Archive | May 2013

“Poppy Day” Tradition In Canada & The Plaque That Hangs In The ‘Prince Arthur Hotel’ In Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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by Anura Guruge


Prior posts:
>> Poppy Day, November 11, British Remembrance Day:
>> A Beautiful Tradition — Nov. 10, 2012.

>> Poppy Day, 2012: President Obama
>> In Arlington Without One — Nov. 11, 2012.
>> I ask President Obama to wear a poppyNov. 11, 2012.



To See a more detailed picture of this plaque
taken June 2013 — click.


From a contributor from Ontario, Canada.

This above plaque hangs in the lobby of the Prince Arthur Hotel in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the amalgamation of twin cities Fort William and Port Arthur in 1970.

Mme. Anna Guerin, wife of a French jurist and founder of a Paris war orphanage reached out to North American for financial support. She was aware of Canadians’ strong association between the Flanders poppy and their heavy overseas losses, their “fallen” soldiers, since late December 1915 when an little poem “In Flanders Fields” appeared anonymously in England’s popular periodical ‘Punch‘.

This turned out to be authored by an Ontario physician army officer, composed that May while contemplating the fresh grave of friend, which later was sent to England by a fellow officer.

As she wrapped up her charitable fundraising, in 1921 Mme. Guerin brought out French-made cloth replicas of the wildflower and, with the encouragement of Canada’s first ‘returned soldiers’ association [see plaque] and public support asked government to recognize it and ask citizens everywhere to wear one on November 11 that year. Recently with our own Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, the custom has arisen spontaneously of placing one’s poppy on the sculpture, a blanket of funeral-like flowers. A moving sight.

The first Armistice Day in the Empire, 1918, was an occasion of celebration and thanksgiving for victory. But in 1919 King George V asked his subjects everywhere to pause just where they were, to stop all traffic, and to observe two minute of silence at the stroke of 11 am in remembrance of those who did not come back. This tradition makes it a solemn day, remembering our many losses, the families they left behind, while former military “vets” join civilians recalling lost comrades.



Punch 1915


Prince Arthur Hotel a Thunder Bay landmark


‘Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo’ High Stepping To The Dartmouth Hopkins Center June 29 – 30, 2013.

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 .by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Dartmouth Handel Society: St. Matthew Passion (review) … — May 20, 2013.
+++++ Search for ‘Hopkins’ for other related posts using sidebar search
near top  —>>>


Click to access the 'Hopkins Center' page with ticket purchase links.

Click to access the ‘Hopkins Center’ page with ticket purchase links. Also includes, at right, a representative video …


Another video clip of them, this one from YouTube. Click to access.

Another video clip of them, this one from YouTube. Click to access.


A YouTube video on the the troupe going through their motions. Pretty interesting. Click.

A YouTube video on the the troupe going through their motions. Pretty interesting. Click.


They ringing the NYSE stock market bell. Yes, a YouTube video. Click.

They ringing the NYSE stock market bell. Yes, a YouTube video. Click.


We happened to see a huge poster for this ballet when we attended the gala ‘St. Matthew Passion‘ concert at the Dartmouth Hopkins Center ‘last’ weekend.

I kind of knew, at once, when I saw the poster that this was no ordinary ballet troupe. Deanna read the whole blurb to make sure. We Brits are very partial to camp comedy — even ‘Are You Being Served‘ very camp in its own way. This looks like a lot of fun, plus they seem very talented. We are thinking of going.

I am sure the kids will be fine with it. The ballet, from what I can deduce from the videos, is impeccable — all that muscle probably helping too.

Tickets are on sale as of today. I hope it is not sold out. Enjoy.

Amazon Kindle’s New eBook Cover Designer (Beta) Tool Is Pretty Nifty. Thanks Kindle.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


++++ See Category ‘Books’ on sidebar for my other book posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


Yes, most publishing platforms now provide some sort of cover design tool. Though I generally create my own covers using Word (yes, word) or PowerPoint I am always glad to know that I have a fallback option if I get fed up messing around trying to meet the margin requirements.

