Monthly Archives: September 2012

Ringling Brothers ‘Fully Charged’ Circus At The Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, NH: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
Elephants In Manchester, NH: There Are Here And The Next ParadeSept. 27, 2012.
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH: THE Stop Press UPDATE Wednesday (Sept. 26)Sept. 26, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NHSept. 24, 2012.

This was our 3rd circus this year, we saw 2 Cirque du Soleil performances, one in Las Vegas (April) and the other at the Verizon Arena in Manchester (May).
This is the 6th Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey circus we have seen in Manchester, going ever year, without fail, starting in 2007.
We went to the 4pm performance on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 — we always go to the last show, to catch the elephant parade afterwards (but to no avail this year).

Deanna took all these pictures.

Click the photographs to ENLARGE them and see them full size.

The BEST act of the show, the Totally Wired high-wire act. Thank you.

The Good

1/ The High-Voltage high-wire act. They did a few breathtaking stunts. Easily the most captivating in what was not greatest of shows. We have seen as good, if not better, but that was not today. So take a bow. You did great. Made my day.

2/ The human, on-fire, Crossbow Dart, The Human Fuse human cannonball variant was new, fun and creative. It was good. Could watch it again. Assume it is on the show DVD we bought for $10, a decent, reasonable price.

3/ The Indian/Sri Lankan elephants. They only had 5 but they were awfully cute and cuddly. Well fed, a couple maybe a tad too heavy. But they looked well, well cared for. Immaculately behaved. They did good. They were not forced to do anything too strenuous or unbecoming. Kind of tame, but I am all for that. If you want to see impressive elephant shows you have to go to Sri Lanka or Thailand. I will write a post about the animals and the circus, but I really do not see any signs of mistreatment of these elephants, and while I am no longer as au fait with elephants as I used to be, they look fine to my still critical eyes.

4/ The Pump Up Energy spring loaded stilt walkers in their neon costumes. Cute and magical beyond words. Bravo. I am getting myself a pair of these!

5/ Aerial Fair high fliers. We have seen similar; Cirque does this better. But these folks were good. They made me happy. Thank you.

6/ Kinetic Energy jugglers. Nothing spectacular. We have seen better, but it was a solid, pleasing performance.

7/ High Energy Fernandez Brothers in their twin turbines of steel. We have seen them before and the Cirque equivalent. These two do a honest, solid show. I like it. To me it is always a crowd pleaser.

8/ High Vaultage acrobatic team. Decent, run-of-the-mill acrobatics, but pleasingly done. Deanna was impressed that the leading lady could do all her vaults while wearing a long skirt. Definitely seen better, but these folks were OK. I applauded.

9/ All the fancy bikes. Very creative. Very original though I didn’t like the ornamental fake wheels. But, all in all a nice touch. I would definitely ride one of those.

10/ Opening and closing everybody on deck acts. These were fun. The opening act ended in a magical scene when they started juggling about 400 illuminated juggling pins in a totally dark arena. That was great. Bravo. Thank you.

11/ I thought the merchandise prices were acceptable! The program was $8 and the DVD was $10. I think the program used to be $15 and the DVD $20. I knew I hadn’t paid much for the seats. I had thought I had paid in the $22 range, which has been the norm in the past. I looked today. I had paid $17 per ticket. That, to me makes this a bargain. Thank you Ringling Bros.

The Bad

1/ The Ring Master. You hardly knew he was there. The one with least presence we have seen. Yes, I think he is new and that this might have been his first real outing. He will have to learn fast. He also didn’t have the more elaborate locomotion his predecessors enjoyed. I feel bad for him. He really was a ‘no-op’ as far as the show was concerned and he is supposed to be a star.

2/ The horse and pony show. Lame and tame. What is the point. Horses prancing around a small ring is very, very old hat. There was no fancy riding. No acrobatics on the backs of prancing horses. You could see better at any ol’ NH horse farm. This was not good.

3/ The clowns were tepid, and like the Ring Master lacked pizazz. That they made fun of all the acts that went before them, using miniature props imitating the originals, was cute but lacked fire. They need to go back to clown school.

