Travels with Herodotus

Travels with Herodotus (2004) by Ryszard Kapuscinski (English translation:2007)

Rating: ★★★★★

Kapuscinski was a great journalist and travel writer, and in part of this, his last book he presents a few fragments, a minuscule part of his wide experiences. These fragments become shorter and shorter while his reflections about Herodotus become longer and longer, so much so that the greater part of the work is about the Greek historian. The book is beautifully translated from the Polish by Klara Glowczewska.
Born in 1932, Kapuscinski grew up in a Poland which had become Communist after the war. He became a journalist, and round about 1955 he was sent abroad, in the first place to Italy. The first set piece comes early in the book: his first time out of Poland, his first travel by air, and the stunning impression, as his aircraft descended at night to Rome airport, of a city sparkling with lights and such a contrast with the very low-wattage country from which he had come.
Then he is sent to India: another memorable description of dense crowds sleeping on the platforms of Calcutta railway station.

A man is pushing his way through the huddled multitudes. He jostles an old woman, her bowl drops from her hands, and rice scatters onto the platform, into the mud, amidst garbage. In that split second, children throw themselves down, dive between the legs of those still standing, dig around in the muck trying to find the grains of rice. The old woman stands there empty-handed, another man shoves her. The old woman, the children, the train station, everything- soaked through by the unending torrents of a tropical downpour..”(p29).

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The World of Yesterday

The World of Yesterday (1942) by Stefan Zweig and Anthea Bell (translator)

Guest Review by Mr Ralph Blumenau

Rating: ★★★★★

In the Introduction to his book Stefan Zweig rightly says that no generation in recent times had undergone such a series of cataclysms, each breaking bridges with an earlier period, as had his own.

He had lived not only in one world of yesterday, but in several, and it is these worlds he sets out to describe. A truthful and passionate account of the advent of the horror that tore apart European culture, “The World of Yesterday” gives us insight into the history of a world brutally destroyed, written by a master at the height of his literary talent.

He was born, a Jew, in 1881 into a cosmopolitan and tolerant Vienna and into a world of utter political and economic security, confident in steady progress in society and in science. It knew the douceur de vivre (except that unmarried young men and especially young women led a sexual life which could find an outlet only in prostitution), and where culture – no longer under the patronage of the Court, but under that of the Jewish bourgeoisie – was more honoured throughout society than was wealth. The culture of the older generation was challenged by the avant-garde, with which Zweig and his fellow-students, even while still schoolboys in a stultifying educational system, were knowledgeably, passionately and actively engaged. Hugo von Hoffmansthal and Rilke were their lodestars. The universities were little better: Zweig was only a nominal student at the universities of Vienna and Berlin: his real intellectual life lay elsewhere. Already at the age of 19 he had the first of several articles accepted for the feuilleton section of the prestigious Neue Freie Presse in Vienna (of whose editor, Theodore Herzl, he gives a wonderful account). In Berlin he was looking for (and found) a wider circle – socially and intellectually – than in the somewhat inbred bourgeois and mainly Jewish milieu in which he had moved in Vienna. He drank in influences of every kind, from the sophisticated to the louche, exposing himself to `real life’ as opposed to the purely literal and to some extent derivative life he had led so far..

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The Basque Shepherd and Psalm 23

This article is a much loved classic published by Reader’s Digest and related to the 23rd Psalm. It was written by James K. Wallace. If you love Psalm 23, you are sure to find this article informative and uplifting. Enjoy!

(The most requested reprint on the 40th anniversary of the Reader’s Digest in Canada. Condensed from “The National Wool Grower” by James K. Wallace, Dec.1949)

Old Ferando D’Alphonso is a Basque shepherd employed by one of the big Nevada sheep ranches. He is rated as one of the best sheep rangers in the state, and he should be; for he is descended from at least 20 generations of Iberian shepherds. But D’Alfonso is more than a shepherd; he is a patriarch of his guild, the traditions and secrets of which have been handed down from generation to generation. Despite a 30-year absence from his homeland he is still full of the legends, the mysteries, the religious fervour of his native hills. I sat with him one night under the clear,starry skies, his sheep bedded down beside a pool of sparkling water. As we were preparing to curl up in our blankets, he began to quote the                     23rd Psalm.

