Saturday, December 10, 2016

Raccoons are everywhere; Flip a Christmas coin - Heads or Tails; Cookie time; Driftwood Santa thanks to Lake Michigan; Zoey and Bob; CHRISTMAS, have yourself a merry little Brazilian; Pick a carol - they will try to sing

Sewers, burglaring, Santa's cap tossling, street cleaning up discarded pizza slices,
collectors of bright broken glass, frightening children by touching their ankles,
....they're everywhere

While the City Sleeps

Waukeshans complacently enjoy their town-grown-to-city
with it’s well-policed, clean, safe streets
and the cerulean blue skies overhead;
or when it rains

the rain washing everything anew and flowing
if heavy
away like dirty bathwater down the drain
out of sight, out of mind;  oh yes,

we think of everything and take for granted
that the solid terra-firma plane on which we work and play 
 is as storybooked as it appears
and that the sky overhead here is relatively terrorless.

That covers two of the three physical dimensions
but we never think about the seething subterranean world
beneath the city where that dirty bathwater flows
unless we happen to be with the Sanitation Department

and as far as I know, they aren’t talking.
My friends, we co-exist over a nether-world
about which we never think
and the Sewer Raccoons down there - that’s right - 
count on our ignorance.

Their profligacy festers beneath us
growing daily, like whiskers becoming a dread-locked beard
but we don’t know it because we trust in our local government
and in what we see.

The coons, woe to us!  Phantoms of this opera are
just a few feet beneath Waukesha in archen coves and caverns
until nightfall, when every storm grate at every corner
becomes an open doorway into our elysian yards and gardens.

Marauders on velvet paws which they keep licking, masked,
they steal about under cover of nocturnal shadows, late,
when the windows of our proud houses show black.  
It is then the Sewer Coons take over the town;   by day,

These slick creatures have free rein in their underworld,
bartering our garden produce in little shops and bazaars
in their sub-city
where they swarm and reproduce like rabbits crazy.

They have their own school district where all the little coons
Study burglary and ankle-nipping.
So far they are content with their lowly position, hence,
the Sanitation Department, the Mayor and the Aldermen

only monitor them and do not tell us of their
 spreading presence.
 As Amos or Paul Revere, I send this warning
for I live nearer the Fox River in one of the town’s ruder huts
and the Sewer Coons are, though proliferating

concentrated only in our poorer neighborhoods 
at the present time;
by the railroad tracks and the Fox River waterway,
But the storm sewer web is beneath us all, free and accessible
and even now no one is safe!

I have again lately seen the coons 
emerge from the grate at the corner
As has my wife;  we know the desolation
Of having our grapes stolen from our vines;
We’ve actually heard the coons’ little “chick-chick-chick” sounds.

Close-up, we’ve seen the phosphorescent reflection of their eyes
In our flashlight beams; they run, are not brazen yet – oh, no -
carrying little bindles over their hump-ed backs
and make their dash back to their grated holes.

Furred hit-and-run warriors, in place,
waiting for their messiah to come, 
perhaps from Milwaukee or Chicago -
The Really BIG Coon, 
to marshal them into an invading army,
Meanwhile waxing stronger in secret 
on Dix grapes and other sacked left-overs;

And sometimes I think I can hear muffled “tink”s
As they pound on their tiny anvils under the avenue
Making suits of armor on foot-pumped forges; flaring
light seems to flash from the gratings 
after the clock has struck twelve

And I go out and listen at my corner sewer entrance
and hear their Russian-like “YO-OH, HO HO!” chants
echoing softly up from below.

The Sewer Raccoons are coming,
 the Sewer Raccoons are coming.

[D. Zep Dix 9-19-2002]
 OK, here it is 5-16-2012, ten years later

 but they're STILL coming

and now almost 2017 -
they'l still be here


You call it

Heads ~

or Tails ~



It's that time of year again
 for Cathy and Dee
to do their annual
LONG-standing cookie bake
out at the Degroot rural estate
on Hillside Rd across from
the Hy D Wern game farm

an event that gave rise to the following in 2011:

With Christmas Colors, Flying
by David Zep Dix
[Appeared in the quarterly, LANDMARK,
Waukesha County Historical Society Magazine
John Schoenknecht, Editor]
The adult male pheasant escaped prison camp
outside of town at the ex-dairy, now game farm
for gone-soft gunners who want their kill
served up to them unsavvy and easy;

now it was winter and the Wisconsin snow
had accumulated to a depth of sixteen inches,
but when he was taken out of the pen,
the only world he’d ever known,
to be set loose in an adjacent stubby corn field
it was autumn and he was without portfolio;

a suppressed instinct told him
to take to the air when the hunt dogs came,
sniffing close to the sumac stand
where he was hiding at the edge of the field
in a world he had no warning was so threatening!
The sports club had deprived him of an education.

They were flusher bird dogs
rustling and rooting through the undergrowth
for their shotgun-poised followers,
and luckily the dogs hadn’t smelled him.
But the guns rang out shortly afterward
and he heard falling fluttering feathers and a whump
as one of his unlettered fellows from the breed pens
made the fatal mistake of taking to the air.

