Monday, July 17, 2023

Ellicott City, MD

July 17, 2023 Peace and Good, It is so good to put just one city in the title of this blog. I have been in Ellicott City, beginning my time of rest before I begin a new apostolate (I don't know what that will be yet). This past Wednesday I had sinus surgery. They had discovered a total blockage in my right sinus when they were doing CAT scans to see what my neuropathy problem was. I could not address it then because the surgeon wanted me to spend three weeks without any flights, and that was just not possible til recently. The surgery went very well, with nothing more than a sore throat and a headache. The staff, the doctor, etc. were all tremendous. I have an appointment with the doctor this coming Wednesday. I will be here in the Baltimore area until mid-August, and then head out to our novitiate in California. There I will spend a few months, writiing a bit and just taking it easy. There have been so many trips in these years that I just need time to physically recover a bit. Already, I have found that several times a day I say to myself that I should get busy and do something, and then I tell myself that I don't have to do it. That is a good feeling. I finished some reading and listening: Executing the Rosenbergs by Lori Clune This book covers the trial and the execution of the Rosenbergs, the atomic spies executed by the US during the 1950’s. The author especially covers the reaction to the execution in countries throughout the world. She does not try to defend either them or the government, being willing to admit that Julius Rosenberg was a spy (the wife was a bit more ambiguous) and that the government mishandled the whole affair, giving the communists a press victory. The Middle East by Wendy McElroy This is a short presentation of the Middle East, especially in the 20th century. Honestly, it is more of a presentation on the history of Israel and its relations with the surrounding Arab nations. The presentation is good, but it is not what it advertises itself to be. John the Baptist by Raymond Collins This is a learn25 presentation on the person of John the Baptist. The professor gives an exegetical presentation from the writings of the New Testament, mentioning those few other early documents that speak of him (e.g. Josephus). The presentations did not give me a lot of new information, but confirmed what I already knew about the topic. George Patton by Hourly History This is a good, short presentation on the highly controversial World War II general who even the Nazi’s considered to be the best general on the Allies side. The short book presents elements of his genius, but also those elements that proved to be self-destructive. It avoids needless speculation on his death (e.g. conspiratorial theories involving the Soviets, the US government, etc.). Between the Rivers: the History of Ancient Mesopotamia by Alexis Castor This is a 24 lecture presentation on the history of the land that today is called Iraq and Syria. The professor is excellent, and she gave a number of lectures that went beyond dates and names. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, and learned quite a bit from it. Stonewall Jackson by Hourly History This is a very quick presentation on the life and military career of Stonewall Jackson. In such a short book, it is difficult to really know the person, and this is no exception. The book comes across as an outline rather than a story of the person. The Apollo 1 Disaster by Charles River Editors This is a presentation on the disaster that struck the practice launch of Apollo I A fire broke out in the capsule, and in the oxygen rich environment, quickly killed the three astronauts there. Unfortunately, the author of this presentation simply copied document after document concerning the investigations, making the read quite boring. The Apis Bull by Charles River Editors This is one of those short treatments on a specific topic by Charles River Editors. In this case, it is the story of the Apis bull which was considered to be sacred in ancient Egypt. It had to have certain markings on it, and was kept in luxury until its death, after which it was mummified. Even its mother was treated with great respect. At the end of the Hellenistic era, it took on a new identity as the Serapis. The cult went on until the early days of the Christian era. The Genius of Earth Day by Adam Rome This is a short course from the Teaching Company on the first earth day (what led up to it, what happened that day, and the long term consequences). The author is very much a fan of the movement, but he does not go overboard too much in his account. Dante by R.W.B. Lewis This is a very nice biography of Dante. It does not deal only with the Divine Comedy as many books on Dante tend to do. It speaks of his background, his politics, his reason for writing his various works, etc. It is not a very long book, but it is packed with insight. The Sacco Gang by Andrea Camilleri I have read a number of books by Camilleri. He writes about a police investigator who often has to deal with the Mafia in his home of Sicily. This book speaks about a family that fought the Mafia and who were attacked by them and by the authorities who hid the Mafia deeds for pay. They spent many years in prison for crimes that the Mafia actually committed. Lord Haw-haw by Charles River Editors This is a biography of the life and career of an American (British?) man who served as a propaganda dispenser in English during the Second World War. He hated the British aristocrats (possibly because he could not break into their circle) and berated them and the Jews and anyone else who came into his sphere. He was executed for treason at the end of the war. Jefferson Davis by Hourly History This is a short history of the first and only president of the Confederate States. It does not go into very much detail, especially during the Civil War years when it would have been interesting to know what he thought of his military leaders, etc. Nevertheless, it was a nice outline of his life. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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