Tag Archives: December 17

Very First Powered Flight Took Place This Day 114-Years Ago — Courtesy Of The Wright Brothers.

by Anura Guruge

First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville Wright (younger brother) piloting,
Wilbur Wright (older brother) running at wingtip.

Click to ENLARGE. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers

December 17, 1903.

This has to be treated as one of the most significant dates of the 20th century and a red-letter day in all of human history.

The day we mastered powered flight and took to the skies. We haven’t stopped since then.

It seems ironic that this very day, 114-years later, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airplane terminal, was crippled by a power failure as if to remind us how much we now rely on air transport.

Click image to access coverage.

They had chosen Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for its consistent breeze and its forgiving, sandy beaches.

Who was piloting the plane had been determined by a coin toss.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis Turns 80 — How Well Do YOU Know Him?

by Anura Guruge

Do you know the answers to these 12 questions?

francis5561)  Within twenty-four hours of Francis’ election the Holy See Press Office confirmed, surprisingly, albeit in the last paragraph of an announcement on the new pope’s activities during his first full day, that when Jorge was a twenty-one year old he suffered from a pulmonary illness (that involved pneumonia and the detection of three cysts in his lungs), which necessitated the removal of the upper part of his right lung. It has since been revealed that the pope, when even younger, suffered from another impediment, one that was not very serious, albeit one that hampered his desire to be able to play soccer at a ‘higher’ level. What was, or is, this impediment?

2)  Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his two decades as a bishop, prior to becoming pope, was known to be especially devoted to a well known young female Catholic saint, and even enclosed a small picture of her in the letters he mailed, calling her a ‘great missionary saint’. Who was this saint?

3)  Many examples of the newly elected pope’s remarkable humility received considerable worldwide attention during the first few days of his pontificate. Rather than availing himself (as had his predecessor) to the sleek, black papal sedan that had been provided, Francis had chosen to ride back to the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ, for dinner with the cardinals, in one of the shuttle buses, along with some of his electors. On the first full day of his papacy, Francis not only had insisted on carrying his own luggage but had personally settled his bill at the hotel where he had been staying prior to the conclave. A few days later, on March 18, 2014, the pope, to the bemusement but delight of the owner’s son, Daniel Del Regno, telephoned the newspaper kiosk in Buenos Aires that used to deliver his newspapers and very cordially, after conveying his regards to the family, informed him that he would no longer be requiring newspaper delivery. This is now all part of the already rich and inspiring, ‘stuff of legends’, chronicle of Pope Francis. But, what was the ‘hotel’ that the pope had stayed at prior to the conclave – where he had to settle his own bill and picked up his remaining luggage?

4)  At what consistory was Jorge Mario Bergoglio created, what was his precedence at this consistory, and who were some of the others created at that consistory that went onto gain considerable fame?

5)  According to the pope’s sister, María Elena Bergoglio, who was talking with journalists in March 2014, ‘Jorge Mario’ when attending the archdiocesan seminary of Buenos Aires, the Inmaculada Concepción Seminary (located in the northwestern neighborhood of Villa Devoto), in the late 1950s, when he was in his early twenties, had a pet – he apparently sharing a fondness for this type of pet with a pope of that time. What was the pet that the future pope had when he was attending seminary?

6)  Nearly all non-retired cardinals, irrespective of their primary role or where they are based, are assigned as members, with full voting rights, to various curial congregations and pontifical councils – these membership assignments typically reflecting a cardinal’s known expertise or interest. As members of a congregation or council the cardinals assist the head of the dicastery in governing that body particularly when it comes to strategy, direction, tone and agenda. This is a key part of how cardinals help the pope when it comes to running the Church. Thus, Cardinal Bergoglio, though he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires during his entire cardinalate, was assigned as a member to a number of curial diacasteries starting in 2001. These were his only involvements with the curia given that he had never spent much time at all in Rome as a student, priest or prelate. In what dicasteries did Cardinal Bergoglio hold membership?

7)  Who were Pope Francis’ parents and who were his siblings?

