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Moors and Christians Battle, 13th century: Wikimedia Commons

The Reconquista was a centuries long period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula that followed a surge of Muslim Berber invaders from northern Africa into what would eventually become Spain and Portugal. Also called Moors, the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula was nearly total by the year 718 and led to the establishment of the emirate of Al-Andalus.

The Reconquista itself is said to have begun with the victory of Pelagius of Asturias at the battle of Covadonga. The first monarch of the Asturian Kingdom, Pelagius was a Visigoth noble and a grandson of a former King of Hispania when it had still been a purely Visigoth posession. The battle itself was in response to a drastic increase in taxes by the Emir of the time, one Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi. Mobilizing many dispossessed refugees and combatants from the south, Pelagius refused to pay the taxes levied on non-Muslims and moved to assault Umayyad garrisons in the area. …


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Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

It is that time of year again. New Year’s resolutions have been a tradition since the time of the Babylonians when they made promises to their gods to return the things they had borrowed and to pay off the debts they had accrued in the previous year. In the United States roughly half of all Americans have made resolutions each new year, with those doing so seeing a tenfold increase in success in following through with their promised life changes over those who made no such resolutions.

For me, I am pursuing two resolutions above all others this year. Write more. Read more. I have found that I am happier when I am consistently writing, and look forward to life more when I have a new book in hand. Thinking more about it, this doesn’t surprise me. Both reading and writing have been found to provide multiple benefits to those who diligently pursue…


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Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, by Claude Monet (1899): Wikimedia Commons

There is perhaps no image more associated with the Impressionism Art Movement than that of Claude Monet’s water lilies. Comprising a series of roughly 250 oil paintings created between 1896 and his death in 1926, these beautiful, bright works were a triumph amidst personal lose and health issues. Monet’s second wife, Alice Hoschedé, died in 1911. His oldest son died in 1914 from tuberculosis. His younger son Michel was deployed to the front to serve in the French Army during World War I. …


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LEGO Booth, 2019 San Diego Comic-Con: Wikimedia Commons

Though Star Wars was first released in 1977, it would not be until 1999 that the LEGO company would create a lego set surrounding the iconic science fiction franchise. Coincided to be released alongside The Phantom Menace in 1999, the first wave of LEGO Star Wars sets would go on to be fan favorites, and sparked an extension of the license with Lucasfilm Ltd. from the original of 1999–2008 up to first 2011, then 2016, and now 2022. I have been a fan of LEGO since I was a kid and got the Fort Legoredo set for Christmas. Since then I have expanded to a number of other LEGO sets, and my favorites are on display in my office. …


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Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, Florida, USA: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday marks the 455th anniversary that Europeans permanently settled in what was to become the contiguous United States. The city of St. Augustine was founded by Spanish explorers in 1565, and lies on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. The city owes its name to the coastline being sighted by the Spanish Explorers on August 28, the feast day of St. Augustine. The only older city in American territory is that of San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was founded forty-four years earlier in 1521.

St. Augustine owes its existence to the Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who would later became the first governor of Florida. The Admiral was dispatched by the Spanish Crown to what is now Jacksonville. His mission was to destroy the French outpost of Fort Caroline and eliminate the presence of the Huguenot French, which the Spanish considered to be heretics. Once this was complete, he was charged to fully explore and settle the region as a bastion of Spanish might. …


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Voa Hong Kong Protest: Wikimedia Commons

In 2013 the Patreon platform was launched as a way for creators of such things as drawings, paintings, photography, and even educational resources to raise money to support their work. A wild success, it sees millions of visitors monthly seeking to support creators and artists around the world. Now with the creation of an account by Joshua Wong, patrons can pledge their support for Hong Kong’s democratic movement.

Begun in 2019, the Hong Kong protests were initiated over concerns that China was beginning to exert efforts to bring the legal system of the Special Administrative Region into compliance with the mainland. Pro-democracy activists were concerned that this would lead to the autonomy of Hong Kong being undermined and that civil liberties would be put at risk. What has followed to this point in time has been over sixteen months of demonstrations, strikes, protests, and even a widely publicized siege of a university by police. Most recently on July 30, 2020, the current regime of Hong Kong disqualified 12 candidates to the Legislative Council, nearly all of which were winners of the pro-democratic primaries. …


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Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

A Foghorn of Dumb

Selfishness Kills Self and Us

Bright Golden Showers

……………………………………………………………………………………

Looking for books of Haiku poetry to enjoy? Check out these recommendations:

  1. The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa: In this collection you will find English translations of many of the greatest poems by three of the greatest masters of this art form: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa.
  2. Classic Haiku: The Greatest Japanese Poetry from Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, and Their Followers: Another collection of roughly 200 poems by these masters from as early as 1670. …


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Funko Pop Collection: Wikimedia Commons

A History of Funko

If you are like many people who go out shopping in person (though maybe less often now due to the pandemic) you have likely seen something for sale called Funko. For it I thought they have been mostly a recent thing, but when I looked up the history of the company behind them I was in for a bit of a surprise.

The company that many now know and love owes its start to toy collector Mike Becker. Mike founded the company at his home in Washington after failing to find an affordable coin bank of the Big Boy Restaurants mascot. Being dissatisfied with the options available, Mike decided to license the rights himself to make his own coin backs of the mascot in Michigan. Unfortunately the coin banks largely failed to sell, but Funko was able to stay in business by attaining the rights to sell bobbleheads for the Austin Powers movie. …


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Carl Sagan in 1994: Wikimedia Commons

When one thinks about the modern great minds in astronomy, one of the first names mentioned is Carl Sagan. He was a titan in astronomy, planetary science, cosmology, astrophysics, astrobiology, and, perhaps even more importantly, a champion of science. Over his professional career he published over 600 scientific papers and articles, as well as contributed in whole or in part to more than 20 books. So important has his work been that his papers, some nearly 600,000 items, are all archived at the Library of Congress.

Though Carl Sagan was taken from mankind too soon, one of his later books continues to reverberate with me given the struggles the United States is going through today. This book is called The Demon-Haunted World and no quote stands out so much to me about the time we live in than this…


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Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

With many of you sitting at home due to shelter-in-place for the coronavirus, you might find yourself bored with not much to do. Personally, I recommend that you take some time now to read, and while any book is good (since I encourage reading in general), these are the four books i think you should read and internalize to live a more deliberate life post-coronavirus. Written by author Robert Greene, a New York Times bestselling author with a strong following in the business, political, historical and music communities (to name a few), the four books below present much insight into social life and personal mastery which are grounded in examples from many greats in history, including everyone from Napoleon to Charles Darwin. …

About

Charles Beuck

Charles writes on art, history, politics, travel, fantasy, science fiction, poetry. BA, MA in Political Science, Phd Pending. Inquires: charlesbeuck@gmail.com

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