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Dr. Jack Wheeler

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A FATHER IN CHAD

chad This is the most anti-Marxist picture I have ever taken.  I am a White American.  He is a Black African in N’Djamena, Chad.  And those differences mean nothing compared to our both being fathers. Look into his soul through his eyes.  Look at the tranquility and peaceful joy his soul feels in being the father of his two beautiful children. It is the same with me. The Left’s purpose is to divide us into tribal differences of hate – white vs. “people of color,” rich vs. poor, employers vs. workers, exploiters vs. exploited, victimizers vs. victims, the anti-white racist hate of Critical Race Theory.  Always, always, they focus exclusively on differences, to separate people apart, to hate other different than them.  All in the ancient “divide and conquer” scheme to control people’s lives. Yet the differences between us are so unimportant compared to what we all have in common, our basic humanity.    The bond that I have with this man from Chad is so much greater than anything that separates us.  Focusing on what we all have in common with our fellow human beings is the way to rid the world of the anti-human hate of the Marxist Left. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #157, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – RETRACING HANNIBAL OVER THE ALPS WITH ELEPHANTS

retracing-hannibalSeptember 1979 – my Hannibal Expedition took two elephants over the same pass Hannibal used in 218 BC across the Alps to attack Rome. There is only one pass that fits the contemporary descriptions of both Greek historian Polybius and Roman historian Livy: The Col du Clapier on what is now the French-Italian border. Unrecognized as Hannibal’s Pass in 1979, it is still a roadless trail today crossed only on foot or mountain bike. But since our expedition, there are now signs proclaiming it La Route d’Hannibal, and even a life-size statue of an elephant at the French village of Bramans where the track over the pass begins. The photo you see is us climbing high above Bramans (I’m the one in front with the red backpack). It took us five days to carefully guide our elephants (from an Italian circus) over Clapier and down to the Italian village of Susa. First time in 2,197 years and never repeated 41 years since. Hannibal’s crossing the Alps with elephants is one of the most epic events of world history. To retrace it yourself with elephants is to make that famous history a part of your life in the most uniquely powerful way. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #15 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 09/17/21

senile-warningunvaxxed-placement It’s critical to understand the Dem agenda here.  They need a plague.  A plague providing a rationale to suspend the constitution and rule by emergency decree.  A plague that diverts voter attention away from their multiple disastrous failures. A plague with a scapegoat to blame it on, to divide Americans against each other. And that’s just the start of what the DemFascist agenda is all about.  This may be the most revelatory HFR ever.  Read on…

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THE IDEAL ESCAPE HATCH

portugal-rivieraWhat would be an ideal place to escape from all the lunacy washing over our country – for a few days to a second home? Let’s see… it would have to be a First World country with all the civilized amenities of modern life, and a cultured, educated, and welcoming people many, many of whom speak English. A First World country that brushes aside all Woke nuttiness engulfing the US as silly rubbish to be ignored, and traditional Christian family values revered instead.  That is not much farther away than a US cross-country flight.  That has Goldilocks weather, not too hot, not too cold.  That has sunsets in the ocean, fabulous food and wine, incredible castles in the sky, history that’s thousands of years old yet so hip and current it’s the cultural capital of its continent. We’ve had Glimpses of this place before:  The Europe That’s Still There, and The Portuguese Riviera.  Yes, the Ideal Escape Hatch for us is Portugal – a quick overnight flight getting there, a morning flight return. At the end of October, Rebel and I are conducting a Portugal Exploration for TTPers.  We have room for only one more couple and one solo. Please consider joining us – Rebel and I and your fellow TTPers will love to have you.  Just click on Portugal Exploration -- you owe it to yourself to be entranced by the photos, for a glimpse of this ideal place.  (Glimpses of our Breathtaking World #157 ©photo Jack Wheeler)

