Seen in the West Village, Manhattan

My only goal yesterday was to buy a Willa Cather novel. I’ve read My Antonia and O Pioneers, both of which I loved, so I was looking for another to try. First I went to the Strand and then to Barnes & Noble in Union Square. This is inside the Petco which sits at the north end of Union Square. I have never once been able to resist to allure of Petco because it always has animals for adoption. That siamese cat never turned around to face the people. Doesn’t it look sad? If I were going to adopt that would be the cat I’d pick.

Come to think of it, my cat Bleeck looked so sad when I found him at the Humane Society. Sad because they wouldn’t let him torture the other cats, probably.

Adoption Event, Petco, Union Square

I get to Washington Square Park and it’s filled with cops. I think, “Occupy Wall Street event, perhaps?” This is what caused the police presence. A bunch of doctors giving away free medical advice. That’s it. Maybe they arrived there on bikes. (For reasons that are beyond me, the NYPD hates people who ride bikes. I do not get it. I’ve asked them, and they can’t explain it either.)

Occupy Wall Street

These were laying in front of the building where 146 garment workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire on March 25, 1911. Every flower was tagged with the name of someone who had died. Why does this fire haunt me and so many others as much as it does?

I’ve been researching the 1909/1910 garment workers strike. Their demands were fair and reasonable, like safer working conditions, but the strikers were treated terribly and young girls were arrested and thrown into prison. One year later, the fire.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Every time I look up at One World Trade Center I think, “Finish that point, already!!” I can’t wait to see that triangle shape completed. Cather novel quest conclusion: I didn’t get one. But I’ve pretty much decided I’ll get Death Comes to the Archbishop. Maybe. Probably. Oh, I can’t decide. Opinions welcome.

One World Trade Center

I Hope the Gardner Museum Gets the Vermeer Back

Many of you are probably aware of the big art theft that took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. The FBI recently announced that they know who the thieves were. I hope that means the artwork may actually be found and returned.

I went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, which is roughly diagonally across the street from the Gardner Museum. I’ve probably posted about this before, but I used to go to that museum a lot, and what I always did at one point during my visit was sit down and stare at their Vermeer (The Concert). Unlike any other painting I’ve ever viewed in a museum, this one was mounted in a frame that is meant to sit on something rather than against the wall, and in this case it sat on top of a desk. A chair was provided and you could actually sit down right down in front of the painting, just inches away, and look at it at eye-level.

I took advantage of this and stared and stared at this painting, becoming intimate in a way that I rarely could with other famous paintings. There was a time when I probably could have recreated this painting from memory, if I had the talent, which I didn’t, but you get my point.

So I took it very personally when this painting was among those stolen. I don’t want to get into a whole self-righteous rant but it, but fuck you, you asshats, whoever stole it and whoever paid them to steal it. Criminals. I mean, most of us have done things we’re not proud of, and we rationalize our actions, but the mindset and character of people who rise to this level of wrong-doing (and much, much worse; rape, murder). How do you live with yourselves?

I saw this yesterday, on a stoop, I forget the block. Am I in pursuit of magic anymore? I guess in some areas I still am. I’m working very hard on a book proposal that I hope will be magical, albeit very darkly magical. I just googled it and this graffiti is the work of these artists.

In Pursuit of Magic

Nature is too nature-y for me!

I was watching two cute baby eagles being fed, and it was all very sweet until dad show up with what looks like—I swear to god—a dead baby kitten or puppy or something to feed them. If you go there right now (it’s 1-ish) and look at it full screen you’ll see the poor dead thing on the right. (Scroll down, the cam is on the lower right.) The worst is that it died for nothing. The babies totally didn’t like the taste of it.

Good fake doggy. You won’t kill anything, will you?

Plastic Dog

Steven Levy Finds Einstein’s Brain

My friend, Steven Levy, found Einstein’s brain. I love this story. It was 1978, he was 27 years old. It just shows what you can do with a little (or a lot) of persistent digging around. You can solve a cold case murder (Jerry Mitchell, investigative journalist for the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger) or, in Steven’s case, without the benefit of Google, or the internet at all, you can track down the brain of one of the smartest people who ever lived.

Finney Lives to be Tormented Another Day

All good news from the vet, Finney’s blood work is perfect. The vet attributes the weight loss to mostly Bleeck, and a little to my meager efforts to feed him a tad less.

Thank God. Finney does seem happier lately. He’s more active, more affectionate. The weight loss and increased activity have been good for him and he’s probably feeling a lot less discomfort. So even though he barely tolerates the kitten, the little guy has been good for him overall. It’s that parable I love, in cat terms. Here is the Northern Exposure version:

My uncle once told me about a warrior who had a fine stallion. Everybody said how lucky he was to have such a horse.

Maybe, he said.

One day the stallion ran off. The people said the warrior was unlucky.

Maybe, he said.

The next day, the stallion returned, leading a string of fine ponies. The people said it was very lucky.

Maybe, the warrior said.

Later, the warrior’s son was thrown from one of the ponies and broke his leg. The people said it was unlucky.

Maybe, the warrior said.

The next week, the chief led a war party against another tribe. Many young men were killed. But, because of his broken leg, the warrior’s son was left behind, and so was spared.

I’m glad that the fact that Finney is doing so well might all be due to that pain-in-the-ass little guy, the one who chases him from room to room until Finney finally turns around, claws out, looking for all the world like he’s thinking, “For the love of God, take a nap or something.”