You wouldn't know it from the sloppy tourists hurling beads from French Quarter balconies, but Mardi Gras is, fundamentally, a religious holiday. Indeed, it is the best kind of religious holiday: one based on divinely sanctioned binge eating. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is so called because it's the last day before Lent -- in other words, a last hoorah to have the meats, booze, and sweets that are verboten during the following 40 days of penitence.
If we can't be in New Orleans -- dancing in the streets, competing with strangers for plastic beads, skipping a week of work in favor of public drinking and weird costumes -- we can, at least, feast like we are. Put on some music, pour yourself a drink, and invite some friends over. We're gonna party like Catholics before Lent.