from my acre of the world

anonymous asked:

Dear Sam, pray tell your views on lying please. My children are too young to understand Santa yet and my wife is adamant about doing Santa when they are older. Not the story of Saint Nick. Simple modern parents play Santa and lie to the kids in the name of “fun". It goes against my beliefs however. Does Siddhartha teach against telling falsehoods? I know Jesus of Nazareth did,

Children until about the age of seven live in a magical world. They cannot yet distinguish fact from fiction. So, Ariel and mermaids are real, Winne the Pooh actually lives in 100 Acre Wood and Santa is a kindly old grandpa who loves kids and brings presents to good little boys and girls. In my view, there are “lies" and then there are “stories". 

My wife and I did the Santa thing and it gave my little angel no end of joy. When she turned seven she came to me and asked me if he was real. At this point, I felt obligated to tell her. I said that Santa was the spirit of love and that little kids couldn’t understand that and so we played make believe. She thought, a little disappointed and then smiled and accepted it. After all, kids are all about make-believe at that age.

Both the Buddha and Jesus teach us to speak truthfully. In the Bible “bear false witness" really is not a prohibition against all false speech but against perjury. The Buddha teaches right speech but that also is not a blanket prohibition against untruth. 

We are first bound by the rule of compassion and there are times when it is more compassionate to tell an untruth than to tell the harsher truth. So, you must carefully consider the effect telling or not telling your children the story of Santa will have on them.

 It might make them feel left out and deprived of some of the joys of Christmas. It might cause problems with other kids at school. It is up to you and your wife but you should consider all of the aspects carefully before you decide.


Utah’s National Parks

Island in the Sky: Canyonlands  

My first glimpse of this epic canyon was from the visitors center with a parking lot full of foreign tourists. Across the street was the edge of the Canyonlands, a barren wasteland full of millions of years of erosion and insane rock formations. When I walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down I saw this rinky-dink road that winded all the way down the canyons and trailed off into the distance. I wanted to lean over the edge and take a picture of the bottom of the canyons, but my extreme fear of heights kept me 3 feet from the edge at all time. A wonderful South Dakotan couple told me they would hold my hand if I wanted to lean over and take my picture. I grabbed the husband’s hand and scooched over the edge, snapping my picture. I put my life in another person’s hands, quite literally, and thank God they didn’t drop me. But I knew they weren’t going to drop me (on purpose at least) because South Dakotans are the nicest people. Life Fact: you can always trust a South Dakotan. 

The sketchy road I mentioned above was our destination: the 3-day camping trip’s itinerary was a 100 mile loop called the White Rim Trail. Our adventure started with seat-clenching switchbacks, 20 minutes of pure agony and that “Jesus, take the wheel” feeling.  Once on the lower level of the canyon, I was fully surrounded by a prehistoric landscape. What wasn’t a dirt road was cryptobiotic crust, cacti, or canyons. No matter how far down we traveled, the road seemed to descend even further. Scott and I are serious campers, but nothing could prepare us for this. 

The strange thing about Utah is that you can go from gorgeous Swiss-looking mountains to the surface of Mars within 2 hours of driving. For the majority of our stay, we were with Scott’s parents in a beautiful little valley, but for these three days our eyes feasted on unbelievable views only seen in one specific part of the world. It was like a scene out of Mad Max: Fury Road, clay dust kicked up from underneath the tires like a ball of fire and every inch of our bodies were stained red from the sun or dirt. During the entire trip I only saw about 5 species of animals. I was lucky enough to spot a Desert Bighorn Sheep on my first day - there is a population of 600 sheep in a 100 million acre radius. 

Scott and I pitched camp in a dried up flash-flood pool. There was sand at the bottom and it made the perfect nook for our tent. After an exciting day of vastly views and basking in the sun, we put our chairs at the edge of the canyon to watch the sunset. The amber glow of the sky highlighted every ridge of the canyons for miles on end. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Next thing I knew, Scott had got up from his chair and leaned in close to me on one knee. “Will you marry me?” We both jumped up and hugged, with tears in our eyes, kissing each other and telling each other how much we loved each other. My answer was “yes, absolutely.” I will never forget that day, that view, that moment, or that song - At Last by Etta James, that played gently in the background. Just thinking about it now makes me teary-eyed. I love Scott so much and his six months of planning definitely showed. 

