A wonderful breakdown and etymology of the word chickenshit by the author Paul Fussell from his book Wartime, a second lieutenant with the 103rd Infantry Division in WWII. Found and quoted from the book Citizen Soldiers by Stephen E. Ambrose.
The guys who were permanent jerks were the usual suspects — officers with too much authority and too few brains, sergeants who had more than a touch of sadist in their characters, far too many quartermasters, some MPs. The types were many in number and widely varied in how they acted out their role, but the GIs had a single word that applied to every one of them: chickenshit.
Fussell defines the term precisely. “Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige… insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances. Chickenshit is so called — instead of horse — or bull — or elephant shit — because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously. Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war.”
In every age, people are certain that only the things they have deemed valuable have true value. The search for love and the search for wealth are always the two best stories. But while a love story is timeless, the story of a quest for wealth, given enough time, will always seem like the vain pursuit of a mirage.
– Mark Kurlansky, Salt
At times it sees that the search for good health has taken all the pleasure out of life. It has stripped us of butter, cream, marbled red meat, pork, and goose fat, not to mention alcohol and fine, hand-rolled cigars. And just when you settle on your favorite healthful fish, you’re told it’s laced with mercury. Sometimes it feels as though we would be better off being less healthy and enjoying life.
But then, miraculously, there is olive oil. Olive oil, it seems, is the only really good food we are still allowed.
– Mark Kurlansky from “Essential Oil,” Bon Appétit, November 2008
I always wanted to be a writer and I had in my head that a writer should either go to sea or go to war. There was a war available at the time but the sea was a much better idea. I did it for a couple of summers, to earn money for college.
My most memorable job was on a lobster boat. I was a pretty strong kid and they just needed someone who could haul pots on 200ft of line. We didn’t have a radio; sometimes you’d hear this roar, see a dark shadow and realise a freighter was bearing down on you. I never gave one thought to how dangerous it was. I absolutely loved it.
Many years later I was on a commercial fishing boat as a reporter and I wondered why the hell I’d liked it so much.
– Mark Kurlansky
While I write, I drink a lot of espresso. I have an espresso maker in my office. In one of my books, I gave an acknowledgment to caffeine.
– Mark Kurlansky
Taken from Mark Kurlansky’s amazing book Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.
Take a cod of ten pounds, well cleaned, leaving on the skin. Cut into pieces one and a half pounds thick, preserving the head whole. Take one and a half pounds of clear, fat salt pork, cut into thin slices. Do the same with twelve potatoes. Take the largest pot you have. Try out the pork first, then take out the pieces of pork, leaving in the drippings. Add to that three parts of water, a layer of fish, so as to cover the bottom of the pot; next a layer of potatoes, then two tablespoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of peepper, then the pork, another layer of fish, and the remainder of the potatoes.
Fill the pot with water to cover the ingredients. Put over a good fire. Let the chowder boil twenty-five minutes. When this is done have a quart of boiling milk ready, and ten hard crackers split and dipped in cold water. Add milk and crackers. Let the whole boil five minutes. Then chowder is then ready to be first-rate if you have followed the directions. An onion may be aded if you like the flavor.
This chowder is suitable for a large fishing party.
– Daniel Webster, from The New England Yankee Cookbook, edited by Imogene Wolcott, 1939
In December 2007, three boxes filled with rolls of film containing 4,500 35mm negatives of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) taken by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and David Seymour (aka “Chim”)—which had been considered lost since 1939—arrived at the International Center of Photography. These three photographers, who lived in Paris, worked in Spain, and published internationally, laid the foundation for modern war photography. Their work has long been considered some of the most innovative and passionate coverage of the Spanish Civil War. An exhibition of Mexican Suitcase images is on view at the ICP from Sept. 24, 2010, to Jan. 9, 2011.
