The Weekender is your guide and open thread for the weekend, presented by the fine folks at Viva The Matadors. Things to quote, read, look, watch, and listen to for the weekend. Let's do this.
This weekend, we discuss: The French Foreign Legion as the men that join go there to disappear or die. The beautiful photos of thunder storms and time lapse of thunder storms. And the foot-tapping music of Rodrigo & Gabriela.
J. Woodhall Marshall (via The Hard Truth About the Foreign Legion):
The Legion is the strangest thing ever thought up in the mind of man. In my room…there is myself, an Irishman; and my next neighbour is an American; and the other inhabitants include an ex-officer of [a] So. American Republic, who came specially over…for the war, and is my greatest friend, a Dutch solicitor, a Russian Jew, three Cossacks, two Italians, a student from a Russian university, an Englishman who has always been resident in Paris and can hardly speak English, a Spaniard, and other mysterious individuals whose identity is absolutely hid.
Oh my, this was really eye-opening. The French Foreign Legion is one of those things that I’ve known about, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen it in cartoons, but never really understood what it was or what it is today. Thank you to Vanity Fair where you have a long and incredibly detailed look into the history of the French Foreign Legion and the current state (via Vanity Fair).
The Legion’s radical composition, its physical isolation, and its very lack of patriotic purpose turned out to be the attributes that have molded it into an unusually resolute fighting force. An idea grew up inside the Legion that meaningless sacrifice is itself a virtue—if tinged perhaps by tragedy. A sort of nihilism took hold. In 1883, in Algeria, a general named François de Négrier, addressing a group of legionnaires who were leaving to fight the Chinese in Indochina, said, in loose translation, "You! Legionnaires! You are soldiers meant to die, and I am sending you to the place where you can do it!" Apparently the legionnaires admired him. In any case, he was right. They died there, and also in various African colonies for reasons that must have seemed unimportant even at the time. Then came the First World War and a return to France, where 5,931 legionnaires lost their lives. During the interwar period, with the Legion having returned to North Africa, Hollywood caught on and produced two Beau Geste movies, which captured the exoticism of Saharan forts and promoted a romantic image that has boosted recruiting ever since. Immediately after World War II, which claimed 9,017 of its men, the Legion went to war in Indochina, where it lost more than 10,000. Recently, near Marseille, an old legionnaire told me about a lesson he learned as a young recruit, when a veteran sergeant took a moment to explain dying to him. He said, "It’s like this. There is no point in trying to understand. Time is unimportant. We are dust from the stars. We are nothing at all. Whether you die at age 15 or 79, in a thousand years there is no significance to it. So f#@k off with your worries about war."
As I grow older, the more I hate huge thunderstorms. Seriously, I can remember being in law school in Tulsa and not really thinking anything about them, just grabbing a six pack and head into the basement with a few cold brews and wait it out. Now, I sit up, worry about whether or not my family and I need to take cover and all of that stuff. It’s amazing how that perspective changes, at least for me. So, here are some terrifying and beautiful photos of storms The Jaw-Dropping Photography of Storm Chaser Mike Hollingshead.
Storms, of course. Storms
There’s no back story as to why I’m posting this other than I think these two are incredibly talented, Rodrigo & Gabriela. According to our friends at Wikipedia, they are from Mexico City, but got their start in Dublin, Ireland, of all places. It’s instrumental guitar and it’s really fast paced, but I love it. Most of this stuff is stuff that I work to while writing.