Vietnamese Farmers’ Market in Michoud, Louisiana

The video clip below is not meant to be an edited video. Rather, it is just a little glimpse of a little Vietnamese “Farmers” Market in Michoud, Lousiana, part of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans so badly devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I got to see this little market that opens for just 3 hours Saturday mornings from about dawn to 9 AM, in the style of markets back in North Viet Nam, and wanted to share it with others who might be interested.

Continue reading

Colbie Caillat Singing the Best US National Anthem I’ve Ever Heard

My annual list of Best New Songs I Heard is usually reserved for songs I had never heard before. Sometimes, I throw in songs I had heard before, but never nearly as good that a version I just heard for the first time. This song falls in that second category, though it doesn’t quite have the gap for me to put on my list this year because of how many great versions I have heard in the past. Still,  it was good enough that I know, for me, it was the best rendition of this song that I have ever heard among the many I have heard.

The Star Spangled Banner is played at so many events I watch, on television or in person, that I am sure I have heard over 1000 renditions of it over the years. Naturally, there have been some outstanding versions among them, as well as some pretty grotesque ones. To me, though, Colbie Caillat’s version at the opening game of the National Football League season between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints was the best rendition of the song I have ever heard. Sorry, I don’t know the guitarist’s name.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

She sung it quietly and built it, without having to rely on volume power to peak. She didn’t need more drums or instruments to come in, or additional parts, either. She just rocked it gently a tad more each time and achieved the effect. That’s a hard thing to do!

The television footage of the players and crowd were also inspiring, and credits go to the NBC camera crew for capturing all that. Lots of players and coaches with hands over their heart, standing pretty still mostly, too. I also liked the shot of Jared Allen with the helmet held high. The New Orleans fans deserve credit for being in such solemn attention. A little cheer here or there in the right places can have just as good an impact as a roaring crowd all the way through like at some events. But you know, the right rendition will help you be like that to listen and be proud rather than not pay attention for any number of reasons.

All and all, I thought it was just superb. Too bad the online version I have above had the image and sound timing just a tad off to make it look like Colbie badly lip synced it.

I saw some online articles today on the rendition by Colbie Caillat. She’s got the Net talking about it, that’s for sure. There were likes and dislikes, and loves and hates, as to be expected. However, I’ve got to say the reasonings given for those who didn’t like it weren’t very sound. If the reasonings those people generally gave were valid, they should just go plunk it out on an out of tune synthesizer, or just get their computer to mechanically play it. They should appreciate how flexible their national anthem is that they could think so poorly of such a performance and yet, some people like myself think it’s the best rendition they’ve ever heard!

Leave me a comment with some other favourite renditions of the Star Spangled Banner if you care to share. Thanks!

Meanwhile, I’m going to look up some more of Colbie’s music. I had never heard of her till last night, but man, did she impress and got a new fan for that performance!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5

New Orleans Saints Team Logo iPad Wallpapers

It’s a couple of months after the Superbowl as I write this, and I wonder if the glow has worn off yet on the people of New Orleans that their Saints are the champs. New Orleans needed that win much more than Indianapolis considering the Katrina debacle still going on in the bayou. But that win doesn’t change the realities of every day life, as important a beacon of hope and pride as it is to the people. My hopes are constantly with the people for the betterment of their lives.

Now, I don’t know how many Saints fans have iPads and are passionate enough to put some Saints iPad wallpapers on them, but hopefully, there are a few. I hope they like some of my designs, too. Below are some Saints iPad wallpapers . I only make wallpapers with team logos because players change too often these days.

There are many types of iPad wallpapers here.

  • Unique one-offs with full backgrounds.
  • Plain logo on a plain team colour background.
  • Embossed logo for those who like a little eye candy, labeled with “emboss”.
  • Small logo are for those who like a lot of plain space for their “padtop” icons.
  • Small embossed logo that look like a button, labeled with “button”.
  • Textured backgrounds like canvas, burlap, sandstone and steel, which you have to see full size to appreciate the difference as the thumbnails don’t do them justice.

I try to design these wallpapers for a variety of tastes and usages. I hope you’ll be able to find one you like.

