On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!


HeartWhy are you being hustled by street vendors to buy sad and drooping former roses, vegetative matter that missed the cut for bouquets, or were too late to the hospital?

Blame Esther A. Howland (1828 – 1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her guilt is writ large by the Greeting Card Association’s Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary. She imported the concept to the US from Britain to bolster her father’s stationery store in 1847.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the stationers had infiltrated school boards and imposed the now mandatory exchange in the classroom to push the low end product of Asian children and prisoners.

Seeing the success of the card merchants, the confectioners jumped on board to fill the lull between Christmas and Easter with the benefit that the bulk of purchases would be made by desperate men with less sense of taste than a golden retriever. If the box was red, heart-shaped, and said chocolate, a man would buy it.

There were at least three Saint Valentines and all were martyrs, as they should have been for the trouble they’ve caused. None are the reason for the “holiday”, only the excuse. They lived at a time when life and men were short and brutal, so the romantic aura of the holiday is pure piffle. At least one was reportedly part of a draft dodging scheme during the Roman Empire, marrying people so that men with “other priorities” could avoid being deployed to foreign wars, bachelors being preferred for catapult fodder.

It is to be hoped that the individual who first wrote: “Roses are red, violets are blue” was eaten by rabid wolverines, or had hemorrhoids.


1 Steve Bates { 02.14.10 at 12:34 am }

Howland rage all you want; it will not help…

(Speaking of Luv in the air, CommentLuv is linking four posts ago from my blog. Yes, I really have written since then.)
.-= last blog ..Friday Blue Blogging =-.

2 cookie jill { 02.14.10 at 1:26 am }

I’ll celebrate any day where I get a Vermont Teddy Bear, to be quite truthful.
.-= last blog ..Buying Flowers for your Valentine? =-.

3 Kryten42 { 02.14.10 at 1:31 am }

PMSL 😆 😆

Ahh Bryan… you truly are a bard!! 😀 Really…

Well said! (And yeah, I can hear the disagreeable and disgusted and even outraged mutterings of those who would say ‘you have no romance in you!’ or something similar)…

May I simply point out that any guy who runs out to buy expensive cut flowers (just so their *girl* can watch them slowly die) because someone else decided that the 14th of Feb was when men would become pathetic fools and prop up florists, confectionery stores, card stores and restaurants everywhere, so they can be guaranteed one decent day a year in sales, is not in the least ‘romantic’. Romantic is when a guy does it just because he feels like it, not because peer pressure demands it. 🙂 And I don’t see how any woman can really be happy to get something they know they are going to get because their guy has no choice! 🙂 However, all that said, if your girl knows you are the spontaneous type, it could be appropriate to do the whole “Be my Valentine” thing as a bit of a laugh between the two of them. 😉 That way, the girl can laugh and say something like “You idiot!” and the guy can say “Hey! Stop changing the subject!” And get away with it for once! 😆

To quote those immortal words… “Bah, humbug!” 😀

4 oldwhitelady { 02.14.10 at 11:42 am }

happy vd to you, too, bryan.

5 Anya { 02.14.10 at 1:25 pm }

The Professor bought me a single high-end chocolate bar wrapped in Breast Cancer Awareness Pink. It will take me the rest of the day to savor it bite by bite.

*snaps her fingers at the curmudgeons*

Humbug, yourselves.

6 Bryan { 02.14.10 at 5:46 pm }

Steve, they use Google for the post recommendations these days, and it is amazingly hit and miss. I assume that is your most popular post recently.

Excuse me, Jill, but aren’t Vermont Teddy Bears and invasive species?

It annoys me, Kryten, to be told when I should remember someone. I’m cold, I don’t want to go out and shop when it’s cold. I buy things when I see something that I know someone will like, especially if I know they won’t spend the money themselves.

Why, thank you, OWL … I think.

The world needs curmudgeons, and chocolate should be for every day, Anya.

