Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Peoria - Ellicott City

February 18, 2020 Peace and Good, I finished the retreat with the Sisters of the Third Order in Peoria. I flew back to Baltimore and am staying in Ellicott City for some days for some medical tests. The weather here has been very cold, but seems now to be becoming warmer. I will use this week to catch up with some projects. It is good not to have to travel too much these days, and to be in the same time zone for a while. I have finished some reading: December 1941 by Craig Shirley This is a day by day overview of the month which brought the US into World War II through the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Most of the information is fairly neutral, but toward the end, the author begins to make some strange value judgments about various generals and presidents that just don’t belong in a book like this. State of Fear by Michael Crichton This book reminds me of a saying by Grant concerning Robert E. Lee – never had such a good man fought in such a bad cause. Crichton is generally a good author, but this book is a sad screed against those who speak about global warming. The only thing that got me to read it to the end is that while I firmly hold for global warming and the effect of human activity in causing it, I nevertheless like to hear the other side of the argument. What might have been worthwhile was his presentation on some of the sloppy science by some (not all) of the scientists and the hysteria with which some ecologist present their message. Overall, though, this work was poorly done, and I would never recommend it to anyone. The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson This is a highly complex story of a detective in Seville who is strangely moved by the murder of one of his father’s old acquaintances. This leads him to look into his own father’s past, and he finds things he wishes he had never seen. The book is good, I would say very good, but it takes a commitment to get through it. All Roads Lead to Rome by Charles River Editors This is a short book on road building in the Roman republic and empire and in particular on the Appian way, the road that leads from Rome to the southern Adriatic coast after meandering through the fertile lands around Naples. The Underground Railroad by Charles River Editors This is a short book about the underground railroad, emphasizing the role of blacks in the establishment and maintenance of the network of people who helped escaped slaves to reach freedom, often in Canada The best part of the book is the stories about Harriet Tubman, whose role in the railroad was so significant that she was given the nickname Moses for she led her people to freedom. Mary Surratt by Charles River Editors This is a short book about the first woman who was executed for a crime by the federal government. In this case, she is said to have been involved in the murder of President Lincoln. She knew and hosted a number of the conspirators in her Washington DC lodging house. There is quite a bit of controversy over whether she was given a fair trial (for she was brought before a court-martial court and not a civilian court), but it does seem as if there is adequate evidence that she was somewhat involved in the plan. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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