Daily Update: Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

08-03 - Ferdinand and Isabella bid Columbus farewell

With no Saints today, we note that on this date in 1492 Christopher Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera, Spain, with three ships on his voyage across the Atlantic to the East Indies. And today is my husband Richard’s birthday (1957).

The three ships that were given to Christopher Columbus for his voyage east across the Atlantic Ocean were one larger carrack, Santa María, nicknamed Gallega (the Galician), and two smaller caravels, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed Niña after her owner Juan Niño of Moguer. The vessels were given by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile to Columbus over the heads of their owners, who were forced by the monarchs, along with the other inhabitants of Palos de la Frontera, to contribute to the expedition. It took seven years for Columbus to secure financing for his project; he was convinced that by sailing for two or three months due west that he would reach the East Indies, pick up gold and spices, quickly sail back to Europe, and break the monopoly held on East Indies goods by the Venetians (who, of course, sailed to Asia going east, around Africa and India). The problem was not that the educated world thought the world was flat (they knew better), but that all of the experts were of the opinion that Columbus’s estimate of the distance to be traveled was far too short (which, in fact, it was). According to the contract that Columbus made with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, if Columbus discovered any new islands or mainland, he would receive many high rewards. In terms of power, he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of all the new lands. He had the right to nominate three persons, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. His demand to be entitled to 10% of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity was denied to him in the contract, but he was granted the option of buying one-eighth interest in any commercial venture with the new lands and thus receiving one-eighth of the profits of such a venture. (It’s a fairly safe bet that when Ferdinand and Isabella bade him farewell that they honestly never expected to see him again.) When he was arrested in 1500 for incompetence and tyranny as Viceroy and Governor of the (West) Indies, he was stripped of all these claims; his heirs contested the terms of the contract in various major and minor lawsuits until 1790. To the day he died he was convinced that he had indeed sailed to Asia going west from Europe, but that the natives of the lands he discovered were so backward that they didn’t even know they were tantalizingly close to China. And today is the birthday of Richard, my husband, who for some 35 years has seen fit to put up with me, and who is the most important thing in my life; and now, for one month and two days, he is two years older than I am (1957).

When he woke up Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. I woke up at 9:00 am and did my Book Devotional Reading. Richard went to get boudin, and I read the Thursday papers. I then watched MST3K Episode 322 Master Ninja I
(The Master “Max” and The Master “Out-of-Time Step”), which was a movie combining the first two episodes of a thirteen-episode TV show starring Lee Van Cleef as an American ninja and Timothy Van Patten as the scruffy hot-headed guy (who gets tossed out of windows a lot) who becomes an apprentice ninja. I also did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Transfiguration Novena. Slug delivered a cake and a birthday card for Richard (the cake was, and is, very good), Michelle texted Richard to wish him a Happy Birthday and to see when and where we would be eating lunch, and my Galaxy Note 4 battery was delivered by Amazon.

Richard and I left the house at 12:30 pm, and I continued reading The Waking Engine by David Edison. At 1:00 pm I had my appointment with my Oncologist in Opelousas (starting with my next appointment, I will be seeing my oncologist at the Lafayette office); all is well (I am not riddled with cancer, which is a very good thing to know, in my opinion), and my next appointment will be on February 7th. We then ate Chinese at the Creswell Lane Restaurant with Michelle, who paid for our meal on account of it being Richard’s birthday. When we returned to town we went to Walmart, where Richard got my salad supplies and some grocery and household items.

Arriving home at 2:45 pm, I uploaded my July 2017 photos to the hard drive of the computer, and Matthew called Richard to wish him a Happy Birthday. I then ironed my casino pants, apron, and shirts, and made my lunch salads for Saturday and Sunday. Richard was watching Game of Thrones – Motorcycle Edition Sons of Anarchy via Netflix. We watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm, and then I came to the computer. I ordered a New Orleans Saints flag and a collapsable drinking cup from Amazon, and I am now finishing up today’s Daily Update. And I will do some reading before going to sleep.

Tomorrow is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Tomorrow is also the Memorial of Saint John Vianney, Priest (died 1859), and tomorrow is also Coast Guard Day. Since tomorrow is the First Friday of August, tomorrow is International Beer Day. And tomorrow is also the start of the two-day Louisiana Back to School Sales Tax Holiday that happens each year on the first and second consecutive Friday and Saturday in August. Richard and I will be returning to the casino for the start of our work week. In the afternoon I will probably watch another MST3K Episode.

