Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Alfreton, Gt. Britain - London - Buffalo, NY

September 13, 2017 Peace and Good, We had a week of custodial chapter in a conference center in Alfreton, Derbyshire. The center was very, very good. Each meal had four choices for the main course. The facilities were clean and up to date. The grounds were magnificent. The only down side was that it rained every single day (although usually not the entire day). The meeting went well. One of my former students from Romania, Ciprian Budau, was elected as the custos of this jurisdiction. He is a good, humble man and I believe he will do a fine job. On Friday, we finished the first part of the meeting. We then travelled to London, and I flew out to Buffalo the next day. I will be here until Saturday when I fly back to London for the second part of the meeting. I am in Buffalo for the funeral of my niece, Jillian Ingoldsby. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. We are still not quite sure how she died, but it was under suspicious circumstances. We will have a Memorial Mass on this coming Saturday morning. The weather in Buffalo is tremendous, almost summerlike. That is so unusual for this time of year in Buffalo. I finished some reading: Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age gave birth to the First Humans by Brian Fagan This is an account of various remains and cultures of Cro-Magnon man, our ancestor here upon the earth. The author begins with the Neanderthals and their possible interactions with Cro-Magnon man. Neanderthals, although a distant relative of humanity, was not in a direct line. That group of individuals died out, although scientists have found some Neanderthal DNA in humans, which would indicate that there was at least some interbreding. I am reading this at the same time I am reading a book on the residents of the Kalahari desert called the Old Way, and it is fascinating how much information the two books share in hunting and weapons techniques. The Great Fire of London in 1666 by Walter George Bell This is an extensive account both of the great fire of London in 1666 and its aftermath. The fire raged through most of the city, and left countless thousands homeless. Some of the great treasures in the city were rescued, but so many of them were lost in the fire. The city, when rebuilt, was no longer an amalgamation of wooden structures, but was built of brick and stone with wider byways to help fight fire in the futre. Fingerprints by Justin Bigos This is a short story of a man’s relationship, such as it is, with his alcoholic father (divorced from his mother). The father comes from a Jehovah Witness background, but he is now living pretty much on the street. He has a bad habit of showing up in the son’s house, his work, etc and stealing various things to survive. There is a real sense of sadness and ennui about this story. Tracking Ivory by Christy Bryan This is a science short story in which the author has a number of false ivory tusks manufactured with transmitters embedded within to be able to track the movement of ivory in Africa. He discovers that the tusks quickly end up in the Sudan where they were then to be transhipped to their ultimate destination. The sale of ivory finances terrorism (including that of the Lord’s Liberation Army in northern Uganda) and poaching of other elephants with modern weapons. They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia, Now Liberia Is Erasing Them by Helene Cooper This is the story of the treatment that a group of young men received after they were hired to cremate the bodies of ebola victims during the epidemic in Liberia. Rather than being treated as heroes who saved that society from disaster, they were treated as periahs because cremation was seen as such a taboo in a society that strongly emphasizes rites which honor the dead. Aylin by Ayse Kulin This is a very odd book about a beautiful Turkish woman who becomes a psychiatrist. She is very, very successful in her profession, but much less so in her personal life. She was divorced four times, often precipatating the divorce and then blaming her partner on the results of her own choices. She eventually even joins the army where she counsels Iraq war veterans. She dies a mysterious death which might be an assassination by any one of a number of people who would have liked to see her dead. The author goes out of her war to say how wonderful this woman is, but the protrait given does not match the words of praise. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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