Archive | December 2012

‘Auld Lang Syne’: The Only Proper Way That English Speaking Folks Should Herald In The New Year. Period.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>>
Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve Scottish Style) … — Dec. 29, 2012.


Click to listen to this magical song in its traditional Scottish form from YouTube.

Click to listen to this magical song in its traditional Scottish form from YouTube.

The correct way to do ‘Auld Lang Syne’ with the mandatory crossed hands (symbolizing the crossing of your heart).

Robbie Burns, The Man.


In my 27 years of living in the U.S., I have always been amazed, each New Year’s Eve as to how little respect is payed in this country to ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ the time honored means in nearly all other English speaking countries of ushering in the New Year.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, you hear it every once in awhile. But, they play it at the wrong time and most people don’t know the necessity to cross hands (as shown above).

Auld Lang Syne‘ should not be played at 11:30 pm, as they most likely will do at ‘First Night‘ in Wolfeboro tonight, as they did last year. That guts it of its meaning and significance. ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ is meant to be sung as midnight strikes. Yes, Wolfeboro, if they understood it, could play in on a PA system as their (small) ball drops. The fireworks should wait.

In my limited experience, people in New Hampshire are too reserved to really DO New Year’s Eve with gusto. I have done one New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. I think it was 1998-1999. Yes, the spirit and party there is more akin to what you get across most of Europe. I have never done Times Square. As far as I know, Times Square is supposed to be ‘dry’. Not sure whether you can really do New Year’s Eve, European style, without booze. Anyway this is my small contribution towards trying to popularize this magical, evocative New Years Eve ‘hymn’.

Enjoy. Happy New Year.

AuldLangwords

The ONLY Worthwhile New Year’s Resolution For 2013: Befriend Your Brain.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


befriendbrain
If you have, in prior years, had problems living up to your New Year’s resolutions it is probably because you hadn’t as yet made friend of your brain!

If you think about it any and all New Year’s resolutions require cooperation from your brain. You may refer to it as ‘will power‘, ‘commitment‘, ‘strength‘ or whatever, but in the end, as with each and everything we do, it is our brain that is in control. Though we don’t think about it in those terms, we are but our brain. Our body, including our heart, are parts of an intricate machine totally and utterly controlled by our brain.

If you think about it, our brain is remarkably undemanding, unobtrusive and self-effacing. And that is a problem. Many of us are more aware of our bladder than our brain.

If you already talk to your brain on a daily basis (and talking to your brain is very different than talking to yourself), at least three to four times a day, you can ignore this post and this New Year’s resolution. You have befriended your brain. Congratulations. Enjoy.

If you, everyday of the year, without exception, tell yourself, quite forcefully, ‘THINK‘, at least five times a day, you definitely are on the right track. Rather than ordering your brain to think, curry favor with it by making it your friend, and doing the thinking together.

Yes, though I know that it definitely is not the case, and that I am my brain, I treat my brain, or a visualization of it, as a separate entity. No I don’t have a name for it. It is just my brain. It knows who it is when I talk to it.



I started talking to my brain 41 years ago, when I was around 18 (and was at University studying computer technology). I have to tell you that the brain is not easy to befriend. It can be aloof, but you can’t blame it given that you have ignored it, taken it for granted, for so long. But, once you start talking to your brain, on a daily basis, without fail, at least four, five times a day, it will start warming up to you. It might take a year or more. But, don’t despair. You have nothing to lose and so, so much to gain. The other thing is that it isn’t like meditation, yoga or running up a hill. You can easily talk to your brain while doing something else. Start by doing so while your brushing your teeth. If you are looking in a mirror, it might even make it easier. Look at yourself but try to get in touch with your brain. You can talk to your brain while walking, exercising, driving or just before falling asleep.

Aahhh! One of the rewards of befriending your brain is that it will allow you to think, actually solve defined problems, while you sleep. Here is a real example — read the 3rd paragraph. I have been able to think in my sleep for 40 years. At first, as a computer programmer, I would use this ability to solve and refine programming issues. As I was falling asleep I would describe to my friend, my brain, what I was trying to solve. I would then drift off to sleep. When I wake up I would, in my brain, have the equivalent of sticky notes. A series of solutions. I could peel them off my brain and evaluate each one in turn during the day. You have all heard the expressions ‘let me sleep on it‘ or ‘it came to be in my sleep‘. So we all know that we can think in our sleep. All I did was formalize it.

There is an added bonus for being able to think in your sleep. It is not something you need to do each and every night. These days I rarely ask my friend to do any thinking while I sleep. So what happens on those nights when my friend is free to indulge in his own stuff. ‘He’ essentially crafts intricate movies for my entertainment! I can’t remember the last time I have had a nightmare, a bad dream or a scare in my dreams. Remember dreams are all the creation of your brain. Period. Dreams are your brains interacting with you. Once you have befriended your brain, just like any good friend, ‘he’ tries to entertain you. These nights as I fall asleep I look forward to the movie that I will get treated to.

