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The Carnyx, the Games—Aberdeenshire’s Royal Farewell to Summer

THE CARNYX, THE GAMES—ABERDEENSHIRE’S ROYAL FAREWELL TO SUMMER
or The Royals know where to Party for End of Summer Fun

First Wednesday IWSG Party Time for Insecure Writers and other Scribes

March of the Lonach Men recalls the 1745 Rebellion, when wearing of the kilt was outlawed for 100 years

This Saturday, September 6th, 2019 finds the human Scots-Collective rallying at Braemar in extreme-inland-and-upland Aberdeenshire for the ‘Games’—the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games—in the 12-acre Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in the town, attended by HM the Queen and her immediate family. It is her last (holiday) appearance in Deeside—and Scotland—before her return at the end of the month to business-as-usual in London.

Aberdeenshire’s Other Summereve’s Celebration

Braemar, on the river Dee, follows a rival tradition—over the mountain and through the pass to Donside—where the (178th) Lonach Gathering and Games was held last Saturday, August 24th in Bellabeg, on the banks of the Don.

Beloved of Lonach fans, Robin Williams at the 2001 Gathering at Bellabeg, Strathdon

Known as the Alternative Gathering because of its attraction for Hollywood stars and in-the-know Royals, the Lonach is more of a society promenade than a competitive event. Yes, caber toss, hundredweight lugging and tug-o’war with dainty Highland dancing are all going on within the stadium enclosure, but the action is where international alliances are being forged on the ‘champagne picnic circuit’ ringing the field. Scots actor Billy Connolly is not alone in having a gracious country house within spitting distance of the grandiose Beer Tent; and his international guests are legend—Steve Martin and Robin Williams among them.

It’s an excuse for the remote glen to entertain as many famous international guests as they can squeeze into the valley for their last summer party—and the noble families of Donside hinterland open their houses in force. Sir James Forbes, Bart, cousin to Lord Forbes, head of clan Forbes, leads his green-kilted warriors to pipe and march from 8a.m. until they reach the field at 11a.m. Other pipers and pike-carrying members of the Wallaces and former rival-clan Gordon—join them, swinging in down the winding track.

No Historial Reenactment—Lonach Men March Three Hours through the Glen

Sir James Forbes of Newe, Bart, Patron of the Lonach Highland & Friendly Society, Bellabeg Strathdon

“Scotland in 1823 was on the cusp of monumental change, finally emerging from the bleak post-Culloden years to resume her rightful place in the World. With so much change in the air our ancestors saw the need to preserve their heritage, whilst still embracing the new.

“This is no historical re-enactment. The Lonach March represents an unbroken link from our forefathers to the 21st Century. Encountering the Lonach Highlanders for the first time takes you back to pre-1745 Scotland.”
Sir James Forbes of Newe and Edinglassie, Bart.

The Forbeses were once premier barons of Donside and Mar. Today, despite dwindling fortunes and a rich, punishing history—but unlike rival Gordons—a Forbes remains in possession of the clan’s oldest stronghold, Druminnor—the original 1429 Castle Forbes, seat of Chiefs of Forbes for 500 years. The Gordons rose to become Marquesses and Dukes, lording it over Strathbogie and the North, but Huntly Castle is a ruin and the feud has gone into the history books. Nowadays Lonach Men march together as one.

Flying threadbare standards gifted by Queen Victoria (tattered replaced by new, 2011), the Lonach Men stop at several remote dwellings on their way through the pass, each marcher toasted in whisky, given a dram and ‘haste ye back’, before the next halt. By the time they reach the playing field three hours later, they are in fine fettle.

Drunk or sober, it is the pipers’ duty to play after the day is done, too. They beat the retreat at 5:30p.m. when everybody—upwards of 8,000 souls—starts packing up champagne bucket, shooting stick and cucumber sandwich leftovers, to drive home. There have been years when it took four hours to reach Aberdeen and the coast—42miles away—in single-track traffic from Newe. [For perfectionists, it’s pronounced N-y-ow, like Meow with an N].

Rallying Call to Battle Gathering—Pipes or Carnyx

Celtic continental influence in Roman Scotland, Deskford’s Carnyx battle horn rallied Caledonian troops to march—as haunting a sound as Lonach bagpipes

On a magnificent cloudless late August day, it is tempting to compare the faint haunting call of the pipes as the Lonach Men march into the valley with the battle cry of Pictish hoardes described by Tacitus in A.D.79 at Mons Graupius.

A recent collaboration by Aberdeen and Euro continental archaeologists, comparing the few examples of bronze-cast sacred battle horns—Roman carnyx—allowed a replica to be made which sounds authentic—John Kenny plays, photo left.

Its weird high-pitched call (to battle) is hauntingly similar to the sound of the pibroch from a single piper’s drone on a high mountain pass. The Deskford carnyx , found in 1816 Banffshire (now Aberdeenshire) was ritually buried (on a battlefield?) with gold, silver, bronze bell, the battle horn itself a stylized boar’s head with upturned snout, signifying bravery of an indomitable superior race.

Sacred to the Picts, carved Boar stone from Donside, Aberdeenshire approx. A.D.420-700—earliest clan animal of Forbes and Gordon, courtesy National Museums of Scotland

Pictish Symbols Distilled into Clan Heraldry
Roman legions called them the painted people. In A.D.4thC Ammianus Marcellinus’s historical accounts Dicalydones were northern tribes: one of two branches of Picti, Picts, Roman chronicler Tacitus’s Caledonians who inhabited modern-day Moray, Banff and Buchan. The second group were the Verturiones who occupied southern territories of modern Fife, Perthshire, Forfar (Fortriu) and Lothian. Carnyces have turned up in sacred settings along Roman routes through France to northern Baltic. There is a famous carnyx series embossed on the silver Gundestrup cauldron found in 1891 in a Baltic peat bog in Jutland, dating to around 2nd Century B.C. Its boar-headed shape has the same curvature, and was the work of Iron Age Celtic Franco-Germanic artists.

My fellow IWSG-ers and our Cap’n at the Helm, Alex will agree that we writers who have the advantage of Space-Time awareness, courtesy of our ancestral lineage, know how the power of sound/music—certain plaintive notes—can trigger a rush of joy, inspiration, fresh creativity.

