Sunday, May 9, 2021

Ellicott City, MD - Rome

May 10, 2021 Peace and Good, My time at Ellicott City has come to an end. I visited a number of doctors and the dentist in these weeks. This is the normal annual cycle of doctor's visits. They did not find any real problems. I am just getting older so there are the normal aches and pains. I travelled back from Baltimore to Rome through Chicago and Munich on United and Lufthansa. There were absolutely no problems in Rome or Munich, but a bit more paperwork and confusion in Baltimore and Chicago. The rules are changing so frequently that the airline agents have a difficult time keeping up with things. The flights from Baltimore to Chicago and Munich to Rome were fairly full, but that from Chicago to Munich was all but empty - 35 passengers on a flight that could hold at least 350. Rome is almost back to normal. The vaccination problem is what it was a few weeks ago in the States, so it is getting better. A lot of the restrictions that had been in place when I left here during Holy Week have been removed, but there is still a curfew. The weather here is quite nice. It is late Spring here now and the flowers are blooming everywhere. I finished some reading: A Way in the World by V.S. Naipaul I have often heard about this author, but this is the first time that I have read his work. This book is a series of stories which deal with his native land Trinidad, Venezuela and Africa. He is of Indian origin, but he is fully part of the Caribbean culture. It especially deals with the colonial experience. He also offers extended stories about Sir Walter Raleigh and Francesco de Miranda. I enjoyed his presentation and his point of view. Sun, Sand and Soap by H. Bedford-Jones This short story is about a man travelling in the desert, desperate for water. He sees someone in the distance, who turns out to be a dangerous figure. When he catches up to him, he finds him abusing a young man and woman, a brother and sister. He rescues them and they take care of him. They are searching for a site in the desert where there is a source of very good modeling clay. The Cases That Haunt Us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker This is a series of stories about forensic investigations by an expert on the topic, dating from the days of Jack to Ripper and Lizzie Borden to modern day murders. Some are solved or at least seem to be, while others are left unsolved. One of the most problematic is probably that of JonBenet Ramsey which Douglas blames on an outsider and not a family member. The treatment of the various cases is good. The Age of Discovery by Edward John Payne This is an extended essay in the Cambridge Modern History Collection. It speaks especially of the role of Prince Henry the Navigator and his real intentions for sending out ships to explore to coast of Africa. The author puts that up to the fact that he wanted to evangelize, which is why he founded a religious association for the settlement of the Canary Islands. The essay also treats Columbus, Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci. Nothing new, but a good overview. The Dead Sea by Charles River Editors This is part of a series of short books on a particular topic. This one does give good information on the Dead Sea, but the majority of the book is dedicated to the history of the Holy Land, not necessarily in any way involved with the Dead Sea. I am surprised that the series editor allowed it to be written this way. The War Lovers by Evan Thomas This is the story of those who pushed (and did not push) for America to get involved in the Spanish American War. On the one side you have Teddy Roosevelt, Senator Lodge, William Randolph Hearst, etc., while on the other you have Mark Twain, William James and Representative Thomas Reed. It was a debate between invigorating the populace and avoiding imperialism. The side in favor of the war won, but there were terrible consequences to pay (especially in the Philippines where the freedom fighters against Spanish occupation turned on the Americans for having broken their promises, and a terrible, vicious war resulted between them and US troops – with atrocities committed on both sides). Keep safe. fr. Jude


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