Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Thought for the day:  If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?



Ahhhh, Valentines's Day. It's the day after tomorrow, ya know. (Consider this a public service announcement, guys, just in case it slipped your mind.) Yep, the day of loooooove... also of chocolates, red roses, and heart-shaped you-name-its. Oh, and sappy sentimental cards. Mustn't forget the cards.

I'll never forget some of the romantic cards and gifts Smarticus has given me over the years. (sigh) We were all of twelve or thirteen the very first time he wrote a poem (just for me!) in my autograph book. It went like this: Roses are red; violets are blue. You've got a shape like a B-52. I mean, doesn't that send shivers of sheer delight up and down your spine?

We weren't much older that that when he extended a lovely decorated box toward me, smiled seductively, and told me to open it. When I did, I found a barf-worthy severed finger lying atop a fluffy bed of cotton. It was his finger, of course, stuck through a hole in the box bottom and doctored up to look as disgusting as he could make it. Yeah, I know. Smartius was a bit of a farticus in those days.

But, what can I say? I married him anyway. How could I not? He's a gen-u-ine original, and even after all these years, he still knows how to make my heart sing.


Talking about original, have you ever wondered who St. Valentine was and why he's associated with a feast day devoted to love? Why we associate this day with the color red... with red roses in particular... and why we exchange Valentines?

Well, then, you've come to the right place.

Our man Valentine was a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius the Cruel, an emperor with an unholy affinity for declaring war. In fact, this dude's wars were so frequent and so unpopular, it got to where very few men were joining the military. The emperor, who was evidently just as stupid as he was cruel, decided the only reason men weren't rushing to fight his wonderful wars was because they were too darned attached to their wives and family. So he came up with a solution. He banned marriages.

But fear not. Our hero priest continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. That is, until the mean ol' emperor found out about it, and had him killed. By beating, stoning, and then beheading. (Talk about overkill.) Valentine was killed on February 14, 270.

Legend has it that he left a special note for the jailer's daughter, and signed it... from your Valentine. 

So, why the color red, you ask? For obvious reasons, blood red is the color of martyrs. And thanks to the martyred St. Valentine... it also became the color of love. Red roses represent Venus, the goddess of love. And Valentine himself sent the first Valentine card. St. Valentine's feast day was established in 496, but it didn't become recognized as a lovers' holiday and big day of romance until ten centuries later, when popular belief held that the fourteenth of February marked the start of mating season for birds.




So, if you consider Valentine's Day to be for the birds... you aren't entirely wrong.









At right is an example of a 1909 Valentine's Day card, which I found on Wikipedia. As a young girl, I remember buying big fancy cards for my mother... complete with scented stuffed satin hearts and lace around the edges... for the exorbitant price of thirty-five cents. My sweet Smarticus has sent me a bunch of beautiful cards over the years, but he'd still probably be more comfortable with one that said: Roses are red; violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, and so are you... The roses are wilting; the violets are dead. The sugar bowl's empty, and so is your head.

Just kidding. He's actually quite the romantic. (But I sure am glad he didn't know about St. Valentine losing his head over love when we were kids. The finger was bad enough.)

He's outgrown sending this kind of card, but he isn't above laughing at them. Neither am I. With sincere thanks to our friend and fellow amateur radio operator Bill, who sent these cards to me, I present to you cards some of the world's most notorious despots might have sent, because ya know... even bad guys need love.




Trying to forget someone you love is like trying to remember someone you never met.

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in muddy boots.

Lots of things are considered aphrodisiacs... like big red juicy strawberries, and rich dark chocolate... or better yet, big red juicy strawberries dipped in rich dark chocolate...

Um, where was I?

Oh, yeah. I wanted to tell you guys about one of the best aphrodisiacs of all time. Wanta put your lady love in the mood? Do the dinner dishes. I tell ya, nothing is as sexy to a woman as seeing her man tackling a load of dishes  while she's in the easy chair with her feet propped up... eating strawberries dipped in chocolate. Or if ya reeeeeally want to make her weak in the knees... clean the toilet bowl. 

