Friday, April 14, 2017

Rome - Ellicott City

April 14, 2017 Peace and Good, We finished our definitory meeting a day early in Rome, on Friday instead of Saturday. This was very good given that the past couple of meetings have been packed with things that took forever to resolve. Sunday I flew into Baltimore and have been in Ellicott City this week. I am here for medical check ups and a couple of small procedures. This happens when you reach a certain age. I tell people that you can tell the age of a tree by counting its rings, you can tell the age of a person by counting the medical referrals that the person receives at the annual check up. Doing all the travel I do, I was shocked by the incident on the United flight. I just don't see how the companies cannot guarantee that one can fly when one has made a reservation and paid for a ticket. That would be comparable to showing up at a hotel and being told that the reservation would not be honored. Something has to be done with all of this. Furthermore, I have experienced myself the indifference of United agents to the needs of their customers. I will fly up to Buffalo on Sunday to visit family for a couple of days, and then back to Baltimore to finish up the check ups. I finished some books: War, Peace and Power: Diplomatic History of Europe, 1500-2000 by Vejas Liulevicius This is a Teaching Company course on the various initiatives on diplomacy on the European continent from the time of the Tudors and Medicis up to the present days. The professor is well verse and eloquent. With a course this long, one really only touches the various eras quickly, but this serves as a good overview course on this topic. Father’s Day by Michael Connelly This is a Harry Bosch story about the death of a small child in an overheated car. Was it an accident or was the child left in the car on purpose. It is complicated by the fact that both parents are driven real estate salespersons, and by the fact that the child suffered from some mental defect. Harry is able to sort out the truth from the lies, especially relying on natural tells in the way a person says something (body language that gives away whether a person is lying or not). 1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips This is a truly exhaustive study of the year 1775 and, as the author explains over and over again, how it was more important to the revolution than 1776. He gives a mountain of details on religious movements, agriculture, trade, politics, slavery and indentured servants, etc. It is a monumental study which leaves one with a wealth of information, possibly more than one ever wanted. Nevertheless, it does not really bog down in the details. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in this period. Crush Point by John Seabrook This is a scientific study on the science of crowd control. The author speaks of various disasters in religious processions (Mecca, India, etc.), at rock concerts and even in the Black Friday sales at Walmart. He speaks of various actions that can be taken by the authorities to minimize the danger to those in the crowd. The Brain on Trial by David Eagleman This is a scientific analysis of how brain chemistry and structure can affect the conduct of people. It asks the question of whether it is right to put people in prison for something that was beyond their control. It gives some very good examples. The author is not against letting the people who have offended run loose on the streets. He favors treatment (medicine, compulse control exercises) so that the person then becomes responsible for his/her actions. Winning by Alafair Burke This is the story of a woman detective who had been impersonating a prostitute to lure men so that they might be arrested for soliciting. She is kidnapped by one who rapes her. She overpowers him and has him arrested, but he is set free on bail. Her husband is crushed by what has happened and murders the man. The rest of the story is how the detective places the blame on herself, knowing that the courts would sympathize with her and let her off lightly. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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