In Kindle’s latest newsletter I happened to see that they now offer a cover designer — albeit in beta.

Today, now that I have a ‘second’ between books, having published my 18th (as a sole author) over the weekend, I decided to give it a try. Yes, I got a couple of error messages but it was easy enough to circumvent past them.

It looks pretty decent. Yes, I could create any one of these covers, in my sleep, in Word or PowerPoint. But, I am glad that I now have another choice.

Yes, of course, I am working on yet another book. For the last 20 years or so writing books is something I do on a daily basis. Yes, these covers above will give you a clue. I will even tell you more. With luck, if I live long enough, there will be a series of books. I collect trivia and data points like there is no tomorrow. Even if I don’t remember it all, I invariably remember how to go back and retrieve what I was thinking about. Seems like a shame not to share this given that I can easily cover popes, astronomy, computers, calendars and numbers — just to start with. Yes, numbers. There is a lot of stuff you can learn about numbers.

But, I have made a promise to myself. I am going to slow down. I have published 7 books so far this year. That is a bit insane, even for me. IF I continue at that same pace, one that I have been working at since September 2011, I could complete at least 3 more books this year. BUT, I am not going to. I am going to cut back on the hours I spend writing books. Maybe just 4-5 hours a day – 2 of them on my ‘midnight’ 3rd shift.

I Gave My Son A 99 Cent Book For His 21st Birthday Today, May 28, 2013. That Was The Best That I Could Do.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


++++ See Category ‘Books’ on sidebar for my other book posts >>>>


Given my now permanent state of impecuniosity I wasn’t in a position to give my son anything major (e.g., a Corvette) for his 21st birthday. The best I could do was a $0.99 cent book — and it isn’t even one of those ‘self-help’ books on how he should proceed forward. He seems to be doing quite well, working as an editorial intern for ‘New Hampshire Business Review’ right now. This was, however, a book he had asked for, though I am sure he thought that I would not oblige. Well, I did, and thanks to the detour I took to write the two Comet ISON books (not to mention all of the craziness of the papal transition) the timing kind of worked out quite well.

Well here is the book. Yes, it does have his name in the title (and as such the cover) and it is dedicated to him for his 21st birthday. So it wasn’t just a book I picked up in a yard sale. His words, in the Summer of 2011, when he saw “Devanee’s Book of Dwarf Planets” was: “I want a book too“. I was surprised. Devanee had asked for a book with her name, after I had done “Teischan’s ABC Book of Great Artists” but she was nine at the time. Matthew was 19. But, I took him seriously. I had been working on this since September 2011.



This is a big book, 76,500 words. It is quite technical too, and was the most difficult book I have written to date. I struggled with it, but at the same time it was rewarding. As they say this really was a character building experience for me. Astronomy has so, so many really, really neat concepts and laws such as orbital resonances, accretion, Kirkwood gaps, Olber’s paradox, Yarkovsky effect and Lagrangian points. The ‘Yarkovsky effect‘ alone is pretty amazing and demonstrates the absolute brilliance of some truly gifted individuals. This phenomenon  has to do with the consequences of sunlight heating one side of a small, rotating solar system object during the day. This causes a heat differential between the opposite sides of the body, resulting in a small radiation pressure thrust. This thrust, though small, can over time cause small bodies such as asteroids and meteoroids to change their orbital path. Just amazing. But, my favorite is ‘Lagrangian points‘. We think of Jupiter, quite rightly, as having enormous gravitational pull. But, there are thousands (if not more) of small asteroids that glibly litter Jupiter’s orbital path with Jupiter powerless to brush them away! These pesky asteroids are in two huge clusters, one cluster always 60° ahead of Jupiter and the other 60° behind. These are Lagrangian points — areas where the gravity of any orbiting body, even one as big as Jupiter’s, is neutralized by other rotational forces. Brilliant. Really makes you sit back and marvel the cleverness of the folks that work out all these non-intuitive quirks of nature. 

