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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

John Denver - Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

John recites the Peace Poem before launching into song.

We need him now more than ever. He was a Peace Angel while he was here. It's too bad that the powers that be didn't pay more attention to him.

categories: Soul
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10:10:30 PM    

Friday, July 07, 2006

Starry, Starry Night

The paintings of Vincent Van Gogh set to Don McLean's "Starry Starry Night".

categories: Soul
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11:02:17 PM    

Monday, July 03, 2006

On Posting For Peace

Glenda in the Land of Oz from has come up with a
wonderful idea for this year's Independance Day celebration.
Just put Posting for Peace in your headline banner on the 4th of July and write something about why you are against the war, or post a drawing, or a photo. Whatever peace means to you. Be creative!

She says "Please let me know if you are interested in this and I'll add your link to my post."
This seems like a great opportunity for bloggers from all possible backgrounds to show our support for the soldiers and for ending our nation's bloody and disasterous war in Iraq. Tell our government that we've tried "Bring It On" now it's time for "Bring em' Home". If you're interested and/or have any questions about the details, please check with Glenda.

Glenda really is a good witch.

As the Dude said on The Blue Republic

Getting back to Glenda's original proposal for observing the 4th of July: The original intention of the commemoration was to memorialize the Declaration of Independence. It's the meaning of the words penned by Jefferson that are at the basis for our remembrance not the bloodshed of the Revolutionary War (or any other war). It's not a birthday party. Independence Day is a celebration of the themes Jefferson wrote about (and the Virginia Declaration of Rights before him):

All men have inherent rights to life, liberty, and property
All power is vested in the people
Government is established to benefit, not rule the people
Leadership roles should not be hereditary
Legislative and Executive Powers should be separate and distinct
The principles of free elections
Government can not suspend laws without the consent of the people
The right to trial by jury and to confront witnesses
There should be no cruel and unusual punishment
Provisions to eliminate unlawful searches of persons or personal property
Trial by jury is preferable and should be held sacred
"Freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty"
A well regulated militia is required to defend a free state
People have a right to a uniform government
Free government is preserved only by adherence to fundamental principles
The freedom to practice religion according to personal reason and conviction

There is no better day to call your government to task for their failure to live up to these principles than on Independence Day. This administration has taken a continued and aggressive attack on many of these freedoms. The Declaration of Independence asserts that your ultimate allegiance should be to Inherent Autonomy, especially when the Central Government ignores and denies the very instruments this nation was founded upon.

Glenda there can be no better, no more appropriate occasion to call for peace than on Independence Day, and if anyone doesn't understand that, then they should seek a better understanding of their national heritage.

categories: Soul
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12:34:27 PM    

Monday, June 19, 2006

Simple Organic Living

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ...Leo Tolstoy

I want to 'Tip my Hat' to B. Shilliday
Left Of Center for posting this "must see" video by Woody
Harrelson. I'm reposting it to include the text of the poem being narrated.

Woody's Commentary from Voice Yourself tranforming the world together

Since I was a kid I felt this need to play a role in helping Mother Earth. At the age of 12, I wrote a 50-page report (that wasnít supposed to be more than 5 pages) on threatened wildlife and realized clearly that my Mother was being continually and forcibly raped by giant corporations intent on profit.

Itís ironic that the never-ending quest for wealth has brought such destruction to Mother Nature because the desire for money is basically a desire for happiness. But true happiness lies in nature we relax and unwind and finally realize we are just on a hamster wheel. Just walking down a tree lined street in a busy city immediately calms me. Letís face it peace is the key to happiness. I canít be peaceful unless Iím relaxed and I canít do any of it unless Iím doing yoga, but I digress (I used to want to change my middle name from Tracy to Tangential because I can never follow a straight line. I prefer to get lost in getting lost I tend to have the best experiences. But back to the thread)

I see the ongoing destruction of all that is natural and want to make a difference. Our mission at Voice Yourself is to connect you with others, to share information about alternatives biodiesel, sustainable clothing companies (i.e. hemp, organic cotton and bamboo) and to get clean and natural cleansers into your hands and homes this is only the beginning. Our small, extended family will spread out across the world like good music. Thank you for contributing to the dream that we know exists. Our time is now.

