Sunday, October 3, 2021

Ellicott City, Md - Montreal

October 3, 2021 I returned home from Ocean City on Sunday, a week ago. This week I worked with one of the staff for the Companions of St. Anthony, Reilly, to tape a number of presentations (a Thanksgiving Day Triduum, short overviews of the readings for Advent, a number of Psalms). Yesterday I flew to Montreal. Travelling is tough these days, but this one was not too bad. The Canadian passport control has become much better and I sailed through it. They do have covid tests upon arrival for random travellers, but I was not chosen. This morning I had Mass in English at one of our parishes here. It was nice, and the pastor prepared a special lunch for me with his staff. Tomorrow we celebrate St. Francis Day, and then on Tuesday we begin the extraordinary chapter for the Canadian custody (whose mother province is the Polish province in Gdansk). The weather here is cool and cloudy, but not all that bad. I finished some reading: Agatha Christi by Hourly History This is a short biography of the famous British detective novelist (Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, etc.). What comes across is a quite traditional woman who started writing out of necessity (financial), and who developed it into an art form, or at least a home industry. She was twice married (her first husband having abandoned her, her second being a famous archaeologist). She never really treated her daughter with as much care and affection as she needed. Yet, she proved to be a remarkable author of works that entertained millions over the years (as well as being a playwright). The Dillinger Days by John Toland This is an account of the criminal career of John Dillinger and the other criminal gangs during the 20’s and 30’s. The book is well written, speaking of Dillinger’s decisions and motivations. He was not as bloodthirsty as others such as Pretty Boy Floyd (a clear psychopath), but he did use violence when he wanted to rob anyone or get away from pursuing foes. John Toland is a good author, having written a number of books on war events. A History of India by Michael Fisher This is a teaching company course on India (understood in the larger sense of the word, the entire Indian subcontinent). It deals with everything from the most ancient evidence of civilization to the modern problems in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The author is good at making difficult topics understandable. He gives both historic and cultural information, including the topic of the two major religions in India, Hindu and Islam, as well as other minority religions such as the Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, etc. It is a course well worth investigating. Emperor Hirohito by Charles River Editors This is a short biography of the controversial emperor of Japan (controversial for his role in World War II). The author shows that Hirohito was neither a puppet of the military leaders, nor a vicious manipulator and autocrat. The truth is somewhere in the middle. After the Second World War he played a more symbolic role in governing, not unlike that of the Queen of Great Britain. Death at Sea by Andrea Camilleri This is a series of short stories concerning the investigations of a Sicilian police investigator. There is a pleasant tone in the book, informal and humorous. This is the first of Camilleri’s books that I have read (in English, translated from Italian). He deals with some of the uncomfortable topics of Sicilian life, such as the influence of the Mafia, the corrupt government practices, the role of the rich and the plight of the poor. The investigator comes across as human. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz This is one of the seven books that Koontz wrote on Odd Thomas, a fry cook from a desert town in California who is gifted/plagued by being able to see ghosts who appear to him to intervene on their behalf (to solve the case of their deaths, to help them let go and enter their eternal fate, etc.). In this volume, Odd travels to a Benedictine monastery to seek peace of mind after the traumatic events of his life. Instead, he must solve a very strange case there in order to save the lives of the Benedictine monks and sisters, and especially of the special needs children who are in their care. Italy and her Invaders by Stanley Leathes This is an academic paper (Cambridge University Press) on the invasions of Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is all but unreadable for the amount of detail and the shifting alliances and fates of the various invaders, e.g. Spain, France, the Holy Roman Empire) plus of the Italian powers (Venice, the Papacy, Naples, Milan, Florence, etc.). Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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