Our bird passed his crash survival course
and became one of the escapees
who turn up along the country roads
in the vicinity of the game farm;

citified motorists briefly spot these newly released and marvel
at their beauty, likely not knowing how they got there,
fugitives on the lam,
birds who learned how to lay low in hostile territory;

birds with a suit of attractive feathers
meant to attract females.
This pheasant had a moment
of myopic or ancient joy
when a woman drove up a steep farm lane
near the hunt club with a Christmas cookie icing project
on her mind; and as she crested the sunny hill, The One
With Rainbows On His Wings chose to blast out of a snowdrift
twenty yards ahead of her,
and flying up to land on the drift’s icy summit
he lingered in the bright sun
and spread his wings triumphantly!

Looking down at the site of his captive birth,
he provided a brilliant though ephemeral sighting
in Waukesha County, known widely for its stewardship
of vanishing habitat and stupidly-named sprawl,
famous for its permission to make Fox Run shopping malls
out of its fox runs, and Rolling Meadow subdivisions
from its disappeared rolling meadows.
future generations may study the falsity and foolishness of it.
In earlier days before the bulldozers, before the lure of the dollar,
the big working farms were out there in profusion
And pheasants weren’t dropped loose,
in front of quick-fix gunners;
from chicks they were free and
had more of a chance to learn
what a pheasant needs to know.

Hail to the die-hard farmers who stay and farm!
Hail to those who harbor the ever squeezed-in wildlife!
Hail to their forbearance when the newly-arrived
city folks complain about their animals’ smells
and curse their slow-moving tractors on the roads.
Revere them, these people threatened,
the salt of earth,
the bread of heaven we once had.

DZD 2011


Driftwood Santa

May be missing its...


Zoey and Bob
Xmas greeting card

Bob, 80 like me,
lost his wife Dee
some years ago.

He has great friendship and solace
with his retired racing dog,
 Greyhound Zoey.

She has been featured in the Raccoon before.

Our correspondence and tendencies
remain faithful
since we met in the US Army
in 1958.


have yourself a merry little Brazilian


Caroling, pick a song 
and they will try to sing it


Coming next week:

Driven by marbles

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pickle; Opinion; Another favorite; Heart wasn't in it; Short people; Iditarod; Pickled, Vollmer's recipe

a NY Times video:

/ Same Story

Nature works its plan.

Across from us at The Odd Fellows Hall
aka: The Putney
the downtown tableau plays out.

In the tree at the Five Points in front of the Clarke,
framed by the arm of a street-light
with a car whizzing past

a goshawk stalks its prey -
a pigeon in our birdseed tray
outside our window
minding its own business

finds itself flying
not under its own power
in the claws and beak
of a Greater Strength than itself

Some would say, "What do you expect
living downtown?"



Forwarded by Rev./Dr. Tom Bentz
M. El-Bermawy (@mbermawy) is vice president of marketing atWorkZone, a project management software company in Philadelphia.

ON NOVEMBER 7, 2016, the day before the US election, I compared the number of social media followers, website performance, and Google search statistics of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  I was shocked when the data revealed the extent of Trump’s popularity. He had more followers across all social platforms and his posts had much higher engagement rates.  I noticed that the second most popular article shared on social media in the last six months with words “Donald Trump” in the headline,  “Why I’m Voting For Donald Trump”, had been shared 1.5 million times. Yet that story never made it into my Facebook newsfeed. I asked many of my liberal New York friends, and they all said they never seen it.

