Tag Archives: address

Pope Francis’ Easter 2017 ‘Urbi et Orbi’ Address Full Of References To Syria, Refugees, New Slavery, Ukraine etc.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and read this small snippet here. Use link below to access the full, original from the Vatican.

Click here to access full, Vatican original.


This was quite the Easter address! Wow. Very explicit, very specific references naming countries and even specific atrocities. Not what you normally expect from the pope. I think it was good.


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by Anura Guruge

How Long To Renew A ‘Green Card’ (I-551) In 2016 — 2017? About 5.8 Months.

by Anura Guruge


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Got my new Green Card, valid till 1/19/2027. I was relieved and happy.

It took 177 days from online application for renewal (along with the (now) $450 processing fee). 5 months and 24 days. Not bad. Just short of six months.

I had applied for renewal on August 1, 2016. I had meant to apply two weeks earlier. My 2007 Green Card was set to expire on 1/12/2017. You can’t apply for renewal more than 6 months ahead. I had ‘lost’ 2-weeks and essentially applied 5.5 months prior to expiration.

Within 10-days I had a letter with my fingerprinting appointment — on August 26, 2016. So that wasn’t bad. 25 days into the application.

I had my fingerprinting done in Manchester, New Hampshire. A new facility (closer to Bedford) than the one that I had visited 10 years ago. Very nice. Very slick. Very friendly. It was a pleasure. The lady who did all the ‘biometrics’ stuck a neon, hightech sticker on my existing Green Card and told me that it was now valid until May 26, 2017. 9 months out! I was kind of shocked. I asked her whether it could take that long. She smiled and said that sometimes it does and that they just give themselves leeway. I was hoping it would not take that long.

It did NOT. I am impressed and happy. Very smooth and slick process. It even came with USPS tracking — though the envelope was very innocuous. I am happy and proud about the tracking. That was my suggestion from 10-years ago and I had been assured that they would look into that. They had. IMPRESSIVE.

So, caveats as to how long it might take. So mine took 5 months, 3 weeks and one day.

But:

  1. I have had a Green Card for 30-years, and as such they know me quite well. Yes, since August 1986.
  2. I tend to stay in one place for relatively long periods and had been at this house for over 9 years when I applied in August. That minimizes the searches they have to do.
    ….
  3. I do not have a criminal record! That, I am sure, helps because I do know that they run some elaborate fingerprint searches.

So, that is as much as I can tell you. Hope that helps. 6 months, as a rule of thumb, sounds good.

The new card is AMAZING. High tech beyond imagination. Wow. No, I am not going to post an image of it. {SMILE} 

P.S., They are concerned about it being read wirelessly! Will have to see what that is all about. 


by Anura Guruge


Cheapest Tickets For Broadway (NY) ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.



The CHEAPEST way to get tickets to see the ‘Phantom of the Opera‘ in New York City is to buy the tickets directly from the Box Office of the ‘Majestic Theater‘ (the home of the ‘Phantom’ since its opening on Broadway in 1988) — unless, of course, you want to deal with the uncertainty, frustration and longlines at TKTS.

During our trip to New York City and Philadelphia ‘after Christmas‘ the kids — now 9 & 15 — were adamant that they had to see the ‘Phantom’. They had wanted to see it ‘forever’ but Teischan, until now, was too young. Plus they had already seen the movie a couple of times and knew the story — and as such it would not be as scary for Teischan.

Deanna and I had seen it in 2004 — when we saw 3 shows (‘Phantom’, ‘Fiddler’ and ‘Bollywood’) in 3 nights. I had seen it at least three times prior to that. I had always got my tickets by going directly to the Majestic Box Office — on 245 West 44th Street (couple of blocks south of Times Square and close to the ‘Port Authority Bus Station‘). But this time, knowing that it was the holidays, I started looking on the Web. Yes, there are plenty of ‘folks’ offering tickets BUT I was shocked at how expensive they were — especially as we needed 4 tickets.

In the end I decided that I will take a chance and wait until we got to New York. And that is what we did. No sooner had we checked into the Novotel, on Times Square, we set off, across Times Square, to the Majestic. We wanted tickets for matinee (2pm) for the next day (Tuesday). I know better than to take kids to 8pm shows that last ‘3 hours’ — even if it is the ‘Phantom’. Yes, they had tickets, at face value. They weren’t great tickets, ‘Rear Mezzanine’, and they were 2 + 2 — not together — BUT at $75 each the price was right. For the ‘Phantom’ the ‘Rear Mezzanine’ is NOT a bad place for your FIRST viewing of ‘Phantom’. So much takes place that it is good to be able to see the whole stage from above. Note, I did say FIRST ‘Phantom’. The kids, ideally and with luck, will see it a few more times like we have.

The first time I saw it, I was doing a seminar for ‘Business Communications Review‘ in Times Square. I was walking by the Majestic after the seminar when I went in on a whim. They sold me a seat in one of the boxes. That was NEAT. Box seats are $75 but are in high demand. I have a plan that the next time we are in NY that I buy box seats, for the future, and then go back just for the show. Anywho … I hope this helps. You can’t order tickets DIRECTLY from the Box Office by phone or online.

Oh! The cheapest seats I found online, also for the Rear Mezzanine, were $129 — this being the crush ahead of New Year’s. We paid $75. So that was a $54 difference. Times 4 = $216. That was worth saving, though we might have been able to sit a few rows ahead if I had bought online.



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by Anura Guruge

Kudos To The Social Security Administration (SSA) Office In Concord, N.H.

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Concord, N.H. SSA office at 70 Commercial St.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Credit where credit is deserved and due.

I made an appointment at the SSA Concord [NH] office, in 70 Commercial St., so that I could go an apply for my SSA pension now that I will turn 62 in September. Yes, of course I know that I could have applied online. But, if I applied online I needed to send my 62 year old birth certificate, issued in Ceylon, at the ‘Slave Island’ registry office, to Baltimore! You have to send the original or a certified copy. I HOPED that by applying in person, at an office, I might be able to hold onto my birth certificate. That was INDEED the case. So, it worked out exactly as I was hoping it would. Deanna was skeptical. But she had to admit that ‘it worked’.

This was the third time in 8 years that I have visited that SSA office. Each time I have been pleasantly surprised at their cordiality, courtesy and professionalism. Punctual too! I had a 10:30 appointment yesterday and I made sure to be early. You have to ‘punch in’, with your Social, when you arrive. So they knew I was there. They called me in 5 minutes early! That alone was impressive.

Very nice people. All three of my interactions with them have been superlative. I know people love to say unkind things about government workers BUT these folks really are trying to be nice and helpful. So lets give credit where credit is due. It was a pleasant experience. No hassle. Yes, they wanted a ton of additional paper that I now have to mail in — but that is fair.

Just wanted to let you know. IF you are in New Hampshire and you have to deal with the SSA do NOT hesitate in contacting the Concord office. They are very nice and will take care of you — WELL.

P.S., I am not trying to curry favor. I have paid into my SSA and I am now due. SMILE.