Many of the contact sheets made from the negatives are on view as part of the exhibition, which looks closely at some of the major stories covered by Capa, Taro, and Chim, as interpreted through the individual frames. These images can be seen alongside the magazines of the period in which they were published and with the photographers’ own contact notebooks.
The complete story is available on the ICP site.
All the rigging was cut to pieces, the masts damaged by a number of shot, the guns in the upper decks dismounted. I was wounded by a splinter….the Admiral [Villeneuve] ordered the few men remaining on the upper decks—they were now useless, having no guns left and no rigging to work, all being cut to pieces—to go below to the 24-pounder gundeck. The enemy ships appeared to leeeward of us; they were followed by the rest of the line…two 74s were on our beam, very close to windward, into whom we fired as vigorously as possible; the main and mizen masts fell, shot through and masked the starboard side, the colours were secured to the stump of the mainmast; the 24-pounder battery was totally dismounted and the 36-pounder battery had lost very many men, all the hands still able to serve were sent there; worked to clear away the masts from the ship so as to be able to make use of the 36-pounder battery…The ship, having only the foremast standing, fell away and broke her jib-boom against the Santissima Trinidad, they being very close together…an instant later our foremast fell…Our rigging completely dismanteld, totally mismasted, having lost all our men in the upper works, the 24-pounder battery entirely dismounted and abandoned…the starboard side masked by the masts; unable to defend ourselves, having nearly 450 men killed and wounded; not being supported by any ship…not even having a boat in which [the admiral] might put off [to shift his flag], all of them having been riddled with shot as well as the one which we had kept, covered before the battle, we were cut off in the midst of 5 enemy ships which were pouring a very hot fire into us. I went on deck again at the moment when Admiral Villeneuve was constrained to strike [surrender], to prevent the further slaughter of brave men without the power of retaliating, which was done after three and a quarter hours of the most furious action, nearly always at pistol range. The relics of the Eagle were thrown into the sea, as were also all the signals.
– Captain Jean-Jacques Magendie of the Bucentaure
From John Keegan’s seminal, masterful The Price of Admiralty.
Now that they’ve taken Dr. King off, it’s time to end this nonviolence bullshit.
– Stokely Carmichael
Stokely Carmichael was the youngest of the Freedom Riders in the summer of 1961, arrested for entering an “all white” cafeteria and disturbing the peace. He was nineteen years old.
I say you better get a gun. Violence is necessary—it is as American as cherry pie.
—H. Rap Brown
The only thing that’s going to free Huey is gun powder.
—H. Rap Brown
You see that honky [Robert] McNamara on television? He ain’t nothing but a racist. He says, “Yes, we are going to draft thirty percent of the Negroes in the Army. This is where they can have equal opportunity. Yeah. Yes? yes it’s true that they are only ten percent of the population, but this is a better chance for them.” When that honky talk about drafting thirty percent black people, he’s talking about black urban removal?nothing else.
I am inside someone who hates me. I look out from his eyes.
Alexandria is a stunning city and because of its layout, hard to encompass the its scale and sweep. It can feel like a provincial Mediterranean city at times with its fashionable boutiques and endless array of cafes. The French and Italian influence are strong here. In temperament, it is much more progressive and cosmopolitan than Cairo.
So much history has walked the shoreline here. Alexander the Great founded the city in 331 BC, the Greek architect Dinocrates receiving this project. Julius Caeser, Hadrian, Cleopatra, Napoleon; these are just some of the giants who have made their mark on this city.
The Italian architect Pietro Avoscani designed the Corniche, the promenade that runs the length of the waterfront. The seawall is build of these massive concrete blocks with rebar handles sticking out of them, most likely for the crane used in their original placement. The blocks and their handles give the feeling that the sea wall is nothing but the flotsam from some giant’s toy chest as the scale of these blocks is ginormous.
There are walkways underneath the actual shoreline road which I strongly recommend because there are not traffic lights on this thoroughfare for long stretches. And at night for some reason, most drivers choose not to turn on their headlights.
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