Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why Does That Ball Drop Anyway?

That's right kids - the Times Square Ball is about to drop, and fun will be released like a piano launched from a clown convention. It is useless to resist - you will watch it, you will smile and you WILL have hope for humanity. I don't care how many times KISS reunites for that god-awful New Years reunion concert, grudgingly putting on the makeup and rehashing their greatest hits like jaded telemarketers...the site of the giant glowing crystal cuts through the commercialism like a senile driver, leaving you flush and happy, your cheeks glowing with the spirit of New Years (or "spirits", to be more accurate). It is also the only time expensive crystal can fall to the ground and people actually cheer it on. At any rate, here's WHY this happens:

1904 - The owner of the New York Times, Alfred Ochs, throws a huge party in the recently renamed Times Square to celebrate the headquarters opening. Overnight, Times Square becomes New York's New Years Destination. It's the Bee's Knees, Sugar-Daddy!

1907 - The party-animals at city hall ban the fireworks display, so Alfred decides to lower a 700-pound illuminated ball from his building's flagpole instead. Viola! The tradition begins! This was actually a derision of an early practice of lowering time balls for visual synchronization of navigation chronometers, but tell that to a drunken flapper and you are sure to lose the next dance.

1942-43 - Ball is not dropped due to war-time "dimout".

1972 - Dick Clark starts his "New Years Rockin' Eve" to the delight of Millions. To the confusion of millions, Dick Clark refuses to age.

2008 - Billions world wide watch the ball drop thanks to Satellite communication. Father Time uses cellphone to announce Baby New Year

So there you have it. Have fun on New Years, bang pots, be safe and blow Alfred Ochs a big ol' kiss!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October: Let The Leaf-Diving Begin

For someone who still can't believe it's the 21st century (I refuse), you should have seen my surprise - my shock - when I realized it was October. Wait a minute, I can't write that in the past tense, I just NOW realized it's October. What? It's October? You're kidding! Okay. Now the past tense makes sense, provided you just read the previous sentence. If not, then pretend like you did, and let's move one.

October is my favorite month. If you have to ask why, you obviously aren't a Libra, or maybe you are one of those weirdos who are into September. I mean, September is so last month - you have to move ON, people.

So what exactly is the story of October? Well, you guessed it (or is it "guess it," if you are in fact guessing in the present?), I'm about to give you some quick facts about the greatest month in the history of months. And I don't want to hear any whining from the goofball, turkey-dressing Novemberists.

- Why the name? It was the eighth month of the Roman Calendar. Eight - Octo - etc.

- What is your sign, October baby? Begins with Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22), ends with Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 22). They also make a great name for a tag team wrestling duo (trademarked).

- Birthstone? Opal or tourmaline. Tourmaline is okay, but let's face it, it has been outshone by it's big brother Opal for years. There will no doubt be an embarrassing outburst at some family reunion.

- What is "Red October?" - Red October refers to the Russian October Revolution in 1917. Basically, on October 24th the Bolsheviks started taking over government buildings - you know, breaking glass, lots of shouting - I won't go into it. Incidentally, via the Gregorian Calendar the event actually started Nov 7, but I'm not going to say that to a bunch of crazed Bolsheviks.

- What are some Holidays? Well, you got your Columbus Day or "Great-Hero-Until-The-PC-Movement-Of-The-90's-Then-Became-Imperialist-Bully-Then-PC-Calms-Down-Now-Kind-Of-Hero-Again" Day. Next you Have Eid ul-Fitr which is the Muslim Holiday marking the end of Ramadan. This year Eid ul-Fitr is on the 13th. Then there is the ever popular National Boss Day on the 16th - so far, no giant parades or drunken feasting, but keep a look out just in case. You also have United Nations Day on the 24th, which is basically the anniversary of the United Nations Charter. You must wear a blue peace-keeping helmet for proper celebration, of course. And finally, there is Halloween. But that is for another post, young grasshoppers.

