It seems appropriate on Valentine's Day to quote a few passages from an essay written by Robert James Waller (before Bridges of Madison County),entitled "Romance":

"You can't really have a romance with someone else unless you are, first of all, a romantic yourself. Most people I know are not very romantic. They were once, or had the chance to be, but romance got lost along the way,drowned out in the roar of our times, beat out by overly analytic teachers,drummed out by those who scoff at romantics as foolish and weak."

"It's important to note here that you do not have to be a poet or a painter or a musician to be a romantic. In fact, I know quite a few folks in these areas of endeavor who are downright unromantic. On the other hand, Andrew Carnegie was a romantic. So was Joseph Smith when he lead the Mormons westward. And I have seen more than one insurance salesman, in the bars where I have played, grin outwardly and inwardly when I launched into a song about the wind and the flowers and the highways that run forever."

This third passage, even though he writes of Iowa, reminds me of South Dakota:

"Iowa is a very romantic, mystical place. I can't explain it, but it's here. Anybody can see the Rocky Mountains--they're obvious. It takes a little more perspective to see the beauty of Iowa or the romance in the long sweep of North Dakota prairie...."

As most everyone knows, yesterday was the last original Peanuts cartoon. We get two Sunday papers: the San Francisco Examiner and the Alameda Times Star (which is merely the Oakland Tribune with a different banner and a few stories rearranged). Anyway, both the SF and Oakland papers carry some of the same comic strips, including Peanuts. What we've noticed, however, is that the papers sometimes truncate the comic strips by a pane or two. For instance, the last Peanuts comic was three panes: two small panes on the left and one large pane on the right. The Oakland Tribune truncated the two left-most panes and only printed the large right-hand pane. It seems that for a reasonably significant comic-strip event they could have squeezed in those extra two panes somehow. All bow to the mighty dollar and the cutting of articles and comics to please it.