The Top 5 Reasons We Love Retro Gaming


# 5. Games Were Simpler Back In The Day

Video games have unquestionably become more ambitious and impressive in recent years. When you look at the likes of The Last Of Us, it’s impossible to overstate just how far video games have come since people were playing Pong forty-odd years ago. But for all the innovations within the medium, and for all the new fangled ideas and increasingly elaborate control schemes, there’s something to be said for how much more straight forward things were in the games we played as kids.
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Gaming today can be difficult for people without the muscle memory that comes from years of dedicated gaming. Give your mum or dad a PS4 controller and if they’re anything like mine they’ll spend half the time playing the game looking down, trying in vain to remember where all the buttons are. Use the left analog stick to walk, hold X to jog, or tap X to sprint. L2 is aim and R2 is shoot, but R1 becomes shoot if you’re driving in a car R2 is the accelerator. R3 (that’s when you click in the right analog stick) let’s you look behind you, and to open the menu you need to hold down the touch pad. And that’s just part of the control scheme for Grand Theft Auto 5, one of the best selling games of all time.

Even for seasoned veterans the increasing complexity of games can become a turn off. Super Mario World is still as intuitive as it was back in 1990 because the inherently simple design and pick up and play nature of the game made it timeless. You can give a kid who’s never played a Mario game the controller and within seconds they’re worked out how to play. This simplicity is an attractive concept, which is almost certainly part of the reason that retro games like Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge are so popular today. The simpler a game is to play, the more inclusive and immediate the fun. Retro gaming has that in spades, and that’s the reason I’m still playing Super Mario World twenty-six years after release.

# 4. Retro Games Have Better Music

As gaming production values ​​have increased over the years, we’ve seen the medium change in many ways. We made the jump to 3D, we now have voice acting, and elaborate cut-scenes tell complicated stories that rival those seen in television or on the big screen. Games today feature fully orchestrated scores or soundtracks featuring popular music that are every bit as impressive as what we’d see in other mediums, but it feels like we’ve lost something along the way, too.

I can still hum the music to Treasure Island Dizzy on the Commodore 64. I was playing that game nearly thirty years ago and I have not played it since then (but I’ve still never beaten it but I can not still remember the theme music that plays in the background in its entity. I played games last week and I could not even tell you if they had music at all.

Because of the simplicity of early games, and without voice acting to tell a story, the music had to be good. Other than a few crummy sound effects, the music of the game was the only aural stimulation that the games provided. There are still great game soundtracks today, but they seem few and far between when compared to the games of my youth. Mega Man, Castlevania, the early Final Fantasy games, and iconic titles like Zelda, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog – these all featured highly memorable tunes that stick with us long after the last time we played them. I still remember how the music for Commodore 64 classic Prince Clumsy changes when you save the princess at the end of the game like I was playing it yesterday. We can not really say that about Shadow of Mordor, can we?

# 3. Games Used to Work Right Out of the Box

One thing that games from yesteryear unquestionably did better than the games of today is that they, well, worked. You’d think that it should be a pretty fundamental aspect of any product released to the market, but it’s really staggering how many games in 2016 ship broken, requiring either days or weeks of server tweaks to get the multiplayer working, or intensive day one patches to fix all of the bugs that made it onto the disc. Today, if you do not have a decent Internet connection in your home, some games are genuinely unplayable, and many others severely hampered.

Street Fighter V released earlier this year, with Capcom promising that the single player Arcade Mode, a staple of the series, would be available to download in July. What if you do not have an Internet connection? Well, then you’ve got a half game. That’s not a problem we faced when Street Fighter II released on the SNES in 1991. Back then, we had no Internet acting as a safety net for developers. Games had to work right out of the box.

Going back and playing Global Gladiators today is as simple as popping the cartridge into your Genesis and turning on the power. It works now as it did then; exactly as it should, and without any fuss. This is one of the many great things about retro gaming; If you’ve got the game and the hardware you’re pretty much good to go. You do not need to download drivers, or updates, or patches. You put in the game, and then you play. Just like you should.

# 2. Games Used to Be More of a Challenge

Today, anyone who keeps up to date with the latest trends in gaming will likely know of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and the reputation these games have for punishment difficulty. Gamers flocked to the Souls series in droves, excited to play a title that challenged them and refused to hold their hands. There’s no extended tutorial sections. There’s little in the way of help. You can not pause. And every enemy can make mincemeat out of you without you learn their attack patterns and act accordingly. It’s exciting for a game to provide us with an uphill struggle like this, but then, I’m old enough to remember a time when every game was like this. And worse.

Modern games have a tendency to spell things out to the player, often to an almost insulting degree. Popping a disc into a PS4 in 2016 means waiting for the install, then the day one patch, and then when you finally get a controller in your hand you spend the next two hours being walking through the early stages of the game like a kid on his first day of school. Everyone likes a bit of help now and again, but there’s something to be said for just being thrown in at the deep end and being told to sink or swim.

# 1. Nostalgia

Nostalgia might seem like a cop out answer; after all, looking back on the past with rose tinted spectacles is often what fans of anything retro are criticized with. It’s easy to dismiss nostalgia as a way of justifying the opinion that everything was just much better in your day, but the truth is that nostalgia is an immensely powerful agent and it should not be ignored.

Today, we watch rubbish movies and bemoan the use of obvious CGI, but we’ll happily sit through Raiders of the Lost Ark and not bother saying that the melting at the end looks like he’s made out of plasticine. We listened to the appalling pop music of our youths with a reflective smile on our faces while turning our noses up at Justin Bieber’s latest video. And we’ll talk about Final Fantasy VII as though it were second coming of Christ, completely ignoring all of the flaws in the game that we’d hang a modern game out to dry for. Nostalgia is a strong enough influence to make us believe that Sonic the Hedgehog was actually ever good. Now, that’s serious.