- Canadian Thanksgiving Day? What? Yes, Canada has it's very own Thanksgiving Day the second Monday of October. I mean, isn't that CUTE? (sudden hate mail from geese) Here is the two cent history (in Canadian money): Martin Frobisher was trying to find a northern passage. Fails. Starts settlement around Newfoundland. 1578 has ceremony to give thanks. Boom - Canadian Thanksgiving. Don't try stuffing the moose.

- Oktoberfest? When and Where? Oktoberfest is a two week celebration that takes place in Munich, Germany. Traditionally, it takes place for 16 days to the first Sunday of October. Oktoberfest started October 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese - now THAT'S a wedding party!

- Welllll, what about some historical events? As you may have guessed, October has had it's share of important events (important, I tell you). Here are but a few - a "tapas" of events if you will:
~ Oct 2nd: Ford introduces the Model T, 1908.
~ Oct 3rd: First Woman Senator, Rebecca Felton, appointed to US Senate in 1922. She actually only served for 24 hours, filling in for the the death of Thomas Watson. But the point was made, and the door was opened.
~ Oct 5th: The greatest day in the history of mankind.
~ Oct 12th: Columbus lands in the Bahamas, 1492. 400 years later Paris Hilton's garbage sells on Ebay for $900.
~ Oct 16th: Marie Antoinette was beheaded, 1793. Worst hair-day on record.
~ Oct 17th: General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, 1781. 200 years later, American school children ask, "What is a Yorktown?"
~ Oct 20th: US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase, adding "mullets" as an official US haircut.
~ Oct 22nd: The Soviet Union explodes it's first nuclear bomb.
~ Oct 24th: First Transcontinental Telegraph line completed, 1861. First message: "don't forget to buy some eggs"
~ Oct 26th: Erie Canal opens.
~ Oct 29th: Sir Walter Raleigh executed, 1618. King James heard to say, "I never liked NC State anyway."
~ Oct 31st. First "too old to be trick or treating" kid wears embarrassing cardboard and duct tape costume, 1983.

Well, that's all for now, folks. Enjoy October - feel the air, sip plenty of cider....all that stuff. And no matter where you are or what you are doing - the first pile of leaves you see? Swan-dive.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thoughts for Today

- I find it interesting how disgruntled people in line will try to find "allies". For example, if a checkout clerk is particularly slow, you will often hear the person next to you huff, or whisper "come onnnn". They will then give you a brief eye glance to see if you agree. If you smile or roll your eyes in agreement, the alliance has been formed! It's you guys against the enemy clerk, and he better scan the yogurt properly.

- What if we went back in time and found out the T-Rex roar sounded exactly like a dolphin twitter? Would you be as disappointed as I?

- Sure we have I-pods, lap-tops, and cellphones - but were are the hovercars? I think we are owed an explanation here.

- Theoretically, Magneto would be useless against a Pinocchio attack.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nerdfest 2008: Back From Dragoncon

That's right, folks - we went to Dragoncon - again! Was it awesome? Yes. Where there three huge hotels packed with comics, fantasy, and nerds? Yes. Plenty of incredible costumes, art, writers, etc. There were also celebrities, and we attended the Battlestar panel, went to the walk of fame, etc. I got to meet James Edwards Olmos, James Hong, and others. There was also come amazing artists, and a fantastic art show. But enough of the description - bring on the pictures!

Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of The Rings) and Beau Bridges.

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and the Grant Wilson (Ghost Hunters)

Adam West (Batman) and George Takei (Sulu)

The Panel from Battlestar Galactica. If you look closely you can see Edward James Olmos (Adama), James Callis (Dr. Baltar), Micheal Hogan (Tigh), and Aaron Douglas (Tyrol)

Some Ghostbuster nerds and some Star Wars guys

The Matrix (check out Trinity) and and an incredible Iron Man costume

Batman (posing somewhat dramatically) and Emma Frost

Some "300" costumes and Mad Max

And, of course, Vader!

