The Canadians Were There Too

Period pieces are one of my favorite fiction genres, especially if they are generally historically and geographically accurate. Of course, I do actually expect all fiction to be geographically accurate if the author is going to use real locations, past or present. Popular for action pieces are any one of the war times of history and WWII is a top choice. It makes sense as it left a scar across the whole of the world and some would say that it changed the face of globe as well. Everything seemed to change during the war and maybe more so after it. The Old World was suddenly the supporting characters and new leading roles were assumed by the US and USSR.

Cover Art via Author Page

Whatever the reason, it is certain that period pieces of the ear are popular. Due to the popularity one can find all kinds of plots as well as quality of writing. From drama to action and everything in between to satisfy the desires of most readers. There might be some players of the period that are under portrayed. To that end, some authors are trying to increase the stories of these brave men and women and keep their memories alive. It is this goal that we have the pleasure of exploring today, with Vengeance Of The Allies.

I do have to admit that this is the first work that I remember reading that highlights the Canadian contribution to the cause. And while Canadians are certainly not the only countrymen that most don’t remember sacrificing , hopefully others will come or gain wider circulation in the future. I will neither affirm or dismiss the accuracy of some of the historical details of The Black Devils and will instead allow the author such credit as to his due diligence.

The story takes place in Occupied France, roughly 4 years in. The setting is mostly split between Marseille and Serronelle, in the South of France and unfolds from Berlin’s reaction to the murder of an SS Officer in the area. That leads to a chance opportunity for unlikely Allies to take things into their own hands. The obsession of these individuals change the course of the war and life for a group of unwitting Canadian commandos.

The action starts with the opening lines and continues to the last page. The reader is entwined into the unanswerable question what would you do if it were you? How far would you go to seek vengeance? What would you be willing to sacrifice for a promise made in the worst of circumstances?

For a debut novel, this work certainly shows skill and talent. There are some areas that word order made me stop and wonder if the proofing of my review copy was pre-final editing stage or have I never noticed Canadian word order being different. From a publishing point of view that is the strongest critique I have. I am pleasantly, surprised to see such quality work in a debut in today’s world of self-publishers and everyone thinking ANYONE can write and wanting their 15 minutes of fame and even more fortune.

I truly look forward to see more from Mr. Ethan Watts.

*Copy Received For Review.

Neanderthal Public Image Improving

Neandethal Artistic CompsiteIt would appear that Neanderthal’s reputation is finally starting to catch up with their character. A report just published in Nature journal has done two very important things for Neanderthals. First, it shows that they were much more sophisticated than historians have depicted them and secondly, it has pushed their date of sophistication back three fold into prehistory. Until now most experts considered the oldest show of any culture and civilization by Neanderthal to be their cave art, which is only considered to go back to about 40,000 years ago.

Recently there has been a lot of new discoveries or new tests on old discoveries that have given a new image to our Neanderthal cousins. We now know that Neanderthals made tools, used fire, made art, buried their dead, and perhaps even had language. “The new findings have ushered a transformation of the Neanderthal from a knuckle-dragging savage rightfully defeated in an evolutionary contest, to a distant cousin that holds clues to our identity,” wrote Lydia Pyne in Nautilus.

Bruniquel Cave
Bruniquel Cave via The Atlantic

The crowning jewel of the recent new discoveries is the Bruniquel Cave. The Aveyron Valley in the southwest of France is home to at least 15 prehistoric sites and the newest site on the list is the aforementioned cave with wondrous round areas designated by the intentional placement of broken off stalagmites. The site was discovered in 1990, by a young boy, whose father had noticed the air flow from the scree. Thus this young man spent the next 3 years opening a small 30 meter long entrance into the cave, which was then explored by members of the local cave club, upon seeing the importance of the discovery they brought in archaeologist Francois Rouzaud. During the initial investigation, a burnt bear bone found in the cave was carbon-dated to 47,600 years ago, making it the oldest find for Neanderthal in the area.