8)  Unlike many who go on to become cardinals, Jorge Mario Bergoglio never studied at a pontifical institute or attended a seminary in Rome, or for that matter Italy. Actually he never, prior to becoming pope, spent that much time in Rome or Italy. However, once a Jesuit he went to four different countries to further his education. What were these four countries?

9)  Since his election Pope Francis has chosen, whenever possible, including at his inaugural public appearance, to wear a simple, unadorned white cassock sans an elaborate mozzetta or stole, and to continue using the iron pectoral cross that he had worn when Archbishop of Buenos Aires eschewing the gold ones preferred by prior popes. These sartorial preferences, given their obvious conspicuousness, have received considerable media coverage and are now very much a part of the burgeoning, borderline cultish, Pope Francis’ mystique. However, much less attention has been given to the style of the Fisherman’s Ring Francis chose to wear or that fifteen months into his papacy he changed the style of the pallium he would wear – this the third change to the style of the papal pallium in less than a decade. So, what is the story as to Pope Francis’ Fisherman’s Ring that he received at his installation as well as the latest pallium style he adopted as of Sunday, June 29, 2014, the day of the Saints Peter and Paul Solemnity?

10)  On Boxing Day 1958, i.e., December 26th, his first as pope, John XXIII (#262), who the previous day had restored a much cherished papal custom by visiting a children’s hospital, reinstated another by visiting a local prison, viz. Rome’s Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prison. While there, warmly greeted by the inmates, the irrepressibly personable pope, to the consternation of the Vatican staff, conspiratorially informed the prisoners that one of his brothers had once been incarcerated for poaching. The L’Osservatore Romano, despite the pope’s recent admonishment for it to be more ‘20th century’, opted to omit this revelation in its reporting of the pope’s visit to the prison. Pope Francis, who has professed to his admiration of the ‘Good Pope’ and authorized his canonization, seems to have taken to heart John’s propensity for candor. He has surprised, if not stunned, many during his first sixteen months as pope, by some of his unexpected remarks about gays, atheists and the mafia, which have included (albeit in paraphrased form): ‘who am I to judge them (i.e., gays)’, ‘there is a stream of corruption (within the curia) including a “gay lobby”’, ‘all people who do good works, including atheists, are going to heaven’ and ‘those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated’. However, on March 6, 2014, a week ahead of his first year anniversary as pope, Pope Francis while talking informally with a group of Roman priests about the need to be merciful to their flocks came up with a revelation that might even have had John XXIII in a quandary as to how he should react. What was Pope Francis’ bewildering confession?

11)  During his short stay in Germany in 1986 to explore possible topics for a doctoral thesis, as was discussed in #97 above, the future pope saw something that had a profound impact on his psyche. His recounting of what he had seen in Germany has in time led to what some have called a ‘religious craze’ in Argentina and Brazil. What was it that he saw in Germany and what is he credited with inspiring in Latin America?

12)  Mahatma ‘Bapu’ Gandhi, the India’s ‘Father of the Nation’, was noted for his utmost reluctance to discard anything manufactured, irrespective of its intrinsic worth. A part of this, of course, had to do with his preferred lifestyle that revolved around simplicity, thrift and a constant identification with the poor. However, as he would also sometimes explain, he also had a tremendous appreciation of and respect for the human toil (especially in his time) that went into the manufacturing of goods. Gandhi could not use manufactured goods without thinking about the labor component that had to have been involved. Consequently he was known to use pencils, sharpening them by hand as needed, until the stubs were too small for him to hold between his fingers. Well, it appears that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, also known for his affinity with the poor and working classes, has Gandhi-like values when it comes to material ‘stuff’, whether they be large or small. So it is no surprise that he uses a donated, 1984 Renault 4L, with 190,000 miles on the clock, as his personal car in the Vatican rather than a newish, luxury sedan. Are you aware of a trait that he had, while Archbishop of Buenos Aires, that provided a wonderful clue as to his attitude towards materialistic goods?

