We have no Saints to honor, but today is Mardi Gras, the festive day before Ash Wednesday, which begins the penitential season of Lent.
Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season begins, The first more or less official celebration of Mardi Gras in the New World began in Mobile, Alabama in 1703; but it cannot be doubted that the preeminent celebration of Mardi Gras (both of the season, which begins January 6 and really kicks into high gear ten days before Fat Tuesday, and of the day itself) is found in New Orleans. It should be noted that while Bourbon Street in New Orleans does have a reputation of being a place where anything goes during Mardi Gras, there are many neighborhoods in Greater New Orleans where seeing and participating in the parades is a family activity and where any female rash enough to expose her bosom would be promptly arrested. And one does indeed participate in the parades; every Mardi Gras parade has floats, and every float has about 20 or 30 people on it, and every person on every float is throwing ‘throws’, usually beads, which the crowd tries to catch and collect. Spectators have traditionally shouted to the float riders, “Throw me something, mister!”, a phrase that is iconic in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras street argot. In many towns in SouthWestCentral Louisiana the Cajuns have the Courir de Mardi Gras, where Le Capitaine leads masked and costumed men (and in some areas, women) on horseback to gather ingredients for making the communal meal (usually a gumbo). Participants gather in traditional costume, drink to excess and more, and move from home to home in rural areas requesting ingredients for gumbo (donated chickens have to be chased and caught by the riders). Accompanying the riders are several trailers pulled by trucks or cars; these trailers contain those revelers, also in traditional costume, who do not have horses to ride. They usually have beads to throw to onlookers, and the better trailers are provided with ice chests full of beer and Port-a-Lets. The Courir eventually makes its way into town and heads to the designated building for the communal gumbo. The general idea, both in New Orleans and Cajun Country, is that one has a wonderful time before the austerities of Lent kick in.
We had today off from work; if we had been at work, it would have been both a Paid Holiday (when we would have gotten time and a half for our hours worked) and a Heavy Business Volume Day. I woke up at 9:30 am and posted that today was Mardi Gras. I did my Book Devotional Reading, then read the morning paper. Richard left the house at 10:30 am to go downtown to the Mardi Gras, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Ninth and Last Day of my Lenten Novena. I then sent out my Third Tuesday Book Club Reminder letter about our March 2017 book (and about the used book sales taking place in Baton Rouge and Lafayette next month). Richard called me at 12:00 pm to ask if I wanted any pulled pork, and I told him no. He got home at 12:45 pm.
I left the house at 1:15 pm, and ate Chinese for lunch at Peking. I then went to Wal-Mart, where I got peanut butter breakfast bars (no chocolate) for Lent, and some chocolate to eat later today. On my way home I stopped in at the Church and got my Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl.
Arriving home at 2:30 pm, I worked on doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog, taking a break at 4:30 pm to watch Jeopardy!. At 6:30 pm we headed out into town, and ended up eating dinner at Gatti’s Pizza. We arrived home at 7:30 pm, and I continued doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog until I got to a good stopping point, two weeks from tomorrow. Our #8 LSU Lady Tigers in their College Softball game beat the Southern Mississippi Lady Golden Eagles by the score of 4 to 2; our #12 LSU Lady Tigers (13-3, 0-0) will next play a home College Softball game with the Illinois State Lady Redbirds on Friday, March 3rd, 2017. Our #4 LSU Tigers (7-1, 0-0) are now playing a Home College Baseball game with the Nicholls State Colonels. And I will now finish this Daily Update and go to bed.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fast and Abstinence from Meat which ushers in the penitential season of Lent. I will be doing the Weekly Computer Maintenance and my laundry, and at some point I will get my ashes at Church. Our LSU Tigers (9-19, 1-15) will be playing an Away College Basketball game with the Tennessee Volunteers (15-14, 7-9), and our New Orleans Pelicans (23-37, 3-8) will be playing a Home NBA game with the Detroit Pistons (28-31, 3-7).
