Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day Parade in Omotesando, Tokyo, from Wikipedia, photo by tata aka T

Wearing of the Green

As a youngster growing up on the East Coast, my mother always insisted that all us kids wear something green to school on March 17th. As far as I can remember we always complied without any resistance. Of course we would not be alone, for maybe a quarter of the public school students would display some green in their clothing.

St Patrick’s Day Inter Church procession, Saul Road, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, March 2010, from Wikipedia, photo by Ardfern

Primarily A Religious Holiday

For many years I lived in the Irish Channel of New Orleans, where I was befriended by an Irish priest, who had left the Emerald Isle, and settled in the Crescent Church. He was a friendly man, who always expressed displeasure on how much drinking occurred here in America on the noted holiday. Evidently, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is much more of a religious holiday.

Market Street, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, March 2011, from Wikipedia, photo by Ardfern

Everybody Loves A Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Orleans ran down a short section of Magazine Street before looping through the Garden District and finishing up at St. Mary’s Assumption Church. By New Orleans standards it was a simple parade where lucky recipients would be tossed a head of cabbage. On rare occasion someone of ill repute in the Irish community might get bumped on the head with one of the green vegetables. After the  parade the Parasol bar and restaurant was a popular place to go and enjoy a brew and the traditional St. Patty’s Day fare of corned beef, boiled cabbage and potatoes.

Wanna Get Lucky
Image by Wyattsmomee from Flickr

And a Little Debauchery

Happy Mardi Gras

Karneval in Rom
painting by Johannes Lingelbach (1622–1674)

Meaning of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras literally means Fat Tuesday, though many Latin countries know the popular holiday as Carnival. No matter how you look at it, Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. It is usually looked on as a time of celebration and revelry that occurs just before the Lenten season commences.

Mardi Gras Day, New Orleans: Krewe of Kosmic Debris revelers on Frenchmen Street 2009, from Wikipedia, photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

Mardi Gras Remembered

During the 80’s I resided in New Orleans and enjoyed every Carnival season, while I was there. Mardi Gras Day in the French Quarter was definitely a lot of fun, but celebrations occurred all over the metropolitan area. Except for the downtown madness, most of the celebration consisted of families coming out to view the parades. In fact, some of the best parades, such as Bacchus occurred at night on the weekends preceding the popular holiday. And of course the best way to view the festivities was with a group of friends, where you could form your own Krewe similar to the one pictured above.

The Tulum archaeological site (Mayan) in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, from Wikipedia, photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Ash Wednesday In Old Mexico

The religious holiday of Ash Wednesday follows Mardi Gras. In many places, it is time of sober reflection and attending church services. The first carnival season that I ever experienced was on a  Caribbean island located along the Yucatan coast of Mexico. I have put my rather bizarre experiences into a novella, titled Ash Wednesday In Old Mexico. Just click on the title and you will be redirected to the Amazon page, where it will be offered free for tomorrow, which is also Ash Wednesday.

Day After The Super Bowl

640px-Mercedes-Benz Superdome_from_Garage
Mercedes-Benz Superdome from Wilipedia, photo by Nicholas Williamson

Louisiana Super Dome No More

Although still owned by the state of Louisiana, the Louisiana Superdome is now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This little quirk in the name occurred because the state of Louisiana allows the team the authority to sell rights to the name. Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints as well as a pair of Mercedes Benz dealerships in the Pelican State did just that in 2011. Having once lived in the Crescent City, this name just doesn’t seem right.

Johnny Unitas signing an autograph in 1964, from Wikipedia, photo by Joel Kaufman

Baltimore Team Changes

Strangely enough, I attended high school in the city of Baltimore, when Johnny Unitas was still playing quarterback with the Colts. So as a result, I still haven’t got used to the fact that the Colts are now in Indianapolis and a team called the Ravens plays in Baltimore. Nonetheless, congratulations goes out to the new World Champions.

artificial turf in Norway
Artificial turf in Norway, from Wikipedia, photo by Rune Mathisen

About The Playing Surface

When I did live in the “Big Easy”, I once had a two day job, setting up the Louisiana Superdome for a car show. The playing surface or carpet had already been rolled up like a Swiss chocolate and was sitting out of the way at the edge of the indoor stadium. And I must say that the green carpet sure looked thin. I would hate to be tackled on such a floor covering. Maybe the Saints need a real grass stadium.

The Harbaugh brothers from Sports Illustrated

Forty-niners Fan?

I have always been a great admirer of Bill Walsh and his West Coast offense that featured Joe Montana at the helm. I guess that put me on the 49’ers side for yesterday’s contest. Believe it or not Sunday’s championship featured two brothers as head coaches, who were born less than two years apart. Both seemed to be channeling some of Bill Walsh’s offensive ideas, but after all is said and done,  congratulations are in order for older brother John, who lead the Ravens to a narrow victory.

New Shoes

cover image for New Shoes
Cover image for my newly, self-published e-book, New Shoes

The Cover

Today, I self-published a new 3,000 word short story at Smashwords. Tomorrow, I will probably add the ebook to Amazon. The story was easy to write, but coming up with a decent cover was a challenge. I can’t say I’m really excited about this one, but it will have to do for now. I used a couple of free images I found at Morguefile to create this undersea collage.

The Story

The story revolves around a young Louisiana fisherman named Jacque LeBeaux and a bunch of trouble he has gotten himself into with some not-so-nice mobsters. I don’t want to say too much, because it will spoil the sea adventure tale….. But I will say that there is a lot of banter and dialogue that goes on between the main character and his captors. You’ll just have to download it and read it to find out how things turn out.

Congratulations To The New Orleans Saints

inside the superdome
Inside the Superdome, New Orleans by Dave Reber coutesy of Wikipedia

It must have been quite the weekend for Mitch Landreau. First on Saturday he wins the election for mayor, a position that his father once held, and then on Sunday the Saints win the Super Bowl. It’s probably gonna be a fun ride till Mardi Gras passes and then he’s gonna wake up Ash Wednesday with quite a headache, even if he has nothing to drink on Mardi Gras day.  But best of luck to the new mayor and the people of New Orleans, and I wish I could be there to join in this year’s Mardi Gras. I’m sure it’s going to be a humdinger.

All of these comments come from someone, who once lived in the Crescent City, and who enjoyed his time there very much. I lived in the city in those lean years when the Saints were called the “Aint’s”, and some of the fans would wear paper bags over their heads. But I never went to any of the games and I never really got very excited about the team till Bum Philips came along and at least got the team out of the cellar and the paper bags off the heads. By some streak of luck or talent he was able to get the team up around 500 and sometimes at the end of the season, he would have the fans guessing whether they might actually make a wild card game of not. Of course, they didn’t, but it was kind of fun thinkin’ they might. But all that was before the days of Bill Walsh, “the genius” and the amazing Joe Montana, who quickly came to dominate the division and sometimes the whole NFL.

But I had to lickety-split across the border to the grand state of Texas, which in some ways is worlds apart from parochial Louisiana, but still a fun place to be. If I had one thing I could do in New Orleans, I would go back and tear all the concrete out of the Superdome and put in real grass – or at least – AstroTurf on top of soft ground. I can’t imagine how a team plays on that surface and stays healthy.

Rex Parade
Rex Parade, New Orleans, Canal Street, Mardi Gras Day 2006, photo by Information - courtesy of Wikipedia