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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday was the peak of Carnival--Shrove Tuesday...Pancake Tuesday...Fat Tuesday...or Mardi Gras (the French translation of Tuesday Fat)--the day before when Lent begins, which is Ash Wednesday, today.  Above, from Rio and below, New Orleans:

In Rio, almost all the parades occur in a stadium, Sambodromo:

But in New Orleans, they wend their way through various parts of the city.  I spent 3 1/2 years in Louisiana, so I several times experienced Hurricanes (it's a drink--I still have the glass) and tossed beads (also  a few of them, too):

The most popular song in the New Orleans version is "Go to the Mardi Gras."  One of my very favorite movies was Black Orpheus (1959), which took place during Carnival in the '50's.

Ash Wednesday begins the 40-day liturgical period of fasting and prayer, a most appropriate re-start to the Republican Primary debate, which continues tonight from Mesa, Arizona (sponsored by CNN from 8PM eastern time).  Which candidate will show up, I wonder, wearing a cross on his forehead.  If either Romney or Santorum makes only one serious gaffe, it could all be over for that person.  How's that for pressure.

Next Tuesday (February 28) will continue the embarrassing survival series in Arizona and Michigan, with Super Tuesday the following Tuesday (March 6) involving Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia.  The Hawaii caucus is on March 13, and the Northern Mariana Islands end it all on July 31.  By the way, while Rick Santorum has caught up in the polls with Mitt Romney, and actually leads four states to three, he today stands at #4 in secured delegates with 9, compared to 91 for Romney.

Girl Scout cookies are now on sale!  They took out all the trans fats.  Thin mints are the most popular, and Savannah Smiles (above, lemony) the newest.  Prices differ from place to place and you can't yet order online.  It is not tax deductible if you eat it, but is if you donate them back to the Girl Scouts.  Seventy percent of sales remain at the local council.  200 million boxes are produced annually and Jennifer Sharpe (right, with her mother) in 2008 sold 17,328 boxes.

How did she do it?  According to her mother, this shy girl just sat at a street corner in Dearborn, Michigan, every day during the cookie selling season and did her best.  No great network system, no help, except from her mother.

They're against Atlanta tonight, but you can watch the New York Knicks, with Jeremy Lin, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, play the Miami Heat, with Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, on TNT tomorrow night (Thursday, February 23 at 7PM, eastern time).  Miami is on a seven game win streak, expects to be in the NBA finals, and win.  Miami won at home almost a month ago by ten points.  But that was before Super Lin.  The Heat are rated #1 in the NBA, wile the Knicks are #10.  There are rumors that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama might be in the crowd.

And speaking of the current President, watch him sing during "In Performance at the White House:  Red, White and Blues" on PBS this coming Monday, February 27 at 9PM eastern time.  He was handed the mike by Mick Jagger and came through with "Sweet Home Chicago," joining B.B. King.  Will President Obama make an appearance with Al Green on American Idol?

The previous night, Sunday, February 26, features the Academy Awards on ABC at 7PM ET, hosted by Billy Crystal, his ninth time.  I can't believe that The Artist will win more Oscars than it should.  This was a very creative but average film.  It would be especially terrible if Jean Dujardin beats out George Clooney for Best Actor.

The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 27 to 12,938, while world markets were also mostly down.  Gold jumped $21/toz to $1778, while the WTI crude is at $106/barrel and Brent spot at $123/barrel.  Many are predicting $130/barrel by this summer, and Republicans are hoping for $5/gallon gasoline.


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