Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

2/14/2012

From The Heart

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:01 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Today, for reasons that are mostly attributable to the evil machinations of greeting card companies, we are expected to engage in a conspicuous display of romantic passion.  People mistakenly call it “love”, but, in my experience, love often has little to do with what we celebrate on this strange, little holiday.  We put so much pressure on each other, and ourselves, to be in the right kind of loving, romantic, passionate relationship that, frankly, it’s almost guaranteed that things will go horribly wrong.  And, yet we continue with it anyway.

For years, I was single on St. Valentine’s Day, and wished beyond all reason to be in a relationship with someone, anyone, with whom I might share the day.  Then, of course, I was and the event couldn’t possibly live up to any of the expectations I had set up for the holiday, my partner, nor myself.  It seemed to me that with every passing year, whatever I did was less and less appreciated.  More fault was found with how I tried to make the day special for her, until that last year, my ex-wife was actually complaining about the roses I’d saved my lunch money, literally skipped lunches out with the people at the office, to pay for to continue what I’d hoped was a tradition.  For ten years, I bought her at least a dozen red roses, usually, a dozen red and a dozen white, carefully requesting that they not include baby’s breath, because she was allergic to it, only to have her complain that the flowers I’d been so proud of getting in spite of financial difficulty, were aggravating her allergies and always had.  For ten years, she let me buy those flowers and complained about them, often behind my back, and let me think I was doing a good thing.  All for “love”.

Well, I can’t speak for my ex-wife, but I don’t think I knew what love really was when we were together.
In church, Sunday, of course, they read First Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-7, which are “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Now, I doubt that Paul was talking about romantic, passionate love in this letter, since he wasn’t particularly in favor of marriage, among other things, but, still, it’s often invoked as the kind of love we should have for a partner.
It’s certainly an ideal I strive for these days, on that rare occasion that I find myself involved with someone of the fairer sex.  But, it’s also how I simply try to treat everyone, regardless of how they feel about me.  Of course, some days I do that better than others, but it’s a goal for all days, not just this artificial, high-pressure holiday that was seemingly invented to make so many feel so inadequate.

And, I have to admit, my feelings about this holiday aren’t aided by my interest in history, especially Chicago history.  You see, I think of this day as the anniversary of when a fellow Chicagoan, Al Capone, rounded up seven of his closest buddies and gunned them down in the back alleys of the South Side of Chicago. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre! It was on this day, in 1929, that the rivalry between Bugs Moran and Al Capone reached its violent and bloody peak, leaving seven, bloody corpses in its wake, along with damaging both Moran’s North Side Gang and, ultimately, bringing so much attention to Capone from the FBI that it effectively ended his criminal career, as well.
Truly, a turning point in the criminal history of Chicago.

So, you all go out and have your romantic dinners and make cow-eyes at your object of desire, but, have yourself an extra bloody steak and remember how they used to celebrate this romantic holiday on the South Side in the old days.  And, remember, your relationship isn’t measured by how well or poorly things go today, but how you treat each other the other 364 days of the year.

 


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Whatever the majority of people is doing, under any given circumstances, if you do the exact opposite, you will probably never make another mistake as long as you live."
   --Earl Nightingale

2/14/2011

Chicago-Style St. Valentine’s Day Celebration

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Normally, a day associate with love and romance and a complete imbalance of power in male-female relationships wherein the male of the species is required to present his pair-bonded mate, or potential mate, with a ridiculous display of conspicuous disposable income via dead foliage or high-calorie confectioneries.  And, no, I’m not bitter, thank you for asking.  I participated in this strange mating ritual for many years, spending untold amounts of my hard-earned money on the most gorgeous roses available in Houston, thanks to my ex-wife and the Rose Gallery.  (All kidding aside, they really are quite good and reasonably priced for the truly amazing roses that you’ll get from them on days like this.  For real.)

I, however, prefer to remember this day as the anniversary of when a fellow Chicagoan, Al Capone, rounded up seven of his closest buddies and gunned them down in the back alleys of the South Side of Chicago.  Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre!  It was on this day, in 1929, that the rivalry between Bugs Moran and Al Capone reached its violent and bloody peak, leaving seven, bloody corpses in its wake, along with damaging both Moran’s North Side Gang and, ultimately, bringing so much attention to Capone from the FBI that it effectively ended his criminal career, as well.
Truly, a turning point in the criminal history of Chicago.

So, you all go out and have your romantic dinners and make cow-eyes at your object of desire, but, have yourself an extra bloody steak and remember how they used to celebrate this romantic holiday on the South Side in the old days.

2/14/2009

Happy Al Capone Day

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:19 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

You celebrate it your way and I’ll celebrate it mine.

Most people will be celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day today, but I think of this as Al Capone Day.  It’s not that I’m not a romantic, because, truly, I am.  It’s not that I’m a bitter, cynical, divorced guy who’s spent more holidays alone than with someone, though that is in part true.  It’s not even because I’m a die-hard Chicagoan who’s found himself surrounded by Southerners who don’t really get him.  No, it’s not any of those things.
No, I “celebrate” this day this way because people forget how things really are.  People forget that while the media giants force-feed us a slick, glossy idea of romance today, people are dying, struggling to make their lives work, and just trying to make it through.  There are bigger things than romance going on.  Some good, some bad.

So, today, while most people will buy into the mass-produced saccharine romance of the holiday, I’ll remind people of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Today, in 1929, on the Near North Side of Chicago, Al Capone and several of his closest friends arranged for a deadly surprise.  They lured several members of rival Bugs Moran’s gang into a local warehouse and garage, supposedly to make a deal for illegal whiskey, where hit-men, disguised as Chicago Police officers staged a fake raid.  They then lined up the rival gang members and gunned them down.  When neighbors saw them leave, taking some of their accomplices out in street clothes, they figured that Chicago’s finest were just on the job.  It was actually quite clever and daring, in a sick sort of way.
I’m sure there are just as many killings going on around the world today as there were then.  Maybe more.  All for about the same reasons.

So, dress it up any way you want, but today is just like any other.  And if you need a special day to celebrate romance in your relationship today…  Well, good luck with that.

2/14/2008

Happy Al Capone Day!

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 1:46 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

As a terminally single person, I think we should throw off the bonds of servitude to an empty, consumer holiday and rename St. Valentine’s Day.

You see, not only is this a day that greeting card companies crafted into a reason to waste money on cards, flowers and candy for someone who should love you without all that junk, but it was also a very important day in Chicago history. Today is the day when, in 1929, Al “Scarface” Capone gathered together seven of his closest friends and gunned them down. Yep, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Old Al was clever, too. Not only did he get seven of his arch rival’s men together, but he dressed his hired guns up as police officers so that if they were spotted any witnesses would assume everything was under control because the police were already there! Yes, sir, that Al sure was an innovator.
So, as you shell out your hard-earned cash for disposable junk that will most likely go to waste, or waist, as the case may be, remember how they used to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in the old days. For those of us who have been single more often than we’ve been involved on this “happy” holiday, it sort of feels about the same, doesn’t it?

Something else to keep in mind this year as you wallow in artificial romance, the saint for whom this day is named was a martyr. What does that mean to you and me? Well, it means that Saint Valentine was beaten almost to death and then beheaded on this day. Later he went on to perform miracles and all that to become a saint, but, today is the day we celebrate the fact that a hired mob worked him over pretty well with clubs and then chopped his head right off. Sort of sounds like how love feels for some of us about this time of year, doesn’t it?

Hey, all joking and dark humor aside, I hope everyone has a nice day today, whether they have someone to share it with or not.


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