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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Why I hate Valentine's Day: Stupid, mushy gifts and knots of anxiety

By Michelle Butler

February 13, 2009 | Every year it rolls around. For weeks on end, stores are stockpiling large heart-shaped balloons, boxes of candy and anything else that's red and mushy. Little naked babies with wings and little arrows fill window displays, and ugly little stuffed hearts with arms and legs line the shelves.

Welcome to the nightmare of Valentine's Day.

I hate V-day. No matter what, it's always been stupid and full of frustration. I've always had good friends and plenty of awesome family and never feel unloved or unwanted. But on this day, despite my best attempts, I transform into some love-seeking monster screaming for chocolates and roses. And I don't even like chocolate.

In my high school, each Valentine's Day would transform the front office into a floral shop. Every hour, the staff would call names over the intercom, and the lucky few would venture down the hallways to collect their tokens of love, while the rest of us would anxiously wait to hear our names. To me, this became a long, drawn-out day. It was like pulling an adhesive bandage off your arm, but making it last 12 hours.

I hated walking down the halls, seeing all the girls with armful of flowers and candy. Often, I contemplated sending myself flowers, just so I too could join that elite club. I never had a serious boyfriend in high school and it never bothered me until V-day. On this day, I would wish for five boyfriends, just so someone would send me a stupid rose.

Why is it that we act perfectly normal all the other days of the year, but on V-day, our minds go crazy? On no other day would a sound man buy a 3-foot bear and give it to his sweet heart. On no other day would a sound woman accept such a stupid gift! The gifts that we give and hope to receive are stupid and meaningless. Corporate America has convinced us that giant stuffed animals and stupid candy hearts are tokens of our affection. The stupid thing is that I hate those little candy hearts, yet on V-day, I'm begging to receive them!

At least the day became more bearable in college. There was no intercom to announce who was loved and who wasn't. Yet, hear again I found myself yearning to receive even the smallest card or rose. I feel so sorry for the scores of guys who are buying anything at Walmart that even slightly resembles a valentine. I could take a Twinkie and stick a heart sticker on it and I know some desperate guy out there would pay a ridiculous amount of money for it. Men grow desperate, knowing that the expectations for them are high, and it's not even us women who expect it. It's this stupid day and everything that goes with it.

I would much rather receive attention and little cards throughout the year, than be bombarded with a ton of crappy Valentine candy and stupid little heart pillows on one stated "Love Day."

Now that I'm married, you'd think that I'd like V-day even more, since I would have a definite Valentine. I still think it's a stupid holiday and thank heavens my husband agrees. He's the kind of guy who leaves me flowers and notes year round and on Valentine's Day; I don't get any of the stupid cards or waxy candy. Last year, he gave me a pair of shoes and a Nintendo game. Now there's true love for you! We've decided to tear away from the traditional, nightmarish routine that leaves so many frustrated and angry. Instead, we make our own dinner and usually do nothing that's even remotely related to a heart with some arrow through it.


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