Daily Archives: May 10, 2014

Mother’s Day 2014 (International) Google Doodle.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


by Anura Guruge

Last Google Doodle:
>> Audrey Hepburn, 85th birthday May 4, 2014.

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


Click to access Google Doodle.

Link will be updated
to provide access from the Google Doodle Archive.

Why NO Sri Lanka —
though they are, this year, trying to ape what is happening in the U.S.

2014 Mother's Day cakes for Sri Lanka. Amusing that they are using an image of Disney Minnie with impunity. But, they are advertising in the U.S. Hhhmmm. You know whose cakes these are.

2014 Mother’s Day cakes for Sri Lanka. Amusing that they are using an image of Disney Minnie with impunity. But, they are advertising in the U.S. Hhhmmm. You know whose cakes these are.

Past Mother’s Day Google Doodles.

Click to ENLARGE.


I Am Indeed Sorry To See Omotayo O. Akinmade, MD Leave Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Concord And Actually New Hampshire.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Dartmouth-Hitchcock‘  for other related posts >>>>

Click to access Dartmouth-Hitchcock 'doctor' page.

Click to access Dartmouth-Hitchcock ‘doctor’ page.

Dr. Akinmade has been my Primary Care doctor since he joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2008. I like him and as of my last visit, just last month, got to respect him, quite a bit at that, too.

I had a letter last week to say that he is, as of July 3, 2014, leaving Dartmouth and the State. I am upset. He proved to be a good, decent, caring doctor.

Given that I have had the misfortune of encountering more than my fair share of quacks in this country, I had since the 1980s — after a female doctor in Milford who would always make me drop my pants and do a physical check on me even if I was there because of a sore throat told me, erroneously, that there was something really bad wrong with me — tried to deal with Indian doctors whenever I can; with New Hampshire not having any Sri Lankan doctors as far as I know. Though there are exceptions like me amazing ‘new’ cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Hanlon at Catholic Medical in Manchester, N.H.

I am fussy about doctors. I don’t like going to doctors and as such have an aversion to them — other than in social settings. I was spoilt. Growing up I had my own personal physician — who was also the personal physician to the Governor General. So, of course, he was good. He happened to be my uncle — my firewalking, larger-than-life (though he was but 5′ 4″ I would think) uncle, philanthropist par excellence and a bon vivant without equal. I do take after him in some respects (and those in the family, if they are reading this, will be snorting in agreement). Anyhow …

I was lucky enough to have found a tremendous Indian cardiologist in Laconia in 1998. Dr. Venkatram Nethala, my friend. He was good. He has saved my life. In 1998, though I was 45, and my blood pressure and cholesterol was within ‘limits’ he insisted that I go on Lipitor  and a bunch of high blood pressure medication. His words were: ‘Anu, given your family history and your lifestyle I am putting you on these now as a precaution, you will thank me for this when you are 60’. THANK YOU, Dr. Nethala.

Another doctor who is no longer in New Hampshire. I miss Dr. Nethala all the time. He was not only a good friend but a doctor that I would, and had, trusted with my life.

In 2008, though Dr. Nethala was still around I needed a PCP because I had a ton of things wrong with — none of which were ever pinned down. Given that I was having every test known to man, and a few that I am sure were invented just so that they could bill me, I decided, rightly or wrongly, to signup with DHMC so that referrals etc. would be easier. I saw that DHMC Concord had an Indian doctor — Dr. Murali. I was going to sign up with her. That way I would have had two Indian doctors: Drs. Nethala and Murali. Then when I was at Concord to sign up I saw Dr. Akinmade. He had JUST joined. On impulse I told the receptionist that I would signup with HIM rather than Murali! In my mind, it was the right thing to do. New Hampshire, as we know, though it is getting better each year, doesn’t have too many non-whites. So I felt a moral obligation to signup with Akinmade to show allegiance — since he was new (and I had been in NH since 1996).

On my first visit with him, my decision, was validated somewhat. He had read through my entire file over the weekend! That is why I sign up, whenever possible, with foreign-qualified doctors. Two impeachable reasons: they essentially have to be TWICE qualified and have gone through more training (once in their native country and once in the U.S.) AND they try much harder because they know, at least to start with, that everybody is watching them.

Akinmade did nearly kill me in November 2010. He refused to give me antibiotics when I begged for some and then gave me the ‘wrong’ one when I had explicitly told him: give me anything BUT the 5-day Zithromax. I used to know my antibiotics in those days and knew that I had taken too much Zithromax over the previous few years and needed a change. Well, after I broke a rib coughing and nearly died, he came to his senses and gave me the antibiotics I needed — albeit not without insisting that I spend $3,300 on unnecessary CatScans! But, I am man enough to realize that it wasn’t all his fault. He, as a ‘new’ doctor’, was trying to do his best to adhere to DHMC’s new, very stringent, anti-antibiotics policies. His hands were essentially tied. I appreciate that.

