Sunday, August 29, 2021


August 29, 2021 Peace and Good There is only one city mentioned above, and that is a miracle. I am here in Rome for a few weeks. It is hot, but not as hot as it was earlier in the season. This is the end of the August holidays, when everyone who can runs off to the shore or the mountains. I have been translating a document which is around 64 pages long on formation. It is a big project, but I have been chipping away at it, doing about 2,000 words each day. I have til the end of September to finish it. Rome has a lot of tourists, but very few Americans. They are mostly Italians, although I have heard a bit of French and German in the streets. They have established a green passport for vaccinations. If you don't have it, you can eat outside but cannot enter restaurants, museums, offices, etc. I don't have it (even though I am fully vaccinated), but I don't really need it because I am pretty much being a home body in these days. I finished some reading: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling These are a set of folk tales told to young witches along with an extended commentary supposedly produced by Professor Dumbledore, the head master of Hogwarts, the school where Harry Potter studied. The Ottoman Conquest by JB Bury This is a comprehensive essay in the collection of Cambridge History on the conquests of the Ottoman empire in the 15th and 16th centuries. The writing style is technical and filled with so much detail that it is not really a pleasant read, but it is nevertheless informative. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough All of McCullough’s books are masterpieces, and this is no exception. It deals with the lives and careers of the Wright brothers, the inventors of the first motored, manned airplane. The Wright brothers come across as honest and humble Midwesterners who applied their lives and talents to the project of flying. They were the sons of a Protestant bishop. Their sister, Katharine, played a significant role in their lives and that of their father. By the end of the book, one feels that one has a good grasp of who they were and what their reputation was in their own times. The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman This is an overview of the use of poison throughout the years. Herman examines old cases and tries to determine whether the symptoms and deaths of those involved were due to natural factors or to actual poisoning. The Falklands War by Hourly History This is a short history of the war between Argentina and Great Britain in 1982 for the possession of these islands in the South Atlantic. Their possession had gone back and forth over the years, but by the 20th century almost all of its inhabitants were British who strongly wanted to stay in possession of the British. Their major industry was sheep pasturing, although there seems to be deposits of oil and natural gas in their coastal waters. The Science of Sci-Fi by Erin Macdonald This was a very entertaining course from the Teaching Company (although one of the free courses I obtained from Audible) concerning scientific concepts and their use and misuse in science fiction books, films and programs. The presenter has a great sense of humor, and she is able to present the material (which can be very complicated) in an understandable manner. The Ends of the World by Peter Brennen This is a book that deals with evidence found in the rock strata concerning the five earlier extinctions of much of the life upon the earth, and which then extrapolates the lessons to be learned from those events and applies them to our present circumstances. The style of the writing is inviting and not overly technical, and I found the author honest in his use of scientific facts. The Doolittle Raid by Charles River Editors This is a short account of the raid led by James Doolittle against Tokyo and other cities in April of 1942. The president and the military leaders were desperate to strike a blow against Japan in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The arranged for land planes to take off from an aircraft carrier, drop their bombs, and continue on to China where most of them crash landed. In one sense, the attack was a woeful failure, for they did relatively little damage. However, the trauma of the capital being attacked led to the imprudent attack on Midway Island in which four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk, changing the course of the war. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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