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DEAD VLEI, NAMIBIA

dead-vleiMany consider this the most surrealistic place on earth. The clarity of the air turns the sky deep cobalt blue, the dunes are so old they’ve rusted red, combining with the white clay floor to give the skeletal trees a scene out of a Dali painting or a science fiction movie. But it’s real. A thousand years ago the river watering these trees dried up, leaving a white clay pan amidst red sand dunes almost as tall as the Empire State Building. It’s so dry here these acacia trees can’t decompose, their skeletons standing scorched in the sun for ten centuries. Dead Vlei is in a region of enormous dunes called Sossusvlei. It’s a mind-boggling experience to float over Sossusvlei in a hot air balloon. Namibia, in fact, is full of such experiences – the largest fur seal colony anywhere at Cape Cross, the marvelous abundance of African wildlife at the Etosha Pan, the dramatic shipwrecks dotting the Skeleton Coast, traditional people living untouched by the modern world like the Himbas. Plus it’s one of the safest and best-run countries in all Africa – certainly worth consideration for your bucket list. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #47 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE HANI RICE TERRACES

hani-rice-terracesThe Hani people in the mountains of Yunnan have been carving out rice terraces on dozens of steep mountainsides for over a dozen centuries.  After the late fall harvest, in winter they flood the terraces in preparation for spring planting.  At sunrise and sunset,  the light reflecting off them creates a scene of phantasmagorical surrealism.  Unknowingly, the Hani have created one of humanity’s most magnificent works of natural art the world has ever seen.  What you see here is only one of hundreds of terraced areas.  It is a sight beyond belief. Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #156 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE MONEY THAT MADE US HUMAN

ancient-shell-moneyOn display in the National Museum of Congo in Brazzaville: “Ancient Money.” I took the picture because this is the money that made us human 90,000 years ago. They are tiny Nassarius gibbosulus estuarine snail shells too small for food, perforated with small holes to string on a necklace, used as money “before the establishment of the CFA” as the sign says, the Central Africa Franc in 1945. These are the same species of shell that was the first jewelry in history unearthed at seashore sites in Morocco and hundreds of miles inland in Algeria some 90kya (thousand years ago) – meaning they were traded. For the first time in history, a species began to exchange things between unrelated unmarried individuals to share, swap, barter and trade, and over great distances. Other animals do not barter. This, maintains science author Matt Ridley, is what made us distinctly human, enabling us to cooperate with other groups or tribes, to innovate, to evolve ever more complex cultures. This little shell, used as money, is the founding of human culture. And after 90 millennia, it was still in use in Africa until 75 years ago! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #61 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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KEEPING YOUR SANITY XXVIII

fjb-shirt They’re selling like hotcakes, folks!  We’ve gone from FTC to FJB! “FTC” was our code in the Reagan White House for what the press called The Reagan Doctrine strategy for getting rid of the Soviet Union: F the Commies.  Today the code is FJB for getting rid of the Dirtbag Impostor infesting the White House. Actually, no code is needed for these times – everything is spelled out including the F-word.  Google “F*** Joe Biden” – spell it out – and you’ll get 14,600,000 hits. Go to Images and you’ll see an amazing array of flags, posters, banners, coffee cups, t-shirts, etc. proudly and fully announcing it. This weekend at college football games around the country, “F*** Joe Biden” was such a popular chant by massive mask-free crowds in the stadiums it made national news:

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – JOHNNY AND THE TSANTSA

jw-on-carsonNovember 17, 1976. When I wrote my book “The Adventurer’s Guide,” it was a fantasy of mine to go on the Tonight Show and have Johnny Carson hold a “tsantsa,” a human shrunken head – as a book chapter was “How To Live With Headhunters.” As you can see, that fantasy came true. I still can’t believe how relaxed I was in the studio photo. That’s because Carson had a magical ability to put a guest like me, no professional performer, at ease. The cameras and lights, the audience, millions watching on TV all went away. It was just me talking to this friendly fellow with no one around. An amazing experience. Some dreams can really happen! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #40 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 09/10/21

disaster-relief-for-administrationMore accurately, the Biden Regime.  Since 12 Noon EDT last January 20, there has not been a legitimate presidential administration in Washington, and every day since has proven its illegitimacy. Yesterday (9/09) in TTP, Roger Simon puzzled over The Mystery of California.  Today, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the HFR puzzles over The Mystery of America. Roger is mystified how the most beautiful piece of real estate arguably in the entire globe turned into rubbish heap.  Now the question becomes – will Americans do the same to their country or not? Another way to ask the same question:  When do we reach Peak Enough?  The tipping point, the trip wire, the last straw?  How much more fascist, illegal, unconstitutional ruination of our country can Americans stand before they pull the trigger on it all?

