Daily Update: Friday, August 11th, 2017

Clare and Charlene Richard and Perseid Meteor Shower

Today is the Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin (died 1253) and I personally honor Charlene Richard, our unofficial Cajun Saint (died 1959). The Perseid Meteor Shower continues, and today is the birthday of my friend CJ in Nevada (1957) and of Murphy, one of Richard’s grand-nephews here in town, the grandson of his brother Slug (1995).

Born as Chiara Offreduccio into a noble family in 1194 at Assisi, Italy, as a girl the future Saint Clare heard Saint Francis of Assisi preach in the streets and confided to him her desire to live for God, and the two became close friends. On Palm Sunday in 1212, her bishop presented Clare with a palm, which she apparently took as a sign. With her cousin Pacifica, Clare ran away from her mother’s palace during the night to enter religious life. She eventually took the veil from Saint Francis at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi. Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies (Poor Clares) at San Damiano, and led it for forty years. Everywhere the Franciscans established themselves throughout Europe, there also went the Poor Clares, depending solely on alms and forced to have complete faith on God to provide through people; this lack of land-based revenues was a new idea at the time. Clare’s mother and sisters later joined the order. When Clare learned of the Franciscan martyrs in Morocco in 1221, she tried to go there to give her own life for God, but was restrained. Once when her convent was about to be attacked, she displayed the Sacrament in a monstrance at the convent gates, and prayed before it; the attackers left, the house was saved, and the image of her holding a monstrance became one of her emblems. Toward the end of her life, when she was too ill to attend Mass, an image of the service she had missed displayed on the wall of her cell. She was ever the close friend and spiritual student of Francis, who apparently led her soul into the light at her death. There are still thousands of members of the Poor Clares living lives of silence and prayer. She is the Patron Saint of embroiders and of all who do close eye work, and of television. Also today I personally honor Charlene Richard (died 1959). She was born in the small Cajun farming community of Richard, Louisiana (both the name of the town and her last name are pronounced REE-chard), and lived a perfectly normal life until at the age of twelve she was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. Each day of the sixteen days she was in her hospital room at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana before her death, she offered her suffering for the benefit of someone else who was suffering. While no official Cause has been established for her, she continues to use her influence as our unofficial Cajun saint; I have no doubt whatsoever that she was with me when I had colon cancer back in 2001. Today is also the birthday of my friend CJ in Nevada (1957) and of Richard’s grand-nephew Murphy, the grandson of his brother Slug here in town (1995).

Last night I continued reading Selected Stories by Theodore Sturgeon via Kindle on my tablet, and continued reading The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems…and Create More by Luke Dormehl via Kindle on my tablet. Our New Orleans Saints lost their Away Preseason NFL game with the Cleveland Browns by the score of 14 to 20, and in the very late evening both Richard and I were awakened by a thunderstorm.

When I woke up today I posted to Facebook that the Perseid Meteor Shower continues, and I did my Book Devotional Reading. Richard found that my New Orleans Saints flag was too wet to bring in before we left for work; coming back through the living room in the dark, he tripped on the coffee table and fell face first into my chair, with a somewhat detrimental result to his glasses and his dignity. He kind of bent his glasses back into shape. (More anon.) On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Sixth Day of my Assumption Novena. Once we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I was on the $5.00 Minimum Bet Blackjack table, where I spent some time explaining to guests, “Yes, your blackjack on your $5.00 dollar bet paid you $6.00, instead of $7.50, because, as it says on this sign here on the table, when you are playing on the $5.00 Minimum Bet table Blackjack pays 6 to 5, not 3 to 2. If you want to be paid 3 to 2, you have to be on a regular Blackjack game with a minimum bet of $10.00 or higher.” Thankfully, before halfway in the shift I became the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. On my breaks I continued reading The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

When we clocked out at 11:00 am we went over to Compliance and filled out our packets (and had new head shot photos taken) to renew our casino badges. We then went to the Pharmacy, where Richard picked up a prescription. When we got back into town Richard took his glasses to the Walmart Vision Center, where they finished bending his glasses to the proper shape. Once home I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then rolled our change from the glass change bottle, coming up with $107.50 in rolled quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies (exclusive of quarters I took out for my National Parks Quarters collection, and a couple of 1976 Bicentennial Quarters, which I save on principle), and Richard brought in my New Orleans Saints flag. I also got a call from the nurse at the Clinic; I will be going to the Renal Clinic at the Clinic on Thursday, August 31st, with blood drawn for lab work on August 21st. I then watched MST3K Episode 409 Indestructible Man (a brutal convict (Lon Chaney, Jr.) dies in the electric chair and is brought back to life by mad scientists. He then sets out to get even with the three men who sent him to the chair; he is mute, but his skin is impervious to scalpels, police bullets, and bazooka shells) with the short film Undersea Kingdom, Part 2: “The Undersea City”. I opted not to go down to Richard for the Annual Mass of Petition for Charlene Richard. At 4:30 pm we watched Jeopardy!, and I will now finish this Daily Update and do some reading before going to bed.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious (died 1641), and the Perseid Meteor Shower continues, moonlight and weather permitting. And tomorrow is World Elephant Day. We will return to the casino to work our eight hours, and I will start re-reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. And after lunch I will do my Daily Update and go to bed for the duration.

