We continue with a lack of Saints to honor. However, on this date in 1851 the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi had its premiere performance at La Fenice in Venice, Italy.
Verdi was commissioned to write a new opera by the La Fenice opera house in Venice in 1850, at a time when he was already a well known composer with a degree of freedom in choosing the works he would prefer to set to music. Verdi soon stumbled upon Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse; Hugo’s play depicted a king (Francis I of France) as an immoral and cynical womanizer, a topic that was not accepted in Europe during the Restoration period. At the beginning of the summer of 1850, rumors started to spread that Austrian censorship was going to forbid the production. They considered the Hugo work to verge on lèse majesté, and would never permit such a scandalous work to be performed in Venice. In the end the parties were able to agree that the action of the opera had to be moved from the royal court of France to a duchy of France or Italy, and also agreed to rename the characters. The opening was a complete triumph, especially the scena drammatica, and the Duke’s cynical aria “La donna è mobile” was sung in the streets the next morning. It is considered by many to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi’s middle-to-late career.
My alarm went off at 7:00 am; I ignored it, and woke up at 10:30 am. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, read the morning paper, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and did my Internet Devotional Reading.
I left the house on my own at 1:30 pm; at the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. I ate Chinese for lunch at Peking and started reading The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell.
Arriving back home at 2:30 pm, I got on the computer to work on Advance Daily Update Drafts and to tweak our Weekly Backup so that it does not tell me “the backup completed, but some files were skipped”. At 3:00 pm Richard went over to his friend Chookie to drink absinthe, then he got groceries at Champagne’s. I watched Jeopardy!, and our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat McNeese State by the score of 7 to 0. (Our Tigers next begin SEC play with a home game on Friday against Ole Miss.) Richard barbequed thick cut pork chops, and we ate those for dinner, plus baked sweet potatoes and sweet peas. Once I finish this Daily Update I will join Richard in watching CSI: Cyber, then I will start the Weekly Virus Scan. Then I may take a bath and do some reading.
Tomorrow is Thursday, with no Saints to honor (again), but tomorrow is the Half-Way Point of Lent. On tomorrow’s date in 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, having been elected for the first time as President the previous fall, made his first radio address to the nation, the first of his “Fireside Chats”. I will iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, then go to Lafayette to the Heymann Auditorium for the Friends of the Lafayette Public Library Book Sale. I will then get some lunch and put in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble before heading home. And I will make my lunch salads.
Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Merlin Olsen, American pro football player, NFL commentator, and actor. Born in 1940 in Logan, Utah, he attended Utah State University where he was a three-year letterman in football as a defensive tackle. In football, as a senior, he was a consensus All-American selection (making the vast majority of All-America teams) and was the winner of the Outland Trophy. After Olsen’s junior year of 1960 he was also named All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was also All-Conference in both 1960 and 1961. Olsen and Utah State were in the 1960 Sun Bowl, losing to New Mexico State, 20–13. Led by Olsen, the Aggie defense held the New Mexico State Aggies to just 44 rushing yards on 32 carries. Coming out of college, He had offers from both Los Angeles of the NFL and the Denver Broncos of the rival American Football League. He chose the security of the NFL and signed with the Rams. Olsen’s first contract was for around $50,000 for two years, plus a signing bonus. It was 1962, and the average football player salary at the time was around $12,000 a year. He was the first USU Aggie to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Olsen played professionally (from 1962 to 1976) for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. A leading defensive star of his era, he missed only two games in his 15-season NFL career. He was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1962 and was First-team All-Pro in 1964, and 1966 through 1970. He was voted Second-team All-Pro in 1965, 1973 and 1974. During his career, he graduated from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at USU with a bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1962 and a master’s degree in Economics in 1971. The Rams won the NFC West crown in 1973 through 1976 thanks in part to the play of Olsen. His last game was the NFC Championship game in 1976 at Bloomington, Minnesota, which the Rams lost to the Vikings. Olsen made the Pro Bowl a record 14 times throughout his career, only missing it in his final year. Olsen developed a successful career as an actor, starting with a bit role in the 1969 movie The Undefeated. When Victor French, an actor with the television series Little House on the Prairie, left to star in his own comedy Carter Country in 1977, Olsen was tapped to play Michael Landon’s new sidekick Jonathan Garvey for several years, until 1981. Landon then cast Olsen as the eponymous Father Murphy, which lasted for two seasons, until 1983. Olsen served as a television color commentator, teaming with Dick Enberg on NBC’s coverage of the AFC throughout the 1980s. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He and Enberg also teamed for the Rose Bowl Game broadcast beginning with the 1980 Rose Bowl through the 1988 Rose Bowl. In 1989, Olsen was replaced by Bill Walsh as NBC’s lead NFL color commentator. For the 1989 season he worked with Charlie Jones on NBC’s broadcasts. In 1990 and 1991, he moved to CBS Sports doing NFL games with Dick Stockton. In 1999, he was ranked number 25 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Olsen was also the commercial spokesman for FTD Florists for many years. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009, and underwent three courses of chemotherapy. In December 2009 he filed a lawsuit against NBC Studios, NBC Universal, and 20th Century Fox for allegedly exposing him to the asbestos which he claimed had caused his cancer (died 2010): “One of life’s most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn’t do our homework, that we are not prepared.”