Category Archives: readings

On Battleship Hill

Marsaxlokk-Jabal Ali; On Military Logistics in the Age of Philip II 4 February 2015 What becomes clear in reading Braudel’s vol II about war-making is the extent to which your martial power really depends on your economic ability to supply … Continue reading

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Maritime Marriages

I have had the pleasure of reading Fernand Braudel’s The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (Vol. II) while in Malta.  When I first searched for Malta in the index, I was so pleased to see … Continue reading

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Benjamin’s grim writing on Marseille

Marseilles Walter Benjamin The street . . . the only valid field of experience. – Andre Breton Marseilles-the yellow-studded maw of a seal with salt water running out between the teeth. When this gullet opens to catch the black and brown proletarian … Continue reading

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Stand-Up Beer Hall

Stand-Up Beer Hall Walter Benjamin Sailors seldom come ashore ; service on the high seas is a holiday by comparison with the labour in harbours, where loading and unloading must often be done day and night. When a gang is then given a … Continue reading

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Pulp fictions

pulp fiction   n. fiction of a style characteristic of pulp magazines; sensational, lurid, or popular fiction. 1928   Decatur (Ill.) Herald 10 Aug. 6/5   Wood-pulp fiction commands a price of two—sometimes three—cents a word (The Oxford English Dictionary) I sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, Middle East, oil, readings, war | 1 Comment

Pirates Pirates Pirates

They are EVERYWHERE!  Here is Michael Dirda writing about campy pirates: Many [film pirates] are also distinctly camp. The first pirate most of us encounter is Captain Hook, who, as played by Cyril Ritchard in the Mary Martin version of Peter … Continue reading

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By the Sea

A truly beautiful book, Abdulrazak Gurnah’s By the Sea is full of quiet insight about leaving home, about families, about illegal immigration, and about malice.  It has a brilliant humour.  Here is a bit about  a madrasa, a chuoni on the … Continue reading

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Hitching a lift on a US aircraft carrier

The Super Hornet bombers that dropped 8 500-pound JDAM bombs on Islamic State forces in Iraq had flown from the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush, afloat in the Persian Gulf.  It is one among at least 5 Navy ships and 3 ships … Continue reading

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The docks as a non-place

Francisco Goldman and Jean-Claude Izzo speak to each other through their respective novels, The Ordinary Seaman and The Lost Sailors.  Both are stories about waiting in the docks, literally, in a floating metal tub full of holes.  Both tell stories within stories … Continue reading

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Rime of mariners ancient or modern

I think I read the Rime of the Ancient Mariner some years ago when i was young, but like a great many great works of literature, it is a poem that is wasted on the youth.  Its sense of regret, loss, … Continue reading

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