Archive for August, 2009




















You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was “Din! Din! Din!
You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

The uniform ‘e wore
Was nothin’ much before,
An’ rather less than ‘arf o’ that be’ind,
For a piece o’ twisty rag
An’ a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment ‘e could find.
When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
In a sidin’ through the day,
Where the ‘eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
We shouted “Harry By!”
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped ‘im ’cause ‘e couldn’t serve us all.
It was “Din! Din! Din!
You ‘eathen, where the mischief ‘ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or I’ll marrow you this minute
If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”

‘E would dot an’ carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An’ ‘e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
‘E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.
With ‘is mussick on ‘is back,
‘E would skip with our attack,
An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire”,
An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide
‘E was white, clear white, inside
When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was “Din! Din! Din!”
With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-files shout,
“Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”

I shan’t forgit the night
When I dropped be’ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should ‘a’ been.
I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
An’ the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.
‘E lifted up my ‘ead,
An’ he plugged me where I bled,
An’ ‘e guv me ‘arf-a-pint o’ water-green:
It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was “Din! Din! Din!
‘Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ‘is spleen;
‘E’s chawin’ up the ground,
An’ ‘e’s kickin’ all around:
For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!”

‘E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.
‘E put me safe inside,
An’ just before ‘e died,
“I ‘ope you liked your drink”, sez Gunga Din.
So I’ll meet ‘im later on
At the place where ‘e is gone —
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
‘E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Read Full Post »

  • The Way Home – George Pelecanos
  • Lush Life – Richard Price
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded – Tom Friedman
  • John Adams – David McCullough
  • Plainsong – Kent Haruf

Now that the Obama clan can finally get away for a week the White House decided to release the list of books that Mr. Obama is bringing with him for a week of the beach and the golf.  My fave on the list is David McCullough’s John Adams. I read this tome in college and have been a tremendous fan of Mr. McCullough – and not just because we share a last name – ever since. The first two on the list, as this Slate article tells us: http://www.slate.com/id/2226142?yahoo=y  are by gentlemen who have written for The Wire. The other two I am just claiming general ig’nance on. I recall in an interview with Mr. McCullough that he said something to the effect of “…there isn’t enough time in life to write all the books I would like to.”

Read Full Post »

In New York City a major urban reuse project in Manhattan’s West Side has  opened.  The High Line a once defunct railroad spur is being reborn as a park for city dwellers. This is a chance for New York City to set a trend. Hopefully this type of urban reuse will catch on with the rest of the country.



Read Full Post »

There was a little turtle.

He lived in a box.

He swam in a puddle.

He climbed on the rocks.


He snapped at a mosquito.

He snapped at a flea.

He snapped at a minnow.

And he snapped at me.


He caught the mosquito.

He caught the flea.

He caught the minnow.

But he didn’t catch me.


Vachel Lindsay

Read Full Post »

Read this: http://nymag.com/arts/books/reviews/58182/


I found out about this review from http://themillions.com  .

After having read it I feel gloriously self-righteous in my cause for quality contemporary literature.

Read Full Post »

I have finished the first half of the Mayor of Casterbridge and it seems that Mr. Hardy is setting me up for an emotional fail. What do I mean by that? Well, simply that with my heart going out to Mr. Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane and Ms. Templeman I can only see ruin in the last 160 pages of the book, thus leading me to an emotional fail. My sentimental senses shall splinter with the inevitable indulgence of Mr. Hardy’s ever-pressing gloom.

The only candle in this hurricane is Donald Farfrae the plucky Scot.  Mr. Hardy has deftly woven an intricate love triangle. With only the one angle being loved by the other two. The other two being women and that sort of thing being frowned upon in late Vi ctoriana. So what I am reading for is to find out if Mr. Farfrae 1.) dies in the end 2.) marries Elizabeth Jane 3.) marries Ms. Templeman 4.) becomes sage and moves back to Scotland before the omniscient narrator decides he doesn’t prefer him to Mr. Henchard.

Mr. Henchard, the ill-mannered wife-selling son of a pistol, whose heart can leap small ladies in a single bound, has effectively gotten rid of his first wife only to go to Jersey and land the affections of another woman. I can’t bear to mention the ill he bore on his first wife so let us angle in on the second woman. Ms. Templeman has come into some dough. “Plenty dough” And still Henchard basically ignores her. So naturally her affections turn to the corn and hay market man, Donald Farfrae.

Somewhere along the line there is a concatenation of events where a couple of these people will die. How do I know that, because I read a George Eliot novel once.

What I really enjoy about the novel, aside from the welcome, simple roundness of the characters and their motivations, is the implied (though not always) rusticity of the environs. From the drolleries of the commoners who inhabit Casterbridge to the smallness of the world that is Casterbridge one senses, but more than that, knows that Author Hardy completely delights in writing about his fellow countrymen and in preserving their peccadilloes for posterity.

More to come on this fascinating work…MEKM.

Read Full Post »