Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Daily Update: October 31, 2013

No Saints today, but today is Halloween, an annual holiday that has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain. Today is also the birthday of my favorite (and only) sister, Liz Ellen (1960).

In the 16th century the name "Halloween" was first found, representing a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. The development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time encompassing customs of medieval holy days as well as contemporary cultures. The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips became adapted into the making of jack-o'-lanterns. The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy). Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include ghosts, witches, skeletons, vampires, werewolves, demons, bats, and black cats. The colors of black and orange are associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the color of fire, autumn leaves or pumpkins. Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. (In It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (1966), the kids say "Tricks or Treats!" which I always thought was odd.) I must also note that today is the birthday of my favorite (and only) sister, Liz Ellen, who, as usual, is the same age as me, less two years, one month, and twenty-five days (1960).

Last night our LSU Women's Basketball team won their exhibition game with Tennessee Temple by the score of 94 to 24; our Lady Tigers play another exhibition game with Mississippi College on November 2nd.

We woke up at the Hampton Inn in Gaffney, South Carolina at 5:30 am, ate the Continental breakfast, read the USA Today, and checked out at 6:45 am, driving into the clear darkness with the temperature at 56 .

We reached North Carolina at 7:00 am. Once it was full light I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading and my Internet Devotional Reading. Richard and I then started listening to the audiobook of Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell. We reached Virginia at 9:45 am, West Virginia at 2:15 pm, Maryland at 2:30 pm, and Pennsylvania at 2:45 pm. We made a detour to the AAA office in Harrisburg for the AAA Guidebook for Pennsylvania.

By the time we checked in at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Drums, Pennsylvania at 6:30 pm, it easy very dear and rainy. After Richard called Michelle and Matthew (Matt 's submarine, the SSN North Dakota, is being christened on Saturday, but he could not get us tickets), we ate dinner at Evan's Roadhouse. When we got back, we watched It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I had fatal problems doing this Daily Update on the computer the hotel had available, and I found that it's much easier to use my Android than my Nook to work with WordPress for Android in producing my Daily Updates.

Tomorrow we will sleep in, as Callie won't be home until 5:30 pm (Matt won't be home untilI Saturday afternoon), so we will plan our driving so as to arrive at their apartment in Groton, Connecticut late tomorrow afternoon.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday night as the Trick or Treaters scurry off into the humid gloom of night comes to us from Richard Neustadt, American political scientist. Born in 1919 in Philadelphia, he received a BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley in 1939, followed by an M.A. degree from Harvard University in 1941. After a short stint as an economist in the Office of Price Administration he joined the U.S. Navy in 1942, where he was a supply officer in the Aleutian Islands, and stayed until 1946. He then went into the Bureau of Budget (now known as the Office of Management and Budget) while working on his Harvard Ph.D., which he received in 1951. He was the Special Assistant of the White House Office from 1950-53 under President Harry S. Truman. During the following year he was a professor of public administration at Cornell, then from 1954 to 1964 taught government at Columbia University, where he received a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award in 1961. It was at Columbia that Neustadt wrote Presidential Power (1960; a revised edition titled Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership appeared in 1990), in which he examined the decision-making process at the highest levels of government. He argued that the President is actually rather weak in the U.S. government, being unable to effect significant change without the approval of the Congress, and that in practice the President must rely on a combination of personal persuasion, professional reputation "inside the Beltway", and public prestige to get things done. With his book appearing as it did just before the election of John F. Kennedy, Neustadt soon found himself in demand by the President-elect, and began his advisory role with a 20-page memo suggesting things the President should and should not try to do at the beginning of his term. During the 1960s Neustadt continued to advise Kennedy and later Lyndon B. Johnson. He later founded the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he taught as a popular professor for more than two decades, officially retiring in 1989, but continuing to teach there for years thereafter. Neustadt also served as the first director of the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP), which was founded as "a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy that engages young people in politics and public service." After his retirement he served as an advisor to Bill Clinton and as Chairman of the Presidential Debates Commission (died 2003): "Drastic action can be costly, but it can be less expensive than continuing inaction."
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