Daily Update: Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Transfiguration and 08-06 - Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony

Today would be the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, but instead it is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. And today is the date of the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima, Japan.

The Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that Jesus, while on a mountain top with his disciples Peter, James, and John, became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and was called “Son” by God. Our Gospel reading for this date (Year A) is from Matthew 17:1-9: “Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”” This miracle is unique among others that appear in the Gospels, in that the miracle happens to Jesus himself. It is not recorded in the Gospel of John, despite John’s presence on the mountain. However, the Gospel of John is arranged in a definite thematic pattern, and does not include other incidents in the life of Jesus (such as the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper). Thomas Aquinas (died 1274) considered the Transfiguration “the greatest miracle” in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. The Transfiguration is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. In the Roman Catholic Church the Feast of the Transfiguration was once celebrated locally in various parts of the Catholic world on different days, including August 6th, but was not universally recognized. On July 22nd, 1456, the Kingdom of Hungary repulsed an Ottoman invasion of the Balkans by breaking the Siege of Belgrade. News of the victory arrived in Rome on August 6th; given the importance to international politics at that time of such battles between Christian and Muslim nations, in celebration of the victory Pope Callixtus III elevated the Transfiguration to a Feast day to be celebrated in the entire Roman rite each year on August 6th, on the anniversary of receiving the news of the breaking of the siege. This Feast is of such importance that if it falls on a Sunday (as on this year) the readings for the Transfiguration are read instead of the normal Sunday readings. In 2002 Pope John Paul II selected the Transfiguration as one of the new five Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. (And in case anyone was wondering, it did not escape the notice of many at Los Alamos that the first atomic bomb was deployed in 1945 over Hiroshima on the Feast of the Transfiguration.) Every year the City of Hiroshima in Japan holds the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony to console the souls of those who were lost due to the atomic bombing as well as pray for the realization of everlasting world peace. This ceremony, which is attended by many citizens, including those who lost family members in the bombing, is held in front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims (Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace). The Peace Declaration, which is delivered by the Mayor of Hiroshima during the ceremony, is sent to every country in the world thus conveying Hiroshima’s wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of eternal world peace. At exactly 8:15 am, the time the atomic bomb was dropped, the Peace Bell is rung, sirens sound all over the city and for one minute people at the ceremony grounds, in households and in workplaces pay silent tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing and pray for the realization of everlasting world peace. Additionally, the “Peace Message Lantern Floating Ceremony” is  held on the evening of August 6th. Anyone is welcome to write messages of peace on some 10,000 lanterns, which are set afloat down the Motoyasu River, where they pass directly in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.

Sometime yesterday while I was sleeping Amazon delivered my New Orleans Saints flag.

Today the Earliest Call-In dropped off for Richard at the casino; his next call-in will drop off of the calendar on January 17th, 2018. I posted to Facebook that today was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, with the Peace Message Lantern Floating Ceremony at dusk. I did my Book Devotional Reading; on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the First Day of my Assumption Novena. When we clocked in, on the last day of the two-week pay period, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. I started on Macau Mini Baccarat, closed that table, was moved to Let It Ride, closed that table, then was on a Blackjack table for the rest of the day.

On our way home we stopped at the Valero in Kinder for gas for the truck, I read the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports, and we stopped at Walmart for my interim salad supplies, household items, and groceries. Once home from work I made my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday and read the Sunday papers while eating a lunch salad. I then came to the computer, saw that our LSU Tigers are ranked #12 in the Preseason Coaches Poll (their opponent for their opening game, Brigham Young, is listed as also receiving votes), and did a couple of Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will go to bed and do some reading before going to sleep.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Sixtus II, Pope and Martyr, and Companions, Martyrs (died 258), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Cajetan, Priest (died 1547). Tomorrow also marks the approximate midpoint of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. And there will also be a Partial Lunar Eclipse tomorrow. Richard and I will go to work at the casino for the first day of the current two-week pay period. The Full Moon will arrive at 1:13 pm, followed by the Partial Lunar Eclipse at 1:22 pm (not visible from SouthWestCentral Louisiana).