Danzig Willie’s Craigievar William Forbes, creator of Craigievar Castle in Upper Donside brought the style of France to the Aberdeenshire hinterland, 1686

It may be my historical-fantasy-bias that drives me to compare the pale single note of an ancient Pictish battle horn against Roman battalions in rural Banff, with an even fainter soul-wrenching skirl of bagpipes played on a high mountain pass in Corgarff, but the heart beats faster when both are sounded.

Is my historical desire to link the fantastic Pictish family of animal symbols with the conquering (Scots) lineage A.D.845 so farfetched?

Forbes tradition has it that their ancestor, Pictish chief Ochonochar, trapped a boar which was terrorizing the neighborhood. Their emblem shows stylized muzzled boar. The House of Gordon has a similar legend for their boar crest worn by the Cock o’ the North. Pictish Class I Boar stone, as late as A.D.700, above, was a Donside symbol—just as the Pictish Bull is mainly associated with Burghead and Moray.

IWSGers with Scots-Irish ancestry, even when writing deadlines hover—today is Anthology Contest—know we all enjoy a dip in the gene pool.

Have fun. Take a last wild plunge before summer ends. Let me know how it feels.
Thanks for listening.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

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September 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, blogging, culture, festivals, history, popular, publishing, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like Lightning Conductors & Orbiting Spacecraft, Let Writing Ideas Flow

LIKE LIGHTNING CONDUCTORS & ORBITING SPACECRAFT, LET WRITING IDEAS FLOW
Keeping the Insecure Writerly Mind Active thru Tricky Times

Many of us writers think ‘something’ is pending: that summer feeling of the unknown hanging over us—as a species or is it just me? Are we IWSGers—or is everybody—for the first time in a long time–an Age–are we beginnning to think as One Planet?

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sets up solar wind sail experiment on lunar surface July 1969, photo Neil Armstrong, moondust footprints, right

What do oil executives, vampires and NASA bureaucrats all have in common? They fear solar energy.’ Michio Kaku, Japanese American theoretical physicist

We are–through our younger generations—perhaps thinking quicker. Also, is it imaginary? or is Time–along with our learning curve–speeding up, too?

It is possible that, with current seismic catalysts—deep Pacific trench high-magnitude shakes, and unrelenting eastern California faultline displacement (Ridgecrest Naval Base China Lake, CA), we are becoming, what Nikolai Kardashev via Michio Kaku calls a Level One Civilization.

Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (Никола́й Семёнович Кардашёв) (1932-2019) was the Russian astrophysicist, and director of the Russian Space Research Institute (Institute for Cosmic Research) at Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who died last week. He authored a (1964) paper in Soviet Astronomy “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations”. He devised a scale of three categories by which a civilization is classified, by the amount of usable energy it has at its disposal–plus a degree of space colonization. Others have added two higher categories.

Sunset at full moonrise—& eclipse Hampshire crop circle Rodfield-Tichborne July 16th, 2019, photo Nick Bull

Kardashev Type I civilization is one able to harness all the power available on its (single) planet. The implication is that in so doing, it is able to function as ‘one’ and therefore to have mastered the supreme mark of a self-realized group: peaceful interaction.

Kardashev Type II civilization is able to harness all power available from its star.

Kardashev Type III civilization can harness all the power in a single galaxy. With the power of an entire galaxy at its disposal, a type III civilization would be able to come up with radical new power sources.

By extrapolation, a Kardashev Type IV civilization would have access to the power of an entire galactic supercluster. Kardashev Type V would be a civilization that occupies the entire universe.

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at New York’s City University, instigator of the Big Think discussion thinktank, and author (2011) of ‘Physics of the Future‘, suggests that, even with an African-Asian-Pacific food crisis (eliciting world humanitarian response), the Earth is as yet not a Category One civilization.

Rusting in Russian Space Hangars

Abandoned Russian Space vehicle, Buran (Blizzard) on launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, destroyed when roof collapsed 2002 due to extreme temperatures in Kazakhstan steppes

Carl Sagan estimated that Earth qualifies as a Type 0.7 civilization. Before he died in 1996, however–and in spite of his agnostic view–he had hopes that we might overcome our aversion to living in harmony–or rather, to lay down our weapons of war, and interact peacefully with one another. “Decency,” he said (and humility and community spirit) “in this demon-haunted world may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

Russian spacecraft—created during the Soviet era 1957-1988, using confiscated German WW-II V-2 Rocket technology and designs, were capable of sending human operators to the Moon, Mars and beyond. With the fall of the regime, and creation of Russia and Ukraine as separate countries, former vast treasuries became unavailable, leading-edge technology languished, and amazing space vehicles were left to rust in their hangars.

Throughout space there is energy. Is it static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic—and this we know it is, for certain—then it is a mere question of time before men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of Nature. Nikola Tesla, Croatian-US physicist (1856-1943)


Lightning as Power Source

Abandoned on outskirts of Moscow, an original Tesla generator-conductor still capable of producing enough electricity to run all of Russia’s power grid

A similar fate seems to have befallen Tesla’s unprecedented invention using unlimited solar—and cosmic—sources of power to run Earth’s machinery.

Still operating—but in infrequent bursts—the Marx Generator at Istra on Moscow’s fringe is a Tesla-designed instrument creating (unlimited) electrical power when fully operational—now all but abandoned. Unlike the U.S.’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility, the Marx generator in Istra was not constructed to modulate the weather. But, like HAARP, it did help design weapons for the future.
*Photo courtesy http://www.4turista.ru

If all of this space voyaging is too much for you and you need real inspiration—take an early morning walk before dawn to see the Perseid Meteor shower, peaking this Sunday.

Otoh, if you feel like some high-powered relaxing in a Hilton twin-tub while attending this year’s Annual Writers’ Digest Conference, then go —August 23-25 New York Hilton—have fun!

