Friday, June 27, 2014

Rome - Ellicott City

June 27, 2014 Peace and Good, Well, all of the meetings over in Rome and Assisi have been brought to a conclusion. This past week I tried to catch up with various projects that had to be put on hold while I was travelling and meeting so much. This included writing a children's book on Pope Francis for my publisher, Catholic Book. I will be getting the proofs already later today, and we should have it ready to print in a couple of months. (The hold up will be the artist who will have to do 16 drawings for the book.) I wish I could write more, but I just don't have the time and energy with my schedule. On Saturday, I attended the ordination to become a bishop of one of our friars. He will be the bishop of some small towns just outside of Assisi. I knew him when he was the custos (boss) of our friary in Assisi. I flew back to Baltimore on Sunday. Nothing unusual. This has been one of the kinder jet lags that I have had recently. This week is a series of doctors and dentist appointments. Nothing wrong, just getting the periodic check up. With all the travel that I do, it is better to take care of it all at once, so this week I have had six different appointments. Next week I will only have two, and then on next Saturday I head off to Chicago. I finished some books: Mary Wollstonecraft by Elizabeth Pennell This is the life story of one of the first English feminists. She was the mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Although most of the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft herself is very dates, it was significant for its era. She was spiritual, but anti-religious (at least the way that religion was practiced in her era). She lived with one man without marriage, and with another in marriage (but living apart so as not to be too much of a burden on each other). Unconventional only begins to tell the tale, but she really tried to be a charitable and kind person in spite of her difficulties (which included a very ungrateful family for all that she did for them. Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin by Gerard Helfreich This is the account of the attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt when he ran for another term in the presidency in 1912 as a third party candidate. The book tells the story of his break away from the Republican Party and his attempt to form the Bull Moose Party. He was shot by a German American who was demented and who believed that he had had a vision of the murdered President McKinley who had told him that Teddy Roosevelt was to blame for his death. He also wanted to make sure that no one ever had a third term as president. He was sentenced to a mental health facility where he remained until he died many years later. Roosevelt, although he was shot in the chest, was not seriously injured (for the bullet was deflected by his eyeglass case and his folded up speech), and he continued to speak to the crowd (in Milwaukee). They never removed the bullet, which he carried without bad effect until the day of his death. 1913: The Eve of the War by Paul Ham This is a short treatment of the circumstances in Europe in the year before World War I broke out. One sees what Germans, English, French, Austrians and Russians all thought of each other. One sees how the generals and the general staffs of the various armies made plans for war with little regard to civilian authority. One sees how the leaders of the nations gave in to the inevitability of war, and thus unconsciously created the situation in which war was inevitable. This is a good treatment of a topic that is being studied quite a bit on this 100th anniversary of World War I. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson I have heard the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde many times, but this is the first time I have read it. I was pleasantly surprised. It is more intricate a story than I would have expected. It gives the account from various different viewpoints, including that of Mr. Hyde, the beast into which Dr. Jekyll turns. It deals with questions of addictive behavior in which one knows what is right, but lacks the will power to do it. It deals with what we today call the shadow side of each of our personalities. What surprised me most was the favorable treatment of Mr. Hyde and how what others judged to be horrible behavior could be seen differently from someone who was new and clumsy in social circumstances.


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