4/ Stage set and props. This was by far the most spare and sparse set we have seen at Manchester. They didn’t even have their traditional, huge ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ circle logo! Maybe they knew that this show did not meet that billing. No large screen TVs. Very bare. Deanna noticed it right away, and complained.

5/ Pre-Show was ultra low-key and toned down. No FREE red clowns noses. It was still OK for the kids and most were mesmerized at some point. But, compared to previous years it was palpably low key. We were on the floor by 3:20 pm. We didn’t see any TALL stilt walkers or animals. Deanna was again bummed. She likes walking under the legs of the stilt walkers! Yes, that could be Freudian. They did have at least one tall stilt walker. Last year they had three, methinks because I did chat with a couple of them.

6/ No elephant parade! Please read these comments on the original, very popular, elephant parade post. I am sure this has to do with the animal cruelty protests. The police might feel that it is too volatile and to be fair to them they would be totally ill equipped to handle bolting elephants. So maybe it is for the best. I noticed that WMUR did not cover this year’s circus at all, at all! Very strange.

7/ Though the show is billed ‘Fully Charged‘ this is by far the LOWEST energy Ringling Bros. circus we have seen! Coincidence, or were they hoping that the name will compensate for the lack of whiz-bam-wallop?

The Ugly

1/ The Strong Man acts were flaccid, pathetic, I could have done better! I think he was a stand-in since he is not the one featured in the program. The program shows two fat brothers. This was a fat, not-that-strong guy that looked Chinese. His first act with fake poles, made to look like Scottish cabers, was poor. Pathetic. You could see that they weighed nothing. Then he came back in the second half for another act. All he did was lift a small girl around. I booed. I booed twice. I am sure I have never booed a performer before, since I tend to be quite generous in my appreciation of all performers (having been a stand-up comedian most of my professional life). But, this was beyond the pale. I am sure he was not the proper act. But it was UGLY.

2/ The Tiger Show. I am sorry but this act has to go. There is no place for it in a circus. This act really degraded these majestic animals. They were repeatedly humiliated. They were prodded and provoked. It was ugly. It made me very uneasy. Yes, kids and adults should get a chance to see tigers. I love tigers. I have even touched one. But, this act is cruel. Let them just be brought into a large enclosed ring. Let them just walk or lie around. Washington D.C.’s free National Zoo has a marvelous tiger enclosure. We saw tigers diving into the water for meat. Let them do their own thing. This act has to end. Period.

Light Pollution In NH Lakes Region, Particularly On Rural Dirt Roads.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

The 3 places where I have spent most of my life. Click image for a Google maps based interactive display that you can enlarge.

Lakes Region, NH from the above map. Click to ENLARGE image.

The Milky Way when there is no light pollution — from ‘National Geographic’. Click to read thought provoking article.

Maybe it hits me the hardest because I only saw the Milky Way as an adult when I came to the U.S. (on my 2nd time around) in 1985 and lived way, way, way out in the sticks in rural Maryland, about 30 miles west of Baltimore. There is too much light pollution in Europe unless you can get way out (and then in the U.K. you have the clouds).

Yes, you can still see it, quite well, from the Lakes Region if you are lucky. But, totally unnecessary, totally uncalled for light pollution is becoming more and more of a problem.

We live on a dirt road. In the 27 years I have been in the U.S. (this time around), for 63% of that time. I have never had town water in any of the 6 homes I have owned in that time. 4 of them also had septic tanks. So I have always lived out in the sticks. Part of it, certainly, was the reaction of moving here from the U.K., which being a small country is considerably more congested.

What really confounds me is people who move to dirt roads, like the one we live in now, only to discover that they are afraid of the dark! So they have to have all these lights on to make them feel safe and secure. Cracks me up.

The guy next door is the worst. From what I can see he lived in parsonages, in the middle of town, for the last 25 years. He appears to be petrified of the dark. I went out last night at 10:45 pm to walk the dogs. His yard was lit up like Time’s Square. There is nobody around. It is 10:45. This is the country. But, he is not alone.

