Friday, January 6, 2017

Rome - Ellicott City - Hartford - Totowa - Ellicott City - Rome

January 7, 2017 Peace and Good I have been in Ellicott City, the provincialate of OLA province, for the past couple of weeks. It has been a time with a few meetings, but mostly to decompress before my next trip. Yesterday I flew back to Rome and today I fly out to India for a meeting. During my visit to the States, I visited one elderly friar near Hartford, he is 97 years old, and he asked to speak with me. It was a truly beautiful visit. I think that he is getting ready to meet our Lord, and he wanted to talk over a couple of things. I got to see some of our older friars at the home where he was staying. There are five friars there, in the Felician Sisters motherhouse in Enfield, CT. I also visited my publisher during this visit. He has asked me to do a small number of projects which are the type that can be done in small doses. That is all I can do for them at this time with all the travelling that I am doing in these days. When I flew into Rome, we flew into one of the strongest winds that I have ever landed in. The plane was shifting here and there on the way down, but when the wheels hit the runway, it was as if we had hit a pause in the winds. This time I was a bit of a courier coming back, bringing back a number of things for various friars including a book scanner for our archivist. That last item was quite heavy and I was worried that I might have difficulties in customs, but everything went well. I finished some books: The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid A body is found in a bog in northern England. It has tattoos similar to those used by sailors who traveled to the south seas during the 18th century. Could this be the body of Fletcher Christian from the mutiny on the Bounty. Furthermore, a scholar searches for a lost document by Wordsworth, a relative of Christian, about the mutiny. A number of murders occur which are all tied in. This is a good “who done it.” Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-1945 by Robin Neillands Arthur Harris is famous for his incredibly destructive bombing of the cities of Germany during World War II. Was he a war criminal, or was he simply trying to win a war the only way he knew how. He was the proponent of the theory that carpet bombing alone could win the war, something that proved very wrong. Nevertheless, the author is quite sympathetic to Harris and what he airmen did during the war. The Fleet that had to Die by Alex Hough Early in the 20th century, the Japanese empire attacked Russia over territory in China and Korea. Japan won an early victory, devastating Russia’s Pacific fleet in a surprise attack. This is the story of the fleet the czar sent from Europe to fight a second battle. It was a hopeless enterprise, something that even the fleet commanders seemed to have realized. Nevertheless, they were faithful to their commitments. SMr. Nhem’s Genocide Camera by Lauren Quinn The author travels to northern Cambodia where a man wants to develop a park dedicated to the mass murders conducted under the Khmer Rouge. The problem is that the village where he will build it was, in fact, the refuge of many of Khmer Rouge murders themselves, including the infamous Pol Pot. The developer comes up with incredibly impossible projections of how many tourists will want to travel from Angor Wat to his theme park. Faster, Higher, Squeakier by Michael Behar This is a science story about a man who has found various chemicals that can short circuit the mechanism that stops the growth of mitochondrial energy producing entities in the cells. When they are used on mice, even mice that were incredibly fat and lazy, the mice lose weight and are able to exercise more than a mouse that normally exercises. Could this be a way for people to be able to get fit without exercising themselves? Nothing to fear: FDR’s inner circle and the hundred days that created Modern America by Adam Cohen This is an overview of the team of experts who helped FDR to prepare his hundred days project in order to address the banking crisis and the unemployment of the depression. The book is well written, and it shows that FDR was an incredibly flexible mind (for both the good and bad meaning of the phrase). While he began the process trying to cut the federal budget, he ended up creating projects that were incredibly expensive but also incredibly effective. I have heard in recent years that FDR’s projects didn’t really help end the depression. That is partially true, for the depression only really ended with World War II, but at the same time the initiatives that FDR and his team dreamed up were effective and helpful. Hope you have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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