Who Came to Ancient America?

Unlike many “reality” shows, the History Channel series, The Curse of Oak Island, has a real dose of history behind its premise. If you can bear with the typical reality show style editing and pacing, you will be rewarded with clues to the island’s history. However, as they say, there is much more to the story.

This region of the North Atlantic seems to hold many more secrets beyond what Oak Island may hold. Paul Chiasson writes in The Island of Seven Cities and Written in Ruins of evidence pointing to Chinese visitors to Cape Brenton Island. Mysterious ruins and Chinese words in native languages are among the clues.

Graeme Davis’ Vikings in America attempts to unravel the scope of Viking excursions into the Americas. No one questions they were here, only the extent and impact of their travels.

In Irresistible North, Andrea Di Robilant tracks down the legendary Zeno brothers of Venice. Did they make it to the New World?

And finally, no ancient mysteries would be complete without throwing the Knights Templars into the mix. In Templars in America, Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins trace a globe trotting mystery that may have crossed paths with the Zeno brothers and followed the trail first blazed by the Vikings.

So, are you ready for some exploring?

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Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Forgotten Places, History, Legend, Mysteries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Darkness Falls

The newest printing of Among the Shadows features the latest version of Dark Snowfall, a Lost Tale in which Milena steps through the veil into a troubling winter encounter. This should also be in the ebook edition soon, so there is no better time to Join the War and Choose a Side.

Categories: fantasy, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning From Thanksgiving

To our detriment, history is often distilled down to a few sentences in our schools. As writer Nathaniel Philbrick writes in Mayflower, “there is a surprising amount of truth” in our “threadbare story of the First Thanksgiving.” It is what happened before and after that people know so little about.

It is a vivid tale of “courage, community and war,” and out of this little told story, a country was shaped. Philbrick writes:

There are two possible responses to a world suddenly gripped by terror and contention…[one way is] to get mad and get even. But…unbridled arrogance and fear only feed the flames of violence. Then there is the [Benjamin] Church [a frontiersman born in Plymouth] way. Instead of loathing the enemy, try to learn as much as possible form him… try to bring him around to your way of thinking. First and foremost, treat him like a human being…and in this he anticipated the welcoming, transformative beast that eventually became — once the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were in place — the Untied States.

In an age where politicians and their followers knowingly try to divide people only to hold on to power, where some of them believe violence is acceptable, where people think wearing masks and harassing people is antifascist, and others think its nothing to fabricate fake fears and crisis to scare people onto their side, perhaps we should for once look to our own history.

We could learn from their trials and tribulations, far worse than our own. Then with crystal clarity, those who seek to undo what was born out of the good and the bad, will be unmasked and exposed.

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark of the Raven

What if you could enter someone’s dreams? Inside their dreamworld you would discover their greatest fears. You could use their darkest secrets against them.

This darkness you found now wielded as a weapon to kill.

In Morgan L. Busse‘s Mark of the Raven, Lady Selene has been gifted as a dreamwalker. The eldest daughter in the House of Ravenwood, she has inherited what generations of women in her family before her have also known. All seven Great Houses of the realms have differing giftings, but her mother teaches Selene the purpose of hers.

She is to become an assassin for hire and serve the dark schemes of her mother.

I have read many books where the Light and Darkness face off. Usually the characters are either-or: Either bad, or good. In Raven, we see Lady Selene struggle with what is apparently her fate. She believes she has no choice. It’s not clear, even when faced with the Light, if she will, or can, veer off the path she was born into. Morgan Busse tells Selene’s story of struggle with the depth that will resonate with people in the real world. And that’s what makes fiction like this a powerful force:

Among the fantastic, truth is revealed. Reality in the midst of fantasy.

Not coincidentally, I’m sure, I had just finished Lacey Sturm’s telling of her real-life story in The Reason. Surrounded by the Darkness she nearly gave in, but she to encountered the Light and had to make a choice. Lady Selene’s world may be fiction, but it is a story many find themselves in.

In Mark of the Raven, Morgan L. Busse has crafted an absorbing tale, where the reader will viscerally experience the struggle of Lady Selene, and be propelled to a breathless ending.

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Categories: Books, fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Reason

Darkness can feel honest, and honesty can be beautiful and feel so inspiring. But darkness stops short of resolution. It’s deceptive. You can’t see all that lurks within darkness. The things that inhabit darkness live there because you can’t see them; that way they can deceive you, pervert you, and ultimately destroy you from the inside out…The deception is evil in the sense that if we don’t stop it, it will kill us. – Lacey Sturm

Before Lacey Sturm became a platinum-selling musician (the former lead singer and cofounder of Flyleaf), she nearly ended her life. In a time where so many people seem to be adrift, and think they have no way out, here is one woman’s amazing story on finding purpose, on defeating the Darkness. The Reason is a book you’ll finish without putting it down.

