Archive | July 2013

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’ — Thursday, August 8, 2013, 1 pm – 5 pm. It Should Be Hilarious.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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entertainmentmaskAt this ‘workshop’, originally billed, erroneously, by the Superintendent, William Lander, as ‘the retreat’, will address, in public, ‘Common Core‘ and the new charter for the ‘Buildings & Grounds Committee‘.

There is also a session on the future vision of the board, but I think there is nothing that cannot be easily and inexpensively fixed there with some pairs of Dollar Store reading glasses.

The scheduled 1 hour segment for discussing ‘Common Core’ should prove to be the BEST public forum entertainment that has been available in Alton all Summer. Forget the July 3rd fireworks. The fireworks during this session should be spectacular. Jane Cormier, Alton’s indefatigable State Rep, Jane Cormier, per her husband, School Board member Carlos Martinez, will attend and speak on this issue. Per a request I had made in May, Carlos asked whether she could be on the agenda. That was denied. She will have to speak during ‘public input’ so to speak. This should be a very entertaining hour.

Now that the Board, made an about-turn, and decided that they are not going to move the 4th Grade modulars, we should also have some fun discussions during the ‘Buildings & Grounds’ segment.

I am assuming that the SAU, will per custom, tape all of this and put it on YouTube. My guess is that parts of this will go viral. Now if we could only monetize that through YouTube. That will pay for a $36 M school.

Chinese Picnic By The Side Of Cotton Valley Rail Trail in Wolfeboro, NH Last Saturday.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
1/ ‘Show of Dreams’ British cars: The Pictures …
>>July 27 2013.

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Our picnic ‘table’. Doesn’t get better than this.


P1040238We knew we were going to the British car rally in Wolfeboro, NH on Saturday. We knew the weather was going to be spectacular. We knew that the kids would be asking for lunch. Plus, Deanna wanted to ‘do’ the Cotton Valley after hearing my rave reviews. So I decided to synthesize all of this together for the best results. We all like Chinese though we have cut back drastically since I started my no-carb diet. The last time we had Chinese was May 30 — in Manchester when we went to meet my son, Matthew, for his 21st birthday.

Wolfeboro’s (other) Chinese restaurant, the Sea Bird, is right by the trail and we are talking abutting. We like the Sea Bird. Good, non-greasy, fairly authentic food and very nice owners. So on the way to the rally we stopped and picked up a menu (though I am sure there was one already in the car). We were done at the rally just before 1. I called and ordered 4 luncheon specials — two of them heavy on the appetizers because I would have to get by just on uncoated meat. We got the Sea Bird and only had to wait a few minutes. Gave us a chance to chat with the two owners Lan Sam and Guy Phu. Always very nice. When we told them our plans they gave us plenty of plates, utensils and some plastic containers. I carried the bag — and it did not break though we walked a total of about 3 miles with it. Strong bag.

It was delightful. It really is an exceptional trail. Pleasing to the senses in so many different ways. Picture postcard perfect scenery of lakes and mountains behind them. Lots of trees. Turtles in the water. Birds in the trees. Boaters of all varieties. The N.H. lakes region personified — at its best.

We stopped and ate. Chatted with some boaters and walkers. The food hit the mark. We left the soups till later. The fried rice last the kids till the next day.

It was very civilized and pleasant. So typical of Wolfeboro. It really is a quintessential Summer Resort.

Definitely recommend it. Get some takeout. Walk about a mile. Find a stone bench and Bob really will be your uncle.

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Reasons 157 To 166 Of The 1,001 Reasons I Really, Really HATE DirecTV.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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See July 15, 2013 post as to why I have cut back the rants to one or two a day.


Click to access. DirecTV technical, or more to the point non-technical, forums. Bloody DirecTV.

Click to access. DirecTV technical, or more to the point non-technical, forums. Bloody DirecTV.

#157 – #166. As is my norm, being a news junkie, around 6:30 pm today (later than usual since we went swimming in the lake), I sat down in front of the big TV and turned the bloody Genie and the TV on. Blank screen. BLACK. Nothing. NADA. Again. Messed around. Turned it all off and turned it on again. Nothing. Then tried other channels. Bing. A picture. Tried CNBC. A bloody screen, with blaring music, saying Direc-bloody-TV is experiencing technical bloody problems. Well in my books they are experiencing problems all the time. No CNN. No CNBC. MSNBC is fine. CNN was back in about an hour. CNBC is still down. At 8pm I came up and did a Google. Appears that this ‘Direc-bloody-TV is experiencing technical bloody problems’ happens OFTEN! Went to the Technical Forum. Found the above message. I hate DirecTV. This counts as at least 10 bloody grievances since I tried to get CNN that many times.