Well, That's all for now. May the nerd be with you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jarod's Version of Movie Scenes

How often do you watch a movie scene and after it's over think - "Yeah, right"? Quite often, I would guess! Sure they're only movies, and that's part of the fun, but why not imagine your own scene outcomes? I'm going to pick some movie scenes, and then give my version of the outcome versus what Hollywood produced. I'd like to hear some of yours.

- The scene: "Timeline" where a group of modern day people are standing in front of English lord Oliver De Vannes after being transported into medieval Europe.
- Movie Outcome: After some discussion, one is beheaded and the rest are imprisoned
- My Outcome: They have trouble understanding what the English lord is saying, since he should be speaking middle English. De Vannes does not understand their modern dialect. They are imprisoned, and eventually get sick from drinking the water. They are believed to have brought disease and are killed. Credits roll.

- The Scene: "You had me at Hello"
- The Outcome: Jerry Maguire and Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) get together and things are great!
- My Outcome: There is a blackout, then the words "Ten Years Later" pop up. They are both a little fat, and the kid is still living at home. Jerry has become a drunk, because although he was caught up in the moment, he never really truly loved her. Dorothy is a pill popper, and miserable. Jerry is watching the football game while Dorothy looks longingly out the window, and the credits roll.

- The Scene: "Pirates of the Caribbean" where Kiera Knightly asks for Parley
- Movie Outcome: She gets it.
- My outcome: She is immediately attacked and killed.

- The Scene: (Spoiler Alert) End of The Usual Suspects, where Kevin Spacey is revealed to be Keyser Soze.
- Movie Outcome: He gets in a car and drives off, presumably to resume his criminal activities
- My Outcome: Upon reflection, he is impressed with his own acting talents. He joins a local theater, lightens up a little, takes up painting. Credits roll.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Okay, so I just finished running a 5k in Charlottesville. This may be my first official 5k, and it was quite an event. Lots of people, an actual timer thingy (is thingy an accepted word?), and plenty of water bottles. It was for organ donation, which is extra cool. I didn't come in first, but hey....I didn't come in last. I actually did better than I thought!
"Yeah right, Jarod" you are thinking - "you just sat on the couch". Well Mr. Smarty Pants, here is a picture of my packet for proof! Next to Mr. Cat, who apparently had better things to do.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today's T-shirts

Today's random t-shirt ideas:

- "There's a Strong Chance I Was Wearing This Yesterday"

- "I'm Tired Of Bracing For the 'Ride of My Life'"

- "If You Could See The Real Me....You Would Still Be Unimpressed"

- "I Wish Spiderman Would Stop Crying"

- "Don't Count Me Out, This is a $5,000 T-Shirt"

- "We're Only Replicants"

- "Warning: You Will Be Subject To A Plastic, Superficial Version Of My Personality"

- "Lawyer on Speed-dial"

- "Let's Face It: If I Were Better Looking I Wouldn't Need A T-Shirt To Get Attention"


Monday, August 4, 2008

What's The Difference Between a Catapult and a Trebuchet?

Don't deny it. You've been sitting there for hours, possibly days, wondering what the difference is between a catapult and a trebuchet. It has consumed you, turning you into a hermit, and your friends and family are concerned. Well load the stones and grease the gears, and I'm here to help! Here is the difference, basically:

- Catapults are any device that throws an object, although it commonly refers to the medieval siege weapon.

- Trebuchets are a TYPE of catapult, using gravity (with a counterweight) or traction (men pulling down), to propel the arm and often employing a sling at the end of the arm for greater distance. This is different from other catapults in that it doesn't use built up tension for it's throwing force.

I know, I know, there's more to it, Mr. Fancy Pants. This is a just quick fix - I'm trying to save you from a life of hermitry.