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Who is Responsible for Education?

This podcast, Your Son Isn’t Lazy — How to Empower Boys to Succeed, has some great insights into boys and learning. If you listen closely, you may also notice some unspoken implications concerning our [the government’s] enlightened ways in educating children, which are causing the very problems that seem to increase with each generation.

My three maxims for education are these:

1. The person most responsible for your education is you.

2. The people most responsible for a child’s education is his or her parents.

3. Learning never ends.

If we adhered to these, would we constantly be trying to reinvent education, only to see it spiral further out of control?

P.S. Also check out Why Arizona’s Plan To Teach Kids Cursive Is Great For Kids where we learn, among other things, handwriting “engages the brain more deeply in creative thinking” and “strengthens students’ memories.”

Categories: Critical Thinking, education | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Among the Darkness

In the midst of all these shades of Sun, darkness, existence, and time are those shadows created by radiant light. Here is where the Light will dawn in the face of gathering darkness. As some men love the darkness, others search out the lights shining in the night. There, in the borderlands of existence as most people remain unaware, is where the conflict will play out. – Grayson Kirby, the Tower Keeper, Among the Shadows.

The conflict between Darkness and Light is a central theme in Among the Shadows, and throughout much of fiction. This face-off also exists in the physical world.

Paradoxically, Earth sits in one of the darkest corners of the Milky Way Galaxy, in a universe consisting of 99.73% darkness (dark matter and dark energy). A rare, bright blue orb floating in darkness — not the pale blue dot that the great evangelist of materialistic philosophy Carl Sagan often glumly intoned about.

Interestingly, if the properties of dark energy varied as little as one part in 10 to the 120th power, we would not exist. According to math and logic, chance cannot create such precision no matter how old the universe, nor how many fanciful multiverses one conjures.

Even the vast darkness of the universe is ultimately beholden to a bright blue light. As Darkness and Light battle it out on our world, the universe it sits in shows the war can be won.

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On Reading, and Not Reading

If you follow my Facebook page, you know I post links to some interesting articles around the web. Here’s a round-up of some recent favorites:

Have trouble finding time to read? Are you optimizing your reading time? What are you reading goals? Why You Need a Reading Plan will answer those questions and set you on a life-long adventure of reading.

In Reading The Great Books Well Should Transcend Moralism, Ramona Tausz asks, “Can books change you? Can they make you a better person? Most importantly, will you let them try?” Learn from the Great Books.

Find out if you suffer from Tsundoku, the practice of buying more books than you can read. Is this a bad thing?

Read the troubling, A Third Of Teens Haven’t Read A Single Book In Past Year, which writes:

Many [teens] simply don’t have experience delving into long-form texts. Learning to do so is imperative…as it lays the groundwork for developing critical thinking skills and understanding complex issues…

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds.”

Follow on FB for more fascinating books, ideas and the cutting edge. Of course, stay here as well for longer discussions, Finding your Story, and the War Among the Shadows.

Categories: Books, General | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ruins of Rome Speak to Us

Recently, I wrote that humanity can overcome the prophets of doom who predict all manner of ends to humanity. Perhaps their lack of hope arises from their belief the world is borne out of randomness. One may ask them, then why worry about our fate? For those who have not given up, who see purpose in the universe, and want to keep civilization from faltering, there are many tools at their disposal.

History is one.

What looks impossible in the present looks inevitable in hindsight.

Those are the words written by Lael Arrington when discussing the fate of ancient Rome. In hindsight, the events of history often evoke a certain question: How could they have not seen that coming? Probably because those people were saying: That could never happen to us.

Continue reading

Categories: Critical Thinking, History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What is Tolerance?

“Treat people as equally valuable, but treat ideas as if some are better than others, because they are. Some ideas are true, some are false. Some are brilliant, others are dangerous. And some are just plain silly. Real tolerance is about how we treat people, not ideas. Classic tolerance requires that every person be free to express his ideas without fear of abuse or reprisal, not that all views have equal validity, merit, or truth.” – Greg Koukl

The claim that “all views are equally valid” is a logical contradiction, just as the belief that all ideas must be accepted and unchallenged is intellectually empty. Nor does challenging an idea make you “bigoted, disrespectful, ignorant…[or] intolerant.”

Tolerance is easy, and so is thinking — you just have to do it.

Categories: Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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