Click to ENLARGE. Map of asteroid distribution within the solar system clearly showing the huge swarms of ‘Trojans’ that escort Jupiter around its orbit thanks to Lagrangian points.

In this book I tackle all of these concepts and more. My forte is supposedly that of being able to explain technical things in ways that newcomers to the field can come to terms with them. That is what I set to do. It was easier with computer stuff because I had decades of experience and was totally immersed in it. Plus, I use to do seminars where I would explain that stuff. I have always found that it is easier for me to write about something if I had stood up and spoken about it in front of an audience a few times. That was actually the brief I had for writing my first book. I used to do four to five, 5-day seminars on ‘SNA’ in the early 1980s, and it still amazes me that there would be 60 to a 100 people attending each seminar. The original publisher of my first book, who also happened to organize some of these 5-day seminars told me: ‘Just try and write what you stand up there and talk about for 5 days‘. In those days I did use to have a semi-photographic memory of sorts. I never used notes. Everything I was going to say was in my head and I could recall how I used to say it in public. So, that is what I did. I wrote that 500 page book by pencil! I would sit down, recall what my spiel would be about that topic, and write it down. It worked. When the book came out people who attended my seminars, and who would get a book for doing so, said that the book was like a transcript of my 5 day stand up dissertation. I haven’t stood up and spoken about astronomy in 12 or 13 years. So this was harder. But, it was fun.

4 Vesta is an asteroid; those small rocky bodies found mainly in that wide ‘belt’ between Mars and Jupiter. It discovered in 1807 was the fourth asteroid to be discovered. It is now the largest asteroid in the solar system in terms of mass, given that 1 Ceres was promoted to being a dwarf planet alongside Pluto.  It is also a protoplanet, an embryonic terrestrial planet. Some even refer to it as the smallest terrestrial. It is a fully differentiated body credited with having the oldest known surface in the solar system. It is a carefully preserved relic from the very early days of the solar system. Some of you will also remember that NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spent nearly 14 months in orbit around 4 Vesta in 2011 – 2012.



Click to get FREE Kindle reading APP from Amazon for whatever device you have whether it be iAnything, PC, Android, Palm etc. etc.

Click to get FREE Kindle reading APP from Amazon for whatever device you have whether it be iAnything, PC, Android, Palm etc. etc.


Extract from the book. Click to ENLARGE.

Extract from the book. Click to ENLARGE.


Is ‘Happy’ The Right Greeting For ‘Memorial Day’?

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by
Anura Guruge


≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ Check CATEGORY ‘Holidays’ for other
related posts  
—>>> (side bar)




This morning I heard, twice on CNN, folks wishing each other and the viewers a ‘Happy Memorial Day‘.

I fully understand where they are coming from, but to me it seems like an oxymoron, if not, at worst, incongruous.

I have similar problems when it come to some of the Jewish holidays. Should you really wish somebody a ‘Happy Yom Kippur‘? Same with Good Friday (as opposed to Easter Sunday).

I think that the greeting should include something along the lines of ‘Have a Reflective Memorial Day‘.

If you are referring to the entire holiday weekend I can understand people using the word happy.

Just a thought.

Google Doodles Since May 7, 2013 — Mainly Non-U.S. Hornby Stands Out.

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by
Anura Guruge


Last ‘Recent Non-U.S. Doodles’ post:
>>
Beautiful country-specifics … — May 7, 2013.
≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ Check CATEGORY ‘Google Doodle’ for other posts
—>>> (side bar)


DoodlesMay26IIbDoodlesMay26Ia

Click to access Google Doodle archives.

Notice the Frank Hornby 150th birthday, UK-only Doodle I talked about.