Capitol Reef National Park

Now I know nothing else I say can top that proposal story, but I want to talk about the other parks we visited. I love ancient history, so seeing the petroglyphs in Capitol Reef was the highlight of this visit.  The rock art figures were created by ancient Native Americans around 600 AD. I may sound crazy when I say this, but my first reaction to the petroglyphs was the confirmation of the existence of aliens. There are some serious robot/demon  silhouettes going on on that rock face. Just think about it - if you were a primitive being and saw an extraterrestrial, wouldn’t you chip it’s profile into a rock? Makes sense to me. Life Fact: aliens exist. 

Before Capitol Reef was recognized as a National Park, it originally served as a uranium mine. There are dozens of small cave-like entrances that are boarded off with radiation signs. How amazing would it be to be able to go inside and explore one? I wonder what types of creepy things are left over inside the uranium mines. 

After a day of driving around Capitol Reef and three very long days of not showering (I know, Scott proposed to a stinky, hairy girl - he really loves me!) we got a hotel right outside of the park. The ranch-style abode had about 25 beautiful horses grazing around with a beautiful backdrop of the canyons. The speckled pony was beautiful! If only we had more time, I would have loved to go on a horseback ride around the canyons. 

Arches National Park

Our last destination was Arches. The beautiful landscape is filled with giant rock formations that were carved out by oceans many years ago. Still standing today are gargantuan arches. Can you imagine when it snows in Utah, all of these canyons and arches are covered in snow? At night, the stars fill up the sky and the entire constellation is visible, the smoky outline of the arches in the distance. I made Scott take some pictures of me standing underneath one of the arches and I looked like a tiny ant. It is amazing how these structures have stood the test of time. Unfortunately due to weather and wind erosion these arches may not stand tall for much longer, but I assume that won’t be for another thousands of years. 

My trip to Utah was absolutely unforgettable. Words can’t describe the amount of beauty, nature and breathtaking landscapes I saw. The White Rim Trail was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so happy Scott made it even more memorable. During a special anniversary date, we definitely need to make a trip back to that spot! Maybe we should drag our friends and family out there and renew our vows :) Thank you everyone for the engagement wishes and thank you for dealing with this excessively long post! 

As always,


I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.
—  Stacie Cassarino, Summer Solstice
[Miraculous Ladybug]: Entrapped

Happy Holidays @marciacmoon ! I was also your Secret Santa for @mlsecretsanta​. You mentioned wanting some injury angst and something with the Lovesquare, so I whipped this up for you. I hope you like it!! :)

Link to Archive of Our Own: [AO3]

Title: Entrapped

Summary: A routine akuma attack goes horribly wrong when Ladybug and Chat Noir find themselves trapped under the wreckage of its rampage.


The moment the fight started, Ladybug knew that Tonnerre was going to turn out to be a particularly nasty akuma.

Papillon had been silent for close to three weeks, and whenever he lulled Ladybug and Chat Noir into a false sense of security, he’d make up for the lost time with akumas that would take the two of them literally hours to neutralize. This was one of those fights, both of them having already taken a reprieve from the fight twice after having used their Lucky Charms and Cataclysms with no results. It was the middle of the summer and the heat was starting to make Ladybug lightheaded. Her chest was starting to burn terribly as her endurance failed her, and she could see Chat Noir’s speed slowing. But Tonnerre — who was actually a particularly peeved off weather forecaster who had recently been laid off — was using his powers to create thunderous sound waves that were causing incalculable damage to the arrondissement they were fighting in. Of course Ladybug could reverse any damage done, but it was always a priority to prevent any casualties either way. No matter how much her body was failing her, they needed to keep fighting.

Chat Noir managed to rile up Tonnerre enough so that he was chasing them away from the crowds of people that could’ve been injured. Chat quickly wrapped an arm around Ladybug’s waist and yanked her to the right to avoid the soundwave that had decimated the roof she was running on. “If you have an idea, my Lady, now would be the time to share it!”

