Happy New Year! May 2005 bring health, happiness, and prosperity to everyone.
I'm starting the year by being up at the crack of dawn, because the String Bands are starting WAY earlier than they've ever done. They are slated to begin at 9:45(!!!) at Broad and Oregon. This year, only the String Bands and the Fancy Brigades start this far south. The Comics and the Fancy Divisions both start at Broad and Washington.
I hope this helps keep the parade on schedule. We USED to have it down to a science, with four minutes between String Bands, and it moved like clockwork. (Well, it took some work to get the parade to keep moving smoothly like that, but they managed it.) Then after the parade was moving well for a few years, the city decided to move it from South Broad Street into Center City. Well, THAT made a royal hash of their keeping to anything that resembled a schedule. The few years it was in Center City, they never did figure out how to keep the bands from either having a logjam of several at once, or a long gap between performances.
They finally moved the Mummers back to Broad Street for last year's parade, and what do you know -- that "four minutes between bands" clockwork was gone. So this year, they're trying something new -- the different starting points for the different divisions of the parade, for one thing. If this works, I can deal with the mega-early start to the String Bands. It'll mean the ability to get back HOME earlier and get some rest, rather than sleeping in and everything starting later.
In other news, Yahoo has added links to facilitate people's online contributions to the tsunami disaster. I can vouch for the fact that Amazon's Red Cross donation site is extremely easy to use. I had info stored there already, so it literally took me longer to log in than it did to send the donation.
The casualty totals are approaching 150,000 according to CNN.com. We may never know the true totals, though... some villages in the worst-hit areas were utterly obliterated. I don't know how the emergency workers can even begin to tally the losses in the villages where no one survived.
At least the news is starting to be able to report the ways that aid is arriving, instead of only having news of devastation to report. The scope of this calamity, both in terms of how many people were affected and how large of an area it covered, is almost too much to comprehend. So it's taken longer than usual for aid organizations to mobilize and reach the remotest areas involved. But they're getting there, or at least they're starting to.
Gotta scoot, if I want to get to the String Bands' starting point before they begin marching.