Friday, December 9, 2022

Baltimore - Louisville - Baltimore

December 9, 2022 Peace and Good, I have been in the States for a couple of weeks now. The main purpose of my trip was to meet with the friars from India who are working in our federation. Some of them have been here for quite some time already. Their province is preparing for a chapter this coming year, and we try to visit all of the friars belonging to the province all throughout the world. The meetings with the Indian friars went very well. They show an incredible hospitality. This evening I am going back to Rome for a couple weeks of our definitory meeting. I have begun to bring my things back from Rome and am storing them at the provincialate until I get a permanent assignment. I finish up on June 30. I have also been visiting doctors in these days. They have diagnosed neuropathy. I have been having a bit of a problem with balance every now and then. I am going to start practicing Tai Chi to see if that helps. I finished some reading: Churchill by Paul Johnson This is a biography by the famous history author Paul Johnson of one of his favorite characters, Winston Churchill. It is a bit obsequious, but not so much that it is unusable. This is only a mid-sized book, but it presents quite a bit of useful information. Anais Nin by Hourly History This is the biography of a very strange author who fought for a feminist perspective but who lived a very avant-guard lifestyle. She was actually a bigamist for many years, having one husband on each side of the county (USA). Her books and her biographies were banned for many years because of their blatant eroticism (including more than a hint that she had an incestuous affair with her father). This story in no way made me want to ever read anything she had written. Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustine to Constantine by Barry Strauss Barry Strauss is an ancient historian, and all of his books are well done. This account of the monarchy from its inauguration up until its fundamental reinvention in the days of Constantine is well done and filled with useful information. I could recommend this book and anything which he has written to anyone interested in ancient Roman or Greek history. Astronomy by Jack Arnold This is a medium size presentation of the history of astronomy from ancient times to the renaissance. The book is well organized, and the lectures well presented. Suleiman the Magnificent by Kelly Mass This is a very short presentation on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent (or the Lawgiver as he is known in Turkic countries). He was mostly successful in his wars, except for his attempt to conquer Malta. His was the greatest of the reign of the Turkish sultans, and after him the empire slowly went downhill. Hedy Lamar by Charles River Editors This is an honest short biography of the actress Hedy Lamar. She came from Austria from a family with a Jewish background. She was known as a beautiful but not particularly talented actress (at least in terms of her ability to express emption). What she is not known for is the fact that she made a number of inventions, including a process to shift broadcasting frequencies, something which is used in wifi today. The People’s Temple by Charles River Editors This is the story of Jim Jones and the group of his followers who committed suicide in Guyana after it was discovered that he was holding many of them there by force. He was a champion of civil rights and other social action movements, but he was also an insidious controller of those who joined him, making himself into a godlike figure who could do anything to women or men. Long Way Home by Jonathan Maberry This is a short horror story of a man who comes back from combat in Afghanistan to investigate the mayhem left by a rightest movement which slaughtered thousands of people because they thought that they were vampires. Needless to say, things are not quite what they seem to be, as this man discovers to his horror. The Axis Power’s Nuclear Weapons Programs by Charles River Editors This is an account of the German and Japanese attempts to develop nuclear weapons during World War II. The German side was handicapped by the expulsion of so many world class nuclear scientists by Hitler as well as by budgetary constraints. The Japanese never really funded their project as much as would be needed (and were probably incapable of doing it because of the enormous expenditures that the US used to develop their weapons). Silence by Shusaku Endo This book tells the story of a Jesuit missionary who sneaks into Japan during the persecution of Christians. He is captured and the Japanese authorities try every technique to make him recant his beliefs (so that the lay believers would realize that their attempt to remain Christian was futile). The greatest weapon the authorities use against him is the suffering of others for their faith. The question which is not explicitly asked, but which is in the background, is whether it takes more faith to be willing to die for the faith, or to deny the faith and believe that God would still forgive one. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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