She called out her third Lucky Charm and got an industrial fan for her efforts. She clicked her tongue against her teeth and quickly scanned the streets to see an apartment complex coming up in front of them that was under construction. It was covered in tarps and sawdust, as if the workers had only just finished off their work for the day, and Ladybug smirked. “Split up. You lead him into that building and distract him. I’ll come to cover you soon.”

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/// Sometimes four wheels do move the soul - This past weekend we took a break from two wheels as we set out to traverse the entirety of the Rubicon Trail. After traveling 3000+ miles from the East Coast to the West, in a Cummins powered F-250 nonetheless, we met up with my brother @iamtaylorcorbett and headed down to the infamous Rubicon Trail in his far-from-stock Bronco II. Miles from modern amenities in some of the roughest terrain around, there are no safety nets, no cell-service, no mechanics or tow trucks, its up to you to make it through. This is no fire road trail, it’s unmaintained with 6-8 foot rock ledges, miles of rock gardens, acres of granite rock slab, and river-crossings. It is the most famous off-road trail in the world but don’t expect your mall crawler to make the trip, you’ll at least need lockers, 35″+ tires, and a winch. 

Knots to Bind the Wind

In my youth, in the years before I discovered Crowley, Levi, and Frances Barrett’s ‘the Magus’, I was an instinctively 'natural’ witch. From some combination of fiction, fairy tale, cinema, and comic books as a solid educational base I began to deduce the elements of magic in the natural world of rural Michigan. I learned to feel the land, to know the places animals bedded, to trace the rubbing of a rutting deer on a tree to the change in the weather. To know the seasons, the dreams of the trees and the whispers of the meadow grass in my young age.

My first fumbling attempts at practical magic came around age 13. I had recently moved to the wilderness from a medium sized town. I found myself lost in hundreds of acres of woods, swamps, meadows and marshes. These woods would inform my work in ways I am only now really coming to understand in my middle age.

Those woods and marshes spoke to me in a language without words. Filled with birdsong, with the scent of a rutting deer, with the wild maledictions of a feral boar and the hoary admonishments of an ancient great horned owl whose ossuary of discarded victims at the base of an ancient oak was my youthful temple. As one would expect from an education so rooted in the landscape the first true magic that came to me was weather control. The conjuring of the wind, the binding of the storm, the calling of the rain and its banishment.

Somewhere along this path the concept of knots and binding came to me, likely mentioned in some work of fiction I was reading at the time. With bits of antique thread pilfered from my mother’s cabinets and untanned leather of deer and rabbit from my uncle’s hunts I would bind in knots those winds who answered to my call, would bind as well the spirits of the owl’s sullen bouchée to do my bidding.

From the knots of leather and cord I made my first wind bindings and witches ladders. I knew somehow even then that the practical side of the craft must be rooted in the physical and my relationship to it. Rusty iron, tarnished silver, the bones of animals, the thorns of trees and their branches that reach to the sky - these humble scraps would be the 'prima materia’ of my first workings beyond the veil.

As it would turn out the binding of wind and rain to knots is an ancient practice, common among the seafaring peoples of the western coasts of northern Europe. From the shores of Ireland to the fjords of Norway, the coastal villages of Iceland, to the Laplanders of Finland the binding of the wind was a practice sought out until as late as the 19th century. Sea witches would trade openly in harbours, their wares made of woolen cord, bird skin, and hair (both animal and human). The Egyptians used knots to bind love, as did the Assyrians. The world over the folk magic of each culture realizes innately the power of the knot in the binding of both the physical and the immaterial.