Here is a cool animation of a trebuchet -

If you want to see different types in recent films, watch the Return of the King - during the siege of Minas Tirith the Orcs use tension catapults (mangonels for the nerds) and the men use trebuchets. Also, in "King Arthur", the woads use traction trebuchets (men pulling down) - plus Keira Knightley is in a leather strap outfit (who needs historical accuracy?).

So now you know. Try not to launch pianos into your neighbor's lawn.

Come hang with me on my facebook photography page. :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Stories in Two Sentences

Just for fun, why not write a story in two sentences? Here is my attempt:

- As Bert sailed over the Hudson river at 140 miles per hour, he folded his arms indignantly. 'You'd think they'd put safeguards on a 70-foot wooden catapult, he thought with a scowl.

- She looked at her chain-smoking husband, sitting on the couch with his 50 pounds of gained weight while clutching the remote and picking his nose. "Well," she sighed, "I was dumb enough to have kids with him, so looks like my life is pretty much laid out."

- 'Surely this is a dream' thought Marty "Stonewall" Hackenburg as the 25-foot Burmese Python tightened it's coils around his fat, middle-aged body and began sliding it's massive jaws over his head.
His cellphone began to ring a delightful little Joan Baez compilation he had picked out himself, and Marty - unable to move his hands - rolled his eyes at this new inconvenience.

- "Superman must be bored again" thought Mrs. Berklstan as she looked up at the moon, revealing a perfectly shaped, 10,000-mile engraving of Superman bent over and exposing his buttocks to the earth. "Well, he did a nice job with the cape this time."

- "Hey, what is this button?", Stan asked. Ten seconds later, the earth was covered in a mile thick layer of bean-dip.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Exactly IS Parchment, Anyway?

I can see how it happened. You got tired of sending the constant text-messages, the endless emails - your fingers were raw, worked and aching like grouchy little piglets. You wanted something different, a new way of communicating. Then it came to you - "Hey!" you exclaimed, jumping up from the cubicle farm, startling Bertha in accounting and knocking over her triple latte, "It's so simple!" You stood on your chair, put your left hand on your hip and raised your right in a grandiose, Ceasaresque gesture "My fellow co-workers" You exclaimed, chin high and set with determination, "From this day forth, I shall send all my messages by....(wait for it).....PARCHMENT!"

You stood like a proud statue, but the room remained silent except for Ned from sales who gave an enthusiast clap followed by a Vulcan hand gesture. You sat back down, energized from your new undertaking. However, you suddenly realized that you had no idea what parchment is, or how it is made. A small matter, you thought, as you went to your computer to type away the answer. Well, here it is, brave crusader!:

- Parchment is calf-skin, sheep skin, or goat skin scraped thin, stretched and dried creating a material ideal for manuscripts.

- Parchment began replacing papyrus as the popular material for manuscripts around the 4th century AD, although it was used earlier by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and various other cultures. Some say this was because parchment had a "hip look", and those using it were sure to land thousand-goat book-deals. (Others say the papyrus reeds were over-harvested and parchment was used to adapt, but like the theory of evolution, you can ignore that)

- Vellum is parchment made exclusively from calf-skin. Be sure to use this knowledge to impress your next date.

- Parchment was expensive, and generally only available to the wealthy. Some monasteries such as the Benedictines had their own livestock and butchers, enabling their output of fine documents. Of course, Org the Muck-Enthusiast couldn't read anyway, but at least the books were nice and shiny!

- Parchment was made by soaking skins in lime to remove the hair, then stretched and dried over a frame. It was then scraped thin and cut for use. If you want to try this at home, do it in your living room to really impress the mother-in-law. For a great conversation piece, try leaving out the lime-hair bucket.

