Still Fab After 50

Amazingly, more than 50 years after the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released during the summer of 1967, the iconic photo of the Fab Four from the album towers over the Las Vegas strip. The Cirque du Soleil show Love, which features Beatles music, is one of the most popular shows in town.

The Beatles’ music may not prove to be literally timeless, but it has held up pretty well for more than a half century and obviously is still going strong.

Love Lock Block

When Richard and I visited Paris some years ago, I wrote about the Pont des Arts bridge and the growing practice of lovers fastening locks with their names to the fencing along the bridge to physically represent their commitment to each other.  I thought it was a cool and romantic practice, and one of my friends who went to Paris thereafter specifically visited the bridge with her spouse so they could add their lock to the collection.

Now it looks like Paris city officials will bring an end to the practice.  Basically, the locks are overwhelming the bridge, and preservationists are squawking about both the weight of the accumulated locks and the appearance they create.  (And, parenthetically, there are a lot more locks there than when Richard and I crossed the bridge in 2011.  In fact, there are so many locks affixed to the fencing it’s hard to imagine there is any room to add new locks.)

The Paris powers-that-be are looking at replacing the fencing with some kind of thick glass partition that won’t provide any kind of lock attachment opportunity.  I think that decision is a mistake.  It’s hard to believe that a glass partition is going to be more attractive than the appearance of the lock-crusted fencing, and it certainly isn’t going to add to the historic authenticity of the bridge.  And if Paris is for lovers — and the lock onslaught certainly suggests that it is — what better way to demonstrate that than to allow lovers to leave a little token of their ardor in the City of Lights, and to leave it there for them to visit in the years to come?

Not A Hand Holder

Should all couples hold hands?  Kish’s sister Heidi believes that holding hands is crucial to a lasting romantic relationship.  Kish and I respectfully disagree.  We think it’s nice to see young couples with fingers intertwined and seniors doddering along with hands linked, but don’t expect us to do it.

My disaffinity for holding hands stems from biology and experience.  The unfortunate reality is that my hands sweat in any hand-holding scenario.  When I was in high school and tried to hold hands with a girl, I felt my hands getting damp, which made me self-conscious, which made my hands sweat all the more.  When I noticed my kind-hearted date trying to surreptitiously wipe off her oily palms on napkins, coat sleeves, curtains, and at every other opportunity, I realized that holding hands probably wasn’t going to increase my chances at meaningful romance.

The experience came from a high school first date that involved a long drive to an event.  My date grabbed my hand as we left and I drove left-handed, becoming increasingly uncomfortable because my right hand was locked into position.  Once you’ve started holding hands, you can’t really retreat without making it seem like a kind of rebuke.  So we drove along, chatting superficially, while I directed every ounce of self-awareness at my immobilized right hand.  What you are supposed to do in such a long-term hand-holding scenario?  Tickle the girl’s palm?  Do “this is the church, this is the steeple” to keep your wrist muscles from spasming?

So, I’ve long ago sworn off hand-holding, and fortunately the love of my life isn’t a hand-holder, either.  Sometimes she’ll hold my arm as we walk along, and that suits us just fine.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

This is why I love the Leader.  Yesterday, she brought me a bone.  The Leader understands me.  She knows I love to chew and eat bones.  Who doesn’t?

IMG_4705The Leader knows that bones make me happy, and sleepy.  So, when the Leader brings me a bone, I know she wants me to be happy.  How can you not love someone who always does things to make you happy?  That’s what I think, anyway.

The Leader also feeds me every morning and every night.  The Leader throws a snack to Kasey and me when she leaves, and gives us a hug and a kiss when she comes home.  The Leader smells good, too — unlike the old boring guy.  Sorry about that, old boring guy!  The truth hurts, I guess!

Bones are not the only reason I love the Leader, but they show why I love her.

In Defense Of Marriage — For Everyone

Last night Kish and I attended the wedding of a friend’s daughter.  It was a lovely ceremony.  We heard, once again, the familiar words of St. Paul’s epistle about love and the importance of selfless commitment in loving human relationships.

IMG_4033Those of us in the audience who are happily married reflected, once again, on how fortunate we are to have found someone with whom we can share our lives.  Marriage allows us to make the ultimate pledge to our loved one and to go forward as partners.  There is no doubt that successful marriages enrich the lives of both spouses.  They say that two heads are better than one, and it’s true . . . but then, for the most part, two people are better than one.  It’s wonderful to have that special lover, partner, and friend that you can confide in and consult with, who will gently coach you on how to smooth your rough edges, who will work and sacrifice to make your collective lives better, and who will always have your back.  You can’t help but feel a certain blessed, happy pride that you are part of such a relationship.

When you get married, you don’t necessarily think about the legal aspects of the decision, but they nevertheless are part of the bedrock on which marriages are built.  Marriage is a legal commitment that, once undertaken, can only be undone by another legal action.  The legal aspect gives marriage a formality that distinguishes it from more casual relationships.  And the other legal benefits and rights that go with marriage — be they tax breaks, insurance advantages, pension preferences, or one of the many other consequences built into federal and state law, 401(k) plans, and the other welter of documents and provisions that govern modern life — make working together as a team much, much easier.

I’m a big fan of marriage, and I think it should be encouraged whenever couples have decided, after mature reflection, that they have found that special person.  That’s why I support same-sex marriage.  Marriage has made my life immeasurably better.  Why shouldn’t every couple, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the same opportunity for lifelong happiness?

Love — Or “Political Compatibility”?

A study recently was released that indicates that a compatible “political ideology” is one of the strongest scoring factors that people look for in deciding who will be their spouses.  The only factor that gets a stronger score, according to the study, is how often the individuals in question go to church.

I’m a bit skeptical of this study — and not just because my lovely wife of 29 years and I do not share the same political views.  The study notes that political compatibility is a more important factor than matching physical characteristics, such as body shape, height, and weight, or matching personality traits, like introversion or impulsiveness.  That may be true, but so what?  Do you know anyone who selected their mate because they shared similar looks?  I don’t.  In fact, I think those would be pretty darned weird selection criteria.  Why would I want marry someone who looked like me (God forbid!) or acted like me (even worse!)?  It may simply be that “political compatibility” scored better than criteria that scientists apparently made up for testing purposes but that no one uses in real life.

Kish and I aren’t exactly at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but we do have different views.  It’s not a problem, and I think one reason for that is that we just don’t consider politics to be that crucial.  It certainly isn’t as important as other qualities that you would want in your spouse.  Anybody who is limiting their range of potential partners because of political views is being very short-sighted — and also isn’t recognizing that political views can change over time.

Incidentally, the study also says that parents play a strong role in shaping their kids’ political views.  In that respect, too, the Webners are out of step.  Neither Richard nor Russell agrees with me on politics, either — yet somehow we all manage to get along.