'Witches ladders’ were discovered in England hidden in various locations by folklorists in the 19th century, and while their deduction of purpose may have varied the intrigue set out by these visual talismans led some of the brightest minds of the Victorian age to have their word. Frazer himself, a man whose encyclopedic “the Golden Bough” has long been the foundation of anthropological query, wrote in the Folklore Journal suggesting not a weather binding implement but a method for stealing milk from a neighbors cows [quoting from Napier]:

“The tether is the rope-halter, and by going through the form of milking this, repeating certain incantations, the magic transference was supposed capable of being effected.” Sometimes in Scotland the rope had to be made of hairs taken from the tails of the cows whose milk was to be stolen; a knot was tied in the rope for each cow, and by pulling at the knots as if she were milking, and at the same time uttering a spell, the witch brought the milk into her pail.“ - JG Frazer, "Witches’ Ladder” - Folk-Lore Journal V.5

But I in my wood in the New World a century after Frazer would know none of these things until much later. By then I had been seduced down a path of Solomonic magic, of robes, circles and sigils, and had lost touch with the voice of that wood, graduated from my studies with the owl to the garrulous books of long dead men. A path that was a winding distraction as much as it was an education that led me back to the wood, just where I started, yet on the distant shores of that desert island called Britannia.

Tiny People in Jars AU: Part 2

aka Marianne’s Tiny Boyfriend She Keeps in a Jar

Part One

I should save this for Strange Magic Week but I need immediate validation. Also a shout out to @deluxetrashqueen for giving me all the best lines for this.

“Let me out.”

“Not a chance.”

The jar had been set on the kitchen counter next to the sink after Marianne had shoved a scattering of disposable plates and dirty coffee mugs into the sink. This had raised up a clatter that had the goblin covering his ears and growling until it died away and he was able to make his demands heard.

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When I asked McKenna if he seriously believed that psilocybin mushrooms represent messages from an alien intelligence, he told me that his proposal was not as whimsical as it sounded. Mushroom spores, he said, can survive the cold of outer space; in fact, mushroom cultivators here on earth store the spores in liquid nitrogen. “So if somebody were designing a bio-informational package, a spore is how you would go. Millions of them pushed around by light pressure and gravitational dynamics would percolate throughout the galaxy.”

Psilocybin’s unusual chemical structure suggested an unusual origin, McKenna added. It is “the only four-phosphorelated indol in all of nature,” which indicated “that maybe it came from outside the terrestrial ecosystem.” The personality of the mushroom, as revealed by the experiences it triggers in humans, also had an alien, science-fiction quality. “It presents itself as this particular slice of alien, aesthetic motif from Hollywood–the shiny metallic surfaces, the mercuroid forms, the piercing, instantaneous biointelligence.”


“The mushroom’s claims” in McKenna´s book True Hallucinations:

I am old, older than thought in your species, which is itself fifty times older than your history. Though I have been on earth for ages I am from the stars. My home is no one planet, for many worlds scattered through the shining disc of the galaxy have conditions which allow my spores an opportunity for life. The mushroom which you see is the part of my body given to sex thrills and sun bathing, my true body is a fine network of fibers growing through the soil. These networks may cover acres and may have far more connections than the number in a human brain.

Space, you see, is a vast ocean to those hardy life forms that have the ability to reproduce from spores, for spores are covered with the hardest organic substance known. Across the aeons of time and space drift many spore-forming life-forms in suspended animation for millions of years until contact is made with a suitable environment.

Symbiosis is a relation of mutual dependence and positive benefits for both of the species involved. Symbiotic relationships between myself and civilized forms of higher animals have been established many times and in many places throughout the long ages of my development.

Rich Californians say "No, we're not equal when it comes to water."

Well this was a lot more terrible than I expected.

The Washington Post has a story from Southern California, namely Rancho Santa Fe, a rich enclave of terrible people who have so far gone on record as the ONLY district in California to see increased water usage since Gov. Jerry Brown called for a reduction.  To them, if you can pay for it, you should be able to use it, and that will probably become the general consensus for the 1% who are completely unconcerned with what happens to anyone else on the planet.

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In just a few days’ time, Prince William and his wife Kate are due to have their second child, signalling the latest chapter in their lives together. A new book, called William And Kate’s Britain, traces the memorable moments of their story so far and the special places they hold dear. Here are some of the highlights.

1. St Andrews, Scotland

They first met when at university, living in the same halls of residence, St Salvator’s Hall (Sallies) — both studying history of art (although William later changed to geography). In their second year, they shared a maisonette in the centre of the East coast town, renting it for £100 each a week with two friends. They walked to lectures and shopped at Safeway. For their final two years, they lived in a £750,000 18th-century farmhouse on the sprawling Strathtyrum estate (owned by a distant cousin of Wills). The Prince installed a champagne fridge and Kate dressed the kitchen windows with red-and-white gingham curtains. They were allowed to shoot birds for food as part of their rental agreement.

