grunt • n. informal a low-ranking soldier At a converted movie studio amputee actors prepare army medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds, while at a base in East Africa diarrhoea threatens national security. Beyond weapons and strategy, this is about the other side of war – how scientists protect soldiers from panic, exhaustion, heat and noise. Setting about her task with infectious enthusiasm, the incomparable Mary Roach sniffs archival World War II stink bombs, tests earplugs in a simulated war zone with the Marine Corps and burns the midnight oil with the sleep-deprived crew of a nuclear submarine. Speaking to the scientists and the soldiers, she learns about everything from life-changing medical procedures such as testicular transplants to more esoteric innovations like firing dead chickens at fighter jets. Engrossing, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, Grunt is an irresistible ride to the wilder shores of modern military life.
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When Anne, a travel reporter, goes to Willow, it is for the purpose of collecting ideas from a small southern town for a novel she plans to write. Instead, she finds people who fascinate her and a man who falls in love with her. Willow is a sleepy town, especially on Wednesdays, which seems to be the day when most events happen that summer and fall.
Teased by his older siblings about his appearance and tiny squeal, a little piggy finds acceptance with an equally odd-looking companion who teaches him to celebrate his differences and recognize that others will appreciate his uniqueness, too.
There is another four-letter word associated with work: life. Beyond providing us with a means to live and survive it can be a key, as Freud noted, to self-esteem, self-identity and how we value life. Now, "Dr. Siggie" nor I believe that work can only be satisfying if you make a ton of money or become famous and powerful. Rather, what "Herr Doktor" was getting at, I believe, was do you love what you do to earn a living? If so, then you've achieved one of the key components of wellbeing. But this philosophical tenet raises a basic question: If you love your work is it really work? An equally troubling question: Conversely, for those people who dislike their jobs, are they justified in disliking life and themselves?
THE INVASION IS OVER. THEY ARE ALREADY AMONGST US. Benjamin Carter Mason died last night. Maybe he threw himself off a bridge into Los Angeles Harbor, or maybe he burned to death in a house fire in San Pedro; it doesn’t really matter. Today, Mason’s starting a new life. He’s back in boot camp, training for the only war left that matters a damn. For years, their spies have been coming to Earth, learning our weaknesses. Our governments knew, but they did nothing—the prospect was too awful, the costs too high—and now, the horrifying and utterly inhuman Cray are laying waste to our cities. The human race is a heartbeat away from extinction. That is, unless Mason, and the other men and women of Task Force OMBRA, can do anything about it. This is a time for heroes. For killers. For Grunts.