The reason a lot of us like playing old games is simply because of the feeling we get playing them. I’ve played hundreds, if not thousands of games in my time as a gamer. And I’m smart enough to know that in that time video games have improved in almost every way. But that does not change the fact that if I load up Street Fighter II I remember the days of playing it during the school summer holidays with all my friends. I remember the day I completed Toejam and Earl with my brother every time I hear the first few bars of its ridiculously funky theme music. And I remember the giddy thrills we got when we first got the fatalities working on Mortal Kombat II.

Playing old games, just as with watching old movies or listening to old albums, transports us to a time in the past that we like to remember. Whether it’s memories of old friends, loved ones, people we may see every day or might have lost touch with, every old game we load up is a window to the past and that’s special. The latest Call of Duty is never going to compete with that.


Haitian Vodoun Perspectives on Death and Dying


I chose to explore the culture of Haitians who practice Vodou, a religion also known as Voodoo, Vodun, Vodoun, Voudun, and Yoruba Orisha.  I have just returned from a vacation in the Caribbean (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic), which shares an island with Haiti. While there, I met a man from Haiti and was reminded of a bizarre experience I had in 1998 when I was ridden by an orisha (loa) during an inner-city Christian church service.
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Thus, I thought this would make an interesting subject for this assignment. To make things simpler in this essay, I will refer to this group simply as Vodou or Vodoun.

Introducing Vodou and Haitian Culture

Vodou is a Caribbean religion blended from African religions and Catholic Christianity. Long stereotyped by the outside world as “black magic,” Vodoun priests and priestesses are also diviners, healers, and religious leaders, who derive most of their income from healing the sick rather than from attacking targeted victims.

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Vodou comes from an African word for “spirit” and can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. However, its African roots may go back 6,000 years. Today, Vodou is practiced most commonly in the country of Haiti and in the United States around New Orleans, New York, and in Florida. Today over 60 million people practice Vodou throughout the Caribbean and West Indies islands, as well as in North and South America, Africa, and Britain.

During days of slave trade, this religion fused with Catholic Christianity.
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Therefore, in this current century, children born into rural Haitian families are generally baptized into the Vodou religion as well as in the Catholic church.

Those who practice Vodou believe in a pantheon of gods who control and represent the laws and forces of the universe. In this pantheon, there is a Supreme Deity and the Loa-a large group of lesser deities equivalent to the saints of the Catholic Church. These gods protect people and give special favors through their representatives on earth which are the hougans (priests) and mambos (priestesses).

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The Loa (also Lwa or L’wha) are spirits somewhat like saints or angels in Christianity. They are intermediaries between the Creator and humanity. Unlike saints or angels, they are not simply prayed to; they are served. They are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, songs, dances, ritual symbols, and special modes of service.

Rituals, Behaviors, and Practices Associated with Death and Dying

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Haitians who adhere to Vodou do not consider death to be the end of life. They do believe in an afterlife. Followers of Vodoun believe that each person has a soul that has both a gros bon ange (large soul or universal life force), and a ti bon ange (little soul or the individual soul or essence.)

When one dies, the soul essence hovers near the corpse for seven to nine days. During this period, the ti bon ange is vulnerable and can be captured and made into a “spiritual zombie” by a sorcerer.
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Provided the soul is not captured, the priest or priestess performs a ritual called Nine Night to sever the soul from the body so the soul may live in the dark waters for a year and a day. If this is not done, the ti bon ange may wander the earth and bring misfortune on others.

After a year and a day, relatives of the deceased perform the Rite of Reclamation to raise the deceased person’s soul essence and put it in a clay jar known as a govi.
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The belief that each person’s life experiences can be passed on to the family or community compels Haitians to implore the spirit of the decease to temporarily possess a family member, priest (houngan), or priestess (mambo) to impart any final words of wisdom.

The clay jar may be placed in the houngan’s or mambo’s temple where the family may come to feed the spirit and treat it like a divine being.  At other times, the houngan burns the jar in a ritual called boule zen.
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This releases the spirit to the land of the dead, where it should properly reside. Another way to elevate the ti-bon-ange is to break the jar and drop the pieces at a crossroad.

The ultimate purpose of death rituals in the Vodoun culture is to send the gros-bon-ange to Ginen, the cosmic community of ancestral spirits, where it will be worshipped by family members as a loa itself.

Once the final ritual is done, the spirit is free to abide among the rocks and trees until rebirth. Sixteen incarnations later, spirits merge into the cosmic energy.

Here are some other common behaviors associated with death in the Haitian culture:

·        When death is impending, the entire family will gather, pray, cry, and use religious medallions or other spiritual artifacts. Relatives and friends expend considerable effort to be present when death is near.

·        Haitians prefer to die at home, but the hospital is also an acceptable choice.

·        The moment of death is marked by ritual wailing among family members, friends, and neighbors.

·        When a person dies, the oldest family member makes all the arrangements and notifies the family. The body is kept until the entire family can gather.

·        The last bath is usually given by a family member.

·        Funerals are important social events and involve several days of social interaction, including feasting and the consumption of rum.

·        Family members come from far away to sleep at the house, and friends and neighbors congregate in the yard.

·        Burial monuments and other mortuary rituals are often costly and elaborate. People are increasingly reluctant to be buried underground. They prefer to be interred above ground in an elaborate multi-chambered tomb that may cost more than the house in which the individual lived while alive.

