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America is in thrall over the self immolation of the bright, pretty thing known as Anna Nichole Smith.  Like a beautiful bird eaten by the crocodile of addiction, Ms.Smith succumbed to the rigors of the “pop life”.  Known more for her propensity to take her clothes off, and her less than MENSA intelligence,  she suffered the slings and arrows of the paparazzi, as she clung to her fifteen minuets of fame like a drowning person to a life preserver.

That being said, she has become an example of our newest American contact sport, “train-wrecking”.  We have not only become obsessed with fame, but now we have become enthralled in the self-destruction of our celebrities.  In just a few hours, Brittany Spears’ new “lost-a-fight-with-a-hair-razor”  hair style has been seen across the whole of the Earth’s surface.  We revel in the clay feet of our golden idols.

Once upon a time, people achieved fame because they actually “did” something.  Now, they are famous because…well, that is the question.  Why are we even paying attention to these people, whose apparent level of dysfunction is so high that they cannot help but attract attention?  Like the screaming child in the mall, these failed adults seem to need us to notice them. 

The time has come to move along, nothing REAL to see here.

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This was the admonition of the Spartan wives and mothers to their men as they went to war.  There were only two ways to return home, on your shield or carrying it.  You must return in victory or death.  Their expectations were such that they could not consider anything less.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I wonder if we consider how we treat our families year round.  Each day, as we venture out into the world to bring home the proverbial “bacon”, facing those challenges we each must face in our lives.  Even though most of us will not know the sting of mortal combat, we each must uphold our honor as we cross the larger battlefield of life.

So even if the trinkets of this Hallmark Holiday are left on the store shelves, the more important gift is the shield that you bring home to your loved ones tonight.  It may be tarnished and bent, but if it is held high, with pride and honor, and more importantly,the love that compels you to provide for your family,  it is worth more than all the stuffed teddy bears, roses and other geegaw’s in all the world.

 It is worth more than anything…except chocolate, nothing beats chocolate.