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Saints, Cyclists and Kids with Automatic Weapons
February, 2009 - Issue #52
Come February 14, St. Valentine will be stealing attention from our valley's namesake, St. Clare. When it comes to saints, why is it that Santa Claritans spend so much more time fussing over Valentine's Day than Clare's Day, given that we live in a valley named after, well, Clare?

Let's compare stories. According to Catholic Online, Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages (one of the three can be found in SCV). Clare, on the other hand, is the patron of sore eyes - somewhat less exhilarating but still no reason to ignore her completely. Valentine was beaten with clubs, pummeled with stones, and be-headed for marrying Christian lovers. Clare renounced all of her earthly possessions to live a life of material poverty. Ah, I suppose that explains the lack of enthusiasm for she-after-whom-our-valley-is-named.

Indeed, many of Santa Clarita's lovely ladies would act less than saintly if deprived of gold, diamonds and other earthly possessions come V-Day. As Santa Clarita's reigning expert on the heart, I'll have more to say about this later. But first, we should review what else to keep an eye on - sore or otherwise - this month.

A Time for Crime
This winter has been plagued by a number of gasp-worthy misdeeds. If crime comes in waves, as they say, we best stay especially vigilant through February.

Just two days before New Year's, a 15-year-old boy decided to take a Metrolink train bound from Lancaster to Burbank. Unfortunately, he must have gotten a little mixed up. Instead of boarding the train carrying a ticket, he boarded carrying a machine gun. (Insert "allegedly"s before the words boarded, carrying and machine). Luckily, law enforcement was able to apprehend the promising young man at a Canyon Country station.

Just a week later, two men robbed a house in Saugus. Clearly, these were not local thieves, who would have known that the really good stuff is in Valencia. The men brandished a gun and taped up the residents, apparently wanting to pilfer the premises in peace. One plucky lady, however, managed to escape her adhesive bounds and called the authorities, causing the men to flee.

While incidents like these are especially concerning to those who covet Santa Clarita's traditionally-high ranking on the "safest cities" lists, there is a bright side. Both of these incidents could have turned out much worse.

Fickle Bicyclists
Last year they were gritting their teeth and fighting complete exhaustion to reach Santa Clarita. This year, Amgen Tour of California cyclists will be trying desperately to escape. In a major P.R. faux pas, the powers that be agreed to let Santa Clarita serve as the starting point for Stage 7 of the well-known race. So, while our valley was both a finish and starting point in 2008, the 2009 Tour makes SCV not so much a destination as a place to flee as fast as humanly possible. It's not too late to save face, though. Perhaps we can encourage (i.e. bribe) one of the cyclists to pull a little publicity stunt. Instead of racing across the starting line, he could sit unmoved. When asked why he is forfeiting the race, he would reply, "Why would anyone want to leave this paradise called Santa Clarita?"

Of course, paradise is a relative term, and roads during the Amgen Tour will be decidedly non-paradisiacal. This prompts the age-old question: "Is it better to make my tee time or let men in spandex cruise city streets on very expensive bicycles?" True Claritans will already know the answer.

V-Day '09
Few will be thinking about the Amgen Tour and crime on February 14 - at least I hope. Most will be concerned with carefully crafting or silently, ruthlessly judging Valentine's Day plans.

If theater is your/their thing, you are in luck this year. The Canyon Theater Guild will be putting on a performance of "Disney's High School Musical" and the Repertory East Playhouse will be performing Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" on Valentine's Day. The former is a far more appropriate choice for Santa Clarita. Ashley Tisdale, who attended Valencia High School, has starred as Sharpay Evans in the wildly-successful HSM movies. Of course, the musical lacks the nuanced character development, desperation and mental break-downs of the Williams play, so a case can be made for going to both performances.

If living in Santa Clarita provides your life with enough drama, though, there is nothing wrong with having a nice dinner with the one you love. Even if our city is called Santa Clarita, not Santa Valentinita, it's still a wonderful place to fall in love and raise a family, a quality we all can - and should - heart.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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