All of our neighbors seem to abhor the dark. They love those solar powered lights. I can even tolerate those since they are not bright. But, for some those are too tame. One of the neighbors, diagonally across, keeps his outside lights on all night, every night, year round. In winter he turns on a bright, outdoor spotlight that stays on 24/7 from October till April. They, who moved here from Nashua, don’t like the dark. That spotlight lights up our house and yard. More than once I had thought about sending him a check for about $30 to defray his electric bill because when that light is on I don’t have to use any of my outside lights. I just use his spare light.

I just wish people would give some thought to light pollution. It is a form of pollution. I am not the only one concerned. Even NASA is worried.

We Got Our Flu Shots at the Hannaford, Alton pharmacy

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Click image to read article from ‘Fox News Latino’.

Deanna, Devanee and I got our 2012 – 2013 ‘flu shot’, influenza vaccination, at the Hannaford, Alton pharmacy. It, in all aspects, was ‘painless’ — though Devanee, as ever, complained (but did not scream as she is sometimes wont to do when getting a shot or having blood drawn).

It is the first time we have had a flu shot from a pharmacy, as opposed to a hospital. In terms of convenience and price, you can’t beat it. No lines and a minimum of waiting. Yes, there was a fair amount of paperwork to be done. But, overall it was quick. Basically, in and out.

The pharmacist who administered the injections was very nice. We had never seen her before. The Alton Hannaford pharmacy currently does not have a permanent pharmacist. For 2 years or more we had two really decent men, who we got to know quite well. We are supposed to be getting a new one within the month. Till then the pharmacy is served by floaters.

This pharmacist, very openly, admitted, even without us asking, that giving injections is not something she had expected to do when she was studying to be a pharmacist. It is very apparent that she was not taught to give injections at ‘school’. She had an interesting, but effective, technique. She didn’t inject per se; she jabbed, handling the syringe as if it were a dart. You could tell she has practiced on poor oranges. Told me that I am thin-skinned. Wow.

Though I am very happy to have got the shots, with the minimum of fuss, the whole process bothers me. First of all, I feel bad for the pharmacists! I have to assume that they don’t really have a choice in this matter — other than trying to find a job with somebody else. They should not be expected to give shots. That is not what they trained for. I wonder if Hannaford has any pharmacists who have refused to give shots. They should have a choice in this matter.

I checked the pharmacist, as I am wont to do with most professionals, on her knowledge on the subject, and she got it wrong. I asked her if this was a NEW vaccine for ‘this year’ and she glibly responded: ‘we get a new vaccine every year because the flu strains are different’. Wrong! There was no new vaccine last year. They used the same one as they had used the year before. How do I know; I checked with the CDC. Why did I do that; because Walmart started offering flu vaccine in early September (maybe even August) and I couldn’t fathom how they could have come up with a formula that early.

Yes, there is supposed to be a NEW vaccine, with protection against two new strains added, for 2012 – 2013. Not sure whether we got that. As far I know she could have injected water from the tap! Yes, I am a cynic. Yes, I saw her extract fluid from a small vial, but who knows. The drug company could be shipping duds. Yes, I am very cynical.

I have never been a fan of flu shots until of late. This is just the 3rd flu shot I have had. I am genetically prone to bronchitis. For the last 30 years, once in Spring and then in the fall, I get a real bad case of bronchitis. I would always end up having to take antibiotics, sometimes multiple courses. So I was finally persuaded to get the flu shot, especially as I get closer and closer to 60. The first year we happened to be at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon when they were having a free flu clinic. That was ultra convenient and the price was right. Last year we also got it from DHMC, but at Concord; our ‘Primaries’ being there. We didn’t make a special appointment or go to a scheduled clinic. Deanna had an appointment with her Primary and she asked for a shot while she was in there. I asked whether I could get one too, and since my Primary is also there it proved not to be an issue. They charged our insurance.

Hannaford yesterday told me that my shot was not covered by my insurance. They were wrong on that too. I called up my insurance, the NH State ‘NH Plan’, and they said I was 100% covered outside of my deductible. They claim that Hannaford most likely billed it wrong. So I now have to submit a claim. But, overall in terms of convenience and cost ($25) it was a good deal. By the way, I did call Huggins. They told me to try a pharmacy.

