Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Norbert, Bishop (died 1134).
Today’s Saint was born about 1080 in Xanten, Germany into nobility, raised around the royal court, and served as almoner for Emperor Henry V. In the court he developed a very worldly view, and took holy orders as a career move, joining the Benedictines at Siegburg. A narrow escape from death (lightning struck a tree near his horse, and he was thrown) led to a conversion experience, and he began taking his vows seriously. He tried to reform his order’s local house, then became a wandering preacher. He founded a community of Augustinian canons at Premontre, France; they became known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians, and started a reform movement that swept through European monastic houses. In 1126 he was made Archbishop of Magdeburg, Germany. He reformed the clergy in his see, using force when necessary, and worked with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Hugh of Grenoble to heal the schism caused by the death of Pope Honorius II. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Magdeburg, Germany, and his aid is invoked during childbirth for a safe delivery.
Richard and I had talked about my PTO situation yesterday when he came to bed; this morning he suggested that either we take only three days of PTO in August, or else we might forego our August trip to South Carolina. (Either way, I am still leaving in two weeks to go visit with Liz Ellen.) I did my Book Devotional Reading, and on our way to work (after we discovered that the ATM at our bank was not working) I did my Internet Devotional Reading. We signed the Early Out list before clocking in. Once we did clock in, Richard was on a Blackjack table, and I was in the same pit, also dealing Blackjack. Because they were training the dice dealers and floors on a new dice layout, no one at all got out early until 7:30 am, and we did not get out early. I also confirmed that our LSU Tigers will play Mississippi State at the NCAA College Baseball Tournament Super Regional on Friday.
On our way home we stopped at the ATM for cash; we also went to our usual in-town utilities to deposit our payment checks. Once home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then watched MST3K Episode 303 Pod People (Los nuevos extraterrestres) (A child adopts a large egg which hatches into a mischievous alien, while a group of pop musicians on a wilderness vacation runs into trouble). Richard went to bed, and I then watched MST3K Episode 304 Gamera vs. Barugon (Daikaijū Kessen: Gamera tai Barugon) (A group of men collude to steal a giant jewel from an Asian jungle. The jewel is actually an egg, which hatches into mutant lizard Barugon, who battles Gamera). I then watched Jeopardy!, and then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; and when I finish, I will be going to bed.
Tomorrow is an Ember Day, the first of three for this season of the year, and tomorrow is the Remembrance of Venerable Matt Talbot (died 1925). Richard will be going to Baton Rouge to meet with Butch, take him to an appointment, and then get some financial stuff taken care of. I will do my laundry and the Weekly Computer Maintenance, and then I will go down to Lafayette to pick up a book from the library and to put in some comfy chair time. In the evening we will be seeing Matthew, Callie, and our granddaughter.
Our Parting Quote on this Tuesday evening comes to us from Peter Shaffer, English playwright and screenwriter. Born in 1926 in Liverpool, Lancashire, to a Jewish family, his twin brother was playwright Anthony Shaffer (died 2001). He gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study history. Shaffer was a Bevin Boy (who were young British men conscripted to work in the coal mines of the United Kingdom between December 1943 and March 1948) during World War II, and took a number of jobs including bookstore clerk, and assistant at the New York Public Library. Shaffer’s first play, The Salt Land (1954), was presented on the BBC. Encouraged by this success, Shaffer continued to write and established his reputation as a playwright in 1958, with the production of Five Finger Exercise, which opened in London under the direction of John Gielgud and won the Evening Standard Drama Award. When Five Finger Exercise moved to New York City in 1959, it was equally well received and landed Shaffer the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. Shaffer’s next piece was a double bill, The Private Ear/The Public Eye, two plays each containing three characters and concerning aspects of love. They were presented in May 1962 at the Globe Theatre, and both starred Maggie Smith (who won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Leading Actress at the age of 27 for this play) and Kenneth Williams. The National Theatre was established in 1963, and virtually all of Shaffer’s subsequent work was done in its service. His canon contains a unique mix of philosophical dramas and satirical comedies. The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964) presented the tragic conquest of Peru by the Spanish, while Black Comedy (1965) took a humorous look at the antics of a group of characters feeling their way around a pitch black room, although the stage was actually flooded with light. Equus (1973) won Shaffer the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. A journey into the mind of a 17-year-old stable boy who had plunged a spike into the eyes of six horses, Equus ran for over 1,000 performances on Broadway. It was revived by Massachusetts’ Berkshire Theatre Festival in the summers of 2005 and 2007, by director Thea Sharrock at London’s Gielgud Theatre in February 2007, and on Broadway (in the Sharrock staging) in September 2008. The latter production, which ran in New York until February 2009, required the stable boy to appear naked; its star, Daniel Radcliffe, was still associated with the Harry Potter films intended for general audiences, and this led to mild controversy. Shaffer followed this success with Amadeus (1979) which won the Evening Standard Drama Award and the Theatre Critics’ Award for the London production. This play told the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and court composer Antonio Salieri who, overcome with jealousy at hearing the “voice of God” coming from an “obscene child”, set out to destroy his rival. When the show moved to Broadway it won the 1981 Tony Award for Best Play and, like Equus, ran for more than 1,000 performances. After the success of Amadeus, Shaffer wrote the play Lettice and Lovage specifically for Dame Maggie Smith in 1986, for which he was nominated for another Tony Award; Smith eventually won the Tony Award for best actress for this play after three nominations in 1990. Lettice and Lovage also enabled Margaret Tyzack to win the award for best supporting actress, and the production was nominated for best direction of a play at the 1990 Tony Awards. Several of Shaffer’s plays have been adapted to film, including Five Finger Exercise (1962), The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969), The Public Eye (1962), from which he adapted the 1972 film Follow Me! (1972), Equus (1977), and Amadeus (1984), which won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. Shaffer received two Academy Award nominations for adapting his plays Equus and Amadeus for the big screen. For writing the screenplay for Equus, he was nominated for the 1977 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar but the award went to Alvin Sargent, who wrote the screenplay for Julia. For writing the screenplay for Amadeus, Shaffer received both the 1984 Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the 1984 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Shaffer received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre in 1992. Two years later he was appointed Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University. In 1993 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) by the University of Bath. Shaffer was awarded the CBE in 1987 and named Knight Bachelor in the 2001 New Year’s Honours. In 2007 he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame (died 2016): “Tragedy, for me, is not a conflict between right and wrong, but between two different kinds of right.”