Mickey and Sylvia (did they even have last names?) said it all in their big '50s chartbuster, "Love Is Strange."

That's it, right there: Love Is Strange.

It's blind, but it will find a way to make the world go round, and at first sight, too. Strange.

It supports an entire industry composed of fortune-tellers, bartenders, desk clerks, Las Vegas ministers of the non-denominational faith, psychictrists and piano players sitting behind brandy snifters stuffed with dollar bills.

Puppy love. Calf love. We love not wisely but too well and all is fair . . . and leave'em. . . .

Researchers at John Hopkins and the University of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Bridgeport have recently published scholarly dissertations on love. Previous researching include Shakespeare, Tolstop, Verdi . . . why even brother to finish the list?

Except to say, as those tales prove, that it would as well end with Mickey and Sylvia, whose names will live ever -- unlike some of the following, which have been changed, along with certain identifying details. To protect whateven movements of privacty love leaves behind. Love is strange.

Last year my brother sent me the first Valentine card ever. It was affectionate and a little sly and it had a fox on it, which is by way of being a real compliment because my brother never likes to say anything about how you look.

My brother is five years or so older than I am, and he always has been. I mean he never let me forget it. He always told me to look sharp in case he wanted me to go out with one of his friends or something, but he always chased them off (one of his brothers only told me that a couple of years ago).

He was 18 when our mother died, and I was 13, and he seemed very much better at it all than I was.That's about when he started talking to me at all. After I was 21 it got better and I stood up with him at his wedding a couple of years ago, and last Christmas he gave me a woven satin scarf because he said I was the only woman he knew decadent enough to wear it. He knows I think decadence is sexy.

Now sometimes when I go home for a visit or weddings, he kisses me hello, and I want to tell him how I always thought he was so wonderful and suave and popular, and that I adore him. I'm going to. Looking sharp.