The global village that was once the internet was has been replaced by digital islands of isolation that are drifting further apart each day. From your Facebook feed to your Google Search, as your experience online grows increasingly personalized, the internet’s islands keep getting more segregated and sound proofed. The internet that helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 and was used during Arab spring in 2011 is different from the internet that led to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
According to Pew Research, 61 percent of millennials use Facebook as their primary source for news about politics and government, but Facebook refuses to acknowledge its identity as a news source. Rather, it maintains its focus on boosting ad serving volume and engagement rates.
Our Facebook feeds are personalized based on past clicks and likes behavior, so we mostly consume political content that are similar to our views. Without realizing it, we develop tunnel vision. Rarely will our Facebook comfort zones expose us to opposing views, and as a result we eventually become victims to our own biases.
As a liberal New Yorker, a few months ago my Facebook feed was filled with #ImWithHer or #FeelTheBern content in addition to some ‘Obama is the greatest’ headlines, which I was happy to see. I engaged with the content, and I was siloed as a result. When we moved to the debates my feed turned into discussions of Trump scandals and why we should all be with her. I only saw articles from liberal media such as the New York Times and Washington Post.  While I know it’s important to be skeptical of the media, even a critical eye grows less keen the more it is ambushed with one-sided propaganda.
I’m convinced that Clinton was the better option, but I haven’t seen enough content on my Facebook feed that seriously challenged my beliefs. I often find myself going out of my way to read sites like Fox News, which never appeared on my newsfeed even though it gets more than 65 million monthly visits and millions of social shares.
Our digital social existence has turned into a huge echo chamber, where we mostly discuss similar views with like-minded peers and miserably fail to penetrate other social bubbles that are often misled by fear and xenophobia. This is especially damaging because peer views and referrals are the strongest, most convincing form of marketing.
As a Muslim, an African Arab, and an immigrant, I will probably be among those most impacted by Trump’s presidency, but I refuse to believe that half of America is racist. I think that many Trump voters would have re-thought their vote if they had heard the views of close friends who would be directly impacted by Trump policies. When Fox News tells me how awful a president Obama has been, it is different from my friend in Michigan who tells me how life under Obama has been getting worse and why he seeks change.
Facebook is not alone in this. Google also filters the search results based on your location and previous searches and clicks. The social bubbles that Facebook and Google have designed for us are shaping the reality of your America. We only see and hear what we like. Until the election results, a little more than half of us didn’t realize that the other half of the country was frustrated enough to elect Trump. We all thought that Clinton would easily crush Trump this election, given how much crazy shit the guy has said. This includes polls by mathematicians who must have developed their biases somewhere.
Many real-life communities are already segregated by color, class, political, and cultural views. Facebook, Google and other networks are our online communities, and they are similarly segregated. We need to remind ourselves that there are humans on the other side of the screen who want to be heard and can think and feel like us while at the same time reaching different conclusions. The internet did a better job of fostering cross community conversation eight years ago when Obama was first elected. America was better off because of it.


A favorite person

Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.

who has 'paid off' for us....

daughter Erin
book person
cat lover, with Rory.

U. Archivist
Lawrence University
Appleton WI


My heart wasn't in it

Scroll down to 'soldier'


Shrimp boats is a-comin'

El Presidente needs a tie clip
for that long tie he wears;

it does not fool us.

"Now you might feel just a little prick.




Above is an image off the net advertising the 2017 Iditarod grueling dog sled race to be held in March.
Our Seattle FILSON outerwear gear catalog came the other day.

In it was shown a full page picture of dog-sledding across the barren straits of Alaska,
one presumes.

So taken with the image that I scanned it and sent it to my Alaskan daughter, Laurie

She used to be an advocate of the Iditarod and all the exciting heroics thereof. 

 Now she has a different view as portrayed in this E mail she sent:

Seen any dog sledding, Iditorading? No more Iditaroding for me. You also should shun this and any long distance running of the dogs. Extremely harsh, inhumane driving the dogs, and atrocities. Seriously. I have seen it. Pass this on See: Just a big beloved, traditional money-maker up here so it will be hard to stop. But it needs to stop.

And more from Laurie on the subject last night:

More on driving sled dogs too hard. This is regarding one dog death last year in Lance Mackey's team. His hands have been so badly frost bitten that he can't care for his dogs on the trail. Still he runs.

Lucy Shelton
Azusa, California
"No dog should die. It is horribly sad. This brings the total known deaths to 145, since records have been kept. Dog deaths average about three per year. Six dogs died in 2009.

According to Yukon Quest reports, Mackey raced this young team in that race last month,--too much, too soon? For those who think Mackey treats his dogs like family, check out his kennel, showing the dogs short-chained to their enclosures: This is considered inhumane and illegal in some communitiesAbout half the dogs do not finish the race every year. They are dropped due to injury, illness, exhaustion, or not wanting to continue. No musher finishes with all 16 of their dogs and some finish with only 7 dogs. This is a once-a-year, totally unnecessary race for only about 78 mushers. It is cruel to have such a long, 1,000-mile, treacherous, race when half the dogs cannot finish, at the proven risk of injury, exhaustion, or death.

There are laws in at least 38 states against over-driving and over-working animals, which is exactly what the Iditarod does. The Alaska cruelty statue that would apply to the sled dogs was changed in 2008 to exempt them."

I don't know if you want this information , Dad, but I share it with any lower 48 folks because Alaskans have blinders on about this issue.

Share away!!

Love, Laurie


Bell-ringing, Salvation Army style, and etc.

Dee related a picturesque tale:

Last Saturday she rang Salvation Army bells;

a mother dug in her purse to give some quarters to her
little boy.  She dug up two and whispered in her son's ear.

The tadpole headed for a gumball machine instead of the
red kettle.  Corrected by his Mom he toddled over to Dee's Red Kettle
and returned Dee's smile and thank you.

He smiled a great smile.

Bruce Boeck relieves us last year
at what we call the rich man's Pick n Save.


Stu Tolbert sends us caladium leaves from
Lake Placid, Fla

Yesterday we got a bubble wrap envelope from unmet friend Stu.  In it were several caladium red 
and green fresh and moist floral leaves from his and wife Donna's yard in their retirement.
They sent Christmas greetings.



Jane Vollmer's pickled fish recipe

Jane circa 1980
Marinette WI

She had 11 boys and 1 girl

Search SRN for 'Vollmer'