 2. Balmoral Estates, Aberdeenshire

It was at the royal estate — described by Queen Victoria as ‘my dear paradise in the Highlands’ — that new royal girlfriend Kate was first spotted dressed in camouflage gear, lying in the heather, being coached by ghillies on how to use a hunting rifle. This was ultimate proof that the girl from a middle-class family in Berkshire was being groomed to be a royal bride.

 3. Witton Country Park, Blackburn, Lancashire

Where Kate made her last public appearance as a single girl — in 2011. Alongside her boyfriend, she visited Witton Country Park (480 acres of picnic spots and nature trails which was used by the Army during both world wars and is now owned by Blackburn and Darwen Council). Lovebirds Wills and Kate were presented with the Lancashire traditional ‘Courting Cake’ — a heart-shaped shortbread cake with their names on the icing.

 4. Bodorgan Estates, Isle of Anglesey

With a private beach and views of Snowdonia, a four-bedroom whitewashed farmhouse on the south-west corner of the island is where they led a simple life in their first years of married life.Renting from landowner Sir George Meyrick for £750 a week, they often went for drives in a battered white Ford Transit van, wearing baseball caps and sunglasses to try to be incognito. William was, though, spotted speeding along country lanes dressed in leathers and hiding behind his helmet on a red-and-white 180mph Ducati motorbike, with Kate occasionally riding pillion.

 5. Llanddwyn Beach, Isle of Anglesey

A favourite spot to exercise their cocker spaniel Lupo. The couple would walk hand in hand along the five-mile stretch of beach (Llanddwyn is named after St Dwynwen, who is the Welsh patron saint of lovers). 

 6. Healthbeds, Thurcroft Industrial Estate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Where they bought their marital bed — from a firm founded in 1893. The couple had slept in a similar four-poster with a bespoke mattress and made of ‘sumptuous cashmere, silk, cotton and wool fillings’ while living in rented accommodation in Anglesey. Desperate to buy one of their own, they asked their former landlord in North Wales for details and tracked down the 4,200-spring model to the Yorkshire company, which says its beds allow people to ‘enjoy a healthier night’s sleep by combining state-of-the-art technology with traditional craftsmanship’.

 7. Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham

After the birth of George, William (who is the President of the Football Association) said he was determined that his son would inherit his love of the team. In a message recorded to mark the FA’s 150th anniversary, the Prince joked: ‘When Villa thrash Man U at Villa Park, my son will be there.’

 8. Fiona Cairns Wedding Cakes, Fleckney, Leicestershire

Fiona Cairns started her pastry-making career by baking a batch of miniature fruit cakes in baked bean cans for friends one Christmas. Twenty-five years later, her team now sells bespoke cakes from £500 (with 20 candles costing just £2.50) and she was invited to create the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake. The eight-tiered cake, made by a team of chefs in two months, was decorated with 900 sugar-paste flowers. It is believed that William and Kate saved the top three layers for themselves — suggesting we might yet have three royal christenings.

 9. The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk

Kate’s first visit to the Queen’s Norfolk country retreat was for a shooting party in 2002, hosted by Prince William at Wood Farm, a modest cottage, set in a secluded corner of the Sandringham Estate. She was one of six girls and ten boys — including the Prince — crammed into the six-bedroom cottage.

 10. Anmer Hall, Norfolk

The Queen’s wedding present to William and Kate — after a £1.5 million make-over of the late-Georgian property. This involved stripping out a £38,000 kitchen (featuring £17,000 worth of worktops and an £8,630 fridge). Built in 1802, it is one and a half miles from Sandringham House.

♡ 11. The Westleton Crown, Southwold, Suffolk

This 12th-century coaching inn was where they spent the night before their first wedding anniversary. They were among a group staying here for the wedding of two friends. On arrival, they had a glass of champagne with the other guests, who included Kate’s sister Pippa, before retiring to the £165-a-night Swan Room, which had a four-poster bed and a ‘stylish roll-top bath big enough for two’.

