Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, Pope (died 1572). Today is the Anniversary of the Territory of Orleans becoming the State of Louisiana in 1812, and tonight is Walpurgisnacht (which has nothing to do with Pius V, or with the State of Louisiana). Today is also the first day of the second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Born to impoverished Italian nobility in 1504 at Bosco, Lombardy, Italy as Antonio Ghisleri, today’s Saint received an excellent training in piety and holiness, including a scholastic education from a Dominican friar; he joined the Order himself in 1518, taking the name Michele. After studies in Bologna he was ordained in 1528 and became a professor of theology in Pavia for sixteen years. He served as master of novices and as prior of several Dominican houses, working for stricter adherence to the Order’s Rule. Appointed Inquisitor in Como, after several years of inquisitorial missions he was appointed commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. In 1556 he was consecrated Bishop of Nepi e Sutri against his will. Created cardinal in 1557, he became Grand Inquisitor in 1558, was part of the conclave that elected Pope Pius IV in 1559, and was himself elected Pope in 1566. He immediately faced the task of enacting the reforms of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). New seminaries were opened, and a new breviary, new missal, and new catechism were published; foundations were established to spread the Faith and preserve the doctrine of the Church. Pius spent much time personally working with the needy. He built hospitals and used the papal treasury to care for the poor. He faced many difficulties in the public forum, both in the implementation of the Tridentine reforms and in interaction with other heads of state. At the time of his death he was working on a Christian European alliance to break the power of the Islamic states; he did live long enough to hear the news of the Battle of Lepanto (1571), and to institute the new feastday of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the victory. Turning to secular matters, on this date in 1812 the Territory of Orleans became the 18th State of the United States, Louisiana. Eight years before, in 1804, all of the Louisiana Purchase south of the 33rd parallel became the Orleans Territory, and the remainder became the District of Louisiana. The Florida Parishes on the east bank of the Mississippi were not included in Orleans Territory at this time, as they were in the Spanish territory of West Florida until they were annexed in 1810. (The District of Louisiana was later renamed the Louisiana Territory, and still later, the Missouri Territory.) On April 10, 1805, the Territorial Legislature organized 12 counties (starting from the southeast corner and moving west and north): Orleans County, LaFourche County, German Coast, Acadia County, Iberville County, Attakapas County, Pointe Coupée County, Opelousas County, Rapides County, Concordia County, Natchitoches County, and Ouachita County. The borders of these counties were poorly defined, but they roughly coincided with the earlier colonial ecclesiastical parishes, and hence used the same names, including the designation of ‘parish’ instead of ‘county’. On March 31, 1807, the territorial legislature divided the state into 19 parishes without abolishing the old counties (which continued to exist until 1845). William C. C. Claiborne was appointed the only governor of the Orleans Territory. The Territory became the State of Louisiana in 1812, with William C. C. Claiborne as the first Governor. Final adjustments to the borders of the State were not completed until about 1819, when the western boundary with Spanish Texas was fully defined with the Adams–Onís Treaty. Today is also the First Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Having the second weekend of Jazz Fest start on a Thursday is an innovation that began in 1991; it was dropped in the two years following 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, but returned in 2008. Today’s headliners include Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Cyril Neville, Alison Krauss & Union Station, and Widespread Panic. Finally, tonight is Walpurgisnacht, when in German lore the witches meet on the Broken, the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. and hold their revels. The current festival is, in most countries that celebrate it, named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga (ca. 710–778). As Walpurga was canonized on the first of May (ca. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars, and the eve of May Day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurga’s night”). A scene in Goethe’s Faust Part One is called “Walpurgisnacht”, and one in Faust Part Two is called “Classical Walpurgisnacht”. The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain is also called “Walpurgisnacht”. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May. (The same kind of festival was held in the British Isles and called Beltane, but the only ones who celebrate Beltane now are neo-pagans.)
Richard gathered up our trash and put the trash can out on the curb. I woke up at 8:00 am and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. Richard told me that he had heard that there was going to be a Shred-a-Thon at Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, and that he would take our ancient financial records to have shredded.
I left the house at 9:00 am, remembering my casino clothes, shoes, and badge, but forgetting my Blood Pressure Record Sheets. (Drat.) I drove to the clinic at the casino; while in the waiting room, Richard called me. He asked if I was done yet with my appointment; when I told him that I would be awhile, he said that he would head on down to Lafayette with the stuff to be shredded. I then had my 10:00 am appointment with my Renal Specialist. He is going to put me on two medications; one, a bicarbonate pill, to make my blood more alkaline than acid, and a medication since in his opinion I am pre-diabetic. (He is from Columbia, I think; his term was that I am “diabetic in the closet”.) I will pick up my medications tomorrow (more anon), and my next appointment with him is on June 25th, with blood being drawn for lab work on June 15th. I also have an appointment set up with the Health Coach at the clinic on May 7th. I then went to Uniforms and exchanged my casino pants, aprons, and shirts for new casino pants, aprons, and shirts (my pants did not need to be hemmed). I then called Richard, and he was on his way to Lafayette. When I came back into town, I stopped at Wal-Mart and got my salad supplies, new ink cartridges for the printer (color and black), and some other groceries and household items. I then ate lunch at McDonald’s, and continued reading A Book of Scientific Curiosities: Everything You Need To Know About Science – But Never Had Time To Ask by Cyril Aydon. My last stop was at the Hit-n-Run, where I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for Saturday night’s drawing.
