Archive | June 2016

Flowers At Concord, N.H., “Uno Pizzeria & Grill” On June 30, 2016.

by Anura Guruge

See this post for resolution details.

NO post-processing whatsoever.

Taken with my 5-week old Fuji X-E2s.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

Fuji X-E2s image Anura Guruge
Fuji X-E2s image Anura Guruge

Uno’s had done a really spectacular job in terms of the flowers they had adorning the restaurant. Really top-notch job. We ate lunch outside (and though it was hot (in the mid 80s)) it really felt good to be surrounded by all this color and beauty. We like Uno’s. Also refer to this post, also from today, for more pictures.

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by Anura Guruge

“Great British Bake Off” (Show) Starting On PBS, Starting Friday, July 1, 2016 — Is It Season 3 or Season 6?

by Anura Guruge


I just [i.e., Thursday, June 30, 2016] had an e-mail from intimating that the Great British Baking Show starting Friday, July 1, 2016 is NEW and is “Season 3” (a.k.a. “Series 3“).

Though Season 3 was shown on BBC (U.K.) in 2012 I think it would, in theory, be NEW to the U.S. since I am not sure whether PBS/NHPTV ever showed it.

But then it gets confusing. The First Episode is “Cake” and the description — shown below — talks about “Madeira Cake” and “Frosted Walnut Cake“. That was ‘Cake’ from 2015 “Season 6” — not “Season 3”.

“Season 3” cakes were “Upside Down Cake” and “Rum Babas“!

So what will it be: Season 3 or Season/Series 6?

Here is the PBS program description for the July 1, 2016 show.


Click to ENLARGE and read here. The ‘Madeira Cake’ is the dead give away. Check the Wikipedia guide for Series 6 Episode 1 — shown below. Sorry.

>> >>  See ‘Season 7’ News Roundup I  << <<

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by Anura Guruge

“RBC Wealth Management”: Incompetent, Disgustingly Expensive & Duplicitous!

by Anura Guruge

I have nothing but total utter contempt for this company and for the world of me cannot understand why an American, living in America, would ever think of investing with RBC. from what I have seen they have NOTHING, but nothing, going for them. They are desperate to cling on, at any and all costs, to the assets they hold and will go to extremes, including outright duplicity, to try and prevent you from withdrawing assets.

I would never have invested with RBC. I am partial to good ol’ American and British institutions, in particular Fidelity Investments, Barclays, Bank of AMERICA and TD Ameritrade.

I only had to deal with this miserable outfit because an elderly relative of Devanee’s had set up two 529 College Funds for her. He died last year and towards the latter part of the year I had to become the Custodian of these accounts since she, at 15, is still a minor. One of the accounts was with Blackrock and the other with bloody RBC.

Blackrock was a delight to deal with. Kudos and thank you. I was very impressed. IF I ever seriously thought of leaving Fidelity (and recently they informed me that I had been a customer for 30 years) I would consider Blackrock.

RBC was the polar opposite to Blackrock.

In December 2015 I had to first start the process of having the Custodianship transferred over to me. That is fairly involved and required ‘Medallion Guarantees‘ (which I had never heard of before in 40-years of financial dealings), death certificates and letters of intent. But finally got it done. Blackrock, on my very first call to them, went about setting up an online account for me so that I would have immediate access to the 529 account as soon as they received and processed the paperwork. Given that I am so used to doing my financial transactions online, that was neat and v. helpful. Not so with RBC. All the time I was with them I never had online access. I, nonetheless, managed to get everything transferred and set up with RBC.

After I took over the accounts my immediate druthers, quite naturally, was to have the 2 accounts transferred to Fidelity. Devanee already had an account at Fidelity and I, as some of you know, have a Fidelity tab open on this PC for 12-14 hours a day. It was just more convenient for me to have everything at Fidelity PLUS Fidelity doesn’t charge exorbitant fees and commissions.

So I set about trying to Rollover the two 529s using the Standard Rollover Form provided by Fidelity. And yes Fidelity helped me, over the phone, fill them in and get them correct.

In addition to the Rollover form Fidelity (quite rightly) requires a current statement of the account being rolled over so that they can make sure all is in order.

Getting a statement from Blackrock was no problem. I just logged on and printed one.

With RBC, as with all my dealings with them, I had to call them. I called them in February 2016 to ask for a statement. They said that they would be sending one to be, automatically, in April, for the first quarter — and that I should wait for that. I waited until the 3rd week in April. Called again. They said my statement was going out that week. I waited two weeks Nothing. Called again. They said they mailed me a statement. So I asked them what address they mailed it to. They gave me the address of the now deceased, previous custodian! I asked them whether that was the name and address they had for the account. They admitted that it was NOT and that this was in error. They also volunteered that this happens quite often. INCOMPETENCE.

They sent me a statement. I forwarded it to Fidelity, along with the 529 Rollover form in early May. A couple of weeks later, mid-May, I had a letter from Fidelity saying that they had sent to Rollover form to RBC and that they expected the proceeds to sent over within a couple of weeks.

