Archive | May 5, 2014

Will Google Do A Doodle For Buddhist Vesak?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


.by Anura Guruge

Last Google Doodle:
>> Audrey Hepburn’s birthday
May 4, 2014.

≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ Check CATEGORY ‘Google Doodle’ for other posts —>>> (sidebar)

As far as I can see it has never done ANY Doodles related to Buddhism.

Now I do know that Google, rightly, avoids overtly religious Doodles BUT they have done ones for other holidays.

Sri Lanka, as I have pointed out, has been ill served.
Just ONE Doodle so far and that the ONE
that I got Independence Day last year.

But then again they didn’t do one for today’s Cinco de Mayo
and appears to have NEVER done for that holiday.

Here are some of the other holidays/festivals they have done.

Click to access.

Click to access.

Pope Francis, With Buddhist Vesak A Week Away, Gives Pointed But Appropriate Message To Sri Lankan Bishops.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
† † † †  Search on ‘pope’ or check Category ‘Religion’ for many other related posts >>>>

I, like so many other Sinhalese, have some MAJOR issues as to how the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka behaved during the 30 years of Civil War. But, then again, as a papal historian I am also acutely aware how the Catholic Church acted during WW II — especially in France where it was openly accused of collaborating with the Germans. I also hold no animosity towards the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka though they, c. 1964, supposedly tried to kidnap me twice! I guess I might feel different IF they had succeeded.

But, putting all of that aside, for now, I must say I liked the message Pope Francis gave to the Sri Lankan bishops, who were visiting the Vatican, on their 5-year cycle ad lima.

As some of you know, I, despite my rabid interest in popes, am NOT a Catholic or even a Christian. Never have been, never will be. I was raised in a very devout Buddhist family but gave up on Buddhism when I was 18. i now describe myself, very accurately, as a ‘reformed, born-again heathen‘. And it is as a heathen that I find the popes words were apropos.

Yes, of course, as is inevitable, the pope’s words are, by nature and habit, condescending and as ever carry the overt overtone of ‘lets get these darkie heathens converted’. But that is OK. They have been trying to do that now for 300 years. What I like are the words about ecumenism — which, I, like St. John XXIII to an extent, interpret as being ‘across religions’ rather than just across the various Christian flavors.

Growing up in Ceylon, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, one of my abiding memories was religious freedom and tolerance. Ours was a committed and activist Buddhist household. We had Buddhist monks coming to the house, morning and night, 7 days a week. I went to a Buddhist school. On average I would be at a Buddhist temple three times a week. But, my adopted mother, taught at a Baptist school and played the piano for them, every morning, for their church service. She loved it. My surrogate father, a huge influence in my life, who I called ‘Ta‘, the first two letters of ‘Tatta‘, the Sinhalese word for ‘father’ (which to my amazement is the same as that in Yiddish), was a Baptist. Our neighbors, who we interacted with daily, and were definitely a part of our extended, sprawling family, were Catholics. I had an aunty who was Christian an uncle whose mother was a devout Catholic. A dear family friend was a muslim.

But, now, from what I hear the Buddhists are getting out of control. Distresses me to hear that some of my cousins are in that camp. That amazes me. Growing up religious tolerance was so prevalent that we never even gave any thought. So I like the pope’s message. I would like Sri Lanka to go back to what it was in the 60s — though I realize that that, alas, would mean forgetting all the horrors of ‘The War‘.

Click to ENLARGE. Use link below to access the Vatican 'VIS' original ...

Click to ENLARGE. Use link below to access the Vatican ‘VIS’ original …

To access the Vatican ‘VIS’ original and full coverage, click here.

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan Is Indeed Sumptuous, But The Gratuities Could Choke You.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013...


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 5 days at Disney World
>>May 3, 2014.
>> Splash Mountain — May 4, 2014.
>> Epcot with Siemens is WRONG
>> — May 4, 2014.

++++  Search on ‘Disney
or check Category ‘Disney’
for other Disney related posts >>>>

To begin with, Deanna who is always cost conscious, wanted to go with the ‘straight’ Dining Plan that gives you one (1) Quick-Service, one (1) snack and one (1) Table-Service meal a day. I took one look at that and said “No Way“! Devanee and I, as must be obvious in my case with one look at me, are BIG eaters. Teischan is perennially hungry, extremely fussy about what she eats and even then basically nibbles at her food so that she can claim that she is starving 20 minutes after she last ate.

So I insisted that we opt for the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan that gives you three (3) Meals, of any type (including Table-Service, Buffet and Character), and two (2) Snacks per day. I knew the cost would be well worth it. I was right on that count — though I might NOT, in future (assuming that we ever make it down there again), get a meal plan for an UNDER 10.

Disney Deluxe Dining Plan for 2014

Click to access Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan for 2014 — as a PDF, from the Disney Website.

Food was plentiful, 90% of it very good.

You really couldn’t complain about the food provided, of course, you picked the right restaurants.

In general all were good, but two, the ‘Plaza Restaurant‘ at Magic Kingdom and the ‘Garden Grill‘ at Epcot,
were below par.

The ‘Cafe‘ at the Grand Floridian is World Class! Oh, La, La.

‘The Wave’ at the Contemporary is very, very nice;
we liked it so much we went twice — and though it was two days apart they remembered us!

The ‘1900 Park Fare‘ at the Grand Floridian is also very good and the ‘Coral Reef‘,
where we had a ‘window’ seat right next to the HUGE aquarium with sharks, squid,
tuna and humans was amazing.