I, for one, count on our revered Space Capsule Commander Alex Cavanaugh to steer us through (muddy) orbit trajectories into shiny solar re-emergence, like a rotating moon capsule revealing a new Earth dawn, but it’s still up to each one of us to do the right thing, isn’t it? If a Writerly Share—is what you need August is the month:

And keep on writing!
©2019 Marian Youngblood

August 8, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astronomy, authors, blogging, environment, history, nature, sun, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through Uncharted Waters—Navigating the MotherShip by the Stars

THROUGH UNCHARTED WATERS—NAVIGATING THE MOTHERSHIP BY THE STARS
Monthly Muse-driven Medley for Insecure Writers and Wannabe SciFi Scribes

Sparticles Wood Crop Circle June 21st finally brought the classic back to its native English chalk downs, after a foray into Normandy beach heads

The Silly Season—Now it Begins
The combination of Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and the appearance of crop circles in the chalk downs of Hampshire-Wiltshire-Surrey countryside seem to get the Brits into holiday mode.

While the United States of America—in one cultural bloc—conspire to break their own world record of shooting off the greatest number of fireworks, rockets and Roman candles in a 12-hour period for Independence Day, across the Pond the short English summer begins. Hats and finery are front and center. Tennis, cricket, football (soccer) and polo horses dot the landscape; rowing teams, barges and punts moor next to pubs on placid waterways. There are Garden Parties.

In this festive mood, Wimbledon Week began with a bang. On opening day, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, recently asked by HM Queen to take over her role as Patron of the illustrious All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, was treated to a magnificent debut. From her royal box she watched Wimbledon legend—and eight-times champion, Venus Williams—be overturned in an amazing first round win by a 15-year old novice/disciple——Coco Gauff—beating her idol in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

July 1st Danebury crop circle—decidedly drone-like—coming in for landing at Winchester’s 2500-year old hillfort, photo Nick Bull

HRH Prince William and other Royals are revving up their summer schedules. Her Majesty already set her Edinburgh Royal Week in motion, with help from bekilted Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Forfar/Wessex to host her renowned garden parties. Princes William and Harry will keep the home fires burning at Royal Polo Club’s 49th International Day, July 27th, at Home of English Polo—in newly-appointed surroundings—the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Windsor.

Within this heightened summertime atmosphere of expectation and delight, it’s not unusual for classic crop circles to appear in the clay-filled electromagnetically-charged fields of Wiltshire et al.

Meanwhile in the Marianas
Across in the Pacific by contrast, the week’s events focused volcanic unrest in Java and the islands of New Guinea; with a series of continuing high magnitude earthquake sequences in the Marianas, off the Philippines in the Mindanao Deep.* They occurred synchronously with Tuesday’s total solar eclipse—seen as partial here in the Bismarck Sea. Other Antipodean nations, viz. all of Antarctica, the Falklands, Sandwich Islands, Solomons and Indian Ocean—beginning to emerge from their own midwinter—experienced four minutes’ totality.
* Mag.6.5 and greater; also coastline Japan, and Kamchatka peninsula.

Crop Circles and Normandy Landings
English crop circles had been few, so by solstice Croppies were thrilled when a classic circle finally appeared in a traditional chalk downs location, after several weeks of Euro competition. Unusual for northern France, earlier in June—at a time when most western nations were holding joint ceremony to commemorate the 1944 Allied D-Day Landings on the Normandy beaches—eleven crop circles—including one at the aptly-named Mieraville, Pas-de-Calais—popped up along the (English) Channel coast.

Wormhole with insect emerging, design by AnimalAlien inspired by solstice crop circle at Sparticles Wood, Surrey

Sparticles Wood Bee/drone appearance brought rejoicing in the (British) corn.

Recent research into collective behavior of animals from whales through insects, and by analogy from metasequoia to micro-organisms, indicates that all creatures can communicate—some like bees, ants and birds, over vast distances.

Both crop circles use insect—drone buzzing—bee imagery—one through the wormhole of time; the other perhaps its own timewarp instrument. Insect longevity as a species on earth, with its ability to communicate over distance—on level of pheromones, taste, smell and in the case of the honey bee, the bee dance—make it immortal.

In a few short years, recreational drones have become commonplace.

Drone and Beehive Community

Beehive fulfillment center towers would supply drones with packages no heavier than 5lbs

‘The company has applied for a patent for towers that bear a resemblance to beehives that would serve as multilevel fulfillment centers for its delivery drone service’
Amazon Prime Air

Amazon has been awarded a patent to allow sale of surveillance drones for personal property, with fears of the Megalopoly becoming all-powerful in the private arena.

The vision is of drones taking off, landing and picking up deliveries from these vertical beehive structures, right, located in densely populated areas. Shades of Bruce Willis’s Sixth Sense multiple level transit system.

What do we IWSGers see? Looking into our own future?

Two exquisitely layered, lovingly laid wheat mesh networks, several Mag.7 rumblings in the world’s deepest ocean, and a total solar eclipse—almost completely invisible anywhere in the Northern hemisphere—unless you live on Midway Island—blatant admission that I share our revered Space Captain Cavanaugh’s passion for time travel action movies and IWSG fantasy scenarios.

Teaser for Midway, due for November release? The trailer says it all: Woody Harrelson as Admiral Nimitz, Dennis Quaid as Vice Admiral Bull Halsey. Directed by master hand behind Stargate, and Independence Day, Roland Emmerich. Plus CGI. Howzat for star-studded navigation? If it inspires us Insecure Writers to keep on writing…Enjoy.

And a reminder that IWSG’s 2019 Anthology Contest is now open. For those doing summer writing, may the stars be with you.

At the helm—
©2019 Marian Youngblood

July 3, 2019 Posted by | art, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, crop circles, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, Muse, nature, ocean, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Prerogative—Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stC World

Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stCentury World
Monthly Pointers for Insecure Writers and other Wanderers in Time

Generosity was historically how a Monarch was judged by her people. Nobles who usurped their position—or took handouts—didn’t make it into the history books.

HM the Queen shares a smile with POTUS her guest at State Banquet in the palace ballroom

The bard was asked who of the kings of Prydein
is most generous of all
‘And I declared boldly
That it was Owain’
The Gorhoffedd, 12thC Brittonic heroic poem

We in the known world have this week been treated to a vision of the splendour and magnificence which comes out when great dynasties meet. A State visit by the president of the United States of America to Great Britain—regardless of decade or political swing—is not taken lightly in royal circles. When Her Majesty the Queen decides to commemorate a ‘special relationship’ with military undertones, nobody born in the last hundred years is going to stop her. Her generosity shows.

The Palace knows how to pull out all the stops—and last week they did.