See Thoughts From Within Video

THOUGHTS FROM WITHIN (Woody speaks out)

I sometimes feel like an alien creature

for which there is no earthly explanation

Sure I have human form

walking erect and opposing digits,

but my mind is upside down.

I feel like a run-on sentence

in a punctuation crazy world.

and I see the world around me

like a mad collective dream.

An endless stream of people

move like ants from the freeway

cell phones, pc's, and digital displays

"In Money We Trust,"

we'll find happiness

the prevailing attitude;

like a genetically modified irradiated Big Mac

is somehow symbolic of food.

Morality is legislated

prisons over-populated

religion is incorporated

the profit-motive has permeated all activity

we pay our government to let us park on the street

And war is the biggest money-maker of all

we all know missile envy only comes from being small.

Politicians and prostitutes

are comfortable together

I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather.

This government was founded by, of, and for the people

but everybody feels it

like a giant open sore

they don't represent us anymore

And blaming the President for the country's woes

is like yelling at a puppet

for the way it sings

Who's the man behind the curtain pulling the strings?

A billion people sitting watching their TV

in the room that they call living

but as for me

I see living as loving

and since there is no loving room

I sit on the grass under a tree

dreaming of the way things used to be

Pre-Industrial Revolution

which of course is before the rivers and oceans, and skies were polluted

before Parkinson's, and mad cows

and all the convoluted cacophony of bad ideas

like skyscrapers, and tree paper, and earth rapers

like Monsanto and Dupont had their way

as they continue to today.

This was Pre-us

back when the buffalo roamed

and the Indian's home

was the forest, and God was nature

and heaven was here and now

Can you imagine clean water, food, and air

living in community with animals and people who care?

Do you dare to feel responsible for every dollar you lay down

are you going to make the rich man richer

or are you going to stand your ground

You say you want a revolution

a communal evolution

to be a part of the solution

maybe I'll be seeing you around.

categories: Soul
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1:41:04 PM    

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Words Are Power

People from all over this country and all over the world have called on Bush to end this war in Iraq. We share this sentiment and stand in solidarity with antiwar activists in this and other countries. We believe that the war in Iraq is wrong and immoral. We believe that the war in Irag weakens this country. We cry out against the innocents who have been slaughtered and the soldiers dead and wounded.

Please visit the other sites below to see a tour of antiwar photos. This is the voice and the cry of those who oppose this war, those who stand against oppression and stand for justice. Please stand with us and call for an end NOW!

Read their words at:

Honolulu, Hawaii

Irving, Texas

Chicago, Illinois

Athens, Greece

categories: Soul
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11:44:17 PM    

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colbert Does the WH Correspondence Dinner

I can't recall when I've seen so many unhappy reps. And he bashed the press too. He salted the earth after scorching it. Colbert rocks and has Giant Brass Balls.

WASHINGTON A blistering comedy "tribute" to President Bush by Comedy Central's faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2700 attendees, including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush impersonator.

Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, "and reality has a well-known liberal bias."

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. "This administration is soaring, not sinking," he said. "They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg."

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the "Rocky" movies, always getting punched in the face -- "and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world."

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

He noted former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the crowd, as well as " Valerie Plame." Then, pretending to be worried that he had named her, he corrected himself, as Bush aides might do, "Uh, I mean... Joseph Wilson's wife." He asserted that it might be okay, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was probably not there.

Colbert also made biting cracks about missing WMDs, "photo ops" on aircraft carriers and at hurricane disasters, and Vice President Cheney shooting people in the face.
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was "surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides - "the president's side and the vice president's side." He also reflected on the good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.

Addressing the reporters, he said, "You should spend more time with your families, write that novel you've always wanted to write. You know, the one about the fearless reporter who stands up to the administration. You know - fiction."

He claimed that the Secret Service name for Bush's new press secretary is "Snow Job." Colbert closed his routine with a video fantasy where he gets to be White House Press Secretary, complete with a special "Gannon" button on his podium. By the end, he had to run from Helen Thomas and her questions about why the U.S. really invaded Iraq and killed all those people.

As Colbert walked from the podium, when it was over, the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling, and left immediately.

E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few sitting near him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting--or too much speaking "truthiness" to power.

