Saturday, January 23, 2021

Castro Valley, California

January 23, 2021 Peace and Good, I have been in our friary in Castro Valley (just outside of Oakland) for a couple of weeks. After five days of strict quarantine, I began to associate with the friars a bit. However, I came down with some symptoms of chills, fever, muscle aches, etc. It didn't look good, so I had my Covid test. It turns out it was negative, so the symptoms must be a return of an infection I had a few weeks back. I have treated the infection with my supply of Cipro, a strong antiobiotic, but the Cipro was very old and must not have been totally effective. I am now treating it with some new Cipro from the Vatican Pharmacy (I wonder if it was blessed). Feeling better. I have been doing my visitation of the province, almost completely by skype or phone. I am not going to LA where we have a friary because the Corona Virus situation is so bad there. But I am going to the central coast tomorrow (Coalinga, Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach). I will be back here on Wednesday. The weather is tremendous. It has been in the 70's almost every day, and not too much rain (although the area does need some more lest there be another drought). I head back to Rome on the 4th, if they let me in. Travelling these days is always uncertain, with flights being cancelled and new regulations being established every 15 minutes. Can't wait to get my vaccine. I finished some reading: The Long 19th Century by Robert Weiner This is a series of 24 lectures on the 19th century in Europe from the French Revolution to the end of World War I. It deals with social issues (the effects of the industrial revolution, the growth of the labor movement, racial questions, etc.). It deals with nationalism and the unification of the German Empire and the kingdom of Italy. The professor giving the lectures has done a very good job of the many aspects of culture in all of the lands involved (especially Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Russia, etc.). The Mongol Conquests by Captivating History This is a short history of the growth of the largest empire the world has ever seen. While the Mongols were often known for the horror of their conquests and pillaging of the land, they also allowed the development of the Silk Road (for merchants could now travel in safety through the large empire). They allowed a great amount of religious freedom. The book deals with the splitting of the empire among its various components, and its eventual demise. Meteorology by Prof. Robert Favell This was a video course that I obtained from the Great Courses Company. The presented is good, but the presentation is more technical than is easy to understand. I intend to listen to the whole thing again on some future date. Normally I don’t buy the video version of these courses, but I am glad I did so with this course for one could not have understood anything without seeing the charts and maps and radar presentations. Frederic Remington by Charles River Editors This is the story of the great sculpture of the Old West. It turns out that he was not really a western figure – more a wantabe. He did both drawings and sculpting. Furthermore, he was more than a bit of a racist, something that was all too common in the era of Theodore Roosevelt and Social Darwinism. Mad Anthony Wayne by Charles River Editors This is a quick biography of one of the generals during the Revolutionary War. The author of this edition has a tendency to include long passages from the letters of the characters, with their original spelling and form of expression. This makes reading this particular volume a bit tedious. Jane Austin by Hourly History This is a good, short biography of the English author Jane Austin. Being a woman author was very unusual at this time, but writing under an assumed name, she was somewhat successful during her lifetime. She only acquired her great popularity later, long after her death. Ben Aaronivitch: Audible Originals Interview I have only recently subscribed to Audible books, largely to obtain the Great Courses audio courses at a discount price. Aaronivitch is the author of the Rivers of London series, about a detective in London who learns magic and uses it in his work. This interview was free, and in its half hour gave a good idea of the personality of the author. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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