All the answers to these 12 questions
can be found in Chapter VII of
Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia

by Anura Guruge

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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis — A Brief Introduction On His 80th Birthday, December 16, 2016.

by Anura Guruge

From “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia
by Anura Guruge

At the Vatican, March 27, 2014. From the ‘White House’/Wikipedia.

Argentinean Cardinal Priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J. [dob: December 17, 1936], Archbishop of Buenos Aires (and the Bishop of the Faithful of the Oriental Rites in Argentina) was elected pope in the early evening hours of Wednesday, March 13, 2013. He was chosen by 115 cardinal electors on the second day of the conclave on the fifth round of balloting. The white sfumata indicating his election was seen at 7:06 p.m. (Rome time). The Habemus Papam announcement of his appointment was made from the external Loggia of the Hall of Blessings of St. Peter’s Basilica at 8:12 p.m. by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the protodeacon. [The then sixty-nine year old Cardinal Tauran suffers from Parkinson’s disease which made it difficult for him to enunciate the name of the electee and the regnal name by which he wished to be known. This left many around the world confused for a few minutes until clarification was provided by the Vatican to the TV crews and social media as to who was the new pope].

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Jesuit to be elected pope, chose to be Francis (#267) so as to pay homage to St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of Franciscans. The name was also meant to convey the new pope’s special concern for the well-being of the poor, with St. Francis having been noted for his devotion towards those suffering from poverty (Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, O.F.M., during the conclave, having whispered in the papabili’s ear ‘don’t forget the poor’ when it was becoming clear that he would receive the necessary majority to become pope).

Cardinal Bergoglio, at 76 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 3 days [27,845 days], was the ninth oldest pope to be elected since 1400. Both Benedict XVI (#266) at 78 years of age, and John XXIII (#262), at 76 years and 11 months, had been older when elected.

Francis was the 54th non-Italian to be elected pope, and the third non-Italian in a row – something that had not happened since the Avignon papacies in the 14th century, over 600 years and sixty-five popes previously. He, however, is from Italian descent. He was the first pope from the Americas.

He was the 31st pope from a religious order to become pope; the first since Gregory XVI (#255), who reigned from February 1831 to June 1846. [Gregory XVI was the last non-bishop to be elected pope.]

Pope Francis made his inaugural appearance on the St. Peter’s Basilica balcony at 8:24 p.m. [twelve minutes after Cardinal Tauran], wearing just a white cassock sans the red ermine-trimmed mozzetta. He also wore the same plain iron pectoral cross that he had worn as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, eschewing one made of gold as had been the preference of his predecessors.

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by Anura Guruge

Please Join Me In Celebrating The Wonderful Holiday Of ‘Saturnalia’ — The Precursor To Christmas.

by Anura Guruge


IF you are fortunate enough to be a Born-Again, Reformed Heathen, as am I, SaturnaliaDies Natalis Solis Invicti are very important & significant holidays.

Saturnalia is a holiday where ALL conventions are expected to be thrown out of the window. It is a holiday to be enjoyed with gusto.

So, I wish you, from the bottom of my very pagan heart a rollicking, merry, joyous, licentious Saturnalia (December 17 – 23) & Dies Natalis Solis (December 25).

Merry Christmas TOO! I don’t miss that either. And Happy Chanukah (Hanukkah).

P.S., This painting, kind of synonymous with Saturnalia, is by French artist, William Adolphe Bouguereau (William Bouguereau) (1825-1905) and is titled La Jeunesse de Bacchus (The Youth of Bacchus). Bacchus/Dionysus, my IDOL, the God of the vine, grape harvest, winemaking, wine, ritual madness, religious ecstasy and theatre.

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by Anura Guruge

Not Sure Pope Francis Can Or Will Play Ping Pong (At This Stage Of His Life).

by Anura Guruge

Click here to read the original …
Click to ENLARGE and read these snippets here.

pingpong1 pingpong2

Killerspin World UnPlugNPlay Festival” to encourage kids
to spend some time unplugged from technology.


