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, Roger Peterson, at the site. (The 1971 song “American Pie” by Don McLean starts with the plane crash, and wanders through American music until the late 1960s; mature reflection by me on the song has led me to the conclusion that McLean really, really hated the Rolling Stones. 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 promptly mailed off a request, but never got a reply; for years I thought that either the DJ had tossed my request, or else he did send a reply and Mom threw it out. However, the DJ was swamped by thousands of requests, as I found out many years later through the miracle of the Internet. In any case, his cheat sheet is now online, linked to the Wikipedia page for “American Pie”.)
I heard a good deal of thunder rumbling last night; so I have made a note that April 2nd, give or take a day, should be cooler than normal. Also, our LSU Men’s Basketball team beat Auburn by the score of 80 to 68; our Tigers will next play a home game with Mississippi State on February 6th.
I woke up at 9:30 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started my laundry, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, ate my breakfast toast while reading the morning paper, did my Internet Devotional Reading, did the Third Day of my Lenten Novena, and finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I started the Weekly Virus Scan, continued reading The Far Side of the World by Patrick O’Brian, and finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance.
Richard and I left the house at 1:00 pm, and ate Chinese for lunch at Peking. At the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing, and won $50.00 off of my last back of tickets. At the Rectory I gave the names of my departed loved ones to have them remembered in the 2016 Mass Book; the Priest and Deacon were not in (having gone to a thing in Lake Charles), so I could not get my throat blessed. Finally, we deposited the payments for the in-town bills in the appropriate collection boxes (I thought Richard had done that on Saturday, after he paid bills and went out).
When we got home at 2:00 pm, I printed out the sheet to send in to get credit for the 2015 National Parks I went to with my National Parks Travelers Club. I got a good bit done; I will next need to get the stamps to send (I did make two copies of some of my stamps, but for some others I will have to make copies of them from my National Parks Explorer Edition Passport Stamp Book via the scan feature on the printer). At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, then I came to the computer to do my Daily Update. Richard sent a text to Callie; they made it in fine, but had been up since 3:00 am, and will come see us at some point tomorrow. (I do not know if Richard told them that Susan and Butch will be here in town on Saturday.) Tonight our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away game with the San Antonio Spurs; I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. I will go to bed early; today has been a very upsetting day for me on several counts, and I think the best course of action is for me to go to bed early.
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. Tomorrow is also the Midpoint of Winter, being the day midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. I will finish my laundry and iron my casino pants, apron, and shirts, go to the grocery to get my salad supplies, and make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. Tomorrow evening our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with #11 Mississippi State, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing a home game with the Los Angeles Lakers; I will record the scores of both games in Friday’s Daily Update. And at some point tomorrow Callie, Amy, and the baby might be coming over.
Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday 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 cinéma. 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 cinéma. Later, I realized I’d been completely manipulated by Bertolucci and Brando.”