Buckingham Palace ballroom was setting for State Banquet for 170 guests given by HM Queen for President Trump and First Lady of USA, June 2019


June 6th marks seventy-five years this week since the Allied forces of Europe and America made D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. The second world war (WWII) ended one year later in 1945.

During President Donald Trump’s visit, HM the Queen presented him with a gold leaf embossed first edition of Winston Churchill’s Second World War 6-volume set. And she will also attend a ceremony with him in Portsmouth—English channel coast—to mark the D-Day event, before he leaves.

If anyone can carry off a grand banquet, a major wartime memorial, inspecting four ‘Trooping the Colour’ Royal Guards Birthday ceremonial parades with two 41-gun salutes, on three cups of tea, this beloved monarch can. She also celebrated the anniversary of her own coronation and accession to the throne of Great Britain [Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland] this week.

HM the Queen’s coronation took place on June 2nd, 1953 in Westminster Abbey*, when she was 25 years old. Her father, George VI, died on 6 February 1952. She has reigned for 67 years and has been visited by all but one of thirteen U.S. Presidents—Lyndon B. Johnson—during that time.
*Foundation of the abbey church laid by Edward the Confessor in 1065.

Buck House to Kilt-buckled Deeside

Both HM Queen and her son Charles are reputed Beatles’ fans, seen here pretending to ignore Macca, right

“English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August”
Lord Byron, Romantic poet and satirist, 1788-1824

Most of the month of June is filled with high profile royal engagements—a time in Britain when the weather has been known to improve. One high point of June is Derby Day at Epsom Racecourse—her Majesty making it a twofold party last weekend, June 1-2, 2019, while she enjoyed this year’s equine lineup from the comfort of her Royal Box.

Often considered a high point of the fashion year, Ladies’ Day at Epsom is outclassed and outshone only by Royal Ascot, this year’s five-day event spanning solstice from June 18-22, 2019. The Royal Box will be filled to capacity, with aristocratic fashion statements being made all over the place.

By end July, nearly every royal—except Prince Philip, who turns 98 on June 10th—will have performed multiple civic and charitable duties around the country and—for Commonwealth interests—around the globe. All without assistance from the former Civil List, cancelled with Royal consent in 2011.

August brings recreation and rest.

Ultima Thule provides Country Retreat

Balmoral castle, half-way between Ballater and Braemar Aberdeenshire, Royal Deeside retreat from London

The Sovereign—and significant portion of her household—decamps for Balmoral—a baronial hall rebuilt by Victoria and Albert in rural Aberdeenshire at the least-accessible tip of the Royal Deeside Railway Line, plus a six-mile hike in the direction of the Cairngorms beyond.

That’s mostly accomplished by helicopter, these days.

Her Majesty’s sole duty during her month in Scotland—and it is said, she looks forward to it—is to attend the last highland games of the Season—the Braemar Gathering—always held first weekend of September. That’s before the mountains close in and Ballater and the Highland passes become impregnable.

We recall how unprecedented was the upheaval—upon the death of HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, August 31, 1997, of rearranging the Royal household for an emergency return to the capital, with the royal vacation technically still in effect centered within the sight of Glen Shee, Ben Avon (pron. A’an) and the Devil’s Elbow—escape route to central Perthshire.

Abandoning Aberdeenshire—at 57º05’N latitude—c.f. Juneau, Alaska—to prepare for its ski traffic and winter sports, the Royal household’s return to London and their extended autumn schedule signals resumption of an English way of life.

I suspect our Insecure Writers’ self-appointed Commander-in-Chief, Alex—along with some other urban Americans-of-that-Ilk—may resonate with the excitement of urbane Kensington or with Kentucky’s Derby millions, but my country origins leave me with a fondness for Braemar.

Romans termed any territory North of the Highland fault line, running West to East from Argyll to Inverness, Ultima Thule. Some of us locals call it affectionately the Back of Beyond.

This rural backdrop, however, with its pristine breathable air, is just the place for our future forests, protected fishing rivers and World Heritage sites to coalesce and bring new hope and vital regeneration to a marginal agricultural economy.

God Save the Queen.
©2019 Marian C.Youngblood

June 5, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, ritual, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Avengers-Endgame—Super-Life Fantasy or Life Support?

AVENGERS:ENDGAME—SuperLife Fantasy for Beyond-SciFi Fans
Monthly Distraction Corner for IWGers and Wannabe Insecure Scribes

Avengers—Endgame images to die for, so many reasons to stay alive, but do they?

Having succumbed to temptation—aided and abetted by iGen granddaughters—to attend the première of Captain Marvel last month, and believing the hype created by the Marvel Cinematic Universe for mass consumption, I was drawn last weekend into one of the first million seats to view what I thought might be a prequel.

Avengers-Endgame is no prequel. Not even a sequel. It has its own time.

ENDGAME Surpasses Box-Office $357Million Predictions its First Weekend

Having allowed myself the adrenalin rush of multiple technicolor slo-mo explosions as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel found her niche on Earth, I was prepared to suspend disbelief and await developments—secretly hoping to see my fave characters reappear in EndGame.

The film is a fairly transparent heist caper, along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven—both the Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin (1960) and the luscious George Clooney (2007) versions—where the gang splits into sub-teams to steal the life-snuffing Infinity Stones from Thanos in a time-warp effort to undo his genocidal finger-snap. Ocean’s Eleven tactics induce familiarity, just so our comfort zone can be ripped apart.

Her powerful appearance in Avengers—Endgame is too brief—Brie Larson as Capt.Marvel

That’s all folks! Marvel Studios have done such a great job of keeping the central plot device concealed, I dare not reveal more. What I will say is that, while the mission takes the characters into new territory for them, it is territory which has been explored by countless non-Marvel film and television productions before. War Machine and Ant-Man even list the films their latest adventure reminds them of—a shrewd way of making you an ally, but a hint that you’ll have seen a few twists and jokes before*.

*Teaser—Sometimes it’s a John Wayne-ism; maybe a hint of Band of Brothers; no, that was Donald Sutherland’s Kelly’s Heroes (1970); several James Bond renditions; even some old Burt Lancaster coastline in Aberdeenshire—where the Cove Bay ‘Scottish Unit’ is on location.

