Lame Adventure 321: Sunday in the Park with Lola

It’s been a brutally hot summer in the city thus far this year.  Since I live in digs that are not wired for air conditioning, my queen-sized pillow-topped mattress that usually feels like the comfiest of clouds feels more like a grill pan over high heat these days. Yet who am I to complain about not having had a restful night’s sleep since May?  At least I reside walking distance from the oasis that is Central Park.

On Sunday, when the heat and humidity were a millimeter below sweltering, I visited the park with my friend, Lola.  We entered, took a wrong turn, almost crossed a triathlon’s finish line, reversed course, grabbed lemonade for her and iced tea for me at the Le Pain Quotidian near Sheep’s Meadow, exchanged yak about how that LPQ must be a goldmine, and then made a beeline for a shady tree where we promptly suffered that familiar middle age malady, CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Sheep’s Meadow sun bathers dotting Great Lawn.

Both of us blanked on the name of the famous landscape architect who designed the park.  Lola tried in vain to find the answer that was on the tips of our frozen brains on her iPhone but the Gods of wifi were against us.  Later, while I was batting away a bug the size of a hornet, Frederick Law Olmstead’s name popped out from one of the holes in my head.  Actually, Olmstead co-designed the park with Calvert Vaux, whose name I did not know until now, but I’m confident that I’ll be brain freezing on him as soon as I finish writing this sentence.

Sheep’s Meadow has often been a sea of sun worshippers.  The sheep were relocated in 1934 because (according to Wikipedia):

“There was fear for the sheep’s safety by hungry folk during the great depression. Officials were concerned that starving men would turn the sheep into lunch.”

On this hot and humid afternoon the meadow was not only sheep-less but also relatively empty.  It seemed that the shade had more appeal than the pursuit of skin cancer.

Sheep’s Meadow shade worshippers clustered under trees.

While we were sheltered under our tree we discussed the recent death of writer-director-humorist, Nora Ephron.

Me:  All that’s left is Joan Rivers and Tina Fey.

Lola: What about Kristin Wiig?

Me: Yes, I do believe I’ve just insulted her and Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman among others.

Lola: One of my favorite books is Joan’s I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me.  The title reminds me of you.

Me:  I love that title.  I love Joan.  I feel honored that you think that.

While we were heading over to watch the players playing in the bocce ball courts, we encountered signs that free comedy was happening very near.

“Let’s find the bocce courts so we can find the comedy!”

Bocce ball is a very slow game prompting me to suggest:

Me:  This is almost as riveting as curling.

Bocce: a game that doubles as a sleep aid.

We then headed over to catch some free comedy.

Shade loving comedy audience.

The searing heat occupied the best seats, but we did stick around long enough to hear Ophira Eisenberg, a comedian that I had read about in The New York Times in April.  Getting to hear her perform her witty brand of topical standup in Central Park was very entertaining.  I particularly enjoyed her take about people getting her name wrong and guests visiting her in her fifth floor walk-up in Brooklyn gasping when they reach her door, “Do you do this every day?”  Performers like Ophira give me hope that the ranks of funny women are growing.

I left the park with Lola feeling good.  When we reached 72nd and Broadway my friend traveled south and I north.  Just as I was considering that I’m being a wimp about the heat — summer in New York can be truly wonderful, I crash landed back to reality.

Going commando.

Hopefully, it will cool down soon for all of us out here.

59 responses to “Lame Adventure 321: Sunday in the Park with Lola

  1. Hahahahaha!!! Very funny stuff!


  2. Holy ass, Batman. You DO live in Gotham City! Stay cool. my friend, and keep your cothes on–at least on the street!


  3. Hopefully relief will come from the heat and interesting street characters … oh wait … NYC always has interesting street characters. 🙂


  4. Check out The Devil and The White City regarding Mr. Omstead.

    On the subject of bocce, Italy’s other national sport, I have this to offer. Ever since my grad school days amongst the Jesuits at Georgetown, I have only engaged in those sports you can drink beer while participating. Golf, softball and bowling. I would definitely add bocce to that list as it is, of course, lawn BOWLING.

    Regarding the “commando” thanks for giving us a rear shot only.


    • No way was I going to look at whatever might have been hanging out up front, but I obsered that everyone walking toward him had blase expressions on their faces, so it clearly wasn’t jaw-dropping.

      I take it that you have a Bocce trophy in a case at home?


      • I’d love to pass along an email from my older brother on the ledt coast which is apropos of the commando. is that possible?


        • You work for Homeland Security. Shouldn’t I be asking you questions like that?


          • Nice deflection. I figured you could post one of the hundreds of gmail accounts you’ve created to date. If that is untenable (I appreciate your desire for relative anonymity) then I can try to re-create it.


            • Anonymity has made me what I am — a phantom.


              • This, from my left coast brother which is probably apropos of the commando:

                The female dentist pulls out a numbing needle to give the man a shot. “No way! No needles. I hate needles” the patient said.

                The dentist starts to hook up the nitrous oxide and the man objects again. “I can’t do the gas thing. The thought of having the gas mask on suffocates me!”

                The dentist then asks the patient if he has any objection to taking a pill. “No objection,” the patient says. “‘I’m fine with pills.”

