Friday, February 15, 2013

An Important Message For Presidents Day Weekend

Presidents Day weekend is here, a time to celebrate the birthdays of two of our greatest presidents, George Washington and Oscar nominee Abraham Lincoln.  Be sure to take a moment to reflect on their bravery, their leadership during tumultuous times, their willingness to make difficult decisions in the face of adversity, and the sacrifices they made for our great nation.

You may spend the rest of the weekend shopping for discounted clothes and furniture at your local department store.

I began my holiday weekend today by spending 20 minutes searching Google for the correct spelling of "Presidents Day." I can now confirm that no apostrophe is needed.

As it turns out, "Presidents Day" is something of a misnomer. Under federal law, the holiday is designated as "Washington's Birthday." But informally, U.S. citizens have been forcing the Father Of Our Country to share his special day with Lincoln for years. Sorry, George, but the Revolutionary War was soooooo 1775-1783.

On this Presidents Day weekend, I suggest we pause to acknowledge not only Washington and Lincoln, but the 41 presidents and the 47 vice presidents whose birthdays have been ignored throughout history. So, to Presidents Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce and Rutherford B. Hayes, and Vice Presidents John C. Breckinridge and Schuyler Colfax and Dan Quayle, and all the rest, happy birthday.

Whenever that is.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day Tips From A Single Man

Today is February 1, the start of the most romantic month of the year. You know what's coming. You can't ignore it. It's almost here. The holiday of love.

Groundhog Day. It's tomorrow! Who doesn't love Punxsutawney Phil?

Have you found a date yet for Groundhog Day? If you have, I'd like to recommend the perfect movie for the occasion: the 2010 comedy Valentine's Day. It stars a pre-Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper, a pre-married-to-Justin-Timberlake Jessica Biel, a pre-I-break-up-with-someone-new-every-two-months Taylor Swift, and many other celebrities. Essentially, it was the Movie 43 of its time.

If you do not have a date for Groundhog Day, you'll have a chance to redeem yourself in two weeks. Valentine's Day, as you know, is February 14. It's highly recommended by Hallmark, Hershey's, Kay Jewelers and every drugstore in your neighborhood that you share this special day with a special someone.

Your concern shouldn't be finding a valentine, even if time is not on your side. You have many options available to you, such as Match.com. Did you know its customers are three times more likely to enter into a relationship than those who don't use the site? It's true, according to its commercials. If nothing else, using Match is a great opportunity to earn TV time once it incorporates the awkward conversations from your first date into its ads.

So, let's assume you score a date sometime in the next two weeks. What will you give her? Where will you take her? And most of all, how can you save as much money as possible?

Allow me to answer all of those questions at once, as a single man who has many years of experience with organizing inexpensive dates at the last minute. Here are a few simple ways you can create a memorable Valentine's Day for you and yours:

Buy Flowers. As counterintuitive as this sounds, do not buy flowers from a florist. Flower shops can charge as much as $80 for a dozen roses. What a rip-off. Pick up some roses from your local deli instead for about $15. It's true, deli roses will probably die in one or two days, but your date won't know that, and in my experience, the relationship dies before then anyway.

Buy Candy, Too. But not just any candy. Imported candy. I'm not referring to fancy shmancy chocolates from a fancy shmancy country like France. I'm thinking more along the lines of, say, Kit Kat.

Did you know that there are several flavors of Kit Kat not available in the U.S.? In Japan alone, you can find green tea, cinnamon cookie, blueberry cheesecake, and sweet bean jelly favors of Kit Kat. Order these online, and your date will be extremely flattered that you went through all that trouble to gift her such rare treats. As the old saying goes, the quickest way to a woman's heart is chocolate with unrecognizable foreign letters printed on the package.

Take In A Movie. "Dinner and a movie" is cliched, but that combo is still effective, in my opinion. Four movies are opening on Valentine's Day. Coincidentally, one of them is a Nicholas Sparks movie, Safe Haven. With any luck, your date will be a Bruce Willis fan who'd rather see A Good Day to Die Hard.

Or, if you'd rather share a good laugh with her, rent a film. I can recommend the perfect movie: Groundhog Day.

Good luck!