Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Just Don't Get It

Earlier today I had a really good cupcake. I mean, it was the real deal: dense, moist yellow cake topped with a big swirl of the most sinfully good cream cheese frosting I’ve had in… maybe forever. It was offered to me on a tray full of other cupcakes, several of them of the red velvet variety. Now I have nothing against red velvet cake: it’s cake with red food coloring, right? Or is there some magical ingredient I’m unaware of that imparts a unique flavor/consistency/aura? I hear beet juice is often used as a colorant, which I guess would give it a certain taste. In any case, I’ve had red velvet cake. It was okay. But I don’t get the mania. I liked my cupcake better. In any case, it got me to thinking of some of the other things I just don’t get. Such as:

1.       TV “seasons”: Time was, youngsters, when there were three TV networks. The networks produced TV series which started somewhere around September and ran most of the year. During the summer there were reruns, from which we get the term “summer reruns”, not much in use anymore. With the advent of 1,096 cable channels came the age of what seems like hundreds of TV series. “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “Drop Dead Diva”, “Psych”, “Monk”, etc., etc. etc. And with all those series the whole concept of the “TV season” went pretty much out the window, except on the three still-existing networks, where the “season” seems to be getting shorter and shorter. Meanwhile, shows like “Burn Notice” and “Suits” trumpet their season premieres with a lot of fanfare and hype, and at any time of the year, or so it seems. And then, just when you’re all ready for a hefty “season” of your favorite show, comes the breathless announcement of the season finale. What the hell? Seems like five or six shows constitute a “season” now. Then it’s over and you have to wait a year and a half for the next five-installment “season”. And let me tell you, after waiting almost a year for the next installments of, for example, “Mad Men”, it doesn’t seem quite so special any more. Or maybe that’s just me. In any case, I don’t get it.

2.       Twitter: I understand from journalist friends that it’s a valuable tool for them, but for the vast, unwashed majority of us – I’m not convinced. Aren’t there enough social networks out there -- Facebook and  Pinterest and Formspring, e.g. --  to keep everyone, everywhere up-to-date on every little thing I may be thinking or doing, or thinking of doing every minute? Not to mention sites like Ning and Google+ and GovLoop and Hotlist and something called Frühstückstreff. (I’m not making it up.) Must I also tweet my life away in excruciating detail? Twitter: convince me.

3.       Finally, Kathy Lee Gifford: Forever perky, infamously impish and preternaturally youthful, Kathy Lee just won’t go away. She always seems to have a TV “gig” going: currently on “Today” with someone named Hoda Kotb, and for years and years with good old Regis Philbin. Hard-working and long-suffering after the revelation of her husband’s extra-marital affairs some years ago, she at one time somehow managed to keep her children out of the public eye, while simultaneously foisting them on us at every turn. A neat trick. Apparently blessed with the shelf life of SPAM, Kathy Lee can do it all. But I, for one, just don’t get it.

Monday, June 24, 2013


It's almost two weeks now since we had to put our beloved Kona to sleep. We had taken him to the vet since his breathing had become shallow and labored and he didn't seem to have the same energy he usually had: he had almost stopped greeting me at the door and he had long since stopped waking us up at 4:30 like a gray-furred alarm clock. So we thought, "We'll just have him looked at and get some meds or something, then take him home and go out to the diner." So much for the plans.

Congestive heart failure was the final diagnosis. The vet was very nice, but very matter-of-fact when she came to show us the x-rays. "It isn't good news," she said. It would have been possible -- just possible -- to keep him alive a while longer after who knows how many "extraordinary measures"... 

And so we made the decision.

When our previous cat, Mehitabel, passed I remember being surprised at how much I missed her. And she had really been Chris's cat for 20 years. But Kona was ours. We had driven him home from Hoboken, from the family who could no longer keep him because their little boy was allergic and they were expecting a new baby. We had watched and waited while he grew accustomed to the new surroundings and the new humans and were ecstatic when he finally started approaching us to be scratched or petted or to curl up in our laps to nap or watch TV with us.

I'm still not entirely used to being able to open the apartment door without having to worry that he'll dart out into the hall and down the stairs. I miss saying "Hey, you!" by way of greeting when I come home at the end of the day. I still get a little teary thinking about him. How close we become to these little critters -- more than pets, they become friends, confidantes. 

I suspect he's still with us somehow. Somewhere. But oh, how attached we become.