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THE MONSTER OF SEFAR

monster-of-sefarCharlatans like Erich von Daniken convinced many gullible readers of his books this “monster” was of an alien in a space suit. Real archaeologists know it’s of an ancient tribal shaman, to be found among the greatest profusion of prehistoric rock art on earth over 10,000 years old in a remote plateau of the Algerian Sahara called the Tassili n’Ajjer. There are no roads – you must climb up here with pack mules carrying your supplies. No one lives up here, it’s uninhabited. You’ll be among spectacularly gigantic rock formations with over 300 huge natural rock arches, so geologically unique it seems unworldly. In the center of Tassili n’Ajjer known as the Tadrart is a vastly deep gorge, like a knife sliced open the mountain. Clamber down to the bottom and you will discover a forest of 2,000 year-old Saharan cypress trees – yes, a forest in the Sahara, remnants of when the Sahara was green millennia ago. My son Jackson and I explored here in 2003. Perhaps it’s time to be here again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #28 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE FLATTEST PLACE ON EARTH

salar-de-uyuniThe Salar de Uyuni, 12,000 feet high in the Altiplano of Bolivia, is a 4,000 square mile expanse of salt so flat it is used to calibrate the altimeters of NASA observation satellites of the earth. After a rain, it becomes the world’s largest mirror, 80 miles across. The incredible reflective surface extends to the horizon in every direction – it is both hallucinatingly disorienting and makes for amazing mirror-to-horizon photos (especially at sunrise/sunset). The brine underneath the salt crust contains 70% of the world’s lithium – critical to our battery-fueled global economy – produced in evaporation pools that are a kaleidoscope of colors. You can stay here in relative luxury at one of the world’s most unique hotels – the Palacio de Sal, built entirely of salt: walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, sculptures. Being here is one of South America’s more astounding experiences. Let me know if you want a Wheeler Expedition to take you there! (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #39 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE DAM JUST BURST

Folks, I am really trying to get a grip on myself right now.  Thank heavens I have TTPers to whom I can write and will understand.  Many of you if not most may be going through something similar. I have been trying to write and post TTP articles since last November with some sense of objectivity and dispassion. Today the dam burst. Earlier today (9/07), we posted Ice Cream Joe’s Culture of Death.  It starts by referring to a sermon ereyesterday (Sunday 9/05) by Pastor Jack Graham at Dallas’ Prestonwood Baptist Church paying tribute to the Martyred Thirteen at the Kabul Airport. The TTP article then segues to Pastor Graham’s praise of the “culture of life” Texas Heartbeat Law.  But before he did, Pastor Graham had his audience watch a video of US Congressmen who had served in Afghanistan themselves talking about what the loss of these thirteen Service Members meant to them. Watching it, I simply broke down.

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KEEPING YOUR SANITY XXVII

THE FEARPORN QUACK

THE FEARPORN QUACK

Quack doctors are a particularly despised species of proto-hominids.  The one pictured above made headlines around the world last week claiming people overdosing on a horse medicine were overwhelming hospital emergency rooms in rural Oklahoma. It turns out that this quack completely invented the story whole cloth, yet it suckered the entire Global Libtard Media.  This afternoon’s (9/06) Fox headline: Rachel Maddow, Liberal Media Figures Slammed For 'Taking The Bait' On False Story About Ivermectin Overdoses. This is beyond weird.  This is an unverified story of about horse medicine in small hospitals in rural Oklahoma that goes worldwide.  WTH is going on here?  It’s the Fascist Covid Cult at work.