Please click on the links below for NFL team logo backgrounds/wallpapers (among other themes) for your:


New Orleans Saints Win a Much Needed Super Bowl

New Orleans Saints

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning the Super Bowl! They played well and deserved it completely. A big interception thrown by Peyton Manning returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter spelled the end for the Colts, but I think the way the Saints marched down the field easily in the second quarter meant the Colts had to be flawless because anything less meant the Saints would capitalize on it. That’s when I thought the Colts were first in trouble.

More importantly with the Super Bowl win, congratulations to the people of New Orleans. They really needed this one, cause I’d hate to have seen the next week there if the Saints had lost. I know they had a parade planned whether the Saints won or not, but it’d have been a downer, and further propagated the team’s image for not being able to win the big one. Now, I wonder if New Orleans native Peyton Manning will be attending that Super Bowl party. It’d almost feel like he would have to given it’s his true home town. His Dad probably has to since Archie played for the Saints and is a key part of their history. How awkward, eh?

As a side plot, what a fantastic story for Drew Brees! As Kurt Warner retires, the NFL needs a new Cinderella story and Drew Brees stepped up for it.

Finally, looks like the “wisdom of crowds” theory held up on my poll of who would win the Super Bowl in 2010. Despite New Orleans being underdogs, the vote was 52% Saints to 48% Colts out of 297 votes. Way to go, folks!

As for me, I am a Colts fan and it is hard to take. However, the Saints were my #2 team in being my NFC team. It’s not as hard to take, the loss, with my #2 team winning, like it might have been if some other team had beaten the Colts in the playoffs, like the Patriots or Chargers.

Now, that Saints hat I’ve got that is going to be some commodity in Halifax, Nova Scotia! 🙂

But really, let’s hope New Orleans get something more real to cheer about than this Super Bowl that will only lift the people’s spirits, not repair their homes, get them back their jobs, and so on.

Enjoy the thrill, New Orleans! You definitely deserved this one!

Btw, I’ve got lots of Saints wallpapers of all sizes, and Saints backgrounds for iPhone, Palm Pre and Blackberries, on this blog! They are under NFL Logos and NFC teams. Go get yourself some!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.2


Colts and Saints in Super Bowl! Who Do You Think Will Win?

New Orleans Saints

There were 297 votes, with 48% for the Colts and 52% for the Saints. The “wisdom of crowds” theory won out here as the Saints were underdogs and yet, you the readers, voted they’d win. Well done and congrats to the Saints! I knew I should have put the Colts logo up on top rather than the Saints. Probably jinxed my own Colts!

The original post is below the dotted line.


I only have two NFL team hats, those of the New Orlean Saints and of the Indianapolis Colts… and they are both going to the Super Bowl!


My team is the Colts. I’ve been a fan of Peyton Manning ever since he was at the University of Tennessee. He started his first game the day I ran my first marathon in October 4 1998. He’s still playing at a high level and I’m still running at a high level. His football career and my running has had some pretty interesting coincidences for our personal achievements. But he and the Colts are my team.

The Saints were my NFC team because I enjoyed watching them. That interest became a liking after my visit there to run the Mardi Gras marathon in 2003 and a second love after they got Drew Brees. Not being one willing to pay big money for sport caps, I found a beautiful Saints hat at Wal-Mart for $10 and that was my first hat.

Indianapolis Colts

It was not until this year when I had a great winning streak in betting in Pro-Line sports here in Nova Scotia, at a sale, that I got my Colts hat. So I’ve only had the two hats for half a season or so, but it could not be more timely!

The two teams did great during the regular seasons. However, things seemed a little iffy towards the end as neither team finished strong, even if Indianapolis did so resting their starters and by-passing the chance at a perfect season. However, both teams rebounded well to end up in the Super Bowl, even with a little luck. But you know what they say, you have to be good to be lucky!

I’d prefer it if the Colts win, of course, but I won’t be too disappointed if the Saints win. I just hope for a great game.

That said, I definitely think the Colts will win. Any opinions? Take the poll or leave a comment. Thanks!