Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mt. St. Francis, IN - Mesilla Park, NM - El Paso, TX - San Antonio, TX - Rome

June 12, 2017 Peace and Good, I have now returned for a whirlwind trip to the States. It began with my attendance at the funeral of one of our friars, Juniper Cummings. He was 92 years old, and had been an Assistant General, a Provincial, a Custos in Zambia, etc. His death was the end of an era for his province. I was glad that my travel agent was able to change my ticket and arrange for my travel there. On Saturday after the funeral I flew down to New Mexico to begin my canonical visitation of Our Lady of Consolation. Most of the province is located in the Midwest, but part of it is in the Southwest. There are three friaries scattered through New Mexico and Texas, and I visited them this past week. I will visit the rest of the province in July. I have been at all of these friaries a number of times over the years, so it is like coming home again. One of the friaries is a retreat house (with friars involved in other apostolates living there), one a parish for the Native American and Hispanic people in El Paso, and one a house of formation. The weather was very hot, which got me ready for the heat wave going on in Rome right now. I returned yesterday morning. I am still in the arms of jet lag, but that is pretty much par for the course. I finished some reading: E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton This is the fifth novel about a private detective who is investigating an arson. She is accused of trying to cover up the crime. One of the suspects is murdered by a bomb, and then another is killed in another way. The detective is almost killed twice during the course of the story. Grafton presents a very likeable character in the person of the detective, and the action in her stories is always well done. The Goddess of Small Victories by Yannick Grannec This is a very strange, very good novel about an elderly woman who was born in Vienna before the war. There she met a mathematical genius who suffered from mental illness. The book outlines their lives together as it also tells the story of an archival researcher who is seeking the written records of her deceased husband. The woman is not the easiest person in the world, but a relationship develops which enriches both of them. The History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons This is a Teaching Company course on the history of the supreme court. The course is a set of 36 lectures, talking about judges, what is happening in the country, and the actual cases. The lecturer is an excellent presenter. He shows his prejudice here and there, but he is always clear to identify when that is taking place. This is a very good overview on the topic. Mind vs. Machine by Brian Christian This article speaks about the Turing test, a contest in which a group of people have conversations with real people and with computers which have been programmed with artificial intelligence. They then try to determine who was the real person and who was the computer. The computer programs are reaching the point where it is becoming more and more difficult to figure out which is which. Mount Dragon by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child I have read a few of the books produced by this team of authors. The others were either about a detective living in New York who was originally from New Orleans or a science fiction production. This one is about a genetic engineering project that goes array. These authors have a way of producing a riveting story with moments of genius in their forms of expression. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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