·        Since the body is thought to be necessary for resurrection, organ donation and cremation are not allowed. Autopsy is allowed only if the death occurred as a result of wrong doing or to confirm that the body is actually dead and not a zombie.

Like many Western Christian religions that use a figurative sacrifice to symbolize the consumption of flesh and blood, some Vodoun ceremonies include a literal sacrifice in which chickens, goats, doves, pigeons, and turtles are sacrificed to celebrate births, marriages, and deaths.

Vodou Beliefs about Afterlife

Practitioners of Vodou assume that the souls of all the deceased go to an abode beneath the waters. Concepts of reward and punishment in the afterlife are alien to Vodou.

In Vodou, the soul continues to live on earth and may be used in magic or it may be incarnated in a member of the dead person’s family.

Communion with a god or goddess occurs in the context of possession. The gods sometimes work through a govi, and sometimes take over a living person. This activity is referred to as “mounting a horse” during which the person loses consciousness and the body becomes temporarily possessed by a loa. A special priest (houngan) or priestess (mambo) assists both in summoning the divinities and in helping them to leave at the termination of the possession.

The gros-bon-ange returns to the high solar regions from which its cosmic energy was first drawn; there, it joins the other loa and becomes a loa itself.


Each group of worshipers is independent and there is no central organization, religious leader, or set of dogmatic beliefs. Rituals and ceremonies vary depending upon family traditions, regional differences, and exposure to the practices of other cultures such as Catholicism, which is the official religion of Haiti.

Some Haitians believe that the dead live in close proximity to the loa, in a place called “Under the Water.” Others hold that the dead have no special place after death.

Burial ceremonies vary according to local tradition and the status of the person. Some families do not express grief aloud until most of the deceased’s possessions have been removed from the home. Persons who are knowledgeable in the funeral customs wash, dress, and place the body in a coffin. Mourners wear white clothing which represents death. A priest may be summoned to conduct the burial service. The burial usually takes place within 24 hours.


Westerners, or so-called logical people, might find Vodoun a strange and exotic mixture of spells, possessions, and rituals. Like any other religion, its purpose is to comfort people by giving them a common bond. Vodoun meshes surprisingly well with Catholicism, the official religion of Haiti. With a supreme being, saint-like spirits, belief in the afterlife and invisible spirits, along with the protection of patron saints, Voodoo isn’t that different from traditional religions. 


Top 5 Hotels in UK Explained!


These are five most famous and well known hotels in UK.

Enclos de l’Eveche, Boulogne
Considered to be one of the best hotels in World, it is situated on the dramatic coastline on Boulogne, and has matchless nature adventure with sea, surf, fish, birds and ferries. The hotel is part of charming old English country with all the facilities facilities, and the building is in the 19th century townhouse style; it’s huge and has various themed bedrooms. The most popular ones include the Egyptian and Far East ones.
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Les Tourelles, Picardy
Considered to be the most stylish and up market building with history, this hotel used to be the home of the famous perfumer Pierre Guerlain. This read and white building overlooks the lavish garden that lead to beach. This is lovingly greeted by the Belgian couple and has vast bird loving, perfectly placed in nature design of Somme Estuary. This is relatively affordable hotel as you can share facilities and there’s even a dorm too.
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Hotel Jean de Bruges, Picardy
This is yet another historic hotel, Hotel Jean de Bruges, is excellent example of white stone houses from the 15th Century. It is located next to glorious abbey church with charming faade and style that is timeless and simple. There are many bare stone walls and wooden floors kept in great condition even after more than five hundred years or so.
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Auberge de la Bonne Ide, Picardy
This atmospheric hotel has lavish gardens, a forest and each room has period features like fire places and ceilings. This is only an hour away from Paris, but worlds apart, very popular among the distinguishing and aristocratic families the rooms are light, and have open fire and restaurants with most delicious wine and food.
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Clos Raymi, Champagne
This impressive hotel is located in the scenic area of ​​Champagne. The main building is white stone and brick one with informal layout yet there is air of unmatched grace here. The hotel went under restoration in the recent years so it has the contemporary contemporary feel and has the most stylish rooms and facilities are great also.


Chris J Anderson

5 Top Luxury Hotels in New York


Artsy, driven, iconic and original, New York is a city to savor, and savor, and savor again. Every street here tingles with the weight of history and the thrust of the present; every corner heralds a new mix of people, places, and things to do.
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When exploring this veritable Aladdin's Cave of treasure, it's important to have a well located and welcoming base to fall back on – life in New York, you see, can sometimes get too exciting. Here, then, are 5 great luxury New York hotels to retreat to once the day begin to draw to a close …

1. The Lowell: This ultra-swish hotel, located in the ever-salubrious Upper East Side of town, is just about as exclusive as they come.
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The Lowell's taste is of the traditional kind – think gild-lined armchairs, marble bathrooms, roaring fireplaces and chandeliers. Its clientele is strictly the rich and frequently the famous.

2. Mandarin Oriental New York. The Oriental is often considered the jewel in the Mandarin chain's crown. Sophisticated, urbane, high-rise, and very definitely high end, this Oriental-accented joint is impressive through and through.
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Particular praise goes to the service, which still manages to be outstanding in a city where luxury New York hotels fall over them to offer the best.

3. NU Hotel. One of the new boutique kids on the block, NU Hotel is proving an increasingly popular choice, especially among young and successful trends, who enjoy its minimalist decor and its Brooklyn address. Each bedroom here is an all-modern wonder, featuring drop down TV's and iPod docks.
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Some even offer hammocks (do not worry: a double bed comes as standard).

