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Irony's Children

Spotty Recollections

1/20/05 06:36 pm - marshalmeg - The Poem - Number Two

The Assignment: Write a poem about a place that is very special to you. Originally I intended this to be a pointed semi-rant about Apsley House now, but I rather like it better as a descriptive piece of egotism. You can infer the rest.

-Reflections Upon a Neo-Classical Mansion-

When I purchased my home,
it was plain and nondescript.
And being neither plain
nor nondescript myself,
this would never do.
A man's home is his castle,
and I'd the funds to build one.
So I plated it in stone
and encircled it with iron,
to both suite my taste
and reflect my personality.

To this I would add
grand Corinthian columns,
and brass doors,
and infamous shutters.
My galleries would rival Versailles
with Durer, and Breugel, and Caravaggio.
And there I would hold court
over grand dinners
on the dates of famous battles.
And serve dishes that bore my name
on china that illustrated my life.

And as for the rooms,
these I would fill with my trophies.
There were cases of swords,
and tokens of graditude,
and eagles all flying in uniform lines,
which would not have been arranged so,
if they had been previously.
And in my library would be
the sort of books that
are not meant to be read
but to be admired for their placement.

The chairs were in red leather,
the rugs dark and Persian,
and I fancied myself an artist
in arranging the works of others.
From their frames those I had known,
dressed to cover their flaws
before the great judge of history,
would stare with unblinking eyes
in admiriation of my success.
And condemned to the foot of my stairs,
Napoleon himself would be my hat stand.

1/20/05 02:53 am - marshalmeg - The Poem

Apparently, I must write three poems for creative writing. One of which must be about my 'best friend'. Despite having a distinct distaste for poetry, I am occasionally struck with an idea for one... when such things are due the following day. I apologize in advance if that is simply awful as it is nearly three in the morning and I am a field marshal by trade, not a poet.

-Salute to Lady Irony-

To the Queen who had been a heathen,
and made the definition of moral propriety,
The Lady sent one who had both been Russia and invaded it.
He smiled and sipped vodka from a burning glass
and talked of the crown he would trade
for the uniform of an aide-de-camp.

And the Celt sneered at Boudicca,
for she was hardly amused,
and stroked the cat which had appeared
to sit upon her shoulder and smile
for long after the rest of it had vanished.
She hummed a tune the band played as the ship sank.

The half-black Jewish lesbian former Nazi
had served the country which killed the Queen
in the days when she had put aside the bothersome duty
of sending young men to their deaths.
Despite this they poured the tea,
and the Queen accepted it with pleasure.

The favored son of the Lady was a daughter.
The tea was served in the cups
from the china of the victorious Prussians
and was waved aside by the one who had won the battle.
He would be revered by the ones who killed his countrymen
and made the hero of a revolution he opposed.

The battle the master tactician could never win
was the one against the greatest of all opponents,
the general who had defeated Rome and Charlemagne.
The finest of the batons is gripped firmly in the hand of change.

The priestess of Bastet would head the Church of England.
The Russian would eat his horse.
History, just once, would not be written by the victors.
And the Lady, whose name was Irony would observe her altar,
which tottered beneath the weight of the flowers left for her,
by the Queen, the Baron, and the Duke.

1/18/05 10:29 pm - crimeofthought - The Genesis of a Meme

Now, I presume we all here have a past life that stands above others, either for fame, accomplisment, or simply because it was most recent. Regardless, the purpose of this Meme is...You must choose three songs (relatively modern day). Their titles must fit portions of your life and career.
Then, choose ONE song. With this one, the lyrics should embody you.
Here's mine

Sir Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill

Walk Like an Egyptian-The Bangles
Portuguese Washerwoman-Astrud Gilberto
I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General-Gilbert and Sullivan

and my song, because I am/was an annoyingly cheerful optimist

Always Look On the Bright Side of Life-The Life of Brian (Monty Python)

Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say.

Some things in life are bad.
They can really make you mad.
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewin' on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle!
And this'll help things turn out for the best

Always look on the bright side of life (whistles)
Always look on the light side of life (whistles)
If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten!
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feelin' in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing

And always look on the bright side of life (whistles)
Come on! ...Always look on the right side of life (whistles)
For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow
Forget about your sin
Give the audience a grin
Enjoy it-- It's your last chance anyhow!

