Reflect on present and past; avoid thinking about the future

Ah, back to work? Geez. I don’t even want to think about what’s on my desk for tomorrow.

Yesterday, I saw “King Arthur.” Not spectacular, as the professional critics already observed, but I enjoyed it. My apologies to the male audience of the blog, who may very well think the world of the actress Kiera Knightley, but I couldn’t stop myself from admiring the men of this movie, a handsome bunch if I may say so. 😉 Otherwise, it was one of those movies where the military/male-bonding was pretty predictable (but always moving) stuff. “Lord of the Rings” more or less changed the way anyone thinks of the Big Battle Scene, but “King Arthur” was ok. Go for the matinee or else the DVD with the missing scenes which may have made this one a bit better.

Inspiring story on NY1, where they profile a president of a NYC Harlem hospital; a person of color in the medical profession who is committed to providing quality medical care to the community. Despite discrimination and personal sacrifices, Dr. Samuel Daniel sounded optimistic and dedicated about transforming the practice of medicine and a community.

Interesting article in the NY Times about the Republican Party’s social conservatives feeling slighted about seeing so many social liberal Republicans getting air time at the upcoming convention. One wonders: what does it mean to be “Republican”? Do we naturally equate “Republican” with “conservative”? It’s not like it’s the “Conservative” party (with a capital “C” like in Canada and Britain); surely one could be Republican without being conservative (sort of like it’s ok to be Democrat and not be liberal?). A quote from the article: “Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said: ‘The Republican Party is a national party, and the convention lineup will reflect the broad national appeal of the Republican Party. When the speaker lineup is complete, it will reflect that.'” – it makes me wonder what it means to be a “national” party – does it mean being tolerant and expansive or being more focused (being “conservative”)?

Yesterday, the newsmedia highlighted the 200th anniversary of the Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr duel, which occurred out in Weehawken. I may highlight some of the NY Times articles once I get a chance to fully review them, but I think they’ve all been interesting stuff. Little known fact: I may know much more than I should about the Hamilton-Burr duel since I did research on it in college. (considering my Alma Mater, perhaps it was unavoidable that I got into it). I also liked this query about whether Hamilton could have been a precursor to modern Republicans. I’d posit no, since he was strong on making a strong executive (regardless of party designation? – not sure on that actually) and less on states’ power (he was not quite the “federalist” of today’s stripe); and his background is probably less-than-palatable for the social conservatives’ taste. But, Hamilton liked living well and making money; was a social climber; and did lip service for family values. So, it’s debatable as to which modern party he would have been. He could easily be neither. (the same could be said about Thomas Jefferson, a Hamilton opponent who pretty much backed away from Burr, his vice president, after that duel debacle).

The lesson from the duel, I’d say, is one should be very careful about how one defines “manhood” and “honor.” Burr wanted to defend his honor and, rather than just sue Hamilton for slander and defamation and other lovely, non-lethal, litigation at common law, he went for other means. Hamilton, despite having lost a son to a duel the previous year of 1803, was not necessarily better at avoiding the costs of defending or responding to a challenge. So it goes in a day in American history in 1804. Drop by the Trinity Church cemetary in downtown Manhattan, and salute the Hamilton tombstone.

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