Daily Update: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

02-25 - Last Invasion of Britain

Another Saintless day, but today is the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. On this date in 1797 the Last Invasion of Britain ended when an invasion force consisting of 1,400 troops from the La Legion Noire (The Black Legion) military unit of the French Revolutionary Army, 800 of whom were irregulars, under the command of Irish American Colonel William Tate, surrendered to around 500 British reservists, militia and sailors under the command of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor.

Today is the first of three Ember Days for this season of the year. Ember days (a corruption from the Latin Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073 – 1085) for the consecutive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after December 13 (the feast of St. Lucy), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday (Pentecost), and after September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The 1797 invasion of Britian was the plan of General Lazare Hoche, who had devised a three-pronged attack on Britain in support of Irish Republicans under Wolfe Tone. Two forces would land in Britain as a diversionary effort, while the main body would land in Ireland. However, poor weather and indiscipline halted two of the forces, although the third, aimed at landing in Wales and marching on Bristol, went ahead. Transported on four French warships under the command of Commodore Jean-Joseph Castagnier, Tate’s forces landed at Carregwastad Head near Fishguard on February 22, after a failed attempt to enter Fishguard harbour itself. However, upon landing, discipline broke down amongst the irregulars, many of whom deserted to loot nearby settlements; after brief clashes with the local civilian population and Lord Cawdor’s forces on February 23, Tate was forced into an unconditional surrender by February 24. The heroine of the hour was Jemima Nicholas, who with her pitchfork, went out single-handedly into the fields around Fishguard and rounded up 12 French soldiers and ‘persuaded’ them to return with her to town where she locked them inside St Mary’s Church. Later, the British captured two of the expedition’s vessels, a frigate and a corvette. Despite all this, Commodore Castagnier managed to return to France. In 1853, amidst fears of another invasion by the French, Lord Palmerston conferred upon the Pembroke Yeomanry the battle honour “Fishguard”. This regiment has the unique honour of being the only Regiment in the British Army, regular or territorial, that bears a battle honour for an engagement on the British mainland.

I woke up at 7:00 am today, started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and did my Internet Devotional Reading. I finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance by setting the Weekly Backup going.

Richard and I left the house at 9:00 am; it was raining, overcast, and 38°. At the Hit-n-Run I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing, and at the drive-through at McDonald’s we got breakfast to eat on our way. At 10:30 pm, with the help of Google Maps, we arrived at Deborah and Virginia’s apartment in Lake Charles. They were there, as well as our co-worker Danielle. Richard and Virginia and I then went to get the U-haul; I waited in the truck, and continued reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. Richard and Virginia arrived back at the apartment with the U-haul; I was about ten or fifteen minutes behind them, as I was in search of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke (which I found at the third place I looked, which was a Walgreens). The five of us then started loading up the U-haul, with Richard doing the heavy stuff (getting the washer and dryer out and and into the U-haul). We were getting the last piece of the first load onto the truck (the heavy chair that was part of the living room set) when Richard’s back went out. After some discussion, Deborah established that her son and grandson could help them continue with the moving, and Richard and I regretfully left at 2:15 pm. We went to the Clinic at the casino, arriving at 3:00 pm; they were able to see Richard in about fifteen minutes, and gave him a prescription for a muscle relaxant, which he filled at the Pharmacy. We then headed on home (with me texting Deborah to let her know how Richard was doing), got gas for the truck, and arrived home at 4:30 pm. I read the morning paper and watched Jeopardy! and ate the last of the Amish Friendship Bread, then put a heat therapy pad that Richard had gotten at the Pharmacy on Richard’s back. I then came to the computer to do today’s Daily Update; Richard meanwhile drank some beer medicinally to go with the muscle relaxant, as he has no intention of driving anytime in the next 24 hours. When I finish this Daily Update I will start the Weekly Virus Scan and take a hot bath and finish reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, which I continued reading on our way home. Our New Orleans Pelicans are playing a home game with the Brooklyn Nets tonight; I will report on the scores of that game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is Thursday, with no Saints to honor again; on this date in 1972 the Buffalo Creek Dam burst in West Virginia, killing some 125 people. I will get my salad supplies and make my lunch salads, and our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing an away game with Ole Miss, while our LSU Baseball team will play a home game with Southeastern Louisiana.

