Friday, July 5, 2024

Ellicott City - Buffalo - Ellicott City

July 5, 2024 Peace and Good, I am writing this in a sweltering Baltimore, so much so that I am going to be taking my daily walks inside the house. I got to go up to my hometown of Buffalo to visit family and friends. This is the first time that I have been there in a couple of years. I love the friendlikness of the Buffalonians. The people are great, as is the food. The wweather and job situation could use a bit of work. I noticed at the airport how many people wore some type of clothes that publicized the Buffalo Bills. I don't think there is a city with better fans other than possibly Green Bay. I am back in Baltimore, working on some small projects and helping out at the Shrine. I enjoy celebrating Mass and listening to confessions there. We are doing the local parishes a great service becuase most of them don't have a lot of hours of confession available. We have two or three confessors on call for an hour before our noonday Mass. I am in the process of getting my faculties (permission to conduct public ministry) from the Baltimore archdiocese. I have been without faculties from anyone for the past year because I was in recovery, but now I am well enough to help out here and there as needed. I finished some reading and listening: FDR: the First Hundred Days by Anthony Badger This is a balanced book dealing with the attempts of FDR to face the financial crisis of the great depression, especially with a whirlwind effort in the first 100 days of his administration. The author finds middle ground in the account, admitting that some things could have been done better, but also that it was a time of crisis when something significant had to be done immediately. There are still some who argue that FDR’s efforts prolonged the depression, but they tend to argue that the government should never be involved in these things, that the market would correct itself (not thinking of those who were crushed in the mean time). Theology and Science by Matthew Ogilvie This is an interesting course from Learn25 on whether one can reconcile the finding of science with theology. He avoids the Galileo affair to deal with more modern topics such as evolution, genetics, eugenics, etc. The professor is well versed in Thomistic theology and science and he shares a number of invaluable insights. The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst I have read most of the books by Furst. He writes about the period just before World War II and sometimes during the war. His books have covered topics in Parish, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and now Poland. This one deals with a spy for the French who is trying to ferrit out German secrets from agents who pass over the border (a year or so before the war began). He has to deal with a bureaucracy which makes his job all but impossible. It is a must read. The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World by Robert Garland This is a rather long (48 lectures) and very enjoyable course from the Great Courses that deals with ancient history, but most of all from the perspective of ordinary people (instead of the great names and great dates which are often the main content of histories). The presenter does a fine job of providing ample detail without ever being boring. I would recommend this course even to someone who is only slightly interested in the topic. The Boxer Rebellion by Charles River Editors This was a nativist rebellion at the beginning of the 20th century in China. The country had been sadly exploited by a number of imperialist nations as well as by its own corrupt aristocracy. This is a short account, but it does give quite a bit of information (but as usual, from a European perspective). Central Europe by Richard Hottelet This is a short presentation of the history of the central European nations throughout their history from prehistoric times to the post-communist era. The book is an overview without a lot of detail, but it is wroth reading. Modern Scholar: Shakespeare: Ten Great Comedies by Raphael Shargel This is a course on the comedies of Shakespeare. It is the kind of course that should be accompanied by a reading of the Shakespeare plays. The professor gives some brilliant insights into the action and characters of those plays. It has made me marvel at the insight of this great playwrite. The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt This is the story of the short address that Lincoln made at the dedication of the cemetery in Gettysburg after the battle during the summer of 1863. While the speech seemed all but insignificant in comparison with the two hour speech provided by the main spokesman, Edward Everett. Yet, over time Lincoln’s address has been recognized as one of the most significant speeches every written. Agent 110 by Scott Miller This is the story of the head of the OSS office in Switzerland during the war, Allen Dulles, who would eventually become one of the first directors of the CIA. He was a bit of an amateur who was playing as spy, making some mistakes but also providing valuable information on Germany and the German troops in Italty. The Waters of Siloe by Thomas Merton This is a book written by Thoams Merton when he was a young monk in his monastery in Gethsemane. This book was requested by his superiors and it is a quick history of the trappiest movement and an overview of their spirituality. One of the highpoints was the explosion of trappiest vocations right after World War II (partly because of the life changing experience of the war, but also due to the book, the Seven Story Mountain, that Merton had written). Paper by Marc Kurlansky Marc Kurlansky has written a series of brilliant books on various topics such as cod and oysters. This volume presents the story of the invention of paper and its manufacture first in Eastern countries, and then throughout Europe. It speaks of the end of the era of parchment and the rise of printing. The cook is very, very interesting. The Rise of an Empire by Stephen Dando-Collins This is the story of the career of Themistocles, the hero of Athens, who convinced the people to prepare for the coming Persian invasion by building a massive fleet which was able to defeat the Persians in the battle of Salamis. Ironically, this great hero was eventually rejected by the people of Athens who hated anyone who became too important and therefore presented a danger to the democracy (at least in their own view). Have a good week and keep cool. Shalom fr. Jude


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