Beleaguered Baby Boomers Get the Plot

Much emphasis has been placed lately on how the ‘younger’ generation leads world thinking in conservation, fashion ideals and the future. Current ‘oldies’, having led culture away from wars and into the Peace movement, are now having a hard time amid a youth invasion of media-supported teenagers who have (mostly) only seen war on the silver screen.

Refreshingly, in mid-Brexit-Angst Britain, on the other hand, slightly-oldie but cuddly politician Boris Johnson—former Lord Mayor of London and potential Prime Minister, has grabbed the baton and bravely stated—

Familiar? Iconic egg hatching on original Ridley Scott Alien (1979) set resonates with EndGame Infinity Stones hatching in nonTime (2019)

“With all due #humility to my #juniors, I intend to be #alive for a very long time”
~Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Ruislip, Middlesex

Thus, familiar Boomers appearing in the Endgame cast, below, seemed to me like avenging angels.

While losing myself in the imagery and effects of Avengers-Endgame, I became immersed in a separate world—one of my own [Boomer, age-related] making. Because I hear around one-third of normal human soundtrack—including plot, storyline, nuances of dialogue—I enter an even-more-rarified time capsule. This I clearly admit is the world of the ‘Sixties Generation looking for recognizable pillars, posts, roadsigns along a rocky new road of the iGens in the 2020s.

Hints of Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, 2001:Space Odyssey and Little House on the Prairie floated in and out. Alien and Star Trek sets beckoned

But imagery—especially imagery that moves—is always a hit. Add to that psychedelic multi-dimensional lighting and effects, and I was hooked.

Fantasy has traditionally been a realm to retreat to when ‘real-time’ gets scary. Here, we writers/IWSGers try to do the monthly round and help other bloggers, while simultaneously keeping up our own creative level. It can take its toll!

So, when Marvel Studios-Russo Brothers beckoned a second time, I downed tools and followed.

I didn’t feel guilty reclining in the plush cinema seat captured by full surround-sound at high decibels—still could not make out dialogue unless lips were mobile—but transfixed by the animation, I holed up and waited for the Oldies-but-goodies to show.

And they did.
Clever Cartoon Cameo Roles
Apart from Samuel L., who did show for a microsecond, I was expecting more and was disappointed…loved his Nick Fury CGI-youthened image plus cat friend Goose in Marvel

Captain America, Chris Evans doesn’t actually die but his life comes to an end

ditto Annette Bening—expectations dashed
Brie Larson—far too briefly—taste only—she has other Universes to conquer—blatant audience bait
Gwyneth Paltrow—superb
Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man, has become a great ‘older’ actor
Michael Douglas! huge surprise
William Hurt—adorable old man—who would’ve thunk it?
Michelle Pfeiffer—unbelievably stunning
Rocket Raccoon’s clever voice-over Bradley Cooper
Marisa Tomei—like this auntie
Tom Holland flashes in as Spider-Man, black animated spider in tow
Robert Redford—surprised me, but makeup artist not as kind to him as in Man With A Gun. He does a Man with a Gun reprise here! Cleverly cartoonish.

If you were expecting the rest of the cast—vaporized in Marvel, remember?

My inner child was lulled. Excitement, surprise, fave olde actors and actresses in cameo sparkles, flanked by rainbow colored explosive graphics—entering constantly changing imaginary realms. When Thor’s hammer got too threatening, I looked at flashing lights.

Such adrenalin-satisfying; choline-intensifying, calm-inducing dreams afterwards.

Happy May Day-Beltane
A MayDay shoutout to hard-working A-to-Z Challenge winners, NaNoWriMo Campers and @TheIWSG for keeping the flag flying. Besides, our Space Capt. Alex was probably among the first million East Coast moviegoers to catch last weekend’s show.

You know, I think they need Sigourney in there somewhere…
©2019 Marian Youngblood

May 1, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, blogging, crystalline, culture, energy, fantasy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Clinging to Mother Earth or Exploding to the Stars—the Writing Option

CLINGING TO MOTHER EARTH OR EXPLODING TO THE STARS—THE WRITING OPTION
April—Busy Month for IWSGers and A-to-Z Challenge Writers

East Island French Frigate Shoals atols and seamounts in Polynesian Pacific ocean, with levels rising

One WORD after another WORD after another WORD is POWER
Margaret Atwood

Somewhere amid Pacific Ring of Fire shaking last night—two Mag.6.2pointers in Aleutians & Solomons, Mag.5s in Baja and Peru—a mother Humpback whale with last year’s calf in tandem, swims into spouting distance of the black sand surfing beaches of Big Island, Hawai’i.

No seagulls, no hummingbirds, but Big Island has Hawai’ian Green sea turtles and…

She will not be disturbed. Neither will the pool of Hawaiian Green sea turtles doing swim relay within yards of a famous surfers’ beach.

The Hawai’ian chain has no native species of terrestrial reptiles or amphibians. But loads in the ocean.

On land lizards, geckos, salamanders and Coqui frogs were introduced—in contrast to marine reptiles—green-sea turtles and sea snakes—that are native. Offshore vast schools of whales, dolphin, orca roam. The Islands are pitstop and mating grounds for hundreds of Humpbacks every winter; babies returning to visit the following year.

Indigenous to the islands is Nene, the Hawai’ian goose and national bird, along with Hawaiian Monk Seal and Hoary Bat which live nowhere else. Geographic isolation has triggered their evolution here as endemic—wildlife not seen elsewhere. The absence of hummingbirds is striking—importing them is banned—but multicolor treecreepers and honeycreepers are vivid and acrobatic.

From Whales and Turtles to Lava and Myrtles
Tragic errors were made by colonial benefactors. An example is the 1883 effort to reduce (introduced species of) rats, mice and larger rodents by allowing predation by the Indian mongoose.

…and exultant fire turtles exploding from neighboring volcanoes in active flows

Hawaiian crow, Hawaiian goose, and other endemic birds of the archipelago have been lost to this predator. Unlike hedgehogs beloved of motorists in Britain, these spiny omnivores are illegal in Hawaii—where the mongoose—not a rodent but an (Herpestes) Ichneumon akin to a shrew—has taken over the territory. Original reason for importing Mongooses to the islands is not clear. They are famed for killing large snakes in India. Kipling made sure children read and made friends with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in Jungle Book. There are feral cats, dogs, boar, goats. Miraculously, no rabbits.

