Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Backyard gnome jazz band appears

As cold as it was outside today - minus 30 wind chill - a band of itinerant musicians of the gnomal kind played us a spirited session in the back yard. They came in diminutively, riding raccoons fitted with small harnasses. By the time we got outside with the camera the coons had dashed into the sewer.

A gnome explained that their gift of music was given at the behest of the coons who wanted to thank us for defending raccoonery over the pernicious Coon Feed out in Delafield.

Coons and gnomes, what more could we ask?

wind chill minus 30 today

but
within the inner confines of our home, next to a good fire, the cold is just something we see through the window glass.

A gnome warms himself, no longer out in the snow-covered garden, and happy of it! He hurriedly strode in by himself, stood on tip-toes to turn the door knob, and was so proud of himself that he took a bow. He's always bowing, as though he was frozen that way.


Are they ever MAD!

The Sewer Raccoon News got a photo by night of the raccoons' obvious reaction, following the Delafield RACCOON FEED. THE WORD WAS OUT, and were the coons furious!

Their eyes were actually glowing.

Those weren't love-lights in their eyes.

They were protecting their flanks

and they were NOT smiling-wise.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

downtown heron








I was walking over the Wisconsin Avenue bridge one morning at dawn, and there, wading in the Fox River was a Great Blue Heron. This was on the edge of downtown in Waukesha, with commercial buildings on either side of the river bank. At first I took in the ambience of the early light breaking over the river and did not notice the large wader. It was being very still, maybe stalking a fish or waiting silently, without movement, for a fish to swim by and then to stab it, in a trice. Meantime, he was there, yet he wasn't. If had been a fish, I would read the scenario as entirely safe.
I watched him or her for a while, to see if there would be any luck. He stayed motionless for a very long time, watching, peering down into the water. Finally, I left. Doubtless his patience would pay off eventually. So quiet. And the early morning atmosphere was misty, and was void of traffic or pedestrians.
The heron is one of those prehistoric looking big birds. They are persistent, and we are fortunate to have them in our company. I thought seeing this heron was a good sign that the Fox is getting cleaner.



why not a fox feed?




It's unusual, nay, strange, that Waukesha County grub-feasters do not raise, kill and butcher the crafty fox as the entree. Is it a sign of the fox's cunning and trickery that he has avoided the mess-pans at the Delafield Legion Post so long? See earlier journal entry & photo of a coon-laden cafeteria-style serving pan. (Only one, we suppose, of many, prepared for the Standing-Room-Only raccoon habituated & festive diners.)


Waukesha has a bridge over the river named after the fox, The FOX River. There, four foxes hold forth, two at each end of the Moreland bridge. On pedestals, even. Funny, we never hear of a FOX FEED. We're also into bears, statues a little farther down river. But no BEAR FEEDS, either.

Only the lowly, trying hard to live amidst us in peace raccoon, sublimators of their former free-range habitat, is singled out for the Legionnaires' and their friends' and customers' salivating palates. Raccoon-lovers everywhere would struggle hard to swallow a slice of raccoon. Starvation would have to be a factor.

It just goes to prove: DIFFERENT CHOKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS.





LIP-SMACKIN' GOOD!




Please
don't
eat
us!
THE 2008 DELAFIELD COON FEED
"Man, will ya look at dat coon dere? Layin' dere in the kettle so nice & juicy? Yeah, I'll have seconds............"
Thank heavens we at the Sewer Raccoon News now have our own avenue of complaint. We don't have to see if the Freeman will carry a PRINT-MEDIA letter, we go now to the Great Ether Above: the internet, where the news of the Delafield Coon Feed will ricochet from planet to planet; earthlings can express opposing sentiment about the eating of raccoon throughout the worlds-wide-web.

a lamentation


Well, they did it again. According to Waukesha sneeze, the Daily Freeman, the Delafield American Legion Post held its annual COON FEED last night. Congressman James Sensenbrenner broke away from an important meeting in West Virginia so as not to miss his favorite gut-filling exercise. The Legion's festival of raccoon organizers cannot mask their dastardly deed by donating proceeds to charity, or even the Isaac Walton League.