Asked by E&P after it was over if he thought he'd been too harsh, Colbert said, "Not at all." Was he trying to make a point politically or just get laughs? "Just for laughs," he said. He said he did not pull any material for being too strong, just for time reasons.

Helen Thomas told Strupp her segment with Colbert was "just for fun."

Perhaps the best part was when they panned the audience and you could see the stone-faced repubs. Bunnypants has never had someone punk him like that in public. This one goes in the vault.

The Smothers Brothers must be giggling - at last justice for the bravery of comic geniuses. You might recall that the Brothers were cancelled after Pete Seeger sang "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy". I remember being very angry at the injustice of it all, but tonight - justice has been served.

The silence was priceless. And Stephen just marched on, driving the nails in further. A must-see! My favorite: "The President stands for things. He stands on aircraft carriers. He stands on rubble. He stands in abandoned, flooded city squares. There's no place he won't stand for a photo op."

categories: Soul
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1:31:56 AM    

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Neil Young's "Living With War" Here Today!

Click album cover to hear the full record of Neil Young's "Living With War"

Pink performs Dear Mr President Live in NYC. It's a controversial song from her new album that all people should hear.

Here it is for you - a very powerful video.

(Or, if you prefer, or you're not seeing the above video...this WMV version via Wes Clark's website...)

categories: Soul
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12:09:55 AM    

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Knock On The Duir

Watch the Video.   When was the last time YOU ....

categories: Soul
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11:54:20 PM    

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll Released in Iraq, Unharmed

BAGHDAD Kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll has been released after nearly three months in captivity, Iraq police and the leader of the Islamic Party said Thursday. She was reported in good condition.

She told a Washington Post reporter: "I was never hurt, ever hit...I was kept in a safe place and treated very well."

Carroll, a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped on Jan. 7, in Baghdad's western Adil neighborhood while going to interview Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi. Her translator was killed in the attack about 300 yards from al-Dulaimi's office.

"She was released this morning, she's talked to her father and she's fine," said David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor.

[The news came shortly before 7 a.m., Eastern Time. The Monitor at 7:03 a.m. posted this on its Web site: "After being held hostage for nearly three months, Jill Carroll is free. More details shortly."]

Police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group. She was later turned over to the Americans and was believed to be in the heavily fortified Green Zone, he said.

Her captors, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 and said Carroll would be killed if that didn't happen. The date came and went with no word about her welfare.

The United States Embassy in Baghdad said it could not confirm Carroll's release.

On Feb. 28, Iraq's Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Carroll was being held by the Islamic Army in Iraq, the insurgent group that freed two French journalists in 2004 after four months in captivity.

Jabr said then that he believed the 28-year-old was still alive, although the deadline set by her captors for the U.S. to meet their demands had expired.

She was last seen in a videotape broadcast Feb. 9 by the private Kuwaiti television station Al-Rai. Her twin sister Katie issued a plea for her release on Al-Arabiya television late Wednesday night.

Carroll went to the Middle East in 2002 after being laid off from a newspaper job. She had long dreamed of covering a war.

Podhoretz, according to Judd Legum, wrote:

It's wonderful that she's free, but after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn't beaten or killed "while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is"  I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days.
I guess he would have been happier if she had allowed herself to be martyred for the cause. What a moron! Mr. Podhoretz, she was on Iraqi TV after having been released near an office of the Islamic Party. Could it be that she was respecting someone's culture and not necessarily pulling a Patty Hearst? Or is this just the muddled thinking of a numbskull who can't separate the entire religion of Islam from terrorism from resistance...

Regardless of John Podhoretz's insensitivity, naivete and ignorance, there is photographic proof that she has been treated better than civilians (or civilians) who were taken captive by the United States.

categories: Soul
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12:04:15 PM    

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Porn Star's Rated X-cellent - So Is Her Wine

At 40 bucks a bottle, I'm sure I'll be stocking up by the case.

It seemed like the perfect gimmick: a celebrity porn star would launch her own wine, with her alluring picture on the label.

Savanna Samson did just that. But when the wine received a score of 90 to 91 out of 100 from guru Robert Parker, the project became serious. It turns out Samson, the star of "The New Devil in Miss Jones," has produced an exceptional wine, becoming the toast of two industries: wine-making and pornography.

The seriousness of the idea was lining up a respected wine maker. So she convinced Italy's Robert Cipresso -- also a vintner to the Vatican -- to join the project.