Coqui frog—Eleutheradactylus coqui—can climb trees and serenades at night

And there are no snakes in Hawai’i. No monkeys either.

Indigenous wildlife groups guard the islands from ‘invasive species’ like the (right pic) onomatopoetically-named Coqui. I find his mating nighttime frogsqueak charming, and his consumption of mosquitoes a blessing; but he is considered a ‘pest’. Mosquitoes hitched a ride from Asia.

Unlike the inhabitants of Easter Island who cut and burned their own trees to extinction, Hawai’ian tradition has cherished and nurtured successive forests of a miracle hardwood—Ohi’a—itself under threat from within. Indigenous, multi-tasking, adaptable in elevation, from sealevel, jungle to volcano peak, it has served as lumber for sacred structures, roof-tiles, fencing and fuel. Its flower is the Lehua, below.

Sacred Carving, Weaponry and Ritual
Volcano goddess Pele became jealous because she asked the handsome warrior Ohi’a to be her consort and he refused, saying he already had a lover, Lehua. In her anger Pele changed Ohi’a into a gnarled and twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, as she and Ohi’a were inseparable. The gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower on the tree.

Sacred Hawai’ian hardwood Ohi’a tree with red Lehua pompom blossom, unique in creating its own subsoil on fresh lava, is under threat from within

Ohi’a hardwood was used for canoe decking and seats; for house building, cooking bowls, poi/pounding boards (traditionally beaten with a volcanic basalt pestle), furniture, spears and tools. The Lehua flowers and buds are used for ritual lei-making.

Folklore has it that if you pick the sacred flower, separating her from her tree lover, it will rain.

The tree grows in crazy places—tolerating a range of soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. At sealevel, in jungle, marshes and rainforest, all the way up to the treeline at 8,200feet on Mauna Loa—the world’s highest stratovolcano—twice the height of Mile-High Denver. There it forms a straggly succulent creeping plant, beloved of bees, unique in burrowing into fresh lava, establishing its own compost, root tendrils breaking down subsoil, creating new ecosystems.

In May 2018 lava emerging from under the cinder cone of Pu’u O’o several miles east of Pele’s Mauna Loa and Kilauea, completely submerged Leilani township in fresh basalt. The human residents left. But almost twelve months later the magic myrtle Ohi’a-Lehua has found cracks, created a new existence where nothing else could.

What do these ocean creatures and spirits have to do with writing, you may ask. Our fearless starcruiser Cap’n.Alex and #AtoZ Challenge Chief Arlee Bird might be busy bloghopping, but I think they’d agree—all of us—writers or readers—are going to be affected fairly soon by ocean rise, plastic absorption, mammal and fish death and by the need for clean water. I am the first 2nd.Lieut-in-writing to applaud their tenacity in reaching for the stars. Writers Rulez forever!

Thing about crises on a planetary scale, we writers-bloggers-A-to-Zers mostly just thank our stars we’re still breathing, turn back to the keyboard and…
Write on.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

April 3, 2019 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, nature, novel, ocean, popular, publishing, rain, seasonal, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earthquake Survivors—Bronze and Beyond

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION
Monthly Grounding of Writerly Antennae for IWSGers and Other SpaceTimers

Arcata Plaza, site of Saturday Farmers’ Market, presided over by McKinley bronze—before last week’s removal


Having been assassinated in 1901, one would have thought that statesman, lawyer and (Republican) 25th President of the U.S.A., William McKinley had paid enough for his sins…

But his century-old bronze effigy—which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire—will be changing locations once again.

The story goes of philanthropist Georg Zehndner, immigrant merchant in frontier Weaverville, seizing an opportunity presented by the late 19thC Gold Rush boom in northern California, to become (wealthy) Humboldt County rancher and (Arcata) citizen. When the 25th President was shot in 1901, Zehndner commissioned Armenian-American Bay Area sculptor Haig Patigian—also an immigrant—to create the bronze casting of the downed statesman.

Market Street, looking west to Twin Peaks. Both sides of street lined with ruined buildings Battery-to-Powell

Arcata Plaza was chosen as a suitable site in the growing town—although currently lauded northernmost campus of Humboldt State University was not founded until eight years later. Yet it is HSU academic/radical protests of ‘settler colonialism’ and damaged Native American tribes which resulted in the statue’s removal at dawn last Thursday.
Arcata is Yurok/Wiyot = place of the Lagoon*
*Yurok oket’oh = “where there is a lagoon” (Humboldt Bay), from o- “place” + ket’oh = “to be a lagoon”. Same name given to Big Lagoon, ten miles North.

Neighboring unincorporated township of McKinleyville, CA has more claim to the beleaguered effigy than the University town, having willingly changed its name to mark its namesake’s death in 1901. Previously called Minor (aka Minorville), it was settled in the late-19thC logging boom. After the president’s assassination it joined with (unincorporated) townships of Dows’ Prairie (settled by Joe Dows, 1860) to North and Calville, settled by employees of the California Barrel Company, South, taking its new name in his honor. McKinleyville post office opened in 1903. The town remains unincorporated, and is home to California’s certified “foggiest” airport—Eureka/Arcata, ACV.

Abandoned and Pointing to the North
Downtown San Francisco was on fire, consuming trolleys and neighborhoods, with horse-drawn water carts unable to dowse the flames.

No melt-down—McKinley found undamaged after 1906 San Francisco fire, his finger pointing North


Coming full blast after the deadly earthquake, many residents ran—sculptor Haig Patigian among them. He saw the bronze casting works go up in smoke and thinking all was lost, fled.

“‘Come on, boys, let’s save the statue of Bill McKinley,’ he cried and under his inspiration the workmen bore a ready hand.” San Francisco Examiner 1906

A passing worker—employed by the Ironworks—saw that the statue would be ruined if abandoned, and called to his co-workers who were saving their own belongings. The Examiner wrote: “They dragged the heroic figure to the center of the street and there it remained unharmed, resting on its back”, with an outstretched hand pointing to the sky.

Returning to the scene, Patigian noticed a crowd gathering near the Works. He hurried over to find his art piece lying in the street—the rescue vehicle used to haul it to safety a charred wreck. Twelve days after the great quake, George Zehndner, Arcata businessman and benefactor who ordered the bronze, received a telegram from Patigian stating the effigy had been saved.