4. Hotel on Rivington. Hotel on Rivington is all about the views. 21 buildings high, this uber-cool designer hotel features floor to ceiling windows in each of its bedrooms, uniformly offering views over what feels like the entirety of New York. Its location in Lower East Side is either a positive or negative depending on how 'urban-cool' you like your suburbs.
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Still, with views like this, who cares what it's like all the way down there on the ground?

5. New York Palace. This hotel does exactly what it says on the tin (or maybe that should be oil drum, since it's owned by the Sultan of Brunei). A gated golden-and-marble palace in the heart of Manhattan, it treats you like royalty from the moment you step through the door.
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Source by Here Ingrams

Boston Luxury Hotels


High living and high thinking-Is that how you define your tastes? Then nothing but the best accommodations for you whether it be a business trip of a family vacation to Boston. You will find that the town has a number of luxury hotels with unparallel style, immense comfort and elegant service. Some of the luxury hotels in Boston are named as the most exclusive hotels in the world.
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They offer world-class amenities, lovely overviews, grand restaurants and pay extra attention to the individual needs of every guest. First class service is the forte of a luxury hotel, so go ahead and indulge your senses.

To be counted among the "The Top 50 Hotel restaurants" is not an easy feat, but Spire, the "hottest" dining spot in the Nine Zero Hotel can boast that they are in the Top 50.
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The hotel has claimed many titles such as "Best Boutique Hotel", "Top 101 Hotels in the World", and "Best By Design Hotel in North America".

The 75 years old Ritz Carlton is also a treat for most vacationers. It is located on the trendy Newbury Street and is at a walking distance from Copley Place, the theater district and other Boston landmarks.
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Among other luxury hotels is the Boston Harbor Hotel, another award-winning hotel. It is also one of Boston's favorite hotels. The most conspicuous feature of this hotel is the lovely views that the hotel rooms offer. You may hast your eyes either on the harbor or the ethereal city skyline. Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Charles Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel and The Colonnade are the other luxury hotels in Boston that offer the discriminating vacationer everything in the way of style and comfort.


Source by Ken Marlborough

The History of New Year's Resolutions


THE TRADITION OF New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 BC Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it does not begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 BC, when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depressed with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. That he could look back and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.

The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.

The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius-sometime between January 19 and February 21.

Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.

Ancient New Years

The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23, although they themselves had no written calendar.

Late March actually is a logical choice for the beginning of a new year. It is the time of year that spring begins and new crops are planed. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.

The Babylonian New Year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivals pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the New Year on March 25, but their calendar was continuously tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the New Year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the New Year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Global Good Luck Traditions

With New Year's on us, here's a look at some of the good luck rituals from around the world. They are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

AUSTRIA – The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It's served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consist of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

ENGLAND – The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master. For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

WALES – At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is welcomed with all of its luck.

HAITI – In Haiti, New Year's Day is a sign of the year to come. Haitians wear new clothing and exchange gifts in the hope that it will bode well for the new year.

SICILY – An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year's Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.

SPAIN – In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.

PERU – The Peruvian New Year's custom is a spin on the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at the turn of the year. But in Peru, a 13th grape must be eaten to insure good luck.

GREECE – A special New Year's bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child, the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.

JAPAN – The Japanese decorate their homes in tribute to lucky gods. One tradition, kadomatsu, consistants of a pine branch symbolizing longevity, a bamboo stalk symbolizing prosperity, and a plum blossom showing nobility.

CHINA – For the Chinese New Year, every front door is adorned with a fresh coat of red paint, red being a symbol of good luck and happiness. Although the whole family prepares a feast for the New Year, all knives are put away for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, which is thought to cut the family's good luck for the next year.

UNITED STATES – The kiss shared at the stroke of midnight in the United States is derived from masked balls that have been common through history. As tradition has it, the masks symbolize evil spirits from the old year and the kiss is the purification into the new year.

NORWAY – Norwegians make rice pudding at New Year's and hide one whole almond within. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person what serving holds the lucky almond.

Chinese New Year

Except for a very few number of people who can keep track of when the Chinese New Year should be, the majority of the Chinese today has to rely on a traditional Chinese calendar to tell it. Therefore, you can not talk of the Chinese New Year without mentioning the Chinese calendar at first.

A Chinese calendar consists of both the Gregorian and lunar-solar systems, with the latter dividing a year into twelve month, each of which is in turn evenly divided into thirty- nine and a half days. The well-coordinated dual system calendar reflects the Chinese ingenuity.

There is also a system that marks the years in a twelve-year cycle, naming each of them after an animal such as Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. People born in a particular year are believed to share some of the personalities of that particular animal.


Are You Looking to Buy Orlando Homes


United States of Florida, Orlando is one of the major cities in the central region of the country. This city ranked as a third most visited American city among travelers. It is the home for various amusements attractions like Walt Disney World resort and Aquatica whimsical Water Park. Orlando is home for various companies in central Florida. All this make the city hot among buyers of Orlando foreclosures.

If you are considering buying or selling property, planning to relocate, looking for Orlando homes for sale, or looking for any other information about real estate in it, or the surrounding areas, you have come to the right place. This complete orlando real estate resource for offers everything you will need: access to property listings with photographs and virtual tours, home valuation tools, and real estate articles to help guide you through the home buying or selling process. You can also find a real estate agent, Realtor or real estate broker to help you with you buy or sell a home, and find information about Orlando communities, schools, real estate market conditions, recreation and much more!