There, in the desert, I learned the shepherd’s literal interpretation of this beautiful poem. “David and his ancestors”, said D’Alphonso, “knew sheep and their ways, and David has translated a sheep’s musing into simple words. The daily repetition of this Psalm fills the shepherd with reverence for his calling…

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Turkmenistan and Freedom of Conscience

Guest Blog By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

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Turkmenistan has jailed two more prisoners of conscience. Protestant Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev has been given a four-year prison term on charges of swindling. The sentence was handed down on Oct. 21.

Turkmenistan is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west.

A story by Felix Corley for Forum 18 News Service reported that the pastor’s wife and church members insist the charges have been fabricated to punish him for his religious activity. Judge Agajan Akjaev of Mary Town Court in south-eastern Turkmenistan ruled that Nurliev will serve his sentence in the general regime labor camp in Seydi.This was confirmed by his wife and lawyer from the south-eastern town of Mary.

“The court also ruled that Ilmurad is a drug addict and ordered forced treatment for this in prison,” Maya Nurlieva told Forum 18 News Service. “This is unjust and a slander.”

In reality, Forum 18 said, Nurliev is being treated for diabetes, and his wife has been denied the opportunity to see him or give him his medication since his Aug. arrest.

In mid-September Ahmet Hudaybergenov, a Jehovah’s Witness who conscientiously objects to compulsory military service, was sentenced to 18 months.

Both Nurliev and Hudaybergenov are likely to be sent to Seydi labor camp, where Baptist and Jehovah’s Witness prisoners of conscience have previously been held. There have been indications that some of these prisoners were tortured in the camp with psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs.. Continue reading Turkmenistan and Freedom of Conscience

Top Twelve Health Myths is my natural health website of choice. It contains a lot of relevant information for concerned British readers. This guest Post summarizes many of my concerns. I will try to address them personally in greater detail in the future..

Dr. MercolaDr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, You can learn the hazardous side effects of ‘over the counter’ remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

1: Vaccines are Safe, Effective and Prevent Disease

I completely understand that for many this issue is not debatable as they believe that vaccines are one of the greatest gifts to public health in the history of civilization.

If you believe that, then let me encourage you to open your mind and explore other views held by many well respected physicians, scientists, clinicians and pro-vaccine safety educators.

You might want to review the article Read This Before Vaccinating for Anything, to help you start your exploration process.

When it comes to vaccines, there are three primary questions that need to be considered.

  • First, is the vaccine in question safe?
  • Secondly, does it effectively prevent disease?
  • And third, which vaccines can safely and effectively be given together or in close succession?

Unfortunately, these issues have not been sufficiently studied for most vaccines, and those vaccines that have been studied frequently show that they are either unsafe or ineffective, or both!

Pro-vaccine-safety educators have long been saying that vaccines can over-stimulate your child’s immune system, sometimes causing the very disease it’s designed to protect against, or worse. And, when several vaccines are administered together, or in close succession, their interaction may completely overwhelm your child’s developing immune system.

This is one of the primary problems with vaccines in general – their detrimental impact on your body’s primary, natural defense against ALL disease..

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Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings

Rating: ★★★★★

Guest Review written by Paul F. Hoye and Paul Lunde,  originally published by Saudi Aramco World Magazine in 1980

Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age”  ISBN:0932813429

Charles Hapgood, after exhaustive research and imaginative mathematical and cartographic experiments, came to some remarkable conclusions and eventually published them in a book called ‘Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings’. Briefly these are the conclusions:

  • That the Piri Reis map, dated to 1513, the Portolano charts and many other ancient maps include information supposedly unknown in the 16th century and, in some cases, information that was not confirmed until the middle of this century.
  • That the Piri Reis map and other maps were inexplicably accurate, particularly with regard to longitudes, which neither mariners nor cartographers could calculate until spherical trigonometry was developed in the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • That some civilization or culture still unknown to archeology — and pre-dating any civilization known so far — had mapped North America, China, Greenland, South America and Antarctica long before the rise of any known civilization — and at a time when Greenland and Antarctica were not covered with their millennia-old ice caps.
  • That to have done this, the ancient civilization had to have developed astronomy, navigational instruments — such as the chronometer — and mathematics, particularly plane geometry and trigonometry, long before Greece or any other known civilization.
  • That the advanced cartographic knowledge appearing on the Piri Reis map, the Oronteus Finaeus map and other maps came down in garbled and incomplete fragments that somehow survived the destruction of the unknown civilization itself and the repeated destruction of such ancient repositories of knowledge as the library at Alexandria..