Samson went to Tuscany and tasted dozens of Cipresso's Italian-grown varieties, then she selected a mix of 70 percent Cesanese, 20 percent Sangiovese and 10 percent Montepulciano. She ordered over 400 cases.

"I knew I wanted Roberto to make my wine -- I just love his passion for wine," said Samson.

The result is Sogno Uno, a 2004 vintage of an Italian red wine packaged under the Savanna name with a label of Samson in a see-through gown. It was launched last month.

Parker has been called the most influential wine critic in the world, and a score of 90 to 95 denotes "an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character."

"Trust me, I didn't add any points for Ms. Samson's personal presentation," Parker wrote in his review.

Samson is one of the biggest names in pornography, having won best actress in the Adult Video News Awards, the pornographic equivalent of the Oscars, and another AVN Award for a scene she shared with Jenna Jameson in last year's "The Masseuse." She has made two dozen porn flicks.

The wine "really represents who I am," said Samson.

"There's spiciness -- the Cesanese has the naughty side of me. And yet it's an elegant wine. I love the opera, and I'm a classically trained ballet dancer. And there is some chocolate undertone, which I just love. There's a little bit of sweetness. Like, 10 percent of the time I'm sweet," she said.

She is working on a white wine -- Sogno Due -- that could be out later this year, and also has ideas of expanding into champagne, ice wine and grappa.

Samson, who was raised Catholic in upstate New York, said it was pure coincidence that Cipresso also sells wines to the Vatican. She met him through her husband, a wine merchant.

"My priest said in Mass once, 'Violence or pleasures of the flesh. What is the greater of two evils?' I think we all know the answer. I felt like he was saying that toward me," she said.

Still, she never had her parent's blessing for her career choice as an adult movie star. "They were so devastated. They were terribly, terribly upset."

But while she will continue her film career, wine-making may offer some redemption. "I wanted to do something that my parents could be proud of," she said.

categories: Soul
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10:12:39 PM    

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don Knotts, TV's Barney Fife; Rest In Peace

Don Knotts, who kept generations of TV audiences laughing as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on ''The Andy Griffith Show'' and would-be swinger landlord Ralph Furley on ''Three's Company,'' has died. He was 81.

Knotts died Friday night of pulmonary and respiratory complications at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, said Sherwin Bash, his friend and manager.

Griffith, who had visited Knotts in the hospital before his death, said his longtime friend had a brilliant comedic mind and wrote some of the show's best scenes.

''Don was a small man ... but everything else about him was large: his mind, his expressions,'' Griffith told The Associated Press on Saturday. ''Don was special. There's nobody like him.

''I loved him very much,'' Griffith added. ''We had a long and wonderful life together.''

Unspecified health problems had forced Knotts to cancel an appearance in his native Morgantown, W.Va., in August.

The actor's half-century career included seven TV series and more than 25 films, but it was the Griffith show that brought him TV immortality and five Emmys.

The show ran from 1960-68, and was in the top 10 of the Nielsen ratings each season, including a No. 1 ranking its final year. It is one of only three series in TV history to bow out at the top: The others are ''I Love Lucy'' and ''Seinfeld.'' The 249 episodes have appeared frequently in reruns and have spawned a large, active network of fan clubs.

As the bug-eyed deputy to Griffith, Knotts carried in his shirt pocket the one bullet he was allowed after shooting himself in the foot. The constant fumbling, a recurring sight gag, was typical of his self-deprecating humor.

His favorite episodes, he said, were ''The Pickle Story,'' where Aunt Bee makes pickles no one can eat, and ''Barney and the Choir,'' where no one can stop him from singing.

''I can't sing. It makes me sad that I can't sing or dance well enough to be in a musical, but I'm just not talented in that way,'' he lamented. ''It's one of my weaknesses.''

In recent years, he said he had no plans to retire, traveling with theater productions and appearing in print and TV ads for Kodiak pressure treated wood.

The world laughed at Knotts, but it also laughed with him. He treasured his comedic roles and could point to only one role that wasn't funny, a brief stint on the daytime drama ''Search for Tomorrow.''

''That's the only serious thing I've done. I don't miss that,'' Knotts said.