With such promising economic outlook, buyers and investors are looking to these Orlando bank foreclosures for sale for potential investments. Right now, the market is clearly favoring buyers especially with the low home prices and reasonable interest rates. Sellers are trying to offer more discounts as well as other incentives like shouldering closing costs, in order to reduce the number of foreclosed properties they have in their inventories.

Today some home buyer has more financing options than have ever been available before. From traditional mortgages to adjustable rate and hybrid loans, there are financing packages designed to meet the needs of virtually anyone.While the different choices may seem overwhelming at first, the overall goal is really quite simple: you want to find a loan that fits both your current financial situation and your future plans.

However, before you close a deal on foreclosures for sale, be sure to check the property first. You need to find out if the property sits on a decent neighborhood because this will affect its resale value.You should also check if the property is in good condition and does not need major repair or renovations.It is not good to buy cheap foreclosure homes only to find out that you may have to spend a big sum for repairs.You may never recover the expenses of renovation costs. So it is always best to make a thorough research on foreclosures for sale before deciding to buy them.

Now a days lot of real estate organizations are providing the necessary information through their own website to their esteemed customers.


Find Deckhand Opportunities All Over the World


Deckhands on luxury yachts get to travel all over the world. Moreover, when not working, they get to enjoy the pleasures of exciting and often exotic ports of call. But if you're just starting out looking for deckhand job opportunities, where do you go?

The easy answer is: Anywhere the big yachts go. You may find mega- and superyachts almost anywhere there is coastline and good port facilities. If you're in the United States, for example, you may well encounter some billionaire's luxury vessel at the moorings in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York or Miami, just to name a few.

To stand the best chance of finding deckhand opportunities, you must go to where the big yachts congregate in large numbers. That means, first of all, the ports of the Mediterranean, and secondarily, the ports of the Caribbean. These are also the ports that will have active firing agencies that are dedicated to filling crew jobs on those big boats.

The great thing about the yacht ports of the Mediterranean is that many of them are close to one another. Even if you're traveling on a shoestring budget and a tight schedule, you will not find it difficult to check out a few of them within a short time period. My favorite place to start: St. Tropez in France. This is the practice of the world headquarters for the superyacht set. Other great yacht ports include Nice, Cannes, Barcelona and Ibiza, just to scratch the surface in the western Mediterranean. The eastern Mediterranean has its share of fabulous yacht ports, too.

The Caribbean will be more accessible to North Americans. Traveling from port to port will be slightly more difficult here than in the Mediterranean – you can not take a train or a bus from one island to the next – but that just means you'll be spending more time aboard one boat or another, which is one of your objectives anyway (the other being to land a job on a boat).

If you can not get to the Mediterranean or Caribbean, though, do not despair. If you live anywhere near any ocean coast, you can find a deckhand opportunity. It will not necessarily be on a superyacht, but the variety of boats that need crew members is huge. Getting your feet wet aboard a boat (so to speak), whatever the vessel type, can serve as the gateway to an temporary job aboard the yacht of your dreams.


The History of St. Valentine’s Day


Across the world on February 14th, many flowers, cards and gifts will be exchanged between loved ones, as St. Valentine’s day is celebrated.

However, the story of why we celebrate this day is a bit of a mystery.

The tradition of St. Valentine’s Day mixes elements of both ancient Roman rites and Christian tradition. Just to confuse matters further, three different saints called Valentine are recognised by the Catholic Church.

One legend is that Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II decreed that marriage was to be outlawed for young men, as he thought that single men made better soldiers than those who were married with families.

Valentine, felt the decree was unjust and unfair, and defied the Emperor by performing secret marriages for young lovers. When his actions for undercover lovers was discovered, Claudius ordered valentine be executed. Variations on this legend say that Valentine was put to death for trying to help fellow Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons where they were often tortured.

According to another legend, Valentine may have actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself in 270 AD the day before he was to be executed for refusing to renounce his Christian beliefs. Allegedly he sent note of appreciation to his jailer’s blind daughter for bringing him food and delivering messages while he was imprisoned, signed “from your Valentine.

While we can never be certain as to the true origin of the St. Valentine legend, one thing is for certain, it must have been an appealing and enduring story because by the Middle Ages, Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in France and Britain.

The timing observance of his saint’s day may have been driven by the common place practice of trying to integrate previous pagan festivals into the Christian calendar. in this case, the Lupercalia festival.

In ancient Rome, February was seen as the beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and wheat throughout the interiors (we still refer to Spring Cleaning to this day).

Lupercalia, which began on the ‘ides (15th) of February’, was a fertility festival dedicated to the agricultural god Lupercus and to the Goddess of Love, Juno, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Roman maidens placed their names into an urn set up in the public squares and young single men drew from it to get a ‘blind date’ for the coming year. More often than not, these annual matches often ended in marriage.

St. Valentine’s Day was set at February 14th by Pope Gelasius, at around 500 AD. By this time, the ‘lottery’ system for romantic dating was deemed un-Christian and had been outlawed. During the Middle Ages, the practice of love lotteries carried on as ‘Chance Boxes’. In France , drawings from the boxes allotted couples one year to get married or part company. In England, it was a common practice for men to wear the name of the girl they drew from the chance boxes on their sleeve, encircled with a heart.

Also at this time, it was commonly believed in parts of England and France that February 14 marked the beginning of birds’ mating season, which increased the notion that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentines messages started to appear around the beginning of the Fifteenth century, and even in these formative times they were often given anonymously, perhaps harking back to the unknown recipients of the Roman lotteries.

The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London.

