Friday, November 24, 2023

Ellicott City, Md

November 24, 2023 Peace and Good, I almost wished you all a happy black Friday. It almost seems as if it were created first, and then people came up with the idea of Thanksgiving. I remember one Black Firday in Rome (where Thanksgiving is not celebrated). A store wanted to celebrate Black Friday, but they did not quite understand the concept. They had their window filled with black clothes on sale. I have been waiting for results of my various medical tests. I finally got a call Wednesday evening. I will be having another operation in two to three weeks to take out the masses on my right lung. They took out two from the left side, and two remain on the right side. I am glad to know what is going to happen in these weeks. I have been waiting a month since the last operation for indications of what would happen. I have been working on my latest meditation book and I finished the last part this morning. They will type set it over the next couple of weeks, and after I approve the proofs, it will go to press. I don't expect it to be on sale til next year. These things take a lot of time, especially since printing occurs in countries like South Korea. The weather here in Baltimore is beautiful fall weather. Cool, but mostly clear. I finished reading and listening to some books: Eschatology by Harvey Egan This is a Learn25 presentation on the Last Things: the return of Jesus at the end of time, the final judgment, heaven, hell and purgatory, etc. This is one of the best theological presentations I have heard in quite some time. I felt quite at home with many of the conclusions made by this professor. I would highly recommend this particular course to those who wish to listen to this topic. The Big Mysteries of Human Evolution by Elen Feyuerriegel This is a Great Courses presentation on the question of human evolution. It deals with questions of fossils, language development. racial differences, the dissemination of the first humans around the world, who were the first true humans and who are their ancestors and their cousins, etc. The presentation is filled with detail and one must take time to follow its development, but it is a good course. Isabella of Castille by Giles Tremlett This is a well written, extensive biography of the famous queen of Spain (who together with her husband Ferdinand literally invented the idea of Spain). She was not a queen consort, but a reigning monarch who had very strong views about many things. She is remembered for sponsoring the adventurous voyage of Christopher Columbus, but also is known as the monarch who exiled and persecuted Jews and Muslims from her reign. Clash of Cultures: Prehistory-1638 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier This is an account of the first European settlements in America (not counting the Norse in earlier centuries) and their interaction (often violent) with Native Americans. This series of history books aims to give the major details without drowning its readers in detail, and the author largely succeed in doing that. Repressed by Jeffrey Deaver This is a novella about a man who has a very strange reaction seeing a car in a field at a fair. His family urge him to go to a counselor for he had been acting short with them for a while. He does this and uncovers a repressed memory that makes it all clear. But that is certainly not the end of the story. The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century by William Rosen This is a book which speaks about a period of famine that occurred in the mid 14th century in Europe caused by horrible weather (first incessant rains and then drought) and by man-made disasters, especially warfare. While it is supposedly about Europe, the author spends an inordinate amount of time dealing with England and Scotland. It is not really the best developed book I have read recently. Harry S. Truman by Hourly History This is a short biography of the man who has been known as the “accidental president.” He was a relatively unknown Senator when he was chosen to be the vice-presidential candidate with FDR for his fourth term. He faced incredibly difficult decisions on the foreign and domestic levels, and he proved to be much more than an adequate president (some would classify him as great). Frederick Douglas by Hourly History This is a short biography of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Born a slave, he eventually escaped from his Maryland plantation. He became a famous author and lecturer on the topic of emancipation. He was the first man of color received at the White House as a guest at dinner. He became the poster child of what people of color could accomplish, giving hope to them and shocking those who still considered them to be inferior even after they were released from slavery. The Election of 1828 by Charles River Editors This is the account of the election of 1828. In spite of the fact that Andrew Jackson received the highest number of electoral votes, John Quincy Adams was chosen by the House of Representatives to be president (for no candidate had received a majority of electoral votes). Jackson considered this to be a dirty election for another candidate, Henry Clay, had thrown his support behind Adams and was then named Secretary of State. Adams was a one term president, soundly defeated by Jackson in the next election. Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Does Intelligent Alien Life Exist? By Robert Lawrence Kuhn This is a short course from Learn25 concerning the possibility of extraterrestrial life. It is actually only three lectures long. Each lecture is actually a series of interviews with experts in the field that are cobbled together. The professor asks the question of whether there is life out there, why has it never contacted us? What would be the consequences of some form of contact? How would that change our lives and even our theology? The presentation, in spite of its brevity, is extremely well done. Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings by Neil Price This is a history of the Vikings. It includes that history which we can identify, their mythology, their social life, their travels, etc. It is well developed and thorough. Church Farm House by Benedict Ashforth This is a series of short stories about a house where a mass murderer lives and the evil spirit that possesses them both. The stories are inter-generational. They are tied together well, and present a portrait of evil played out over time. The Oracle of Dodona by Charles River Editors Less famous than the oracle of Delphi, this site in northwestern Greece was a major site for an oracle dedicated to Zeus. It is mentioned by Homer and Hesiod and other ancient authors. The seers probably received their message by the movement of leaves of the sacred oak trees and by messages from birds, etc. It was destroyed several times over the course of history, the last time by the Christians and was largely forgotten til recent times. Have a good week and a meaningful beginning to Advent. Shalom fr. Jude


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