This Sunday Afternoon brings us a Parting Quote from Marvin Hamlisch, American composer and conductor. Born in 1944 in New York City, New York, his father was a Jewish Viennese-born accordionist and bandleader. Hamlisch was a child prodigy, and, by age five, he began mimicking the piano music he heard on the radio. A few months before he turned seven, in 1951, he was accepted into what is now the Juilliard School Pre-College Division as the youngest student ever accepted. Hamlich furthered his education by taking night classes at Queens College (graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967) and working during the day as a rehearsal pianist for Broadway shows. He eventually began composing songs for stage productions. Although Liza Minnelli’s debut album included a song he wrote in his teens, his first hit did not come until he was twenty-one years old. This song, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows”, co-written with Howard Liebling, was recorded by Lesley Gore and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1965. Hamlisch co-wrote the song “California Nights” (also with Liebling), which was recorded by Lesley Gore for her 1967 hit album of the same name. The Bob Crewe-produced single peaked at number 16 on the Hot 100 in March 1967, two months after Gore had performed the song on the Batman TV series, in which she guest-starred as an accomplice to Julie Newmar’s Catwoman. He wrote the music for several early Woody Allen films, including Take the Money and Run (1969) and Bananas (1971). Hamlisch’s first major stage work was in 1972 playing piano for Groucho Marx at Carnegie Hall for An Evening with Groucho. Hamlisch acted as both straight man and accompanist while Marx (at age 81) reminisced about his career in show business. The performances were released as a two-record set, and remained very popular. Among his better-known works during the 1970s were adaptations of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music (written in the first two decades of the twentieth century) for the motion picture set in 1936, The Sting (1973), including its theme song, “The Entertainer”. It hit #1 on Billboards Adult Contemporary chart and #3 on the Hot 100, selling nearly two million copies in the United States alone. In 1973 he won two Academy Awards for the title song and the score for the motion picture The Way We Were (I saw that movie; the music was the best part) and one Academy Award for the adaptation score for The Sting. He won four Grammy Awards in 1974, two for “The Way We Were”. In 1975 he wrote what, for the first twelve years, would be the original theme music for Good Morning America, which was built around four notes. He then composed the score for the 1975 Broadway musical A Chorus Line, for which he won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and They’re Playing Our Song, loosely based on his relationship with Carole Bayer Sager. With Bayer Sager he co-wrote “Nobody Does It Better” for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), which would be nominated for an Oscar. At the beginning of the 1980s his romantic relationship with Bayer Sager ended, but their songwriting relationship continued. In the 1980s he had success with the scores for Ordinary People (1980) and Sophie’s Choice (1982). The 1983 musical Jean Seberg, based on the life of the real-life actress, failed in its London production at the UK’s National Theatre and never played in the United States He also received an Academy-Award nomination in 1986 for the film version of A Chorus Line. In 1986 Smile was a mixed success and had a short run on Broadway. The musical version of Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl (1993) closed after only 188 performances, although he received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. Hamlisch was Musical Director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England as well as of the television special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert, for which he received two of his Emmys. He also conducted several tours with Linda Ronstadt during this period, most notably on her successful 1996 Dedicated to the One I Love tour of arenas and stadiums. Hamlisch received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium. His last projects included The Informant! (2009), starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. Prior to his death he completed the scores for the musical The Nutty Professor and the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra (2013), also directed by Soderbergh and starring Damon and Michael Douglas as Liberace. At various times in his life he held the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra Pops, The Pasadena Symphony and Pops, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and at the time of his death he was preparing to assume responsibilities as Principal Pops Conductor for The Philadelphia Orchestra. Hamlisch was one of only twelve people (to date) to win all four major United States performing awards: the Emmy Award, the Grammy Award, the Oscar and the Tony Award, known collectively as an Egot. Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers additionally are the only two people to have won a Pulitzer Prize as well (naturally, that’s called a Pegot). At 8:00 pm local time on August 8th, 2012, two days after his death, the marquee lights of the forty Broadway theaters were dimmed for one minute in tribute to Hamlisch, a posthumous honor traditionally accorded to those considered to have made significant contributions to the theater arts (died 2012): “To put something on Earth that wasn’t there yesterday, that’s what I like.”

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