Last time around, last month, he impressed me — and it is not easy for a doctor to impress me because I am such a jaundiced patient. He knows his stuff. He really has matured and become one heck of a doctor. An American doctor would have had be admitted to hospital! But, Akinmade, to his credit, was realistic and pragmatic. WHY I like foreign qualified doctors in general. They are good.

I am supposed to see him in June. I wasn’t going to unless I was dying — again. I try NOT to go see doctors unless I am in pretty bad shape. But, I guess I will. I need to say Good Bye.


So per Akinmade letter, I call up DHMC Concord to get a new PCP.

At our last visit Deanna, as is her wont, had picked up a fancy brochure with all the DHMC PCP doctors. I spotted 4 Indian doctors. WOW. So I tell the receptionist that I want an Indian doctor. She, over the phone, doesn’t ‘bat an eyelid’! She tells me that I can sign up with any of the four. Wow. I am impressed.

So I am looking at the list. 3 females and one male! Wow. I picked the MALE! No. No. No. I, alas, am not shy.

I picked Dr. Ravindra Nath  for two reasons. His name, he too being from South India, was similar to Dr. Nethala. Then I had noticed that he had done his residencies in Wales and had even attended University Hospital Cardiff. Well, I too got my first degree from the University of Wales. So we have that connection.

BUT, he is a Tamil! That could be a problem. He as a Tamil may feel honor bound to kill me, a Sinhalese (at least by adoption), given the Tamil separatist movement (and recently concluded Civil War) in Sri Lanka. That should make it more interesting. Me having to always be on my guard to make sure that he is not trying to bump me off so that he could send out e-mails to Canada saying: ‘OK, bumped off another damn Sinhalese. Only 18 more million to go — but he was the only one in New Hampshire.’ [The Canada reference is only for the cognoscenti. Don’t worry about it.]

I just hope that he proves to be at least half as good as Dr. Nethala (who was also Tamil, but never spoke about it) and on par with Dr. Akinmade — and doesn’t try too hard to kill me off just because I am Sinhalese. I will, of course, let you know.

Click to access ....

Click to access ….

Disney Epcot Soarin’ Ride — It Is A Lot Of Fun, BUT Disney Could & SHOULD Do Better.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013...


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 5 days at Disney World
>>May 3, 2014.
>> Disney FastPass+ Tips
>>May 9, 2014.
>> Easily changing reservations
>> at Disney
 — May 7, 2014.
>> Disney Deluxe Dining
>>May 5, 2014.
>> FingerprintsMay 6, 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 >>>>

Click to access Disney's pitch about this Epcot attraction.

Click to access Disney’s pitch about this Epcot attraction.

Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ 


A decent 11 minute video of the whole experience — which shows the distracting dangling legs! Click to access YouTube video.

Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ Θ 

The DANGLING LEGS. Click to access the original and more photos at 'touringplans.com'.

The DANGLING LEGS. Click to access the original and more photos at ‘touringplans.com’.

Soarin’ at Epcot was one of our FastPass+ reservations. It looked good when we were looking through the attractions and it was INDEED fun. The ride we got was the same one shown in the YouTube video (above) and was a trip over California — which was fun since Deanna and I had done the San Francisco tourist ‘thing’ in 2005.

Good ride.

But, there was something that was NOT RIGHT.

You had feet from the other riders dangling in front of YOU and to your side.

That spoils the whole illusion and hoped for effect.

If this was anywhere else I would not bitch about it.

But, this is Dinsey! Disney can and SHOULD do better.

In the scheme of things it shouldn’t be too hard for Disney to come up with a way to fix the dangling leg distraction.

New York Empire State Building equivalent. Click to access.

New York Empire State Building equivalent. Click to access.

Come on, Disney … where is your magic?

So this was poor — as is their insistence on having a discredited German firm, viz. Siemens, sponsoring Epcot.

What would Walt do?

A few years ago when we visited the Empire State Building we did a similar ride. I could be wrong, but I think it was better. So this is just a heads up and a request to Disney. Please make this ride better. Thank you.

I am good at playing the tourist part. Note the yellow FastPass+ bracelet. Click to ENLARGE.

Making sure Teischan got her share of Character Dining was a key goal. Click to ENLARGE.

It Is One Thing That The Australians Still Cannot Locate Missing Malaysian MH370 — But The Wreckage Of A Hot Air Balloon In Eastern Virginia?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Just SOME of the Related posts:
>> Bogus Australian claims …
>>Apr. 24, 2014.
>> MH370 Paradox Redux —
>> Apr. 7, 2014.
>> MH370 FARCE — Apr. 2, 2014.
>> Maldives & Sri Lanka —
Mar. 15, 2014.
++++ Search on ‘MH370‘ for other related posts >>>>

Click to access NBC coverage or Google for plenty more.

Click to access NBC coverage or Google for plenty more.

Longleat House -- part of the famous estate which also includes a legendary drive-through game park.

Longleat House — part of the famous estate which also includes a legendary drive-through game park.