There are two other tangible benefits of befriending your brain, though I will tell you up front, that the efficacy of the first wanes with age, as the brain, alas, does get less efficient. But, the first one, and this is awesome when you are in your 20s, 30s and early 40s, is that you can ask your brain to THINK FASTER — and just like putting your foot down on a decent sports car, you will actually FEEL your brain functioning faster. I kid you not. OK, maybe it runs in the family, and I will talk about that in subsequent posts. I am doing this post at the behest of my 20 year old son, Matthew Gordon, a Junior at Wheaton (MA) studying English and hoping to be a lawyer. Matthew and my eldest daughter, Danielle (23), take after their paternal grandfather, my father. They are both intellectuals, much smarter than me. I started talking about this topic last weekend, while they were here for an early Christmas. Matthew immediately understood what I was talking about. He too could relate to being able to tell his brain to ‘think faster’ and have it respond. He plays chess at a very high level, and uses this capability when playing. I used to use it at meetings — and in my life, I had to attend a lot of high power meetings where you really had to think on your feet.

The second thing you can do is to ask your friend, your brain, to do thinking in the background. Yes, it is akin to thinking in your sleep, but this is doing it while you are awake and relying on your brain to do other thinking. So, basically, once you have befriended it, you can use your brain like what it really is — a super computer. It will do foreground and background processing, while in addition taking care of all of the other functions you rely on it for, like breathing, seeing, hearing, smelling, walking etc.



So, here is what you have to do in terms of this
New Year’s Resolution
.

Starting January 1, 2013, you need to talk to your brain, pleasantly and with conviction, at least 5 times a day. Just saying ‘Hi, brain, how are you doing?‘ is fine, to begin with. You just need to acknowledge your brain and be very aware of it. Your brain will appreciate it. It will warm up to you. So for the next few weeks, while brushing your teeth, or even urinating, have a short, but meaningful, interaction with your brain. Tell it ‘good night‘ when you are going to sleep. Trust me, you will reap dividends, manifold.



We Visited The New Hampshire State House In Concord. Part I (of many to come)

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

Yes, this is the impressive, iconic, white edifice with the ever shining gold dome, completed in 1819 and now having the distinction of being the oldest state house in the U.S. where the legislature still meets in the original chamber. [Some simplify that to say that it has the oldest ‘working’ chamber.] Our visit was for home-schoolers. It was organized by the same lady that arranged the equally successful and rewarding trip to the UNH ‘Know the Coast‘ day in October. It was originally going to be on Thursday, but got postponed till Friday because of the Nor’easter. We had to be there at 10 am. We had to first shovel the drive again and clear up the approach to the mailbox before we could leave. Since it was a ‘holiday’ parking wasn’t a problem and we parked right behind the State House, at a meter, with six quarters for 2 hours.

We lucked out in multiple ways. There were only three families the group just met the minimum 10 requirement for a guided tour. Furthermore, though their was another tour at the same time for a troop of boy scouts, we got the Director of the State House Visitor’s Center, Virginia Drew. She was good. She has been doing this for 12 years. She was knowledgeable, engaging, friendly and very helpful.

I was surprised how ‘open’ the State House is. I know it is the people’s house, but it was different. You just walk in. Everybody was ultra friendly. It was a good visit, a good tour. I was impressed. It was my first time. Devanee had gone with her school in Grade 4, as is the norm. Deanna had never been, and neither had Teischan. I am going to go again. See NH government in action. That we know a few legislators will make it even more fun. We got to see where Senator Andrew Hosmer will be sitting. Teischan even tried it out.


Click to ENLARGE.

New Hampshire Governor's Office, State House, with the Christmas trimmings.

Governor’s Office with the Christmas trimmings.

NH House Senate Chamber.

Teischan getting a one-on-one from our tour guide, the Director of the Visitor’s Center, Virginia Drew — in the Senate Chamber.

Virginia Drew with Barak Obama

That is our guide, Virginia Drew, the Director of the Visitor’s Center with one of the many visitors that call in. She is the one on the right.

Anura Guruge December 28 2012 at the New Hampshire State House

Trying out one of the tall chairs at the back of the Senatorial Chamber. It was very comfortable.

Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve Scottish Style) in New Hampshire.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>>
Boxing Day In New Hampshire … — Dec. 23, 2012.
>> Wolfeboro, NH, ‘First Night’ Celebrations New Year’s Eve 2012 …
>>Nov. 29, 2012.