So always look on the bright side of death
A-just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece a shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughin' as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

And always look on the bright side of life

1/18/05 04:40 pm - marshalmeg - The Notes

I was sitting in 'Napoleonic Europe' today and listening to the pacifist lecture on the rise of that most noteable personage when I suddenly realised that I was taking notes. Yes, bloody notes. I paused momentarily in my endeavors and regarded the paper before me covered in handwriting which is worth upwards of seven-hundred dollars when properly aged. There was an outline of the structure of French society prior to the revolution, a comment that Louis XVI was the king at the time, and the words 'Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.'

For what became a very long moment I continued to stare as my professor stood at the front of the room passionately crying out the virtues of the French Revolution and explaining why The Terror was not really so much of a terror after all. Robespierre, it would seem, was a genius. Dear Lord, I had put down an explanation of the Estates-General.

This was Napoleonic 101. This sort of thing came as naturally to me as breathing or positioning a regiment on the reverse slope of a hill. WHY ON EARTH WAS I TAKING NOTES?! With that, I resolved to cease in that occupation post-haste.

At which point, the great revolutionary (my having forgotten, it also occured to me, how horribly disturbing it is to be in a room with a revolutionary who wants your head for no other reason than it originally came with a title) stated, "Now, isn't that a much more efficient system? Before, these things were all named after dukes and stuff."

It was a question. There would be another.

"And is there something /wrong/ with 'dukes and stuff'?"


"Are you a royalist?"

I nodded. "In a manner of speaking, yes."

"Aaaaaaw. That's so cute."

The speech that followed, about ignorant peasants foolishly clinging to an oppressive monarchy, however, was not. (After all, the only explanation for conservatism is a lack of education... or being one of the evil oppressors who benefits from the system. Though it must be remembered, of course, that there were some decent nobles who saw the light during the revolution.) Nor was the speech making fun of the English.

At least, it occured to me, I do not have to take notes.

1/11/05 04:32 pm - crimeofthought - She walks like an angel out of the mist

By God, I'm not in love. It's just joy at seeing her again after all these lifetimes. Or is it indeed love? One wonders

n 1745, I was a redcoat. I was a private soldier, fresh from the parade grounds, and one who was exceedingly philosopical and wise about life, if not naive concerning war. This being because, although I like to think of myself as a relatively old soul, I doubt I had fought in a major battle since the Crusades.
Regardless, we were in Flanders. There was, at this time, an exceedingly pretty flower of a camp follower, one married to a friend of mine, a tall man with a pipe perpetually in his mouth. He was killed by some disease, probably cholera, and, as was custom she remarried. I had lusted after her for a long while, and she knew me well as a result of her husband's friendship with me, so it was arranged between us that we should marry. Now, for her, I was no doubt the second in a long line of soldiers, but to me, it was the happiest experience of that life. Our marriage was sealed with myself giving her a ribbon I had found in some bivouac weeks previous. She always wore a bow in her hair. She tied it into her hair, there was a kiss, and the marriage was sealed. Without going into much detail an enjoyable time was had around the campfire with a pipe, a wife, and the company of fellow soldiers, and the nights were warm 'neath the deluge of the Flanders skies. Unfortunately, within the next few days, we were drawn up in lines of battle and sent charging towards the French fortifications at the Battle of Fontenoy. Early on in said battle, I had both legs carried away by grapeshot, and died screaming as my life's blood pumped out onto the cold, muddy ground. Needless to say, I never saw her again.

Until today.

One can walk by a certain person almost daily, perhaps admiring their clothes, lusting after their figure, or even speaking to them. But they never really, truly notice them on a deeper level. But all that can change with a touch and a glimpse into the other's eyes.

Now, for the last two weeks, I have had a very pretty blue and white gigham ribbon in my room. I don't know why, perhaps it was a coincidence, but today I decided to take it with me. Now, the bell rings for lunch (college students will laugh at this point) and I dart out of the Theatre Building, buy lunch, and wolf it down. As I walk the hallways toward the history building (where I spend lunch harrassing the teachers) I came upon a new acquaintance of mine, a female with the strange name of Ryan. She hangs out with a group of people who I am friends with, and occassionally eat lunch with. I've spoken with her, but never really talked to her or looked at her. But the times I did, I would be struck by her looks, not the conventional blonde bombshell looks, but the tall, thin, pale looks I've always preferred. So, back to the hallways. I walk past her, and suddenly my head resonates like a bell has been rung in it.

