Tag Archives: Maryland

U.S. ‘Social Security’ Came To Be This Day 82-Years Ago — August 14, 1935: Rejoice & Enjoy It While We Can!

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and read here: Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Social_Security_in_the_United_States

I started collecting my Social Security as soon as I turned 62 — in 2015. I wasn’t going to wait. I paid in enough and I wanted to reap the benefits. I do not believe or agree with delaying when you start collecting.

I like the Social Security Administration (SSA). When I lived in Maryland, nearly 30-years ago, many of my neighbors worked for the SSA. The SSA is no perfect but they try and by and large I have found them to be very helpful.

Yes, I worry as to the future of Social Security. There are so many EASY fixes. First and foremost the max. contribution CAP should be abolished. Pay SS on all your earnings with NO Cap. That will help the funding no end.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was much a DAMN FINE president. What a stark contrast to what we have today. Yikes.

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by Anura Guruge

A New Kind Of Postal — US Postal Worker Thinks ‘MD’ Refers to Minnesota!

hjby Anura Guruge

I really am not sure what to make of this. Whether it was sad or funny. But, it sure was perplexing when you happen to be someone who wasn’t born here.

Happened this Wednesday as we were recovering from the Blizzard of 2017.

I needed to get a proof copy of my latest book to my latest proofreader, my former colleague at CASE Communications, Patrice Bourgeois. So, I made it down to a local post office and I will NOT mention which one since I want to spare blushes and because bar one exception, I am very fond of all the local postal workers across multiple post offices.

The book was going to Glen Burnie, a suburb of Baltimore.

I was sending it Priority Mail, signature guarantee etc. etc.

So, the USPS postal worker had to enter the address into their ‘Point of Sale’ computer system. She was typing it in slowly. When she got to ‘Glen Burnie’ just for the sake of making conversation I asked her do you know where that is.

She said “no”, and then said: “MD … so it must be in Minnesota”!

I was taken back.

I politely pointed out that there is NO ‘D’, at all, at all in ‘Minnesota’ (remembering that when I came to live in Maryland, in 1985, I had thought that the State abbreviation was ‘MA’).

She then said she did NOT know.


I know there is a rigorous entrance exam to get into the USPS and they do get some training.

Plus, they do teach you the States in school.

Yes, it is true that school for her would have been some time ago. She is not as old as I, but she is not in her 20s.

I gently pointed out: Maryland, Maryland.

Ah!, was what I got.

I am puzzled. I feel BAD for her. She is very nice lady. Very kind. Maybe she had just checked out for the afternoon.

Never mind. NO HARM DONE. The computer knew exactly where MD was and the book was delivered to Patrice this noon, just as promised.

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by Anura Guruge

Journey Through Bladder Cancer Treatment By My Former Colleague Patrice Bourgeois Leeds.

by Anura Guruge

Patrice Bourgeois Leeds cancer blog radiation bladder

Click image to access WordPress blog by Patrice Bourgeois Leeds about her journey through cancer treatment.

Patrice and I worked at CASE Communications, in Columbia, Maryland, 31-year ago. Her Dad worked for CASE too — and I worked with him for over a year before Patrice joined the crew. Her Dad, about the same age as my Adoptive Father, was my first mentor in the U.S. and a very good and dependable friend. He and I, I from the Britain and he from the U.S., were part of the original CASE U.S.A management team — CASE, a market-leading U.K. company having bought the U.S. Rixon Corporation to get a foothold in the U.S. Patrice was the Product Manager for Multiplexers. I was the Director of Marketing for Multiplexers. So she controlled my destiny. Her Dad was the Directing Marketing for Distributor Sales. He helped me sell through the ‘channels’ as we called it. So these two, daughter and dad, played a huge hand in my fortunes and income. They never let me down. A rarity at CASE.

 I had lost touch with Patrice over the years, and alas Dad is no longer with us.

Just over a year ago, the unexpected death of two of our other colleagues, Don & Sandy Pyle, in that famous Christmas-tree fire of a multi-million dollar mansion, brought a few of us together — over social media.

I only found out that Patrice had cancer around Christmas. She kept it to herself until she decided she was not going to have the surgery.

She had asked me about doing a blog and I urged her to do so — and, of course, suggested WordPress.

So, we now have a blog.

