Quotations on Gratitude

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“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

                                                                              Marcel Proust

 

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“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

                                                                           Maya Angelou

 

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“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

                                                                            John F. Kennedy

 

Honor Veterans Day

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November 11 is Veterans Day, and I simply wanted to offer my thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the Armed Forces.

This day began with Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, which ended the First World War. Congress formalized Armistice Day as a national holiday in 1938. After World War II and The Korean War, the day was renamed Veterans Day, and it serves as a time to honor all of those who have served or are serving.

Please let it be a day of honor and thanks, not one of special sales deals. It is a day to recognize the commitment, duty, sacrifice, and service of the men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces.

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Guest Post: Introducing the Educated Wanderer!

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I am very proud to have a former student of mine and her business partner present this guest post about their travel company. I hope all of you enjoy this post and consider using their business!

Charles French

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(Educated Wanderer)

Hello everyone!

Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Laura Pezzulich. My partner Creed Hyatt and I run our company, Educated Wanderer. We are based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania and have been around since 2015, though we have been leading travel groups for the past 12 years. As philosophers and avid travelers, our life’s work has grown into creating small group travel experiences to places that we want to or love to visit. The idea is to design trips that WE want to go on in hopes that other like-minded individuals will be interested to join us. Of course, this means there are certain preferable criteria each of our trips must meet as we plan our travel. Aside from the all-inclusive price which includes airfare, accommodations, admissions fees, transportation, and more, the kinds of experiences we incorporate into our travel are reading, culture, food, local spirits, and freedom to explore. I want to emphasize that education is what makes travel useful and that education truly encompasses all of these criteria.

Allow me to explain. By education, we do not mean simply learning the history of a place through reading or guided tours, though they are absolutely necessary pieces of the puzzle. What we mean by education is taking the culmination of experiences you will have, reflecting on how they challenge and make you feel, thereby learning something more about the world and its people, but most significantly learning something about yourself. This kind of knowledge sneaks up on you. It is not easily acquired, however our philosophy of travel is rooted in a belief of the zenith of the tangible and the intangible, the describable and the ineffable, of which we know will change ways you interpret everything. We feel comfortable claiming that we know this because we speak from our own experience and the experiences of those we have traveled with in the past. We want to help you understand your own experiences, just as any good teacher will do.

The problem that interferes with such understanding is life, which typically includes a list of duties we must perform to maintain a comfortable living situation. There is nothing inherently wrong about that. When we are at our jobs and at home we tend to be doing things for other people, thus we often neglect our spiritual and emotional needs, as we do not actively challenge our routines. That is where we come in. Creed and I want to give you the opportunity to disconnect from the usual to make room for connecting with your Self. At Educated Wanderer, we do not take you on vacations. Our job is not merely to show you a good time, regardless of the fact that we do indeed have an utterly fantastic time! Rather, we find it to be our duty to encourage and facilitate learning experiences for people because the most meaningful part of our work is people and cultivating a sense of community. Essentially . . . you.

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(Educated Wanderer)

To that end, we have designed four trips scheduled during the year 2019 to Italy, Spain, Iceland, and Germany. Please visit our website at http://www.educatedwanderer.com for more information. Scroll through our online library of relevant texts to help acquaint you with your intended destination. If you have questions please call us, email us or visit our office. If you are really old-school, we also respond to carrier pigeons or balled up pieces of paper thrown at us while we walk down the street. We absolutely love talking with people about our travel ideas and about your travel dreams! We hope to hear from you and we hope you will join us in 2019!

Call: 6104625886

Email: laura@educatedwanderer.com or creed@educatedwanderer.com

In-person Appointment: 707 N. 4th Street, Studio 106, Allentown, PA 18102

Don’t forget to like us on social media for travel updates and news!

Facebook: facebook.com/educatedwanderer

Instagram: @educatedwanderer

Twitter: @eduwanderer

Favorite Horror Films: The Wolfman: Revisited

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“Even a man who is pure at heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.” (The Wolfman)

This is the well-known poem that is at the heart of the 1941 Universal Studios film The Wolfman. This film completes the quartet of monsters that are at the heart of the Universal horror franchise: the Frankenstein Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, and the Wolfman. While there were certainly other creatures and monsters in the films in this time period, these are the four most prominent.