Matt: Wait! Ryan! I have something for you *digs in pocket and finds ribbon, holds it out*
Ryan: A bow! For me? Thanks *looks extremely happy and flattered as she takes bow and ties it in her hair*
*eye contact is made*
Matt: It...suits you.
Ryan: I know, I've always worn bows in my hair. By the way, what middle school did you go too?
Matt: Sierra Canyon, why?
Ryan: Oh, you just have always looked familiar. But I've never heard of Sierra Canyon. Anyway, I have to go to the library. See you later!

And, horribly cliche and sappy as it may seem, tears sprung to my eyes and I remembered her.
For the rest of the day, I thought of her.
And now my legs hurt.

Bloody Hell, I can't be in love with her again
Can I?

1/11/05 08:16 pm - marshalmeg - Day of the Dead

The professor was dead like the general who shared his last name though it is unlikely that they are one in the same. It seemed that most of his students were dead as well, as though this room were some sort of collective for the displaced soldierly of many and various nations. The Baron will forgive me in my borrowing of her most excellent descriptive phrase. In their deadness, there were few who managed to be subtle, likely for they were used to uniforms making certain decisions for them.

The majority were in the ROTC. Despite this, perhaps due to the hour, they wore no camo. It was a collection of boots, pants in materials other than denim, and shirts with stripes or high collars or both. This was accented with flags and emblems of varying nations, brass buttons, and perfect posture. Lions, eagles, and confederates.

The professor himself wore a leather vest, white shirt, and green breeches with tall riding boots. A musket was the only thing to be found lacking. He could have done with a cravat but he did not seem the sort to indulge in such fashion. No, he would smack of militiaman, proudly so.

There was much that could also be said for the natural organization of the persons. The majority had selected the middle, where they sat not noticing one another, staring straight ahead with visible discomfort. Column without stated intent. There were two, however, one had opted for the far right corner of the room while the other had opted for the far left. They had managed to be as far away from one another as possible while still quite on the same level. The others had left wide circles of empty desks around them. The casual observer would chalk this up to the one group only wishing to associate with itself and not these two that the members of the larger collective were unfamiliar with. The persons in the room knew better. They could associate, they would really, but these were the sort of people who made their skin crawl nostalgically. They would associate, but it was simply something one did not do.

They were dressed unlike the others but remarkably similar to one another and as those in the middle presented a certain similarity as did the two in the back. Both had tall boots without laces (as those in the middle favoured the sort with) and the sort of pants cut to flatter such footwear. They carried themselves in the manner of those rightly concerned with presenting a certain image of composed dignity, yet they were twitchy enough about the edges. While those in the middle yawned, dozed, and nudged one another they took in everything with an almost paranoid alertness, toying with pens, drumming fingers, making notes. Both sported recently shined medals.

There came a point at which a question was posed by the militiaman who conducted himself in a similar fashion to the previously described minority and there immediately followed a long silence prefaced by two attempts not to snicker. The answer, in a most unexpected turn of events, would come not from someone making an attempt but quite at the same time and in much the same words from the soon-to-be-infamous decorated pair. The one who had asked the question looked very surprised and he stared at one and then the other and back once more to the middle.

"Oh damn," he hissed. "I've got two."

1/9/05 12:23 am - marshalmeg - Many Apsley House Pictures

These were taken for me by a friend of the Whig who had the good fortunate to visit the motherland. Yes, I am aware there is really no point to this other than showing off. Yes, I am aware that I am spamming the bloody hell out of this community. Yes, I know that I created this for serious posts such as memories and reflections. By God, I will get around to that... eventually.

No. 1 LondonCollapse )

1/8/05 04:14 pm - marshalmeg - Dishonourable Ruthless Control Freak vs. Tyrannical War-Mongering Ogre

Without England there wouldn't be war in Europe.

I accidentally found myself on that damned Napoleon Forever site this afternoon. I do know better, but I assure you that this was entirely inadvertent and I actually came upon one of their new articles while searching for something else. These people never cease to utterly shock and disgust me.

