Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Ellicott City, MD

February 6, 2024 Peace and Good, I am doing OK, if not exactly great. I have begun to feel the side effect of fatigue and weakness from the chemo and radiation. I finished the last chemo session yesterday, and finish my last radiation on Monday. Then there is a pause of three months before the evaluate the success of this round of treatments. In the meantime, I will begin immunotherapy. This involves an infusion once a month for the next year. Considering everything, I am really not doing that poorly. It could be much, much worse. I have finished another project for my publisher. I don't have a lot of energy to do too much now besides listen to audio and video courses on various topics. The doctor said that my energy level would probably get worse until 10 days after the last radiation, and then it would slowly bounce back to normal. Spring has arrived in Baltimore. The migratory birds have begun to arrive. The daffodils are blooming. I finished some reading and listening: Heroes of the Desert by Philip Bochanski This is a Learn25 presentation on the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The presenter is very respectful. He presents a series of biographies as well as lessons that one can learn from their lives. This course is very, very well done. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to know about this spiritual movement in the early Church. Journeys of the Great Explorers by Glyndwr Williams This is a Modern Scholar presentation on the various important journeys of discovery from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The presenter tries to be careful in the presentation, not necessarily accepting what those who wrote the first accounts. He presents the personalities of the explorers with their talents and their short comings. The journeys include the discovery of the path around Africa from Portugal, the discovery of the New World and its exploration, the search for the Northwest Passage, and the exploration of the South Seas. The Parables: Understanding What Jesus Taught by Andrea Molinari This was a quite strange treatment of the parables. A lot of the material is useful in showing their relationship to writings in the Hebrew Bible and in Greek literature. But once the professor treats the individual parables, he draws some very strange conclusions. The Art Detective by Philip Mould This is an account of the discovery, acquisition, study, restoration and sale of very valuable works of art that have often been overlooked or mislabeled. The presentation is very good and folksy. It speaks of particular episodes in the career of the author. It is an enjoyable and informative book. What’s New with Atheism by Robert Kuhn This is part of a study series produced by Robert Kuhn. They are all a collection of a series of short interviews with people who hold very different positions on a topic. This one deals with what is called the new atheism which tends to be much more militant than the previous models (not only positing that there is no deity, but mocking those who believe in God). The presentation is very, very well done. The Muse by Jeffery Deaver This is an extremely quirky short novel on a series of horrendous attacks on people using very unusual methods. The police detectives are trying to figure out who is causing the mayhem. The ending proves to be surprising and troubling. Grant’s Final Victory by Charles Flood This is the story of the end of President Grant’s life, from the time that his investment firm went bankrupt due to an embezzlement of one of the partners til the time of his death. In between, he was encouraged by Mark Twain to write his memoirs which he finished shortly before his death. The book proved to be a tremendous success, protecting Grant’s family from the insolvency that he so feared. The Apostles by Andrea Molinari This presentation is not really on the apostles as such. It is much more on the apocryphal books which present themselves as the acts of the apostles. In that regard, it is very good. I had not even known of some of these works (e.g. the Acts of Andrew). Molinari shows how the emphasis of these works is much more on asceticism and chastity than the works included in the New Testament. Also, he shows how a number of them are tinged by Gnostic tendencies. Field Marshall Albert Kesselring by Charles River Editors This is a short presentation on the life and career of Kesselring. He was the head of part of the Air Force, and then given responsibilities over England, Russia and finally in Italy. The author is a bit soft on the war crimes committed by Kesselring’s troops. While he might not have known about some of them, he did give some orders that led to crimes that should never have happened. The Ghosts of England by Charles River Editors This is a fun short book which presents a series of ghost stories in England today (and in the recent past). They involve the usual sightings, noises, objects flying, etc. Interestingly, some were in Churches and Church yards, which should not be entirely surprising for graveyards often surrounded the Churches and many people died in Churches during the various religious wars. The Psalms: the Life of Faith by Walter Brueggemann This is the collection of a series of articles by Brueggemann on the psalms. Some of the early ones were quite esoteric and theoretical, but some of the articles are absolutely brilliant. It is one of those books which I can say was one from which I learned quite a bit. I will absolutely read more of his scholarship. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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