Daily Update: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015


There are no Saints to honor today, but on this date in 1775 the Battle of Bunker Hill took place during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War.

On June 13, 1775, the leaders of the colonial forces besieging Boston learned that the British generals were planning to send troops out from the city to occupy the unoccupied hills surrounding the city. In response to this intelligence, some twelve hundred colonial troops under the command of William Prescott stealthily occupied Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill, constructed an earthen redoubt on Breed’s Hill, and built lightly fortified lines across most of the Charlestown Peninsula. When the British were alerted to the presence of the new position the next day, they mounted an attack against them. After two assaults on the colonial lines were repulsed with significant British casualties, the British finally captured the positions on Breed’s Hill on the third assault, after the defenders in the redoubt ran out of ammunition. The colonial forces retreated to Cambridge over Bunker Hill, suffering their most significant losses on Bunker Hill. While the result was a victory for the British, they suffered a large amount of losses: over 800 wounded and 226 killed, including a notably large number of officers. The battle is seen as an example of a Pyrrhic victory; while their immediate objective (the capture of Bunker Hill) was achieved, the loss of nearly a third of their forces did not significantly alter the state of siege. Meanwhile colonial forces were able to retreat and regroup in good order having suffered few casualties. Furthermore, the battle demonstrated that relatively inexperienced colonial forces were willing and able to stand up to regular army troops in a pitched battle. The first Bunker Hill Monument was erected in 1794, and the current 221 foot granite obelisk was erected between 1827 and 1843. It is now run by the National Park Service and is, of course, on Breed’s Hill.

I neglected to mention in yesterday’s Daily Update that after we got home from lunch, Richard had called the Verizon Customer Service number, and we got our bill whittled down by getting rid of services we do not need (like itemized billing and Tech Coach assistance). And last night before going to bed I started reading 4000 Years of Uppity Women: Rebellious Belles, Daring Dames, and Headstrong Heroines Through the Ages by Vicki León.

I awakened at 9:00 am today, read the morning paper while eating my breakfast toast, and started the Weekly Computer Maintenance. I then did my Bathroom Devotional Reading.

At 10:30 am I left the house and headed for Lafayette. At the Lafayette Public Library I returned The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith, and took out Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, And Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston. At Crossroads Catholic Bookstore I got the newer editions of Saint of the Day and of Lives of the Saints II, which make up part of my usual Bathroom Devotional Reading. Then, at Piccadilly Cafeteria, I ate lunch (I am there often enough that the ladies remarked on me eating liver and onions instead of roast beef) and started reading The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. At 2:30 pm I settled down in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble. I did my Internet Devotional Reading, finished doing my usual Wednesday maintenance I do on my Galaxy Note 4, and continued reading The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. At about 4:30 pm I left Barnes and Noble. At the Wal-Mart on Ambassador Caffrey I was able to get Liz Ellen one box of 12-hour Sudafed© (pseudoephedrine), but was unable to get two boxes for her. At the Kajan Mart in Rayne I got gas for the car and purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. When I came into my town I went to our Wal-Mart, but they were unable to sell me any more 12-hour Sudafed© (pseudoephedrine). (Maybe I should find someone who runs a meth lab and ask them for some.)

Arriving home at 5:30 pm, I found that Richard had taken our old newspapers and bags of aluminum cans to the recycling center, vacuumed the house and mowed the grass. I downloaded some music that I have been wanting, and also found Liz Ellen four vocal versions of “Take Me Out To the Ball Game”. I then did a photo CD for myself of my May 2015 photos, did a photo CD for Liz Ellen of my May 2015 photos, and did an audio CD for Liz Ellen of the four vocal versions of “Take Me Out To the Ball Game”. The Backup (the last part of my Weekly Computer Maintenance) has not yet finished, but I will finish this Daily Update and get ready to go to bed anyway.

Tomorrow is Thursday, another Saintless day, although tomorrow is Φ Day (or Golden Ratio Day, if you prefer). And we note that, according to the Fiqh Council of North America, tomorrow at sunset the Islamic month of Ramadan begins (inshallah). I will work with the music that I downloaded and prepare the somewhat monthly package for Liz Ellen; then I will head out into town to mail Liz Ellen’s package and to get my salad supplies. I will make my lunch salads for Friday and Sunday, and tomorrow night our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play TCU at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The loser of that game will go home, and the winner will face Vanderbilt (who I do not think has lost any games in the CWS) on Friday.

Our Parting Quote this Wednesday evening comes to us from Arnold S. Relman, American internist and professor of medicine and social medicine. Born in 1923 in Queens, New York City, New York, he was educated at Cornell University and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He was first professor at Boston University School of Medicine, then Frank Wister Thomas professor of medicine and chair of the department of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (now the Perelman School of Medicine). Relman was editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation from 1962 to 1967. He was editor of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from 1977 to 1991. At NEJM, he instituted two important policies: one asking the popular press not to report on articles before publication, and another requiring authors to disclose conflicts of interest. Relman was the only person to have been president of the American Federation for Clinical Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. In 1988 he was awarded Honorary Fellowship by the New York University School of Medicine. Relman was a decided skeptic regarding the Alternative, Complementary and Integrative Medicine movement. He was also was an uncompromising critic of the American health care system as a profit-driven industry. He coined the term “medical–industrial complex”. He deplored the increasing treatment of health care in the US as a “market commodity”, distributed according a patient’s ability to pay, not medical need. The solution, in his view, would come only through two fundamental structural reforms: (1) implementation of a single-payer financing system, like Medicare, without investor-owned private insurance companies, and (2) provision of a non-profit delivery system, consisting of multi-specialty groups of physicians paid by salary within a pre-set budget. In 1999 Relman participated in a Harvard Medical School debate on the subject of unionization of physicians and for-profit health care. He ended his career as professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts (died 2014): “There are not two kinds of medicine, one conventional and the other unconventional, that can be practiced jointly in a new kind of “integrative medicine.” Nor…are there two kinds of thinking, or two ways to find out which treatments work and which do not. In the best kind of medical practice, all proposed treatments must be tested objectively. In the end, there will only be treatments that pass that test and those that do not, those that are proven worthwhile and those that are not. Can there be any reasonable “alternative”?”

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