They have reused the International Mother’s Day Doodle that appears on May 26. On May 5 they used for Mother’s Day in Ireland.


3 Planets: Jupiter, Venus & Mercury Will Be Visible Over New Hampshire Tomorrow Night, Monday, May 27, 2013 Soon After Sunset.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
++++
Check CATEGORY ‘Astronomy’ for other posts

related posts  >>>>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


This conjunction has been there for the last few days, but if you recall it has been raining or cloudy the last few nights. It is a tad cloudy in the west tonight, around 8:50 pm. Trees are also a big problem for us.

The challenge here is that these three stars are setting below the horizon rather than rising. Yes, a bummer. So my 9:30 pm they would be below the skyline. I have a feeling we are not going to see them, even though tomorrow is said to be clear, unless you can get above the tree line — facing west.

But, don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up. Enjoy if you can. Quite rare.

 

‘North America’ Series On The Discovery Channel. Not As Scintillating As ‘Africa’ But Still A Very Compelling HD Tour de Force.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> ‘Africa’ series on Discovery Channel … — Jan. 17, 2013.


Click to access home page on the 'Discovery Channel' Website.

Click to access home page on the ‘Discovery Channel’ Website.


We have watched two episodes of Discovery Channel’s ‘North America’ so far. They were, indubitably, good. Definitely 4th generation of nature programs, 2nd gen. in terms of HD exploitation — if you start with David Attenborough incomparable and seminal Life On Earthon BBC in the 1970s as the first generation of this genre. See my ‘Africa’ post for more on ‘Life On Earth‘ if you are not familiar with this groundbreaking series.

I could be mistaken, but I do not think that this series, especially when it comes to storylines, narration, close-ups and ingenuity, is as good as ‘Africa’ which really was breathtakingly amazing. Maybe I got slightly spoilt by having watched all the episodes of ‘Africa’. We are still going to watch all of this series, it is too good to pass by.

Still a definite two-thumbs up. Kids should love it. Enjoy. I have already set the DVR to record this week’s episode (tonight, I think).


Click to access video online.

Click to access video online.


NEO Cricket Channel No Longer Available On DISH Network. No Great Loss. But, They Owe Us A Price Reduction.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related Post:
>> NEO cricket channel on dish, 5 – 6 week sabbatical — April 6, 2013.
++++ Search for ‘DISH’ or ‘cricket’ for other posts
using sidebar search trench at top >>>>>>


NEOdish1


When I noticed in early April that the NEO channel on DISH (#713) was showing the same exact programming as that of Willow (#712), I immediately knew that something was up — and that it wasn’t going to be good.

I was never a fan of NEO. They had no idea, whatsoever, of how to cover cricket and their programming was for Indian kids. I never watched it. I only watch Willow and Ten Cricket. So, losing NEO was not of consequence to me — other than on principle. I was paying for 3 cricket channels and DISH as such owed me 3 channels. I called up and got quite a good deal from them for 3 months. I won’t divulge what the deal was because I don;t want to get anybody in trouble. But, I hung up the phone with a smile on my face.

I now see that NEO is going away and to me it is GRBR. But, I am still paying for 3 channels, though DISH is now going to claim that they are giving me Willow in HD. I can counter that I pay for lifetime HD with DISH and that all my channels should be in HD. To be honest I have yet to see a marked improvement in picture quality on Willion (and, yes, I have a very good, 47″ Philips HD set that displays vivid HD if it is properly transmitted).

I am not impressed with the way that Willow and Ten Cricket are run. That they cannot provide meaningful programming information is puerile. I can’t find much information about either company but I have a feeling that they are predominantly Indian run. To me, that is the problem. They could do with some non-Indian management to stop them from being so complacent and lackadaisical. One of these I will really tell you what I feel about these two channels — and remember I do watch at least 45 minutes of cricket a day, rain or shine. So I do have lots of hands on experience with these two channels.

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