I am a great believer that stories like this HAVE to be told. It is good for all. Therapeutic to write and inspirational to others. Plus, Patrice can write — and write well.

Patrice has to get better and not get too tired during the treatment because I have twisted her arm to proof my books. She is good with anything to do with words.

So, bookmark her blog. Wish her well. And follow her on her journey.

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by Anura Guruge

Milky Way — When Was The Last Time YOU Saw It?

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and ADMIRE here. From “darksky.org”, a wonderful organization, that is TRYING to fight light pollution — a growing problem in rural New Hampshire.

From ‘darksky.org‘ — click here to access their informative Website.

Do you remember? If you don’t that is very sad and you should try and remedy that ASAHP.

I will confess that I had forgotten how blinking beautiful — and beguilingly mesmerizing — it is!

There is nothing else like it — anywhere.

On Friday, September 2, 2016, on the way to ‘Acadia National Park‘ (for our 3 day visit), I took a detour at 10:30pm to go for a quick (and in my case it is always ‘quick’) run up ‘Cadillac Mountain‘. There were about 15 other vehicles at the top. I got out. The bright lights of ‘Bar Harbor‘ were right in front of I — as I expected.

Then I looked up.


Right across, from horizon-to-horizon, straight-up above me — OUR MILKY WAY.

So beautiful.

I had forgotten the delight of seeing it.

Though it must have been visible when I was growing up in Ceylon I can’t recall it in the context of my childhood.

I know/remember that I only started being aware of the Milky Way when I moved to the United States in 1985 — living in very rural, farm-country Maryland (about 30 miles from a city). I used to love looking up and seeing it.

I know it was visible in Southern New Hampshire when I moved here in September 1986 — again to a very rural area at the time.

But now, though I still live in what is a rural area, on a dirt road, I no longer see the Milky Way. Light pollution is BAD up here. Why people who are afraid of the dark decide to live on dirt roads baffle me. Stay in the City with bright lights. Don’t move next door to me and put up 40 solar powered garden lights.

My New Hampshire Light Pollution map from my June 11, 2016 post. Use link in above text.

My New Hampshire Light Pollution map from my June 11, 2016 post. Use link in above text.



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by Anura Guruge

More Lessons For New Hampshire “Free The Female Nipple” Crowd — This Time From Central Park, New York.

by Anura Guruge

Few days ago it was the good lady from Maryland.

Now it is New York. Bravo. I just wished our “Free The Nipple” crowd had gone about doing things constructively rather than always portray it as a PROTEST.

You can’t protest something that is already FREE. Interesting in New York. Female toplessness, like in most states, is PERMITTED. Not so full nudity BUT they turned a BLIND eye! (Smile).

From Friday, May 20, 2016 U.K. “Daily Mail“.

Click images below to ENLARGE and read here.


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by Anura Guruge

Maryland Lady Shows “Free Female Nipple” Done Right.

by Anura Guruge

This is how it should have been done in NH. No fuss. No protests. Not seeking publicity.

This is what I tried so desperately to get the New Hampshire “Free the Nipple” crowd to understand. There is no point protesting a RIGHT you already have. Just go ahead and exercise it.

I am so impressed and proud of this 27-year old Maryland, Chelsea Covington. Way to go. Bravo.

I wish the New Hampshire “Free the Nipple” folks will learn from her.

From Sunday, May 15, 2016 U.K. “Daily Mail“.

Click images below to ENLARGE and read here.


This is Chelsea Covington’s WordPress blog.
Definitely worth checking out. 


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by Anura Guruge

Boxing Day In New Hampshire, Or Even The U.S.; Nostalgia For A Cherished Holiday.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.


..by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
1. Poppy Day, November 11 (Every Year), British Remembrance Day:
>>A Beautiful Tradition — Nov. 10, 2012.

Horse racing, the British sport of Kings (and Queens), on Boxing Day in England, a beloved British tradition (with lost of money getting punted that day) though snow on the ground is not a common occurrence around that time of the year (thanks to the Gulf Stream that).

Going to watch ‘Bristol City’ (whether they were in Division two, three or one), at home or sometimes away was part of my Boxing Day tradition.

It is also a BIG cricket day, albeit from the Southern Hemisphere. Typically a Test Match from Australia — as parodied by this comic. Cartoon by Nicholson from “The Australian” newspaper: http://www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au. [[Many thanks mate. Cheers.]]

