Friday, December 29, 2017

Melbourne, Australia - Rome, Italy

December 30, 2017 Peace and Good, I returned from Australia the evening of the 23rd, arriving around noon on the 24th. The trip was unending. There was a 16 hour flight from Melbourne to Doha in the Gulf States, a three hour layover, and another 6 and one-half flight to Rome. The jet lag from Melbourne to Rome is 10 hours, which means that these past few days have meant laying low and trying to get over the jet lag. The weather here is Rome is a bit unusual. It has cooled off quite a bit, but the first couple of days back were rainy with thunder storms (which don't happen all that often in Rome). This is good because we had a very dry summer, and the winter crops need the moisture. I am heading to the States this morning for a week. I have a number of doctors' visits this coming week - normal stuff for a man of my age. Then back to Rome for a couple of weeks of meetings. The first week will be our definitory, and then the second week will be a school for the new provincials in the Order. We do this every year or so for the provincials and custodes who have been elected in the meantime. I have finished some reading: The Seminole by Charles River Editors This is a short account of the history and culture of the Native Americans who grouped together with run away slaves in the southern US, and eventually in Florida and Oklahoma, to become the Seminole people. They were not treated all that well by the US government. Many of them were forced to leave their homelands under Andrew Jackson and travel the trail of tears, the ethnic cleansing of the lands each of the Mississippi by the government of whatever native Americans were resident there. The Fugue by Arna Hemenway This is a very odd story of a man nicknamed Wild Turkey (more after an episode in which he obtained a number of wild turkies for a Thanksgiving meal for his band of soldiers rather than after the drink). It travels from here to there as his memory, which is suffering from post tramatic stress syndrome after a particularly horrific episode while on patrol in Iraq, seeks to find its footing. The messiness of the telling of the story well matches the messiness of the ex-soldier’s messed up mind. The Bed-Rest Hoax by Aleandra Kleeman This is a scientific essay in which the author takes to bed for a number of days to experience what women who are running a high risk pregnancy are told to do by many doctors. She uses her own experience and especially scientific studies to show that complete bed rest is actually more harmful to these women than a regiment of limited activity. How Can We Find More People Like You by Sara Borbett This is a travel essay on the attempt of some agents of AIRBNB to find more people in Japan who would host travelers. They find that the ones who would be most likely to allow strangers into their homes are those who already march to a different drummer. That is a little difficult to find in Japan where there is an intense sense of privacy in addition to the need to conform. Salvador Dali by Charles River Editors This is a short version of the life story of the great surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The author of this account is honest in the appraisal and Dali was both a great artist and an even greater promoter of his own talents. This account gives a very fine study of some of the most important pieces of art produced by Dali. I am glad I went through it. Black Cross by Greg Iles This is a fictional story of a secret British plot to infiltrate two specially chosen commandoes (one an American scientist and the other a German Jew from Palestine) into Germany to set off a set of bombs with neurotoxins to prove to Hitler that the allies possessed the poisons and would use them if the Germans attacked the invading troops in Normandy with their supply of poison gasses. It is set in the spy mode, and the author pushes credibility a bit (which is common in this genre), but it is a good book. Happy New Year Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment