Tag Archives: Chicago

Alton’s Famous & Unique ‘Airport On Ice’ Busier Than Ever On Sunday, February 21, 2021.

by Anura Guruge

Taken with my Google Pixel 4 Phone.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

Per my post a week ago our Alton ‘Airport On Ice‘ was back operational this year having, unusually, NOT been operational in 2020. That, however, was NOT because of COVID, but because the ice was not thick enough. Well that was last year. This year, given the rather harsh February we have had, the ice is plenty thick & strong.

Per the tradition the Airport kicked-into ‘gear’ on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day — which this year happened to be on THE DAY itself. So, that made it kind of special & as I said in my post there were lots of folks around, on the ice. BUT, there wasn’t many planes.

Not so today. It was as busy as I have ever seen it — maybe even busier (& I have two decades of experience with this airport). We even had traffic jams with planes having to queue up waiting. They even had take-off & landing window. They would let 3 to 5 planes land one after the other, while the planes wanting to take-off had to wait. It was like a big commercial airport at rush-hour, e.g., 5pm at O’Hare in Chicago. You can see 4 planes taxing in on the very top picture. All very cool.

The Airport will now be open till at least the end of February UNLESS we get a heatwave that makes the ice unsafe. So, we have at least another 2-weeks. I will keep you posted.

There are quite a few posts, from past years, on this ‘Airport on Ice‘.

Related posts:
Search ‘airport on ice’.

by Anura Guruge

Did The Vatican In Naming New Cardinals Mistake Cupich (Of Chicago) To Chaput (Of Philadelphia)?

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. Headline from ‘AP’ and ‘NBC10’ (Philadelphia).

Charles Joseph Chaput O.F.M. Cap. [b. 1944], Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia as of July 2011, was the de facto Master of Ceremonies for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.A. in September 2015.

He was flitting constantly between Philadelphia and the Vatican for months ahead of the pope’s visit and was in the pope’s entourage for the entire duration of the visit. Given his high-profile involvement in what was a very successful visit it was taken as a given that he would get a ‘red hat’ the next time the pope got around to doling out these princely crowns. And he would have been the FIRST Native American cardinal.

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 the Vatican announced the names of the cardinals to be created at the November 19, 2015 consistory.

No Chaput. But three other Americans, one a curialist, were announced.

Seems QUITE the omission.

It is indeed possible that the Vatican got the names mixed up. They are know for mix ups like that. Cupich … Chaput … Both Americans with names starting ‘C’.

Yes, it is true that Chaput was more of a Benedict XVI favorite than he is a Francis man. Yes, he is a conservative while Pope Francis is a Bernie Sanders follower. That could be it.

Feel bad for Chaput. But he is still young.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘pope’ for MANY other posts >>>>
++++ Check Category ‘religion’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Renting A Fuji X-Pro2 (Body) From Fujifilm U.S. For 28 Days Costs $275.

by Anura Guruge


Amazon listing for a new Fuji X-Pro2 (from Fuji). Click to access listing if you must.

I had NO idea how much renting a camera would be. Suffice to say I have never done it. So I had no clue or expectations. Kind of knew, viscerally, that it would not be ‘cheap’.

Called Fujifilm, U.S., in Edison, NJ, on their standard 1-800-800-3854 phone number and punched ‘3’ for ‘Pro Rental’. An extremely pleasant and helpful lady, ‘Brittany’, answered on the second ring.

They have pre-set time periods like 28 days, 50 days etc.

28 days for the X-Pro2 was $275.

I have to say that was LESS than I had expected. I am NOT considering renting a X-Pro2 and told her that upfront. As always there was ‘method to my madness’.

I was using the X-Pro2 to determine some parameters.

Remember that my dream camera, the X-T2, is said to be announced this week! SMILE.

Funnily enough ‘Brittany’ claims that she had not even heard that there was a X-T2 coming!

She has 2 to 3 X-Pro2s in stock and I could rent one today.

$275 is 16% of the list price — for a month. 50 days was in the $420 mark (though I wasn’t paying much attention to that).

But it has got me thinking.

