zeppelin: (Default)
Yes, everything's a worry
In the life of a T.O.,
There's always so much hurry,
So much rushing to and fro,
There's always something pressing,
Some extra work to do,
And you never get a blessing
Whatever you put through.
From morning until evening,
In rain, and cold, and shine,
It is worry, hurry, scurry
In the Transport line.

The Q.M. wants a limber,
The Colonel wants his horse,
We've got to haul more timber,
And the usual work of course,
Send three men to headquarters,
Two kits to catch the train,
A team for the Trench Mortars,
Report your strength again.
From early morn till evening,
And even while I dine,
It's worry, hurry, scurry
In the Transport line.

The horses all need shoeing,
The grey has kicked his mate,
The harness wants renewing,
And the men get up too late;
The water cart is leaking,
The Sergeant's got the grippe,
The G.S.'s waggons squeaking,
There are twenty mules to clip.
There's always something needed,
And all the trouble's mine,
It's worry, hurry, scurry
In the Transport line.

Though the bullets whistled by me,
And the whiz-bangs made me sweat.
In the trenches wet and slimy,
Yet I wish I was there yet,
For they didn't always chase me,
By runner, wire or 'phone,
Or come in rage to face me,
Or speak in injured tone;
You're everybody's batman,
No work can you decline,
In the hurry, worry, scurry
Of the Transport line.

When this blessed war is over,
And I sit at home at ease,
I shall no more be a rover
With the Transport o'er the seas.
But the weather's most depressing,
And the whisky's getting low,
My cough gets more distressing,
So it's time for me to go;
Here's another message coming,
You can always tell the sign
Of the hurry, worry, scurry
In the Transport line.

by T.A. Girling


Sep. 26th, 2009 06:28 am
zeppelin: (Default)
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 instead of doing my homework, I did laundry and read. I finished The Blunt Instrument, my first Heyer detective novel. It was good.

I'm not sure it's brilliant, though. I liked it better than Sayers's The Five Red Herrings (my least favorite Sayers--and, incidentally, the Sayers that holds most consistently with these), but it's still a time puzzle and I like those less.

As soon as they kept dithering between 10:02 and 10:05, I knew whodunit. They should have, too. But it took them another corpse, an extra helping of domestic drama, and an irritatingly small hat of a red herring to figure it out. But there were two characters who saved me from thinking the last three quarters of the book a waste of time (of course; she specializes in comic romance).

I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't Sayers writing. All the references to the pop psychology and popular scientific understanding of the 1930s are also found in Sayers's writings (and in Lewis's). The characters toss Freud and various other theorists whose works have not survived into history books into everyday conversation like it's nothing. They ramble on about chemicals (Chesterton, the story that included the fakir, Sayers's creepy short story about thyroid deficiencies) and evolution (Problem of Pain, various Chesterton, understood assumption in Sayers and this Heyer) and objectivity (the NICE, Sir Julian Freke, some more Chesterton villains). The clearest example of it in Sayers is The Documents in the Case. I really liked the author and his wife; they're (at least he is, I assume his wife agrees) trying to be oh so modern and scientific. I expect they were, but all the talk about chemicals doesn't ring true now. I guess that is because I know the names of the chemicals--and we don't talk about objectivity now. Also, we talk about different things now. What will novels popular today, with all their talk of assault weapons and global warming, look like in 70 years?

I have been tossing the foolish idea of writing some short detective stories set in modern Beijing (and the detective will be a migrant worker, and the Watson a foreigner, to allow for more movement). I should do my calculus and chemistry homework, fold my laundry, and clean my room.


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