Daily Update: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Clare and Charlene Richard

Today is the Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin (died 1253) and I personally honor Charlene Richard, our unofficial Cajun Saint (died 1959). The Perseid Meteor Shower continues, and today is the birthday of my friend CJ in Nevada (1957) and of one of Richard’s grand-nephews here in town, the grandson of his brother Slug (1995).

Born as Chiara Offreduccio into a noble family in 1194 at Assisi, Italy, as a girl the future Saint Clare heard Saint Francis of Assisi preach in the streets and confided to him her desire to live for God, and the two became close friends. On Palm Sunday in 1212, her bishop presented Clare with a palm, which she apparently took as a sign. With her cousin Pacifica, Clare ran away from her mother’s palace during the night to enter religious life. She eventually took the veil from Saint Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi. Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano, and led it for 40 years. Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves throughout Europe, there also went the Poor Clares, depending solely on alms and forced to have complete faith on God to provide through people; this lack of land-based revenues was a new idea at the time. Clare’s mother and sisters later joined the order, and there are still thousands of members living lives of silence and prayer. When she learned of the Franciscan martyrs in Morocco in 1221, she tried to go there to give her own life for God, but was restrained. Once when her convent was about to be attacked, she displayed the Sacrament in a monstrance at the convent gates, and prayed before it; the attackers left, the house was saved, and the image of her holding a monstrance became one of her emblems. Toward the end of her life, when she was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service she had missed displayed on the wall of her cell. She was ever the close friend and spiritual student of Francis, who apparently led her soul into the light at her death. She is the Patron Saint of embroiders and of all who do close eye work, and of television. Also today I personally honor Charlene Richard (died 1959). She was born in the small Cajun farming community of Richard, Louisiana (both the name of the town and her last name are pronounced REE-chard), and lived a perfectly normal life until at the age of twelve she was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. Each day of the sixteen days she was in her hospital room at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana before her death, she offered her suffering for the benefit of someone else who was suffering. While no official Cause has been established for her, she continues to use her influence as our unofficial Cajun saint; I have no doubt whatsoever that she was with me when I had colon cancer back in 2001. The Perseid Meteor Shower continues. Today is also the birthday of my friend CJ in Nevada (1957) and of Richard’s grand-nephew, the grandson of his brother Slug here in town; next year he will turn 21, and will get is name mentioned in my Weblog (1995).

I was up half an hour early today; we were under a Heat Advisory and Burn Ban for this afternoon. My lower back was very stiff, and the corn on my left toes was also very painful under the pressure of my work shoes. We got to the casino early and signed the Early Out list, and I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Monday, August 10th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. Richard and I then ate breakfast in ADR before heading out to the casino floor. He was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, and a Blackjack table, and I was on Pai Gow. I got out at 4:45 am, and Richard got out at 5:00 am. I got an alert that we were under an Excessive Heat Warning. We stopped at Wal-Mart, and I got new work shoes, corn pads for the corn on my toes, and a new set of underwear for work. We got gas for the truck, and arrived home at 6:15 am; Richard put an Icy Hot patch on my back, and I went back to bed.

I woke up (for the second time today) at 11:00 am, and found that a call from my dentist had gone to voice mail. I started my laundry and called the dentist to confirm my appointment with them tomorrow (more anon), then read the morning paper. At 1:00 pm we took my car to our local Chevy dealership to have them look at the cruise control, but they told Richard that it needed to be in non-operative mode before they could figure out what was wrong with it. So we left the car parked at the dealership, and ate lunch at D.C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse. We had some discussion about the cars we had rented on vacation, and when we went back to the dealership we looked at the 2015 cars. After some discussion (and two trips back to the house to look for the title), I ended up trading in my 1999 Chevy Lumina with 300,000+ miles on a 2015 Chevy Cruze, fully loaded with all kinds of bells and whistles. 20150811_171039 Richard will drive us to work in the truck each day, and I will drive my new Cruze on my trips to Lafayette and Baton Rouge, and Richard will drive it when we go on our long vacations. We got home with my car at about 5:00 pm, and I put in some time learning what was in the car and how to work it. (All of my stuff from the front and back seats is in a box in my back seat; my rabbit’s foot (which I have had for nearly 50 years) is attached to the rearview mirror, but I do not have my St. Christopher’s medal up yet. And I regret to say that all of my bumper stickers are history.) I posted a photo of my new car to Facebook, and sent a copy of the photo I had taken back in May of when my 1999 Chevy Lumina hit 300,000 miles to the Chevy dealership at their request. I then finished my laundry and got a plate of chicken and andouille jambalaya for my supper. When I finish eating and finish this Daily Update, I will arrange some stuff the way I want it in my car, then I will take a bath and do some reading before going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (died 1641), and the Perseid Meteor Shower continues, moonlight and weather permitting. Also, the oldest call-in for Richard (technically a tardy on August 12th, 2014) drops off of his record at the casino. I will get up early and try to iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts and start my Weekly Computer Maintenance, then I will head up to Mamou for my twice-yearly dental appointment at 9:30 am. When I get home I will do any ironing and maintenance that remains to be done, then I might invite Richard to go for a drive with me down to Lafayette.