So, young master, now that you know what parchment is, go forth unto the world and write! Break out the quill pen, boil the walnut ink, and find yourself a nice herd of calves. No more microscopic message keys! No more cramped little screens and twitching eye-muscles! Spread your parchment wide and scribe, sir, scribe!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Today's T-Shirts

- "I May or May Not Be Indecisive"

- "I Recently Won The Lottery, Single, and Likely to Buy You A Car"

- "Willing Alien Servant"

- "Sorry, Sky-Diving Won't Erase The Memories of Being a Geek"


- "Member: Emperor Trajan Fan Club"

- "Let's Face it, The Clock is Ticking And I"m Probably the Best You'll Get"

- "You Will Remember This T-Shirt"

- "If You Think Shoes Are more Important Than Manners, You Are Part Of The Problem"

- "Instead Of A Parrot On My Shoulder, I Have Nothing"

- "I (Heart) Simplified Representations of Organs"


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Trip to Greece: Complete with Traditional Dancing

That's right folks, I went to Greece. The seminal of Democracy, the custodian of civilization - the bridge between the ancient and the modern. And of course, the place where a unified people cry out in one voice, "That's right, poo-poo Americans, we smoke in our restaurants, and there's NOTHING you can do about it!"

What an beautiful, mysterious, and amazing country. Since I was a kid I have wanted to see it, and believe me I was running amok as if I still had on my bath-towel cape, wooden sword, and tinfoil shin-guards. But what can I say that pictures can't prove? So here you go!

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi - This is were the Oracles gave their predictions (Yes, the actual place). The picture on the right is, well, if you don't know open a History book immediately.

Some elder men gathered around a gaming table in Athens. I suspect they have been doing this sort of thing there for - oh, say 2800 years.

Woman walking down a street on the island of Hydra. She said something to me and smiled, but I don't know what. Perhaps she said "Your shoelaces are undone"

The beautiful Santorini. This island is so gorgeous you instantly start painting the minute you arrive. The villages lay along the cliffs like beautiful lounge-singers draped over a Steinway (huh?). Next is the Temple of Isis on Delos. An Egyptian temple!

Some random windmills, for your artsy-photo fix. Next is me fishing. That's right, I bought a hand line and some bait so I can claim I fished in the Mediterranean. Sure, I fished for about an hour and didn't catch anything, but so what!

On the Acropolis at Rhodes. I didn't see the Colossus, but I still think he is around somewhere, waiting to be found. He's probably pretty annoyed at this point, too.

The Library and Amphitheater at the ancient city of Ephesus, Turkey. Oh, I forget to mention, I went to Turkey to0 (smiles smugly).

And back to my house! And who is that? Mr. Cat! Say he is cute. Saaay it! Saaaaaaay it!

Well, that's all. I have plenty of more pictures, and am, of course, happy to show them to you in a living room slideshow, complete with smoking jacket and long monologues on each one. Just let me know! Oh, and did I dance?

You bet I did.

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Latest Drop-Point Hunter

Here is a new drop-point hunting knife I made. It was fun to do, and the Ziricote wood for the handle is really cool stuff. I saw a lot of it when I went to Belize - there were craftsmen there making all kinds of things out of it. Instead of buying their carvings, though, I bought a chunk of wood! (why not?)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thank You To Blade Magazine

It looks like I made feature article on Blade Magazine's Website (9 Museum Tips for Home Knife Care):

Thank you once again, Blade!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Latest Custom Sgian Dubh

Here is a new sgian dubh I made. It is fluted ivory with a Damascus blade, jade inlay, and silver fittings. Here is my webpage for more:


Monday, April 7, 2008

Today's Thoughts/T-Shirts

- If only you can prevent forest fires, you must have a really big bucket.

- I am not an organ donor - all those pipes and keys, who has the space to own one let alone go around donating them?

- If they suddenly removed alcohol from wine, would anyone REALLY care about it's "bouquet"?

- By today's standards, Marie Antoinette would have smelled.

- If you can't make fun of yourself, you will end up being the old person that constantly complains


- Black-Belt in Nail-Clippers

- There May-or-May-Not Be Six-Pack Abs Under Here

- Force Feed Fashion Models!