Click image to access the official Website

killerspin2 killerspin3

Pope Francis, who turns 80 on December 17, 2016, probably did play ping pong (i.e., table tennis) at some point in his life. With part of his right lung removed (when he was in his early 20s) this would have been a good sport for him. He was sports mad, particularly when it came to soccer, in his youth and is still an ardent soccer fan. Then there are his ‘flat feet’ with the fallen arches which are causing him increased grief — now coupled with sciatica. Again ping pong would have suited him.

Just not sure whether he plays ping pong, as pope, at 79. He might lob a few shots for TV and charity. Not sure he would want to get into a full match in papal vestments. Might not look very papal.

But …

As with Trump anything is possible with this pope.

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by Anura Guruge

Will Pope Francis Retire/Resign In December 2016 — And If So November 19 Consistory?

by Anura Guruge

From “National Catholic Register” (NCR) from 2 days ago. Click here for the original.
Click image to ENLARGE and read the snippet here.
Enter “pope marriage” into “Google News” for many, many more recent articles.


Click to ENLARGE and read snippet here. Pope continues to REVEL in being confrontational, confounding, contradictory and just plain unpredictable.

Pope Francis will turn 80 on December 17, 2016.

Pope Francis has repeatedly stated, voluntarily, from the very start of his papacy on March 13, 2013, that his will be a short papacy and that he will have no qualms about retiring — though the notion of pope’s retiring only became a reality with the last pope, Benedict XVI

Age ’80’, since the 1970s, has become an artificial ‘high water mark’ in Catholicism since this is when cardinals lose their right to vote in conclaves — while the nominal retirement agent for Archbishops, Bishops and senior curial officers is 75.

While the pope does not have to retire EVER — IF he does want to retire then turning 80 would be a symbolic time (and one that would be much appreciated by cardinals who don’t really like losing their franchise upon reaching that age).

December 17 isn’t that far away. If he resigns on or around his birthday there will be CHAOS with Christmas but two weeks away! They would have to hold a conclave just ahead of Christmas. That would be inconvenient. Yes, he can announce his retirement on his birthday and say that (like Benedict XVI) he will step down after ‘x-weeks’. That would take us into mid-January, and a conclave towards the end of January 2017.

Francis in his 3 years and 3 months as pope has held 2 cardinal creating consistories and created a total of 39 cardinals. That is unremarkable, not too many or not too little. Right now there are 112 cardinal electors (120 the supposed (but untested) MAX). There is no quorum per se. 60 cardinals electors could, quite legitimately, elect a pope. There were 117 eligible cardinal electors for the 2015 conclave and 113 participated.

The annual November “Solemnity of Christ the King” is a favored time, ‘of late’, for cardinal creating consistories. This year it will fall on Sunday, November 20, 2016. So the consistory will be held on the Saturday, November 19th, with the celebratory Mass on the Sunday feast.

November 19th is a propitious day for a cardinal creating consistory. Italian Cardinal Ennio Antonelli will turn 80 the day before opening up one more cardinal elector slot. Barring deaths, with Antonelli’s aging out the electors will be down to 108 on November 19th. Another, Théodore-Adrien Sarr, will turn 80 on November 28th — 9 days later. So there will be 13 genuine cardinal elector slots. That is a nice number to fill.

So, some food for thought.

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by Anura Guruge

Alton, N.H. Property Tax Assessment Values Recalculated — Statistically. Ours, Of Course, Went Up.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related posts:
0/ Alton: Rate Down 1.75% … — Nov. 30, 2013.
1/ N.H. 2013-2014 tax comparison — Nov. 9, 2013.
2/ Alton 2013 – 2014 tax rate — Nov. 8, 2013.

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Alton, N.H. in 2013 – 2014
is again 23rd lowest …

We got a letter today with our new, HIGHER assessment. C’est la vie. 

Given that we have a rather modest house — and as I said in a recent post I have seen local photographers with cameras worth more than our house — our assessment isn’t that bad.

Just a heads up.

The new 2014 – 2015 rates will come out towards the end of November 2014. They will GO UP. Of that there is no doubt or need for debate.


Alton, N.H., 'Halfmoon Lake', June 2014.