Our Parting Quote this Thursday afternoon comes to us from Coleen Gray, American actress. Born as Doris Jensen in 1922 in Staplehurst, Nebraska, her father was a farmer. After graduating from high school she studied drama at Hamline University, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts. She travelled to California and worked as a waitress in a restaurant in La Jolla. After several weeks there, she moved to Los Angeles and enrolled in the University of California. She also worked in the school’s library and at a YWCA while a student. She had leading roles in the Los Angeles stage productions Letters to Lucerne and Brief Music, which won her a 20th Century Fox contract in 1944. Gray married Rod Amateau, a screenwriter, on August 10th, 1945. After playing a bit part in State Fair (1945), she became pregnant and briefly stopped working, only to return a year later as the love interest of the character played by John Wayne in Red River (1948), which was shot in 1946 but held for release until 1948. Gray appeared in two 1947 films noir: in Kiss of Death as ex-con Victor Mature’s wife and as Richard Widmark’s target; and in Nightmare Alley as Tyrone Power’s carnival performer wife Electra. She and her husband divorced in February of 1949. In 1950 Gray used her musical abilities as she sang her part (rather than having her voice dubbed) opposite Bing Crosby in Riding High, directed by Frank Capra; however, the film was not a success, and Fox ended her contract in 1950. She appeared on two radio shows, a 1952 episode of Theatre Guild on the Air, and a 1953 episode of Lux Radio Theatre. Gray worked steadily in the 1950s, but mostly in smaller movies, and married William Clymer Bidlack, an aviation executive, in 1953. She played a crooked nurse in The Sleeping City (1950) and appeared in Kansas City Confidential (1952) and in the Stanley Kubrick film noir The Killing (1956), in which she played a lonely woman desperate for love. Her hidden depths were seen to advantage in the 1953 Western The Vanquished, when at one point she attacked Jan Sterling with a pair of scissors in a crazed attempt to exonerate the man she loved (John Payne). Other films included Father Is a Bachelor (1950), the cult horror film The Leech Woman (1960), The Phantom Planet (1961), and P.J. (1968). In 1964, along with actors Victor Jory and Susan Seaforth, Gray testified before the United States Congress as part of Project Prayer, arguing in favor of a constitutional amendment allowing school prayer. Gray appeared in The Late Liz (1971), and acted in the films Forgotten Lady (1977) and Mother (1978) with Patsy Ruth Miller. Mother had a premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Both Mother and Forgotten Lady were written for Gray by Brian Pinette, who also served as director and producer. She appeared in the religious film Cry From the Mountain(1986), directed by James F. Collier; it was her last film work. From the 1950s, Gray guest-starred in episodes of television series such as Four Star PlayhouseMaverickAlfred Hitchcock PresentsMr. EdRawhide in 1962 in the episode “The Devil and the Deep Blue” as Helen Wade, 77 Sunset StripBonanzaThe DeputyHave Gun Will TravelThe DakotasFamily AffairIronside,The Name of the Game, and Branded. On May 23rd, 1962, she was cast as Miss Wycliffe in the series finale, “A Job for Summer”, of the CBS comedy / drama series Window on Main Street, starring Robert Young as a widowed author in his hometown. She made four guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the title role of defendant Lorraine Kendall in the 1960 episode, “The Case of the Wandering Widow.” Gray was a regular on the daytime dramas Bright Promise and Days of Our Lives. Her second husband died in 1978, and the next year she married widowed biblical scholar Joseph Fritz Zeiser; they remained together until his death in March 2012. They were active with the non-profit organization Prison Fellowship, founded in 1976 by Chuck Colson, a convicted felon in the Watergate scandal. Prison Fellowship assisted the church in ministering to prisoners and their families and victims. Gray was a member of the board of directors at her alma mater, Hamline University. In November 2008 she attended an event at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre marking the 50th anniversary of the untimely passing of actor Tyrone Power. Her last television work was on a 1986 episode of Tales from the Dark Side (died 2015): “When I attended the University, I daydreamed about being a movie star. I would do my dressing room in Early American and give lovely presents to my make-up man and hairdresser for making me look so lovely, and so on. When I got my contract at 20th I was in seventh heaven, but I found out that a movie career is mostly hard work laced with disappointments.”

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