This Tuesday Evening our Parting Quote comes to us from Robin Williams, American comic and actor. Born in 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region, and his mother had been a model in New Orleans, Louisiana. His maternal great-great-grandfather was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin. Williams grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and later moved to Woodacre, Marin County, California, where he attended public high school and overcame his shyness by becoming involved with his high-school drama department. He studied at Claremont McKenna College (then called Claremont Men’s College) and the College of Marin for theatre. In 1973 Williams was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School, and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year, the other being Christopher Reeve. Williams left Juilliard in 1976. His first film was the 1977 comedy Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? He started in TV comedy in 1977, but his breakout role was as the alien Mork in a couple of 1978 episodes of Happy Days. That same year he married his first wife. His character, with the dialogue written to accommodate his improvisations, was spun off into Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. Mork was an extremely popular character, featured on posters, coloring books, lunchboxes, and other merchandise. Starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his standup comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). In 1984, while married to his first wife, he began a relationship with a cocktail waitress, who sued him for allegedly transmitting a sexual disease to her. He maintained his television and movie appearances, starting as the title character in The World According to Garp (1982). The death of his friend and fellow partier John Belushi in 1982 induced him to give up cocaine, which he had been using since the late 1970s. In 1986 Williams co-hosted the 58th Academy Awards. His performance in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) resulted in Williams being nominated for an Academy Award. The next year he and his first wife were divorced. The next year he married his son’s nanny, who was already several months pregnant with his child. He received another Academy Award nomination for his role of an English teacher in Dead Poets Society (1989). In 1990 he played the doctor in Awakenings. 1991 saw him in a serious role in The Fisher King (which garnered him another Academy Award nomination) and as a grown-up Peter Pan in Hook. His role as Batty Koda in the animated film Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992) and as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin (1992) were instrumental in establishing the importance of star power in voice actor casting. Unfortunately, contract disputes with Disney after Aladdin resulted in Dan Castellaneta voicing the Genie in The Return of Jafar and the Aladdin animated television series. He played the title role in 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, and 1995 saw him in both Jumanji and The Birdcage. He had remained friends with actor Christopher Reeve since their days at Julliard; one week after Reeve’s 1995 tragic horse riding accident, which paralyzed him, Williams visited him in the hospital. However, he was dressed from head to toe in scrubs, spoke with a Russian accent, had a surgical mask on, and claimed that he was there to perform a colonoscopy. Reeve stated that he laughed for the first time since the accident and knew that life was going to be okay. Williams played the small role of Osric in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet in 1996. His role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting (1997) won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In 1998 he was in both Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come. When “Blame Canada”, a song from South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999), was nominated for a Best Song Academy Award, it was Williams who performed the song at the ceremony because the actress who sang the song in the film, Mary Kay Bergman, had committed suicide a few months prior to the awards show. Williams used his voice talents again as the holographic Dr. Know in the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, in the 2005 animated film Robots, and the 2006 Academy Award-winning Happy Feet. In the meantime he headed his own one-man show, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, that played at The Broadway Theatre in July 2002, and he won a Grammy in 2003 for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Robin Williams – Live 2002. In 2004 he dedicated his winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards to Christopher Reeve, who had died that year. He checked himself into rehab in 2006 to be treated for alcoholism. 2006 also saw his first appearance as Teddy Roosevelt in Night in the Museum, which he reprised in 2009’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. He was divorced from his second wife in 2008. Williams made peace with The Walt Disney Company and in 2009 agreed to be inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame, designated as a Disney Legend. He had open heart surgery in 2009. He made his Broadway acting debut in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 31, 2011. That same year he married his third wife. He maintained a wide range of interests, including video games and the Tour de France. The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) credited him with 103 acting roles, seventeen soundtrack credits, eleven writer credits, three producer credits, two director credits, and 313 credits as “Self”. One of his last movies was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014). He committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt; the final autopsy report, released in November 2014, affirmed that Williams had committed suicide as initially described; neither alcohol nor illegal drugs were involved, while any prescription drugs present in Williams’ body were at “therapeutic” levels. The report also noted that Williams had been suffering “a recent increase in paranoia”. An examination of his brain tissue revealed the presence of “diffuse Lewy body dementia” (died 2014): “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

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