Bruniquel cave France Neandethal
Bruniquel Cave Study Slide 1

Now, there has been new testing that has yielded new dates. What makes this discovery so amazing is not just its date, but its sophistication of the construction in the cave. Interestingly, the new dates for the cave construction, which is ~176,500 years ago, takes us almost to the mid point of another recent discovery that has added more spice to the recipe of how hominins came and went and merged and split. A team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has pieced together the oldest mitochondrial genome known from 400,000 year old bones found in a cave in Northern Spain. One of the surprises of this study was that the individuals, thought to be the early ancestors of Neanderthal, instead were more closely related to Denisovans, a group thought to be much more prominent further East and even having origins somewhere in Asia. Anatomically speaking though the individuals do not resemble their Denisovian descendants and one theory is that the hominins from Spain may be from before a split that possibly created both Neanderthals and Denisovans. The article for the oldest DNA can be found at The Scientist and the full study report can be found in Nature.

How the DNA study plays into our finds is that it gives only 200,000 years of separation between the existence of hominins that seem to predate Neanderthal maybe by more than one or two evolutionary splits and our believed Neanderthal presence in the Bruniquel Cave with the social and cultural skills already in place to have constructed the round areas showing at least intermediate technological skill as well. However, we do not as of yet have enough answers to say that some of the ancestor hominins and their descendants species did not share the same space and time. We know that both Denisovans and Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon and another unidentified hominin species did share time and space.

This new find, which can be read in abstract in The Atlantic with the full study findings reported in Nature, has certainly opened the door for many new questions that will need to find answers and lots of possibilities for those answers.

 

Tu Me Manques

france flag
via blog.collinsflag.com

Paris found itself under attack last night. Extremists did what cowards always do, they did not attack those that could defend or counter-attack, they did not engage with French Police or Military. No, the cowards murdered civilians that were defenseless, while they were trying to enjoy an evening in the City of Lights. They shot up diners and concert goers and set off explosions at a sports event. None of those acts take any courage and none of those acts got their perpetrators into paradise! Cowards are not welcome in heaven in the presence of God!

I offer my sincerest apologies to the citizens and visitors of France for falling victim to the violence that the government of the US and her allies initiated, trained, supported, supplied and funded, but cannot control. And I am extremely sorry for the hypocrisy with which the President and other world leaders displayed by offering their alleged sincere condolences for your suffering. For your suffering was at their hands so they have no right to even speak of your suffering. President Obama has NO right to speak of the bonds between France and America, for he has no value of the goals of the American Founding Fathers or the French Revolutions and the bonds that were forged then have been destroyed by the greed of modern government leaders at the expense of the citizens of both countries.

At some point the citizens of the world will have to follow the obligation placed on them by the Declaration of Independence…..

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

For it was written for ALL people not just those in power. Yet, those in power would have you forget the words and more importantly the meaning of the words. It is the regular people, the hungry, the homeless, the destitute, the factory worker, the teacher, the mother, the father, the guy walking down the street that has the real power and needs to use it for the betterment of all the world.

For France:  Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem

(no one is a man who does not render the world better)

Jihadist, Just Another Word For COWARD!

8-1-15_charlie-hebdo-attack-paris-france
via OnIslam.net

When your only reaction to someone that speaks differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that thinks differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that acts differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that believes differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that worships differently than you is to kill…YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that dresses differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When your only reaction to someone that loves differently than you is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

When you only reaction is to kill….YOU ARE A COWARD!

france_newspaper_attack-11
via nypost.com and AP

The cruel attack on the Paris Office of Charlie Hebdo was the act of COWARDS pure and simple. If you know your path is the best path, if you know you are the most righteous, then you do not have to KILL those you disagree with. For if you were so pure and righteous and just then you would have your acts and deeds and your faith and your belief and the power of your words to defend your path against ALL attacks. If you were strong in your faith and your path and sure of the rightness of your beliefs then you would not be angered or insulted or offended by the words of those you call lesser than you. Of course, if you were so righteous and holy you would not call anyone lesser than yourself.

The fact that you are WRONG in your beliefs and thus cruel and evil in your deeds is a blight on all that claim the path of Islam. However, the fact that ‘moderate’ Muslims, as the politically correct call them, do not rise up and speak out against the acts of the evil nor do they put the effort into correcting the wrongs of those leaders that have corrupted the young followers by doing nothing are showing support for and approving of the evil carried out in the name of their religion. And the weak claim that they are not acting as true Muslims and thus in our eyes are not Muslims and we need not say anything about it are in effect offending and insulting the innocent victims of each act of evil carried out in the name of Islam and Allah. These moderate Muslims are also neglecting their duties as ‘real and true’ followers by not protecting the life of innocent. Allah states clearly and plainly that ALL human life is sacred and valued and is not to be taken!

Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.  (Al-Ma’idah 5: 32)