While we see science run out of control and ancient evils in the other films, in The Wolfman, we view a story of tragedy that is focused on an ordinary man, Larry Talbot, who is swept up in unfortunate events beyond his control. Because he is bitten by a werewolf while trying to save a girl and lives, Larry Talbot is fated to become such a beast himself.

The director and producer was George Waggner, and the writer was Kurt Siodmak. Most of our contemporary views about werewolf behavior do not come from ancient traditions or medieval European beliefs but from the mythology that Siodmak created for this movie. Siodmak created the idea that the time of the full moon is when a werewolf takes it form and that to become one, a person must be bitten by a werewolf and survive.

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More importantly, he included elements of tragedy, of a man fated to murder and to be destroyed, despite his desire to be a good person. The incantation the gypsy woman Maleva intones over Larry Talbot after his death illustrates this theme:

“The way you walked was thorny through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.” (The Wolfman)

Siodmak also addressed contemporary issues, specifically the idea of a star marking the next victim of a werewolf, much like a star marking the Jewish people of Europe by the Nazis. Siodmak was a German Jew who had been successful as a writer but had to flee Germany with the take over by the Nazis. While the reference is not direct, it is still a clear metaphor for the horrors of the Nazis. The film demonstrates that evil is both natural and human created.

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In addition to excellent writing, the cast was also of the very best. Along side the star Lon Chaney Jr. were Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Evelyn Ankers. Jack Pierce, as in the other main Universal horror films, created the unforgettable makeup that is the foundation for all other filmic and literary werewolves.

It was a film that was excellent in every level of production, and it maintains its excellence today.

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Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

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Available on Amazon

A Guest Post For the U.L.S. The Underground Library Society by K.D. Dowdall

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I want to thank the wonderful writer and blogger K.D. Dowdall for becoming a member of the U.L.S. The Underground Library Society and for writing this post about the books she would become. Please visit her site Pen and Paper !

Underground Library Society Post

by

K.D. Dowdall

As a member of Dr. Charles F. French’s Underground Library Society, I have been asked to write about what book or books I would choose to become, should the world, someday, resemble the novel, Fahrenheit 451 in which books are illegal.

Colonial America has always fascinated me. It was the beginning of a new world order, but it wasn’t about democracy, at least in the beginning—far from it. It was about religious freedom and freedom from tyranny. Yet, nothing could have been farther from the truth.

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, in 1620, to start a new life—with or without a religion of their choosing. And then came the Puritans, in 1630, who landed at Salem, a band of Calvinists believers. They were refugees, expelled from England, and then also expelled for the Dutch city of Amsterdam for their harsh, cruel, and unorthodox beliefs.

This brings me to my choice of a book or books I would become, based on two young women’s true life stories, which changed the narrative of Colonial America’s journey into becoming a democracy. They are: Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, and Tidewater by Libbie Hawker.

Of course, there were other young women in Colonial America that helped to bring enlightenment, humanism, and the beginning of the scientific movement, like philosophy in which we see Descartes’ famous quotation: “Cogito, Ergo sum – I think, there for I am.”

Two such notable women were Anne Bradstreet and Anne Hutchinson. Anne Bradstreet published the first book written by a woman in Colonial America. Anne Hutchinson was one of the first feminists in Colonial America to advocate equality for women. Their independent thinking, in the days of Puritan tyranny in Colonial America, helped to impact America’s journey into independence, equality, and separation of church and state.

Tidewater by Libby Hawker, set in 1607, Jamestown, Virginia, is the story of Amonute, commonly known as Pocahontas—a nickname given to her by her grandfather. Twelve year old Amonute’s independent, intelligent, inquisitive, and brave nature, allowed her to walk naked to the small settlement of unbathed, filthy, and starving English men. These men, without women, had had no idea how to survive in this new land.

