Monday, April 30, 2018

Castro Valley, CA - Mt. St. Francis, IN - Ellicott City, MD - Buffalo, NY - Chicago, IL

May 30, 2018 Peace and Good, Sorry I have not written anything lately, but this month has been constant movement. I have been at the various provincial chapters of the four US provinces. I am now in Chicago for the last of the chapters. After this, I will be getting some time off in Ellicott City, MD before I start the circuit again for the various chapters. These weeks have gone quite well. Until this past Thursday, I have been with the Minister General. Thursday he flew back to Rome to get ready for a two week trip to Russia. Yesterday the Vicar General arrived and he will be in charge of the chapter this week. This week is the chapter for St. Bonaventure Province centered in Chicago. The weather is turning nice, after having been quite cool for the past couple of weeks. Flights have been good and on time. I like flying with Southwest. There is always a good spirit among the crew and even those flying. Security has not been bad at the airports. Ever since the TSA agent was killed in LA, I make it a point to go back and thank the TSA agents for keeping us safe. They really seem to appreciate it. I am sure that they face a lot of griping all day long. I have finished some books: Spy by Ted Bell This is the story of a plot by jihadists and South American terrorists to attack the United States. The hero is a British Lord who is incredibly rich, and he leads an attack on the evil forces. The problem in this book is that the author presents a quite racist view of the people who cross the Mexican-US border to seek refuge (either political or economic) in the US. The premise of the story is quite unrealistic and the story is not all that well put together. Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts its Legacy as the Largest Salve-Trading Dynasty in US History by Thomas DeWolf This is a very interesting project by an extended family that realizes that one of their ancestors was a slave trader. They travel to his home town in Rhode Island, then Ghana where the slaves were bought, and then Cuba where they often worked on the sugar plantations. Parts of the book sound like a travellogue, but then the author becomes reflective about different form of oppression which we still see in our society today. That part of the book is excellent and served as a great reflection for me. The History of Ancient Egypt by Prof. Bob Brier This is a rather long series on ancient Egypt from prehistoric times to the death of Cleopatra. The professor is quite entertaining and informative. I found his lectures excellent, but there are 48 of them so that this is quite a commitment. I would highly recommend this particular series from the Teaching Company. The Marlboro Men of Chernivtsi by Andrew Jones This is an essay on how people in Ukraine and Kaliningrad smuggle cigarettes into Europe to profit on the price differential and the lack of taxes. The author speaks of taking a bus across the Romanian border with women who have packed tons of illegal cigarettes all over their bodies. It is quite good. Attack of the Killer Beetles by Maddie Oatman This is a scientific essay on beetles that have infested pine forests all through the West of the United States. An ecologist argues that maybe it is good to let them have their way, even though they are killing many trees, for they are sorting out those trees which have the strongest genetic makeup. This is contrary to government tendency to thin forests which does not seem to be all that successful. The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb This is the story of a group of Norwegian freedom fighters during World War II who first of all sabatoge the factory where heavy water is being manufactured, and then later sink a ferry which has most of the available supply on its way to Germany. Heavy water was used in nuclear research, so its destruction put the atomic research in wartime Germany way behind schedule, which proved to be a God sent in this war. The Black Widow by Daniel Silva I very much like Silva’s books about the fight between the Mossad (Israeli secret service) and terrorist groups. This one is a battle against the forces of recent Muslim terrorists. I liked most of the book, but at a certain point the author almost makes the survival on one Israeli agent as more important than the death of hundreds of American civilians. I found I was quite offended by this tendency. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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