Tag Archives: Civil War

Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” From Jaffna, Sri Lanka — Is Likely To Upset Some.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to access the official “Parts Unknown” Website.


I happened to see the “Sneak Peek” on CNN this morning — and the words that struck me were “trying to rebuild after the long civil war …“. The version I ‘heard’ (more than ‘saw’ because I was also reading something on my pad at the same time) did NOT mention Jaffna. I made a note to check it out online when I got on my PC — and possibly do a post. So, here it is.

This episode, Season 10 Episode 5, to be aired this Sunday, October 29, 2017, is from Jaffna and is to feature Tamil cuisine.

That is where enough in that Jaffna is indeed a part of Sri Lanka (and has always been so) and Tamil cuisine is very much a part of Sri Lankan culture.

But, I am not sure whether Anthony Bourdain, who prides himself of his ‘mischievousness’, is trying to be intentionally provocative and, in this case, potentially divisive.

Just focusing on Jaffna is not going to present a balanced view of today’s Sri Lanka and many who watch the show will go away with images of a rundown, decrepit country. That will not please many Sri Lankans.

So, you have had a heads up.

To be fair, Anthony Bourdain, appears to have done an episode from Colombo 5-years ago. I haven’t seen it. “Parts Unknown” is not a show I watch much since I am not that inclined to spend my time watching gluttony and wanton consumption of alcohol.


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by Anura Guruge

The First U.S. Transcontinental Railroad Was Completed This Day 148 Years Ago — On May 10, 1869.

by Anura Guruge




The fateful joining up of the ‘Central Pacific’ and ‘Union Pacific’ railroads at Promontory Summit, in Utah.

I have read a bit about the building of the ‘Central Pacific’ and it is beyond fascinating. What a story.

148-years ago. A few years after the ending of the Civil War.

Worth spending a few seconds today thinking about this.

Strange that Google has NEVER done a Doodle for this!


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by Anura Guruge

Ananda College, Sri Lanka Pays Homage To American Colonel Henry Olcott, Its Founder.

prizesAnura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
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by Anura Guruge


Ananda_CrestRelated posts:
>>
List of prizes at Ananda.
>> Ananda College prize giving 1969.

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Click to ENLARGE.

OlcottAnanda11


Colonel Henry Steel Olcott [2 August 1832 – 17 February 1907], born in New Jersey, an officer during the Civil War, and a member of the committee that investigated Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, is NOT a well known figure in the U.S.

Not so in Sri Lanka (once Ceylon).

Henry Steel Olcott is a well known and well respected legend. His greatest and justified claim to fame is that he founded a number of Buddhist schools in Ceylon, my old alma mater, Ananda College, in Colombo, with 6,000 students in my time [i.e., 1958 to 1967] and now [per Wikipedia, 5,000], the largest. We were ‘taught’ about Olcott and his picture hung in the school (and I must admit that he comes across as being a bit scary, when you are a 6-year old boy in shorts, not used to men with such luxuriant beards).

Olcott other claim to fame was that he, with his ‘good friend’, Russian-born Helena Petrovna Blavatsky [1831 – 1891], converted to Buddhism in Ceylon — at that time the highest profile Westerns to do so. They were also the founders of the (to me the always very strange and confusing) Theosophical Society.

Anywho, I just thought I would share this with you. Checkout the Theosophical Society. It might appeal to YOU.

Blavatsky_and_Olcott

Blavatsky and Olcott in 1888 (from Wikipedia). Ananda College was founded 2 years prior to this picture being taken.


Vesak In Sri Lanka — Some Videos For Your Edification Cum Enjoyment.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


++++ See Category ‘Sri Lanka’ on sidebar for other posts >>>>


Some of you may have noticed that the ‘Countdown to Key Events’ box on the sidebar (>>>>) has been set to tick down towards May 24, 2013, Vesak in Sri Lanka — that being when Full Moon for May starts there.


This video from a Sri Lanka travel site, http://www.lanka.com, provides a keen overview.

Vesak2013video

Click to access YouTube video.

A taste of what you will see on that video.

A taste of what you will see on that video.


Another video, this from YouTube, from 2012. Click to access.

Another video, this from YouTube, from 2012. Click to access.


Another video from YouTube from 2011. Click to access.

Another video from YouTube from 2011. Click to access.


cf. Christmas lights in Manchester, NH, and remember that Sri Lanka is a poor, third world country recovering from a 20 year, civil war.

Dartmouth Hopkins Center For The Arts: American Civil War Musical For Kids 7 And Above. February 10, 2013.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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..by Anura Guruge

Last related posts:
1. Our Next Event At Dartmouth … — Dec. 19, 2012.
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Click to ENLARGE. This is a beautiful image provided by the Hopkins for publicity.


Hop50red——-
A Theatreworks USA production.
Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 3 pm,
at the Spaulding Auditorim, Hopkins Art Center,
Dartmouth (Hanover, NH).