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THE ITCHAN KALA OF KHIVA

itchan-kalaThe inner town (Itchan Kala) of the ancient Silk Road oasis of Khiva has been unchanged for centuries. Surrounded by 40ft-high snake walls that writhe around the city, its labyrinth of narrow lanes adorned with blue and aquamarine tile mosaics is a living museum for you to explore. On the Oxus or Amu Darya River in deepest Central Asia, Khiva was ancient when Alexander the Great seized it in 329 BC. It survived the depredations of Arabs in the 7th century, Mongols in the 12th, Tamerlane in the 13th. The Khanate of Khiva continued to flourish on the Silk Road until conquered by the Russians in the 19th. Today in Uzbekistan, it remains as the best-preserved of the ancient oases of the Silk Road, yet unknown to the outside world. We’ll be here once again this coming September. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #118 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – THE POTALA

the-potalaLhasa, Tibet, 1986. Built in the mid-1600s, the Potala in Lhasa, Tibet was the home of the Dalai Lama as the incarnation of Avalokiteśvara, the Buddhist deity of compassion, until the Communist Chinese colonized Tibet in 1959. The Potala is one of the world’s great architectural wonders, thirteen stories high with molten copper poured into the foundation to stabilize it from earthquakes, 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines, 200,000 statues. I’ve been here several times since 1986, and it’s always such a powerful experience. Yet to Tibetans, this is a “dead” building as the Dalai Lama is gone. It is my hope that someday, the Dalai Lama will live here in a Free Tibet once again. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #114 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 09/03/21

shameful-bide“Burn in Hell Biden.”  History will recall his being named that this week.  Read why in Tuesday’s (8/31) Daily Mail report – the Gold Star families’ stories will break your heart: 'I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!' What sister of Marine killed in Afghanistan screamed at Biden during Dover casket ceremony where he 'wouldn't even look' relatives in the eye In his psychology practice, Dr. Joel Wade has counseled many couples with troubled marriages.  One clear sign, he says, of a marriage beyond repair is a level of contempt that one spouse has for the other which cannot be rectified.  This is a presidency beyond repair. The contempt switch has been flipped on for millions of Americans regarding Xiden’s deadly Afghan debacle, with contempt and disgust for him growing deeper and more widespread from now on. Once on, it can’t be switched off, because his reaction to it will make it worse.  He will continue to react with anger and double-down denial until his feeble brain goes fetal and implodes.  It won’t be a pretty sight.  The nation will avert its eyes as it braces for President Heels Up.

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INDIAN TIBET

ladakhThere is a part of Tibet the British kept from China and is now a part of India. The region is called Ladakh and this is its capital of Leh. It’s the Upper Indus river valley after it flows out of Chinese Tibet and before it reaches the Line of Control with Pakistan. Ladakh is geographically and culturally Tibetan, where Tibetan culture still flourishes. Here the great gompas (monasteries) of Thikse and Hemis are active, and where you are welcome in hidden mysterious gompas like Lamayuru over a thousand years old. There is an ultra-remote part of Ladakh called Zanskar where the Zanskar River flows through the crest of the Himalayas to reach the Upper Indus. Running the Zanskar is one of the world’s greatest whitewater experiences. We’ll see and do all of this next August on our Indian Tibet Expedition. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #120 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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CHRISTIANITY IN KERALA

keralaIn 52 AD, St. Thomas the Apostle, one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples, sailed down the Red Sea and across the Arabian Sea to the Malabar Coast of Southwest India to preach the Gospel of Christ.  He found a receptive audience among the peaceful fisherfolk in the villages along the coast – so receptive he established a series of churches that still exist today. Some remain small and humble, others like the one above rebuilt with soaring glass and stone. There are many Christian denominations in the Indian state of Kerala, which has the entire Malabar Coast, from the original St. Thomas Syrian Christians to Catholic, Pentecostal, Charismatic and others.  Of Kerala’s 34 million people, at least 20% are Christian.  Kerala is a place of relaxing beauty and peaceful serenity.  The best way to explore it is via a luxurious houseboat along the many canals or “backwaters” dotted with fishing villages and churches.  You’ll be warmly welcomed. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #155, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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MAYA RUINS AND STAR WARS

