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Fat Tuesday

“I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free.” – 1905, “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (1) – Composer Charles H. Gabriel, Lyricist Civilla D. Martin

Yes, I admit that I can get a little “focused” sometimes. :-) This afternoon and evening I was focused on framing some 11 x 14 prints for my show “California: Mountains to the Sea” at Café Garré at the Garré Winery on Tesla Road in Livermore during March and April. (Tesla [named after Nikola Tesla] is now a “town site” but was once the largest coal-producing town in California.) Tesla Road still makes an exciting motorcycle ride (watch that eastbound hard-right turn at the top, or you WILL be airborne!) and passes both Site 300 and Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (read “dirt bikes” and “hill climbs“).

(Note added March 5, 2009: Tesla Road becomes Corral (not “Coral”) Canyon Road somewhere along there, on its way to Tracy. I don’t remember the switchover point.)

I brought up iTunes on the MacBook Pro and played through every song on The Pretenders latest album, “Break Up the Concrete,” about which I blogged earlier.

Then, I got the urge to listen to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Yes, I love Dixieland Jazz. I would love to have it played at my funeral.) It was not until the fourth song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” that I remembered that today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday! I told you that I can get a little focused sometimes. “His Eye is on the Sparrow” is a Gospel hymn written by two white song writers that has become a staple of African-American worship services.

You can read about the celebration and how Mardi Gras is observed in different countries of the world in the Wikipedia entry linked above, but the “short form” is that Mardi Gras is the last day of celebrations before the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. New Orleans is the epicenter of Mardi Gras in the United States. New Orleans is a city that I have been trying to visit for probably 30 years. Hurricane Katrina visited New Orleans before I could. Mercifully, in spite of bureaucratic bungling (or maybe NOBODY is as good with disasters as they claim), much of the city survived, and rebuilding continues. I still hope to visit someday. This year, shootings marred the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, with seven people (including a baby) injured. An 18-year-old and a 19-year-old were arrested in the shootings.

I hope that 1) you celebrated this mid-winter, pre-Lenten occasion and that 2) your celebration was joyous. The Bay Area tends to celebrate Halloween more passionately, but I am certain that, somewhere in California, Mardi Gras was celebrated today!

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

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