- Right Now, I Am Imagining You Wearing An Fully-Powdered English Judge's Wig

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Article in Blade Magazine

A special thank you to Blade Magazine for publishing my article "9 Museum Tips for Home Knife Care". Blade magazine is the "world's number one knife publication" and can be found at Borders Bookstores or Books-a-Million.

Also, I will be speaking at this year's Blade Show and International Cutlery Fair in Atlanta. If anyone is around Atlanta the weekend of May 30, pop in and say "hi"!

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm a Lawyer this Week! Well, sort of....

That's right, kids, I am acting again. This week the ShenanArts production of (insert dramatic music) "To Kill a Mockingbird" opens, and I am playing Mr. Gilmor, the prosecuting attorney.
The cast has been great, and it has been a lot of fun so far. Things seem to be coming together - no one has injured themselves in a tragic make-up accident or had a prop-flower suddenly explode, so that is good. I am excited, and here is a picture of Phil during rehearsal playing the legendary "Boo Radley":

Here is "Mr. Ewell" threatening Atticus. And the knife? You guessed it, I made it!:

Monday, March 17, 2008


A special thank you to the Charlottesville Daily Progress for printing my article yesterday on the history of Saint Patrick's Day. Here is their website for you "non-Virginian-or-at-least-not-in-the-western-part-of-the state-near-Charlottesville" types:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I normally don't post news links, but this one caught my attention. Now, the reason they are doing this may be a little suspect, but a modern American city is considering building a MOAT! How awesomely hilarious is that? I hope they do it, if anything just so I can go there with my chainmail shirt on and go fishing!

For the record, anyone who knows me would not be surprised if they showed up at my house and there was....well, a moat! Possibly with monster catfish in it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today's Bumper Stickers

- Don't Bother Tailgating, I Am Blind!

- Unnecessary Bags of Lye in Trunk

- No License, Off Meds

- My House Is Also Representative of My Clout

- Sue-Happy Soccer Mom with Lawyer Friends On Board

- I DARE You to Pull Me Over, Pig!

- Looking for Mrs. Trophy

- Bumper Stickers Say, "I'm Not Upper Class"

- You're Not Fooling Anybody

- I Am Kapable


- Wine experts should be slapped.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Today's Thoughts!

- If your favorite show is "Project Runway", you probably won't survive if lost in the woods.

- Lets face it: In this country, if given enough money, Tonya Harding could be President.

- If someone says in real conversation the letters "LOL" instead of actually laughing out loud, they should be slapped immediately.

- A constant throughout human history has been our need to be continuously and shamelessly pumped full of BS.

- Most animal packs instinctively know the point at which certain members become too erratic to be of any value to the pack. In our species it is when Uncle Bufurd starts talking about colon explosions at the dinner table.

- If someone suggested the concept of pet-therapy to the ancient Aztecs, they would probably have been immediately executed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today's Random Thoughts / T-shirts

- Perhaps the true Lemming Line is accepting that Lemmings exist without ever actually have seen one.
- Don't cry over spilled milk, unless the milk is at full boil and spilled into your lap.
- Debate and talk about it all you want, but the best advice for getting a date is .... "Be good-looking"
- If your NASCAR dinner-plate collection costs more than your entire kid's wardrobe, your kids will end up in jail.


- "I Can Name All 48 States"
- "I Am Wealthy And Successful, And Wearing This T-Shirt Instead of Buying A Rolex Only Further Demonstrates My Impressive Frugality"
- "In That Brief Eye-Contact, You Were Both Judged And Catalogued"
- "Wearing This T-Shirt Has Completely Ruined My Chances With You, Hasn't It?"
- "I Am Bruce Jenner"

Monday, February 11, 2008

Romance in a Mass-Produced Envelope: The History of Valentine's Day

It could be the most important decision of your life. You stand there, pale and sweating, your eyes besieged by the endless aisles of red-satin boxes and cheaply-made plastic flower bouquets. Should you go with chocolate, or is that "so 2007"? Should there be roses, tulips, or carnations....hmmmm, which one of those is for funerals? And didn't a commercial just inform you that you are completely worthless unless you buy some sort of chain with a series of pretty rocks attached? My GOD, What do you do?