For those not familiar with this abomination, the Napoleon Forever website exists largely for the purpose of Brit-Bashing as opposed to glorifying Napoleon. There are, in fact, fewer articles on why Napoleon was so good than there are about why Britain is bad. I had thought this site had, thankfully, disappeared since for several weeks it was saying the domain had expired. Obviously, I am nowhere near that fortunate.

In one of their newer articles they blame England for the Irish potato famine. (Yes, apparently we are evil enough to cause natural disasters.) They even take some cheap shots at dear Queen Victoria, insulting and belittling Victorian morality. (As opposed to the modern American lack of decency, I presume.) In their one article that praises the English militarily, they make it perfectly clear that all of the 'talented' units in the British Army all had one thing in common, they were not made up of Englishmen. During WWII, we were all Nazis or Nazi sympathizers.

And, really, what /any/ of that, true or not, has to do with Napoleon I cannot begin to understand.

Apparently, we outnumbered the French in every Peninsular War battle. Not only was this unfair, but it also indicates that a certain someone was a very bad general as it is not proper to fight defensively if you have the advantage of numbers. Somehow, it indicates that you are a coward or that you have no talent for such things.

Don't you think it's about time to stop whining about the lost Empire and films ("Patriot") that portray your humiliating defeat to a bunch of American farmers ? Empire come and empires go. Why don't you people go back to doing what you do best, spending your energies discussing whether Charles or Wills should be the next Queen or Kings of England ? For all your pomp and all of the centuries you've been a nation, you have accomplished very little. Other than colonial tyranny, slavery, soccer fan violence, and general cheesiness, at what have you Englishmen excelled?

Peter H., who claims to have nothing against Wellington aside from his treatment of the Prussians after Waterloo, is a major contributor and seemingly a supporter of this site.

Blücher at first considered Wellington an honorable man. He later learned how mistaken he had been.

Never mind that Blucher also thought that he was pregnant with an el... but I am not bitter. I am never bitter. No. Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. Though it seems, oddly, that when the British characterize Boney as either a monster or an ogre it is horrible propaganda. Yet, referring to Wellington as a heartless bastard, a liar, and claiming he lacked any decent human qualities is perfectly acceptable.

There are times when I wonder what it would have been like if we had won the battle of... oh... wait... we did. Of course, it should have have been called the Battle of La Belle Alliance as that was what the Prussians wanted and that would only have been fair.

Adorable little colonials to be sure.

1/8/05 12:33 am - marshalmeg - You Can Choose Your Friends, But You Can't Choose...

I promised Lord H some further reflections on the Waterloo movie. However, being rather too ill to think clearly this day, I have opted for some pictures that I have promised to Baron C on several previous occasions.

Garrett Wesley, the Earl of Mornington, was quite the accomplished violinist and it was said by some that he had something of a head for naval and siege warfare. At least someone in the family did. Garrett married a girl by the name of Anne Hill, no relation to a certain other person who possessed that surname. She was sixteen and 'spirited' seems to be a word used quite often to describe her. One gets the impression that this was not necessarily intended as a compliment. They lived in Ireland. By all accounts, Garret was a delightful and easy-going fellow. He was a professor of music at Trinity College and composed quite a few works that would be played in 1852 at an event Garrett likely never envisioned. Unfortunately, Garrett died in 1781.

As for Anne, she would give much of her personality and perhaps a bit of her looks, to the one of her children whom she was not particularly fond of. Perhaps this was why they did not like one another. A suggestion, and nothing more.

None of this would matter, of course, had Garrett and Anne's third surviving son not grown up to defeat Napoleon.

Garrett and Anne WesleyCollapse )

1/7/05 02:18 am - marshalmeg - Damned Bloody Heartless, Or So He Hoped

"I had forgotten, Wes, how you were so..."

It occurred to the Duke that he had a nasty habit of being a paranoid detailist. This came quite as naturally as breathing.

Hill shivered.

"How I was so...?" The Duke was enjoying this, and enjoying this far too much.

"Well, when you had something 'serious' to say and we didn't know what it was we all somehow thought we had commited treason and you had found out."

Of this the Duke was quite proud, both of his imposing presence and of his subordinate who simply kept becoming more interesting. Though he really would have to remember to use a better word than 'subordinate.' Yes, indeed.

But he was bloody heartless. Intimidating, yes, and rather revelling in it.
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