Daily Archives: December 24, 2012

“Christmas At Luther” On PBS: Do Not Miss. ‘Tape’ It Quick. It Is Brilliant! Best Christmas Show In A Long Time.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


..by Anura Guruge

Click to access the ‘Luther College’ Webpage for this PBS broadcast.

Watch their teaser 42 second VIDEO Clip.

Click image to access the 42 second video clip at YouTube.

These are the “Norsemen” from Luther. They are something else, in the best possible sense. Here is but just one of the videos from YouTube. Click … Do NOT miss this. It will make your day.

A reader very kindly sent me this link to the detailed program of this concert, with the words to all the songs, from the
Minnesota Public Radio website.

It is a PDF. Click here to access it.

This was indeed blessed serendipity in its full glory. Around Christmas I check the PBS TV schedule (both Boston and NH) to see what Christmas music shows they are airing — in part, still hoping against hope that they will go back to showing “Christmas At King’s” the show they would get from the BBC and air, annually in the 1980s and 1990s. Alas no King’s but to my delight ‘Luther College‘, which I had never heard of, more than compensated for that. Thank you PBS.

Yes, over the years we have seen most of these PBS shows: Belmont, Mormon Tabernacle etc. etc. But, this stood out.

This College should be very proud. They excelled. It was a multidisciplinary performance featuring different choirs and musical accompaniment. They even had a delightful, virtuoso performance of campanology. It was world class (though as a Brit, I have to say that they didn’t have the real church bells that we add to the hand bells to add real ‘oomph’ to the sound!). The ‘Norseman’ are SPECIAL. Wow. Wow. Wow. They have one male soloist who has me in total awe. I just think about his parents. They must be so proud, and deservedly so.

The kids loved it. In the last two days we have watched it, or at least parts of it, 3 times and the kids want more. I ‘locked’ it on the DVR. I see that they plan to release a CD ($18) & DVD ($22). Most likely I will buy it.

I checked the MA/NH PBS schedule. You should be able to catch it on either Channel 2, 11, 9 or 44 up till December 26. So, don’t walk. Run to your DVR.

This is good. You will thank me for this. The best Christmas present I could have given you.

Christmas 2012 In Alton, New Hampshire (NH): A Brown Christmas?

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


..by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. I just took these two, from the front steps, around 3:15 pm on Monday, December 24, 2012, i.e., Christmas Eve.

Click to ENLARGE. You can see the residual snow from the ‘storm’ a week ago, on Monday, December 17, 2012. These are what is left of the piles I shoveled off the drive. So we will have some snow for Christmas Day.

Per the local forecast, at best we will get some snow Christmas Day though it is not 100%. So we could wake up to a brown/green Christmas. That would be different.

I though we had a brown Christmas last year too. But, I just went and looked at pictures from December 2011. We had a big storm on December 23, 2011. I doubled checked my ‘1-line a day diary’. Says: ‘snow-shovel’. So we must have had snow.

Here is a picture from December 23, 2011. Same yard as in the first picture above.

The difference a year makes. I don’t remember this, but this is December 23, 2011. Same yard as in the above 2 pictures. The main difference is the snow. Click to ENLARGE.

Just to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating, I did a Google on “December 23, 2011 snow storm New Hampshire“. Got some YouTube clips that explicitly mention December 23, 2011. So, we did get a respectable storm.

YouTube video of the 12-23-2011 snow storm in NH. Click to access.

Forecast for Alton, NH for the next few days from ‘Wunderground.com‘.

Click to access ‘wunderground.com’ weather forecast for Alton, NH. Notice the ‘ice pellets’ for Thursday. That could be bad!

Merry Christmas.

Dining Options [Alton To Portsmouth] For Christmas Day Brunch Or Dinner 2012.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


..by Anura Guruge

Wentworth by the Sea (by Portsmouth). Click …

We used to go out for Christmas dinner quite often. It was easier than cooking at home and gave us a break. We haven’t done it of late preferring to stay home. Last year we did a big traditional dinner with the works. Year prior to that we got Chinese takeout. This year, after 3 dinner parties back-to-back, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we have so much food in the fridge that I don’t even want to think of more, though we have enough stuff in the freezer, including more ham, for another full dinner.

Though we do go out to eat quite often at Thanksgiving, as we did this year, I kind of feel bad about it because I am making folks miss their day at home to provide for me. I try to make up for this. I don’t feel bad about Christmas or Easter because I am fully aware that there are those that do not celebrate those holidays and are more than happy to earn the additional money. But, I tend to gravitate towards Chinese establishments because I know that many Chinese do not observe the Christian holidays. [There are educated Chinese living in this country that have never heard of the pope. True. Read this real story that I relate on my Popes and Papacy blog.]

So if I was looking for a place to go on Christmas Day 2012, I would start by considering Great Buffet II in Portsmouth or Red Apple in Concord, both buffets that we are very conversant with. The kids wouldn’t have a problem with either, though of late I think they prefer, the more extensive, Great Buffet II. Yes, we could go to Manchester too, but it wouldn’t be worth the drive.

Yes, of course, I could consider Indian too, given that Christmas might not be a big deal for many of them. However, I am not sure that having Indian for Christmas meets my ‘kosher’ requirements, though we have had Indian, more than once, on New Year’s Day.

The Sheraton Harbourside at Portsmouth (where we did do Thanksgiving) says that they are having a Christmas ‘brunch’ from 1 pm to 5 pm on Christmas Day though it is not mentioned on their Web. What they do have on their Web is a ‘Santa’ Brunch that took place on Sunday, December 23, 2012. That could be an option for some.

The ‘Wentworth by the Sea‘ does have both a Christmas Buffet and Christmas Dinner, for the same price, $44.95 per person for adults and $18.95 for kids 2 to 12, advertised on their Web — with even the menu for the Dinner. I like the Wentworth, but I am a sucker for any and all ‘Grand Hotels’. We have been to at least one of their buffets, an Easter Buffet. It was very good, but strange. In over 50 years of dinning out, around the world, it was the ONLY time I was asked to pay in advance! No, it wasn’t special treatment just for me, because I don’t look like I was born in New England. Everybody had to pay in advance. Kind of made me feel odd. Haven’t been back for a meal since. Yes, they tend to be on the expensive side. So, even before I look at the wine menu and the kids order their soda, never mind the NH 9% (?) ‘Room & Board’ Tax, we are looking at $127.80. So for us, at a minimum, we would be looking at $170 or thereabouts. The time they charged us in advance, I think it was $155 — albeit with unlimited champagne, soda and coffee included in that price. Yes, I had two glasses of champagne.

Given my recent, very pleasant experience, I would consider the ‘Sea Bird‘ in Wolfeboro as another possible alternative, though the kids and I tend to prefer buffets, given a choice.

Realistically those are about the only options we would consider IF we wanted to go out for dinner Christmas 2012. Many of the restaurants in Portsmouth, quite rightly, are closed on Christmas Day and I am glad. I hate to see folks being forced to work on holidays IF they don’t want to do so or can get by without the additional money.

Well, Merry Christmas. If you do dine out tomorrow, would you be kind enough to share your experience with us. Thanks. All the best. Cheers.