You begin to convince yourself that a nice set of fishing lures will last longer, AND have the added benefit of creating quality time for the two of you. Yeah, that's right - fishing lures! But wait, something is telling you..yes, there is definitely a distinct part of your primitive brain that is actually resisting this new theory. Your face flushes, your hands twitch, your feet begin sweating with frustrated vigor.

"Wait a minute!" you exclaim, "What has led me to this loathsome circumstance? What monstrous alchemy of human mechanism evolved itself into these wretched circumstances? Whose idea WAS this, Anyway!!'

Well, noble explorer of bath-stores and cheap seasonal holiday carts, here are some highlights from the bounteous and scented history of Valentine's Day:

- The ancient world often associated mid-February with fertility. The Roman holiday of Lupercalia was held on February 15 to purify new life and increase fertility. The Greek Month of Gamelion was dedicated to the blessed marriage of Zeus and Hera (without swan references, of course).

- 23,019 BC Gogak the Hog-Killer was the first to romance his potential mate by picking flowers. Although poisonous and resulting in an embarrassing rash, the flowers were appreciated and spun the phrase "It's the almost-thought that kind-of counts"

- 100 AD Valentinius of Alexandria was born. An early Bishop of Rome, Valentinius believed that the marriage chamber was actually important, causing numerous huffs and puffs and an occasional fainting.

- 496 Pope Gelasius I declared the "Feast of St. Valentine", referring to an earlier martyred saint (different than Valentinius) whose birth and death are not confirmed. Little is known about this early saint, although it may be a priest who was executed in the 3rd century by Cladius II. Incidentally, no cards were sent.

- 1382 Chaucer writes the first recorded correlation of Valentine's day with romantic love in his "Parlement of Foules". It is possible that the traditions of modern Valentines Day did not exist before Chaucer's writing, but rather started to come into their own around this time.

- Earliest surviving Valentine was a poem written by Charles the Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415. Of course, being imprisoned in the Tower of London tends to bring out the romantic in you.

- English settlers bring the concept of Valentines day to North America in the 19th century. Hundreds of chocolate executives gathered in a dark room to laugh maniacally and rub their hands together (with actual organ music playing in the background).

- The first mass-production of Valentine cards began after 1847 by Esther Howland of Worchester, Massachusetts, whose father owned a stationary store.

- 1891 first case of "Valentine Insomnia", as New Jersey third-grader Herbert Bard debated whether Susy from school loved him based on the size of a mandatory Valentine card. Also first recorded case of broken heart by "cooties".

- 1929 In a sweeping gesture of romance, ol' softy Al Capone guns down seven members of a rival gang, forever known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

- As television and mass production sink deeply into the American psyche during the 20th century, Valentine's Day becomes increasingly associated with gifts and the gift-card industry. Some husbands claim this is good, as they can sum up all their love in one convenient, logical gesture. Other's claim this is bad because now they have to remember their anniversary AND Valentine's day. Two whole days? "What is this," they claim, "some kind of cruel joke?"

- 1980's The Diamond Industry begins actively courting the American public to associate Valentine's Day with their product. Although they aren't edible, diamonds are generally considered "interesting to look at", so the plan, of course, works.

- 2007 Valentine's Day is a worldwide phenomenon. For many, it is a day of love, generosity, and appreciation. Sappy? Yes, but heartfelt....and in the end that is all that matters.

- 2008 Sushi executives gather in secret chamber to plot their new wave of association advertisements. Coming soon: "Sushi: Because Romance is in the Guts"

Well, there you have it. Now quit being a wimp and buy something. And make it nice, will ya? Ol' St. Valentine is watching!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I am taking a little blog break. You guys have fun!