I came to the States this time around in 1986 (having spent one year previously 1967 – 1968). I was living in rural Maryland, in a brand new middle-class development, 4 bedroom colonials on 4 acres each. On the 4th of July I was invited to a big cookout at a neighbor’s house; he was a Maryland State Trooper. Another neighbor, a very presentable young lady in her mid-30s approaches me and asks: “So, tell me, how do they celebrate the 4th in England?“.

To this day I am proud and relieved that I had the presence of mind to immediately respond, without batting an eyelid: “Very quietly. Very quietly.

Well, when it comes to ‘Boxing Day‘, the day after Christmas, i.e., December 26, a mandatory, cherished holiday in the U.K., that dates back centuries, things are the other way around. It is not celebrated in anyway in this country, though the Canadians (thanks to their antecedents) do indeed have it as an official holiday — as do most other Commonwealth Countries, e.g., Australia, South Africa (where they now call it ‘Goodwill Day‘) and New Zealand, though no longer in India or my Sri Lanka (both countries do having a surfeit of holidays). Some other European countries also celebrate December 26 as a holiday, but not as ‘Boxing Day’. To them it is just the second day of Christmas. As it now happens, by coincidence or otherwise, December 26 is the first day of the week long Kwanzaa. Maybe it should be made a holiday in the U.S. just on those grounds.

Despite its being so beloved in Britain, nobody actually 100% sure as to how this holiday came about and to what ‘Box’ it refers to! The theory that makes most sense is that this was the day that the workers, i.e., the serfs, got to celebrate Christmas — their services being required by their Lords and Masters on Christmas day. It is also believed to be the day that the workers got their ‘presents’ or bonuses from their master, the ‘box’ probably a reference to this. In my mind, within this context, I have images of women and children standing outside the manor house holding empty hat boxes waiting for them to be filled. As it happens, Boxing Day, December 26 is when the ‘Western Church’ celebrates “St. Stephen’s Day”, St. Stephen the Christian protomartyr, i.e., the first Christian to be martyred. So another theory is that ‘Boxing Day’ refers to the boxes left in churches, or outside churches, for collections for this Feast Day, and that the holiday per se is tied to the Feast.

In Britain Boxing Day is (or was when I lived there) a day devoted to recovering from Christmas and pursuing sports: football, cricket from down under on the telly, horse racing, possibly some rugby, and in those days (when it was legit) hunting. You could place bets on the horses and watch the races on telly. Many, including I in my 20s, would go to a football game — football violence at its height in those days. And yes, of course, we would watch cricket on the telly.

When I came to the States in 1986 as an adult (as opposed to the 14 year old) I was surprised that Boxing Day was not a holiday here, but not as surprised as I was to discover that people worked on Good Friday and Easter. I had never lived in a country where this had been the case, and I have lived in: Ceylon/Sri Lanka, France, England and Wales. Not that it really made a difference to me. I was lucky enough to be able to take off whatever days I didn’t want to work. Plus, I have been self-employed since 1992 (though to be honest I have always done some amount of work, i.e., writing, on all holidays, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day or New Year).

Until yesterday I had never bothered to compare the U.S. holiday structure with that of the U.K. (bearing in mind that there are variations depending on whether you are talking about England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales). Then I made the following chart. The first thing that surprised me was that the U.S. had more holidays — at least at the Federal level (e.g., Columbus Day and President’s Day). The other thing is how so many of the U.S. holidays are not on fixed dates. The U.K. I realized had no real memorial days — and Poppy Day is not a holiday! Many in the U.S. may not appreciate this, but for the last 30 years or so, most professionals and office workers in the U.K. take a 10 to 11 days break over Christmas using the 5 weeks (minimum) of vacation (per year) they get. So most stop work on December 23 and don’t go back until January 2 or 3 (depending on how the weekends factor in).

So this was my little bit of nostalgia for Boxing Day. Yes, in my heart I will celebrate Boxing Day this Wednesday. More than likely, because I watch it most days, I will watch some cricket.


Click to ENLARGE. Comparison of the holidays in the U.S. compared to those in the U.K. Fixed day holidays that fall on weekends are invariably carried over to the next week.