Bloody DirecTV.


Exclusive Update On ‘Ten Cricket’ In U.S.A. From ZEE/Asia TV USA.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.tenlogo

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Anura Guruge


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>> ZEE International … — July 26, 2013.
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Yesterday afternoon, around 4:15, the phone ran. It was a Akhilesh Gupta, the Director of Content Distribution for Asia TV USA — the ZEE Network affiliate in the U.S., based out of Manhattan. TEN Cricket is owned by ZEE.

Mr. Gupta had seen my rant about us in the U.S. losing TEN Cricket (other than for the short, online ‘clips’ on ESPN 3).

Mr. Gupta and I had an extremely pleasant and very productive conversation. I was very impressed, He was very forthright and gave me a lot of information — much of it which I will not share because it was of a sensitive nature.

I explained to Mr. Gupta the pain that us U.S. cricket fans are feeling. He understood. But, I think I managed to get through to him that ESPN 3 is not the answer to our needs.

The bottom line, as some of us had already deduced, is basic economics. Obtaining rights to major sporting events is not cheap. Networks have to recoup that money — as NBC clearly demonstrates every 2 years with the Olympics.

The issue in the U.S. is STILL the lack of adequate demand for PAID subscription.

It is a story that I am so familiar with and suffer in my own right. The Internet coupled with piracy (from Asia) is undermining so many ventures. It was like music and Napster.

Though we in the U.S. have a burgeoning population of cricket lovers many are unwilling or UNABLE to pay for it. I know that first hand. I don’t know many Sri Lankans in the U.S. or Canada. But, the few I know never subscribed to Willow or TEN. They watched cricket, for FREE, on the Internet. That is the problem. Many, and I know the same is true with Indians, have to be ‘careful’ with their expenditures because they send money back home. Kind of money. If you recall the people who advertised the MOST on cricket channels in the U.S. were the likes of XOOM.come, i.e., those that transfer money from the U.S./U.K. to India! So understandably the folks living in the U.S., to use a lovely expression from N.H., are ‘close to their dollar‘. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. IF we want something better than cricket on ESPN 3 we have to pay the piper. Simple as that.

According to Mr. Gupta, ZEE in the U.S. is exploring offering an ‘Over-the-Top’ (OTT) set-top, Internet powered solution. I think it might be this IPTV solution I talked about on June 15, 2013. Mr. Gupta is trying to see if he can get me an OTT box to try out. IF SO, I will, of course, keep all of you posted on my experience. IF it is a viable solution we will have to PULL TOGETHER to make that box a success in the U.S. So the first step is to try and get my hands on one.

I am in touch with Mr. Gupta by e-mail. I also have his phone number. This is good. Finally, WE, i.e., us cricket fans in the U.S., have a credible contact at ZEE.

I will keep you all posted. Thank Mr. Gupta. He did good.

Thank you Mr. Gupta.

‘Nimbus 9’ At The Barnstead Parade Grounds, N.H., On Saturday, July 27, 2013.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
1/
Country Mile‘ at Wolfeboro July 21, 2013.
2/ 
Beatles Tribute Band ‘All Together Now
>>in Wolfeboro
 July 14, 2013.

3/ ‘Blues Brothers the Next Generation‘ in Wolfeboro  July 7, 2013.


The wide open space of the Barnstead Parade Grounds on Saturday night. We were  in the last 'row' to speak -- the one behind what is hwon here.

The wide open space of the Barnstead Parade Grounds on Saturday night. We were in the last ‘row’ to speak — the one behind what is shown here. Click to ENLARGE.


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As far as we know, Greg Neveu, the Music Teacher from Barnestead Elementary School (BES), plays with Nimbus 9 — though it is hard to confirm this since their Website is, atypically, coy about the full names of the band members, albeit the list headed by a ‘Greg’. So we think it is one and the same. We saw Greg and a school recital at Prospect Mountain High School, Alton, a couple of years ago and were very impressed. A very gifted and driven young man. So when we heard that he played for a group, viz. Nimbus 9, we had gone and listened to them, in Barnstead, at this very same venue, maybe two years ago.

This Saturday Deanna saw that Nimbus 9 was playing again in Barnstead.

As you all know we had been going to Cate Park, Wolfeboro, for the last 3 Saturday evenings for the concerts — and had had much success. We were going to be spending much of the day in Wolfeboro that Saturday with the British Car Rally but decided that we would go to Barnstead in the evening.

Since the Cate Park concerts start at 7 pm I had just assumed that this was the de rigeur time for Summertime concerts in the Lake Region. I was wrong. Barnstead starts at 6 pm. So we missed the first fifteen minutes. Sorry.

Cate Park, July b20, 2013 for ‘Country Mile’.

