Archive for January, 2009

Could you read 1,000 novels? (1)

January 23rd, 2009 by Roger Darlington

Over the last seven days, the “Guardian” newspaper has been publishing a series of guides which collectively recommend “1,000 novels everyone must read”. Now this is a strong injunction. Not 100 novels, but 1,000. Not that some people must read, but everyone. Not that one is recommended to read, but that one must read. But, […]

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Bartlet + Santos = Obama

January 22nd, 2009 by Roger Darlington

If you’re as massive a fan of the television series “The West Wing” as I am, you can’t help but think of President Barack Obama as a combination of the erudition and eloquence of President Jed Bartlet and the minority ethnicity and youth of President Matt Santos. Over the seven series of “The West Wing”, […]

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The Inauguration (2)

January 20th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

I watched the inauguration of Barack Obama live and felt that I was sharing in history. Amazingly he stumbled over his lines in the actual swearing of the oath of office, but he delivered his 20 minute inaugural speech flawlessly. You can see and read it here.

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The Inauguration (1)

January 20th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

Today worldwide only one story can be the top news item – the inauguration of America’s 44th and first black president. So, just a reminder …. I first blogged about Barack Obama on 12 April 2004 [see that posting here]. I blogged 11 times on the Illinois Senate race won by Obama on 4 November […]

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The death of Jan Palach

January 19th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

My late father-in-law was a Czech night fighter pilot in the Second World War known in the media at the time as the ‘Night Hawk’. That explains the title of this blog and why I’m interested in all things Czech. So I want to point out that today is the 40th anniversary of the death […]

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Obamamania hits the USA – and the world

January 18th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

A friend in the United States has e-mailed me as follows: “We’re all excited here about Obama’s inauguration. The security is incredible–expanded security zone around the Mall area, Virginia bridges closed to cars, bomb trucks, etc. But everyone understands why it is necessary. I’m staying out of town myself, but we’re doing a pre-inaugural party […]

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Weird science – the what and the why (2)

January 18th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

I have already done a brief posting on yesterday’s “Weird Science” event which I attended in London with three friends. One of those friends, the immensely thoughtful and knowledgeable Nick Hobson, crafted a report on the event for a mutual friend who could not make it. This account was too good not to share and, […]

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Weird science – the what and the why (1)

January 17th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

I’ve had a terrific day at the Conway Hall in central London attending an event called “Weird Science” organised by the Centre for Inquiry and the Ethical Society. Four very clever and entertaining speakers each had a one-hour slot: Richard Wiseman, former magician and now professor based at the University of Hertfordshire, discussed the psychology […]

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Would you like to have lived in the Middle Ages?

January 17th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

Not me – if I had any doubts, they would have been utterly dispelled by my reading of “Medieval Britain: A Very Short Introduction” [my review here]. It was a time of terrible social and personal turmoil: regular civil wars, endless conflicts with France; famine, disease and plague, domination of the Church, a preoccupation with […]

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Israel and The Gaza (3)

January 16th, 2009 by Roger Darlington

Earlier this week, I joined the audience for a recorded television debate headlined “What is to become of Gaza?”. The programme was shot as part of the Forum series for PressTV, an Iranian news network with a studio in Chiswick in London. The event was chaired by Labour Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn. The panel […]

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