I got home just at 1:00 pm and put my new casino pants, aprons, and shirts in the washer; Richard came home from Lafayette soon after. I then read the Thursday papers. Next, I came to the computer, and installed the new printer ink cartridges, and ran all of the usual diagnostics to make sure all was well with the printer. I finished my casino laundry, and ironed my casino pants, aprons, and shirts. I then made my lunch salads for tomorrow and Sunday. I then put in a Google Alert to let me know the next time a Shred-a-Thon happens in Lafayette. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, and then came to the computer to work on today’s Daily Update and to eat my un-doctored by Richard half of our Digiorno’s Pizza. I also did the McDonald’s Customer Survey online, and now have a voucher good on buy-one-get-one-free Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Egg McMuffin, valid for 30 days. Tonight our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play the first game of a three-game away series with Mississippi State; I will record the results of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month (dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus), the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, May Day, International Workers Day, and the second day of the second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. As tomorrow is the first of the month, I will be doing various maintenance tasks on my Galaxy S4 (such as clearing out my Google Search history). Richard and I will return to work for the beginning of our work week. On my breaks I will continue reading A Book of Scientific Curiosities: Everything You Need To Know About Science – But Never Had Time To Ask by Cyril Aydon, and on our way home I will do magazine reading. After I do my Daily Update tomorrow, I will head over to the Church, first to do my First Friday devotions at the Adoration Chapel, then to play Bingo at the Spring Fair for an hour or two before coming home and going to bed. And our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will be playing the second game of their three-game away series with Mississippi State.
As the fires of Walpurgisnacht flare into the night later this Thursday afternoon, our Parting Quote comes to us from Tom Poston, American actor. Born in 1921 in Columbus, Ohio, he attended Bethany College in West Virginia, but did not graduate. Instead, he joined the United States Army Air Forces in 1941. Accepted to officer candidate school and then graduating from flight training, he served as a pilot in the European Theater in World War II; his aircraft dropped paratroopers for the Normandy invasion. Poston served in North Africa, Italy, France, and England. After his discharge, he began studying acting in New York City. In the 1950s Poston gained recognition as a comedic “Man in the Street” (along with his colleagues Louie Nye, Dayton Allen and Don Knotts) on the Steve Allen Show. For these performances, Poston won the 1959 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series. Following that, he appeared frequently on Broadway and as a television game show panelist, including regular appearances on To Tell the Truth and What’s My Line?. While Poston’s film career was limited to quirky comedies (such as William Castle’s Zotz! and The Old Dark House in the 1960s), his television career was expansive, covering the better part of five decades, and saw him contributing his comedic talents in virtually every corner of the medium, from made-for-TV movies to variety shows to situation comedies to talk shows and even to voice-overs for cartoons. Poston was a recurring guest star on The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s. He later played the role of Franklin Delano Bickley on Mork & Mindy. A longtime friend of Bob Newhart, Poston played George Utley, bumbling country handyman of the Stratford Inn, on Newhart and appeared with Newhart in Cold Turkey (1971) as the town drunk, Edgar Stopworth. He was nominated for an Emmy Award three times for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance on Newhart in 1984, 1986, and 1987. He had a third role with Newhart in the short-lived series Bob. Poston also had regular roles on many other television series: Family Matters, Murphy Brown, Home Improvement, Cosby, Malcolm & Eddie, ER, Grace Under Fire, That ’70s Show, Will & Grace, and guest starred in an episode of The Simpsons as the Capital City Goofball. He also played dentist / jeweler Art Hibke on ABC’s Coach, for which he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1991. In 2001 Poston married for the third time, to actress Suzanne Pleshette, who had played the wife of Newhart’s character Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. He continued to appear in supporting roles in films, including 2003′s Beethoven’s 5th and two movies released in 2004, Christmas with the Kranks and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, and on several television programs. In 2005 he played the character Clown on the brief-lived NBC series Committed. The band They Might Be Giants mentioned Poston as a writer for the The New York Times in their song “Critic Intro”. In 2005 he guest starred on 8 Simple Rules as Rory’s unlawful friend Jake in the episode “Good Moms Gone Wild”. In 2006 Poston guest-starred on an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in the episode “Ah! Wilderness” as Merle, which was his final role (died 2007): “In ways I don’t like to admit, I’m a goof-up myself. It’s an essential part of my character.”