I love to lease cars. I wonder IF I can start LEASING cameras. I used to be very good friends, 20-years ago, in Chicago, with a father/son team that owned a very successful, multimillion dollar leasing company out of Chicago. They used me as a business consultant on networking stuff. As was the norm those days we did all of our business discussions over a meal. One night they invited me to dinner at a ‘private club’ at the legendary ‘Drake Hotel‘ in Chicago. It was a revelation to I. The club with its very post dining room was hidden behind a wall. No sign, whatsoever, from outside. I had, as I had been told, gone to the front desk to ask to be taken to the club. They opened this wall to let me in! Anywho … They used to tell me this all the time: ‘any item, as long as it has a residual value, can be leased’. They, those days, used to lease Rolex watches and yachts.

Ah! If I can only get them to lease me cameras. That would work out. 

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Fuji’ and/or ‘images’ for other posts

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

June 29, 2015: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Per Tradition, New Metropolitan Archbishops Will Receive Their Palliums.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

Some Related Posts (click to access):
++ I prevail. Francis ditches pallium pins.

>> Pallium pins strain credulity.
>> Pallium pins

† † † †  Search on ‘Francis’ and ‘pope’ for many other related posts >>>>

⇒⇒⇒⇒ Also at ‘Popes and Papacy‘ blog …. Search on ‘pallium’ >>>>

stpeterpalloThis is an honored and much revered tradition going back a very long time though there has been ‘minor’ changes in format of late. Nonetheless the handing out of the pallium ceremony will take place on Monday, June 29 — during the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica.

This year 46 new Metropolitan Archbishops from around the world, including Blase J. Cupich (Chicago) & John Charles Wester (Santa Fe), will get their palliums at that ceremony. It is assumed that Pope Francis will do the honors.

Filligar — This Band Should Go Far. We Saw Them At Dartmouth’s HopFest On July 20, 2012. Very Impressed.

Click for the official Web site.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge


These boys (slightly older than my oldest daughter) should do very well. Outstanding personalities. Their parents should be so proud. Three of them, two of them twins, are brothers; the twins Teddy and Pete, and younger by 2 year, Johnny Mathias. They, along with their childhood buddy, Casey Gibson, who make up the quartet, all hail from Chicago, though they now spend a fair amount of time in L.A., the place to be when you are on the cusp of making it big.

Their music was loud, vibrant, vivid and pulsed to an irresistible beat. Not the music I normally listen to, but I can appreciate the contemporariness of it. The kids definitely gave them 2 thumbs up and thought they were the BEST group of the day. Who am I to disagree? They are the new experts.

Given that their merchandise table was right behind me while I was doing my 3-hour Information Booth shift, I got to talk with some of them; with Johnny in particular. Boy, was I impressed. All three brothers are Dartmouth graduates, and it shows. Johnny graduated just 2 years ago, with a degree in history, majoring in American-Arab relations. I am sure that there are a couple of 3 letter agencies in D.C. who would love to offer him a job.

I have to confess that I have always, since my late teens in the late 60s, been bit of a groupie. I used to follow Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne around the U.K. — lucky enough to have a job (with ITT Data Systems, as their UK Customer Support Manager) that enabled to me travel the country on official business during the day. More recently, Deanna and I got a chance to meet and spend some time with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Also during my 20 years of attending the NH Highland GamesI have had the chance to talk with members of many an upcoming band.

The Mathias brothers, especially Johnny, the most down-to-earth, unassuming ‘superstars’ I have had the privilege of talking to. They were great. Realistic, good heads on their shoulders. They even made their own tie-dyed Filligar T-shirts to sell to their growing band of fans. I wish them well. They deserve it.

I see that their Wikipedia entry says this about the name of their band: They invented the name Filligar (based on the Mathias brothers’ sister’s childhood pet).

I did not know the origins of the name, and given my noted interest in names asked Johnny about what it meant. He gave me a longer, more detailed and awfully cute explanation. Their sister is a ‘few years’ older than them. A ‘long time ago’, in Chicago, at a fair she won a goldfish. She wanted to name it after the cat, Figaro, in Pinocchio. The name, however, came out (as is the wont with kids) ‘Filligar’. Isn’t that cute. I like their sister. Wanting to name a goldfish after a cat shows an interesting line of thought. These kids have good genes. It made my day.

So … here is to … Filligar. We wish them all the very best.

Filligar on YouTube. Click to play YouTube video.

Click to access the official Filligar Web site.