Daily Update: Monday, February 27th, 2017

02-27 - Anosmia Awareness Day and Lundi Gras

Another Saintless day. Today is Anosmia Awareness Day. And, since today is (deep breath), the Monday before the Tuesday before the Wednesday forty days (not counting Sundays) before the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox, today is Lundi Gras.

Today is Anosmia Awareness Day. I am a congenital anosmiac (born without the ability to smell); however, people can lose their sense of smell through illness or injury. When people find out that I cannot smell, I get one of two questions. I am either asked “Since you can’t smell, that means you can’t taste, right?” (wrong; I can taste just fine, so far as I know. The loss of one’s sense of taste is a separate issue called ageusia) or “That means you can’t smell me fart, right?” (Correct, and I, and everyone around me, would appreciate you not proving it). I have never been to a doctor to verify that I am a congenital anosmiac (most doctors have never heard of the condition, and I am not wealthy enough to see a specialist), but I suspect that there is a non-connection between my nose and my brain. I have been told that my great-aunt (long since gone) had no sense of smell, and that her nephew (my Dad’s late brother) also had no sense of smell, so it seems to go sideways down the family tree; since neither my brother or sister had any kids, I appear to end the line of those who can’t smell in the family. I am the co-administrator and founder of the Congenital Anosmia group on Facebook, with over 1,000 members (mostly congenital anosmiacs, or those who have family or friends with the condition), and of the Congenital Anosmia (Closed) group on Facebook, with over 250 members; I try my best to keep advertising bots out of the groups. There is also another Facebook group called Anosmics of the World, Unite!, with nearly 1,600 members, most of whom are accidental Anosmiacs (or fellow travelers). So, hug someone who does not smell today! Lundi Gras is a revival of an old custom. From 1874 until World War I, the King of the Krewe of Rex, the unofficial King of Mardi Gras, would land at the riverfront with his court and be escorted to City Hall. The celebration of Mardi Gras was halted during the Great War, and when the celebration started up again the riverboat landing of Rex was not included. In 1987 the tradition of Rex arriving on the riverfront (at the Riverwalk Marketplace) with much hoopla on Lundi Gras was revived; the festivities now include a day-long block party hosted by the Krewe of Zulu. (The Endymion parade rolls on the Saturday night of the weekend before Mardi Gras, and Bacchus rolls on the Sunday night; historically nothing much happened on Lundi Gras, and the revival of Rex arriving at the river nicely filled that hole in the calendar, and a couple of Uptown New Orleans parades now also run on Lundi Gras.)

We got word yesterday that Butch (Richard’s older brother in Baton Rouge) was not in a good way, and that the family would keep us advised on what was going on with him

In Sports, our LSU Lady Tigers in their last regular College Basketball game of the season beat the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores by the score of 64 to 58; our Lady Tigers will face the Lady Ole Miss Rebels at the SEC Tournament on March 2nd. Our LSU Tigers in their College Baseball game beat the Maryland Terrapins (again) by the score of 9 to 5. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Oklahoma City Thunder by the score of 110 to 118; our Pelicans will next play the Detroit Pistons on March 1st.

My back was doing better today, although from time to time I felt like I had a huge knot sticking out of my right hip. When I woke up I posted to Facebook that today was Anosmia Awareness Day, and posted to Facebook that today was Lundi Gras. I did my Book Devotional Reading, and Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Eighth Day of my Lenten Novena. Once in ADR I called the Pharmacy and renewed a prescription. When we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack table; I was on Macau Mini Baccarat, closed that table, then I was on Mississippi Stud for the rest of the shift.

After we clocked out (Richard had heard from his sister Susan that Butch was in the hospital, and had a broken vertebrae; he has also not been taking any of his prescribed medications) I picked up my prescription at the Pharmacy; since I did not have a lunch salad at home, we got lunch from the drive-through at McDonald’s. When we got home I read the morning paper, then tried to take a nap, without success. Richard came and took a nap, and I got up and watched Jeopardy! And now I will go ahead and finish this Daily Update, then go to bed for the duration.

