235 results for 'Anastasia '
It’s December 1862, the last day of the year. The American Civil War has been underway for more than a year and a half with no decisive breakthrough. In Tennessee, in the western theatre, the Union and Confederate armies gather late in the evening, ready to do battle the following day in the Stones River Valley around the small town of Murfreesboro.
Camped only a few hundred yards apart, the soldiers shout defiance at each other, urged on by their bands, the Northerners playing such songs as Yankee Doodle and Hail, Columbia, the Southerners responding with a barrage of Dixie and The... (more)
Dear Mister President,
You will recall that you opened your first term of office with an overture, as you put it, to the ‘Islamic Republic’ of Iran. Let’s be friends, you said, offering the ‘Islamic Republic’ your hand. That same hand, as I’m sure you know, was bitten by the 'Islamic Republic' dog. With you it is not a case of once bitten twice shy; for the hand is being extended once again. You have offered direct talks with the growling mongrels in Teheran.
Let’s have a look a little more closely at the ‘Islamic Republic’. Yes, Mister President, why don’t you look a little... (more)
Once again I’ve been back to Middle Earth. What a delight it was to arrive in The Shire in times BLR - before Lord of the Rings; what a delight it was to see Bilbo in his youth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
This is not a movie review. All I will say is that The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien’s slender prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has itself been padded out into a trilogy, of which An Unexpected Journey is the first part. Bilbo’s journey is thus considerably longer than expected. The yarn has been spun out, unnecessarily so, some might conclude.
No, it’s not... (more)
I feel ashamed. Late last month I was loosely aware that some horrible crime had been committed against a woman in Delhi, the capital of India. But I looked no closer. I was too full of the joys of life. I was getting ready to host a party in London; I was looking forward to a family Christmas in the country; I was preparing for my annual skiing holiday. What was happening in my own life was more important than what had happened to some unknown female in a place as far away as Delhi.
I’m now back to reality, my eyes wide open. I now know exactly what happened to this twenty-three... (more)
Has a year really gone past? It seems no time at all since last Christmas. Time is relative, of course. I can still remember when the intervals between one festive season and another seemed like an eternity. Now the chariot of Chronos, the god of time, is speeding up, a sign, I take it, that I am getting older, now over a quarter century!
Christmas, Yule Tide, the Winter Solstice, call it what you will, I love the whole season. It’s the time when I am at my most reactionary, when my love for continuity, tradition and the past becomes strongest. It’s a time when Christian and Pagan unite... (more)
I’m a Norman! Yes, a Norman, and doubly so, for my surname combines Fitzgerald and Beaumont, both of Norman-French origin. Fitzgerald comes from fils de Gérald, meaning son of Gerald, and Beaumont from beautiful mound. My history is the history of England, though one would never guess as the Normans in popular culture are more often bad than good, the heroes being Anglo-Saxon, people like Hereward the Wake and Robin Hood. They are not my people; they are not my heroes: I’m Norman and proud!
So, what brought this on, you may wonder? Simply this: I watched The Normans, a three part historical... (more)
This is the most difficult article I’ve ever written. In the face of the appalling tragedy in Connecticut it’s almost impossible to find the right words. I love words but sometimes they are so inadequate. Here it might be said that respectful silence is the only response, silence and sorrow in silence.
But others are speaking and some are shouting, bawling almost. I raise my voice in a perfect storm, knowing that I’m unlikely to be heard, or if heard I am likely to be misunderstood. Just about every report I’ve read about the mass shootings last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School in... (more)
I’m really looking forward to 21 December. It’s Yule, the Winter Solstice, one of the main Wiccan sabbats, right at the top of the wheel of the year. After Samhain – Halloween – it’s my personal favourite. It falls this year on a Friday. I have a party planned, all the better because mother and father will be away for the weekend. My close friends and associated hangers-on will be there. I’m taking lots of trouble over the food and the drink. For me it is the best or nothing.
Alas, I fear that I am wasting my money and my time. As I pointed out here recently (The Last Three Weeks),... (more)
England is turning towards the Dark Side! Details of the 2011 census, published today, reveal that the number of people who identify themselves as ‘Jedi Knights’ has fallen by more than half since the census of 2001. The Force, sad to say, is weakening, with a mere 176, 632 classifying their religion as Jedi compared to over 330,000 light sabre wielders ten years ago. Master Yoda, noting the trend, said “Concerning, this is. Look for the Sith Lord, we must.”
Yes, indeed, the trend is alarming, though it is encouraging to note that Jedi still tops the “alternative faith” stakes, only... (more)
Aldous Huxley’s 1931 novel Brave New World is, depending on your point of view, a description of a soulless technocratic nightmare or a prescription for a far more rational society. Personally I’m inclined to the latter. What a good idea it would be to control the world’s population. What a good idea genetic engineering would be. How much happier we would all be as citizens of the World State. The lower castes, the Betas, the Gammas, the Deltas and the Epsilons, all created in decanting bottles to be of lower intelligence, would be content in their modest and mediocre lives.