In the United Kingdom, St. Valentine’s Day became a popular celebration around the 1600’s. It continued to take hold, with the familiar “roses are red, violets are blue” verses making their debut sometime in the seventeenth century. By the 1850’s, it was common for lovers from all social standings to give their adored ones small gifts or handwritten letters. At the same time, in France, people began to decorate their valentines with ribbons and lace.

By the start of the twentieth century, the handwritten letters gave way to cards as advances in printing technology had improved the quality of printed cards. At the time, it was culturally discouraged for people to show their emotions in such a direct way as a letter, so a printed card was a more acceptable method. More affordable postage costs and increasing use of the postal system probably contributed to the rise in popularity of the Valentine’s card.

Americans probably first began exchanging handmade valentines with verses in the early 1700s. In the mid nineteenth century, the first mass-produced valentines began to go on sale in America. Miss Esther Howland, an artist and entrepreneur, became the first regular publisher of valentines in the USA. Often referred to as ‘the Mother of the Valentine’, Miss Howland designed many elaborate creations using lace, ribbons and colourful pictures known as “scrap”. Her cards usually cost between $5 – $10 each, with some as much as $35, astonishingly expensive for the time.

The Greeting Card Association estimates that if we include children’s classroom valentines, over one billion valentine cards will be opened this year. St. Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending time of the year, accounting for 25% of all seasonal card sales (Christmas accounts for 60%).

It is estimated that women purchase 80 percent of all valentine’s cards, which means that a large proportion of men either forget, or aren’t very romantic when it comes to reciprocating! Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the USA, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, and Australia, and is increasing in popularity in many other parts of the world.

Facts about Valentine’s day cards (from the Greeting Card Association)

Approximately 25% of individual valentine cards are humorous, with adults aged 35-and-under being the most likely to send humorous cards. Valentines Day is the largest e-card sending occasion of the year. An estimated 14 million e-valentines will be sent in 2008. Greeting cards are traditionally the most popular Valentines Day gift in the U.S., ranking ahead of chocolates, flowers or dinner out. American men may be more serious about Valentines Day than women. In a national survey for GCA in 2007, 45% of women said they were likely to give a humorous valentine to their sweetheart, compared to only 34% of men. The percentage of individual valentines exchanged through the mail in comparison to hand delivery is approximately 50-50. Red is the most popular color choice for valentine cards, follow by pink and then white. Hearts, roses, Cupid and lace are traditional valentine card icons.


Photo Reviews – "Jazz – A History of America's Music" – Geoffrey C Ward & Ken Burns


Chapter 1: America claims to be a melting pot, but part of what makes cooking taste good are the morsels that have kept their flavor, texture and shape. America is diversity in places such as the French Quarter of New Orleans on page 3 of chapter one. We see this morsel clinging in the pot, holding its taste, its flavor-truly French, yet significantly what we claim to be America.

In the scene, we can see both Paris and the Midwest. A beat down main street feel, with horse drawn wagons and bearded men in dusters. Yet in the wrought-iron spires we see Paris. The mood is summed up with the hybrid of Paris and the West in a blacksmith sign proclaiming "Bouchoux."

Chapter 2: It is important to see landmarks such as Louis Armstrong's birthplace (p. 38). This shows how often great hearts and minds come from humble beginnings. Out of poverty comes greatness. It makes one pause and think of what the segregated South he was born into was like in 1901.

The picture, taken in 1963, remind us that time marches on. The "Jax" cola sign shows the era of the corner store, which was a convenience in the 1960's, yet is long gone in the world of today. The fact that the building Armstrong was born in is torn down reminds us to appreciate greatness in its fleeting pass- the pass of greatness such as Armstrong himself. Nothing is permanent.

Chapter 3: In chapter three's picture, we see Louis Armstrong and King Oliver in 1922. It is quite significant to see Armstrong at the age of twenty-one after seeing him in the previous chapter at the age of nineteen. He had been a boy with his mom and sister in chapter two, and now, two years later, he looks significantly more like a man at the right hand of jazz legend King Oliver.

It is also significant to see Oliver and Armstrong in a photo together. Many of us know of Armstrong and how he has inspired so much of the music of today. It is a treat to glimpse upon the shoulders that that giant stand. This generation's teacher stands at the source of his wisdom.

Chapter 4: It is quite a sight to see Atlantic City in 1928 with the Ben Pollack Band. This shows us that jazz has made its way out of the clubs of the south and the ghettos into one of America's most popular resorts at the time. The site of sunbathers and lavish hotels is quite a change from places such as Louis Armstrong's birthplace.

It is also quite impressive to see so many jazz legends together in one place. We have all heard of Benny Goodman. To see him in his twenties is quite significant. I had not even heard of greats such as Jack Teagarden, who, once again, show that the legends I know, such as Goodman, standing upon the shoulders of those of their time.

Chapter 5: I like the caricature of Chick Webb on his bass drum head. While flipping through the book, it caught my eye, which, I imagine, was the drum's purpose on stage. The crown on Webb's head in the caricature gives him a regal look. Webb atop his drums crowns this regal look.

Chick Webb was an important drummer. This picture carries that off. This almost comical brashness of his presence seems to broadcast this importance. The composition of the loud portrait, his toothy grin, and his mean set of drums, speaks of Webb's position as an iconic drummer.

Chapter 6: The façade of the Stanley theater in the 1930's shows how lavish and ornate the palaces of the day were. There has been a move to restore this type of theater and its architecture. It is grand, however, to imagine being when that was the norm. The advertisement of "Scientific air-conditioning" really makes one time travel. We travel to the era of Benny Goodman.

