Friday Flotsam: Some History, Headspace, and More

1. Most of my reading this week was more stuff on colonial and early American history, which I don’t want to talk about right now because I’m a little tired of controversies on the subject. That’s kind of a pattern with a lot of these Flotsams and, heck, life in general; most of the stuff that occupies my mind tends to be stuff that either a). I don’t want to talk about with most people b). Most people wouldn’t understand or be able to enter into (e.g. writing ideas) or c). would probably make people angry, leading to arguments and thus devouring precious energy and headspace.

2. Though I’m realizing that I husband my headspace much too much at present, especially since I don’t actually use it as much as I should. I’m a bit of a hoarder in general, to the point where I often spend so much time collecting resources that I don’t get around to actually using them.

3. Though one fun fact: the 27th Amendment – requiring that any salary changes for Senators and Representatives not take effect until after the next election – was originally slated to be the second. The original Bill of Rights contained twelve amendments, the first two dealing with managing the number of Congressmen relative to the population (originally one per-every 30,000…which, if we still followed that, would have left us with close to 11,000 Congressmen. And I apologize for any nightmares that image inspires) and the regulation of salary increases, but not enough States ratified them, so they were dropped, though they still appear on all the transcripts of the document. Basically, two-hundred years later, the country decided that Amendment Two was good idea after all.

Just one of those odd and amusing things you find when you look.

4. (I like the priorities, by the way: “Let’s make sure the crooks don’t vote themselves a raise! Now what’s next? Oh, yeah; freedom of religion.”)

5. Oh, and I recommend folks check out Richard Bayley: a prominent New York physician in the late 1700s and in fact the first Chief Medical Officer of New York. He was a Loyalist and served as a medic in the British Army for two years during the Revolution, until he had to return to the city to care for his ill wife (she died nonetheless and he later remarried. His second wife was a relative of the Roosevelts). After the war he elected to remain in the new nation and continue his practice, specializing in serving the poor of the city and helping to establish the city’s medical infrastructure, including co-founding the New York Dispensary and being the first professor of anatomy at Columbia (formerly King’s) College. Later he really came into prominence when a yellow fever epidemic struck New York and he made some of the earliest progress in discovering ways to control it. He himself finally contracted the disease during his work among the victims and died in 1801.

Interesting, an inspiring example of medical heroism, and one of the more important medical men of the newborn nation. But what he’s most famous for were his children, particularly his second daughter, Elizabeth Ann, who grew up to marry a man named William Magee Seton….

6. On the subject of inspirational early 2000s sports films, it’s been sometime since I revisited it, but I also remember Miracle being quite good. That one tells the story of the ‘Miracle on ice’, wherein the amateur Team USA took on and dethroned the seemingly-invincible Soviet hockey team at the 1980 Olympics. It’s got Kurt Russell, a strong sense of time and place, and a perfectly patriotic tone without overdoing it. It also is notable for casting actual hockey players who could act (instead of actors who could play hockey) as the team, giving them a comparatively rare sense of authenticity both as players and as people. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

7. And here’s Jonathan Winters with a stick:

One thought on “Friday Flotsam: Some History, Headspace, and More

  1. “Miracle” is always interesting as they’re up against the communists but a large part of the point of the story is not individualism (though there are many strong individual characters) but teamwork and patriotism.


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