The first thing the Nazi garrison on Vågsøy Island, Norway, would have heard when the British No. 3 Commando battalion landed on December 27, 1941 was the sudden blaring drone of bagpipes. One commando stood at the fore of the landing craft, facing the impending battle and playing the peppy, martial “March of the Cameron Men.” Upon coming to a halt onshore, the soldier jumped from the craft, hucked a grenade at the Germans, then drew a full sword and ran screaming into the fray.
That maniacally fierce soldier was 35-year-old Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, and his stunts at this battle, known as Operation Archery, were hardly the most bizarre and semi-suicidal of his life. Over the course of World War II, “Mad Jack,” as he came to be known, survived multiple explosions, escaped a couple of POW camps, captured over 40 Germans at sword point in just one raid, and in 1940 scored the last recorded longbow kill in history. And that’s just the CliffsNotes on his wartime rap sheet.
For many war junkies and badass aficionados, Mad Jack’s exploits are the epitome of military romanticism. His recorded statements, full of swagger like, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” and, “I maintain that, as long as you tell a German loudly and clearly what to do, if you are senior to him he will cry ‘jawohl’ and get on with it enthusiastically and efficiently,” seem like the physical manifestation of some mid-century boy’s adventure tale. The Royal Norwegian Explorers Club found him such a paragon of brawn and endeavor that, in a book released this March, they named him one of the greatest adventurers of all time.
Not much is known about Churchill’s youth, save that he graduated from Britain’s premier Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1926 and, at age 20, was shipped off to Burma, where he spent the next few years driving his motorcycle around the region. Possibly bored by a long peacetime, Churchill left the army for a period in 1936 and spent some time as a Nairobi newspaper editor, male model, and a bagpipe-playing, arrow-shooting extra in films like The Thief of Baghdad and A Yank at Oxford. By the end of the decade, he’d become so obsessed with the pipes that he took second place in a 1938 military piping competition at the Aldershot Tattoo, causing a mild scandal because an Englishman had beat out so many Scots. The next year, his archery habit landed him a place as Britain’s shooter at the World Archery Championship in Oslo.
As soon as the Nazis invaded Poland and war became imminent, though, Churchill rushed to the battlefield. The longbow came out almost immediately during the Allied retreat to Dunkirk, France, in mid 1940. He took to practicing guerilla tactics, staging raids, and earning commendations for his bravery, even surviving a clipping by machine gun fire. Then, while watching a German force advance from a tower in the little village of L’Epinette, Churchill signaled his attack by shooting a Nazi sergeant through the chest with a barbed arrow, immediately followed by a hail of bullets from two fellow infantrymen in tow.
The VICE Guide to Pizza
After originating in the Mediterranean in the 1800s, the round pie we call pizza became a global sensation post-World War II. Just about every nation in the world has their version of this versatile dish. The genius of pizza is that it’s infinitely adaptable. Everyone has their preferences and unique predilections. Cultures put their own spin on pizza, but it’s all equal… or is it?
A restaurant in Canada created the world’s most expensive pizza just this month. For $450, you can get a white truffle pie with lobster thermidor, black Alaskan cod, smoked salmon, tiger prawns, and Russian Osetra caviar. It probably tastes like licking the crotch of a track suit after a marathon, but the Dr. Frankensteins who invented this monstrosity are able to call their dish “pizza” because their stupid ingredients are on a round disc made of dough. I refuse to stand for that.
It’s time that we as a society put our foot down and set some guidelines for what is and isn’t pizza. We’ve assembled an A-Z list of the most important aspects of pizza culture and SPOILER ALERT: none of them include fucking caviar.
This is the witching hour when it comes to pizza. While pizza definitely has its moments at dinner and during the wee hours of the morning when you’re plastered, it really shines due to its ubiquitous presence at after-school extracurricular activities. Whether it’s post-soccer game or during a study session for final exams, pizza absolutely dominates this time slot. We haven’t seen numbers like this since Cheers in its heyday. In fact, if it weren’t for pizza at practice, math-letes all across the nation would starve to death.
Honorable Mentions: Anchovies, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, artichokes, anal leakage
Whoever says Bigfoot isn’t real doesn’t remember Pizza Hut’s contribution to the world of cryptozoology. In the 90s, Pizza Hut introduced “The Bigfoot.” This gargantuan pizza was one foot wide and two feet long. Initially popular, it was quickly discontinued. Although there are some who say the beast is still out there…
The giant, square pizza was something of a mini-trend in the 90s. Domino’s had the Dominator, which didn’t last long. Even Little Caesar’s had one called “Big! Big!" This was also discontinued, and not just because of the stunning lack of creativity in the pizza’s name.
Honorable Mentions: BBQ chicken, Book-It, breadsticks
Like revenge, pizza is a dish best served cold. Eating your pizza cold not only tastes great, but is fast and easy. Sure the crust isn’t as snappy and the pepperoni now has the consistancy of an unused condom, but the congealed cheese is the secret weapon of the leftover slice. The magic of cold pizza cheese is not something I even want to understand. Telling me why it’s good is like telling me how babies are made. WHO CARES, DUDE? I just wish there was a stork that delivered cold pizza to my house.
Honorable Mentions: CiCi’s Pizza, crust-first, coupons, CPK
Your parents sit you down and tell you that they still love each other. It isn’t your fault, but they’re going to start spending time apart. You know what that means? Twice a month you’re going to get to order whatever toppings you want! Thank God your dad can’t cook for shit. True love is a lie, and you’re reaping all the benefits. Hey, maybe if your family spent more time eating a nice home-cooked meal around the table instead of inhaling pizza in front of the TV you wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. Ah, it’s a vicious cycle. A delicious, vicious cycle.
Honorable Mentions: Deep dish, dessert pizza, delivery, DiGiorno