Archive for March, 2021

A review of the classic novel “All The King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren

March 31st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This 660-page work, published in 1946, is a classic example of the great American novel. Indeed it won the Pulitzer Prize and is often rated as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It has twice been made into a film: first in 1949 (winning the Academy Award for Best Picture) and much […]

Posted in Cultural issues | Comments (0)

How does the current global pandemic compare with the influenza pandemic of 1918?

March 30th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The influenza pandemic is usually called the Spanish flu. However, it was only called that because it came to the attention of the media more in Spain since this country was neutral and had a freer media than the Great War combatant nations of Britain, France and Germany where the flu was initially prevalent. We […]

Posted in History, Science & technology | Comments (0)

Joe Biden could well become a truly transformational president

March 27th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Supporters of Joe Biden’s primary challenger Bernie Sanders were convinced that he was too moderate; Biden was branded as ‘Sleepy Joe’ by his presidential opponent Donald Trump; and even many of his supporters thought that he would would Obama Mark 2, that is decent but cautious even conservative. But, after only a couple of months […]

Posted in American current affairs | Comments (0)

How I survived a year of lockdowns in this crazy year of a global pandemic

March 23rd, 2021 by Roger Darlington

As soon as the breakout of Covid-19 in Wuhan became news, I was following events there with great interest, not least because I have visited the city twice [some notes here]. Then, exactly a year ago today, Britain went into its first national lockdown. I noted in my diary: “Although this was widely expected and […]

Posted in My life & thoughts | Comments (2)

A review of the new film “Judas And The Black Messiah”

March 21st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is a true story set in Chicago in the late 1960s. This was an especially terrible time to be a protestor – particularly a black protestor – in the United States as previously set out in films like “Detroit” and “The Trial Of The Chicago 7”. In this case, the messiah is the Chairman […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

When is a majority not enough – or will the Democrats abolish (or at least amend) the filibuster?

March 19th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

So the Democrats in the United States now hold the White House with Joe Biden and have a majority in the House of Representatives and a majority in the Senate (once Vice-President Kamala Harris uses her casting vote). So they should be able to progress their large and radical agenda, right? If only American politics […]

Posted in American current affairs | Comments (0)

10 years of death, destitution and devastation in the Syrian civil war

March 15th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

On 9 March 2011, I passed from Syria into Lebanon after a week touring the main sights of Syria. Just six days later and exactly ten years ago today, the Syrian civil war began – although, at the time, the first protests were barely reported and nobody would have imagined the resultant scale and duration […]

Posted in World current affairs | Comments (0)

A review of “21 Lessons For The 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari (2018)

March 14th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Harari is an Israeli academic specialising in world history who is best-known for his books “Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind” and “Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow”. I have not read these earlier works but I understand that his latest book reworks many of the themes of his previous writing and indeed he […]

Posted in Cultural issues | Comments (0)

Word of the day: biome

March 13th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

A biome is a collection of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. Biome is a broader term than habitat; any biome can comprise a variety of habitats. I confess that I had never heard this word […]

Posted in Environment | Comments (0)

The meaning of life – according to Yuval Noah Harari (and me)

March 12th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

I’ve just finished reading “21 Lessons For The 21st Century” by the Israeli writer Yuval Noah Harari. The penultimate chapter – by far the longest – addresses perhaps the most important of existential questions: what is the meaning of life? First, he addresses a popular story told for thousands of years which explains that “we […]

Posted in Cultural issues, My life & thoughts | Comments (2)