Archive | January 10, 2015

Alton Central School (ACS), N.H.: Superintendent William (‘Bill’) Lander, Forthright Maybe, Implies His Job In Alton Was Boring & Unchallenging.

I, as ever, confused by “I don’t know”.

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
1/ ACS rumor over Christmas.

>> Search ‘ACS’ for other related posts >>>>


Today, Thursday, January 8, 2015 front page story in ‘The Baysider’.

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Click this link to access the story on the front page of ‘The Baysider’.


I did not want to obfuscate Thursdays post by bringing this remark up, though it stopped me in my tracks when I saw it in ‘The Baysider‘ article.

invigorate3rd paragraph. You can see it above. “It’s time,” he said. “I feel like it’s time to invigorate the old body and mind”.

I could, as ever, be wrong (and as all of YOU know I still have great trouble with the English), but I read this as a veiled remark, on the part of the Lander, to inform us that his current jobs as Superintendent of ACS as well as Acting Principal of ACS is uninvigorating.

That, I assume, has to be terrible. A mind like his is a terrible thing to let atrophy. 

Though I have tried I have never had the privilege of being able to see his (allegedly) storied resume. BUT, I have been told that he is an intellectual giant, a bestriding academic with an impressive, unparalleled record for instructional innovation and scholarly publications. And as it says in the penultimate paragraph he is going to go teach at the College level — most likely at Harvard or Yale. Even Dartmouth is probably too pedestrian for his likes, never mind UNH. 

So yes, sleepy, backwater Alton must be quite boring for such a man. So I wish him well.


Pope Francis’ Visit To Sri Lanka, January 12 – 15, 2015, Going Ahead, Despite The Change In Presidents — Though It Will Be Awkward.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts (click to access):
† Topless protests                                          † Pope asked to reconsider
† Programme for pope’s visit                      † Sri Lanka will be different
† Pope’s visit not a good idea                        † President visits pope 

† Francis must apologize …                          † Canonization of Vaz … 


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Click to access original coverage.


It was defeated president, no longer in power, Mahinda Rajapakse who was the big fan of the papacy, his wife being a lifelong Catholic, though he himself was an ardent Buddhist who pandered to the extreme Buddhists of Sri Lanka. That is the beauty of Sri Lankan culture and politics. You can be a Buddhist, be married to a Catholic and still get the Buddhist vote even if you are seen to be openly groveling around the pope.

Well Rajapakse, who had hoped that the pope’s visit, will get him some Catholic and Tamil votes (many Tamils, Catholic) is history — on the very day of the election. That is the Sri Lankan way. There is no transition period. Bang. President one day, gone the same day.

Rajapakse never thought he would lose the election. If he did he would NOT have called for this election. This was not an election that was due. It was what per the British system is called a ‘Snap Election’. The president called it, in November, with 2 years of his 2nd term still left, hoping to win it and then continue onto a third time while he thought, quite literally given his superstitious beliefs in astrology, that his stars were in the ascend. Well he is history.

The new president, in a country that is 70% Buddhist, is a Buddhist. His wife is not a Catholic. Per Sri Lankan tradition he will be civil and cordial to the pope. But the dynamics will be different. There will not be the groveling adoration that the prior president would have lavished. In November when Rajapaksa went to the Vatican, for the second time, to meet with the pope he took a leader from the opposition to convey to the pope that things will be fine if the opposition won. The person he took was John Amaratunga and not the new President. 

The pope will be fine. He will still get Sri Lanka’s impressive security to protect him. That is a given. As I have always said some poor Catholics might get subjected to some mindless violence by the unrestrained extreme Buddhists.

Things won’t be the same for Sri Lanka’s cardinal, Malcolm “Tanned Ratzinger” Ranjith either. He was heavily beholden to the defeated President. Just prior to the election his niece got a plumb posting to the SL Embassy in Paris though she didn’t have the necessary diplomatic corp. credentials. That posting probably won’t last. Actually, now with Rajapaksa gone, the “Tanned Ratzinger” will be on thin ice. Given that he is ultra-conservative he is at odds with this maverik pope. So he can’t get away from Sri Lanka and go to Rome as a curialist. He is stuck between a stone and St. Peter’s.


