235 results for 'Anastasia '
Sunday was Remembrance Day in England, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the exact time the guns fell silent on the Western Front in 1918, bringing to an end an epic tragedy. The dead of two World Wars and all the wars that followed are commemorated every year on this date, our equivalent of Veterans Day. The last of our First World War veterans died a few years ago. This is a piece I wrote in his memory and the memory of so many others.
Harry Patch was our final living link with the First World War, perhaps the defining event of the last century. This man... (more)
Picture the scene. Two cars draw in to a busy parking lot. There is only one space. Tempers rise and angry words are followed by a violent confrontation. One bites hard into the other, tearing off a part of his anatomy. No sooner are they done than the biter tells the bitten to pick up the bloody flesh and put it in his pocket. Once safely back in his apartment he took it out. It was only then he realised that it was his right ear.
You may think this just another sad tale of modern life, just a tale of testosterone-filled young men in a silly territorial dispute, fighting over... (more)
The Tremor of Forgery is the first novel by Patricia Highsmith that I have ever read. It was this year’s main ‘holiday book’, taken with me to Tunisia for no better reason than it is set in Tunisia. I chose it, in other words, for precisely the same reason that I took Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile to Egypt last year.
Setting out on a review here is beset with uncertainty, a little like going on safari without a guide, a map or a compass. I simply have no landmarks, no basis for comparison. I certainly know of Highsmith’s work, her reputation as a writer of thrillers and crime... (more)
Have you ever heard of Jimmy Savile; has anyone beyond these British shores, I wonder, heard of Jimmy Savile? I expect most have not. He was one of those culturally specific products, a bit like lavatory humour and naughty seaside postcards, that does not travel all that well. I rather think most outsiders, particularly Americans, would be bemused by a man singularly lacking in talent, wit or charm who was turned bit by bit into that horror of horrors – a much loved national treasure.
Let me enlighten you. Savile, who died in October of last year, was a TV presenter and popular icon,... (more)
Has it never struck you as odd that the world’s oldest profession has no professional qualification? If doctors and lawyers, the second and third oldest, have recognised occupational standards why not prostitutes?
Well, yes, I know; the intuitive response must be - who needs this? Sex, after all, is the sort of thing that comes naturally. We all like to think we can do it, free of instruction, at least with a little, ahem, hands on practice. In prostitution practice surely makes perfect.
But this is all wrong; at least it is according to Trabajo Ya! (Work Now), a prostitution... (more)
A new spectre is haunting Poland…the spectre of spectres! Alas, no sooner had the country got rid of communism than an even greater danger has appeared - Halloween. Polish bishops recently urged worshippers to ignore the festival because it “promotes harmful and diabolical behaviour.”
The poor old prelates face a more dreadful challenge. The battle against communism was easy: there are no laughs in communism; there is no fun. There is lots of fun and laughs in Halloween, which makes the danger all the more diabolical. The archbishop of Warsaw, Kazimierz Nycz, said the festival went... (more)
Well, now, what can I tell you about Tunisia? Let me begin with one striking fact: Americans were notable by their total absence! I was there for over three weeks, travelling from place to place, and came across not a single Yank. I’m not saying that there were no American people in the country, just that I did not meet any.
This is the first time this has ever happened. I’ve travelled extensively across the globe and wherever I go, no matter how unusual or out of the way, there is always America. The absence of American citizens is not really that surprising given the fuss over... (more)
Dear readers, this will be the last Letter from Ana for a bit. I leave for Tunisia this coming Sunday and will be away for just over three weeks. I’m so looking forward to it, my third trip to North Africa, following Egypt last year and Morocco a few years before.
I simply love to travel; it’s in my blood. We had some wonderful vacations when I was a child, visiting quite a few unusual places. I’ve continued this family tradition. The more unusual the destination the better I like it. I’m not a travel snob, though; I’m as capable as most other people of doing touristy things and... (more)
With violent disturbances breaking out here and there across the Islamic world over The Innocence of Muslims, the YouTube video satirising Mohammed, I was sent a link to a report from Beirut concerning a protest rally, apparently the biggest to date. “Don’t insult our Prophet!”, the story was headed.
Yes, that’s all well and good; these people have a right to protest and a right to feel wounded by a perceived slight to the central figure of their faith. They have a right to feel angry at the film makers, just as some Christians, I feel sure, felt angry over Monty Python’s film The... (more)
I know: we are not used to it; we are not used to uncomfortable truths, especially in politics. We are more comfortable with dissimulation and hypocrisy. What else do we expect from a candidate for high office? Do we expect honesty? No, of course not; or at least that’s the conclusion I have to reach on the basis of the fuss that followed the latest Romney speak.
Do you know what he said at his fund-raiser or have you simply read comment on how awful he said what he said, sans the actual words? Well, then, let’s have a look, beginning with the big shocker, the forty-seven percenter:... (more)