I bought a cupcake. For Obama.

I heard the Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns on WQXR the other day, and realized I know nothing about him. Looking him up now … oh, the saddest part of his Wikipedia entry:

In 1875, nearing forty, Saint-Saëns married Marie Laure Emile Truffot, who was just 19. They had two sons, both of whom died in 1878, within six weeks of each other, one from an illness, the other upon falling out of a fourth-story window. For the latter death Saint-Saëns blamed his wife, and when they went on vacation together in 1881 he simply disappeared one day. A separation order was enacted, but they never divorced.

I wonder whatever happened to Marie Laure Emile Truffot. Googling turns up that same small piece of information over and over. According to one French genealogy site, she died in 1950 having never married again. Well, I guess she couldn’t if they never divorced. How sad for the both of them. He took three years to disappear one day. It makes me think they tried to get past it. But it’s hard to get over the death of a child, never mind two within six weeks of each other. What was the rest of Marie’s life like? Did she have friends and lovers? Did she blame herself for her second child’s death for the rest of her life, too? Surely someone has written about her.

Oh here’s something interesting about Saint-Saëns. Apparently, he “called for a suppression of all German music during World War I.” Coincidentally, in my book I have a small section about a similar movement in America during WWII, and I belittle the attempt. Interesting that a French composer tried to do the same thing.

There was a bake sale in the Bleecker Street playground the other day, and of course I had to buy a cupcake. I’m going to tell Bleeck (my new kitten) that the playground and the street are named in his honor, for he is the most fabulous new kitten in the West Village.

Twitter Followers

I haven’t really made an effort to gather Twitter followers, because there’s only so much effort one can put into getting people to read you, listen to you, link to you, like you, follow you, etc. Either they come across you and like what they see or read or they don’t. Period.

I have a book coming out however, so I have to give it a little more thought. The first thing I notice is how many people have thousands of Twitter followers and I have, well, a few hundred. SO embarrassing. If anyone has advice about how to get more followers I’d love to hear it.

I started trying to change the look of my Twitter page, but I’m having technical difficulties. Of course. Moan, groan, nothing is ever easy, blah-blah-blah.

Some performers at Union Square. I was sitting on the steps behind them so I couldn’t hear what they were saying to the gathering crowd. It seemed like they were basically saying or doing (and wearing) anything to get people to watch. Given the topic of this post, featuring them seems appropriate.

Thomas Jefferson You’re Breaking My Heart

I am absolutely shaken and freaked out about this article in the Smithsonian magazine about Thomas Jefferson the slave-owner. You have to read it to the end.

It is well known that Jefferson owned slaves, slept with his slaves, etc. But he has always been portrayed as a reluctant, mostly benevolent slave owner, who abhored the situation, but was kinda trapped and always trying to figure a humane way out, and apparently that wasn’t at all true.

Not only was he cruel and allowed horrendous cruelties to continue, and specifically barbaric treatment of children, it was in order to continue to make profits, and profits over and above what he needed. When offered a way out—the money he needed to free his slaves and to be able to continue to maintain his house and life style—he declined.

Maybe someone will come along and refute this research, but it’s horrible on the face of it. I have to completely revisit everything I thought I knew about Jefferson.

One World Trade Center minutes before I heard there was a tornado watch in New York City. (End times.)

We Need a Different kind of Pet Death Book

Yesterday afternoon I finished reading Wallace Sife’s, The Loss of a Pet. Actually, I mostly skimmed it, and while it was very well done and there was some good information in there it wasn’t for me. I need a more straightforward presentation. Something along the lines of:

For the first week you can barely breath. If you’re like me and agnostic you almost wish God existed so you can find him and rip his throat out for inventing this whole death thing. Assuming God has a throat. Because wouldn’t it be just like God to not have a throat, to have nothing for you to rip out? I mean, this is the person who made death possible. Jerk. (Unless there really is this incredible place called Heaven, in which case I apologize for the whole “jerk” thing.)

You don’t want to tell people, even pet people, just how deeply bad you feel because then they’d know you are insane. And you are insane. I mean, come on. It’s the only natural response to losing something so wonderful in your life. How on earth are you supposed to be able to breath again in a world without your pet in it. It’s unthinkable that they’re no longer here. This can’t have happened.

Yes it will pass. No, you’ll never quite recover, but life will be happy again. Also, get a new pet.

Actually, I think I wrote something very much like that in Waiting For My Cats to Die. But I still think there needs to be a more blunt book that is only about coping with the death of a pet. My Waiting book is about many other things in addition to losing a pet.

I get so sad when Bleeck inserts himself into the spots that were formerly occupied by Buddy. Buddy was always the one to lay on my work. There’s a lot of evidence of this in my Buddy tribute movie, which is almost done. But I need to let Bleeck be Bleeck, to claim his spots in the world and in my heart.

So, there’s more to be said about this transition phase, when you start to feel okay again, but still are capable of crushing, choking sadness. Also …

… what on earth is more precious than tiny kitten tongue?

The Emmys

I love The Emmys even though they are utter bullshit (Buffy never winning, for instance, although I think it won something for the episode with no sound or dialogue). I don’t think I’ll live blog the Emmys this year. Buddy was always curled up with me for that and well, the idea of doing it this year makes me sad. Maybe I will change my mind, though.

On an entirely different note (although still sad), I just read that suicide has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. I mean for the love of God. From the article I linked to:

The top five leading causes of injury-related deaths were:

Motor vehicle crashes

Seen on Elk Street, as I was leaving the Municipal Archives.