I have mixed feelings about vaccinations. Though I was a child growing up, 50 years ago, in a poor 3rd world country, I was lucky enough to get vaccinations against most things. Chicken pox vaccination was before my time and I got chicken pox when I was in my 40s. I never knew until much later what that could have done for me. Luckily I came out of that alive and with everything working. I have never had a tetanus shot, and as good, enlightened doctors will now point out … there is not much point getting one. That I haven’t got tetanus after all the cuts I have had indicates that my body has built up resistance on its own. A few years ago I worked out that c. 1960 I was one of the folks that received the then brand new ‘sugar cube’ polio vaccination as part of the patient trial process. Yes, they tested it out on brown kids in Ceylon. My uncle, who was a doctor, had a hand in arranging for this ‘free’ nationwide vaccination program, but since he is dead I have no way of finding out if he knew that this was a trial. All of us kids in Ceylon, including his then 3 sons, took it — by mouth. It was a big deal. Lots of media coverage. Lots of political publicity. We were told to wear our best to school for the occasion. We lined up. They put the sugar cubes in our mouth, a bit like the Eucharist. We survived and polio never really got a foothold in Ceylon. I have seen more people, in general, with polio in this country than I have in Ceylon. Some are my age. They did not get vaccinated. It was still being tried out on us. Funny how the cookie crumbles.

National immunization programs in Ceylon. Click if you want to read an article.

Apple Picking At ‘AppleView Orchard’ Pittsfield, NH – The Best Apple Fritters In The Universe!

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. This was last year at AppleView Orchard.

Click to ENLARGE. Apple fritters with ice cream on the porch. Seating can get a bit tight.

Click image to access the Appleview Orchard Website.

Going apple picking is now yet another of our annual rituals, though we only started doing this ‘without fail’ in fall after we moved to Alton in 2007. Prior to that we had gone once to the big, very famous farm in Loudon, with views all the way to Boston, whose name I can no longer recall; Google tells me that there are 3 farms in Loudon, but since there is no mention of the views all the way to Bean Town I cannot work out which one we actually went to. They were OK.

Deanna found AppleView. It is very close to us, which makes it even better. In 2007 we actually had the chance to buy the house next to it, but I refused to get out of the car and take a look at it, when a Realtor drove us to it, because it was $30K more than my set price at the time. As it happened, a few days later we bought this house for $40K above my original set price. So every time we go to the orchard and take the free hay ride, we go past that house and I wonder whether I did the right thing.

The Fritters at AppleView are divine. There is no other word for it. I could eat them till I explode, so I set myself a budget. When I have spent that on fritters, usually in three batches — once as soon as we get there and then twice at the end — I stop. If nothing else go there for the fritters, but they only have them on weekends. They are fine without the ice cream, but the ice cream definitely rounds it out.

Nice people. Nice farm. Decent apples. Decent pricing. Compelling store. Compelling views. Free hay rides with an entertaining and educational commentary by the Orchard Manager.

I met and had a long chat with the owner two years ago. He is a pharmacist who owns a pharmacy in Vermont. The apples are an (expensive) hobby. But, per his estimates they are planning to turn a profit soon.

We recommend AppleView, and if you somehow missed it — we think the apple fritters are out of this world.

P.S., They also have some good cheeses.

Elephants In Manchester, NH: There Are Here And The Next Parade …

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

1. The elephants are in Manchester, NH. They should be, out in the open, in the car park, behind the Verizon arena. They are hard to hide.

2. The elephants should be going back to the train, via Auburn St. and Elm St., after the last show — the question is WHEN?

3. Their next show is not until Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in Worcester, MA. I don’t know what happens in the interim. In prior years Manchester was always the last stop and they dashed off ‘home’ as soon as the last show was completed.

Related Posts:
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH: THE Stop Press UPDATE Wednesday (Sept. 26)Sept. 26, 2012.
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH — Free (& Gratis) Thanks To Barnum & Bailey CircusSept. 25, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NH Sept. 24, 2012.
It’s A Girl, All of 316 Pounds — Another Ringling Brothers Circus ElephantSept. 26, 2012.

elephant parade sign Manchester, NH

From the 2008 elephant parade in Manchester, NH.