7 Anya { 02.14.10 at 7:54 pm }

Between my impaired mobility, and the Professor’s iffy (at best) vision, a trip to the grocery or drug store is an event. It’s an even bigger event if he manages to get to the store by himself. Since we are under each other’s feet, so to speak, 24/7, it’s hard for either of us to forget the other. 😀

8 Kryten42 { 02.14.10 at 8:04 pm }

Hey! I am not a curmudgeon… well, not much anyway. Just… jaded, and someone who REALLY hates being pressured into anything. Ask any of my old DI’s! Or anyone who’s ever been in a project meeting with me! 😉 😆

So long as all involved are happy with the deal and enjoy it, any excuse is a good excuse for treats! 🙂 Enjoy Anya and all. 😀 I’d NEVER begrudge a lady a nice treat or some pampering. I just happen to think it’s better when it’s unexpected is all. 😉 🙂


9 cookie jill { 02.14.10 at 8:48 pm }

Invasive species! LOL! Yeah….they probably are….but they are just too cute.
.-= last blog ..Buying Flowers for your Valentine? =-.

10 hipparchia { 02.14.10 at 10:19 pm }

the more excuses for chocolate, the better. i got some wonderful homemade brownies for my valentines day, so pffft on you.
.-= last blog ..Oh, look! Blogger loves me after all! =-.

11 Bryan { 02.14.10 at 11:09 pm }

Excuse me, but noon is the only necessary excuse for chocolate. If a day has a noon it, then that is reason enough.

I fear the collapse of the Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar as a result of a take-over by Kraft, but I have just discovered that my next-door neighbor is experimenting with candy making and, although it is a great sacrifice on my part, I have volunteered to test her creations based on a sampling of chocolate truffles. It is one of the many trials one suffers living in a small town. 😉

Ah, well, then the trip was more of the gift than the result, although I would hope, Anya, that he stocked up while there. You never know when there might be another blizzard. 🙂

Actually, Kryten, it’s not the people I know putting pressure on me that bugs me, as much as people I don’t know doing it. I go to the grocery store for something and have to wend my way around a minefield of bad candy, plush toys, and sad flowers to get a quart of half&half, and it’s been going on for a month, with Mardi Gras stuff sharing space. On Wednesday it will be replaced with Green stuff for St Patrick’s Day and all of the Easter junk.

Actually, tomorrow is a good day to buy chocolate, if you know what’s worth eating. When I worked in an office the day after Halloween and the day after VD were both high-sugar days.

Well, Jill, I agree that they are TOO cute by half for my taste. 😉

Hipparchia, I never indicated that anyone should turn down chocolate, that would be insane, only that it isn’t nice to pressure people in to giving it.

12 Kryten42 { 02.14.10 at 11:58 pm }

I fear the collapse of the Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar as a result of a take-over by Kraft

By a curious coincidence, I lamented the same to Lady Min a little while ago!

Luckily, our nearest neighbor makes one of the best commercially produced choc’s in the World! 😀 *drool* And it’s sold locally, which makes it real easy to be very bad! 😉 I really like their Dark Ghana choc bar, which is lower in sugar (well… low compared to normal choc). 😉

They have an ad about the Kraft takeover! And other amusing ad’s! 😆 It’s a funny site actually. 😉 And they are members of the ‘Fair Trade’ consortium. 🙂


I’m sending some to Lady Min, since you can’t get it in the US easily. 😛 😀

13 Bryan { 02.15.10 at 9:34 pm }

We have to rely on kiwis flying in any products from New Zealand that we get locally 😉

Actually we have a few Kiwis [as people from NZ are known locally] in the area. We assume they fell off a cruise ship, or some other misadventure to wind up here.

A bit of a biting commercial when I finally got to see the whole thing.