On this Mardi Gras Evening our Parting Quote comes from George Kennedy, American actor. Born in 1925 in New York City, New York, his father was a musician and orchestra leader (who died when his son was four years old), and his mother was a ballet dancer (who raised him). Kennedy made his stage debut at age two in a touring company of Bringing Up Father, and by age seven was a New York City radio DJ. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope of becoming a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps. Instead, he wound up in the infantry, served under General George S. Patton, and distinguished himself with valor. He won two Bronze Stars and four rows of combat and service ribbons. He spent sixteen years in that career until the late 1950s, reaching the rank of captain, when a back injury prompted him to find other work. His first notable screen role was a military advisor on the TV sitcom The Phil Silvers Show for fourteen episodes from 1956 through 1959. His film career began in 1961 in The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. He appeared as a sadistic jail guard in the Kirk Douglas modern western Lonely Are the Brave (1962), as a ruthless criminal in the Cary Grant suspense film Charade (1963), and in a Joan Crawford thriller, Strait-Jacket (1964). In 1965 he appeared with Gregory Peck in the mystery Mirage, with a large cast led by James Stewart in the plane-crash adventure The Flight of the Phoenix, with John Wayne in the war film In Harm’s Way and with Wayne and Dean Martin in the western The Sons of Katie Elder. He played the character of Blodgett in the 1966 episode “Return to Lawrence” of the ABC western series The Legend of Jesse James. Then came the role for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Cool Hand Luke (1967), that of Dragline, a chain-gang convict who at first resents the new prisoner in camp played by Paul Newman, then comes to idolize the rebellious Luke. Kennedy followed with films such as The Dirty Dozen, Bandolero!, and The Boston Strangler. In 1970 he appeared in the Academy Award-winning disaster film Airport, in which he played one of its main characters, airline troubleshooter Joe Patroni. He reprised this role in Airport 1975, Airport ’77, and The Concorde … Airport ’79, being the only cast member to appear in each film of the series. The Airport franchise helped inspire the Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker satire Airplane!, in which the filmmakers hoped to cast Kennedy as the bumbling plane dispatcher. The role went to Lloyd Bridges, because Kennedy “couldn’t kill off his Airport cash-cow”, Jerry Zucker said in 2010. He also starred in two television series, Sarge, which aired from 1971-72 on NBC, and The Blue Knight, a CBS series that ran for 24 episodes from 1975-76. In the late 1970s Kennedy also appeared as a celebrity guest on the television game show Match Game. In 1983 he wrote the murder mystery Murder On Location, set on a film shoot. A second novel, Murder on High, was released in 1984. That same year Kennedy starred opposite Bo Derek in the box-office bomb Bolero; he was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor by the Razzie Awards. He made other minor films including Savage Dawn, The Delta Force, and Creepshow 2, before playing a role in the comedy film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! in 1988, playing Captain Ed Hocken opposite Leslie Nielsen’s comical cop Frank Drebin. There were two sequels in which Kennedy co-starred. Again on television, Kennedy starred as Carter McKay in the CBS prime time serial Dallas (1978–1991), appearing from 1988 to 1991. Kennedy also played President Warren G. Harding in the miniseries Backstairs at the White House (1979), From the mid- to late-1990s, he promoted Breathasure tablets in radio and television commercials. Around this time, he reprised his role as McKay in the television films Dallas: J.R. Returns and Dallas: War of the Ewings. In 1998 he voiced Brick Bazooka for the film Small Soldiers. He then made several independent films, before making a 2003 comeback to television in the soap opera The Young and the Restless, playing the character Albert Miller, the biological father to legendary character Victor Newman. In 2005 he made a cameo appearance in the film Don’t Come Knocking, playing the director of an ill-fated western. In 2011 he wrote his autobiography, Trust Me. Kennedy made his final film appearance in The Gambler (2014) as Ed, the dying grandfather of Mark Wahlberg’s Jim Bennett. His role lasted for less than two minutes during the film’s opening scene, wherein Ed (moments before his death) bequeaths the responsibilities of patriarch to a heartbroken Jim. Kennedy was married four times, to three different women (he had divorced, remarried, and divorced again from his second wife). At the time of his death, Kennedy was the oldest living Oscar winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. Coincidentally, he died the day of the 88th Academy Awards ceremony (died 2016): “When you think of a movie, most people imagine a two hour finished, polished product. But to get to that two hour product, it can take hundreds or thousands of people many months of full time work.”