Tomorrow is a day when we again have no Saints, but tomorrow is Mardi Gras, which is, among other things, the last day I will indulge in caffeine until Easter. Richard and I have the day off from work; we had planned to go down to the City, but my back is still not 100%, and going to the City means three hours to and three hours back home in the truck, not counting walking around. Plus, I still have a bad cough, that every so often sounds like I am bringing up a lung. So, we will stay local tomorrow, unless we hear from Richard’s people that we need to go to Baton Rouge to confer about Butch. In sports, our #8 LSU Lady Tigers (12-3, 0-0) will play an Away College Softball game with the Southern Mississippi Lady Golden Eagles, and our #4 LSU Tigers (7-1, 0-0) will play a Home College Baseball game with the Nicholls State Colonels.

Our Parting Quote this Monday evening comes from Leonard Nimoy, American actor. Born in 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts, he was the son of Jewish immigrants who had separately left Iziaslav, Ukraine and reunited in the United States. Nimoy began acting at the age of eight in a children’s and neighborhood theater. His first major role was at age seventeen, as Ralphie in an amateur production of Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, which dealt with the struggles of a matriarchal Jewish family similar to his during the Great Depression. The role “lit a passion” that led him to pursue an acting career. Nimoy took drama classes at Boston College and, after saving $600 from selling vacuum cleaners, at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he became a devotee of Konstantin Stanislavsky’s Method acting concepts. Between studies, to have some income, he took a job at an ice cream parlor on the Sunset Strip. He believed that playing the title role in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni would make him a star, but the film failed after playing briefly. While he was serving in the military the film gained a larger audience on television, and after his discharge he got steadier work playing a “heavy,” where his character used street weapons like switchblades and guns, or had to threaten, hit or kick people. He was in Republic Pictures’ Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), in which Nimoy played Narab, a Martian. In 1953 Nimoy enlisted in the United States Army Reserve at Fort McPherson Georgia, serving for eighteen months until 1955, leaving as a sergeant. Part of Nimoy’s time in the military was spent with the Army Special Services, putting on shows which he wrote, narrated, and emceed. During that period, he also directed and starred in A Streetcar Named Desire with the Atlanta Theater Guild. Nimoy played an Army sergeant in the 1954 science fiction thriller Them! and a professor in the 1958 science fiction movie The Brain Eaters, and had a role in The Balcony (1963), a film adaptation of the Jean Genet play. With Vic Morrow, he co-produced a 1966 version of Deathwatch, an English-language film version of Genet’s play Haute Surveillance, adapted and directed by Morrow and starring Nimoy. On television, Nimoy appeared in two episodes of the 1957–1958 syndicated military drama The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He had guest roles in the Sea Hunt series from 1958 to 1960 and a minor role in the 1961 The Twilight Zone episode “A Quality of Mercy”. He also appeared in the syndicated Highway Patrol starring Broderick Crawford. In 1959 Nimoy was cast as Luke Reid in the “Night of Decision” episode of the ABC/Warner Bros. western series Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston and directed by Leslie H. Martinson. Nimoy appeared in Bonanza (1960), The Rebel (1960), Two Faces West (1961), Rawhide (1961), The Untouchables (1962), The Eleventh Hour (1962), Perry Mason (1963; playing murderer Pete Chennery in “The Case of the Shoplifter’s Shoe”, episode 13 of season 6), Combat! (1963, 1965), Daniel Boone, The Outer Limits (1964), The Virginian (1963–1965; first working with Star Trek co-star DeForest Kelley in “Man of Violence”, episode 14 of season 2, in 1963), and Get Smart (1966). He appeared in Gunsmoke in 1962 as Arnie and in 1966 as John Walking Fox. Nimoy and Star Trek co-star William Shatner first worked together on an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., “The Project Strigas Affair” (1964). Nimoy’s most enduring role was that of Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan character he played on Star Trek, from the first 1964 TV episode to the film Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. The character was to become iconic, considered one of the most popular alien characters ever portrayed on television. Viewers admired Spock’s “coolness, his intelligence,” and his ability to take on successfully any task. Among Spock’s recognized and unique symbols that he incorporated into the series was the Vulcan salute, which became identified with him. Nimoy created the sign himself from his childhood memories of the way kohanim (Jewish priests) hold their hand when giving blessings. Nimoy also came up with the concept of the “Vulcan Nerve Pinch,” which he suggested as a more sophisticated way for a Vulcan to render a person unconscious, rather than using the butt of his phaser. Nimoy and Shatner, who portrayed his commanding officer, became close friends during the three years years the show was on television from 1966 to 1969. Nimoy earned three Emmy Award nominations for his work on the program. There were also music albums released, with Nimoy singing as Spock. Following Star Trek in 