14 Kryten42 { 02.15.10 at 9:53 pm }

LOL Loved the *bottom line* 😉 “…taken over by the sort of kraft that cares more about chocolate than the balance sheet.” 😆 Who said you can’t get truth in Advertising? 😉 😀

Yeah, wee call them Kiwi’s too. Well, usually. When there are a bunch of drunk Maori’s (the indigenous kiwi’s), they are generally known as “You * * * Bastards!” (though, thats usually only when they are blind drunk and can’t see you very well). Ahem. And we are a very considerate, multicultural society you know. 😆 😉

They have a lot of Ad’s on the site. Some funny, some… just strange. And we are pretty used to the Kiwi sense of humor! 😆

If you wanna try any of their choc’s, be happy to send some. 🙂 and as a bonus, it really annoys Customs etc! (cocoa and coffee were used to cover up the smell of various drugs. It get’s up the noses of the sniffer dogs. 😉 😆

15 Kryten42 { 02.15.10 at 9:55 pm }

PS Check out the ‘American Pie 2’ Ad. Even the intro is funny! (Well… ironic). 😉

16 Kryten42 { 02.15.10 at 10:07 pm }

Well… seems you can get Whattakers Choc’s in the USA. 🙂

Dark And Exotic Whittakers Chocolate

17 Bryan { 02.16.10 at 12:21 am }

You can order anything over the ‘Net, the problem is getting it to this area. 😉

18 LadyMin { 02.16.10 at 1:30 pm }

Yummy… Whittakers Chocolates. I prefer them when it’s unexpected. I’ll be waiting at the mailbox. 😆

I spent my Valentines Day counting birds for the Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count. Except I was running around in in the cold at a nature preserve. I did encounter a pair of cardinals singing which was a nice surprise as this is a few weeks early for song in this part of the country. Highlight of the day was a Cooper’s Hawk hunting for a meal.
.-= last blog ..Happy Valentine’s Day =-.

19 Bryan { 02.16.10 at 4:21 pm }

Not that I’m an expert, as there isn’t much of a variety down here, but I would guess it’s a Sharp-shinned Hawk, like Dan did.

Of course, only a flight profile would make it certain.

20 LadyMin { 02.16.10 at 7:12 pm }

My first thought was sharp-shinned, but I have trouble telling those two apart. I went with Cooper’s because of the size of the bird, the white tips on the tail, and the fact that a few birders spotted one in flight in the same area a few hours earlier. But, it could be either of them.
.-= last blog ..Happy Valentine’s Day =-.

21 Bryan { 02.16.10 at 11:28 pm }

It’s a guess on my part based on the really smooth head, and eye color. All of the pictures of the Cooper’s seemed to have some head roughness to them, and that comparison photo is almost a perfect match.

The only raptors in my area tend to be Merlins, and they are heard. The only visible sign of them is the falling dove feathers after a strike just above the trees.

A friend a couple of miles away got pictures of a golden eagle that showed up in his backyard for some reason.

Of course, I don’t count the turkey vultures as raptors. They occasionally stop by for a nosh from the cat dishes.

22 LadyMin { 02.17.10 at 10:00 am }

Ugly bird those turky vultures. They look a bit better in flight. We have them in the summer. Must have been a really slow road kill day for one to show up at the cat’s dish. I’m surprised the cats didn’t try and chew him up!

We have Merlins in the summer. But I haven’t been able to get a photo of one yet.

23 Bryan { 02.17.10 at 9:57 pm }

We usually see them soaring overhead, but this one may have been injured as it didn’t move very far, or very fast when I finally came out.

Only the largest two or three toms would have been big enough, and the cats avoid trouble unless there are kittens to defend.

Actual bird predation is limited to mother cats weening kittens and teaching them how to hunt. They ignore birds at other times, except as a form of recreation.

24 hipparchia { 02.18.10 at 12:35 am }

i’m going to go with the cooper’s, mostly because of the white tail tips. on one of the is it cooper’s or is it sharp-shinned sites there was something about cooper’s hawks sometimes raising the feathers on their head but sharp-shinned never do, which may account for the rough-looking heads of the cooper’s hawks in most photos [i noticed that in the photos i saw too].

i’m pretty sure that was an osprey i saw out at the beach last weekend.