maya-ruinsThis is Temple IV at the ancient Mayan capital of Tikal, now in northern Guatemala. It was from the top of Temple IV that the shot in the original 1977 Star Wars movie was filmed of the Millennium Falcon landing (at 44 seconds) near jungle temples (Temples II and III) at the Rebel Base on the moon of Yavin 4. Built in 740 AD, at 230 feet it is the tallest pre-Columbian structure in all the Americas. While Tikal’s earliest buildings date to the 4th century BC, it was from 300 to 800 AD that Tikal flourished as one of the Mayan Empires most powerful kingdoms. Then decline set in, with drought, deforestation, overpopulation, and constant warfare with rival kingdoms. With Tikal abandoned by the end of the 900s, it remained covered by rainforest jungle for over a thousand years. American archaeologists began excavations in the 1950s. Today with its major temples restored, Tikal is the most impressive example you can visit of Mayan civilization. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #118 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE BEAUTY OF BANGLADESH

jw-at-shuvalong-fallsMost people consider Bangladesh a basket case country – all crowded overpopulated poverty constantly flooding etc.  Yet I found it to be extraordinarily beautiful.  The Shuvalong Falls here is just one example.  It’s in the Chittagong Hills near the border with Burma.  You’ll find Hindu shrines, massive mountain top Buddhist temples, small Moslem mosques, and a Christian church in almost every village The charming main town of Rangamati is bustling with friendly energy.  A boat ride on serene Kaptai Lake is soul-soothing.  Everyone has a smile for you.  It’s a place of captivating serendipity.  A wonderful experience you might want for yourself. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #154, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 08/27/21

Biden’s “Defining Image” August 26, 2021

Biden’s “Defining Image” August 26, 2021

As this man bows his head in shameful realization of what he is responsible for, so should everyone in America who supported his being allowed to cheat his way into the White House. The photo you see has gone wildly viral across the Internet as the “defining image” of his catastrophically failed Oval Office occupancy, as headlined by the Daily Mail late last night (8/26): Nowhere To Hide, Joe: President Adopts Fetal Position Pose As He Crumbles Under Questioning From Fox News Reporter Peter Doocy And Tries To Blame Trump For The Catastrophe In Afghanistan. As President Trump said last night on Hannity, this “would not be happening” if he were in charge.  That is, without Democrats committing election theft, without the Supreme Court allowing the theft, without VP Pence refusing to turn the electoral college back to state legislatures where the cheating was most blatant.  All Biden supporters and Never Trumpers who celebrated these acts of treason bear responsibility for the mass slaughter at Kabul Airport yesterday.  The very least they could do is to apologize to us.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – THE LOST CITY OF KUELAP

rh-at-kuelap10,000 feet high in the Amazon cloud forests of northern Peru is a mysterious lost city built by an unknown people many centuries before the Incas existed.  Known as Kuelap by villagers in the lowlands below, the Incas called the people who built it Chachapoyas, “Cloud Warriors.”  I led an expedition here in 1994, climbing high up into the Amazon Andes to come upon gigantic stone walls 60 feet high surrounding hundreds of stone structures.  Here you see Rebel among them. We’ll be here again in a year or two in another exploration of Peru. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #153, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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A SULTAN’S ARABIA

nakhal-castleNakhal Castle, Oman. If you want to see an ultra-rich Arab sheikdom with exotically designed skyscrapers, you go to Qatar or Dubai. But if you want a more genuine Arabia of Sultan’s palaces, of forts and castles perched on rocky crags, of traditional villages tucked away in mountain fastnesses, of rock pools and grottoes gushing with spring water hidden in secret valleys, a place out of Arabian Nights rather than one of garish ostentatiousness – then you come here to the Sultanate of Oman. Omanis are a polyglot people from all over Arabia, Persia, and India who’ve lived here for millennia, creating a cosmopolitan trading society that adheres to its traditional culture. There are fabulous hotels with great bars, concerts by the Omani Philharmonic Orchestra, and once outside the capital of Muscat, an Arabian wonderland so exotic it seems out of a movie. We’ll be here in the Spring of ’22. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #119 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE TERRACE OF INFINITY

