Daily Update: Thursday, May 4th, 2017

05-04 - Star Wars Day and Meteor Shower and National Day of Prayer and Jazz Fest 2017 - Android

With no Saints to honor today, we note that today is Star Wars Day! And the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower is today. Today is the National Day of Prayer, regarded by me with a certain degree of distrust. And today is the First Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

May the 4th is considered an unofficial holiday by Star Wars fans to celebrate Star Wars culture and remember the films (May the Fourth Be With You). Naturally, I have seen all most of the Star Wars movies, starting back in 1977 with the original Star Wars. 1980 brought us Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (allegedly, with “Episode V” in the crawl at the beginning of the movie), and in 1983 I saw Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (again allegedly, with “Episode VI” in the crawl, and almost certainly with Richard, since he and I had met in 1982 and were engaged by that point in time). In 1997 I saw the original Star Wars movie again, in the theater; when the crawl came up with “Episode IV: A New Hope”, the whole theater exploded in laughter (which is why I am almost certain that the Episode crawls were not in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi). Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace appeared in 1999; Wikipedia states “The release of the first new Star Wars film in sixteen years was accompanied by a considerable amount of hype.” 2002 brought us Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith managed to tie up all the loose plot ends to bring us to the beginning of the original Star Wars movie. In October 2012 The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced that it would produce three new films. The first film, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (set thirty years after the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) came out in December 2015, and of course we went to the theatre to see it. Rogue One (2016) is an “anthology” film, set before the 1977 Star Wars film. Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi is scheduled for release on December 15th, 2017.  Of the eight movies (so far) in the franchise (I have not seen Rogue One), my favorite is still Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; gotta love those Ewoks. I also saw Hardware Wars, a 1978 short film parody of a teaser trailer for Star Wars. The thirteen-minute film, which was released almost eighteen months after Star Wars, consisted of little more than inside jokes and visual puns that heavily depended upon audience familiarity with the original. The theme song was Richard Wagner’s famous “Ride of the Valkyries”. The tagline was “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll kiss three bucks goodbye.” (You can find this gem on YouTube.) And some fun trivia for you: Most of the Stormtroopers are left-handed; the weapon the stormtroopers used was essentially the Sterling L2A3 9mm SMG (sub-machine gun) a military weapon with a curved left entry side mount developed in the late 1940s in the United Kingdom and adopted by the British and Canadian Armies in the 1950s. In The Phantom Menace, Yoda has three toes. But in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, he has four. The word “Ewok” is never uttered by a character in the original trilogy, although the species is identified in the script and closing credits. The Millennium Falcon was originally modeled after a hamburger with an olive next to it. The sound of Darth Vader’s breathing was created by placing a small microphone in the second stage (mouthpiece) of a scuba regulator, and then recording the sound made by breathing through the regulator. And the word “Jedi” is derived from the Japanese words “Jidai Geki” which translates as “period adventure drama,’ which is a Japanese TV soap opera program set in the days of the samurai. Revenge of the Sith is the only movie in the series not rated PG. And May the Fourth be with you, my Five or Six Loyal Readers and my Minions of Followers. On another Star Wars front, today is the Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, best seen in the predawn hours to the southeast. As today is the First Thursday of May, today is the National Day of Prayer. On April 17th, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming that a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each following president at an appropriate date of his choice. In 1982 a National Prayer Committee was formed to coordinate and implement a fixed commemorated day of prayer. In 1988 the law was amended so that the National Day of Prayer would be held on the first Thursday of May. A stated intention of the National Day of Prayer was that it would be a day when adherents of all great religions could unite in prayer. I will note that, although I support a National Day of Prayer (we need all the help we can get), I am not in support of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, chaired by Shirley Dobson, which has very strong ties to the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family (run by James Dobson, the husband of Shirley Dobson), and which, in my humble opinion, actively seeks to make the National Day of Prayer into an Evangelical Christian event. The FAQ section of the National Day of Prayer website notes that “This government-proclaimed day is offered to all Americans, regardless of religion, to celebrate their faith through prayer. However, the efforts of the NDP Task Force are executed specifically in accordance with its Judeo-Christian beliefs.” (I imagine the National Day of Prayer Task Force would not appreciate any participation by Thomas Jefferson, who was a lifelong Deist, and who sought what he called a “wall of separation between Church and State,” which he believed was a principle expressed by the First Amendment.) Today is also the First Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Having the second weekend of Jazz Fest start on a Thursday is an innovation that began in 1991; it was dropped in the two years following 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, but returned in 2008. Today’s headliners include Marcia Ball, Wayne Toups, Tower of Power, Darius Rucker, and Widespread Panic.

Last night before going to sleep I continued reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet.

