Don Rush

If I think back, there was a sweet spot in my life when Valentine’s Day was something to look forward to. I remember rifling through the 97 million little cards Mom would buy for us kids to hand out in elementary school — and looking for just the “right” one for the young heart’s crush.I enjoyed Valentine’s Day all through elementary school, but maybe not so much in junior and high school.

Those teen years were pretty awkward for yours truly. College was good for Valentine’s Day, as were the years following. Not so much the last 10 years. During the decade I have had to come to grips with and figure out finding peace solitude can bring. Instead of being sentimental around this time of year, or melancholy I’ve found ways to occupy my mind. Around Valentine’s Day I think of other things. Things like . . .

Male-killing bacteria
A story from 2007 was headlined, “Male-killing bacteria widespread in insects.” It portends an ugly end of all men, #GoodRiddance.
“A germ that kills males triggers a vicious cycle of increasing female promiscuity and male sexual exhaustion in a species of butterfly, scientists report. Male-killing bacteria known as Wolbachia are extremely widespread in insects, found in more than one-fifth of species. The germs can turn males to females and cause infected females to reproduce without males.
“Scientists had assumed these bacteria would profoundly alter the natural mating patterns of their hosts, but only had scant evidence of what these changes would entail in the wild. The researchers expected the fewer male butterflies there were, the less sex females likely would have. Surprisingly, female promiscuity actually rose.
“Greater numbers of female partners leads to fatigue in males. They start producing smaller sperm packages . . . . Unfortunately, the female butterflies instinctively know that the packages are smaller and that their chances of having been sufficiently impregnated after mating are lower than usual. This just makes them more rampant.”
One way or another, men’s time on this planet is limited. With the #MeToo movement sweeping the planet, this future may not be so far fetched.

Chirp, chirp
Speaking of insects . . . It is the middle of February, but you and your loved one can still snuggle up next to the crackling fireplace, on that bearskin rug and dream of hot summer nights. And, if the conversation starts to wane, throw this into the mix.
“Honey, I love you . . . do you ever wonder about crickets chirping?”
If Honey says, “yes,” you’re in! Impress Honey with this information. Crickets are sensitive to changes in air temperature, and chirp at faster rates as the temperature rises. It is possible to use the chirps of the male snowy tree cricket, common throughout the United States, to gauge temperature.
The formula for this is to count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 39 to calculate the temperature (degrees Fahrenheit.) If there are 30 chirps in 15 seconds, the temperature should be about 69 degrees F. This formula is said to be accurate within one degree. A variation is to count the chirps in 13 seconds, and add 40.
After your stirring conversation about crickets, you could start chirping about age.

The Art of War
This year, for my birthday my son Sean bought me a book, and it has helped occupy my mind of late. The book, is The Art of War.
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating back to something like 500 BC. It’s an easy read — really just a couple of lines discussing the finer parts of war — which, if you think about it probably can be parleyed into the romance arena.
Don’t believe me, take a look at some of these rules of engagement.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
* * *
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
* * *
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
* * *
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
* * *
“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”
* * *
Well, there you go . . . things I think about on Valentine’s Day. And, armed with all this good knowledge you can now impress the one you’re with!

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