terrazzo-delllnfinitoOver a thousand feet on a mountain ledge above Amalfi on the Mediterranean, you’ll find the Terrazzo dell'lnfinito, considered by poets for centuries the most beautiful view in the world. It is part of the magnificent gardens of the 11th century Villa Cimbrone, in the hilltop town of Ravello, built by the Romans in the 5th century. The Sorrentine Peninsula is a finger of land south of Naples sticking out into the Med’s Tyrrhanean Sea, off the tip of which is the legendary island of Capri. The main town of Sorrento is on the north side facing Naples and Mount Vesuvius. But it is the steep southern shore of the Amalfi Coast that is our planet’s most spectacularly scenic drive with its ancient ports of Amalfi and Positano. Exploring this magical part of the world is an ultimate “bucket list” experience. And to top it off, on the way down from Naples, you get to visit Pompeii, the excavated Roman city buried and preserved by the ash of Vesuvius in 79 AD. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #115 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE HIDDEN NORTH FACE OF KANCHENJUNGA

north-face-of-kanchenjungaThis is one of the truly great mountain sights on earth yet never seen – except for professional mountaineers and those on our Himalaya Helicopter Expeditions. Kanchenjunga at 28,169 feet (8,586 meters) is the world’s 3rd highest mountain (after Everest and K2), with a drop from summit (the peak on the left in front of the cloud) to the glacier at it base of 12,000 feet straight down. You can be awed by such a picture, but to actually physically be here, to witness this magnificence personally so that it is forever a part of your life, is to feel a depth of awe that has to be experienced to be understood. Kanchenjunga is part of the Himalayas, now on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, once an independent kingdom now absorbed into India. We fly right up the North Face, and into the Amphitheatre of the Southwest Face as well. We hope to be here again in early November if Nepal opens up by then; we’ll be here for sure next April. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #31 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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KEEPING YOUR SANITY XXVI

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In 1904, a five-word telegram ensured the overwhelming election of Teddy Roosevelt to the presidency: “Perdicaris Alive or Rasuli Dead.” An American and his son had been captured by a Moslem bandit chieftain in Morocco and demanded an enormous ransom.  Teddy sent Navy warships, the Marines, and the telegram.  Rasuli returned Perdicaris and his son unharmed, and all America reveled in Teddy’s heroism. The history is a lot more complicated than that, but legendary enough for Hollywood to make a move about it, The Wind and the Lion in 1975 starring Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, John Huston and Brian Keith. Of course it’s Hollwoodized, but the actual history is enough to draw an eerie, albeit grotesque, parallel to the White House, American hostages, and Moslem bandits at this moment today.

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THE INSPIRATION OF AMERICA

tt-principles-of-independence-freedomNext to the entrance of The Red House, the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago in the capital of Port of Spain, there is this marble inscription.  It is clear that it is inspired by our 1776 Declaration of Independence and America’s founding principles.  Trinidad’s population is 99% either Indian (from India), African, or a mix of the two.  64% are Christian, 21% Hindu, 6% Moslem, others undeclared – and all have these principles as a common bond between them. Here in the Caribbean’s Trinidad is such a clear example of how America’s founding moral principles are such an inspiration to all humanity, of all cultures, creeds, and ethnicities.  They are universal, America’s heritage as a gift to the world.  This is the heritage of all Americans – something we need to hold on to and hold dear as we persevere during this current period of our country’s cultural, moral, and political lunacy.  (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #152, photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – BRANDON AT LAMAYURU

brandon-at-lamayuru High in the Himalayas of India in the remote moonscape of Tibetan Ladakh is the gompa (Tibetan monastery) of Lamayuru.  It is older than Tibetan Buddhism, for it was originally a gompa for the lama monks of Bön, the ancient animist religion of Tibet.  I took my son Brandon here on an expedition through Tibetan India in 1993.  Brandon had his 10th birthday here.  Behind him is the enormous statue of blue-eyed Sakyamuni Buddha in the central prayer hall. Brandon has never forgotten Lamayuru as anyone who has been here never does.  We’ll be here again next summer – and Brandon will be leading the expedition.  (Glimpses of our breathtaking world #151 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 08/20/21

