"Say, baby, can I interest you in a little cicada? It's good for what ails you. Why yes, that is a long-horned beetle in my pocket, but I am glad to see you. Care to come up to my place to see my dried bug collection? It's hot. Hey, wait, where you going?" OK, so maybe insects are not the best gambit when looking for a little action in modern American culture. Elsewhere, however, bugs--ingested or used to make concoctions--have long been used as aphrodisiacs and fertility enhancers, from the well-known "Spanish fly" to a whole slew of insect-related remedies, says Gail Elia, entomologist and director of education for Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Want to know more? Elia will lead a guided tour and talk at the gardens at 1 p.m. on Valentine's Day all about insects and their uses as love boosters. The tour will include several examples of bugs--some with horns or rigid protuberances that seem to be particularly popular as aphrodisiacs with men because of "that thing you guys are all over," Elia says. The talk will also cover insects that are actually pharmacologically active, and include a serving of chocolate-covered bugs. Mmm. Now that says lovin'. The tour is adults-only, and it's $10 per couple for members of the gardens and $14 for non-members. Call 214-428-7476 or visit the Web site www.texasdiscoverygardens.org. --Patrick Williams
The crew was motley: squatters, colonists, dictators, Ahhnold-like heroes, a founder averse to his calling (Stephen Austin) and an alcoholic military leader (Sam Houston) who proved heroic. But they choreographed a sweeping adventure of passion, grit and turbulence that was the birth of the nation-state of Texas. "The land was enough to excite any man's lust." Allow the words of best-selling author/historian H.W. Brands to stir those same unbridled juices as he reads from his gripping work Lone Star Nation at the Barnes & Noble at 7700 W. Northwest Highway near NorthPark Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. "For better or for worse, Texas was very much like America," Brands says. Vice versa, no doubt. Call 214-739-3643. --Mark Stuertz
Lemmon and Curtis are feelin' hot, hot, hot
Has a movie portrayed cross-dressing as correctly, errr, humorously since Some Like It Hot? It's been 45 years since Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis transformed into Josephine and Daphne to save their lives and pick up some chicks. Really, is there any other reason to wear pantyhose? And, despite many movies' attempts at wringing the gender-bending gimmick for a chuckle, no ensemble has pulled it off so wittily since. So this Valentine's Day, it wins out for the Palace Art Center's Dinner & a Movie in Grapevine, 300 S. Main St. The price of $75 a head will nab a gourmet dinner and trimmings before the flick while cheaper dates can enjoy the movie with dessert and wine for $15. Food service starts at 6:30 p.m. Call 817-410-3100. --Sam Machkovech
Great Danes to the rescue
Great Danes are laughably big dogs. From Marmaduke comics to the Disney movie The Ugly Dachshund, their stature is played for laughs. But despite their oversized adventures, The Great Dane Rescue of North Texas says that with physical activity and attention, they make great house pets. So why would someone adopt these big dogs with big personalities, then abandon them when they exhibit big needs? The Great Dane Rescue doesn't have the answers, but it's dedicated to caring for abandoned, abused or neglected Great Danes while finding them permanent homes. The group's second annual Pancake Breakfast and Auction, called "For the Love of Danes," is 8 a.m. until noon February 14 at the First United Methodist Church, 907 W. Main St., Lewisville. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Auction tables start closing at 11:30 a.m. Items include pet supplies, gift certificates and sports paraphernalia. Call 817-651-2336 or visit www.danerescue.com. --Stephanie Durham
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