I have talked about ‘Hogmanay‘ once or twice before on this blog, given that it is a holiday that I am very fond of. Yes, it is a New Year’s Eve bash, but it is one done with gusto, passion, lots of music, some bagpipes if you are lucky and of course, lots of booze, with single malts coming into play at some point. Yes, it definitely helps if you are dark haired, or even better have black hair and a dark complexion — now that chimney sweeps are hard to find. Yes, there is a lovely Scottish tradition that says that associating with dark people at hogmanay bring you luck for the coming year. It originated with chimney sweeps, but now it applies to all darkies (like me). I used to get invited up to Glasgow in Scotland for hogmanay. I had a friend, who died last year, who was a big wheel in every sense in Scotland, who booked an entire hotel for the night of December 31st so that his friends could celebrate hogmanay in style. At midnight women would line up to be kissed by the darkies …

I am surprised that there aren’t many, if any, hogmanay parties in NH given the crowds that attend the annual Scottish Highland Games at Loon. There are 2 to 3 hogmanay style Scottish dinners at the local hotels on Friday and Saturday night during the games. I would have thought that they would try and do a proper hogmanay party along similar lines. All you need is a couple of Scottish musicians and hopefully a few bagpipers.

I did find one event labelled as such in NH, but it is at a church and it finishes way before midnight.

Click to access.

Click to access.

Next year, when all have recovered from any and all hangovers from this year’s celebration I am going to start talking to various people about extending their event to include some elements of hogmanay.

Check the list of U.K. holidays I posted before Christmas. In Scotland both January 1 & 2 are holidays, the second day a must to recover from the first footing of New Year’s.

Happy New Year. May you be showered with all that is best in life in 2013.

Hogamany in Edinburgh. Click to access article in a Scottish newspaper.

Another New Year’s Eve 2012 Option In NH: Santa’s Village, Partybation, In Jefforson, NH.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Wolfeboro, NH, ‘First Night’ Celebrations … Nov. 29, 2012.
2.
Á
ine Minogue, Harpist, At Wolfeboro,‘First Night’ … — Nov. 30, 2012.
3. Portsmouth, NH Also Has A ‘First Night’ … — Dec. 7, 2012.
4. New Year’s Eve: Currier Museum … For Kids — Dec. 15, 2012.



I continue to be on the lookout for New Year’s Eve 2012 celebration opportunities in NH beyond those that I have already discussed, that are taking place in: Wolfeboro, Manchester and Portsmouth.

I found another. Santa’s Village, Partybation, in Jefferson, NH. It looks interesting.

I have only been to Santa’s Village once, and that was 2 years ago. I was surprised by how far it was. Beautiful ride, but ‘WoW’. It was like an hour beyond ‘Story Land‘ in Jackson. If I was up there, I might consider the drive. Plus, I know that there are a lot of adults, thanks to fond childhood memories of the place, who love going there. So, this might be an option for them. It is $27 for adults. Seems a tad on the high side given the location. Plus it does not go on until midnight. Finishes at 9pm. So most folks will be on the road at midnight! But, here is a sneak preview.

SantaVillage2012NY

Click to access the Santa’s Village Website with the details.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012 Close To Being Sold Out In Concord, NH.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….
by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
¤ Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012: Fruity, Tangy
… A Keeper. A Winner — Nov. 15, 2012.
¤ Beaujolais Nouveau 2012: At NH Liquor Stores, Nov. 15, $9.99
Nov. 14, 2012.
¤ Beaujolais Nouveau 2012: Review By Professional Close To My Assessment
Nov. 16, 2012.


I was visiting the ‘small’ (auxiliary) NH Liquor Store on Fort Eddy Road, Concord, NH, this afternoon and as is my wont of late checked on the price and availability of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012.

Kind of bad news for us on both fronts, but good news for Georges Duboeuf and the NH Liquor stores. The price is still $9.99 (with no discounts in sight) and they only have 3 bottles left. I talked to the manager. Per him that is all they have. So we are unlikely to see it get discounted in January. Most likely those three bottles, prominently placed at the front of the store, will get swept up in the New Year’s Eve buying binge.

At the Market Basket, 3 doors down on the same mall, they had 9 bottles left, again at $9.99. Those were on the ground, next to the main aisle. I am surprised they have not got kicked. Given their location, they may last a bit longer unless somebody runs into them with their cart.

I am sure that you will be able to find a few bottles here and there into 2013, especially online. Plus, there are other labels too.

But, this is just a heads up. Supplies are running out. If you fancy another bottle or haven’t had a bottle as yet, I would do my best to pick one up this weekend. There might be more bottles left at supermarkets as opposed to the Liquor Stores.

Enjoy. It was a good year.

Happy New Year. Hear is to Beaujolais Nouveau 2013. May it be another cracker.

Over A Foot Of Snow In Alton, NH (At Least So At 660′ Elevation) From The December 27, 2012 Nor’easter

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Christmas 2012 In Alton, New Hampshire (NH): A Brown Christmas?
>>Dec. 24, 2012.

