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Archive | July 22, 2013

Irving Stone’s Monumental ‘Men To Match My Mountains’ Sure Worth Reading To Appreciate The Opening Of The U.S. Far West.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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To say that I am a slavishly devoted fan of Irving Stone does not still adequately capture my deep emotional connection with this magical author’s writings.

Two of my all time favorite books are by Irving: ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy‘ (Michelangelo) & ‘The Origin‘ (Charles Darwin). Both these books made such an impact on me that I could even claim that they were life influencing.

Ditto with ‘Men to Match My Mountains‘. As with books by John Irving (funny that two of my most favorite authors are both ‘Irving’), James Michener et. al. I pick up any Irving Stone books that I encounter. So I know that I have had this book for over 15 years! I was always waiting for the right time to read it. I had read Michener’s ‘Centennial‘, about Colorado, earlier in the year. Since I did not grow up in the U.S. my knowledge of U.S. history has huge gaping gaps. I really had no idea as to the history of Colorado and was fascinated by Michener’s incomparably related narrative. I wanted to learn more. So I knew that it was getting time to read ‘Men to Match my Mountains’. I started reading it, appropriately, during our April trip to the Grand Canyon (though this book only deals with California, Nevada, Colorado & Utah).

The book is mind blowing. I learnt so much. So many characters. So many well known names, Stanford, Huntington, Fremont etc. that I was not aware of the backgrounds. I never realized the epic adventure of building the ‘Central Pacific Railroad‘. Though I have a fairly good collection of books on trains I was devastated to realize I really didn’t have any decent books on the building of this railway. That has been rectified. I bought two books. I had never heard of Hubert Howe Bancroft. I can sure relate to him.

So this book was, yet again, as with the other two Stone books, life altering for me. I now have an appreciation, tentative as it may be, as to how the Far West came to be — and cowboys really don’t play a big part in that.

If you are interested in the history of the Far West you can’t go far wrong by starting with this book. Obviously, Irving does not need endorsements from me. He is a true legend. I am, yet again, in his debt.

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Kids ‘Slipping Through The Cracks’ At Alton Central School (ACS), N.H. — The Cracks Should Be Fixed ASAP!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Slip waiting to happen at ACS — July 17, 2013.
>> Administration again compromises credibility — July 9, 2013.
>> School bus fiasco … — July 8, 2013.
>> Credibility of ACS Administration questioned — June 24, 2013.

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Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


I have still not been able to rationalize why there is so much raw emotion from parents when it comes to the Alton Central School (ACS) building (which we are now finding out is in better shape than the Board cum Administration ever admitted) but very few people seem to want to stand up and be counted when it comes to other issues, such as bullying, that adversely impact the kids.

So check out the above remarks, originally appearing on Facebook, by an ACS mother that we know. [Yes, of course, I have all the names.]

Not good.

Kids should not be falling through the cracks.

But, the current administration, as I have pointed out, appears not be accountable to any power of Earth.

Well, all I can do is to highlight these issues. If others do not care, bully for them. We are already homeschooling one …

Elephant Eating Cell Phone (iPhone) & Then Passing It Out, Unharmed! From LiveLeak.com.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


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Click to access very funny video from 'liveleak.com'.

Click to access very funny video from ‘liveleak.com’.


This is funny and I can sure see an elephant doing that.

But, I am skeptical as to the phone coming out, working — unless the iPhone, and I have never owned one, is more, amazingly, watertight than other phones. There is a fair amount of bacterial action that takes place inside an elephants gut. Here is a link. I would have to think that some amount of moisture would get into the phone. Growing up in Ceylon, where we do have wild elephants, I knew of bleached wood apples that had been processed by elephants, i.e., elephants eat wood apples, which have a hard (though porous) shell (hence the name) whole … and then a few days later pass them out, intact, bleached and with nothing inside. The digestive system ‘sucks out’ the nutritional innards through the porous shell. Here is a link. We would pick up these wood apples. So, I know that this does happen — first hand.

I got this video from my friend, train expert, Mike Tisdale. He, having visited Sri Lanka, knows quite a few other Sri Lankans. So, I have asked him to get this verified.

But, in the meantime, enjoy the video. I think this was probably in Thailand.

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