On July 23, 2011, I recited these design stories at the Boston Globe for my friends at Ink, stories inspired by the work of Frederick Law Olmsted and the impact his legacy has had on my life in particular, and three American cities – Seattle, DC, and Baltimore – in general. Each story takes place in a natural urban setting influenced or designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. This is the fourth essay in a collection of eight.
This essay originally published here on August 12, 2008.
Sunday, July 27 – Well, this week was prolly a hellish one for all those Olympians who have to like, swim and run and jump and wrestle and cycle and fence and flip their bodies all over mats for hours a day just to have a chance at winning a disc of some lame precious metal.
Ja. No, thanks. Oslo and Mies and I will just stick to running three times a week with our Nike Plus. Which we were gonna do today until Oslo and Mies and I walked into a hornets’ nest by accident. We were in the woods near Mass Ave when I heard Oslo yelp and turned to see a bunch of hornets swarmed all over his back. He was yelping and jumping around, just like Mary Lou Retton doing her floor routine. Meanwhile, Mies and I were just trying to get the hell out of there! With Oslo in tow of course, minus the damn hornets. In the end, he ended up with 14 stings, Mies had 10, and…lucky me…only one.
Mon, July 28 – As the Olympians were all doing their sit-ups to get ready and the Chinese were passing out HAZMAT masks while trying to figure out how to get rid of all the goddamn smog, the Associated Press reported that four people in Iowa were jailed for trying to make a citizen’s arrest of former White House scumbag Karl Rove:
(AP) Des Moines police arrested four people Friday who attempted a citizen’s arrest of former White House adviser Karl Rove.
A news release says a retired minister and three members of the Des Moines Catholic Workers community were cited for trespassing and released. The four accused Rove of election fraud and conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud the United States in the time before the Iraq war. The arrest complaint also says they accused Rove of treason, sedition and subversive activities for fraudulent acts leading to the deaths of 300,000 Iraqi civilians and 4,000 U.S. Military personnel.
Mies, who couldn’t care less about Karl Rove, was very interested in the concept of a citizen’s arrest. He was hoping he and Olso could perform one on the dogs in our building. As far as they’re both concerned, Oslo is the boss of this condo complex and all dogs who enter are trespassing, whether their owners live here or not.
Tues, July 29 – Nothing happened today.
Wed, July 30 – While these four people were jilted in their attempts at justice, Oslo decided to mete out some justice of his own. For what reason, I’m not sure. Anyway, he decided to defecate right outside the Norwegian embassy this morning, precisely at the feet of the Queen of Norway’s bronze statue. In broad daylight. On Massachusetts Avenue.
Hmmmm, my only guess is that he doesn’t like his name? Maybe we should have called him Berlin or Düsseldorf instead.
Thurs, July 31 – In today’s news, that little bastard Mies had it with the lack of good coffee here in DC and got into my bag of organic, free-trade coffee beans that were accidentally left on the counter. But that pales in comparison to what a box turtle got into at Rock Creek Park, as reported in the Washington Post:
Ken Ferebee, a National Park Service researcher, has been monitoring Turtle No. 72 for seven years, occasionally venturing into the woods to see her. Since Turtle No. 72′s purpose in life is limited pretty much to finding a berry or bug to nibble on, there’s no telling where in her roughly 50-acre range she might wander on a given day.
A few weeks ago, her little turtle brain guided her to a sun-splashed clearing deep in the woods. And that’s where she was on the afternoon of July 14 — at the northern end of the 1,754-acre main park, far from any trail — when Ferebee, for the first time in nine days, decided to pay her a visit.
“I was walking in the woods, following the signal with my receiver, trying to find the turtle, and I walked into an area where some large trees had fallen down,” he recalled yesterday. “So there’s a big hole in the tree canopy, so there’s a lot of light getting down to the ground, and there’s a lot of vegetation growing there.”
He saw Turtle No. 72 in the clearing and moved toward her.
“But as I’m walking, I could see a patch of bare soil that didn’t look quite right. And when I got closer, I could tell it had been cleared and some plants had been planted. They looked like they’d been grown somewhere else and then actually replanted in the park.”
Suspicious vegetation — about 10 plants, some four feet tall.
And guess what this suspicious vegetation turned out to be? Yep. You guessed it. The other grass. What gets me, though, is that this stupid researcher even reported it. It’s pot, people. IT SHOULD BE LEGAL. Get those damn cops off the trails of box turtles and 19-year old hashish farmers and onto more important cases. LIKE FINDING BIN LADEN, MAYBE. Or turning that citizen’s arrest into a real one and putting Karl Rove’s sorry ass in jail.
Fri, Aug 01 – While federal investigators today headed north from Rock Creek Park, its electronic turtles, and illegal foliage to pursue the anthrax case in Frederick, Maryland (where the dogs were kenneled, by the way), Oslo and Mies were busy confronting six deer right across the street from Dick Cheney’s house. While we were on our run, one doe was close to the road, chowing down on what we hope was legal grass. In the shadows of trees a few feet way stood another doe and four bucks.
They saw the dogs and all just stopped and looked at them. My two foaming and frothing Weimaraners were nearly rearing like horny stallions when the doe near the road started to walk gingerly toward Oslo and Mies. For a brief moment, I thought she was going to descend into a play bow and challenge Mies to a wrestle.
Sat, Aug 02 – Nothing happened today unless you count us taking the Weims into City Bikes, this really cool bike shop in Adams-Morgan. They charmed the bike shorts off all the patrons with their bad-ass grey selves while I looked at wheels for my soon-to-be fixie.