In my experience, kids can be exposed to the American Civil War at a fairly young age, through a good documentary, a book, artifacts (and muskets tend to be favorites) and exhibitions. Yes, my son, when young, probably 8 or 9 became a Civil War buff and forced me to become one too. This musical, a fictional story told through the eyes of young protagonists, would have been right up his alley. I was delighted to see this in the Hopkins program. I am sure it will do a lot to educate kids (and adults) about the myriad complexities of this War which pitted former friends against each other. The girl masquerading as a drummer boy will enchant the girls. I am sure that my 12 year old would be. I don’t think we will be going to see it, but I am sure it will be brilliant.

Here is the publicity blurb provided by the Hopkings: “Weaving stirring period songs and actual events into a fictional narrative, this gripping new musical shows America’s Civil War through the eyes of young people: a runaway slave who demands the right to fight his own fight; his former best friend and “master”; an Irish immigrant who volunteers to defend his new home; and a girl who masquerades as a drummer boy. A vivid introduction to a momentous historical turning point.”

Wow, It Is Cold Up Here. Too Cold To Go Running. Below My 5°F (-15°C) Threshold.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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..by Anura Guruge


Last weather related post:
>> New Hampshire Again Becomes A Winter Wonderland …
>>Dec. 31, 2012.


5 day forecast for Alton, NH for the start of 2013. It is supposed to warm up. Click to ENLARGE.

5 day forecast for Alton, NH for the start of 2013. It is supposed to warm up. Click to ENLARGE.

With the sun beating down and the clouds low and wispy it is warming up. It is now, at 11:40 am, a balmy 16°F (-8°C).

It was very cold last night and this morning. At 9:30 am, which is when I typically think about going running, it was close to 0°F (-17°C), below my self-imposed 5°F (-15°C) threshold to go running. Even running at 5°F is interesting. I wear hard gas permeable contact lenses — and they can freeze on the outside! Now I wear glasses.

Most of my relatives, including my father, are continually amazed that this bitter cold of NH does not drive me nuts. The truth me known, after 26 years of living here, I have become quite well acclimatized, quickly adapting to my surroundings being a trait of mine — and that I lived in 4 countries in four years: Colombo, Ceylon (1967), Buffalo, U.S.A. (1968), Paris, France (1969) and London, U.K. (1970), kind of helped. I am probably better at dealing with the cold than most, though, of course, the generous layer of blubber I carry is a factor. I really am ‘OK’ as long as the temperature is ABOVE ‘0°’, Fahrenheit. That is -17°C.

32°F, 0°C, is a heat-wave during winter. At that temperature I shovel snow in a T-shirt.

Growing up, in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), the temperature never fell below 70°F. Temperature was something that was never talked about or commented, when I was growing up. It was basically the same everyday. I never saw snow until I was 14 and came to live in Buffalo.

I very rarely do this, but on a lark I went and checked the weather for Colombo. Amazes me that Deanna won’t even consider moving to Colombo, now a thriving capital with the civil war all but a past nightmare.

Click to ENLARGE

Click to ENLARGE

Well, it is supposed to warm up tomorrow. Into the 30s. Wow. Will feel like Spring. Enjoy.

New Hampshire’s Famous ‘Live Free Or Die’ Motto Only Came To Be In 1945.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge




I moved to New Hampshire in the Fall of 1986 BECAUSE of the motto!

I was living in Maryland (having come over from Britain in February 1985 (for what was my second stint in the U.S.)) and had been offered a job with Wang in Lowell. On one of the trips up to Lowell I saw a NH license plate and knew that I had no choice. I had to live in NH because that motto struck a chord. I was hooked. I could relate to it.

I still love it. I even adopted it to be mine: ‘Think Free Or Die‘, as you can see on my Web site.



I will, however, readily confess that despite my obvious fondness and affinity I had never bothered to check up on its origins or history. I am also sure that it wasn’t a topic covered in depth in my 2-day ‘Granite State Ambassador‘ (GSA) training class in 2001.

So, I was taken aback, when reading in my AARP Monthly Supplement for September (and getting even more convinced that I am ready to shortly keel over) an article about the battle ground states for the November election I saw a claim that the ‘Live Free Or Die‘ had only come to be in 1945. Wow. I had assumed that it went back to the 1860s, post U.S. Civil War. Since I do not take everything I read as Gospel I Googled it. Wow. They were right.

1945 — during the midst of WW II. The State Emblem came to be at the same time. I learned a lot in a very short time.

It comes from the American Revolutionary War, as opposed to the Civil War. It was coined by General John Stark, supposedly NH’s most famous soldier in that war. He wrote it, in July 31, 1809, as a toast to be given at a Battle of Bennington anniversary reunion dinner that he could not attend due to poor health. His toast was: Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.

I kind of remember seeing that there had been protests against the motto — especially its appearance on ALL NH non-commercial license plates. I now found details. As you could guess there are those that find this battle cry too incendiary, especially the part about the dying. Per the U.S. Supreme Court, as of 1977, you can cover up part of the motto on license plates … possibly even the whole motto, though in 27-years of living in NH I don’t recall ever seeing a covered up motto.