Monday, January 17, 2022

San Antonio - Chicago - Rockford - Milwaukee - Detroit - Peoria

January 17, 2022 Peace and Good, These have been busy days as I travel from friary to friary to conduct a canonical visitation. We have two friars in Milwaukee at our basilica, two at a parish in Rockford from which the province is retiring, three in the friary in the cemetary in Dearborn Heights (Detroit) and a number in our parish in Chicago and our house of studies there. The weather has cooperated so far. My flight from San Antonio to Chicago was unusual for Southwest changed my flight, giving me one an hour earlier, during the night. Thank God I checked my email first thing in the morning. I had a pleasant surprise when I received an apology and a $100 voucher. I really like Southwest. I attended an ordination to the diaconate this past Saturday in Peoria. It went well, but the bishop tested positive for covid that evening, so I am doing some quaranteening. I have been negative with the covid tests up to now. Let's hope all goes well. I have finished some reading: The Battle of Issus by Charles River Editors This was one of the critical battles of Alexander the Great and the Macedonian army against the forces of Persia. This short book (as all of the books are by this publisher) also gives a good amount of information before and after the battle. Chernobyl by Andrew Leatherbarrow This is a book on the nuclear disaster that occurred in the Ukraine at the end of the Soviet Union. The coverage of the disaster is well done, but the book is also a travel log of the author’s trip to the reactor and city sites. That part of the book is a bit tedious. I found Midnight at Chernobyl much better written and more informative. The Life and Operas of Verdi by Robert Greenberg This is a 32 lecture Teaching Company course on the life and writings of Giuseppe Verdi. The presenter is a music scholar with a great sense of humor. I listened to this course to try to better understand opera. While I get the sense behind operas, I really cannot say that I appreciate it. Greenberg is good at explaining the movements in both the action and the music. Rise and Fall of the Borgias by William London This is a short Great Courses presentation on the Borgia family (the Pope, Cesare Borgia and Lucrecia Borgia in particular. The professor finds the middle road in his presentation. While he admits that the various family members, especially Cesare, did terrible things, he also argues that some of the worst things with which they are accused were really fabrications made up by their enemies. Top Secret Tales of World War II by William Breuer This is an interesting, amusing, and fascinating account of various events during World War II, especially associated with spy craft. It is a light read, but once in a while that is exactly what one sometimes needs. Modern Latvia by Charles River Editors This is an account of the Baltic state of Latvia which lies between Lithuania and Estonia. So much of its history was controlled by the local powers, including Russia, Poland, Sweden and Germany. While Latvia won independence after World War I, it was lost during the Second World War. It regained its independence with the fall of the Soviet Empire. The Great Famine by Hourly History This is the story of the great potato famine in Ireland in the 1840’s. The potato blight caused the failure of the crop upon which most of the Irish population depended. The British government did the minimum to help the starving population, leading to the death of at least one million people and the emigration of at least twice that number. 1941 by Andrew Nagorski This is an account of what Nagorski calls the year in which the Nazi plan to conquer the world was damaged by Hitler to the point that the rest of the war was simply the consequences of the disasters that Hitler had caused (e.g. the invasion of Russia, the failure to aim at Moscow with his most powerful forces, the declaration of war on the United States, etc.). I have read other books by Nagorski (e.g. the battle of Moscow). He was an editor at Newsweek magazine. His accounts are filled with information presented in a very pleasing manner. Keep safe. fr. Jude


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