I genuinely feel bad for those that wanted to see the elephants yesterday, but missed it. I, as you can see from my updates, tried to do my best: I called the police (twice), I called the arena (twice) and even called up FELD (the parent company of the circus). I thank all of those that helped by sending me comments. About three years ago we too went mid-week to see the elephants arrive with Teischan. The train was about 90 minutes late. We saw it come in. We saw the elephants in the cars. But, we couldn’t wait for the parade because we had to get back home to meet Devanee’s school bus. But, we saw the parade on Sunday of that year.

I am in Alton. The last time I was in Manchester, actually Bedford, was a week ago. So I have no visibility as to what is happening at the Arena is real time.

I checked WMUR last night and this morning. I might have missed it but I can’t see any reports about the elephants or the circus — though one of our readers told us yesterday that she saw the WMUR van pulling up.

I also checked the Facebook page for and the Tweets from the Arena. Again I might not be seeing it. They talk about the circus being here but there is no mention of the elephants or the parade yesterday.

So here is my new druthers. The elephants might have become a new security issue. Yes, the circus is continuing to get a lot of flack about their treatment of animals. WMUR has an article about protests in Manchester against the circus. This could be why they are ALL being so evasive. Elephants, even the best trained ones, are easy to spook. So if a demonstrator did something crazy we could have a bad situation. Yes, I have experienced runaway elephants first hand, albeit this was a baby, maybe 1 year old. It was at a fair, an Expo, in Colombo in the 1960s. The elephant had been brought in as an attraction. Since it was still a baby people were not that concerned. Something happened, and it decides to take off. My parents were working a ‘stall’ (maybe it was my mother’s orphanage). It wasn’t a tent. They had long rows of storage unit like concrete enclosures. The elephants started going into each of these. It was agitated and all the commotion being made by the people was scaring it. I have never seen a bull in a china shop, but a baby elephant in a exhibition stall sure creates a stir. The poor elephant. It meant no harm. It just didn’t know what to do. I still remember this. My father, an academic, is not what anybody would call a physical, outdoor type person. But, he took a huge swipe at the elephant and whacked it on its rump to keep it from going into the stall where my mother and others were. I was impressed. I don’t think it really hurt the elephant. I think the elephant was a bit shorter than my father, and he is about 5′ 9″. So the elephant was still a baby, but of respectable size. He ran up and down those stalls, trunk in the air, tail up and squeaking. It ran by me a couple of times. I wasn’t scared. It wasn’t hurting anyone and even as kids we knew that. It was just big and knocked over everything in its path. They caught him in the end. He wasn’t punished. As I said yesterday baby elephants are like big puppies. They like to play; they just have no idea how big they are.

So, I think this is the issue. The circus, the arena and Manchester PD want to play down the presence of the elephants this year. If so, I understand. This is not Ceylon. If an elephant breaks rank on Elm St. the police will probably shoot it though you need special bullets to really fell an elephant, with one shot. Yes, elephants do get shot in Ceylon/Sri Lanka — but not that often. Yes, I remember one going rogue during the famous, annual, ‘Temple of the Tooth’ August parade when I was a child. They had to shoot the elephant, though it was the fault of the keeper. Elephants go into ‘Musk’ — a bit like ‘heat’. They tend to be excitable when in Musk. But, it is hard to miss  Musk. When it musk they secrete an unmistakable an oily liquid from glands behind their eyes. You try not to take bull elephants in Musk on parades. I haven’t checked off late. Yes, in Sri Lanka where elephants walk the roads and work the land every day, and we have parades with lots of elephants, all decked up, pulling electric generators to power up all the lights on them, quite a few times a year, a few accidents do occur.

I am assuming, I am hoping that there will be a ‘closing’ parade on Sunday, the last show in Manchester starting at 4 pm and most likely ending by 6 or 6:30 pm. In past years the elephants started their walk back about 1 hour after the end of the show. They were a bit late last year. Not sure what will happen this year. Their next show is not until Wednesday. So they might stay the night in Manchester. Maybe all day Monday as well. If I find out more I will update this post.