John Smith, with his similar nature, welcomed Amonute’s knowledge and wisdom. She alone, for good or ill, changed the course of history, bringing together, as least temporarily, a truce between two vastly different cultures. Pocahontas married a caucasian Protestant minister and was invited to mingle with Royalty in England. She is still remembered with great fondness, by the English people, and they have dozens of statutes of Pocahontas throughout England.

My second favorite, Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks, is set in 1665, and brings vividly to life the story of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University. The real heroine of this story, however, is Bethia Mayfield. Despite growing up on a small island, surrounded by strict Puritan theology, Bethia grew up possessed of “a restless spirit and a curious mind.”

Despite her upbringing, Bethia defied the bounds of her rigid Calvinistic father’s ministry. One day, while exploring the forested island, Bethia met Caleb, the son of the Chieftain of Great Harbor, now known as Martha’s Vineyard. They became secret friends. Bethia was impressed with the young Wampanoag Indian’s innate intellect, and she was further impressed by the freedom to speak their minds, given to the males and females in Caleb’s Native American Indian society.

As they grew up, Bethia fought to have Caleb become a learned young man in Puritan Colonialism. She won the fight between the old ways and the new, and Caleb went to study Greek and Latin at Harvard University. Bethia went to Cambridge at the behest of her brother, and she became the voice in a society that required women’s silence.

I would have chosen to become either one of these intuitive, brave, and independent, forward-thinking young women who helped to promote, as it says in our Constitution, “…the general welfare, and to secure the Blessings of Liberty.” 

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Thank you again to K.D. Dowdall for her wonderful post!

 

Guest Underground Society Post by Josh Gross

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I want to give thanks to Josh Gross for contributing this excellent post to my blog. Please be sure to check out his blog: Jaguar and Allies .

Underground Library Society Post

 

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Introduction

 

In May of this year, Dr. Charles French extended an invitation to join his Underground Library Society (ULS). The ULS began as a project for Dr. French’s English 2 class, in which students were required to create a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. In this way, they might be able to save it from censorship.

 

Dr. French’s invitation asked readers to do the same thing: make a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. I selected the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence – better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

 

While I have not constructed a poster, what follows is an essay about why I would memorize this book.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

 

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(A portrait of T. E. Lawrence, as seen in Lowell Thomas’ With Lawrence in Arabia. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

In these pages in not the history of the Arab movement, but just of what happened to me in it…It treats of daily life, mean happenings, little people. Here are no lessons for the world, no events to shake peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake it for history (it is the bones from which some day a man may make history), and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt (Lawrence, 2011, p. 9).

 

I first picked up the Seven Pillars of Wisdom on a whim. I had just finished reading The Outsiders by Colin Wilson, which quoted Lawrence repeatedly. Lawrence’s words struck a chord with me, so I ordered a copy of his book. I had no idea what I was getting into.

 

The Seven Pillars is the memoir of the fabled “Lawrence of Arabia,” whom Michael Korda (2010) describes as, “a scholar, an archaeologist, a writer of genius, a gifted translator…a soldier of startling originality and brilliance; an instinctive leader of men; and, above all, a hero” (p. xvi).

 

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​(T. E. Lawrence, second from right in the middle row, accompanying Emir Faisal Hussein of Mecca at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

Lawrence’s memoir chronicles his experiences in the Arab Revolt of 1916, in which the Arabic peoples rose up against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. Little did they know, they had entrusted their fates to a far more devious power than the Turks: the British Empire.

 

The Arab Revolt was both encouraged and supported by the British. At this time, Europe was locked in the bloody stalemate of World War I – with the British and Ottomans fighting on opposite sides. The British therefore helped to instigate a rebellion of the Arabs against the Ottomans, promising to grant their ‘friends’ freedom and a sovereign state.

 

But in a real-life conspiracy, the British and French met behind closed doors; deciding to carve up the Middle East amongst themselves however they saw fit. There would be no freedom for the Arabs.