Here are extracts from the Rollover form sent to RBC. Fidelity helped me, as they did with the Blackrock form, to fill this in and they, OBVIOUSLY, checked it, diligently, before they sent it over to RBC. Fidelity does not screw up often.

Click to ENLARGE and see …
(Sorry I wiped out account numbers etc.)


I waited, patiently, until June 20 before I called up Fidelity to ask why the funds had not arrived. They asked me to call RBC. I did.

RBC said that on May 19th they had REJECTED the Rollover because the Rollover form did not contain Devanee’s name!

That is a bold face lie. See the proof above. Plus Fidelity has copies of what they sent. Devanee’s name and social were on the Form, in the right place.

They just did NOT want to execute the Rollover because they didn’t want to lose the assets.

They claim that they sent a rejection letter to Fidelity on May 19th. Well Fidelity never got it.


I was beyond livid my now. Told them to liquidate the assets and send me a check. Said they couldn’t because there was a BLOCK on my account! Why was there a BLOCK on my account. Because they had received mail saying undeliverable. And why was that? Because they sent it to the P.O. Box of a deceased person! INCOMPETENCE.

I finally got a check. They charged $149.94 to sell 148 shares of a U.S. company! In totally this SCUMMY company charged me $351.94 to sell 184 shares! In essence they exploited a 15-year old child. Their commission came to 6.15% of the proceeds. That is disgusting.

So BE WARNED. RBC is scum. Stay clear of them. Why an American would want to deal with this outfit when WE have world class institutions — like Fidelity and Blackrock — defies comprehension.

That is it. Nothing more that needs to be said.


From ‘’. Click to ENLARGE.


Well RBC was recently DOWNGRADED to ‘negative’ by S&P. Click on image to access the full original.

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by Anura Guruge

Sony’s Announced Delay In Camera Shipments Could Affect Nikon, Fuji, Pentax etc. IF Sensors Are Involved.

by Anura Guruge


From “DPReview”, June 28, 2016. Click image to access original.

In 2015 it was estimated that Sony owned 40% of the sensor market — with it being known that Nikon, Fuji, Pentax and Olympus (among others) bought some or all of their sensors from Sony. Apple also relies on Sony sensors for the iPhones.

It is not clear from this announcement whether sensor manufacturing has been impacted. If so there could be a domino effect rippling across the whole market. One piece of ‘good news’ is that Apple has cut back on their demand for sensors with iPhones not selling as much as they used to. That could help.

So best to be on your guard over the next 3 months IF you are hoping to get a new camera. There could be delays. Heads up.

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by Anura Guruge

Radio On ‘Nissan Quest SV’ 2015/2016 Disappointingly Anemic!

by Anura Guruge


The Nissan Quest SV minivan we bought, from ‘Somersworth Nissan‘, was would have to be categorized as an impulse buy. I had never even heard of the name “Quest” in terms of minivans. I was looking for a Nissan Pathfinder having driven 1,500+ miles on a rented one when we went to Yosemite. But Deanna and Tesichan had their hearts set on a minivan and this was to be Deanna’s vehicle rather than mine. So it was only fair that she got to chose. We didn’t do much of a test drive and Deanna drove throughout.

Looking back I now realize that during the test drive the radio was on the Sirius Demo channel. That sounded OK. And that is also the case with CDs. CDs sound fine. Not great, but definitely acceptable.

Not so with FM radio — at least with the major central New Hampshire stations. It is very tinny, underpowered and staticky. The radio on my 2002 Jaguar XJ8 is better — and that is saying something given the 14-year difference in technology. One of the problems, from what I can see, are that the front speakers are lame and badly positioned. They are mounted in the footwell so to speak and do not do a good job projecting the sound upwards. They would have been better off with 4 smaller speakers — 2 mounted higher up, either on top of the dash or on the door.

So be warned. If you are in the market for a Nissan Quest — check the radio and make sure that it meets YOUR requirements.

No we will not countenance an aftermarket upgrade. I guess that would be possible — for the right price. We will just live with it.

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by Anura Guruge

PBS’ Fall 2016 “Masterpiece Theatre” Presentation “Churchill’s Secret” (From ITV) Looks Scrumptious!

by Anura Guruge


Click here to ENLARGE and read snippet here. Use link below to access the original.

Click here to access the original PBS “Masterpiece” page.

There was a long trailer for this show at the end of the v. compelling first episode of “Dancing on the Edge“.

It is no secret that I am a huge and unashamed ‘Winston Churchill‘ devotee (who even had a big Golden named ‘Winston‘). I, having read many biographies of the Great Man (irrespective of what he felt about us brown (half-naked) fakirs), I was aware of this unfortunate episode of his life. The dramatization, focusing, of course, on his recovery, looked excellent. Can’t wait.

I will keep you posted. This is indeed something to look forward to when the Summer is over.

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by Anura Guruge

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