Friday, January 12, 2024

Ellicott City

January 12, 2024 Peace and Good, I finally got word yesterday on what my treatment will be for the next several months. I will begin six to seven weeks of radiation therapy and chemo in about a week's time, followed by a year of immunotherapy. I am just relieved that my quest for answers is finally coming to a conclusion. The weather here in Baltimore is cool and rainy. No snow yet, and they are not yet predicting any. Our Minister General (the big boss) came into town yesterday for the funeral of a former Minister General, fr. Joachim Giermek). He will be here til Sunday. It is good to see him for I worked with him for a few years in Rome. I finished some reading and listening: Age of Henry VIII by Dale Hoak This is a Teaching Company course on Henry VIII and his times. Overall, the course is good, but there was an incredible prejudice on the part of the presenter against Catholicism and in favor of the Reformation movement, something that I would not expect to see from someone who should have been more impartial in his research and presentation. Private Empire by Steve Coll This is a long presentation of Exxon and its leadership and its policies, especially in terms of the environment and the company’s relationship to governments (the US, Indonesia, Nigeria, etc.). The author is skeptical of many of the policies and procedures of the company and of its very powerful lobbying efforts. The Jeffersonian Republicans by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier This is one of the short histories of various periods of American History. This one deals with the rise of the Jeffersonian Republicans at the beginning of the republic. This was the beginning of political parties. It also speaks of how America was drawn into the War of 1812. Each of the presentations is well written and informative. Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen This book was written during the great outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa. It speaks of what Ebola is and what it does. The greatest part of the book deals with the question of where it is hidden in between outbreaks – what is the host animal (which must be an animal that doesn’t contract the illness but which can host the virus in itself). Exoplanets: World Without End by Scientific American This is a series of articles that were originally published in the Scientific American on the existence and discovery of exoplanets. It deals with the complicated process by which astronomers are able to deduce the existence of planets around distant stars by very small movements of the star or by small variations in the light it is producing. It also deals with the possibility of life on one or more of those planets. The language is somewhat technical at times, but the presentations are very good. Catholic Prayer by James Kulbicki This is a Learn25 course on different forms of Catholic Prayer. The presenter is very, very good. He is involved in the Apostolate of Prayer, and his commitment to spirituality is very clear. He is practical but also clear on the need to be sincere and consistent in our spiritual life in its many forms. I would strongly recommend this course for anyone. England, the 1960’s and the Triumph of the Beatles by Michael Shelden This is a Teaching Company course that speaks about the four members of the Beatles band and their career. I was not sure that I would like it, but the presenter is very good and he presents tons of background information about why this particular band took off and how they responded to a need in British and American culture. The King’s Hounds by Martin Jensen I was not at all sure if I would like this book. It was great. It is a story that takes place at the beginning of the reign of King Canute (King of Denmark and Great Britain), just before the era of William the Conqueror. A murder of a Saxon lord takes place, and he is worried that it will sabotage a meeting he has arranged of Saxons and Danes to unite the empire. He hires two travelers to investigate what is going on. It is ultimately a detective story and it is very well written. Life and Teaching of Geoffrey Chaucer by Seth Lerer This is a Great Courses presentation on the life and writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. The presenter develops a number of themes concerning various tales from the Canterbury Tales that seemed a bit strange to me. Furthermore, the presenter seems to like to read things in middle English. A bit of that would be OK, but he uses the technique way too much. The Modern Scholar: Medieval Mysteries by Thomas Madden This is a series of lectures from a company called the Modern Scholar (similar to the Great Courses). This volume deals with various urban legends from the middle ages and it speaks of how the legends probably originated (e.g. the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, King Arthur, etc.). The lecturer is very good and I am going to be on the look out for more of his productions. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


Post a Comment