Put a lotta love in your heart


Anyhow, whether you celebrate in a small way, or whether you go reeeally BIG...

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all. But wouldn't it be nice if we celebrated love...  every day?







                                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


Never go to bed mad--- stay up and fight.  [Phyllis Diller]

65 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're not fooling me. I'll bet you're a true romantic.

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  2. A B-52? And yet you married him. NOw that's a love story!

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    1. Yeah, I mean, at least he could've compared me to something sexy like a B-1 or a Blackbird. (Only they hadn't been invented yet...)

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  3. No wonder you married Smarticus. A real troubadour.
    I love the.... Trotsky thinks you're hotsky. Actually they are all funny. Ha
    Great history lesson.
    We can be thankful his name was Valentine. What if it was Smith or Jones? Would you be my Jones? Won't fly.
    Have a loving, sweet Valentine's Day

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    1. Yeah, you made a good point. What if is name was Homey? It just wouldn't have the same appeal. "Yo! Be my Homey?"

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  4. People who know my wife and me have often wondered why I do not make a big thing about Valentines. As the guys rush out to buy flowers and jewerly for their wives they see me blowing off this whole "holiday."

    Truth be told I have long since learned, the hard way. My wife likes store bought flowers for about a minute but gets upset for a whole lot longer at their cost. And as far as jewerly goes I have never known her to wear but the very minimum at social affairs and frankly looks askew at how over the top some women can be with the glittery rocks.

    No, what sends my wife into the stratophere is some damn new gourmet kitchen appliance, which after one or two uses is stored away and left to gather dust. I swear just for giggles, and if I have time I might takes some pictures of her collection and post them. I keep making threats to sell them on eBay but my wife has told me that could be unhealthy.

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    1. I understand where your wife is coming from. The only traditional Valentine's gift that floats my boat is a box of chocolates, but since I've packed on extra pounds I don't need, I've requested that we skip the candy this year. Don't wear perfume or much jewelry. Love flowers, but would just as soon receive them out of the blue on some random day than on a day dictated by the calendar. We're happy exchanging cards and going out somewhere for the day, followed by a nice dinner. He sticks to really sweet cards, but I must confess, I go for an off-the-wall one AND a sweet one. Works for us.

      As for your wife's love for kitchen gadgets, um, I got nothing. Contrary to popular advice, some of my favorite gifts over the years have plugs attached to them, but I actually use them. Then again, you could think of your wife's appliances as a hobby. Lots of people collect things, right?

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  5. Hi Susan .. love Smarticus take on life - and wonderful that he's still around - young love and all that ... oh yes and I have a special Valentine - it spans the ages - but you need to wait until the 14th ... as I need pancakes first .. pancake today!!

    It's always fascinating to read the lore behind the names .. poor old chap perhaps he was better off than being hung, drawn and quartered and then spiked up?!

    I think I'll stick to strawberries now ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi, Hilary.

      Yeah, Smarticus definitely has a unique outlook on life. We don't always agree, but we can usually find a way to laugh about it.

      Pancakes, huh? Hmmm, maybe with strawberries and whipped cream on top...

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  6. Absolutely delightful, Susan. And educational --didn't know Valentine's whole story. I'm surprised you called Claudius the Cruel "dude" but no offense taken.

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    1. Thanks, dude. Glad you enjoyed it, dude. Sorry about calling you-know-who you-know-what... but I called you that most honorable name TWICE. (Make up for it... dude?)

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  7. Okay, I'll admit it. I'm completely overwhelmed and I'm seeing red. In a good way, of course. Thanks for reminding me that Valentine's Day is nearly here. I have no need to panic, since I presently have no Valentine (hard to believe, isn't it?).
    I love all the photos, especially those two love birds.

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    1. Lucky for me, red is my favorite color. No Valentine? No problem. Do something really nice for YOURSELF, cowboy.

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  8. I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day, but I love the adorable puppy and the love birds.