Elephant parade in Kandy, Sri Lanka; an annual event in August to celebrate the holy relic of the Buddha’s tooth. The elephant in the middle here, on his back, in the lit ‘pagoda’, is carrying a replica of the tooth. There were years when you would get 80 to 90, decked up elephants. There is a parade everyday for a week! Millions attend. Smaller parades take place all over the country. So these are the kinds of elephant parades I am used to.

It’s A Girl, All of 316 Pounds — Another Ringling Brothers Circus Elephant

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH — Free (& Gratis) Thanks To Barnum & Bailey CircusSept. 25, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NHSept. 24, 2012.

A happy coincidence (not serendipity). As I am trying to keep folks updated about the Elephant Parade in Manchester, NH, I get this e-mail from the circus.

Yes, I am on their mailing list.

Wow. I have checked out their ‘Elephant Center‘.

Though I have never visited it (my last visit to Sri Lanka having been in 1992, for 72 hours, for my mother’s funeral, having accompanied her body from Paris), but I am very conversant with the deservedly famous Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka.

I know that Ringling Bros. have taken a lot of ‘stick’ of late about elephant cruelty. Yes, I have watched, with discomfort, some of the videos. I am torn. I have seen elephants trained in both Sri Lanka and Thailand. Yes, there is sometimes a degree of roughness.

One thing I do know: most civilized folks cannot be mean towards an elephant. They are way, way, way cuter than puppies! Baby elephants are a riot. You can play with them. They will roll over on their backs for you so that you can scratch their belly. Just like puppies they love it. Their ‘little’ legs will waggle in the air. As they get big, say 3 months, they will expect you to wrestle them to the ground — in play. They will follow you around — the house! No, alas, we never owned any elephants. It is kind of an expensive pastime and you need the space. We were not rich. But, we had friends who owned elephants. Sri Lankan houses have polished (often colored) cement floors; which is like marble, but without any seams. So cleaning up after a baby elephant, where the droppings are in the main very fibrous, isn’t too hard or bad — and if you own elephants you will also have a large cadre of servants.

So, this was a nice tie-in with the circus coming to town.

Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH: THE Stop Press UPDATE Wednesday (Sept. 26)

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

**** See 2014 Update here ****

Remember there will be another elephant parade (same route, but in reverse) Sunday. That is much easier to time.
Will be ~1 hour after the end of the last show. I will keep you posted on that.

‘Just now’: Comment: ‘I own a business 50 feet from where they keep the elephants and I have not seen anything go by all day.’

3:52: Verizon says animals are already at the arena. So the parade is OVER. OK. Hope some of you got to see it.

3:42 pm: Another comment from a different reader: ‘The Verizon Facebook page says that the elephants have already arrived at the arena‘. OK.

3:23 pm: Just had this comment from a reader: ‘FYI, I have a view of the tracks from my office, and a train pulling Barnum & Bailey cars is definitely on the tracks right now being adjusted, and I’m watching the WMUR news van pull out (they’re next to each other). Could be something soon!’ So the train is here. If you are going to watch, I would head out now. They will probably shoot for 4;30 pm. So, go, GO, GO. Many thanks to our helpful reader. This is great. PR guy from FELD has yet to call.

2:45 pm: I called up FELD Entertainment, the parent company of the circus in VA. They don’t know either, BUT they say they will find out and call me back. Just left a message for Steve Payne their Corporate P.R. person. So, lets see if he will help us. Told them how keen we are in NH to see the pachyderms.

2:27 pm: Verizon Arena is not being too helpful! All they will say is that the train is not here as yet, and yes, it is delayed. They are adamant they have no idea as to when it might arrive. The elephants can walk in the dark, not that Elm St. ever gets that dark. So the train could come in ‘tonight’. AGAIN, a lot of this is because this, i.e., Manchester being the 1st stop of the tour as opposed to last, is new.