Here's a special Don Knotts treat!  Don Knotts as Dubya

categories: Soul
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11:35:45 PM    

CorruptoCo Blogfest: Corporate Angel Network: A Real Angel In The Skies

Next week many bloggers will devote space to "Corporation Appreciation Week". A week where we temporarily turn the lights on in the roach-infested world of Corruptco. Before the week begins I wanted spotlight one of the best Corporate activities I know about, so this is a salute to one of the good guys that deserves a White Hat and much respect.

Corporate Angel Network is the only charitable organization in the USA whose sole mission is to ease the emotional stress, physical discomfort and financial burden of travel for cancer patients by arranging free flights to treatment centers, using the empty seats on corporate aircraft flying on routine business.

Based in White Plains, NY, Corporate Angel Network occupies an office donated by the Westchester County Airport. 50 part-time volunteers and five paid staff work with patients, physicians, corporations, flight departments and leading treatment facilities to arrange 1,200 flights a year.

Eligibility to participate in our program is open to all cancer patients, bone marrow donors, and bone marrow recipients who are ambulatory and not in need of medical support while traveling. Eligibility is not based on financial need, and patients may travel as often as necessary.

Thanks to the generous cooperation of 500 of Americaís top corporations, including 56 of the top 100 in the Fortune 500, Corporate Angel Network has coordinated more than 17,000 flights since itís founding in 1981. The program offers an obvious and meaningful benefit to cancer patients along with the opportunity for companies with corporate aircraft to provide a wonderful community service by merging business activities with social responsibility.

In 1981, three people shared the dream of using empty seats on corporate aircraft to transport cancer patients to treatment centers nationwide. Leonard M. Greene, founder and president of Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, Priscilla H. Blum, a licensed commercial pilot, and Jay N. Weinberg, then owner of a Mt. Vernon, NY Avis Car Rental franchise together developed the idea of asking corporations to accept these patients as guest passengers.

As cancer survivors, Blum and Weinberg knew how expensive and grueling transportation is for cancer patients who must fly long distances for specialized treatment. Greene too had firsthand experience, having lost his wife to cancer. He contributed his foundation, funds, business expertise, and aviation contacts to the effort.

On December 22, 1981, Greene, a pilot, personally flew the first Corporate Angel Network flight, bringing a patient home to Detroit for Christmas from treatment in New York City. From that day forward, Corporate Angel Network literally soared. One by one, corporations across America were asked to participate and one by one, they joined.

Since its inception, Corporate Angel Network has received numerous awards in recognition of its service to cancer patients, including the highest volunteer award from the President of the United States, The Volunteer Action Award. The organization has coordinated more than 17,000 regularly scheduled corporate flights with cancer patients aboard and attracted into its network 500 corporate participants, 56 of them in the top 100 of the Fortune 500.

Corporate Angel Network welcomes support in the form of cash, bequests, and donation of airline tickets. Contributions come from grateful patients for whom we have arranged free flights, from their relatives and friends, from enthusiastic individuals who want to ensure that our program is available to all who need it, from Corporations, and from foundations.

We also need volunteers. Individuals in the vicinity of Corporate Angel Network's White Plains, NY offices can volunteer to enter corporate flight schedules into the secure database, schedule flights for patients, write thank you letters to corporations and contributors, help arrange ground transportation, research and contact new corporations, solicit pro bono advertising, and help with reception and telephones. Volunteers work with patients and their families, corporate flight schedulers, pilots, secretaries, dispatchers, mechanics, fixed-based operations (FBOs), doctors and nurses, social workers, and private car operators.

Regardless of where they live, volunteers are needed to locate companies with aircraft that could become Corporate Angels, and to find ground transportation, lodging and other support services in key cities, such as Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Raleigh-Durham, where the majority of our patients are treated.

categories: Soul
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9:07:18 PM    

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mardi Gras 2006 - New Orleans Is Down But Not Out

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- As in past years, labor attorney Eve Marie Stocker plans to fly from Virginia to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, ride costumed on a float with her mother in the all-female Krewe of Iris parade and catch up with family and friends.

This year, however, she says the mission takes on a serious note: New Orleans, venturing into an uncertain Mardi Gras season after Hurricane Katrina, needs a successful celebration to get its sputtering economy started -- and give its storm-shocked residents a break.