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    1. You aren't alone. Lots of people aren't fans. But I'm glad you liked the puppy and birds, anyway.

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  9. After working in a floral shop for several years and seeing how people truly feel about valentines day I really can't celebrate the holiday anymore. Hubby and I decided just to celebrate our love everyday. And honestly, my favorite is when he does the dishes for me. I loved all the info on the origins of the holiday, though.

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    1. Really? It's kinda disheartening (No pun intended.) to think people buy flowers "under duress". I'd rather never get a gift than to think it had been purchased begrudgingly. In fact, that's what I've been trying to tell my husband for years: gifts given on dates dictated by a calendar aren't nearly as meaningful as something freely given for no particular reason at all. So, I'm with you. Every day is worthy of celebration.

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    2. It was very disheartening. I truly worried for so many people's relationships. You can tell by attitudes when things won't last. And there were lots of times I hoped it didn't because no one should have to put up with certain things.

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  10. It sounds like you married the perfect fellow. You are two of a kind.

    My hubby is more romantic on Valentine's day than I am. I always try to find the funniest Shoebox card that I can find. Hubby always gets me two cards, one trying to top my funny card, and one lovey, dovey card that is sweet but really does not fit the personality I see the other 364 days in the year. They are always accompanied by red roses. This year I also bought him a gift of handmade beautiful chocolate candies. I am hoping he will share.

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    1. Oh, I LOVE what you say about the sappy declarations in the lovey-dovey card not matching the personality you see the rest of the year. I suspect most of us can relate to that.

      If he doesn't share those chocolates, treat yourself to some of your own.

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  11. Ha! My brothers taught me that finger trick, and I had a great time "gifting" my friends with it.

    You and Smarticus were obviously meant for each other. :)

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    1. Oh, NO! YOU did the finger trick, too???

      No wonder I like you so much...

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  12. This post is chock full o' Valentines trivia that I never knew (mating season for birds???). Thanks for all the fun tidbits and it sounds like you and your guy were meant to be! Me and the hubs aren't doing anything for V-day this year. Our teenager, however, will be given flowers and will be wined (or coca-cola'ed) and dined at a local restaurant. Teenage boyfriends are so naive :) My husband keeps wanting to tell him, "Keep it low key! Set the expectations LOWER, man!" I keep wanting to tell my stepdaughter, "Hey, enjoy it while it lasts :) College boyfriends treat you to Ramen noodles"

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    1. HA! You've got it right about setting the expectation bar low. Nothing like the foolish guy who gives his wife a mink coat or Hawaiian vacation for their first anniversary. (It's the PAPER anniversary, man! Get her a CARD!)

      Nuttin wrong with Ramen noodles...

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  13. Love this post, Susan. Happy Valentine's Day in advance.
    Karen

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    1. Thanks. And a very Happy Chocolate Day to you, too.

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  14. Some of that I knew
    Some of it is new
    A cheat rhyme there
    But I don't care
    As I hate that day
    Commercialized crap I say
    If you want to show love do it every day
    Not just once a year at ones bay
    For a guy in a diaper filled with ummm poo
    Or is it chocalate instead of stuff which goes in the loo?
    Either way, ruined now
    From my little rhyming meow

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    1. Oh, dear, why hate the day?
      Surely there's another way.
      Go to bed tomorrow,
      And instead of the next day's sorrow,
      Just take a pill... and chill.
      And sleep away 'til Friday.

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  15. Very educational post! I had no knowledge of the history/origin of Valentine's Day. You're right though when you say we should celebrate love EVERY day, not just one day per year :)

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    1. You are a true romantic. The young ladies at your college must fall all over you.

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  16. Well I think maybe romance has died over here but we will take our daughter and our grandchildren out for dinner and we have a little something for the kids. Happy Valentines Day.

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    1. Romance hasn't died. It's just taking a nap.

      Have a wonderful day with the family.

