the great orme ▴ llandudno, conwy county borough, wales
the great orme is a limestone headland overlooking the irish sea. its english name derives from the viking word for sea serpent, which it is said to resemble; its welsh name is y gogarth or pen y gogarth. the great orme was a major source of copper from the start of the british islands’ bronze age (~2400 bc). it has very rich flora and fauna, including the only known site of the critically endangered wild cotoneaster, of which only six wild plants are known, and many endangered butterflies and moths.
“You’re saying that you skived off of work because you want to see some man who writes your favorite comic book series?”
“Mr. Unwin is a graphic novelist,” Harry says firmly, shifting in order to get a better picture of the length of the line. “The snobbery towards visual works of art is—”
“Yes, yes, we all know about your infatuation for one of Britain’s youngest authors,” Merlin sighs into the phone. “Unfortunately, we can’t officially give you a weekend off to jaunt over to a con and have him sign one of your dilapidated copies of West Borough Wall-Banger.”
“That is the name of the first volume, not the whole series,” Harry retorts, stepping forward a few centimeters. “And I’ve already planned ahead. I called in this morning. It’s terrible to have the flu this time of year.”
“Oh, it seems that I’m reaching the beginning of the line,” Harry says, then hangs up.
If he peeks behind an eager young woman with sunglasses and a hood, he can see some sort of jacket crowded with gold plaques, with a white cap pulled over his face. Trying not to fidget, Harry watches him sign the inside front cover—The Spy Who Shagged Me, a bonus novella that Harry’s kept carefully in his bookcase and wrapped in the plastic covering—and speaking to her, voice unheard over the constant chatter of the convention around them. The young woman’s grinning, hand just shy of resting on his arm, and Harry can hear Unwin saying, “It was honor to meet you, m’lady.”
“My knight,” she says, laughing, with an accent that Harry cannot quite place. “Would you name a character after me?”
“Perhaps there will be a dashing rescue of a princess,” he replies, and when she leans over, blonde hair falling over her face, Harry can hear her murmur, then Unwin’s startled, choked laugh.
“All right, ma’am, that’s enough,” one of the men standing near the end of the table says, and the young woman goes cheerfully enough, swaying her hips. “Next!”
So, I finally got to watch Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle (spoilers)
Look, let’s get it right out of the way; Kingsman 2 isn’t as good as the first movie. As of writing this post, it’s sitting at 50% critics approval on Rotten Tomatoes; I think it probably more deserves it’s 71% audience approval rating. Not great, but good, enjoyable.
As such, things I liked/thought were good;
1. Eggsy and Harry’s relationship and how it still stays a massive part of the heart of the movie. In the second movie it’s Eggsy that has to believe in Harry, a good twist on their relationship in the first movie. It’s down right heart warming to see them hug when Harry finally gets his memory back, and watching them fight together like a well oiled machine was terribly satisfying after the first movie denied it to us.
2. Merlin’s death. Now wait, let me explain. Absolutely, I’d have preferred if Merlin survived (and if there is a sequel and he’s shows up with prosthetics then I’m all for it), but Merlin’s death was movie death done right. It was a meaningful sacrifice that impacted the characters, the plot, and was true to Merlin’s character. It was an active decision, and having him sing Country Roads was brilliant and sad and inspired.
3. Eggsy and Tilde’s relationship. I was never really in the crowd of people who found the anal sex joke too outrageous in the first (I kind of found it strangely sex positive for her, and also I was pretty okay with the church massacre so I felt like the line was already probably crossed?) but when I heard that she was going to continue to be part of the sequel, I was a little wary. But honestly, her relationship with Eggsy was sweet and understated. Tilde - and Eggsy’s relationship with her - end up serving the important purpose of showing that Eggsy is still different from the Kingsman of old, something that since he’s now a suited gentleman, was going to be hard to portray. The fact that he has someone he does love and how that impacts his character is a nice contrast between someone like Harry, who had no one and had died with that regret, and it was good to have in the movie.
4. Julianne Moore’s Poppy. No, she wasn’t as good as Samuel Jackson’s Valentine but jeez that wouldn’t be fair to hold against her. Jackson’s character was a tour de force and although Moore never reaches that level, her villain was fun and engaging. Her “legalize drugs” was a decent follow up to the first movie’s “save the environment” villain scheme, and although it wasn’t quite as fun of a plot, the story was fine, with enough mystery to be interesting.
5. Soundtrack was still amazing. Those fights in Poppy Land to Word Up and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting weren’t the church scene, but they were still pretty damn good.
6. Harry’s handicap. I’m not sure if they specifically meant it this way, but it was kind of great to watch Harry’s troubles after he’s regained his memory, not just because they were hilarious, but also because if he’d lost an eye he would have lost his depth perception, and that’s the problems he was having. Also, watching Whiskey fuck up that bar while Merlin and Eggsy totally ignore him in favour of counselling Harry was great.