Our Wednesday Evening Parting Quote comes to us from C. Everett Koop, American pediatric surgeon and public health administrator. Born as Charles Everett Koop in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York, he suffered a childhood skiing accident and brain hemorrhage that kept him in the hospital for a year; this sparted his intrest in medicine. In 1937 he earned his A.B. degree from Dartmouth College, where he was given the nickname “Chick” (occasionally used for his first name, Charles, but here an allusion to a chicken coop).  He earned his MD degree from Cornell Medical College in 1941 and doctor of science degree in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. From 1946 to 1981, Koop was the surgeon-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Koop was able to establish the nation’s first neonatal surgical intensive care unit there in 1956. He helped establish the biliary atresia program at CHOP when pioneering surgeon Morio Kasai came to work with him in the 1970s. He also established the pediatric surgery fellowship training program at CHOP. During his tenure there he graduated thirty-five residents and fourteen foreign fellows, many of whom went on to become professors of pediatric surgery, directors of divisions of pediatric surgery, and surgeons-in-chief of children’s hospitals. Koop became a professor of pediatric surgery in 1959 and professor of pediatrics in 1971 at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. While a surgeon in Philadelphia, Koop performed groundbreaking surgical procedures on conjoined twins, invented techniques which today are commonly used for infant surgery, and saved the lives of countless children who otherwise might have been allowed to die. He invented anesthetic and surgical techniques for small bodies and metabolisms and participated in the separation of several sets of conjoined twins whose condition other physicians at the time considered hopeless. He first gained international recognition in 1957 by the separation of two female pygopagus infants (conjoined at the pelvis) and then, again, in 1974 by the separation of two ischiopagus twins (conjoined at the spine) sharing a liver, colon, and parts of the intestines with their entire trunks merged. Koop was active in publishing articles in the medical literature. Additionally, he became the first editor of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery when it was founded in 1966. In early 1968 Koop’s son David was killed in a rock climbing accident on Cannon Mountain during his junior year at Dartmouth College; in 1974 Koop and his wife wrote Sometimes Mountains Move to help others who had lost a child. In 1976 Koop wrote The Right to Live, The Right to Die, setting down his concerns about abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Koop also took some time off from his surgical practice to make a series of films with Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer in 1978, entitled Whatever Happened to the Human Race? President Ronald Reagan, shortly after his first inauguration, appointed Koop Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in February 1981. As expected, Koop was nominated for U.S. surgeon general by Reagan later in 1981. Many liberal politicians and women’s groups opposed the nomination because of Koop’s very conservative views and strong anti-abortion beliefs. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 16, 1981, by a vote of 60–24. He was sworn into office on January 21 the following year. Although an opponent of abortion, he resisted pressure from the Reagan administration in 1987 to prepare a report stating that abortion was psychologically harmful to women. He said it was not a public health issue but a moral one. A draft report was prepared, but Koop did not present the draft report to Reagan and claimed he never approved it. In March 1989 the “Koop Report” became public after it was subpoenaed and became part of a Congressional subcommittee hearing. Although there were allegations that the report had not been released previously because it was biased, the document contained all arguments on both sides of the issue. His background in pediatric surgery led him to become actively involved championing policies to protect the rights of newborns with defects, which led to Congress passing the Baby Doe Amendment in 1984. In his 1988 Report of the Surgeon General, it was reported that nicotine has an addictiveness similar to that of heroin or cocaine. Koop’s report was somewhat unexpected, especially by those who expected him to maintain the status quo in regard to his office’s position on tobacco products. During his tenure, in 1984, Congress passed legislation providing for new, rotated health warning labels on cigarette packs and required advertising to include the labels. Koop was Surgeon General when public health authorities first began to take notice of AIDS. For his first four years in office, Koop, the nation’s top health officer, was prevented from addressing this health crisis, for reasons he insisted were never fully clear to him but that were no doubt political. Koop wrote the official U.S. policy on the disease, and in 1988 he took unprecedented action in mailing AIDS information to every U.S. household. Gay activists and their supporters were unhappy with the way in which he targeted gay sex and the risk of infection through anal sexual intercourse as primary vectors of the disease, but Koop was unapologetic claiming such activities entail risks several orders of magnitude greater than other means of transmission. Religious activists, upset over the pamphlet’s frank discussion of sexual practices and advocacy of condom use, called for Koop’s resignation. Koop also infuriated some former supporters by advocating sex education in schools, possibly as early as the third grade, including later instruction regarding the proper use of condoms to combat the spread of AIDS. These issues, combined with Koop’s personality and his willingness to make use of mass media, brought to the office of Surgeon General a higher public profile than it previously had merited; he is, for instance, the first Surgeon General to have been the subject of a popular song, “Promiscuous”, by Frank Zappa. Koop was well known for his mustache-less beard and colorful bow ties. During much of his day-to-day work, Koop wore the Surgeon General’s US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, a uniform similar to that of a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral’s. During his tenure he re-instated the daily wearing of the PHS uniform by the officers of the PHS. His career as Surgeon General ended in 1989. Koop was on The Firestorm Solutions Expert Council and hosted a documentary series in 1991, simply titled C. Everett Koop, M.D. It aired for six episodes on NBC. Koop and other investors established drkoop.com in 1997, during the dot-com bubble. This medical information website was one of the first major online sources of health information. Critical review of the site content revealed that many of the private care listings, medicinal recommendations, and medical trial referrals were paid advertisements. The website went bankrupt in 2001 and the address now re-directs to another health-related website. Koop continued to endorse Life Alert bracelets for the elderly. In 1999 testimony before Congress, Koop minimized concerns from health groups about the severity of allergies to latex gloves. It was later discovered that a company that manufactured latex gloves had previously paid Koop $650,000 for consulting work. He continued to author and co-author papers through 2012 (died 2013): “You can’t talk of the dangers of snake poisoning and not mention snakes.”

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