Sunday, October 15, 2023

Ellicott City, MD

October 15, 2023 Peace and Good, I am still plowing my way through a series of medical visits. Tomorrow I will meet with Dr. Christian Meyer at Johns Hopkins, an expert in the type of cancer that I have been diagnosed as having. If you have to be sick, Johns Hopkins is a great place to receive treatment. The strange thing is that I do not have any symptoms. This was all discovered through a routine x-ray that was required by a medication that I am taking. Thank God that they found it (along with the blood clots that were also in my lungs). I am hoping that by this time tomorrow, I will have some sort of idea what a treatment plan will involve. I will be going to the meeting with the health care coordinator for our province, Patricia Ashburn. She is a gem and it will be good to have someone along who will hear the things that I might not be able to hear at the time because of concerns, etc. Fall has certainly arrived here in Baltimore. There is more rain and the temperatures are quite a bit cooler. I finished some reading and listening: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre John le Carre is brilliant in presenting the secret services of Great Britain in both its successes and especially it banal failures. The spies are not like 007. They are regular men and women with all of their personal flaws. This volume deals with a spy who is reaching the end of his career and how he is drawn into messy situation with another men working for the secret services. Charlemagne by Kelly Mass This is one of the short biographies written by Kelly Mass, this one on the great emperor Charlemagne. It speaks of his military endeavors (and possibly war crimes according to our standards). It also speaks of why Charlemagne’s empire failed to last much after his death. Leonardo’s Brain by Leonard Shlain This is a speculative study of the brain and ways of thinking of the great artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci. The author speaks of how people normally are better in one or another of these fields (what is at times called left brain or right brain thinking). The author proposes that there was something very unusual with the way Leonardo thought that made him almost an evolutionary prodigy (possibly what humans would tend toward in the future). Rembrandt by Hourly History This is a short biography of the Dutch artist Rembrandt. In spite of its brevity, the author manages to give a good presentation on the times, influences and techniques of the artist (including his horrible money problems throughout most of his life). Jane Boleyn by Julia Fox This is the story of the sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn and the wife of Anne’s sister. She was part of the court, even after the death of her sister and husband. She was there during the short reign of Jane Seymour who died after childbirth, Anne of Cleves whose marriage with Henry was annulled, and then Kathryn Howard who cheated on Henry (with the assistance of Jane Boleyn). She was executed along with her charge. The author tells a good story, basing it on whatever evidence there is from the period. Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow: 1864-1896 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier This is a medium sized account of how the victory of the Civil War and the 12th to the 15th amendments to the constitution were betrayed after the contested election of 1876. The north was no longer interested in ruling the south, and it left it to the south to decide who to treat the freed slaves, which includes economically exploiting them, politically disenfranchising them, etc. Michelangelo Buonarotti by Hourly History This is one of those short biographies of historic figures, in this case the painter and sculptor Michelangelo. It speaks of his early days learning the artistic methods, of his years of great success, and of his long career and life. He comes across as an incredibly talented man who was also a bit of a misanthrope. Russian Revolution by Hourly History This is an outline of the history of late Czarist Russia and the policies and people who led them to revolution. It also speaks of the career of Lenin and Stalin. The book is more of an outline than an actual history. Ruth (The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary) by James McKeown This is a tremendous exegetical treatment of the short book of Ruth. The author explains the text and the action that takes place in it. He deals with the question of politics, especially the relationship between Israel and Moab (a hated foreign people). It speaks of the book as a reaction to other Biblical books. It also develops certain topics that are very applicable to our society in our modern days. Raid on the Sun by Rodger Claire This is the story of an Israelite raid on a nuclear reactor in Iraq which could have been used to provide plutonium for atom bombs. The author introduces questions of personality, of politics (internal and world), etc. It is a fast moving text which is quite good. A Brief History of Japan by Jonathan Clements This is a very, very good treatment of Japan from pre-historic to modern times. Certain eras are filled with names and situations that are difficult to understand, but others are fascinating. The author opens a whole new world to the readers. I would recommend this book to those interested in the topic. Alfred Hitchcock by Charles River Editors This is a short book dealing with the life and career of the famous mystery director Alfred Hitchcock. It speaks of the ups and downs of his professional career, of the best of his films and the actors with whom he often worked, of some of the techniques that he invented and used in his films. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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