Valentine’s Day –
a new sign says
… by dagosan
.. Valentine’s Day has often brought out the curmudgeonly side of the f/k/a Gang. [see, e.g., our posts “not really in a Valentine mood” and “off-peak romance“] This year, JC Penney’s declaration of Doghouse Prevention Week has turned the secretly-romantic Prof. Yabut into a growling cur, rather than a lapdog. Penney’s wants men to know that “No Bad Gift Will Go Unpunished,” and its Beware of the Doghouse website allows sweethearts to send their guy a warning or even list him as being In the Doghouse. Naturally, in addition to graphic examples of what happens in the doghouse, there are many (expensive) suggestions on how to avoid or get out of Casa Canine.
“Love is so delicate, you can’t afford to risk it on fake holiday.” (AP/Nashua Telegraph, “British author had no need for Valentine’s Day rubbish,” Feb. 20, 2005)
All quips aside about stimulus (or stimulated) packages, our economic crisis seems like a perfect opportunity for Valentine lovers (and even spouses) to let each other know it’s the thought not the price tag that counts. Indeed, in today’s Schenectady Gazette article “Economy tops love this year: Retailers expect recession to cut into Valentine’s Day spending” (February 11, 2009), we learn that “Low-cost items this Valentine’s are expected to have greater sway over lovers on the prowl for gifts.” For example, folks are buying half-pound boxes of candy rather than the larger heart-shaped offerings at Krause’s in Colonie. [Sharing fewer calories has many other advantages of course, in a nation where waistlines and bottoms keep expanding, even when the economy shrinks.]
The Gazette also reports that “The National Retail Federation said American adults are expected to spend an average of $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise, compared with $122.98 a year earlier.” In addition,
“BISWorld Research, a Los Angeles market research firm, earlier this month projected holiday card sales to rise over the year by 1.1 percent and candy sales to increase 0.9 percent. But holiday apparel, dining out and jewelry are forecast to take the biggest hits, declining 6.7 percent, 6.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.
More cards and fewer diamonds sounds like a good trend to us. However, if you’re heading for the doghouse, we suggest you click to hear Hank Williams’ plaintive request that his good dog “Move It on Over” and let the bad dog squeeze in, too.
If you’d like to tell your beloved how you feel in more than one language, click here for “Valentine’s Day phrases in 8 languages.”
Now’s a great time to reprise Roberta Beary’s haibun from Modern Haiku (Vol. 39:1, Winter 2008):
What I Mean Is
everyone knows everything old people know only the good die young and kids know parents don’t know it all and teachers know students wait until the day before the project is due and you and i both know that love doesn’t conquer anything in fact it doesn’t even come close
as if it mattered
a red leaf
………………………………… by Roberta Beary, Modern Haiku 39:1 (2008)
And a couple of senryu by Ed Markowski:
we do nothing
the sensous curves
of a snow drift
…………. by ed markowski
p.s. National Inventors’ Day (February 11): If the love of your life loves creativity and service to humanity, Prof. Yabut suggests you remind her (or him) that February 11th is both Thomas A. Edison’s birthday and National Inventors’ Day. (via Securing Innovation weblog, which has a familiarly-anonymous editor). If you really want to impress her, bring her to the far-too-little-known Edison Exploratorium in downtown Schenectady. The Exploratorium aims to “preserve, promote and celebrate the unique heritage of Edison and the pioneers who gave birth to the electric age here in ‘The Original Electric City’.” You might get sent to the doghouse for giving her an electric iron, washing machine or microwave oven, but you’ll light up her eyes with exhibits filled with those and other items pioneered in Schenectady.
Can’t make it to Schenectady? You can find dozens of YouTube clips from the Edison Exploratorium, including one featuring Charles P. Steinmetz, General Electric’s Chief Engineer and Scientist (1865 – 1923), who wanted to use inventions like the production and distribution of energy:
“to develop the most perfect civilization the world has ever seen. The civilization not for a minority depending on the labor of masses of slaves or serfs but a real civilization of benefit to all the members of the human race.”
…. finally, our lonely-guy 2008 Valentine haiga (photo Mama G. 1951):