Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr (died 316) and the Optional Memorial of Saint Ansgar, Bishop (died 865). Today is also the Day The Music Died in 1959.
Saint Blaise was born in Armenia in the third century and became a physician and the Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia. He lived in a cave on Mount Argeus, and was a healer of men and animals; according to legend, sick animals would come to him on their own for help, but would never disturb him at prayer. Agricola, governor of Cappadocia, came to Sebaste to persecute Christians; his huntsmen went into the forests of Argeus to find wild animals for the arena games, and found many waiting outside Blaise’s cave. Discovered in prayer, he was arrested, and Agricola tried to get him to recant his faith. While in prison Blaise ministered to and healed fellow prisoners, including saving a child who was choking on a fish bone. Thrown into a lake to drown, he stood on the surface and invited his persecutors to walk out and prove the power of their gods; they did so, and drowned. When he returned to land, he was martyred by being beaten, his flesh torn with wool combs. He is the Patron Saint of veterinarians and of wool-combers, and his aid is invoked for throat disorders. Saint Ansgar was born in 801 in Amiens, Picardy to the French nobility and became a Benedictine monk at Old Corbie Abbey in Picardy and then at New Corbie in Westphalia. He accompanied the converted King Harold to Denmark when the exiled king returned home; becoming a missionary to Denmark and Sweden, he founded the first Christian church in Sweden in about 832. He became Abbot of New Corbie c. 834, and was made Archbishop of Hamburg, ordained by Pope Gregory IV, and served as papal legate to the Scandinavian countries. He established the first Christian school in Denmark, but was run out by pagans, and the school was burned to the ground; he also campaigned against slavery. Being made Archbishop of Bremen, he converted Erik, King of Jutland. He was a great preacher, a miracle worker, and greatly devoted to the poor and sick. Sadly, after his death most of his gains for the Church were lost to resurgent paganism. He is the Patron Saint of Denmark, of the diocese of Hamburg, Germany, of Scandinavia, and of Sweden. Turning to the secular world, it should be noted that today is the Day The Music Died; on this date in 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. Richardson had contracted flu during the tour and asked Buddy Holly’s base player, Waylon Jennings, for his seat on the plane. When Holly learned that Jennings was not going to fly, he said in jest, “Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up.” Jennings responded, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes,” a humorous but ill-fated response that haunted Jennings for the rest of his life. The artist Roger Paquette constructed a monument to the musicians at the crash site in 1988; in 2003, he added a new memorial to the pilot at the site. (The song “American Pie” by Don McLean starts with the plane crash, and wanders through American music until the late 1960s. Circa 1972, when I was fourteen, the late-night radio station DJ in Chicago said he would mail the cheat sheet he’d developed for the song to anyone who wrote and asked for it. I mailed off a request, but never got a reply. Apparently my request got lost in the thousands of requests to the DJ, or else he did send a reply and Mom tossed it out. In any case, his cheat sheet is now online, linked to the Wikipedia page for “American Pie”.)
I lost one of my Mardi Gras earrings last night (more anon), and our LSU Women’s Basketball team beat Missouri by the score of 74 to 65; our Lady Tigers next will play an away game with Auburn on February 5th.
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, posted that today was The Day the Music Died to Facebook, and we headed off to work, with me doing my Internet Devotional Reading. We ate breakfast in ADR and signed the Early Out list. When we clocked in, Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was on Pai Gow. Within ten minutes a dealer had come to tap me off of Pai Gow; I went to see our Pencil, who was stymied by his inability to find a Mini Baccarat dealer who was available to take Richard out; the only one available was on the Dice table, and he could not find someone to take her off the Dice table so that she could take Richard out. By this time Richard was on break, and joined us, and we found a dealer who could take out the Dice dealer, but who did not want to be on Dice. The Pencil sent Richard on break, and sent me to take the place of the dealer who was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker so that they could have her take out the Dice dealer. When I went on break at 4:00 am, I found Richard in the break room; he had gotten out at 3:30 am. I went back out to the floor, and got out at 4:45 am (so I worked an hour and fifteen minutes more than Richard did). When we went home I went back to bed, and after Richard finished his laundry he joined me.
