Tuesday, January 02, 2007

'07, Near and Far

So, hope you all had a great New Year's bash... or whatever you were feeling up for.

Here in Mummerville, the Parade was postponed 'til Saturday on account of rain. While the aforementioned indoor brigade judging still took place, the delay of the Broad Street march isn't the worst thing -- temps in the mid-60s are expected for the fall-back date, the faithful won't have to head home early to get up for work the next morning, and it'll be one hell of a pre-game party for the (NFC East champ) Eagles' first-round playoff demolition of the Giants on Sunday.

Down, New Yorkers... down. (And, especially after the last match-up between the two, I'll take bets. Gladly.)

Of course, the onset of football playoff season signals the return of the the Philadelphian's longingly eternal question: after 24 years of Championship Drought -- and not one Super Bowl victory, ever -- could this be the moment that the Good Lord has (finally, finally, finally) deigned to rain His graces upon the long-suffering Birds Nation?

It ain't called Negadelphia for nothing, so you'll hear a lot of "Probably not"s out there. However, that doesn't mean that, for the duration of the postseason run, the city won't be experiencing a marked upswing in popular piety unparalleled anywhere else in these days...

...well, except (where else?) in the Philippines, where New Year's Day marked the annual kick-off procession for the novena to the Black Nazarene, held at the minor basilica where the statue is normally enshrined.

In a country known for a devotional trait without peer, when they say the days leading up to the Black Nazarene feast comprise the nation's "single largest festival of the year," one can only imagine how truly amazing it is.

PHOTO 1: AP/Matt Rourke
PHOTO 2: AP/Aaron Favila