"Mardi Gras is a compass," said Stocker, a former New Orleans resident. "This is what's normal for the city, and everyone needs a little bit of normalcy."

Mardi Gras, which always holds a bit of mystery for outsiders with its fun, frolic and debauchery, is a mystery itself this year for New Orleans, where an estimated two-thirds of its half-million, pre-Katrina populace remains elsewhere.

Any infusion of cash will be welcome in a city that saw most of its tax base washed away by Katrina on August 29 and the ensuing flooding after levees broke. Basic services, such as police protection and firefighting, are being held together with a $120 million federal loan that will provide funding only until spring.

The city is not only ready, says Mary Herczog, author of Frommer's New Orleans and a part-time resident, this will be an amazing year to be there.

"This is a city that has gone through cataclysm, and its citizens are desperately ready to let off some steam," says Herczog, who expects a cathartic, once-in-a-lifetime experience for locals and visitors alike on this 150th anniversary of the event. "This is going to be a Mardi Gras for the ages."

The celebration, Feb. 18-28, just six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated a wide area of the city, will include just eight days of parades instead of the usual two weeks to keep costs down for the cash-strapped city. And parade routes have been shortened. But most of the parading krewes that have rolled in past years are returning. And tourism leaders, who see the event as a sort of coming-out party for the city, say the tourist districts are ready.

"When you get downtown, it's almost like Katrina didn't touch it," says Marriott's Mark Sanders, who oversees the company's 14 hotels in the city. "There's still a lot of misunderstanding, and (Mardi Gras) is a chance to really let people know that we're open."

Though the storm dealt areas such as the Lower Ninth Ward an apocalyptic blow, it largely spared the French Quarter and the Garden District, the city's key tourism areas. And major attractions, such as the National D-Day Museum and Café du Monde, long ago reopened. Harrah's casino just announced it'll reopen Feb. 17, in time for Mardi Gras.

Foodies will find almost all the big-name eateries, such as K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, Galatoire's and Emeril's, back in action (exceptions include Commander's Palace). And most tourist-area hotels are open. (Of Marriott's 14, only the Ritz-Carlton remains closed.)

The problem for revelers will be getting a room on peak days of the festival. Though the first wave of relief workers has begun leaving the city, it's being replaced by a crowd from local companies such as Harrah's that are restarting operations, Sanders says.

As of Wednesday, three Marriotts in the city still had openings for Feb. 24, starting at $229 a room. The chain was sold out on Feb. 25 and had only one hotel opening on Feb. 26 (the New Orleans Marriott, for $249).

Getting to the city is less of a problem, even a bargain, as airlines ramp up flights. Last week, Southwest said it would add 36 round-trip flights over Mardi Gras. This week, American Airlines sold non-stops to New Orleans from New York and other East Coast cities over Mardi Gras for $163 round trip.

More significant are the thousands of men and women who have decided that no place in the world is quite like New Orleans. They are rebuilding, a brick, a board, a shingle at a time, remaking their own small piece of the city that knows better than any other what life truly is.

Throughout its history, New Orleans has battled poverty, sweltering heat, epidemics and disease, fits of racism, rule by invading armies, slavery, floods from the river, and hurricanes from the sea. In every case, New Orleans has chosen its own unique way to put joy above melancholy and has birthed much of what is now most prized in American culture.

We love New Orleans. When we read the scolding of pinched-faced editorialists chiding us for planning to celebrate Mardi Gras six months after Katrina, we shake our heads: they donít get it. Mardi Gras is our affirmation, the entire city saying, ďWeíre alive, weíre back, and we ainít leaving.Ē To all those people, who have sacrificed a piece of their own lives to help us in our time of need: thank you. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

categories: Soul
Other Stories according to Google: About Mardi Gras Madness, Official Site of Mardi Gras 2006 | Upbeat notes from a city that's down but not out - Los Angeles Times | Not the Real New Orleans , but It Will Have to Do - New York Times | The Big Uneasy -- | CANOE Travel - News - How big will scaled- down Mardi Gras be? | Metroblogging New Orleans | - How big will scaled- down Mardi Gras be? | Mardi Gras : New Orleans Beads, Pictures, BourboCAM, webcam and | KnoxNews: Travel | Storm-ravaged New Orleans prepares for 150th Mardi Gras

1:19:21 AM    

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