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  17. LOVE it. ;-) hehe. Your hubby is too funny. That first poem he wrote was awesome. That puppy picture up top made my heart melt and the birds. Then I saw the strawberries and now I can't focus....need berries dipped in chocolate!! Happy LOVE week!

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    1. Thanks. Yeah, he was the class clown when we were kids, and he still has his moments. (He makes ME laugh, anyway.)

      I hope you get your strawberries dipped in chocolate, kiddo. Happy love week to you, too.

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  18. May I use your Phyllis diller comment

    I absolutely LOVE IT X

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    1. But of course, my dear. Anyone with a chicken named Phyllis Diller can use her quotes quite freely.

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  19. I emailed your opening quote to some people I thought might love it as much as me.

    I think the best aphrodisiac is conversation. I really do. I love to talk Physics and Philosophy with my husband, and it's been that way ever since our first year of marriage. I have this memory of a night, before we were pregnant with our daughter, of eating in Katz's Deli in Houston -- big, old NY-style sandwiches and then cheesecake and coffee for dessert. We talked for literally hours, then went home and talked some more. 'N then other stuff. :)

    Life is fuller, now, with more demands. But nerdy pillow talk still does it for me. Every time.

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    1. I'll tell you a secret. Good conversation is high on my list, too. Nothing is more stimulating to me than an intelligent exchange of ideas. After all of these years, my hubby and I still spend some nights talking into the wee hours of the morning. When my mother was still alive, she couldn't believe it. She thought we'd have run out of things to talk about...

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  20. Oh I love Smarticus. Always marry a man with a sense of humour, I always say...well I don't always say that...I just usually shout GIN!

    Those cards featuring despotic rulers, are SO wrong on So many different levels, yet utterly hilarious. :)

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    1. Yeah, me, too. Intelligence and a sense of humor make for the perfect package, (The outer wrapping's nice, too, but not the most important thing.)

      Somehow, I kinda figured you'd like those cards...

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  21. I told Elvis Aaron Schwarz that we shouldn't give each other gifts for Valentine's Day -- that it would be more romantic to write love notes to each other. He said, Uh, actually, I've never given anybody anything for Valentine's Day. Thank goodness I don't have to worry that roses and candy will arrive at my door. The roses would just die and the candy would live forever -- on my butt.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Ooooh, I love the idea of exchanging romantic note. (Shhhh, Smarticus and I have done that before, too.)

      Happy Love Day, kiddo.

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  22. Well, you've gone and made me all romantic. Thanks for the lovely pictures, the humor and bit of history.

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    1. Romantic is... good! Let the good times roll.

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  23. Fun Valentine's post!
    Have a great one :)

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  24. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Smarticus!

    My husband once asked me if I expected a card for Valentine's Day. I told him to look at the biggest, bestest, reddest card in the store, then turn it over to look at the price. That is how much money he should spend on chocolate for me. And then I told him that if he bought it the day after Valentine's Day, he'd get TWICE as much chocolate...and that would make me twice as happy.

    Lucky for me, he's a very good listener.

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    1. Oh, aren't you a smarty!? And so is your hubby, for listening to you.

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  25. That's a great story about St Valentine, somehow I never heard the story before. I have a bag of Ghirardelli dark waiting, and a couple friends will be by for lunch. We're all Valentine-less this year, but that's happened enough times to not matter anymore. It's become an unofficial Beatles Love Song Day for me.
    Have a Happy VD!

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    1. I'd be all in on that bag of dark chocolate, and I always enjoy hanging out with friends, no matter what day it is, but for me, a little bit of Beatles goes a long way. But whatever floats your boat, cupcake. Have fun!

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  26. SUSAN ~

    >> . . . We were all of twelve or thirteen the very first time he wrote a poem (just for me!) in my autograph book.

    Whoa! Seriously? You and your husband-to-be knew each other when you were twelve or thirteen?

    I think that is . . . SO COOL!

    I gotta tell ya . . . I ab-uh-loo’-ly loved the Dictators’ Valentine Cards. There’s pretty much no question about whether or not I’m gonna steal that from you at some point and post it on my own blog.