11:49 am, Wednesday, Sept. 26 — I checked with the Verizon Arena (tel: (603) 644-5000). The train is definitely delayed. They do not have an ETA as yet. They think it will still be today. I will check again and keep updating this post. So come back.

Related Posts:
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH — Free (& Gratis) Thanks To Barnum & Bailey CircusSept. 25, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NHSept. 24, 2012.

Just (10:40 am, Wednesday, Sept. 26) spoke with Manchester Police INFORMATION at (603) 668-8711. (not 911). Got transferred 3 times but eventually got the lady with the scoop.

There was a police detail scheduled for this morning for the elephant parade but the circus has JUST called in and cancelled it!

They did not reschedule it or book another one — as yet.

As I did say in my post yesterday, this is A CIRCUS so things can be a circus. I am sure there are coming to town. My druthers has always been that they will come Thursday morning.

Why the confusion? This is the first time they have STARTED in Manchester, NH rather than do the final performance in our fair, Queen City. So in the past they would come here after they did their shows in Worcester, MA. They would come the next morning after the final show in Worcester. So that was easy enough to work out.

I will try to keep you posted. Cheers.

Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH — Free (& Gratis) Thanks To Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

  by Anura Guruge

Please check Wednesday morning, Sept. 26, 2012 UPDATE here.

It is a GIRL!

Related Post:
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NHSept. 24, 2012.

From 2010. The elephants leaving Manchester. Yes, that is Teischan and I.

Also from 2010.

I have seen a number of queries over the last two days of people looking for information about the ‘elephant parade Manchester‘. So here is THE scoop.

Like the good, ol’ fashioned circus it is, the ‘Barnum & Bailey‘ circus comes to town by train. So the elephants have to be taken to and from the train to the Verizon Arena ‘performer’ parking lot; albeit once when they arrive in town and then when they are leaving.

This year, 2012, they will arrive in Manchester, NH on possibly Wednesday evening (or Thursday morning). They will depart on Sunday, around 7:30 pm. So that is when you will get to see the elephants and the horses, for free — walking along Auburn St. and Elm St. (see map below).

The ~7:30pm on Sunday is a done deal. They leave after the last show, which will finish around 6:30.

Not sure as to when the train will arrive on Wednesday/Thursday. In a major change, Manchester, this year, is the 1st stop in the circus tour as opposed to being the last. I am kind of sad about that.

If you want to catch the elephants on Wednesday/Thursday, which will definitely be during the day (as opposed to the evening on Sunday), the best thing to do is to call the Manchester Police INFORMATION line at (603) 668-8711. (not 911). They are the only ones that know the exact times because they have to stop traffic while the elephants gallivant, ever so regally, up Elm St. I have had luck calling them at (603) 668-8711, though you have to remember that this is indeed a circus and as such their schedules could be way out. The last time we tried to catch the ‘Thursday’ parade the train was over 2 hours late.

The best place to see the parade is at the intersection of Elm and Auburn. We used to go, order dinner, get some drinks and camp out at Murphy’s Taproom. Not anymore. The last time we tried to do that we hadn’t got our food one hour after we placed the order! I paid for our drinks, got up and left. The waitress agreed with us that the service was unacceptable, but that she was at the mercy of the kitchen. I felt bad for her. I gave her a decent tip.

So here is the map. It should help:

The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NH

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related Post:
  We Are Going to Dralion by Cirque du Soleil at the Verizon Arena ManchesterMay 30, 2012.

I love the circus. Been going to them all my life and don’t plan to stop anytime soon (even if Deanna complains often that we spend way too much money on shows and that we should cut back); also want to make sure that the kids get to see them.

With the ‘Barnum & Bailey’ circus, at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH, we do the cheap seats — and have done so for 3 years with great success. The Arena is small and with the layout for the circus the $2x seats provide great viewing. This was more serendipity in our lives. Make a note of this. Barnum & Bailey has a very clever ‘Baby’s First Circus’ program. Register during the first 12 months and you get a voucher redeemable in the future. Deanna had done this when Devanee was born.