12. Warner Bros Studios, Hertfordshire

A six-months-pregnant Kate, with William and Prince Harry, visited the Warner Bros Studio in 2013 for a tour of the Harry Potter set. They were each given a wand, taught a few spell techniques, and invited to duel (Kate successfully took on her husband). The trio, who were accompanied by 500 guests and children associated with their charities, were shown props from the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, including the Batmobile and Bat Bike. ‘We should borrow that for the weekend!’ William whispered to Harry.

13. St Nicholas’ Anglican Church, Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire

Camilla’s son, Tom Parker Bowles, married Harpers & Queen fashion journalist Sara Buys at the Grade II-listed church in front of a host of royals — the Prince of Wales, William and Harry — but Kate (who was still only William’s girlfriend at the time in 2005) turned down the invite so as not to divert attention from the wedding couple’s day (pictured right).

14. Cirencester Park Polo Club, Gloucestershire

It was here that William spent his first Father’s Day as a parent, and his son George kicked his first ball in public. Kate took their 11-month-old to watch William and Uncle Harry playing for the Jerudong Trophy (above left) but the toddler did not want to sit still. As soon as Kate put him down, he headed towards a pony and grabbed a polo stick in an attempt to join in the fun. Then he aimed a kick at a ball with his left foot, suggesting that he might, like his father, grandfather and great-grandmother the Queen, be left-handed.

15. Highgrove House, Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Kate received her first invitation to father-in-law Prince Charles’s country home in 2007 when she was invited to Camilla’s 60th birthday banquet. Other guests included comedians Joan Rivers and Stephen Fry, and actress Judi Dench. After dinner, Kate and William took to the dance floor, where the Prince mouthed the lyrics of the Frank Sinatra song It Had To Be You to his girlfriend.

16. Westminster Abbey, London

The couple were pronounced man and wife at precisely 11.20am on April 29, 2011, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. Twenty minutes earlier, the tension was palpable as Kate emerged from her car in an ivory silk and lace gown designed by Sarah Burton and inspired by the late actress Grace Kelly. According to a lip-reader, William told his bride she looked ‘beautiful’ as she joined him at the altar, before joking to his father-in-law it was all ‘just a small family affair’.

17. St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, West London

Prince George became the tenth royal baby to be born at this hospital, which was founded in 1851 from small philanthropic beginnings based on ‘Christian and genteel values’, in an area teeming with sailors and prostitutes. It opened with just 50 beds and was a voluntary hospital for the benefit of the sick poor of North and North-West London. Prince George was delivered at 4.24pm on July 22, 2013, weighing 8lb 6oz. His father William had been born at the same hospital.

18. Kensington Palace, the couple’s London home

This was controversially refurbished at taxpayers’ expense for an estimated £4 million. Extensive work included the construction of a new roof, the overhaul of electrics and the removal of asbestos. Their apartment — which has 22 rooms — was designed by Christopher Wren and was the home of Princess Margaret until her death in 2002.

19. Holy Trinity Church, Southall

It was two months after the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 that Kate’s maternal grandparents, Ronald and Dorothy Goldsmith, got married here. Ronald was a lorry driver, working for his brother-in-law’s haulage company; Dorothy, who had two matrons of honour and two bridesmaids, was a shop assistant in Dorothy Perkins.

20. The Tower of London

William, Kate and Harry visited the memorial in August last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, and they placed one of the 888,246 ceramic poppies, which each represented a fallen soldier.

21. Mahiki night club, Mayfair

A favourite of the couple before they married. William drowned his sorrows here in 2007 after his split (which proved only temporary) from Kate. His group ran up a bar bill of £4,700. William is said to have yelled: ‘I’m free!’, before performing his own version of the robot-dance goal celebration that the then England footballer Peter Crouch had shown him during a World Cup training session.‘Free?’ No. The couple were soon back together.

