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Don't forget to make some memories!

Crossing the Bridge of Sighs

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

I made my way through the narrow passage, following a single-file line of tourists. But if this were the 1600s, I would be following a line of prisoners, and our friendly tour guide with the headset would most likely be our jailer. I reached one of the small windows and, like everyone who shuffles down this passageway, I peeked through the decorative grill and caught a peek at one of the canals of Venice, Italy. And then I sighed. I was crossing the Bridge of Sighs, one of the most famous bridges in the world. In the 1600s, this bridge carried prisoners from courtrooms where they had just been sentenced into the Venetian jail cells. The bridge is sparse and Spartan on the inside, but the outside is gorgeous—an ornamental structure made of brilliant white limestone. According to legend,...

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How the Vikings Failed to Destroy a Treasure

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 1 comment

The Vikings had no mercy. In the year 806, Viking invaders descended on the Island of Iona, just off the coast of Scotland, and they slaughtered 68 monks. That’s why the area became known as the Bay of Martyrs. However, those raids are the reason Ireland now has one of the most famous Bibles in all of history—the Book of Kells. After the raid on Iona, the monks fled to Kells in Ireland, where they established a new monastery. And this monastery housed and protected the magnificent Book of Kells. When my wife and I went to Dublin, Ireland, one of my greatest thrills was visiting Trinity College, where we got to see portions of the Book of Kells. This book is the most famous example of an “illuminated Bible.” They’re called “illuminated” because they are heavily decorated with...

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A Spectacle in Rome

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

Most people have heard about what happened in the Roman Colosseum, where Christians, criminals, slaves, and other “undesirables” were hauled into an arena and executed. Some say that most Christian martyrs were slaughtered in the Circus Maximus, not the Colosseum, but wherever it took place, this was entertainment to the bloodthirsty Roman crowd. People love a spectacle. Always have. Always will. But did you know that the Romans also held full-scale naval battles as entertainment? In 46 B.C., to celebrate the victories of Julius Caesar, the Romans created a man-made lake where they staged a battle between two fleets of ships. These were full-scale ships, featuring as many as 6,000 fighters. What’s more, these were real battles, where real blood flowed and real people died or were badly injured, writes a recent article in National Geographic History magazine. Today,...

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The Miracle of Dunkirk

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

The bang of a bullet, as it penetrated the steel hull of the ship, nearly made me jump out of my skin. Several bullets punched their way through the hull, and water gushed in, flooding the boat. Fortunately, all of this action was taking place on the big screen, while I was sitting safely in my cushioned seat, and the only danger that I faced was that I might spill my popcorn every time the movie made me jump—which was often. The movie was Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece released this summer.  The movie was remarkably free of gory violence, but it was packed with suspense from beginning to end, as it followed three interweaving stories that took place during the famous evacuation of close to 330,000 British soldiers at Dunkirk during World War II. The evacuation of 1940 has...

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Poland, 1979: We Want God! We Want God!

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

In 1979, schoolteachers in Poland were told to inform their students that the man about to visit their country “is our enemy.” Teachers were urged to explain to their classes that this man’s sense of humor and great communication skills made him “dangerous, because he charms everyone.” Who was this dangerous enemy? It was Pope John Paul II, and the warnings were sent out to schools in Poland because in 1979 the communists were in control. John Paul II was going to visit his home country for the first time since becoming Pope, and the communists allowed it because they thought he would “behave himself.” They gambled that he would not say anything too controversial in this officially atheist country. Poland might have been officially atheist at that time, but it was unofficially a very religious country with a...

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The Exploding Chocolates

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

The Nazis once tried to kill British Prime Minister Winston Churchill with chocolate. According to a retrospective in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, “Adolf Hitler’s bomb makers coated explosive devices with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate, then packaged it in expensive-looking black and gold paper. The Germans apparently planned to use secret agents working in Britain to discreetly place the bars—branded as Peters Chocolate—among other luxury items taken into the dining room used by the War Cabinet during the conflict.” Fortunately, British spies discovered the plot before the chocolate could explode. This story highlights the power of chocolate and its rich, creamy texture. What better temptation to lure someone into a trap than chocolate? The world’s love affair with chocolate can be traced back to the Mayans and Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that cacoa beans, which are used to...

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