We are talking Eastern Virginia — not the Indian ocean. Not only is it fairly heavily populated but it is the nerve center of so much U.S. military and defense operations and locations! Don’t we have every inch of Virginia covered from space 24×7? Just seems incongruous.

I do actually have an interesting story about losing a balloon. No, no, not a toy balloon — but a BIG, 4 person hot air balloon, which I think was named the ‘Protagonist‘. This was a long time ago, 1983 — and I was the Customer Support Manager for Northern Telecom (NT) Data Systems in the U.K. One of the secretaries that worked their had a (much older) husband who was an avid balloonist. I used to socialize with them and got infected by the ballooning bug. He took me to a ballooning meet at Longleat. It rained all weekend so there was no ballooning but the social aspect was, as is invariably the case in the U.K., great. I met two folks who I had gone to school with in Mill Hill a decade earlier. I, mainly because the weather in the U.K. can be so precarious and because I was also crazy busy finishing my first book, never got to go up with him or for that matter in any balloon. But twice I got literally roped into — and there are lot of ropes in ballooning — to lead the ground crew to recover his balloon. At least then, in the early 1980s, hot air balloonist did NOT use radios — of any form. There were no cell phones. You tracked balloons using physics and maps — good ol’ U.K. Ordnance Survey Maps.

Before the balloon takes off the ground crew ‘chief’ [ME in this case] and the pilot would scatter some grass into the wind to determine the direction of the wind. We would, of course, know where we were. Then on an Ordnance Survey Map for the area we would mark where we are and then take a ruler and draw a line stretching out a long way — the direction of the line being that of the way the wind was blowing. That line would, in theory, represent where and how the balloon would fly. Then you looked at the map and worked out which ROADS the line intersected. Your job as the ground crew chief was to get the recovery vehicles to these intersecting roads, at the right time, to basically follow the balloon and get as close as possible when the balloon landed. It is a logical solution and it works.

An example of an iconic British Ordnance Survey Map -- the name denoting who made these extremely detailed and beautiful maps.

An example of an iconic British Ordnance Survey Map — the name denoting who made these extremely detailed and beautiful maps.

This was an unusually hot day in July 1983. Two balloons were taking off. I think the reason that I did not go aloft that day was that they needed a ‘responsible’ adult to lead the ground crew — ME! It gets better. The rest of the crew were all young ladies — many of them scantily dressed given the atypically hot day (which also meant that there were some major thermals that could buffet the balloons). The main recovery vehicle that I was meant to drive was a ‘new’, fancy VW van — and I would be towing the small trailer. We also had a Land Rover driven by a young lady — who would follow the VM van. The plan was simple. I had done one recovery a couple of weeks earlier without any problem. So we got the two balloons in the air.

We piled into the two vehicles and started to proceed to the first ‘mapped’ intersection. I had a young lady, in a very, very short pair of shorts standing on the passenger seat next to me looking out through the sunroof. She was able to follow the balloons for a few minutes. Southern England, Hertfordshire, is beautifully lush. Soon trees got in the way. That is expected. We get to the first ‘intersection’. I pull over. The girl in the short shorts is scanning the sky. I think her father was piloting the other balloon. Nothing. We wait for a few minutes hoping to see the balloons drift into view. Nothing. Now I have, I think, 8 girls out there scanning for two balloons. We are having fun. As this was (still the) swinging U.K. I am sure we had some chilled libation at hand. No problem. Lets go to the next intersection. Ditto. Nada. We drive through a village. Beautiful day. Folks are out, outside a pub, enjoying the day. I ask them if they had seen two balloons. Yes, they had. They had gone that way a few minutes ago. That was where we too thought they would be going. This went on for nearly two hours. We just couldn’t spot the balloons but we would meet folks who had ‘just’ seen them go by. The accusation that we didn’t see the balloons because I was messing around with the girls, alas, was untrue.

Eventually we did find them. They had been on the ground for about 40 minutes. They, the pilots and the passengers, were not amused though they were sipping chilled champagne as was all part of the tradition and culture. They were sure that I had stopped the VW for a quick ‘party’. But no harm was done. The girls vouched for my honor and my efforts to find the damn balloons. We all had a good time.

So when it comes to balloons — I can still find them even if they go missing for a couple of hours.

Pope Francis’ Friendly Greetings To The Buddhists For The Upcoming ‘Vesak’ (or Wesak or Vesākha).

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 2014 Vesak post — May 4, 2014.
>> 2013 Vesak post
 — May 16, 2013.

++++ See Category ‘Sri Lanka‘ or search on ‘Sri Lanka‘ & ‘Buddhism‘  for other related posts >>>>

Click to access original from the Vatican.

Click to access original from the Vatican.

Strictly speaking this is NOT from the Pope. It is from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The word ‘dicastery‘ mentioned in the text refers to this, i.e., a curial department. But to be fair the pope is aware of it even though he might not have looked through it word for word.

The Vatican does put out a Vesak greeting every year. So this is not new. Here is a link to last year’s message.