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Yes, that is my son, former United States Marine Captain Brandon Wheeler on Fox News Tuesday (8/17).  In 2010, Brandon led his 2/6 Marines in seven months of daily combat in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  Marjah was Apache country when he arrived in June.  By December before he left, the Commanding General of US Forces in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, was able to walk down the streets of Marjah with Brandon safely. Earlier this month (August 2021), under the auspices of the Freedom Research Foundation that I founded in 1984 and of which he is now Executive Director, Brandon spent two weeks in Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.  There was no awareness among all the officials and warlords he met of an immediate American abandonment of their country. This is going to be a seriously consequential HFR and hopefully optimistic.  And okay, I’ll tell my favorite story about Captain Wheeler in Helmand at the end, but no fair peeking…

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HOW HAPPY CAN A YOUNG BOY BE?

jw-and-bh-on-safariAnd his father too. I started taking my son Brandon on expeditions with me at age five. Here we are in the Serengeti during the Great Migration. He saw three lion kills happen yards away, a baby born in a Masai hut – he’s never forgotten his first great adventure to this day, over 30 years later. I encourage you in every way to take your children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces on an exploration of one of our planet’s many wondrous places when they are young. It will be formational for them, a founding experience of awe for what a magically extraordinary world they are privileged to live in. And your seeing it through their eyes will be a shot of youth elixir in your veins. It will be a life-memorable bonding experience for you both. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #92 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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THE TOMB OF THE FRAGRANT CONCUBINE

tomb-of-the-fragrant-concubinePrincess Iparhan, granddaughter of the ruler of the Silk Road oasis of Kashgar, was so famous for her beauty and the intoxicating natural aroma of her body that the Manchu Emperor far to the east called for her. She was 22, the year was 1756. The Emperor became completely infatuated with her, making Iparhan his Imperial Noble Consort, loving her deeply until her death 33 years later in 1789. In mourning, the Emperor kept his promise to her that her body would be returned to Kashgar and buried in the mausoleum of Apak Hoja, built in 1640 by her Apaki family. And there she rests today. Everyone in Kashgar and beyond, however, knows the mausoleum as The Tomb of the Fragrant Concubine. It’s a wonderfully romantic legend, and even though there are several conflicting versions, let’s hope this one is true. Regardless, a visit to this peaceful shrine is certainly memorable. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #54 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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TASMANIA’S MOUTH OF HELL

mouth-of-hellOn the south coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, there is a huge sea cave the aboriginal Tasmanians called The Mouth of Hell for the shrieking and moaning the waves and wind made emitting from it.  Boatsmen prefer to enter it to this day protected by a cross on their fishing boat’s bow. The wild beauty and mystery of Tasmania is absolutely extraordinary.  At 35,000 square miles, it is the size of Maine with a population of less than half a million.  Towns like Hobart and Launceston are charming, but the magic is in the uninhabited wilderness that makes up much of the island as a hiker’s paradise.  That and a momentous coastline almost beyond belief. If you’re ever in Oz, especially Melbourne, don’t miss the chance to explore Tasmania. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #150 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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KEEPING YOUR SANITY XXV

fight-wokenessWokeness is the real Pandemic infecting America. What’s needed is a vaccine for Wokeness.  What could that be? It would have to be a psychiatric vaccine for the Woke brain, as wokeness is a psychiatric mental illness.  So we start with famed Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, MD. Born 1931, Grof is 90 now, and for many years traveled frequently to the US. On one occasion at a conference, a scientist friend of mine spoke with him at length. It was in the early 90s, and they discussed the liberation of over 40 years of Communist dictatorship imposed upon Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union – a peaceful non-violent overthrow called The Velvet Revolution. “What is unknown in the West,” Grof told my friend, “is that it was a psychiatric revolution.”

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THE WORLD’S REMOTEST INHABITED ISLAND

worlds-remotest-islandThat would be Tristan da Cunha in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Some 260 Tristanians live here, all British citizens as the island is a UK Territory, in the island’s only community of Edinburgh-of-the-Seven-Seas. There’s no way to fly here – you have to take a boat for at least a week from Cape Town (and then a week back). Tristanians are among the world’s most special people. Since the island was first settled in 1810, there has never been a single murder, abortion, or divorce among them. They are at peace with themselves, unfailingly cheerful, hospitable, and contented. If you are lucky enough to reach here, you may not want to ever leave. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #42 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY – SWIMMING THE HELLESPONT