I woke up at 12:00 pm, and found my Mardi Gras earring that had gone missing (I repaired it so that it will not go missing again – I hope). I suggested to Richard that we read the paper and then go out to eat lunch and run various errands; but after we read the morning paper he did not feel hungry at all (he has come down with a bad cold), and suggested that we go out separately. He left for the store, and I left at 1:30 pm. I went to eat Chinese for lunch at Peking, and found that my new ATM card would not work, so I used a charge card for the meal. I also read the next chapter in Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. I then went to the Church Rectory; I set up masses in the 2015 Mass Book for my parents, Richard’s parents, and Richard’s sister, to be said on the anniversary of their deaths. I also requested the 2014 Contribution Statement (which they will mail to us), and the Associate Priest came out and gave me the Blessing of Saint Blaise. I then went to my bank, and at the ATM my ATM card was working fine. I then went to Fantastic Sam’s; while waiting my turn I ordered bra extenders from Vermont Country Store. I then got my hair cut, and my ATM card worked to pay for my haircut. (So maybe running it through the ATM was what was needed to fully activate it.)
I arrived home at 3:30 pm, and spent the next hour working on Advance Daily Update Drafts. After Jeopardy! I went back to the computer and worked on my April 2015 photos for my weblog, getting about half-way through. At 7:00 pm Richard and I got chicken gumbo for dinner that Richard had cooked and watched NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans. We were going to have an Interlude of Quality Time after that, but I was (and am) tired, and opted to instead do my Daily Update for today, then head to bed, which I shall do in fairly short order.
Tomorrow is a day devoid of saints (but we do celebrate the anniversary of the day in 1703 when, in Edo (now Tokyo), forty-six of the Forty-seven Ronin committed seppuku (ritual suicide) as their due punishment for having avenged their master’s death. I will do the Weekly Computer Maintenance and my laundry.
Our Parting Quote on this Tuesday evening comes to us from Maria Schneider, French actress. Born as Marie Gélin in 1952 in Paris, she was the daughter of French actor Daniel Gélin and Romanian-born Marie-Christine Schneider, who ran a bookstore in Paris. She met her father only three times and took her mother’s last name. After leaving home at the age of fifteen acress Brigitte Bardot took care of the teenaged Schneider and helped her begin her career in cinema. After a few early film roles, in 1972 at the age of twenty she was cast opposite Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. She later said that her naïveté led her to accept doing scenes in the movie that were not in the script, including several controversial nude scenes. Her experience with the film, and her treatment as a sex symbol rather than as a serious actress, motivated her to never work nude again. In 1974 she came out as bisexual; in 1976 she abandoned the film set of Caligula(1979) and checked herself into a mental hospital in Rome for several days to be with her lover, photographer Joan Townsend. This, coupled with her refusal to perform nude, led to Schneider’s dismissal from the movie. She was in Bertolucci’s film 1900 in 1976, but afterwards totally broke with the director. She was originally cast to play the part of Conchita in Luis Buñuel’s last film That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), but did not get along with the Spanish director and rejected his stereotypical ideas of women for the role he had in mind, and after a few days of shooting she was replaced in the movie. The 1970s were turbulent years for Schneider, marked by drug addiction, overdoses, and a suicide attempt. In 1981 she joined actor Frédéric Mitterrand in Jacques Rivette’s film Merry-Go-Round. She played the role of Bertha Mason in the 1996 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. In 2001 she was the guest of honor at the 23rd Festival Créteil Films de Femmes, and was chosen to be Vice-President of La Roue Torne, an organization in Paris devoted to assisting senior French actors who had become unemployed and impoverished. She worked in over 50 films and television productions between 1969 and 2008, and during her career was a strong advocate for improving the work of women in film. Schneider was awarded the medal of Chevalier, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her contributions to the arts on July 1, 2010 by the Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand (died 2011): “When I read Last Tango In Paris, I didn’t see anything that worried me. I was 20. I didn’t want to be a star, much less a scandalous actress – simply to be in cinema. Later, I realized I’d been completely manipulated by Bertolucci and Brando.”