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The Cholesterol Myth that is Harming Your Health

This is such an important subject for anyone diagnosed with high cholesterol, or prescribed statins, I have publicized it here.
Dr. MercolaDr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site, You can learn the hazardous side effects of ‘over the counter’ remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

Cholesterol could easily be described as the smoking gun of the last two decades.

It”s been responsible for demonizing entire categories of foods (like eggs and saturated fats) and blamed for just about every case of heart disease in the last 20 years.

Yet when I first opened my medical practice in the mid 80s, cholesterol, and the fear that yours was too high was rarely talked about.

Somewhere along the way however, cholesterol became a household word — something that you must keep as low as possible, or suffer the consequences.

You are probably aware that there are many myths that portray fat and cholesterol as one of the worst foods you can consume. Please understand that these myths are actually harming your health.

Not only is cholesterol most likely not going to destroy your health (as you have been led to believe), but it is also not the cause of heart disease.

And for those of you taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, the information that follows could not have been given to you fast enough. But before I delve into this life-changing information, let”s get some basics down first.

What is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

That”s right, you do need cholesterol.

This soft, waxy substance is found not only in your bloodstream, but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function..

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Alias Shakespeare by Joseph Sobran

Guest Review by Andrew Buckley

Alias Shakespeare: Solving the Greatest Literary Mystery of All Time (1997) by Joseph Sobran

Rating: ★★★★★

Joseph Sobran was originally an orthodox (Stratfordian) scholar who became increasingly puzzled by the complete failure of ‘William Shakespeare’ to leave even the faintest trace of his life or personality on the works of poetry and drama bearing his name. Sobran cites numerous ‘biographies’ of extraordinary length( one over 600 pages), all of which has been constructed on factual information sufficient to fill four sides of A4 paper. This is literally all that is definitely known of the man Sobran identifies for clarity as ‘Mr Shakspere’, one of 39 possible spellings. These biographies tend to be filled with suppositions relating to what the person who wrote the Plays must have done, all attempts to make Shakespeare as interesting as even the least of his works fail miserably..

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Best of Friends

After losing his parents, this three year old orangutan, named Suryia, was so  depressed he wouldn’t eat and didn’t respond to  any medical treatments.  The veterinarians thought he would surely die from sadness. Primates and dogs are usually wary of one another.   The zoo keepers found an old homesick dog on  the grounds in the park at the zoo where the  orangutan lived and took the dog home to the animal  treatment center.  The dog, named Roscoe, kept returning to see the orangutan. The two lost souls bonded, share food, and have been  inseparable ever since.

The orangutan  found a new reason to live and each always tries his best to be a good companion to his new found friend.  They are together twenty four hours a day in all their activities. See the video, it is really something to watch them together, riding the elephant, swinging on the stair rail, clinging to a bicycle and rolling together on grass. They live in  Northern California where swimming is their favorite pastime, although Suryia (the orangutan) is a little afraid of the water and needs his friend’s help to swim..

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Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny

Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny  (2003) by Michael Gearin-Tosh

Guest Review by Mr Chris Wollams, and originally published in Icon magazine

Rating: ★★★★★

This is the inspiring story of one man following a diagnosis of cancer, and the decisions he faced.

This book is both excellent and controversial. Over a six month period, Michael Gearin-Tosh found out about the options available for treatment of Myeloma including chemotherapy, but in parallel, he became more intrigued by the Gerson Therapy and embarked on his own personal treatment plan. The Gerson Therapy is time consuming and not for everybody and it must be remembered that cancer is a very individual disease.

But Michael believed in the Gerson Therapy and this, coupled with his self-belief and natural energy, has seen him through the last eight years. All credit to him; he should be an icon for cancer patients and his book an essential read. His book does highlight the extraordinary gulf between ‘conventional’ medicine and ‘alternative’ medicine and the success of Michael Gearin-Tosh in controlling his cancer has significant implications for us all.

Sir David Wetherall FRS, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University said in his letter to the Sunday Times about the book, “Though I do believe passionately in scientific medicine, I have not got to the stage of being so blinkered that I cannot believe that at least some aspects of the more complementary approach may have a lot to offer. I think they could be put to the scientific test, and should be, but whether this will happen is far from clear. But of one thing I am sure; regardless of what a patient is suffering from, their personal reaction to their situation and their state of mind is of critical importance, and to ignore them in the face of high technology and medical practice is to court disaster”..

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