It is significant to see that in the 1930's, Goodman has now broken through as a premier headliner. His name is listed first on the bill of the palace. Again, like Armstrong, I had just seen him in a previous chapter as a twenty-year old. It is funny to call this scene a moment of progress in an age where everything advertised is so by gone. Time marches on.

Chapter 7: It is a very touching picture of the service men sitting around the record player in the field of duty. The soldiers are holding letters. The music must enhance the mood for them imagining their loved ones. A little bit of blues likely stirs their soul.

This scene shows how jazz is and was music for the people. The soldiers' grins show that they refer to the music. Jazz plays both in Atlantic City and in the trenches, not just in the ghettos and clubs. Time has moved onward.

Chapter 8: The picture of Ella Fitzgerald signing in Manhattan is captivating. The light in this picture plays well through. There is a gleaming diamond under her chin, and the spotlight over the audience captures the smoky halo of an intimate club. Just enough light shines on the art on the walls for it to be captivating, yet the art does not upstage Ellington, in the audience, who does not upstage Fitzgerald.

Such an intimate nightclub makes one wish they could be there. I would want to see Fitzgerald, Ellington, or Goodman perform, let alone be with all three of them in the confines of a period nightclub. Imagine sharing a Coke with Duke Ellington while listening to Ella Fitzgerald. Wow. Duke sure looks happy.

Chapter 9: There is a picture of Donald Byrd practicing on the subway. Someone who does something like this is clearly dedicated to his or her craft. I can see he is not concerned with the people around himself. He is one with his instrument.

I often go to McDonald's and sit, meditate and study. This picture reminds me of that. An artist's life is often very lonely. We often want to see and feel what the public's reaction is, even if it is for no pay. Often we take great risks, such as playing trumpet on the subway. This picture makes feel connected to Byrd.

Chapter 10: It comes full circle to see Louis Armstrong playing trumpet with the children in Queens. Now he is the giant upon who shoulders the children stand. It is great to see a man of this stature have time for children. We could only hope that greats could all teach their craft.

At his stage, Armstrong had achieved his fame. We can see that it is in the children that he enjoys life. And the children send this joy back. It is great to see the range of ages of children captivated by music in this picture.


Delta Force to New Orleans


If you are wondering why the United States can send troops around the world, but failed to respond to a domestic emergency in a timely manner, you are not alone. Expect the lack of planning for emergency relief, in the aftermath and destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina, to be the subject of a federal investigation.

The National Guard arrived in large numbers on Friday, September 2nd, but how is it possible that the poor people of New Orleans were left four days to fend for themselves? Does not the United States have a rapid deployment force? Yes, we do, and many large military installations are within an hour of the Gulf Coast, when traveling by air. Many more military bases are within two hours of the destruction.

On Sunday, August 28th – one day before Hurricane Katrina landed on the Gulf Coast it was labeled a category 5 hurricane. So, what was the emergency rescue plan? Was anyone planning any rescue efforts on Sunday night?

As luck would have it, Katrina turned out to be a category 4 Hurricane. Can you imagine the destruction, if this storm had been worse? Some parts of New Orleans are 10 feet below sea level and a system of levees, normally, keeps the surrounding water out.

Referring to the Federal response for relief help, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said, "They do not have a clue what's going on down here." Mayor Nagin's comments are an understatement. Logistically speaking, this is not as complicated as a relief effort to Somalia.

President Bush said, "A lot of people are working hard to help those who have been affected." The results are not acceptable. " He is not kidding; if we can airlift food and weapons to Afghanistan, why is delivery to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans a problem?


The Best Restaurants in New Orleans


The best restaurants in New Orleans are famous for a lot of the area's unique specialties. That is probably because New Orleans city is world-famous for its food! The indigenous cuisine is unduly distinct and influential to many people.

The most famous New Orleans cuisine are it's Beignets, a square-shaped fried pastry that could also be called "French Donuts" where it is popularly served with café au lait. Other than that, the other unique specialties include Po'boy and Italian Muffuletta sandwiches, which is a sandwich made from a type of round Sicilian sesame bread. Then there are also their famous oyster dishes in many preparations and other seafood. Another New Orleans specialty is their Praline, made from all the finest sugar with cream and butter for that rich aroma and pecans for a nutty flavor. All of this one of a kind specialty can of course be found in all the best restaurants in New Orleans.

In a town synonymous with eating, it's always hard to know where to begin. Therefore, below is a meal-by-meal primer of the best restaurants in New Orleans where you can serve your tummy all the scrumptious food the Crescent City has to offer! Only a few blocks away, on the edge of Central Business District, there lies the cafeteria-style restaurant named Mother's to serve you a selectable breakfast that consist of dishes such as red-bean omelettes with baked ham and biscuits to start your day. Moving on to lunch, head on to Casamento's for its restructured oyster loaf. Made by layering fried oysters in between two slices of house-made buttery white bread, this sandwich is a sure shot your tongue totally can not resist! And if dining under sparkling chandeliers in a four-storey French-Creole Warehouse is your thing, hop on over to August which serves salad with heirloom beets, cherrywood bacon, mustard greens and quail eggs for a mouth-watering dinner. This meal is a sin I guarantee you would not regret committing!

Apart from those that have been mentioned, the best restaurants in New Orleans are still aplenty! With the region's legendary cuisine all over, it's hard not to understand why. Starting from Antoine's, which is a classic Creole restaurant in the French Quarter since 1840's; following with Arnaud's, where it's the home of Shrimp Remoulade; and Commander's Place where the service and ambience match the excellence of the cuisine; to the beautiful location in an old home where Bayona is located; to neighborhood restaurant where Clancy's upscale and classic faces no match. These are the top 5 most famous restaurants in New Orleans!