7. Elton “fuck you!” John. Look, Elton John was absolutely the best part of this movie, something I did not expect to be saying. If you’d told me I needed to watch Sir Elton John kill a guy with a piano dressed in rainbow feathers and glittery go-go boots I’d have wondered what drugs you were on. But he was hands down the most fun part of the movie, and his rescuing Harry (and more subtle anal joke) were absolutely fantastic.
That said, there were certainly some things that could have used some improvement.
And thus, in no particular order, the things I wasn’t that crazy about/needed some work;
1. Roxy’s death. Unlike Merlin’s death, Roxy’s death was pretty disappointing. Roxy was a secondary character, true, but she was, in many ways our tertiary protagonist (after Eggsy and Harry) and as a character, she deserved a death better than what she got. Her death was passive, in that it happened to her and she had no agency in it, it was the same death as all the other Kingsman we’d never met, and although it had an emotional impact on Eggsy, it really just served to let the story of “Eggsy and Merlin are all that’s left” happen, which is disappointing. Absolutely nothing would have been lost if Eggsy, Merlin and Roxy had been the ones to go the the USA and it’s too bad we couldn’t have had that happen.
2. The portrayal of America, in general? Look, I’m not American I’m Canadian, but I honestly felt a little uncomfortable with the portrayal of Americans in this movie. Apparently all American’s are southern cowboys and rednecks in this universe, which was kind of unnecessary. It worked in the first movie because we all understood that the church was a clear stand in for the West Borough Baptist Church and fuck those guys. But in this movie other than Halle Berry we didn’t get a single American character who wasn’t a huge “redneck” joke, and that joke got pretty tiring pretty fast.
3. Introducing the Statesman. Look, I get that the movie had a lot of plot to cram into its run time but seriously, I’d like to have had some of that time devoted to actually developing the new characters. The first movie had great secondary characters; Tilde, Michelle, Dean, Charlie, Roxy, Chester King and Gazelle all felt like they had personalities and real character. The Statesmen were at best, one note, and at worst, embarrassingly blank. Ginger Ale wants to be an agent. Champagne is an honourable guy who doesn’t drink (and is also 100% just Jeff Bridges). Tequila is a newer agent “bad boy” who does drugs (and spends most of the movie frozen). And Whiskey. Whiskey has a tragic back story that gets shoved in at the last second and that’s about it. These characters could have been so much more, but the movie never takes the time to develop them, and so you’re never really invested in what happens to them.
4. Whiskey and Eggsy’s dynamic. They mostly didn’t have one, and that’s the problem. The movie really misses a grand opportunity to have a contrast between how Harry and Eggsy’s mentoring relationship contests with Whiskey and Eggsy’s…mostly because they don’t have one. Sure, they complete a couple of missions together but even they don’t don’t really work together at the festival or the lab; they’ve got no real banter, no relationship. Instead of having Eggsy and Whiskey build a relationship of trust that goes against Harry’s style - maybe have them both be risk takers that go against Harry’s more traditional style - the movie forces conflict by having Harry shoot Whiskey, which Eggsy naturally responds with appropriate anger. That said, they don’t even do anything with that because Eggsy immediately forgives Harry and it doesn’t really impact his trust of Harry at all. That in turns makes Whiskey’s betrayal fall pretty flat at the end, and it’s a real shame because it wouldn’t have taken much to add a real emotional dynamic to that.
5. Would it have killed them to have had a scene with Eggsy’s mom and baby sister? Yes, Michelle was there for 1 second at his wedding but seriously, his mother and his sister were major parts of his character and his arc in the first movie. I’m not saying she had to be a part of the plot or anything, but it would have been nice to have them there and continue that motive of how important family is to Eggsy.
Honestly, Kingsman 2 was probably never going to be better than the first, for the same reason Men in Black 2 wasn’t better than its first movie, or really any other movie that hinges on the mentor/protege relationship. By the end of the first movie Eggsy was a Kingsman and so that dynamic with Harry that was so core to the heart of the movie was gone. That said, Kingsman 2: the Golden Circle tried admirably to capture a new twist on that relationship while still staying true to its original’s themes and while it’s certainly not flawless I think it succeeds more than it fails. I’d definitely recommend it for a watch if you enjoyed the first one.
Roosevelt Island is a narrow island in New York City’s East River. It lies between Manhattan Island to its west and the borough of Queens on Long Island to its east, and is part of the borough of Manhattan. Running from the equivalent of East 46th to 85th Streets on Manhattan Island, it is about 2 miles (3.2 km) long, with a maximum width of 800 feet (240 m), and a total area of 147 acres (0.59 km2).
Roosevelt Island was a center of refuge and care for 100 years, with hospitals and asylums.
But the island had yet another career. For a century, it housed a grim penitentiary, where inmates passed their sentences along the banks of the East River, within tempting sight of freedom on the nearby shores.
The penitentiary, a long gray arcaded structure, was completed in 1832 on what was then Blackwell’s Island. Castlelike crenelations running along the roofline and a chubby turreted tower of a “feudal character” lent a “certain rudeness” to the work, according to Appleton’s Dictionary of New York of 1886.
