Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Los Angeles

July 6, 2022 Peace and Good, Well, I got through my covid experience. It took me 11 days to test negative. I really only had bay symptoms at the start (like a very bad cold). The last few days there were no symptoms, but I kept testing positive. Finally Saturday I got a negative test. I was supposed to fly to Baltimore last Sunday, but I had to cancel it because of the covid. I am lucky I did, for my flight called me to change planes in Chicago, and with all the delays and cancellations, I doubt that I would have made it. Today's flight is direct to Baltimore, so I hope things will go well. The weather here has been magnificent. Even when it climbs to the low 80's, it is with a very low humidity. I have been doing a lot of zooming in these days to get the work done that could not wait. I finished some reading: The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan This is the story of the relationship between a Chinese woman and her daughter, but it is really the story of the horrible life of the mother when she married her first husband who was cruel and brutal. That marriage occurred in the early days of the Japanese invasion of China during the Second World War. The story speaks of how women were treated as objects, expected to expect anything that their husbands or the husband’s mother dished out to them. The book is well done, if a bit painful to read. The Dragon Seekers by Christopher McGowan This deals with the first discoveries of dinosaur skeletons in Great Britain. An unsung hero of this movement was Mary Anning. She made her living digging up the skeletons long before others even realized their meaning. She is the woman behind the saying, “She sells sea shells by the sea shore.” The book especially with the question of the scientists dating of the materials and the question of evolution vs. creationism. A Storm in Flanders by Winston Groom Winston Groom is the author of Forrest Gump. He has also written a series of history books, mostly dealing with topics concerning war from the Revolutionary War up to the days of World War II. He manages to deal with the larger issues while still given accounts from the words of individual soldiers. It deals with the horrible battlefield in Flanders that led to the death of thousands and thousands of Germans and Brits. Both, at times, fought a 20th century war with 19th century tactics. Great Ideas of Classical Physics by Steven Pollack This is a series of lectures from the Teaching Company dealing with physics from the days of Isaac Newton to the beginning of the 20th century. The professor is informative and the lectures, in spite of the fact that it deals with a heavy topic, is understandable. The Rise of Athens by Anthony Everitt Everitt is a tremendous historian of the ancient world, and this book is one of his masterpieces. It goes from the founding to the city to the period when it became irrelevant except as an education center. He gives an enormous amount of detail in an entertaining manner. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The American Revolution by Robert McDonald This is a Learn25 course. It deals with the causes, major occurrences, and effects of the American Revolution. The professor who offers the course is well informed, but he does not pile on more detail than is needed. I would recommend this course. A Faint Heart by Fyodor Dostoevsky This is the story of two young men in St. Petersburg. It takes place around the middle of the 19th century. One is a scribe who is contracted to do a large job copying documents. He has just gotten engaged, but he is far behind on his project. It eventually causes him to have a nervous breakdown. The story is filled with dialog, typical of Dostoevsky’s style. China’s Long March by Jean Fritz This is the story of the long march of the communists (and specifically the group that followed Mao) from southern to northern China when war broke out between the communists and the forces of Chang Kai-Shek. It is a bit fawning, making the communists into great heroes and all but ignoring their atrocities (e.g. the starvation of millions during the Great Leap Forward). 10 Women who rule the Renaissance by Joyce Salisbury This is a series of accounts about famous women from throughout the world during the time of the Renaissance. It is an odd choice. Some of the women lived what could be called very disreputable lives (violence against others) and yet they are presented as heroes of feminism. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the fawning approach toward these particular women. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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