Ode to Urban Artifacts: A Bear, a Brick, and a Pity Party

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Teddy bear, festival-ed-the-f**k-out © The Middle Ground, 2015


Is there anything more Somerville than a stray teddy bear armed with a brick, lying wasted against a concrete curb on Highland Avenue?

Disillusioned and abandoned, perhaps she is heading to the first ever Pity Party, the latest event in the city’s never-ending festival season. Described by organizers as “a funny exorcism of all that’s been getting us down,” or as the New York Post put it “Miserable Massholes throw themselves a Pity Party,” this community event features someone called Drabby the Sad Clown and a host of self-indulgently morose activities. Basically, Pity Party is the mopey, Morrissey-listening cousin of Pizza Party.*

Or maybe Miss Teddy is just festival-ed out and that’s what the brick is for.


* I like Morrissey. I like pizza.


Ode to Urban Artifacts: A Curious Bird

© The Middle Ground, 2015

© The Middle Ground, 2015

The winter of our discontent and the long hibernation are over.

A mysterious woman was recently spotted dragging a red wagon full of old toys and trinkets around the neighborhood. There were no children in tow. When I arrived home later that afternoon, this small urban artifact – a tagless Beanie Baby of unknown value – awaited, perfectly perched on the rock wall below. It stood there for two days, disappearing on the third just before a rainstorm moved in.

The bird, subsequently identified as “KuKu” the Cockatoo, was about 7 inches long and retired from the beanie circuit on December 23, 1999.

Perhaps KuKu’s arrival was a coincidence, perhaps a whimsical gift from a neighbor. We may never know.

I, however, remain forever wary of unsolicited treats from colorful caravans. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I’m talking to you.

Oh, your house is on fire? Get off my lawn.

Is this hydrant for real? I think it is. I threw a pebble at it and it made an appropriate ding, more like a dung actually. Then I ran away. I’m not sure fencing off a hydrant is legal (especially on a dead end street), but I like the juxtaposition of white picket fence idealism and Somerville ‘no trespassing’ suspicion. © The Middle Ground, 2012

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