It's almost February, and we know what that means. That's right, it's Valentine's Day, probably the most totally commercialized holiday still celebrated in the United States. I, personally, hate Valentine's Day. I don't object to its celebration, but I think the world would be better off without it. First off, does anybody know how it all started? Emporer Claudius II was having trouble getting his soldiers to go off on lengthy campaings far from home for years at a time. He (probably correctly) assumed that this was because they didn't want to be away from their families for that long. His solution? Cancel all weddings and engagements until further notice. I am not making this up, he was that f-ing stupid (f-ing inbred monarchs *grumble* *grumble*). Well, a Christian minister named Valentine kept performing secret weddings, but was caught and executed. He was eventually sainted for protecting the holy institution of marriage to the death. So, what's wrong with a holiday named after him? Nothing, except the holiday actually has little to do with him. First off, few people have ever heard of St. Valentine and most people call it "Valentines Day" since the only Valentine they know is that crappy piece of paper Wal-Mart charges an arm and a leg for. The holiday actually originated the same way Christmas, Easter, and Halloween came about, though Christmas and Easter have maintained the religious symbolism. In Rome, there was a day dedicated to Juno, queen of the Gods and Goddess of Marriage, among other things. Girls and boys were kept almost entirely seperate, but for one exception. On February 15 (remember, 10 of the twelve months predate Rome), there was a celebration of fertility where bloody strips of hide from sacrificed animals were used to hit both women and crops. Additionaly, according to, well, the only information available (History Channel calls it 'legend'), all the girls' names in a neighborhood/village were put in a jar and the bachelors would draw out a name. He would then be 'paired' with that woman until the next year. Basically, guys only got to court one woman a year, at random, until they married one. Well, this was deemed un-Christian and ended with the nationalisation of the Roman Catholic Church. However, to dilute the culture, they 'Christianized' it, and decided St. Valentine, patron saint of love and marriage, would be a good name to attach to it. The also bumped it back a day. Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about some Valentine's Day annoyances. 1) Couples that cause diabetes - Ever hear some young couple walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant do the "'You're cuter.' 'No, you're cuter,'" routine? These walking cavities seem to increase tenfold for the entire first half of the month of February. 2) Another date on the calender that must be better than it was last year if you don't want to on the couch - After the birthday, anniversary, Christmas, possibly a couple of other 'cute' dates (first kiss, first date, engagement, etc.), and (if you have kids) Mothers' Day, do we really need one that really serves no other purpose? 3) Commercials that should be banned by the ADA - Half the commercials around this time of year feature either the couples in number one or ideas that you have to beat because of number two...or both...usually both. 4) Only holiday that doesn't feature a round of lawsuits from non-celebrators - It's probably only because they don't want to admit they don't have a girlfriend. Still, doesn't it cause a lot less stress to voluntarily NOT participate in Christmas than it does to involuntarily not participate in Valentine's Day because you're LONELY? I mean, how many people, at the start of their lonely Valentine's Day, think to themselve, "Well, there goes another year with no girlfriend," then go drink themselves silly while putting up with number one? 5) Overpriced Valentines - $2 for 4 pieces of paper the size of a playing cards just because they have Spongebob on them making some horrible pun? I think not. Well, that's my bit of ranting. If you've got somebody to celebrate this crappy holiday with and want to do so, then more power to you, but with the way restaurants are around Valentine's Day, I'll probably celebrate it two weeks early when I finally become 'eligible' to. Stay tuned for me being pissed off about Black History Month. I really, REALLY hate Black History Month, and it's a whole frickin' month, instead of just one day.