In 2006, during our constant visits to Dartmouth to do with Teischan’s birth, we discovered that ‘The Big Apple Circus’ came to Hanover. I bought tickets, for 2006, and took Teischan when she was but a few weeks old. Yes, I had to take her out, twice, because she was crying. But, the ‘Big Apple’ then got added to our annual list of events. Then Deanna remembered the free voucher. We went to the Verizon to claim it and buy 3 more tickets.

There was a catch. The voucher was only valid for a cheap seat. I looked at the seating chart and the cheap seats looked OK. So I bought 3 more. We went; we enjoyed, we went back. So that is the deal now. We go to the circus in Manchester in September/October. It has become another annual family tradition alongside: Chinese New Year in China Town, Whale Watch, Laconia Multicultural Day, NH Highland Games, Apple Picking, Sandwich Fair, Revels etc. In addition we always try and catch the elephant parade on main street. Having grown up in a country where elephants do roam the streets routinely it gives me a huge kick to see elephants walking in Manchester, NH.

The Red Apple no longer comes to NH! Shame, but was to be expected. I am surprised that ‘Barnum & Bailey’ still come. I have never seen a full house for them. I think they come out of a sense of community and duty. I thank them. It is a good show. They try hard. They have a pre-show where the kids can mingle with some of the performers and animals. Yes, they charge crazy prices for cotton candy but some of their merchandize is ‘reasonably’ priced. Teischan looks at the programs over and over again, so I always buy one; sometimes the DVD.

This year we got to see two Cirque du Soleil circus — our first exposure to them. They are spectacular and different. Some elements are the same as those in ‘B&B’. I like ‘B&B’ — and yes, I have studied the allegation about their animal cruelty, especially towards the gentle Indian(/Sri Lankan) elephants. I don’t know. Yes, all animal training involves some level of harshness. The elephants I have seen with ‘B&B’ look OK — and I can tell the signs of a mistreated elephant.

I recommend the ‘Barnum & Bailey’ circus unreservedly — just get the cheap seats and it is a ‘well worth the money’ experience. Enjoy.

NH Highland Games At Loon 2012: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Companion Post:
>>  NH Highland Games At Loon: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 — The REPORT CARDSept. 23, 2012.

I realize that the above Report Card is way too long. So here is the pithy summary.

Hadrian's Wall Musical Group by Anura GurugeThe Good

1/ Hadrian’s Wall. The BEST of the Games 2012. They rocked. Dave Gossage will remind you of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull!

2/ The Massed Bands at the Closing Ceremonies. Spectacular. Hard to beat.

3/ The perennial, ‘never bad’ favorites: The Briagdoons, Albannach, NH Pipes and Drums, Mohwak Valley, Catamount, Rob Roy and Governor John Lynch. Thank YOU.

4/ Good free coffee by Green Mountain Coffee (along with free plastic water cups, a chocolate ‘something’, which was addictive and cute, GreenSt. Patty’sheadbands). Many thanks. Much appreciated.

5/ Celtica, U.S. Border Patrol Band, all of the St. Andrew bands, the Drum Majors (even the guy that kept on dropping his mace).

The Bad

1/ No Grade I band.

2/ No bands from the U.K., let alone Scotland — when this is supposed to showcase Scotland; Albannach alone can’t always be the token Scots.

Denis Carr

Denis Carr, of ‘The Brigadoons’, the requisite Voice of the NH Highland Games.

3/ Having the Clan Roll and Opening Ceremonies separate.

4/ No Denis Carr at the Opening Ceremony.

5/ No real innovation over the last decade.

The Ugly

1/ $5.75 for a sausage roll — that is Scottish Highway Robbery.

2/ No trophy for the Amateur Drum Major even though it was a proper, slated competition and they announced a winner and said that they had no award for him.

3/ The ‘Performance Tent’ is the same, with the very same dirty, blue curtains, as it has been over the last 10 years; no light show, no big screens, no dancers … just shabby, tired and dark.

4/ Prevailing sense of general apathy by the organizers.

5/ The event and program looks and feels tired, lackluster, flaccid with no efforts at re-invigoration.

Yes, with those same resources I can do better, just in case you were wondering.