>> White Christmas 2012 In New Hampshire — Dec. 25, 2012.


I have seen more snow than this, but not in 2012 (as far as I can recall). It was a fair chunk. Well over a foot, more in the wind drifts, e.g., our back deck, and even more where the Alton’s ever friendly snow plow drivers try to bury us in. We are half way up Prospect Mountain, in Alton. Our altitude, above sea level, is about 660′. That makes a big difference. We get a few inches more than the folks who are a few hundred feet lower.

Click on any of the pictures to ENLARGE them.




These were taken on Christmas Day 2012 when we had a small amount of snow.


My Humor: “Climax Plug” Chewing Tobacco By Lorillard Really Tickled My Fancy.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related background post:
>> Where I Get My Irreverent Sense Of Humor — It Is A Very British Thing
>>..Nov. 30, 2012.


A couple of months ago, on one of my rare visits to the Alton public library I picked up a bunch of old ‘Mental Floss‘ magazines that they were giving away. I had never heard of the magazine and the title alone intrigued me. They did, to my joy, live up to their name. Their content certainly stimulates what is inside the cranium in rather atypical manner, much of it consistent with my very irreverent sense of humor. Deanna liked them too and kept on stealing the copy I would be reading. She liked it so much that when she next visited the library (with the kids, which is usually why we go there) she went looking for more copies. Since the early copies I had picked up were a few years old, I had just, unjustly it would appear, assumed that like so many other print publications that they too (like Newsweek this week) had ceased publication or had gone all digital. I was wrong. One of the copies that Deanna picked up was recent: like September 2012.

Though I try to minimize the number of magazine we subscribe to, because I have such a large unread backlog, I told Deanna that she should get me a year’s subscription as my Christmas Present. She did, knowing that she would be stealing the copies unless I hid them really well. Well, anyway, the copies started arriving before Christmas, since the December issue is printed in November etc., as is the case with most subscriptions.

I was just glancing at the January/February 2013 issue, when this picture, or more to the point, the advertisement on the side of the bench,
caught my eye. I was hooked. I knew it was not a fake.

“Try it Now CLIMAX Plug …”

Click to ENLARGE. Scanned image is a bit grainy. I can't find the original. Deanna can't remember who the two characters are. They were before my time, I not having TV when growing up. If you know who they are please let me know. I would like to get the original. 'Mental Floss' provides no attribution.

Click to ENLARGE. Scanned image is a bit grainy. I can’t find the original. It took Deanna, the expert on matters TV and cinematic, to remember that this was ‘Laurel and Hardy’. I need to see if I can find it using their names in the search string.


I was hooked. While I am well aware that ‘climax’ refers to the zenith of an event, the audacity if not outright cheek of a large tobacco company to market a ‘Climax PLUG’ just cracked me up. I immediately went Googling for ‘Climax Plug’. I was not to be disappointed.

Click to ENLARGE. Savor this.

Click to ENLARGE. Savor this.

Why have we stopped doing ads like this and given the prerogative for this type of marketing fun to the Europeans and Asians. Nothing can be worse than the Viagra and Cialis ads on TV at 7 pm when kids are still watching TV. These are at least funnier. They don’t market ‘Climax’ anymore, but Lorillard is still very much in business. They make Kent cigarettes for a start.

climax-chewing-tobacco-18931


I jumped onto ebay at once, hoping against hope. I wanted memorabilia. I am sure that there will be a market for these. I was right. I am not the only one who thinks that these are priceless. Go check ebay. It was Christmas day. I convinced myself that these were investments. So I bought these two, cheap, items. No, I wasn’t going to spend big bucks on the signs. But, ‘Climax‘ memorabilia is now on my list of collectibles. IF you find good ‘Climax’ ads or products, please share.

myclimax2 myclimax1

Enjoy. Happy New Year.
When you, in 2013, feel a bit down, just think of the ‘Climax Plug’. Sure to bring a smile to your face.

White Christmas 2012 In New Hampshire.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….

..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Christmas 2012 In Alton, New Hampshire (NH): A Brown Christmas?
>>Dec. 24, 2012.


We did get some snow overnight and it continued to snow, albeit in lightly, right through the morning. So we got a real White Christmas this year, though I am not sure whether we got 1″ of snow at the Concord Airport in order for all those “Free, if it snows on Christmas Day” offers to be valid. I will check.

Our yard, Christmas morning 2012, around 7:45 am. Compare with same view from Christmas eve — on prior post. Click to ENLARGE.

Different view. From the steps, looking straight out. It wasn’t that much snow. Yes, we put the Christmas lights on, heck with the electric bill — since we don’t pay the high PSNH rates.



Merry Christmas 2012.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

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