We issued a letter to the editor of the Freeman last year registering our disdain, and then subsequently fore-swore further communications until they stop running Ann Coulter's vicious and similarly-oriented column.



They absorbed that blow, and, as in a poker hand, raised us this front page banner article on 2008 Coon Feed. Below follows their article.



We are living in a foreign land.



..............




Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:2008 Jan 28; Section:Front Page; Page Number: 1A
COON FEED STILL PACKS ’EM IN

In its 81st year, attendance so high that second-helpings unavailable

By EMILY BULTMAN Freeman Staff

The last time Tim Clark and his wife, Betty, came to the Coon Feed was in 1985, when founder Tom McNulty was proudly serving raccoon meat from his final hunt to people waiting in the long lines. “We wanted to bring our son, Atticus, this year so that he is able to experience the dinner for himself,” said Tim Clark, of Elm Grove. “What is interesting is the number of families with smaller kids here and how everyone comes together to enjoy a meal.” Hundreds filled their plates at the 81st annual Coon Feed held at the Delafield American Legion Post on Saturday, showing that there is just as much excitement about the event as the day it was started. “One of the best parts of this day is to see people from all over sit down and talk for hours,” said Lillian McNulty, Tom’s wife and now the organizer of the Coon Feed. In fact, guests came from around the state and as far as Illinois to taste roasted raccoon meat, prepared with Tom’s secret recipe. One distinguished guest, U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, also made his annual appearance less than an hour after landing at Gen. Mitchell International Airport. “I left early from the Republican Congress retreat in West Virginia to make it in time,” Sensenbrenner said. “I make it a point to come every year because this is something unique to Wisconsin.” He added that other members at the Republican Congress retreat asked him what the coon meat tasted like. “I told them come with me next year and find out first-hand because it is something indescribable,” Sensenbrenner said. Legion members and dedicated volunteers offered choices that included mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, sauerkraut and a variety of dessert choices for those that saved room. Kelly Bukowsky, who has been involved with the Coon Feed for the past five years, said the first question people always ask her is what does the raccoon meat tastes like. “The best way to describe it is a rich, slow-roasted, dark meat,” she said. “We keep trying to add more space by shortening the dessert tables each year so we can accommodate more people. Right now, we have seating for 93 people at a time, and with the bar area, for 107 people.” McNulty said that although about 70 raccoons were needed, there was still a shortage of meat, which meant no second helpings this year on raccoon. “We are completely dependent on what meat is available from hunters, but we make the most of what we have,” she said. Turkey was also available for people that decided not to be experiment with the raccoon meat. “I tell people that have never had coon to start with a small piece because usually they try to get a great, big serving and some might be wasted if they do not like it,” McNulty said. Waukesha residents Bonnie Kintop and her husband, Bob, came to the Coon Feed for the first time this year. “I hear about the event from friends and always wanted to come try the raccoon,” Bonnie said. “It does not taste like chicken, but it was very good with spice to it.” Commemorative Coon Feed shirts were a popular souvenir to take home, with proceeds from the shirts being donated to Waukesha County chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America and other dinner proceeds benefiting American Legion youth programs. Catherine Lambrecht, who made the journey from Chicago, took her leftovers home to freeze. “It is quite the process from getting and preparing the meat, so I think Tom would be happy to see how many people clean their plates,” McNulty said.


Lamentions

Well, they did it again. Our local sneeze, The Waukesha Daily Freeman, had a front page article last night, copied below, about the Delafield American Legion Post's annual COON FEED. Cong. Sensenbrenner flew in from an important meeting in West Virginia to again attend one of his favorite Wisconsin events.