                The dentist steps out of the office and returns a moment later, “Here’s a Viagra.” The patient says, “Wow! I didn’t know Viagra worked as a painkiller!”

                “It doesn’t” said the dentist, “but it’s going to give you something to hold on to when I pull your tooth.”


  5. I love the expression CRS, but since I Can’t Remember Shit, I am sure to forget it.
    I love the last photo with the dude rockin’ the plumber’s butt. He’s just cooling his cheeks! Hahaha!
    Stay cool!


  6. Can’t Remember Shit. I have to try and remember that one. This entire post is gold, right up to and including the ass shot. In my book you are right up there with Joan and Tina and Nora.


    • I;m very flattered that you would think that Madame W, but really I’m not even worthy of sharing the same sentence as Kukla, Fran and Ollie. CDo ceck out Ophira. She’s a very funny lady!


  7. After that delightful day in the park, I’d be bummed out (OK, somebody had to say it), too, by that rear view — and you didn’t even have to look back.

    CPR or CSR, whatever, I do almost always remember Olmsted’s name. He is ubiquitous. His work is everywhere across the U.S., it seems, from Central Park to Yosemite. And it is beautiful; thank goodness for him — and he probably wore a belt or suspenders or something.

    Yes, Tina Fey, one of my favorites. I like to think she is a talented writer and funny woman because she grew up in the same neighborhood as I, that, for some reason she and the rest of us call “Outside Philadelphia.” (Upper Darby, Pa., to be specific, the western suburbs.)

    Thanks for being a good writer and a funny woman — much needed in these Dank Ages (that’s sort of a combination of Dumb and Dark).


  8. Queen of Pentacles

    Wow! I recognised Mr. “Commando”!!! – don’t ask 😉 He’s a semi-regular at the Columbus Library where I go to keep cool (remember my 5th floor walkup tenement oven?) He talks to unseen people, mostly about legal matters, often using profanity. From his “conversations” I think he’s from the Dallas Texas area. He seems to be much worse this year; he’s often dirty and as you can see, not always quite clothed. There but for the grace of God/Goddess/whomever, go I……..


    • Wow, Queen of P, I am sure that my loyal Lone Star State readers will be thrilled to hear this! I wish our mayor would ease up on his soda fixation and allocate some of our tax dollars in this poor dude’s direction — for more than just a pair of suspenders and delousing.


  9. If “Butt Guy” is from Texas, he’s probably the product of our “abstinence only” sex education.

    I, too, was sad to hear of Nora Ephron’s passing. Her 1996 commencement address at Wellesley College is worth listening to here:


  10. Snoring Dog Studio

    I hope that dude uses sunscreen, though a belt would have worked, too. Thank goodness NYC still has shade furnished by trees! I try so hard to find a route home from work in the summer that is shaded by trees. Unfortunately, a great deal of my walk is out in the blast furnace sun. 106 degrees here yesterday! I’m wearing hats more even though I’m not a hat person.


    • Very funny belt (or, lack of belt) observation. Central Park is the crown jewel of NYC. I don’t envy your walk. Is it 106 in hi-de-ho or are you still visiting your folks in Texas? I’d say I feel your sweat but that just sounds wrong.


      • Snoring Dog Studio

        106 in Idaho! Hotter than it was in TX. I’m seriously breaking a bead all over. You don’t want near this sweat, believe me. I’m a rainforest.


        • I never would have thought that Idaho would be hotter than Texas much less transform into Hell’s armpit. I would have much preferred if Mary S. who ratted me out in Third Grade for saying “damn” was suffering this punishment instead of you SDS.


          • Dear LA woman, I have received correspondence from the governor’s office in Jackson, Mississippi. It is a cease and desist order addressed to you and your blog. In sum and substance it is enjoining you from referring to Idaho as “The Devil’s Armpit.”. It goes on to inform you and your readers that the great state of Missippi is The Devil’s Armpit. Furthermore it is also The Devil’s Scrotum, The Devil’s Taint, and The Devil’s Nether Eye. One of these monickers will soon be emblazoned on the state’s license plates.


          • Snoring Dog Studio

            Thank you, love.


  11. I don’t really think this comment belongs with the topic of this particular post to LA. However, I am loathe to rely on my iPhone for anything approximating a thorough search of the LA archives for one more apropos.

    Killing time while waiting for a data mining program to finish here in good old DHS. Playing Words With Friends (free app) on iPhone. Cuz I don’t want to pay to play I am bombarded with what I consider to be useless adverts for all sorta of other apps and products. I really can’t name more than one or two. One I used to see before Justice lowered the boom on them was Skore. Definitely looking like pedophile heaven from what I could see. Which, really, wasn’t anything more than their creepy pop up. What got my attention today was an as for Trojan brand condoms. Really?!?

    Do the marketing geniuses at Trojan (or whoever their parent company is) honestly believe Qord With Friends afficionados are actually getting any? Come on! It’s f-ing Scrabble on a smart phone. If we had social lives that required condoms would we be playing Scrabble???


  12. This just in from your intrepid reporter, Diane Sawyer: . So the lesson is, it’s okay to aspire to global reach for your blog, just stay out of despotic countries while doing so.


  13. There’s nothing like a butt crack to bring you back into city-life reality… fun post.


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