Thursday, September 14, 2023

Ellicott City, Maryland

September 14, 2023 Peace and Good, I have been at home in Ellicott City these days except for visits to doctors' offices, which is quite a few. I have been using the mornings for writing projects and the afternoons for reading. I have managed to finish 28 articles for two magazines in Padua, Italy and Kenya. The Paduan articles are on the compansions of Jesus, while the Kenyan articles were on the parables of Jesus. I have a CT scan yesterday. They finally discovered why I had a pain in my side. It is a broken rib. I had a small fall a month ago, and I did not realize I had hurt myself like this. Next week I have my bronchoscopy, having a tube put down my throat into my lungs to get a biopsy of the growth they found. I will be asleep, so they can do whatever they want when I am out of it. I have decided to self-quarantine as much as possible, given all the important health appointments I have in these weeks and given the fact that covid is making a bit of a comeback. It is just safer to be careful right now. I finished some reading and listening: European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century by Lloyd Kramer This is a Teaching Company course on the main intellectual movements of the 19th century. It comes across as a post-enlightenment reaction to the main intellectual movements of the previous century. The professors content is well arranged and he is careful to show the links between the various ideas being presented. Henry Knox’s Noble Train by William Hazelgrove At the very beginning of the War for Independence, General Washington sent a book store owner hundreds of miles over winter ravaged land to procure canons from the fort the patriots had taken at Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York State. Knox had no real military training, only what he had read in books in his shop. Yet, he was able to perform a miracle by brining the canons to Boston, an action that forced the British to abandon the city. C.S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet by Alister McGrath This is a thoughtful biography of the famous author of so many Christian books of apologia and of the Narnia series. The books speaks of the background and struggles of Lewis, and how he almost backed into the role of Christian apologist by accident. The various persons so important to Lewis, e.g. his brother, Tolkien, etc. are well outlined. The Great Fire of London by Kelly Mass This is a short history of the disaster in 1666 which destroyed most of the city of London, and possibly wiping out the last vestiges of the great plague which had attacked London in the previous year. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed by Mark Muesse This is a teaching company course on comparative religions, especially the lives and teachings of the four men mentioned in the title of the course. I liked the presentation of the similarities of the four figures. I found that the professor sometimes put possibly too positive of a viewpoint on certain elements of the stories of these characters. Furthermore, his presentation of Jesus subtly and at times not so subtly denies his divinity, presenting him as an honored sage. Pierre Currie by Charles River Editors This is a well written short presentation on the husband of Madame Curie. He and she both discovered radium and studied the properties of nuclear radiation. Pierre is presented almost as if he were an absent minded professor, but the story is told with great respect. Marquis de Lafayette by Hourly History This is a short biography of the famous Revolutionary War hero from France who served as a adjutant to George Washington. The book deals with his involvement with both the American and French revolution. Even though it is short, there is quite a bit of material in the presentation. The Cathars by Kelly Mass This is a short history of the reform movement/heresy which began in the Balkans but which grew to fruition in the south of France and neighboring territories. It was dualistic, speaking of two gods, one good and one bad. It rejected the material world. The Church organized a crusade against it which proved to be terribly violent. Vincent van Gogh by Kelly Mass This is a short biography of the famous artists. Because it is so short, it does not really give a great insight into the motivation and the insight of the artist, or into his troubled mind. A Short History of the Vietnam War by DK The DK series of collection of vast treatments on various topics. It is presented almost as it were an album of newspaper and magazine articles on the subject. This particular volume, dealing with the Vietnam War, is well developed and gives insight to what actually happened (in the war, in politics, to the people, to the society, etc.). It is not always a smooth read (between the various sections), but each section by itself is a good read. The Great Penguin Rescue by Dyan deNapoli A ship went down just off the coast of South Africa, and when the fuel bunkers ruptured, oil poured forth into the ocean right around a major breeding grounds of a group of highly endangered penguins. The oil caused the penguins to lose their ability to swim in cold water, and it sickened them when they ingested it while preening their feathers. This is the story of the massive effort to rescue the penguins, cleaning and nourishing them until they could be released into the wild. Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone This is the story of four sisters from southern France who eventually became queens in their own right in various kingdoms during the middle of the 14th century. It deals with a lot of the convoluted politics of the era, involving especially England and France. The book is quite engaging, but one finds that one has to pay close attention due to the numerous names and plots and subplots used in telling the tale. Rizzio by Denise Mina This is a short book which is a dramatic presentation of the murder of Rizzio, the consultant of Queen Mary of Scotland, by a band of nobles and with the contrivance of her own husband. The story is well told, and the characters involved are well outlined. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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