Thursday, July 08, 2004


Judge Miller, in describing the discovery and appearance of a skeleton at Shawangunk, New York stated that "... around and in the immediate vicinity were locks and tufts of hair of dun brown, of an inch and a half to two inches and a half long and, in some instances, from four to seven inches in length."

Last night's Landscape Architecture class was quite an improvement over the previous week's. Now that we've gotten those silly gardens out of the way, we can stop talking about the merits of french parterres and start talking about the good stuff: fidgeting with the natural landscape through the implementation of engineering, architecture, horticulture, and a deep sense of civil duty in an effort to make it all look...natural again. That's why the American Mastodon signed up in the first place. In his mind, there is a bucolic pasture full of ripened tubers, small hedges, and large, dead oaks just waiting to be built. Some spend their lives looking for an Eden; the American Mastodon hopes someday to build his own.

Of particular note during last eve's class lecture was the revelation that Frederick Law Olmstead, father of the profession of Landscape Architecture and the mind behind the design and construction of New York's lauded Central Park, was a real fuck-up. Unable to hold down jobs as a sailor, farmer, journalist, and tailor, Olmstead was hired, at the age of 41, to be the superintendent of a real shit plot of land in the center of Upper Manhattan - too far north at that time to really even be considered the city. On this property, which was nothing more than a bog, Olmstead was in charge of telling men which rocks to move around, which weeds to pull, and which vermin to shoot. A year later, city planners decided to turn the useless land into the nation's first public park, and Olmstead submitted the design which ultimately secured his place in the pantheon of profession-creators. The American Mastodon, not surprisingly, finds stories like these reassuring. He now feels justified in waiting until he's 41 to be productive or successful in a career. That's 17 years of easy living, folks. See you in Greenland.

Also, the American Mastodon hopes you've got the time to mosey on over to The Spoonbender, where the Mastodon will be filling in for a few days.

Ride on.

Although there is controversy about its authenticity, the figure of an elephant-like animal incised on the surface of a whelk shell from peat deposits near Holly Oak, Delaware appears to be that of American Mastodon.

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