San Francisco City Hall’s surviving dome, 1906, McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue in charred ruins

Haig Patigian was a respected artist in his day, at the time of his death called by the San Francisco Chronicle “one of the giants of San Francisco’s Golden Age.” Many of his works survive in San Francisco, including one of Abraham Lincoln outside City Hall, itself regenerated and reconstructed after the demise of its iconic predecessor, Chronicle Archive picture, right.

Zehndner paid $15,000 for the original sculpture in 1906—lost, mourned and then recovered unblemished from the glowing coals of the surrounding foundry.

One hundred thirteen years later the now-politically-incorrect statesman found a new home—in Canton, Ohio—where the local residents appreciate his other works—including a McKinley Memorial Library and Museum. The statesman’s 8-1/2foot 800-lb bronze likeness will find a public stance nearby.

Fickle Finger of Fate and Finance

Last week brought some kind of closure to the beleaguered bronze. Through fire, earthquake, flood and (occasional student) harassment, the skilled lost-wax bronze rendering of the late 19thC politician will not bite the dust.

East along Market Street after 1906 Mag.7.9 earthquake—lavish art-deco Call building burns to ground

This time it will rise again on another plinth in another guise: Canton was McKinley’s chosen home town. He had planned to retire there. Now he will.

In Canton, the townspeople have $15,000 to spend. That’s exactly how much its benefactor Arcata resident Zehndner paid for the sculpture in 1906. And Arcata has accepted.

Insecure Challenge and Update
We IWSGers know how Fate—and our writing Muse—tend to travel hand-in-hand. But there’s no telling how fickle financial finagling will affect any outcome.

IWSG question for March

Synchronously, we may therefore empathize with our fellow Insecure Writers in our March IWSG challenge/question

[choose one] Whose perspective do you like to write from best: the hero [protagonist] or the villain [antagonist]?
And why?

Now there’s something to get our [insecure] teeth into.
In McKinley’s case, he is both bad guy and good guy—depending on our —writerly/historical— perceptions.
Which would you choose?
Thanks, blog-Cap’n.Alex for allowing me such digressions 😉
©2019 Marian Youngblood

March 5, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, belief, blogging, consciousness, culture, elemental, environment, fantasy, fiction, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seismic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nearly a Decade— 2010 Year of Metal Tiger becomes 2019 Earth Wild Boar

IN THE YEAR OF THE EARTH WILD BOAR
Valentine’s Day:
Floral gifts are today given with little or no knowledge of their original place in the legend of Valentinus. This is not surprising. While Pope Gelasius in AD496 recognized his martyrdom and designated February 14th to honor him, he was never officially canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

February 19, 2019 Virgo full moonset at Pisces sunrise— mid-Pacific weather anomaly

Siderealview's Blog

2010 is predicted to be a tumultuous year on many fronts. And, as of Valentine’s Day, it becomes the Year of the Metal Tiger. The Tiger in oriental astrology returns – along with the planet Jupiter – every twelve years. So we are about to have our Jupiter Return. The Tiger is the symbol of courage, inviting bold actions and risk taking. The Metal element will provide steely resolve, fortitude and determination to accomplish goals.

That’s a bold combination for a year which begins, in this era of multi-cultural clashes, with a day of cultural harmony. In terms of celebration at least, half the world will be out making whoopee on Sunday.

It is the day of the New Moon (in refined and forward-looking Aquarius, alongside Sun and Mercury); at the center of the Inca world, a solemn dedication to light and Pachamama is held in the Temple of the…

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February 14, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fast Radio Bursts—Writing & Communicating Beyond the Galaxy

FAST RADIO BURSTS—FRBs—WRITING & COMMUNICATING BEYOND the GALAXY
Monthly Astro IWSG Corner for Insecure Space Cadets

Mysterious signals are coming from a distant galaxy outside our own Milky Way—picked up by a new radio telescope in British Columbia.

Excited Astrophysicists meet Elated Astronomers
Among thirteen fast radio bursts—FRBs—came a strange, repeating signal from the same area of sky, approx. 1.5 billion light years distant.

Such an event was only recorded once before—by a different telescope.

Highly excited electrically-neutron star collision 1.5billion light years distant seen by new radio telescope

This second repeater, found among the first few CHIME-FRB discoveries, suggests that there exists—and that we and other wide-field sensitive radio telescopes will find—a substantial population of repeating FRBs out there sending on super-low frequencies
Nature, January 2019 CHIME/FRB Collaboration

More FRBs—bright, short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from across the universe—have been detected by astronomers. The bursts, which originate from a galaxy 1.5 billion light years from Earth, repeated 13 times, and then stopped.

This is only the second time that repeating fast radio bursts have ever been recorded. The first was almost immediately after *CHIME’s launch last year—August 2018. Considering Earth hasn’t had the technology to scan such intra-galactic distances until very recently—2018’s FRBs were an answer to a—cosmological—prayer.

Astrophysicists from London, Berlin and Harvard-Smithsonian joined radio-astronomers from Puerto Rico’s Arecibo to B.C.’s Okanagan Valley in an excited discussion of its source.

CHIME-Fast Radio Burst Collaboration’s radio dish telescope array in Brit.Columbia

The team searching for FRBs published their discovery over a three-week period last summer during the recording of 13 repeat flashes—using the new radio telescope. Nature, British pinnacle of scientific investigation, offers a preview of the CHIME/FRB collaboration as a courtesy to the scientific community.

For only the second time ever—spanning more than sixty FRBs recorded to date, one of those FRBs was detected repeating.

It came from the same region of intergalactic space as the Arecibo signal. But it was only 1.5billion light years away. Arecibo’s repeater originated more than 3billion light years distant—with radio waves as low as 400-580megaHz—lowest ever recorded.

Speculation among the astro community ranges from dying neutron star flare, to Electric Universe theory to colliding supernovae, exploding White or Red Dwarfs, even intertwining galaxies. Harvard professors Loeb and Lingam have decided repeaters could be ‘leakage from planet-size Alien computers’.
*CHIME=Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment

Sacred Geometry in Intensifying Alien Signals
Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico was previously the only observatory where repeating bursts had been recorded—in 2015. FRBs were first detected by chance in 2007, when a burst was spotted in radio astronomy data that had been collected as early as 2001. Frequency was usually in 1800MHz range. The new radio frequency—below 400MHz—is the lowest ever recorded. “It is likely that many more FRBs with even lower radio frequencies often travel past our planet. Now our technical know-how may be up to the task of ‘hearing’ such a low range,” said Professor Loeb.

