Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trapped, Heat of the Moment, -and- Homeland Insecurity

Trapped! - 89-year-old woman uses axe to get back inside
Heat of the Moment - Harvard astrophysicist says global warming caused by sun
Homeland Insecurity - NYPD warns of chlorine terror risk

On this day in history: February 14, 1929 - The Capone gang kills six members of the "Bugs" Moran gang and one other person at the S.M.C. Cartage company in Chicago, in an event known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Bogus police officers were used so that it appeared to be a routine police bust. Except for all the bodies.

Born on this day in history: February 14, 1942 - Michael Bloomberg (1942-) Businessman, politician. Born Michael Rubens Bloomberg on February 14, 1942 in Medford, Massachusetts. In 2002, Bloomberg entered the political arena when he became the 108th mayor of New York.

Scripture of the Day: For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. - Habakkuk 2:14

Video of the Day: My Valentine - Martina McBride

Yikes! Certainly no caption is necessary! Click to enlarge.

The History of Valentine's Day

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day—and its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men—his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl—who may have been his jailer's daughter—who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It is no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.