Fourth of July, 2018

Happy Fourth of July America! Today, July 4, 2018, we celebrate our strength in unity. Great Americans throughout our short 242 eventful years have literally changed the world.

Review just a few American leaders who have made the Earth a far better place to live. Enjoy what this country has to offer, whatever your perspective, and contribute your best to make America a better place.

Four Against the Arctic

Four Against the Arctic

Four Against the Arctic is available from Amazon and is quite enlightening. You learn about an ivy league professor’s search for the story of four Russian sailors. These four men survived six years in the Arctic in 1743 after being marooned with only two days’ supplies. That they survived for more than a week was amazing in itself.

These men’s ship was presumably destroyed by ice, stranding them on an inhospitable piece of land deep in the Arctic. Virtually anyone should have died. Yet they not only survived the first winter but went on for six more. After that long, they were actually living rather than surviving. It was quite mind-blowing.

The actual story of the Pomori (Russian) sailors seems to have been somewhat lost to history. The only person who seemed to recover the history was Le Roy, an academic from the mid-18th century. From David Robert’s writing, Le Roy actually captured few details of the actual saga of these lost men.

Robert’s found the original reference in the book In the Land of White Death. The reference is what began his eighteen-month saga to reach Svalbard and search for remnants of the lost sailors’ hut.

This book was, somewhat, like reading an archeologist chasing through history in the Harvard library, trying to piece things together. Roberts made fun of Le Roy’s academic tone constantly. Yet, Robert’s crazy vocabulary and ivory tower writing style wasn’t been much better.

I listened to the book rather than reading it. This, I’m guessing, made slogging through the author’s bombastic vocabulary liveable. My vocabulary is pretty good but I learned quite a few words I have never heard. The nice thing about listening to the book is it was easy to tune out the rambling parts on philosophy and such.

Would I recommend this book? I have mixed feelings. I say yes because it’s such a fascinating experience to see what it takes to find out about a story that has little remaining of it. I’d recommend listening to the book or purchasing it used. It makes me want to go to Svalbard.

I’ve been to the Arctic once in Greenland an enjoyed it. I wonder what other crazy tales are out there?

Purchase the book from here.

Click here for a link to the overview of the story at

The funniest Amazon review is below. It reflected my thoughts exactly.

Thomas G. McCloud

December 20, 2003

Thankful on Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving in 2017? Everything seems to be so terrible when the news reports things. When I speak to audiences, I gently remind people that if you look with negative glasses (TV), everything looks dark and gloomy. But if you look with a perspective of abundance and blessing, things actually look pretty darned good!

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful that…

  • I woke up alive and uninjured this morning. People in war-torn Syria didn’t.
  • I have my health. People will lose loved ones today to cancer.
  • I have people who love me and care about me when I travel to some crazy places. I went to school with people who had parents that didn’t care one bit.
  • I have a successful speaking business.
  • I have a successful publishing business.
  • I live in a country where I’m free to do just about whatever I want. People in North Korea would be executed for the freedoms I enjoy.
  • I have a new-ish Toyota Tacoma. People in backwoods Columbia have one bicycle for an entire village.
  • I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. See the above picture.
  • My Grandfather is still alive at 90 years old. He was in the WWII Japanese interment camps. I’m thankful I didn’t have to go through that, but I’m thankful for the strength he taught me from the experience.
  • I have both of my parents. My girlfriend lost her mother decades ago. Many my age don’t have one or both parents.
  • I actually know my parents. Many who have been adopted or orphaned have no idea.
  • I have a powerful computer that enables me to reach out to the world. The Massai village I visited in Tanzania last year uses torches for light at night.
  • We have a stable government that we can disagree with, dislike, but is still one of the best deals on Earth. I remind myself to try the government in Sudan when I think mine is bad.
  • I have a warm, comfortable place to live. I saw people who live in rusted out corrugated steel shacks in Guatemala trying to make a living by selling pineapples on the side of the road.
  • I’ve been gifted with the friendships in the Teton Photography Group.
  • I have friends from junior high and high school that care about what I’m up to. I know those who were terribly tormented in middle school and are still struggling to forgive and walk beyond.
  • I have a brother, sister-in-law, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and a whole gaggle of people who care about me. People trying to escape Ethiopia to Saudia Arabia have nothing but death in their desert.
  • We have a world given to us by Him, who blesses us with everything we have.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Total Eclipse Book Success

I’m excited to have sold over 12,000 copies of my Total Eclipse Guide series for the August 21, 2017, total eclipse!
I never thought a book series I wrote would sell this many copies. It started off as a small book for the Jackson area and it grew into a big series of thirteen titles.
The various state books I wrote are now in all states that are will enjoy the total eclipse.
For example, they are in the Idaho Falls Zoo, Oregon Capital Gift Store in Salem Oregon, the Wyoming Territorial Prison, Wort Hotel in Jackson Wyoming, Prairie Books in Hastings Nebraska, the Bookworm in Carbondale Illinois, the Boonville Visitor Center in Missouri, Carmichael’s Bookstore in Louisville Kentucky, Union Avenue Books in Knoxville Tennessee, Sunrise Books in High Point North Carolina, Barnes and Noble in Charleston, South Carolina, and countless other locations and bookstores.
Thank you to everyone who has made this book series a success—I couldn’t have done it without you.

Speaking in Driggs, ID

Eclipse Photography Talk

I will be speaking in Driggs, Idaho, on August 9, 2017, at 7pm about the total eclipse in eastern Idaho. This eclipse will streak all the way across America. My inspiring talk will focus on photography, viewing, and safety.

This won’t be a boring science and photography talk. Instead, I will entertain, educate, and inspire the audience.

Toilet Paper

Why does toilet paper matter to someone watching the total eclipse on August 21, 2017? Attend the talk and you’ll find out. It’s more important than you think.

I’ll add fun, laughs, and guidance to what the totality will be like. Plus, I’ll provide plenty of pointers on photography and viewing.

In the News

Read more about my talk in this Teton Valley News article.

Total Solar Eclipse Guide author to speak at Senior Center


Speaking in Driggs

I’m excited to be speaking in Driggs, Idaho on August 9, 2017, at the senior center. I’ll talk about how to view, photograph, and enjoy the total eclipse on August 21, 2017.

You want to make sure to attend this talk if you’re in the area. How will you safely view the eclipse? What’s the best way to avoid damaging your camera or your eyes? I’ll tell you how!

This will be an exciting and entertaining talk. As a motivational speaker, I’ll add energy and excitement to the presentation. No boring stuff here!

Radio Interview KID-AM

Thank you to Neal Larson of KID-AM and FM out of Idaho Falls for the radio interview earlier this week. We talked about the Idaho Total Eclipse Guide. This book is the only guide dedicated to Idaho for the total eclipse on August 21, 2017.

Neal has hosted KID’s morning show for some time. He brings information, education, and entertainment to eastern Idaho. The morning show has the latest news and updates from around Idaho and across the country.

Listen to the radio interview in this Youtube video. You will learn more about the eclipse over Idaho, like how to be safe, where to go, and other viewing and photography tips.

The radio station plays on AM-590, FM-92.1, and FM-106.3.