Looking for your next food destination? Why not head on over to New Orleans! Be sure to also visit the best restaurants in New Orleans to leave your tummy craving for more!


Where Is The Best Offshore Fishing? Venice LA That's Where!


Venice LA Has The Best Offshore Fishing In The Country

If you love offshore fishing you have a perfect chance to enjoy the fishing trip of a lifetime in Venice, LA this summer. Venice is known for some of the best offshore fishing you can find.

Although a small town, people travel from all over the country to Venice to charter a boat and go out into the Gulf of Mexico. With Venice LA only being a short drive out of New Orleans, many fishermen fly into NOLA, stay a couple nights in the world famous French Quarter then go out for the best fishing on the planet. If you have never taken a fishing charter in the Gulf, you are in for the time of your life. Old or young, male or female you can be sure that you will catch fish and come back onshore exhilarated.

Here are just some of the reasons why Venice LA should be your next fishing destination:

Multiple Fishing Charters to Choose From

There are offshore fishing charters that go out on a daily basis. You can book in advance or you can travel to Venice and then make your booking. You can book charters of different sizes – if you want to fish alone there are small charters available, but if you are bringing along friends and family there are larger vessels available for hire.

Wide Variety of Fish

One of the largest draws to Venice for offshore fishing is the variety of fish available in the Gulf. Whether you are looking to catch marlin, tarpon, sharks, yellowfin tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi or wahoo you can be sure that you will find them here.

Experience of Fishing Captains

Another reason Venice is consistently voted a top destination is the quality of the fishing charters. The fishing boat captains out of Venice are extremely experienced. The boats are all very well-maintained and you can rest assured that you will not have any trouble while out in the water.

Year Round Fishing

Unlike many other fishing destinations New Orleans is year-round – you do not have to wait for summer to enjoy your hobby. Although you can deep-sea fish year-round in the Gulf of Mexico, if you want the best of Louisiana fishing and to catch the big yellowfin tuna , the summer is the best time for their migration.

Affordable Fishing Trips

The fishing charters out of Venice are affordable. With the cost of living in Louisiana relatively low compared to the rest of the country, you can enjoy a first class fishing trip for less than you think. If you compare what you would pay in other fishing destinations, which are usually tourist resorts, you will see that you pay very reasonable fees out of Venice. In fact, it is so affordable that many people come several times a year.

Travel is Easy

Venice is close to New Orleans and flights in to the city are very inexpensive. With New Orleans being the second most flock into city in the country, booking a cheap flight is easy. You can fly into the city and then rent a car to drive to Venice. Southern Louisiana has many fishing lodges if you choose to stay the night. Some of the fishing charters even offer overnight trips!

Charter Fishing for Everyone

Although most people think of fishing charters as a mens' getaway, it is extremely common to have the entire family out on the boat. We are also seeing more and more of companies using fishing charters for exhilarating team building exercises.

Today, offshore fishing is more fun than ever. When you think offshore fishing charters you should think Venice, LA!


The American Silver Dollar


When you think of or hear the word 'dollar', many of us automatically think about a paper dollar bill. After all, the US dollar bill is what we use today for our money. However, the first US dollars that were used back in the 1700s were silver dollars. The American Silver Dollar is not only a unique collector's piece but is also a big part of our history.

History of the American Silver Dollar

The first issue of US dollars took place in 1794 in the form of the American Silver Dollar. Their style was based on the Spanish dollars that were then being used. Throughout the years, the design of the silver dollar has changed quite frequently, usually representing something symbolic to the country, whether it's Lady Liberty, our Presidents or something symbolizing our freedom and unity as a nation.

The first American Silver Dollar displayed the head of Lady Liberty facing right with her long flowing hair. LIBERTY is inscribed on the top edge in a circular style above her head. The date is on the bottom of the coin. Eight stars are one the left side of Lady with seven on the right. The reverse side of the coin features an eagle surrounded by a wreath with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA all around the coin. The edge of the coin has the lettered denomination (ONE DOLLAR or HUNDRED CENTS, etc.) Robert Scot was the designer of this coin, which was made with a 90% Silver / 10% copper combination. All coins of this date were made at the Philadelphia Mint; therefore, there is no mint mark on them. This design continued to be used on the American Silver Dollar until 1798 when they changed the style to a heraldic eagle on the reverse. This famous dollar has seen many design changes through the years.

• 1794 – Liberty Head on Front / Eagle in Wreath on reverse
• 1798 – Liberty Head on Front / Heraldic Eagle on reverse
• 1836 – Liberty Seated on Front / Flying Eagle on reverse
• 1840 – Liberty Seated on Front / Flying Eagle on reverse
• 1873 – Trade Dollars
• 1878 – Liberty Head on Front / Eagle on reverse (Morgan Dollars)
• 1921 – Peace Dollars
1971 – Eisenhower Dollars
• 1979 – Susan B. Anthony Dolls

Mintmarks & Changes on the American Silver Dollar

The many changes in the silver dollar were welcome changes to the public because they represent something memorable in the country. An example of this was seen in the Peace Dollars, which were made to celebrate the end of World War I. The Eisenhower Dollars were designed as a way to pay tribute to the Presidents. Coins that were mined stuck in Philadelphia did not display a mintmark but the silver dollars that were snapped at New Orleans (O), Denver (D), Carson City (CC) or San Francisco (S) displayed the initials.

Although the American Silver Dollar has always played a vital part in the history of our country, the ones that have been the most popular and most sought after are the Peace Dollars and the Morgan Dollars.