As a specialist in the field of cancer, Steinfeld also no doubt welcomed the passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which enhanced the ability of the Public Health Service to combat this deadly disease. He incurred the ire of the tobacco industry for his stubborn efforts to publicize the hazards of smoking. He changed cigarette package labels that lukewarmly stated tobacco use might be connected to health problems. He issued a report in 1971 that argued for tighter restrictions on smoking in public to protect people from secondhand smoke, and promoted bans on smoking in restaurants, theaters, planes and other public places, decades before such prohibitions became commonplace. Steinfeld also refused to meet with tobacco industry lobbyists. Steinfeld also was vocal on other controversial issues, arguing that television violence had a bad influence on children and promoting the fluoridation of water and bans on the artificial sweetener cyclamate and the pesticide DDT. At the beginning of the second Nixon administration in January 1973 he was forced out of office, the first Surgeon History in history to be so treated; he always held that the Nixon administration had bowed to pressure from the tobacco industry. No Surgeon General was appointed to succeed him; the position remained vacant until President Jimmy Carter appointed Dr. Julius Richmond in 1977. Meanwhile, Steinfeld served as Director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and as Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Medical School (1973-1974). Following that, Steinfeld was Professor of Medicine at the University of California-Irvine and Chief of Medicine at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Long Beach, California from 1974 to 1976. He then served as Dean and Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine of the Medical College of Virginia from 1976 to 1983. Steinfeld became President of the Medical College of Georgia in 1983, a position that he held until his retirement in 1987 (died 2014): “The surgeon general has determined that smoking is hazardous to your health.”

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