The Whispering Canyon Cafe‘ at the Wilderness Lodge, where we stayed, is good and gives you plenty to eat
— though it is not in the same class as the restaurants at the Contemporary or the Grand Floridian.

We had lunch and dinner at the ‘Crystal Palace‘ in Magic Kingdom and it was OK. Decent.
Plenty to eat.

I think we had five buffets: 3 for breakfast, one lunch and one dinner. As with so much at Disney the buffets are standardized — i.e., the breakfast buffet at ‘The Wave’ and the ‘1900 Park Fare’ are identical. But, lets get to the ‘issue’. In general the Disney buffets are 1/2 the size of Vegas equivalents BUT cost twice as much.

So, YES, the bottom line, as ever, boils down to costs. Yes, with the Dining Plan the meal doesn’t cost you anything — since you already paid $xxxs upfront for the plan.

But here is the kicker.
Gratuities are NOT included, and Disney, quite correctly, spells that out for you,
upfront, numerous times.

Higher the cost of a meal, higher the gratuity.

That, alas, is an inescapable law of physics.

Some of our buffet meals came in at $140 — and that is WITHOUT any alcohol because I only had three drinks while I was there. So, that is $35, per head — which seems slightly fair for such fare at Disney.

But now the suggested 18% tip — which they kindly compute for you on the bill itself. $25.20. And that is the kicker.

We paid $35.10, $36.52, $29.48 … in tips. In total we paid over $250 in gratuities on the meals we had on the Deluxe Dining Plan in 4.5 days.

So, this is JUST a heads up.

I knew that the gratuities were extra. I just hadn’t given it much thought.

So what I am trying to do here is to make sure that YOU don’t choke the first time you see a Disney dining bill.

I recommend the Deluxe Dining Plan.

But, don’t get it for kids — i.e., kids under 10.
Kids over 10 are treated as adults.
Might be cheaper just to pay for the under-10 kids a la carte.

Hope this helps.

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Click to access.

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TDS Telecom Outsourcing Their (Madison, WI) Call Center To Jamaica ….!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.vantds


by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
++++ Search ‘Call Center’ or ‘TDS’ for other related posts >>>>

Clarification Below Needs Clarification.

The clarification below, provided by a senior TDS Employee in Alton, N.H. has proved to be BOGUS!

It would appear that he was trying to protect TDS. Well ….

Some Call Center operations were indeed transferred to Jamaica — as in Bob Marley — during the Summer of 2014.

Check this October 29, 2014 that has the LATEST,
100% verified, by TDS, post


I was told, categorically, Jamaica … and we even talked about Jamaican accents. It appears that the TDS Call Center person who told me ‘Jamaica’ was either confused or was having some fun — which is fair enough given that he is, indeed, losing his job.

I talked to someone else today. It is NOT Jamaica — MAN! It is Jamaica Plains, N.Y.! Huge difference — but not to those in Madison, WI who are losing their jobs.

TDS is outsourcing to a Xerox Call Center. So not a TDS run facility per se. Well at least SOME jobs will stay in the U.S.

So, Jamaica Plains, NY not Jamaica as in Bob Marley.

Well, I was ONLY going by what I was told.

This was May 4 so it is way too late for this to be a poor April Fool’s Joke.

Outsourcing a Call Center to Jamaica!

What will they think of next … Man? TDS trucks in Rastafarian colors?

Snoop-Lion-RastaThis is beyond the pale. It is WRONG on so many different levels and fronts. I thought Call Center outsourcing was on the way OUT — meaning we were keeping these jobs here in the U.S. of A.

And Jamaica?

Don’t get me wrong. I am very fond of Jamaicans, and lets be fair, they are easy to like. Some of my favorite folks in the whole world are Jamaicans, viz. Michael HoldingJeff DujonChris Gayle, Bob Marley, Courtney WalshUsain St. Leo Bolt. And I love the accent. But, a CALL CENTER for a U.S. telecom and Internet provider. Man, pull the other one … it has balls attached.

I am bummed.

As my various TDS posts will attest, I like the TDS Call Center reps. TDS, as a corporation does NOT empower them sufficiently BUT they try to make up for it by being very, very nice. I like the folks. Good, down-to-earth mid-westerners. The gentleman that I was speaking with today, because I have suddenly lost 0.5Mbps upload bandwidth, was genuinely, and understandably so, upset that he was going to soon be out of a job. I actually felt angry. This is not right.

92983I pay TDS through the nose, without hardly complaining. The least they can do is to use that money to keep JOBS IN THE U.S.

Amazon outsources its Call Center, disastrously, to the Philippines.

Amazon’s CreateSpace (who publish my books) uses a Call Center in South Africa — that is quite competent.

Microsoft did have huge success with their Indian Call Centers — but Jamaica, thank Bob Marley, is not India.

I don’t know. American corporations of late never cease to amaze me with their callousness. Disney selling out to Siemens. Amazon outsourcing to the Philippines and South Africa. Now TDS.

Will SOMEBODY in D.C. take note.

This has to stop.

I feel bad for the good folks in Madison, WI losing their jobs. I wish them well.

P.S., One of these days when I am feeling less mad remind me to share with you my favorite Jamaican joke … It is very funny, while this sad story re. TDS is far from funny.


The IRONY! In your backyard in Jamaica — MAN.

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