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*foot notes

February 09, 2001|JAMES E. FOWLER

Wednesday is Valentine's Day. A day devoted to love and only its wonderful aspects--kisses, hugs, flowers, chocolates, poetry, wine, music.


* Some trace Valentine's Day to ancient Rome. Every February during the festival of Lupercalia, names of young girls were written on slips of paper and placed in a jar. Young men would pick a slip and courting would begin.

In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan festival, but replaced it with a feast day for St. Valentine, a martyr who was beheaded two centuries earlier. The Roman Emperor Claudius II had forbidden his soldiers to marry, but Valentine, a Christian priest, continued to marry soldiers and their fiancees in secret. Unfortunately for Valentine, it was not a well-kept secret.

* Esther Howland, a Mount Holyoke College student, is usually credited with crafting the first U.S.-made Valentines. Her father, a stationer in Worcester, Mass., imported valentines every year from England. About 1830, Esther started to create her own.

* Barbershop quartets from the Verdugo Hills Showtime Chorus, (909) 593-4321, and the Crescenta Valley Chorus, (818) 361-3444, will deliver "singing valentines" to the beloved recipients of your choice. The Crescenta Valley ensembles will be busy Sunday through Wednesday, while the Verdugo Hills quartets will work on Valentine's Day only. Both organizations charge $40.

* A Sherman Oaks company is offering a Valentine's Day gift that won't die in a vase or just go to waist. The Consciousness Trading Company presents the Love and Romance edition of Consciousness in a Can.

It is, literally, a can with 200 strips of paper, each bearing a romance- and love-related quote to charm your special someone. Some are funny, others are thought-provoking. Some examples: "Even the promiscuous feel pain," attributed to Warren Beatty; and "I like long walks. Especially when they're taken by people who annoy me," attributed to Fred Allen. All this and more for only $20. Check out their Web site at or call (818) 728-9830.

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