Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Los Angeles

June 29, 2022 Peace and Good, I am still in Los Angeles (Hermosa Beach to be exact). The chapter for the California province went very well. The only problem was that I came down with Covid toward the end of the week, and I am still positive today. I had to cancel a series of trips (which actually was a relief because it meants I would stay in one place longer than a week). I am attending the chapter of the Chicago province by zoom in these days, and if I get a negative result, will be travelling to Baltimore this coming Sunday. I will have a week there before the next provincial chapter begins. The weather here could not be better. We are about a kilometer from the ocean, and we get the ocean breeze, the temperature being in the 70's most of the day. Now that I feel a bit better, I have been working on a series of articles on the prophets for one of our magazines in Kenya. I have finished 11 so far, and I foresee at least another 9. The friars here have been great, as much as I have seen them. I finished some reading and listening: Delphi Complete Words of Pieter Bruegel the Elder by Peter Russell This book shows and comments upon many of the most important works of the artist, deals with the story of his life, and shows how many of the images that he used were a commentary upon his times. Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady This is a dramatic presentation of the Susan Day murder of her children, especially in terms of her blaming an unidentified black man for taking her car and her children when she, herself, had killed the children by drowning them in a lake. God’s Spies by Juan Gomez Jurado This is a book in the league of the writings of Dan Brown. It deals with the murder of three cardinals after the death of Pope John Paul II. An Italian inspector who is an expert on crime analysic and profiling works with her department, but especially with an American priest who has worked for the CIA as well as other undefined groups. There are some good moments, but then it trails off into fantasy. Edgar Allen Poe by Hourly History This is a short biography of the life and genius of this sad author. He lived at a time when writing, and especially the genre in which he excelled, short stories, were recompensed very poorly. He lived a rebel life style, often offending other authors with the savage critiques of their works. He was probably and alcoholic, but the author insists that there is no evidence of his being a drug addict as well. For his unconventional life style, he nevertheless is considered the father of the detective novel with his Murder at the Rue Morgue and he wrote one of the most famous poems of American Literature, the raven. Homer by Barbara Graziosi This is a treatment of the identify of Homer (which is not resolved) and his writings, especially how he develops his characters and how he used the saga style (similar to that used in many primitive societies). The study is not comprehensive, but it does give a good overview of the topic. The Battle of the Persian Gates by Charles River Editors In theory this is an overview of the Battle of the Persian Gates, one of the last major battles fought to conquer Persia, but in reality the author has expanded the topic to include all of the battles from the time that Alexander entered into Asia Minor until he reached the Ganges in India. The writing style is quite good. The Spy of Venice by Benet Brandreth This is a masterful novel in the style of Shakespeare in love. It posits that William Shakespeare, before he became famous, was part of a diplomatic trip to the city of Venice so that England and Venice might conspire against the power of the papacy. The style is very playful, and the reading is quite enjoyable. I could easily recommend this book. Secret Weapons of World War II by William Breuer This is the story of the various secret weapons that were developed both by the Allies and the Axis during World War II and how the affected the battles in which they were used. The author is quite comprehensive, so it includes airplanes, submarines, radar, code interpretation, etc. It is presented as a series of short histories of the development and use of each of these instruments of war. A Warning to the Curious by M.R. James A man discovers a crown, one of three that had buried in England to prevent the invasion of foreigners. He has dug it up, but he is being followed by a mysterious person/force which seems to be the ghost form of the last guardian of the secret of where the crown was buried. The story is well told and enjoyable. The Parthenon by Mary Beard Mary Beard is a classicist at Cambridge, England. She has written on Rome as well as other ancient topics. This book on the purpose and history of the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, the god patron of the city of Athens. She describes its use during the pagan, then Christian, then Islamic eras. She gets into the controversy of the fact that the Elgin marbles from the temple are still being kept in London. The book is well done and informative. Have a good week and a good Fourth of July. Shalom fr. Jude


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