jw-swims-the-hellespontJuly, 1973. The Hellespont is the famous strait separating Europe from Asia, where the Black Sea after flowing through the Bosphorus at Istanbul and a widening called Marmara empties into the Aegean Sea of the Mediterranean. One of the great stories of Greek Mythology is Leander swimming the Hellespont to tryst with Hero, the woman he loved but was forbidden to see. Thus he swam at night, and she lit a torch for him to swim to. One night a storm blew out the torch and the strong currents swept Leander onto the rocks to drown. So I first swam the Hellespont at night in 1960 and almost drowned myself (LIFE Magazine, Dec. 12, 1960, pp 91-94). This was the second time, swimming from Leander’s village site of Abydos on the Asia side to Sestos, Hero’s village site on Europe’s. Here I am having reached the Sestos shore. The Hellespont is where the Trojan War was fought, where the Persians crossed to lose against the Greeks at Marathon and Salamis, where Alexander crossed to conquer the Persian Empire. Lord Byron swam the Hellespont in 1803 to make all the legends and history a part of his life. I was determined to do the same, twice to make sure. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #100 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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HALF-FULL REPORT 08/13/21

bide-saigonWelcome to the Friday the 13th HFR.  It’s a majorly bad luck day for the putz pretend president infesting our White House with the contempt and ridicule of the world pouring down upon him. Above is today’s (8/13) New York Post cover, with the cover story inside:  This Afghan Rout Is Entirely on Joe Biden. “It doesn’t get more idiotic: ‘The Taliban also has to make an assessment about what they want their role to be in the international community,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said with a straight face Wednesday (8/11)... Hello? The Taliban have never given a damn about world opinion… These are fanatics out of the 10th century. They’re turning girls as young as 12 into sex slaves as they advance. The Afghan army, meanwhile, is showing all the fortitude of the Iraqi forces who melted before ISIS in 2014: Provincial capitals (plural) are falling every day, with Nos. 10 (Herat) and 11 (Ghazni) gone Thursday… Now it’s a race to Kabul, where Uncle Sam is desperately rushing to airlift out all Americans in a replay of the 1975 fall of Saigon.” You’ve all seen the iconically infamous photo:

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THE STONE TURTLE OF GENGHIS KHAN

genghis-turtle800 hundred years ago in 1221, Genghis Khan established the capital of the Mongol Empire he created at a place called Karakorum in the grasslands of central Mongolia.  It became a city of palaces, temples, and mansions of the Mongol nobility, a place of fabulous wealth that left Marco Polo in awe when he visited in in the 1270s. When Mongol rule over China ended a hundred years later, the Chinese rulers of the Ming Dynasty ordered Karakorum razed to the ground with all evidence of its existence obliterated.  All that was left was this solitary stone turtle lying in mute witness to the glories of what was here once and is no more.  Known as the Stone Turtle of Genghis Khan, it’s all there is for you to try and imagine the magnificence of the past amidst what is now an empty wilderness. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #149 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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BALLOONS OVER BURMA

burma-balloonsFrom the 900s to the 1200s, the Pagan Empire built over 10,000 Buddhist temples. 2,200 remain on the plains of Pagan today, one of the world’s most wondrous sights – especially if you see them from above in a hot air balloon. It is truly astounding how much there is to explore and experience in Burma. We’ll be there once more for it all next February. I hope you will be one of your fellow TTPers to join us. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #33 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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RUNWAY ABLE

runway-ableIt is a profoundly somber experience to stand here on this abandoned weed-strewn airstrip.  For this is Runway Able on Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas, where 76 years ago, on August 6, 1945, a B-29 nicknamed Enola Gay piloted by Capt. Paul Tibbets took off with Little Boy in its bomb bay bound for Hiroshima – and three days later on August 9, a B-29 nicknamed Bockscar piloted by Maj. Charles Sweeney flew off with Fat Boy in its bomb bay headed for Nagasaki. As a consequence, on August 15, Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan to America.  Here is where World War II was won, and the Nuclear Age begun. This lost bit of tarmac is the most consequential airstrip on earth.  Be prepared for a deep complex of swirling emotions if you ever stand here yourself. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #14 photo ©Jack Wheeler)

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