1969, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast in the role of Paris, an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert, “The Great Paris”. He played the role during seasons four and five (1969–1971). Nimoy had been strongly considered as part of the initial cast for the show, but remained in the Spock role on Star Trek. He went on to reprise the Spock character in Star Trek: The Animated Series and two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). He also had roles in two episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (1972 and 1973) and Colombo (1973), season 2 episode 6 entitled “A Stitch in Crime”; Nimoy played a murderous doctor (Dr. Barry Mayfield) who was one of the few murderers with whom Columbo became angry. Nimoy appeared in various made-for-television films such as Assault on the Wayne (1970), Baffled! (1972), The Alpha Caper (1973), The Missing Are Deadly (1974), Seizure: The Story Of Kathy Morris (1980), and Marco Polo (1982). His first autobiography, I Am Not Spock (1975), was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character. He continued his theatre work, and in 1971 he played the starring role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, which toured for eight weeks. He starred as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1974, a year prior to its release as a feature film with Jack Nicholson in the same role. In 1975 he toured with and played the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Sherlock Holmes. A number of authors noted parallels between the rational Holmes and the character of Spock, and it became a running theme in Star Trek fan clubs. By 1977, when Nimoy played Martin Dysart in Equus on Broadway, he had played thirteen important roles in twenty-seven cities. In the late 1970s he hosted and narrated the television series In Search of…, which investigated paranormal or unexplained events or subjects. When a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of eleven episodes, but when the show was elevated to a feature film, he agreed to reprise his role. The first six Star Trek movies featured the original Star Trek cast including Nimoy, who also directed two of the films. He received an Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actor for the television film A Woman Called Golda (1982), for playing the role of Morris Meyerson, Golda Meir’s husband, opposite Ingrid Bergman as Golda in her final role. From 1982 to 1987, Nimoy hosted the children’s educational show Standby: Lights, Camera, Action on Nickelodeon. He played the part of the chauffeur in the 1985 music video of The Bangles’ cover version of “Going Down to Liverpool”, and his voice appeared in sampled form on “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)” by Information Society (released in 1988), which reached No. 3 on the US Pop charts and No. 1 on the Dance charts. Nimoy lent his voice as narrator to the 1994 IMAX documentary film, Destiny in Space, showcasing film-footage of space from nine Space Shuttle missions over four years time. From 1994 until 1997 Nimoy narrated the Ancient Mysteries series on A&E. Nimoy also appeared in several popular television series, including Futurama and The Simpsons, as both himself and Spock. His second autobiography, I Am Spock (1995), saw Nimoy communicating that he finally realized his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and himself. In 1997 he narrated the documentary A Life Apart: Hasidism in America, about the various sects of Hasidic Orthodox Jews. In the 2001 documentary film Mind Meld, in which Nimoy and Shatner discussed their acting careers and personal lives, Nimoy revealed that he became an alcoholic while working on Star Trek and ended up in drug rehabilitation. Nimoy also composed several volumes of poetry, some published along with a number of his photographs. A later poetic volume entitled A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life was published in 2002. In 2007 he produced the play Shakespeare’s Will by Canadian Playwright Vern Thiessen. The one-woman show starred Jeanmarie Simpson as Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. The production was directed by Nimoy’s wife, Susan Bay. He played the elder Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie and reprised the role in a brief appearance in the 2013 sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, both directed by J. J. Abrams. In the May 9th, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, Nimoy appeared as a surprise guest in the “Weekend Update” segment with Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine, who played the young Spock and Kirk in the Star Trek movie that had just premiered days earlier. In the sketch, the three actors attempted to appease long-time Trekkers by assuring them that the new film would be true to the original Star Trek. He retired in 2010, but continued working in television and movies. On August 30th, 2012, Nimoy narrated a satirical segment about Mitt Romney’s life on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In February 2014, Nimoy revealed publicly that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition he attributed to a smoking addiction he had given up about 30 years earlier. On June 2nd, 2015, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory renamed a 6.2 mile-wide asteroid, originally discovered in 1988, in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt, 4864 Nimoy, in honor of the actor (died 2015): “My folks came to the United States as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.”

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