Daily Update: Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

03-16 - Samoset

Tomorrow we will have a Saint; in the meantime, we will consider how surprised the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony were on this day in 1621 (less than three months after their landing) when a Native American (whom the pilgrims termed a “savage”) walked out from the woods, entered the town, and exclaimed in English “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.” And today is the birthday of my friend Ed, who was a friend of Richard’s nephews (the ones belonging to his Sister Bonnie in Texas).

The Native American announced himself to the startled Pilgrims as the envoy of Massasoit, “the greatest commander of the country.” A member of an Abenaki tribe that resided at that time in what is now Maine, Samoset was a sagamore (subordinate chief) of his tribe and was visiting Ousamequin, the sachem, or leader, of the Pokanoket, who was the Massasoit, or great sachem, of the Wampanoag Confederacy. He himself was a Mohegan, and  had learned his broken English from the English fishermen that came to fish off Monhegan Island. After spending the night with the Pilgrims, he came back two days later with Squanto, who spoke English much better than Samoset, and who was able to translate when the Pilgrim leadership met with Chief Massasoit. Samoset was entertained with other Native American leaders in the harbor of present-day Portland, Maine in 1624; after that, the first Native American to contact the Pilgrims fades from history. (The Pilgrims in their accounts kept calling him Somerset instead of Samoset; most of the Pilgrims were from South West England and the county of Somerset.) And today is the birthday of my friend Ed, who was a friend of Richard’s nephews (the ones belonging to his Sister Bonnie in Texas).

Today I woke up at 8:00 am, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started my laundry, and did my Bathroom Devotional Reading. I then ate my breakfast toast and read the morning paper, then Richard and I watched the season finale for CSI: Cyber “Legacy” via On Demand. I then did my Internet Devotional Reading, finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and started the Weekly Virus Scan. I had thought about going out and getting lunch and getting my hair cut, especially after Richard took a nap, but I thought better (or worse) of that idea, and instead stayed in and worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts for my weblog. At 4:30 pm I watched Jeopardy!, and at 7:00 pm we went across the road to Rocky’s Cajun Kitchen, which has quite adequate boiled crawfish. (I asked for corn and potatoes; I got one earlet of corn, which is standard, and one small potato, which is not – one generally gets two or three small potatoes.) When I came home I got on the computer to do my Daily Update. Our #7 ranked LSU Baseball team will be playing a single home game with New Orleans, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an away pro basketball game with the Sacramento Kings; I will record the scores of both games in tomorrow’s Daily Update. For now, I will climb into bed and do some reading before going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Patrick, Bishop (died 493), so tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day. (Wear green; and don’t worry if you are not Irish, because not even St. Patrick was Irish.) I will finish my laundry and do my ironing of my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and at some point I will get my salad supplies from the grocery and make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. Tomorrow is also the Friends of the Lafayette Public Library Book Sale; I might go, but I am already covered in books I have not read yet.

Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Mitch Leigh, American composer. Born as Irwin Michnick in 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, his father was a furrier from Ukraine. He grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, served in the Army,  and attended Yale University on the G.I. Bill, receiving his bachelor’s degree in music in 1951 and his master’s, also in music, the following year. He began his career as a jazz musician working at an advertising company, writing jingles, and established Music Makers, Inc., in 1957, a radio and television commercial production house with Leigh as its creative director. He also composed incidental music for a couple of short-lived Broadway comedies, Too True to Be Good (1963) and Never Live Over a Pretzel Factory (1964). In 1965 he was asked to write the music for a new show that was going to try out at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn, teaming with lyricist Joe Darion and writer Dale Wasserman to write a musical based on Wasserman’s 1959 television play, I, Don Quixote. The show, Man of La Mancha, opened in New York the next year and ran until 1971, a total of 2,328 performances. It won five Tony Awards, including best composer and lyricist (Leigh and Darion) and best musical. Richard Kiley originated the dual role of Don Quixote, a doddering gentleman knight with a grand imagination, and Quixote’s creator, the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. He wrote the music for several more Broadway shows, including Cry for Us All (1970), Home Sweet Homer (1976) and Sarava (1979), but they all closed after painfully short runs. In 1977 Leigh and others at the Yale School of Music established the Keith Wilson scholarship, to be awarded “to an outstanding major in wind instrument playing.” He maintained his work in advertising, writing jingles for L & M cigarettes, Ken-L Ration dog food and Consolidated Foods, which became the Sara Lee Corporation. The lyrics “Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee” were written by a Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising executive, but the music was Leigh’s. He produced the 1983 Broadway revival of Mame, starring Angela Lansbury, and directed the 1985 revival of The King and I, with Yul Brynner (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award). His last original contribution was the music for Ain’t Broadway Grand, a musical comedy about the producer Mike Todd, which ran for three weeks at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in 1993. In his later years he created Jackson 21, a village-like development in Jackson Township, N.J., on land he had begun buying in the 1960s as a tax shelter. The development was intended for artists of all kinds,  though others were accepted as well. Leigh endowed the Willie Ruff Chair in Jazz at Yale University in 2006 (died 2014): “There’s more musical freedom on Madison Avenue than anywhere else. It’s an Eden for a composer.”

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