As an agnostic, I have no problem with Christians (and other religions) But, what is the true "version" of Christianity? Is it the West Baptist Borough version? People who follow the Bible literally or people who interpret it?
The problem is that a person can call themselves anything they want. I am sure you have run into a proclaimed agnostic or two that after a conversation, you realized they were not that in the least. Christianity has always had this problem since the founding of the church. For all sorts of reasons people claim to be Christian when they are not. Read Acts 8: 9-25. It is about a guy named Simon that claimed belief and was baptized, but wanted to purchase the power of God that the Apostles displayed. Peter saw his heart and said to him, “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.” He was given the opportunity to repent but we never hear the end of the story. But we know at the time that Peter himself did not accept Simon as a part of the church.
Likewise Westboro Baptist Church is neither Baptist nor a church in the Christian sense of the term. They legally are a church according to US tax law (more than likely as a dodge) and have been denounced in every way possible by Christians universally. Yet they are trotted out by antagonists as proof that Christians are heartless haters. So how do you know who is or isn’t a Christian or what is the true faith?
Believe it or not there are two indicators of faith. One is adherence to the basic principles of Christianity. These basic tenets are expressed in the Apostles’ Creed or other church creeds such as the Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is as follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Although the church I attend has no “creed but Christ and no book but the Bible” the above creed sums the Bible up pretty well and other than wording, most mainstream creeds do the same. If you do not believe what it says above, to be blunt, you are not Christian. You can struggle with some of the concepts but each is clearly delineated in the Bible and are core to the faith. For instance, you can you feel unforgiven for a time yes, but the overriding concept must be believed.
Beyond that however, the second way to tell if a person is a Christian, is they must in some way live out and display the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. These are found in the following verse:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. - Galatians 5:22 - 25
So if you see a church full of hate, without joy and constantly in turmoil, with no kindness, etc. (Westboro Baptist), they are probably not living as Christians should and their relationship with God should be questioned. Keep mind, no Christian is perfect!!! I often fail in kindness, because I tend to error on the side of unvarnished Christian truth. But I hope on balance that I accomplish and live in the fruits of the Spirit.
Lastly, no Christian follows the Bible literally. This is a sure sign that you are not doing much homework, but are relying on talking points or tall tales. Christians actually read the Bible in context and sometimes (as anyone with half a brain knows) you can’t take all the words literally. Atheists and others know this as well and often misrepresent the words of the Bible and take things out of context intentionally to discredit and embarrass those of the faith. A good, easy to understand example of how Christians don’t take all things literally can be found in the book of Habakkuk 1:8. It describes the Babylonian army as the following:
Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
A literal interpretation would mean that the Babylonians had special horses that could fly. Pegasus reborn!!!! No Christian believes this and we understand that this is poetic language to make a point.
Likewise, the “apocalyptic” language of some of the prophets in the Old Testament and in the New Testament book commonly called Revelations is also not to be a literal interpretation. For instance in the last book of the Bible the Revelation of John, John refers to the extinct nation state of “Babylon” several times. At the time of the writing Babylon did not even exist, so what gives? In context, Christians understand this to be either the nation of Rome at the time of the 1st Century or any great national or spiritual power in times since. Why did John do this? Not to confuse people today, but to confuse the Romans. He was considered to be in exile as a result of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian, so sending out a letter from his island imprisonment to his followers with “Rome” written in it, was not a real good idea. Babylon is the substitution. Christians know this because we try to understand context.
So to dispel the myth of a literal translation or interpretation, Christians do not do that at all.
What all Christians do hold to is the over arching morality expressed in first, the Ten Commandments and then the two Commands of the New Testament, Love others and Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. Because of the above Christians are called to live peaceful, lawful and lives that show God to others. Because some do not want that love to show they besmirch the church at every turn, fight against Godly morality, denigrate Christians and make false claims about the beliefs and standards. Ultimately, they wish to create their own morality apart from God. So we have flawed secular man, making flawed secular morality.
I would love to go on but this is way too long already. I do hope you read it, despite it being the thumbnail version of the faith and consider what I am saying. If you have anymore questions feel free to comment or message me again.
Troja Palace is a Baroque palace located in Troja, Prague’s north-west borough (Czech Republic). It was built for the Counts of Sternberg from 1679 to 1691. The palace is owned by the city of Prague and hosts the 19th century Czech art collections of the City Gallery.
The palace’s design has been influenced by French and Italian architecture and is mostly the work of French architect Jean Baptiste Mathey. The latter also built the palais Buquoy in Prague, currently the French embassy.
Hello, my lovelies ^-^ I wrote this ficlet a couple of weeks ago after some comment I read on my bb ter0rr’s blog about Adam, Nigel and a possible daddykink scenario. Please note I am not back on the writing saddle yet, so it will take me some time to write the next part- but I felt like publishing this first chapter for you all ♥
I tried to be as respectful as I could to Adam’s characterization as a young man with Asperger’s, and if I succeeded it was because of the invaluable help I got from brassknuckled, who sent me a quick and insightful beta which made the story so much better <3
I hope you enjoy it! :D
TW for this chapter: Violence, explicit language, slurs.