    Ya know, it was THIS particular blog bit of yours that finally caused me to make 'The Big Connection':

    In the short time I’ve been reading your blog there was something kinda familiar about it to me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I was thinking: It’s fun; it’s entertaining; it’s informative; and... it’s like another blog I like. But WHICH blog is THAT, damn-it?

    And then, for whatever reason, THIS particular blog bit made the thrashed and teeth-busted gears in my mind suddenly “click” into place and I thought: Ah-Ha! Eureka! I have found it!

    The installments on your blog remind me so much of Julie Fedderson’s blog, ‘Gypsy In My Soul’, which I regularly read and enjoyed until she completely stopped blogging about 5 months ago.

    In fact, your blog is SO MUCH LIKE Julie’s old blog that the Conspiratorial Crevice in my mind (which MUST always be filled with something) causes me to wonder if... you ARE Julie Fedderson. (?)

    Ah-Ha! Busted, aren’t ya? What did you do, enter the Federal Witness Protection Program as Julie Fedderson (two / three syllables) five months ago, and emerge as Susan Swiderski (two / three syllables)?

    Name change notwithstanding, I have equally enjoyed BOTH of your blogs - ‘I THINK; THEREFORE, I YAM’ and ‘GYPSY IN MY SOUL’.

    Julie/Susan, you a good blogger!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

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    1. Yeah, Smarticus and I share a long history. As we get older, it sure comes in handy, too, because when one of us can't remember something, the other one usually can. (Between us, we have one pretty good brain!)

      Help yourself to the dictators' Valentines.

      HA! I hate to bust your conspiracy bubble, but I must categorically deny any connection whatsoever to this person-I-have-never-met Julie. (wink, wink) However, I did a quick recon on this person-I-have-never-met's blog, and enjoyed what I found there, so I do appreciate the comparison. I reluctantly must plead guilty, however, to having green eyes... a purely coincidental shared trait with that other lady in question. No relationship at all. No, sirree...

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    2. Uh-Huh. Sure, sure. Just exactly what I knew you'd say. Denial is always the guilty party's first response.

      But, seriously... did you see how much her blog and your blog are alike? I think you MUST have been reading her stuff and thinking something like: Gee! Her style and my style ARE like... identical twins separated at birth!

      If you won't admit that much, then I KNOW you are really Julie Fedderson in disguise!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Nope, if anything, SHE is ME in disguise. After all, I'm the old fartessa in this equation.

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  27. omg, I love that first poem smarticus sent to you. I think you two were destined to be together :)

    And I did not know the origins of Valentines Day. Thank you!

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    1. HA! Glad ya liked it. At that age, I guess getting any kind of attention from him, even if it meant being compared to a mega-sized airplane, was enough to set me into a tizzy,

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  28. Susan, this post is FULL of great stuff. I think you and Smarticus were meant for each other. You both have a wonderful sense of humor. :)

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya liked it. At least, we have similar senses of humor. That may sometimes mean we're the only ones laughing, but it works for us.

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  29. I love the poem and gift smarticus gave you! That's a man after my own heart LOL.
    I had no idea the history of Valentine's was so ghoulish. That makes it kind of creepy to me!

    I absolutely LOVE the pup at the top of your page. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Smarticus both. :)

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    1. Not too creepy to eat candy, I trust?

      Happy Valentine's Day to you, too.

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  30. Susan-

    I always find it interesting how people who profess to be agnostic or atheist still celebrate a holiday named for a Catholic saint.

    Isn't that hypocritical?

    Thanks for the photo of the Love sculpture-I used to pass it daily getting off the subway...

    Larry

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    1. I'll betcha plenty of agnostics/atheists hunt for Easter eggs, and celebrate Christmas, too.

      Oh, neat that you saw that Love sculpture in person. DOH! Of course... the "City of Brotherly Love", right?

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  31. Aww for Smarticus. My husband read me a poem when we were dating. Yesterday he was romantic by going out to the store to get me zicam and nyquil. Yay.

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