Parking wasn’t an issue. We pulled in, rather close to a tree, right on the edge of the Park.

You would have to say that there wasn’t as many people as we had seen, regularly, at Cate. Maybe, at best, a third of what was there for ‘Country Mile’ last Saturday.

The atmosphere and dynamics of the two venues are also so different. Like chalk and cheese. Cate Park is a much smaller, intimate park. The Barnstead Parade Grounds, in comparison, is huge and wide open.

At Cate Park everybody (or pretty close to everybody) sits on folding chairs neatly arrayed in neat, orderly, properly space, concentric semi-circles. It is very staid, even bordering on British. Though a few people (though not always the same) dance that is about the extent of the ambulatory activity. Teenagers, vendors and raffle ticket sellers are conspicuous by their absence. Not so in Barnstead. Barnstead is more of a Summer evening in the park — with some group playing music in the background. As Deanna’s panorama above clearly depicts the seated audience is sparse and widely spaced. Much of the space by the bandstand is occupied by youngsters and some adults hula hooping, playing frisbee and soccer. Lots of kids. There was a fundraiser for Prospect Mountain High School. Lots of kids walking around selling popcorn, soda and raffle tickets. Lots of people having picnics.

In this midst Nimbus 9 played.

They definitely were OK. They are a contemporary cover band. The Top 40 is what they claimed, though they did a very good rendering of one of my favorite songs, and what I still think as my theme song, ‘The Joker’. I don’t think it has been in the top 40 in 30 years.

The acoustics of the open spaces is not that conducive to a band. There is really nothing to reverberate the sound. So the sound system was a bit challenged. I guess it was meant for indoor concerts. Trying to project sound across this park was asking a lot from it — and it ‘showed’. The high end was getting distorted. That bothered Deanna. Around 7:30 she asked whether I wanted to leave. I don’t like doing that. So we stayed till the end.

No doubt all the folks there had a good time. Nimbus 9 is uncomplicated. Straightforward. Very workmanlike. They belted out their repertoire. They had a local bass player, soon off to join the Marines, come on stage and play with them. That was a nice touch.

We will be in Wolfeboro next Saturday. Huggins Fair. We might, with luck, hear the music from Cate. Not sure whether we will make it to Cate. We stay till the bitter end at the Fair — which means close to 9 pm.

Two Pilgrimage Bus Crashes This Weekend. 41 Dead. What Gives? This Stuff Really Confounds Me.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Click to access CNN video and article.

Click to access CNN video and article.


Click to access CNN video and article.

Click to access CNN video and article.


One of my favorite movies, albeit from 1980 — partly because this guy reminds me of me. though he is better looking. Click to access IMDB.com data for this brilliant movie.


Of course this is not the first time this has happened. I know that I have heard, just in the last year, of other fatalities involving those returning from pilgrimages — and to be fair, it is religion agnostic.

But, it always confounds me. Yes, yes, I know folks are going to tell me the usual mantra: God does not micro-manage and Free Will. Lets get ‘Free Will’ out of the way. Other than the Free Will of the drivers involved, I don’t think that the passengers had any Will in these disasters. The micro-management part, however, always intrigue me. I assume, though I do not know for sure, that these folks that go on pilgrimages pray when they are at the pilgrimage site. But, what are they praying for?

Though I grew up in a culture, and, moreover, in a household, obsessed with prayer and the ‘taking of vows’ (the next logical step: i.e., ‘I will give you this if you give me that‘), I quickly saw the shortcomings of this philosophy when I was around 18. That is when I stopped being a Buddhist — the religion that I grew up in. So, I basically became areligious — though I am fascinated by religion, those that believe in religion and the protocols of religion. That is why I am (still) an active papal historian, have written 7 books about popes and plan to write another starting in the next month.

Given that I do know the nuts-and-bolts of certain religions, e.g., Christianity and Buddhism, better than most that practice them, some beliefs that some have distress me. I am happy IF those beliefs provide the living with succor and relief. But, given that I am very au fait with purgatory, I cringe when I hear people talking about the recently deceased being with God. That is not what the ‘church’ (with a capital ‘C’ or otherwise) teaches. Lets not forget that just 2 weeks ago ‘the Church’ said that you can reduce the amount of time you spent in purgatory if you followed the Pope’s tweets from Brazil! Lucky for me, I don’t have to worry about such stuff.

This stuff does bother me, because I do think. I do analyze. I do try to rationalize. To me things have to make sense — which is why I love the movie above. That movie makes sense.

Anyway. Not trying to upset anyone. Just what goes through my mind. Think about it. Thinking is good. Thinking, as far as I am concerned, is the second greatest physical pleasure in life — next to sex, of course (while thinking during sex is divine). 

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