Daily Update: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Joseph and The Return of the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano

Today is the feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary (died early first century). And on this day the swallows traditionally return to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano in California (although they have not been returning as once they did).

A descendant of the house of David (from Solomon, son of David, in Matthew, and from Nathan, son of David, in Luke), tradition holds that Joseph was a carpenter, but he may have been a stone worker as well. He was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. He was also a visionary; he had one vision telling him to marry Mary, even though she was with child, another telling him to flee with his family to Egypt, and another vision telling him to return home. Tradition holds that he died before the start of Jesus’s public life; the last time he is mentioned in Scripture is when Jesus was lost and then found in the Temple as a boy. He is noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him to do, and for the fact that he never speaks a word in Scripture. Joseph is the Patron Saint of  the diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, of working people, and of fathers, and he is invoked by the dying for the wish of a happy and peaceful death. And on this day the swallows traditionally return to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano in California. A 1915 article in Overland Monthly magazine made note of the birds’ annual habit of nesting beneath the Mission’s eaves and archways from Spring through Fall, and made the swallows the “signature icon” of the Mission; Father O’Sullivan (died 1933) utilized interest in the phenomenon to generate public interest in restoration efforts during his two decades in residence. On March 13, 1939 a popular radio program was broadcast live from the Mission grounds, announcing the swallows’ arrival. Composer Leon René was so inspired by the event that he penned the song “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” in tribute. Fiesta de las Golondrinas is a week-long celebration of the return of the swallows culminated by the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado, street fair. The Fiesta continues, although in recent years, the swallows have failed to return in large flocks to the Mission. Few birds were counted in the 1990s and 2000s. The reduction has been connected to increased development of the area, including fewer nesting places and fewer insects to eat.

Before I woke up at 9:45 am, Richard went to Donut Queen. I started my laundry and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then I read the Thursday papers while eating an Apple Fritter from Donut Queen. I then went to the computer, called the Pharmacy to have one of the prescriptions that they had on hold from my psychiatrist filled, and did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Fourth Day of my Annunciation Novena. I then finished my laundry and ironed my Casino pants, aprons, and shirts. I had thought about going out to get lunch, but eating an Apple Fritter always leaves me not hungry for the rest of the day. Instead, I burned my Photo CD of my February 2015 photos for myself and burned a Photo CD of my February 2015 photos for Liz Ellen, and at intervals continued reading The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell while Richard mowed the front yard. (He ran out of gas to do the back yard.) I then did Advance Daily Update Drafts for my weblog. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, then came back to the computer to do my Daily Update. Tonight our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will be playing the first game in a three-game away series with Arkansas, our LSU Men’s Basketball team will be playing #15 ranked North Carolina State at the NCAA Tournament, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the Phoenix Suns; I will report on the scores of all three of these games in tomorrow’s Daily Update. (Geaux Tigers, and Go Pelicans!) And when I finish this Daily Update I will take a cool bath (it got up to 87° today) and do some reading before I go to bed.

Tomorrow is Thursday; we have no Saints to honor, although tomorrow is a Friday in Lent (so no meat), but tomorrow is the Vernal Equinox. And in 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, Life Among the Lowly, an Abolishment tract which was one of the catalysts for the Civil War. There is a Total Solar Eclipse tomorrow, but as it starts at 1:41 am local time, the only ones who will get to see it will be eclipse watchers dodging polar bears in the Arctic. We will go to the casino for the first day of our work week, and on my breaks I will continue reading The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell. The New Moon will arrive at 4:39 am local time, and the Vernal Equinox will arrive at 5:45 pm. And tomorrow evening our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play the second game of their three game away series with Arkansas, while our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away game with the Golden State Warriors.

Our Thursday afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Paul Scofield, English actor. Born as David Paul Scofield in 1922 in Birmingham, West Midlands, at the age of a few weeks his family moved to Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, where his father served as the headmaster at the Hurstpierpoint Church of England School. At the age of 12 he began attending the Varndean Secondary School in Brighton, where he took various roles in school plays. Scofield began his stage career in 1940 with a debut performance in Desire Under the Elms at the Westminster Theatre, and was soon being compared to Laurence Olivier. Marrying in 1943, he played at the Old Rep in Birmingham, and from there went to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford, where he starred in Walter Nugent Monck’s 1947 revival of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Scofield was noteworthy for his striking presence and distinctive voice, and for the clarity and unmannered intensity of his delivery. His film debut was in That Lady (1955) as King Philip II of Spain, a role that earned him the BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer. Scofield was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours. He created the role of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s production of A Man for All Seasons on Broadway (1961 – 1963), which earned him the 1962 Tony Award. Turning again to film, in 1964 he played the obsessed Nazi Colonel in The Train, and again played the role of Sir Thomas More in the 1966 film of A Man for All Seasons,a role that gave him the Academy Award for Best Actor, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. He thus became one of only eight actors to win both the Tony and the Oscar for the same role on stage and film. In 1969 Scofield became the sixth performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Male of the Species. That same year he played the title role in the film King Lear. He played the title role in Ben Jonson’s Volpone in Peter Hall’s production for the Royal National Theatre (1977) and Antonio Salieri in the original stage production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus (1979). He continued making movies and acting on stage through the 1980s, and played Mark Van Doren in Robert Redford’s film Quiz Show (1994), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He also played Thomas Danforth in Nicholas Hytner’s film adaptation (1996) of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. He was appointed a Companion of Honour (CH) in the 2001 New Year Honours. He appeared in many radio dramas for BBC Radio 4, including On The Train to Chemnitz (2001) by Peter Tinniswood, and Anton in Eastbourne (2002), which was Tinniswood’s last work and was written especially for Scofield, an admirer of Anton Chekhov. In 2002 he was awarded the honorary degree of D. Litt by the University of Oxford. In 2004 a poll of actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Ian McKellen, Donald Sinden, Janet Suzman, Ian Richardson, Antony Sher and Corin Redgrave, acclaimed his Lear as the greatest Shakespearean performance ever (died 2008): “I have found that an actor’s work has life and interest only in its execution. It seems to wither away in discussion, and become emptily theatrical and insubstantial.”

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