This Friday Afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Robin Williams, American comic and actor. Born in 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region, and his mother had been a model in New Orleans, Louisiana. His maternal great-great-grandfather was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin. Williams grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and later moved to Woodacre, Marin County, California, where he attended public high school and overcame his shyness by becoming involved with his high-school drama department. He studied at Claremont McKenna College (then called Claremont Men’s College) and the College of Marin for theatre. In 1973 Williams was one of only twenty students accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School, and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year, the other being Christopher Reeve. Williams left Juilliard in 1976. His first film was the 1977 comedy Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? He started in TV comedy in 1977, but his breakout role was as the alien Mork in a couple of 1978 episodes of Happy Days. That same year he married his first wife. His character, with the dialogue written to accommodate his improvisations, was spun off into Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. Mork was an extremely popular character, featured on posters, coloring books, lunchboxes, and other merchandise. Starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his standup comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). In 1984, while married to his first wife, he began a relationship with a cocktail waitress, who sued him for allegedly transmitting a sexual disease to her. He maintained his television and movie appearances, starting as the title character in The World According to Garp (1982). The death of his friend and fellow partier John Belushi in 1982 induced him to give up cocaine, which he had been using since the late 1970s. In 1986 Williams co-hosted the 58th Academy Awards. His performance in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) resulted in Williams being nominated for an Academy Award. The next year he and his first wife were divorced. The year after that he married his son’s nanny, who was already several months pregnant with his child. He received another Academy Award nomination for his role of an English teacher in Dead Poets Society (1989). In 1990 he played the doctor in Awakenings. 1991 saw him in a serious role in The Fisher King (which garnered him another Academy Award nomination) and as a grown-up Peter Pan in Hook. His role as Batty Koda in the animated film Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992) and as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin (1992) were instrumental in establishing the importance of star power in voice actor casting. Unfortunately, contract disputes with Disney after Aladdin resulted in Dan Castellaneta voicing the Genie in The Return of Jafar and the Aladdin animated television series. He played the title role in 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, and 1995 saw him in both Jumanji and The Birdcage. He had remained friends with actor Christopher Reeve since their days at Julliard; one week after Reeve’s 1995 tragic horse riding accident, which paralyzed him, Williams visited him in the hospital. However, he was dressed from head to toe in scrubs, spoke with a Russian accent, had a surgical mask on, and claimed that he was there to perform a colonoscopy. Reeve stated that he laughed for the first time since the accident and knew that life was going to be okay. Williams played the small role of Osric in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet in 1996. His role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting (1997) won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In 1998 he was in both Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come. When “Blame Canada”, a song from South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999), was nominated for a Best Song Academy Award, it was Williams who performed the song at the ceremony because the actress who sang the song in the film, Mary Kay Bergman, had committed suicide a few months prior to the awards show. Williams used his voice talents again as the holographic Dr. Know in the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, in the 2005 animated film Robots, and the 2006 Academy Award-winning Happy Feet. In the meantime he headed his own one-man show, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway, that played at The Broadway Theatre in July 2002, and he won a Grammy in 2003 for Best Spoken Comedy Album for Robin Williams – Live 2002. In 2004 he dedicated his winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards to Christopher Reeve, who had died that year. He checked himself into rehab in 2006 to be treated for alcoholism. 2006 also saw his first appearance as Teddy Roosevelt in Night in the Museum, which he reprised in 2009’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. He was divorced from his second wife in 2008. Williams made peace with The Walt Disney Company and in 2009 agreed to be inducted into the Disney Hall of Fame, designated as a Disney Legend. He had open heart surgery in 2009. He made his Broadway acting debut in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 31st, 2011. That same year he married his third wife. He maintained a wide range of interests, including video games and the Tour de France. The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) credited him with 103 acting roles, seventeen soundtrack credits, eleven writer credits, three producer credits, two director credits, and three hundred and thirteen credits as “Self”. One of his last movies was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014). He committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt; the final autopsy report, released in November 2014, affirmed that neither alcohol nor illegal drugs were involved, while any prescription drugs present in Williams’ body were at “therapeutic” levels. The report also noted that Williams had been suffering “a recent increase in paranoia”. An examination of his brain tissue revealed the presence of “diffuse Lewy body dementia” (died 2014): “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

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