Alton, N.H., ‘Halfmoon Lake’, June 2014.

Kingswood Regional High School, Wolfeboro, N.H.: Holiday Concert 2013 — December 18th, With The Ever Bubbling Bobby Burns

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.P1070227

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> Rescheduled …
Dec. 15, 2013.
Kingswood 2013
>> Concert Dec. 14
>>Nov. 22, 2013.
>> Kingswood 2012 concert  Dec. 16, 2012.

Click images to ENLARGE.

We were so glad to hear that they rescheduled the concert from Saturday, due to the storm,
because we really wanted to go and couldn’t do so on Saturday given
the conflict with the Clearlakes Chorale concert
(given that Devanee sings in that).


It was impressive as we had expected. We went last year, for the first time, and liked what we saw and heard.

Glad we went.

Yes, we know Bobby Burns the Music Director and Conductor as well as a couple of the kids
since they also sings with Clearlakes.

These kids are good and so is Robert Burns
(and yes, he is named after the Great Man).

It always amazes me how the prosperity and pedigree of Wolfeboro, the Oldest Summer Resort in the U.S.,
is, unmistakably, reflected by these kids, the staff and the opulent setting.

Yet again, BRAVO Wolfeboro.

Two, possibly three, choir pieces were Acapella since Robert wanted to showcase the
voices of the kids sans help from a piano. It worked and it was good.

Robert wanted us to savor and appreciate some ‘crunchy melodies‘. We did.

The percussion African, ‘Kila Jambo Na Wakate Wake‘, with a Kenyan Kingswooder (new to the school this year)
on drums was good and reminded me of this piece from ‘Christmas at Luther‘.

The Concert Band belies their age and experience. They played some long pieces — very professionally.
A great credit to them, the staff, Bobby Burns and Wolfeboro.

It was mid-week and there wasn’t as many people as their should be — always bearing in mind that it is a
HUGE auditorium.

I am glad we went. You should try to make it next year.

Merry Christmas.

Alton, N.H. Property Taxes Due Today, December 17, 2013 — IF You Bother To Pay Property Taxes.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
0/ Alton: Rate Down 1.75% … — Nov. 30, 2013.
1/ N.H. 2013-2014 tax comparison — Nov. 9, 2013.
2/ Alton 2013 – 2014 tax rate — Nov. 8, 2013.
++++ Search on ‘tax’ for other posts >>>>

Alton, N.H. in 2013 – 2014
is again 23rd lowest …


I already paid mine.

As I have mentioned before, to my utter bewilderment,
Alton’s in its infinite wisdom and unbelievable largess
does NOT maintain a Tax Delinquent list!

That would also mean they don’t go after those that don’t pay taxes.


I just guess I was brought up wrong.

I kind of have a very true and trusty moral compass
when it comes to what is right and what is wrong,
what one’s civic duties should be
and the importance of maintaining your credibility.

James Michener in his autobiography says something along the lines
“I always considered it a PRIVILEGE to have to PAY taxes …”
and the profoundness of that statement is worth pondering
because that is what I have also always felt about paying taxes.

If I was homeless (as I have been) and had no income
I too would not have to pay any taxes.

Whether you like it or not, whether you stand on your head or not,
you, even in this country, this state and this town,
only have to pay taxes on what you own
and what you make
(after the due exemption).

So I don’t begrudge my taxes
because it means that I still have SOMETHING
to pay taxes on.

I gather, and I could be wrong,
that some of the Alton Central School (ACS)
Board Members don’t pay Alton taxes
— and , of course, there is no requirement for them to do so.
There job is to tell those that pay that they should pay more.
Bully for them.
But they never appear to have had a moral compass.

Happy Tax Day
IF this applies to YOU.

Pope Francis’ 77th Birthday Today. Happy Birthday The 266th Successor To St. Peter. The Pope I Picked.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

Related Posts:
>> Not Marxist, but very cheap
>>Dec. 4, 2013.
>> 100 Day Report Card
>> — Jun. 19, 2013.

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Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.