Sep. 26th, 2009 06:28 am
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My Asian history class is covering the Silk Road next week. The first book was about a series of painted caves carved out of a cliff by Buddhists a bit away from one of the major stops on the silk road. I'm pretty sure that the professor used the book for the Neolithic to Song class I took freshman year, because it was basically a recap of that, only with pictures of buddhas. The second book, which I haven't finished, is about the foreign excavations of the caves.

...It reads like a steampunk novel.

You have the Intrepid British Explorer (the phrase India Office might also appear) who hacks his way through Lots of Peril to the Lost Cities at the edge of the Mysterious Taklamakan and who bonds with the Lonely Daoist Monk (never forget that Shangri-La was actually in the Tianshan, not the Himalayas) in the wind-swept sands of central Asia over a long-lost Chinese legend. He, of course, steals the Daoist monk's treasures and is duly knighted by HRM.

Then you have a few other white dudes--five or six?--who all do similar things, only the last one (an American, late to the race) is actually more or less kicked out of China because the Chinese for some reason (!) are pissed at foreigners stealing their history. The Intrepid British Explorer randomly drops dead in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, you have the "enigmatic" and "mysterious" Count (who by the way is handsome, in a delicate sort of way) who manipulates the same Daoist monk into selling him a lot of the choice picks. He goes back to Japan (cuz he's Japanese), hits mysterious financial difficulty, and the collection just disappears. Careful scholarship twenty-thirty years later finds one third of his collection in Japan, one third in Korea, and one third NOBODY KNOWS WHERE! The best part? He's also a SPY. We think. Or so, at least Colonel Shuttlecock (or something like that) of the India Office thinks.

Then 40% of the stuff stolen by the Intrepid German Explorer gets bombed by the Americans during World War Two. Some eight or nine crates of it also disappears entirely into the USSR when the Soviets take over Berlin...

zeppelin: (Default)
"So apparently the Chinese started the Renaissance," I said, referring to what the back of a book I haven't read told me.

"Yes," said Tom. "There's also evidence the Italians started it."
zeppelin: (Default)
"If God had designed that his intelligent creatures should travel at the frightful speed of fifteen miles an hour by steam, he would have foretold it through his Holy Prophets. It is a device of Satan to lead immortal souls down to hell!"


Aug. 26th, 2007 03:26 pm
zeppelin: (Default)
After arriving in Baltimore, we went to Sharpsburg. On Saturday--which I suppose is yesterday--we toured Antietam battlefield. Antietam is the bloodiest day in American history and the birth of modern emergency medicine.

History is important. But I don't really get more of a feel for what happened going to a battlefield than reading about it. I was standing in Bloody Lane trying to visualize, to some extent, what had happened there, but all I could see was a fat woman in an pink floral-print tanktop and too-tight shorts grinning into her cell phone.
zeppelin: (Default)
The Freemason society of Winchester Hampshire under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has after series of secret deliberations selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2005 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society.

These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of the Freemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1810 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and to enhance mans living conditions.

Shall I break it to this particular spammer that Thomas Paine died in 1809?


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