 

From the beginning, Lawrence was a firm believer in the Arab Revolt. He initially supported it indirectly as a desk-based intelligence officer in Cairo. But when the revolt began to flounder, he entered the field as a liaison between the Arabic and British armies. His time in the field makes up the bulk of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

 

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(Much of Lawrence’s sympathy for the Arabs stemmed from his Oxford days, when he worked as an archaeologist at Carchemish. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

What first struck me about the Seven Pillars, and the primary reason I would memorize it, is the sheer beauty of its prose. Lawrence wrote with more skill, passion, and care than any author I have yet found. He described the scenery of Arabia so perfectly that the hues of the desert come to life; he writes about the characters so intimately that they seem like old friends; but, most of all, he describes his own thoughts and emotions in such detail that it is impossible not to be affected by them.

 

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(Wadi Rum, shown here, was one of Lawrence’s favorite places in Arabia. Wadi Rum by Dan. CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

It is in these moments of self-disclosure that the Seven Pillars truly shines. To be fair, I disagree with many of Lawrence’s sentiments. However, that does not detract from the quality of his writing. It is also during Lawrence’s ‘deeper’ passages that the central theme of the Seven Pillars becomes apparent: that of a man torn in two.

 

Lawrence was a proud Englishman, and felt that his first duty was to his homeland. Despite this, he also believed in a free Arabia. As the Seven Pillars progresses, the incompatible drives between serving his British masters and helping his Arabic friends gradually rip him apart.

 

This is the primary reason I would choose to memorize the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: it shows what happens when one chooses to obey authority over doing what they know to be right.

 

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(​Lawrence died on the morning of May 19, 1935, following a tragic motorcycle accident. TE Lawrence Effigy Wareham Church by Julian Hutchings. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Lawrence never recovered from the war, and neither did the world. How different would the modern age be if the Arabs had been allowed to govern themselves, instead of being turned into the colonial play-things of the British, French, and later the Americans? We will never know.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is more than a literary masterpiece. It is the story of broken promises, of failed dreams, and of a world that almost was. As Lawrence (2011) wrote:

 

I meant to make a new nation, to restore to the world a lost influence, to

give twenty millions of Semites an inspired dream-palace of their national

thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made

them play a generous part in events: but when we won, it was charged against me

that British petrol royalties in Mesopotamia were become dubious, and French

colonial policy mined in the levant (p. 10).

 

I hope to preserve Lawrence’s words forever, so that the world never forgets the price of deception.

 

References

 

Korda, M. (2010). Hero: The life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia. New York, NY:

HarperCollins Publishers.

 

Lawrence, T. E. (2011). The seven pillars of wisdom: A triumph: The complete 1922 text.

Blacksburg, VA: Wilder Publications, Inc.

 

Once again, thank you to Josh Gross!

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Quotations on Standing Up to Evil

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

                                                                          Edmund Burke

 

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

                                                                  Mahatma Gandhi

 

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

                                                                 Martin Luther King Jr.

Armed Forces Day 2018

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Today is Armed Forces Day, and let us take a moment to honor the men and women who have served or are currently serving in our forces.

A very small percentage of the population does serve, so they deserve a special recognition for what they do. Far too often, they are simply ignored, or their days, especially Memorial Day or Veterans Day are used as an excuse for sales of stuff.

Regardless of political views, we should remember those who do honorable service, especially because most of us do not have to serve. It is a sacrifice that should be acknowledged.

To all in the forces or who have served–you are in my thoughts.

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Quotations on History

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“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. ”

                                                                         Michael Crichton

 

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“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

                                                                         George Santayana

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“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

                                                                        George Orwell

Happy Friday the 13th!

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I hope all of you enjoy your day today and do not worry at all about the date. This is not a day that should cause any concern, unless of course you somehow had access to a time machine and were able to travel back in time to October 13, 1307 when the end of this organization was put into play by King Philip the Fair of France.  Apparently his name carried two levels of irony, because many reported that he was not handsome, and certainly his treatment of the Knights Templar shows he was not a man of honor.

He had many arrested on that day, and that began a time of great torture, horror, and death for those involved. So, certainly that day would have been a terrible day to be around on Friday the 13th!

If you had a time machine, perhaps you should choose a different, happier historical day!

But for everyone else, enjoy the Friday! Go out if you normally do, or stay home and enjoy a good book, but have fun, and please do not worry about the date!

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