Before I woke up today, Richard had gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. I woke up at 8:00 am (so, several hours too late to see any Eta Aquarid Meteors), posted to Facebook that today was Star Wars Day, and did my Book Devotional Reading. I then read the morning papers. Richard got a call from Lele that her appointment was still on, and we left the house at 9:15 am. I did my Internet Devotional Reading on our way to get gas for the car and back; we picked up Lele, dropped by the bank so that she could cash a check, and headed for Lafayette. At 10:30 am Lele had her appointment, and I continued reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my phone; her next appointment will be on November 9th. We then ate lunch at Zeus, and had a good visit.

We got back to town at 1:30 pm, dropped Lele off at her house, then went to Wal-Mart. I picked up The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah at the Wal-Mart Vision Center, and we got groceries, household items, cash for Richard, and my salad supplies at Wal-Mart. When we got home, Richard noted that the aluminum roofing of our next-door neighbor’s side porch had collapsed with the torrential rains we had yesterday. Richard made and received several Butch-related phone calls. I ironed my Casino pants, apron, and shirts, and made my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday. After we watched Jeopardy!, I came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; when I finish, I will continue reading 13 Things that Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks via Kindle on my tablet until I get to the end of my chapter before going to sleep.

Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tomorrow is the Midpoint of the Spring Season, and tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo (¡Ole!), a holiday that is observed in Tex-Mex areas much more than in Mexico itself (usually with parties, and with an overabundance of cheap tequila). Tomorrow, being the day after Star Wars Day, is the Revenge of the Fifth. And tomorrow is the Second Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Richard and I will head to the casino to start our work week, and on my breaks I will start reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for my Third Tuesday Book Club. After I watch Jeopardy at 4:30 pm tomorrow afternoon, I will head over to the Saint Edmund Spring Fair to play bingo for an hour or two, then I will come home, do my Daily Update, and go to sleep. Our #18 LSU Lady Tigers (37-15, 11-10) will begin an Away College Softball series of games with the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks (29-21, 5-14)to finish up their Regular Season schedule, and our #11 LSU Tigers (30-15, 13-8) will begin a Home College Baseball series of games with the #21 South Carolina Gamecocks (25-16, 10-10).

Our Thursday Afternoon Quote  comes to us from Dom DeLuise, American actor, comedian, film director, television producer, chef, and author. Born as Dominick DeLuise in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts, and later attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. His first acting credit was as a regular performer in the television show The Entertainers in 1964. He generally appeared in comedic parts, although an early appearance (in the movie Fail-Safe (1964) as a nervous enlisted airman) showed a possible broader range. He gained early notice for his supporting turn in the Doris Day film The Glass Bottom Boat (1966). In 1972 TV producer Greg Garrison hired him to appear as a specialty act on The Dean Martin Show. DeLuise ran through his “Dominick the Great” routine, a riotous example of a magic act gone wrong, with host Martin as a bemused volunteer from the audience. Dom’s catch phrase, with an Italian accent, was “No Applause Necessary, Save-a to the End.” The show went so well that DeLuise was soon a regular on Martin’s program for two years, participating in both songs and sketches. In the 1970s and 1980s he often co-starred in movies with Burt Reynolds. Together they appeared in the films The End (1978), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Cannonball Run II (1984), and All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989, voice only). DeLuise was the host of the television show Candid Camera from 1991 to 1992. He lent his voice for animated films and was a particular staple of Don Bluth’s features, playing major roles in The Secret of NIMH (1982), An American Tail(1986), the above mentioned All Dogs Go to Heaven(1989), and A Troll in Central Park (1994), along with their respective sequels and spinoff series. He also lent his voice to Fagin in the Walt Disney film Oliver & Company(1988) and made guest appearances on several animated TV series. DeLuise was probably best known as a regular in Mel Brooks’s films. He appeared in The Twelve Chairs (1970), Blazing Saddles (1974), Silent Movie(1976), History of the World, Part I (1981),Spaceballs (Mel Brook’s Star Wars parody; DeLuise was the voice for Pizza the Hut) (1987), and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Brooks’s wife, actress Anne Bancroft, directed Dom in Fatso (1980). He also had a cameo in Johnny Dangerously (1984) as the Pope and in Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie (1979) as a wayward Hollywood talent agent who comes across Kermit the Frog singing “The Rainbow Connection” in the film’s opening scene. DeLuise exhibited his comedic talents while playing the speaking part of the jailer Frosch in the comedic operetta Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera, playing the role in four separate revivals of the work at the Met between December 1989 and January 1996. In the production, while the singing was in German, the spoken parts were in English. A lifelong opera fan, he also portrayed the role of L’Opinion Publique in drag for the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. An avid cook and author of several books on cooking, in recent years he appeared as a regular contributor to a syndicated home improvement radio show, On The House with The Carey Brothers, giving listeners tips on culinary topics. He was also a friend and self-proclaimed “look-alike” of famous Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme. He also wrote seven children’s books (died 2009): “When I was 14 years old, I decided I could cook. It was either that or puberty.”

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