Milky Way galaxy colliding with Andromeda—’blooming’ on edges—FRBs where worlds collide

What is most surprising is that all geometries give diatonic—musical—ratios. Before us, only the Egyptians linked geometric theory with music. They called geometry frozen music.
Gerald S. Hawkins PhD
Author Stonehenge Decoded;
Beyond Stonehenge, decoder of Alien CC text

Harvard-Smithsonian has traditionally led ‘alternative’ Science since 1963, when Gerald Hawkins formulated his solar & lunar eclipse cycles for Stonehenge on its first IBM computer. A radio astronomer himself, studying under Sir Bernard Lovell, he transformed our understanding of crop circle messages before he died in 2003. He and his team of crop circle decoders—Paul Vigay among them—captured essence of the remarkable 1991 Milk Hill alien crop message—noting that it reads exactly the same backwards as forwards.

Our cultural leaders may need to inject a new mindset into investment in the Space Race if our alien brothers and sisters have started lending a hand.

We are indeed on a course of ‘Quickening’ with Andromeda.

For us Insecure writers and our Space Cap’n Alex—even more so than astrophysicists—the entry gate is narrow.
But it is a Stargate, after all.

New moon cycle brings Chinese Year of the Pig this week. Double Aquarius guides us in the direction we need to go.
It’s onward-skyward from here.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

February 6, 2019 Posted by | astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, culture, fiction, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fairies, Fantasy & Fabulous Royals—Imaginary Friends in our Comfort Cave

FAIRIES, FANTASY, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FODDER for our IWSG COMFORT CAVE
MONTHLY HIDEOUT for INSECURE WRITERS—FANTASY or OTHERWISE

Flights of fancy are more than just soaring imagination—away with the fairies

With Flower Fairies of the Spring, a Victorian classic published 1923 illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973), and read by generations of British children, came a late Art Deco/Bohemian breakaway from traditional, classical portrayal of the Faerie realm. Prior to her designs, C.16th Edmund Spenser classic, The Faerie Queene—reputed to have inspired Shakespeare—was traditional English fare.

Victorian myth and local legend combined to fill a child’s imagination

Bohemian Breakaway from Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene (1590) epic poem by Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599), follows the adventures of a group of medieval knights. The poem, written in deliberately archaic style, draws on history and myth—particularly the legends of Arthur, beloved of Brits.

Each book/canto follows the adventures of a knight representing a desirable virtue—holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, courtesy—each having that quality in him or herself tested by the plot. The Faerie Queene is allegorical—praising Elizabeth I—Gloriana—Faerie Queene herself, the virgin Belphoebe, and Elizabethan notions of virtue. The poem uses contemporary history and politics to celebrate and criticize the Tudor dynasty, twisting religious controversies and reforms of the time under Mary and Elizabeth. Spenser wrote that one of his intentions was that reading his work should ‘fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle disciple’. Yet somehow it satisfies current hunger in movie audiences for historical realism.

Lavender fairy, courtesy Cicely Mary Barker

In Book 2, the knight Guyon reads an old history of Faerieland, which gives Spenser the opportunity to recount a chronicle of British rulers. In Canto 10*, he tells the story of Leyr/Lyr. The story is similar to that told by C.12th historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. In Spenser’s version, Leyr is looking to retire in his old age. After the love test and division of the realm, he weds Gonorill to the king of Scotland, and Regan to the king of Cambria/Wales. Cordeill/Cordelia is sent dowerless to Aganip of Celtica (France). In a gripping ending, dutiful daughter Cordeill restores Leyr to the crown and later inherits it herself; only to be overthrown by her nephews. In Spenser’s version, Cordeill hangs herself, rather than stabbing or cutting herself—and this is probably source of the method of Cordelia’s murder in Shakespeare’s play.
*Stanzas 27–32 (pp. 332–34)

Classic English Rose, High Queen of Summer

Swinging in her scented bower, Wild Rose Fairy is High Queen of Summer, 1925

I am the queen whom everybody knows:
I am the English Rose;
As light and free as any Jenny Wren,
As dear to Englishmen;

Fold on fold of purest white, lovely pink or red that glows; deep, sweet-scented—what delight—to be Fairy of the Rose


As joyous as a Robin Redbreast’s tune,
I scent the air of June;
My buds are rosy as a baby’s cheek;
I have one word to speak,

One word which is my secret and my song,
’Tis “England, England, England” all day long.
Wild Rose Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker, 1925


Royals Rev up in Fabulous Fantasy Fashion

“England, England” may only rarely be shouted by joyful football fans these days, but we are fortunate in our IWSG underground fantasy writing cave—where all intrepid but insecure introvert writers hole up over the holidays to have instant internet access to inspiring full-frontal videos of beautiful young British Royals flaunting a fashion statement in a kingdom relatively unchanged since the 16th century, while at the same time showing us writers a way to keep the flag flying.

HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex at Sandringham for Christmas

HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, who died over twenty years ago under dramatic circumstances, led the then reluctant British monarchy out of their closeted rule-bound protocol existence, venturing across mine-strewn warfields, embracing young unknown admirers in a royal walkabout. Her sons, Princes Wills and Harry, have taken a lead from her. Both their wives, HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, left, are encouraged to meet the public, and displays of genuine affection have jumped from royal bedchamber into commoner children’s street life. Diana would have loved all this sharing.

It just happens that our vintage Space Cap’n Alex is a movie maestro—with current historical-realism featuring high on his pick list—Mary, Queen of Scots and The Favourite (elderly spinster Queen Anne) shine light into a royal system unchanged for centuries—until now.

It’s an open secret that Prince Charles is happier in his organic garden than in the throne room. HM the Queen shows no sign of faltering, bless her handbag. Young fairytale princesses in phantom gowns have her approval. And always make us feel better.

May angels surround us through 2019.
New Year resolution? May we expect the unexpected.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

January 2, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, birds, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, elemental, fantasy, fiction, nature, publishing, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments