Saturday, June 1, 2024

Ellicott City - Pittsburgh - Ellicott City

June 1, 2024 Peace and Good, I hope you are all well. I am slowly feeling better as time goes on. I have received my third immunotherapy treatment (nine more to go). On the 10th of this month, I will have a CT scan that will tell me how well the chemo and radiation worked. I was able to travel to Pittsburgh (a four hour drive) to visit family and one of my spiritual directees. The trip tired me out a bit, but no where near what it would have done in previous weeks. The next test of my strength will be a trip to Buffalo to visit family and friends. I have been working on my podcasts for the daily readings, and recently on a translation from Italian into English for an exposition in Assisi. Next week i have some work to do for my publisher (Catholic Book Publishing Company). There are nice projects for me for there is no rush to get them done. I am also helping out a bit at the Shrine. That came in handy this week, for many of the friars went down to Charlotte for the ordination and installation of Michael Martin as the bishop of Charlotte. I finished some reading and listening: The Great Schism and the Western Schism by Charles River Editors This is a short presentation on the division of the Western from the Eastern Church (the Great Schism) and also the period in the Middle Ages when there were two, and then three men who claimed to be Pope (the Western Schism). Technically, the Great Schism was resolved when Paul VI and the Orthodox Patriarch renounced the mutual excommunications that marked the seemingly irreparable separation between East and West, and the Western Schism was resolved by a Church Council which convinced (with a bit of forceful persuasion) for all the popes to step down and to elect a new one. 1493 by Charles Mann This is the second volume in a two volume series. The first was 1491 which spoke about the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. This volume speaks about the after effects of his arrival, both within the Americas (e.g. indigenous slavery, the arrival of African slavery, etc.) and outside (the Columbian exchange which saw new crops like potatoes change diets across the world. The presentation is well done, but the topic possibly a bit to wide reaching. Charlemagne: Father of Europe by Philip Daileader This is a Great Courses presentation on the history of Charlemagne (both in terms of his reign and in terms of his influence upon later Europe). The author goes out of his way to separate fact from legend. Many of the questions asked about Charlemagne receive the answer “yes and no” for he was a complicated figure, and later authors and historians tend to overly simplify his meaning to history. Warfare by DK DK is a producer of long, extensive topics. It is almost that each book is an amalgamation of a hundred or so Wikipedia articles. The topics do not always precisely follow each other, but each provides insight to what was going on. Obviously, when the topic is as large as warfare from prehistoric to modern days, one is covering a lot of information. Yet, one never feels overwhelmed by the presentations. American Religious History by Patrick Alllitt This is a history of the main religious movements in the country from the time of the Puritans to the present day. Allitt treats both the original movements (e.g. the Mormons, some millennialist movements, etc.) and the traditional religions (Protestant, Catholic and Jewish). He speaks about how other religions are now spreading in the country (Hindu, Muslim). He is respectful to the various faiths and gives a balanced account of their positive and negative dimensions. Packing the Court by James MacGregor Burns This is a history of the Supreme Court and how presidents have used their appointments to shape the politics of their time (and for a considerable period afterwards, due to the fact that the appointments are for life). The term “packing the court” is usually applied to FDR who had a plan to expand the very conservative court which was blocking his New Deal reforms, yet Burns shows how this was done in slow motion by many of the presidents. The book is very, very interesting. Masterpieces of Ancient Greek Literature by David Schenker This is an excellent Modern Scholars treatment of the various forms of literature from the time of Homer (if he existed) up to the time of the Hellenists after the death of Alexander the Great. The professor describes both the author and his times and the content of his writings, whether it be comedy or tragedy or epic or poetry. I especially appreciated the historic background to help me understand why they ancient authors said things the way they did. The British Subjugation of Australia by Charles River Editors This is a history of the British discovery and settling of Australia. From being a penal colony, it because a place of settlement for many English who otherwise could not have afforded a plot of land. The gold rush led to rapid settlement. The sad side of the story is how the local Aborigines were treated. The Double Agents by W.E.B. Griffin This is basically the story of the plot of the English to dump a body off the coast of Spain with plans for a false invasion of Sardinia or Greece in order to take the Nazi attention off of Sicily. The author adds in other details about skullduggery both in Sicily and Britain. I don’t especially like Griffin’s other books, but this one was OK. The Early of Montenegro by Charles River Editors This is a history of the small land of Montenegro, along the Adriatic coast alongside of Serbia. The book delivers what it says, but in excruciating detail. There is story after story of invasion, overthrow of a king or a duke, etc. Unless one is very, very interested in the topic, I would suggest avoiding this book. Winston Churchill by Hourly History This is a short biography of Churchill. It is really not much more than an outline, but it is a good tool for remembering those parts of his life that are often not treated too well (e.g. his years in exile early in his career, his later years). Bogie and Betty by Charles River Editors This is the story of the lives, careers and love of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. They met on set after Bogart had already been married three times, all to women who had serious personal problems (especially drinking). Bacall was twenty-five years younger than Bogart, but the marriage was very successful. Furthermore the films in which they starred together proved to be magical for some of their real love for each other was transferred to the screen. Have a good week. Shalom fr.Jude


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