Sri Lanka’s New President, Maithripala Sirisena, Starts Off Inauspiciously.

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by Anura Guruge


For other related posts:
1/ Futility of Sri Lanka astrology …
2/
Sri Lanka president concedes defeat.

++++ Check category ‘Sri Lanka’ on sidebar >>>>


Click image to ENLARGE
use link below to access the ‘Colombo Page
which carried this story.

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Click to access ‘Colombo Page’ in Sri Lanka.
This story might have been displaced by the time YOU get there. 


I had been visiting the ‘Colombo Page’ on a regular basis Thursday to get updates, from the horse’s mouth, as to how the election was going. I saw this ‘News Flash’ item late on Thursday afternoon shortly after I had written my post about the futility of Sri Lankan astrology and ‘dirty string’ mumbo jumbo.

It was very disappointing to see that the new man was continuing to propagate the ‘auspicious time’ mumbo jumbo that the outgoing president, Mahinda Rajapakse was so famous for. He called the snap election, which he lost, at an auspicious time given to him by his now ‘Major Egg on Face’ astrologer. He filed his election papers at the auspicious time given to him by his charlatan astrologer. He cast his vote at the auspicious time given to him by his now discredited astrologer. He did NOT, however, concede defeat at an auspicious time. But I gather, old habits die hard, and he left the Official Residence, much, much earlier than he needed to do, because that was an auspicious time. When will they ever learn?

Sirisena, had the chance, to do away with this rank, Dark Ages superstition. This is 2015 and Sri Lanka by and large is a modern, fairly high tech, very literate country. Auspicious times.

Yes, yes, I know Nancy Reagan. She believed in auspicious times too.

I remember the damn auspicious time, one in particular. Sinhalese New Year Day, April 14, is riddled with auspicious times. You kind of trip over from one another. There is one for lighting the first fire. One for cooking the milk rice. Another for eating the cooked milk rice. Then there are auspicious times for ‘First Footing‘ — and they give you a few because everybody can’t First Foot at the same time. Then there is one for doing your academics for the day. Well that is where it all went wrong. I was probably 10 or 11. My adoptive family, big into all things superstitious and religious, was really into the auspicious times. My mother was SO superstitious that she would spit on any hair that came out when you were combing before she would throw it away. Why? Because like so many Sri Lankans she believed that somebody could get hold of that hair and do ‘voodoo’ on it to harm you! She was obsessed by ‘Evil Eye’. And that required a lot of ‘pssh’, ‘pssh’, ‘pssh’, discreet spitting, with your head averted to counteract ‘Evil Eye’.

Anywho. I had to do some academics at the auspicious time. There was no escaping that. It would involve some reading, writing and arithmetic. The 3Rs. But given all the activity and celebrations taking place, my adoptive father, pragmatic if nothing else, would try to make the exercise quick as possible. This one year, thinking that he was doing me a favor, for the arithmetic portion, just wanted me to tell him what the square root of 100 was. Yes, in the Sri Lankan system, with 50 to 60 kids in a class, we knew how to do square roots by the time we were 10 or 11. But confronted by “what is the square root of 100” my mind went blank. For the world of me I could not think of the answer or even how to go about working it out. Deer in the headlights situation. My father initially thought I was kidding and messing around. Then he realized that I did not know. He was not amused. He made me do a ton of square root stuff BEFORE I could come out and enjoy the celebrations. So while everybody else was having a good time, eating, firing crackers and running around, I had to sit in my room and do stupid square roots. Bloody auspicious time.  

It is inconceivable to me how grown men, with some education, exposure to the world and a semblance of reasoning can believe in stuff like auspicious times.

The new president, like everybody in Sri Lanka, had to have known that his defeated opponent was a slave to auspicious times, dirty white strings and gold amulets. But he lost. It was like a referendum.

But Oh, No! We still persevere with auspicious times.

Now you know what to look for, each time you see a picture of him see if he has a dirty, sweat stained white string tied around his right wrist. If he does, turn your head sideways, and discreetly go ‘pssh’, ‘pssh’, ‘pssh’, pretending that you are spitting, to show your displeasure at this guy’s superstition.


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