Carnival & Mardi Gras in New Orleans

While I live in South Florida, where the saying is “WE LIVE WHERE YOU VACATION!”, I have to travel quite a bit for business.  One of the great advantages of regular business travel is experiencing what other cities have to offer.

My office is in New Orleans, where I visit one week each month.  In the spring, I make it a habit to go during Carnival season.  “Carnival”, which literal translation is “farewell to meat”, is the period before Lent, when some Christians give up meat and other things they may enjoy, such as sweets, alcohol, etc.  So the Carnival season exhibits excessive drinking of alcohol, eating savory meats and sweets (especially King cake), partying, dancing, and other things before the first day of Lent – Ash Wednesday.

In New Orleans, there are many parades leading up the culmination of Carnival season, Mardi Gras (or “Fat Tuesday”).  These parades run by groups called “krewes” featuring marching bands and lavish floats that throw handmade prizes, trinkets, and beads.  Beads are also thrown of balconies on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.  Danielle, Ruben, and I spent a few nights catching souvenirs from the Krewe of Nyx, Krewe of Muses, and Krewe of Endymion.

Mardi Gras is definitely a party time in a legendary party town.  If you find yourself with a few days off in the spring, try to get to New Orleans for an experience you won’t forget.

Gronk rules the Patriots Victory Parade…and why vertical videos suck

Rob Gronkowski stole the show during Wednesday’s victory parade in Boston, and there is a lot of data online to prove that – videos of Gronk twerking on duck boats, doing pushups on the parade route, and chugging anything fans would toss to him…from beers to Fireball Whisky.

Take the video above for example – a compilation of a bunch of Gronk highlights.  It’s like you’re actually on Boylston Street, right?  Well, maybe not.  But to make matters worse, over half the clips were recorded vertically on [drunken?] fans’ cell phones.

What makes people want to record video vertically?  Think of all the screens on which you have enjoyed video since you’ve been born… TVs, movie theater screens, computers.  How many of them have been vertical?

I, for one, don’t enjoy watching videos while on my computer (ask Danielle Raybuck) – but when I do, I don’t like them taking up only 30% of the screen with huge black rectangles on both sides.

Thankfully, mainstream mass media has noticed this epidemic and they are trying to retrain us into filming – errr, recording – horizontally.  During Winter Storm Juno, The Weather Channel invited viewers to send in their videos to be shown on-air, but warned viewers to record horizontally or they couldn’t be used.  Anchors on the TODAY Show have also been asking viewers to record horizontally or they wouldn’t be able to show viewers’ vids on TV.

Hopefully the masses will pick up on this.  Maybe the technology giants will build in some reminder on future devices.  Until then, here is a public service announcement you can share with your friends:

[photo courtesy of the Boston Globe]