22. Eton College, Windsor, Berkshire

William’s time at school was marred by the death of his mother in 1997, when he was just 15. But he excelled at sport — he was ‘Keeper’ (in charge) of the swimming team, took up water polo and captained his house football team — was a school prefect and member of the Eton Society (colloquially known as ‘Pop’) and left with three solid A-levels (A in geography, B in history of art and C in biology).The Prince often went for tea with his grandmother, the Queen, over the river at Windsor Castle. As an old boy, William went back to the school in 2006 to play in the Eton Field Game (a cross between rugby and football) after which Kate embraced him and playfully ruffled his prematurely thinning hair.

23. Marlborough College, Wiltshire

Kate was 14 when she went to the renowned public school (current annual boarding fees £33,090) in 1996. Nicknamed ‘Middlebum’, she was known for her ‘goofy’ behaviour and prowess at hockey (below). One schoolmate wrote in the leavers’ yearbook for 2000: ‘Catherine’s perfect looks are renowned, but her obsessions with her t**s are not. She is often found squinting down her top screaming: “They’re growing!” She was rumoured to have had a poster of Prince William on the wall above her bed.

24. Old Boot Inn, Stanford Dingley, Berkshire

A regular haunt of the Middleton family (and Prince William), so much so that the landlord was invited to the royal wedding. The whole village celebrated with a barbecue at the pub in the evening. The current menu includes ‘Prawn Cocktail served with fresh buttered bread’ (£6.50) and, of course, ‘Eton Mess served in a filo pastry basket’ for £5.95.

25. The National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow, Cornwall

‘One lucky little lobster here has been adopted by royalty,’ trumpeted the pioneering marine conservation, research and education charity after Prince Philip had bought a £2.50 Adopt a Lobster certificate for his great-grandson, Prince George, last year. The lad is sent regular updates on the creature’s progress. (x)

Sam’s Best of 2014 List

Top 10 Albums:

  1. Home, Like No Place Is There - The Hotelier
  2. We Don’t Have Each Other - Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties
  3. Maybe This Place Is The Same… - Real Friends
  4. Pleasant Living - Tiny Moving Parts
  5. Oh, Common Life - Fireworks
  6. Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only - Seahaven
  7. You’re Gonna Miss It All - Modern Baseball
  8. A Place Of Our Own - Have Mercy
  9. Absent Sounds - From Indian Lakes
  10. Die On Stage - Hostage Calm

Honorable Mention: 

  • More Than You Know - For The Win 
  • Hebrews - Say Anything
  • Never Hungover Again - Joyce Manor
  • Temple Of Plenty - Somos
  • Charmer - Tigers Jaw
  • Rented World - The Menzingers

Top 10 EPs:

  1. Self-titled - It Looks Sad.
  2. While I Stay Secluded - Knuckle Puck
  3. Songs Of - The Story So Far
  4. Rose - The Front Bottoms
  5. Cold In The Morning - The Hundred Acre Woods
  6. Go Down In History - Four Year Strong
  7. Split 7” - A Will Away/Head North
  8. How Tough Are Yah? - xSPONGEXCOREx
  9. Blue Dream - Turnover
  10. All In My Head - Seaway

Best Tracks From Albums That Didn’t Make The Cut:

  • “I Wanna Get Better” - Bleachers
  • “Linda Ronstadt” - Andrew Jackson Jihad
  • “Two Beers In” - Free Throw
  • “Sweet Nothings” - Neck Deep
  • “Dirty Ickes” - Sorority Noise
  • “Warm Foothills” - Alt-J
  • “Stand So Tall” - Driver Friendly
  • “Rittenhouse” - Major League
  • “Over It” - This Wild Life
  • “Sleep Deprived” - Handguns
  • “Toy Guns” - Tokyo Police Club
  • “Rest To Get Better” - Transit
  • “Bad Habits” - Heart To Heart
  • “Paralyzed” - Angels & Airwaves
  • “Cecilia & The Satellite” - Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

2014 was a BEYOND incredible year for music, by far one of the best I’ve ever lived through. Making this list took a lot of time to think out everything because each of these albums, EPs, and tracks mean so much to me and deciding which one to put above the other is tough. However, I knew from the first full listen of Home, Like No Place Is There that it would be The Album Of The Year and it has held its ground since February. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name…
Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.
—  Stacie Cassarino, “Summer Solstice”
In Landscape

by Buddy Wakefield

There is a chance
you will show up laughing
made of fortified fan blades and Ferris wheel lights
true of heart and best foot forward
our long-awaited love made easy,
remember for sure no doubt these things:

The joy,
we are a point of complete.
This life,
standing guard over your solitude.
My eyes
are monsters for most things approaching.
I’m probably gonna need a hand with that.
This heart.
This sleeve.
Neither one of them things is all that clean.
But the rain,
my lucky number,
been doin’ her part to make things right

for the light bulbs
and the bruises.
Hiding holy water was not my forte this life.
is French
for blanket fort.
I have trusted my corners to revolving doors
but am fluent in getting better.
We are fluent in bouncing back,
lifting quickly,
learning fast.

Our courage
is a natural habitat.
Ya know we’re gonna build a body to keep the wolves out.
Hold my house
you humble barbarian,
this door only opens for the remarkable now.

So we will both show up remarkable.
Speak your piece from the I can do anything.
Say it clearly.
Follow through

on runways,
in turbulence.
There is a book
living inside your chest
with dilated instructions
on how to make a safe landing.
It was written
for crash landers.
Thank you.
I am coming home to listen.

It is time.

forgive me my distractions.
There’s a freckle on your lip.
It is a national archive.
Give it to my ear
so you can see what I mean.
Here hold my breath
I will be right back.

There are gifts
hidden beneath these lungs.
Slide your hand over my mouth
and I will speak them
in hang glider,
in hilltop,
from the loyalty of a landscape,
silk in a sandpaper offering plate,
the jacket on a handsome man.
That lip
Sweet Grape, you cannibal,
kiss my eyes
until they see what it is that I wish to write down:

Your name.

Film strips of prayer.
Ribbons of a garden in stereo.
Driftwood welded to the guesthouse.
Ringfinger wrapped in a horseshoe nail.
I will meet you by the eighth day dream
in the wide open purpose of a locomotive coming
to a stand still with the sea,
like thumb

on pulse

you watch

what happens

when the air


into suction cups
opening up to breathe,
like the love in my lungs
took the tip of my tongue
and finally taught it how to read,
you five-acre ladder-backed pearl book pouring
from a pileated chest of Earth.
I know our story may look like octopus ink
to the rest of the breath in this world
(flying in under the radar
holding to a pattern of worth).
Come closer you guest of honor.
Chickens stay off the porch

in quiet,
in kindly.
We are the house gift-wrapped in welcome mats.
Your dinner’s on the table in thanks of that
and the loaves of chocolate toast,
the Book of Job and of Jet Propulsion,
raincoats floating in a rocket ship,
playing naked checkers in bed.
It is an utterly epic arrival
every time I get to see you again.

God, this is what I was talking about
for like 37 years,
a true story,
of oceanthroat,
of grace,
the holy goodness glory
I was praying to your face,
My Man,
is what I meant
and this is what I’m meant to do
so sit me down inside us now
and let me praise the greatest good in you
by laying down my weapons
including the shield,
in rest,

on cue, my friend,
you came
your name
well lit,
stenciled on the walls of Fremont County
years before we even met
in landscape,
in scope
and so,
wing tipped,
I wrote it
down to the ground you walk on
with the heels of my helium shoes,
“Put your ear to the sky
and listen my darling,
everything whispers I love you.”

George Harrison, 1987

Photo © John Livzey/Getty Images

The following is an article from People, 19 October 1987, with some wonderful comments by George:

‘He’s 44 now, his stubble-beard shows flecks of gray, and after George Harrison laughs—which he does often—the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes don’t completely uncrinkle. “I think, in one way, it’s good getting old,” says Harrison. “When you do things when you’re young, you just don’t think about it. You’re crazy, like the Beatles. We were crazy, but if you went on being like that, you’d be put away. So there’s a time to mellow out.” He is mellow enough, nowadays, to view the past with a pleasant nostalgia and the future with bemused curiosity. “You know, we’re all going to be 60 now,” he says of the next major chronological hurdle facing his friends. “In another 20 years, I’m going to be 64"—a thought that sets him to singing, just under his breath, the chorus to the Beatles hit When I’m Sixty-Four.

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