Of course, they had to know how incensed and mortified we are in the Waukesha Sewer Raccoon District. This year, rather than issuing a letter to the editor, we have a more cosmic avenue at our disposal, the Sewer Raccoon News. We advised the Freeman of our disdain of these COON FEEDS previously and fore-swore further letters until the paper stops running Ann Coulter's vicious and similarly-oriented column.

The Freeman absorbed that blow, and, as in a poker hand, raised me a front page banner article about this year's COON FEED.

I am living in a foreign land.

..................................

Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:2008 Jan 28; Section:Front Page; Page Number: 1A
COON FEED STILL PACKS ’EM IN

In its 81st year, attendance so high that second-helpings unavailable

By EMILY BULTMAN Freeman Staff

The last time Tim Clark and his wife, Betty, came to the Coon Feed was in 1985, when founder Tom McNulty was proudly serving raccoon meat from his final hunt to people waiting in the long lines. “We wanted to bring our son, Atticus, this year so that he is able to experience the dinner for himself,” said Tim Clark, of Elm Grove. “What is interesting is the number of families with smaller kids here and how everyone comes together to enjoy a meal.” Hundreds filled their plates at the 81st annual Coon Feed held at the Delafield American Legion Post on Saturday, showing that there is just as much excitement about the event as the day it was started. “One of the best parts of this day is to see people from all over sit down and talk for hours,” said Lillian McNulty, Tom’s wife and now the organizer of the Coon Feed. In fact, guests came from around the state and as far as Illinois to taste roasted raccoon meat, prepared with Tom’s secret recipe. One distinguished guest, U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, also made his annual appearance less than an hour after landing at Gen. Mitchell International Airport. “I left early from the Republican Congress retreat in West Virginia to make it in time,” Sensenbrenner said. “I make it a point to come every year because this is something unique to Wisconsin.” He added that other members at the Republican Congress retreat asked him what the coon meat tasted like. “I told them come with me next year and find out first-hand because it is something indescribable,” Sensenbrenner said. Legion members and dedicated volunteers offered choices that included mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, sauerkraut and a variety of dessert choices for those that saved room. Kelly Bukowsky, who has been involved with the Coon Feed for the past five years, said the first question people always ask her is what does the raccoon meat tastes like. “The best way to describe it is a rich, slow-roasted, dark meat,” she said. “We keep trying to add more space by shortening the dessert tables each year so we can accommodate more people. Right now, we have seating for 93 people at a time, and with the bar area, for 107 people.” McNulty said that although about 70 raccoons were needed, there was still a shortage of meat, which meant no second helpings this year on raccoon. “We are completely dependent on what meat is available from hunters, but we make the most of what we have,” she said. Turkey was also available for people that decided not to be experiment with the raccoon meat. “I tell people that have never had coon to start with a small piece because usually they try to get a great, big serving and some might be wasted if they do not like it,” McNulty said. Waukesha residents Bonnie Kintop and her husband, Bob, came to the Coon Feed for the first time this year. “I hear about the event from friends and always wanted to come try the raccoon,” Bonnie said. “It does not taste like chicken, but it was very good with spice to it.” Commemorative Coon Feed shirts were a popular souvenir to take home, with proceeds from the shirts being donated to Waukesha County chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America and other dinner proceeds benefiting American Legion youth programs. Catherine Lambrecht, who made the journey from Chicago, took her leftovers home to freeze. “It is quite the process from getting and preparing the meat, so I think Tom would be happy to see how many people clean their plates,” McNulty said.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A GOOD DAY

SENT TO ME TODAY
BY A FRIEND.....

http://www.gratefulness.org/brotherdavid/a-good-day.htm


simplest machine





Pictured above, in the large photo, is the now old back gate pulley-closer. Had I known how long I was making that thing to last I might have employed better esthetics. But there it is, and in service for more years than I can count. Or remember.
When the gate is opened the sash weight is raised by the rope, and when the gate is closed, the mere but concenrated weight of the pulley draws it snugly closed. The hook and eye, now rusty, secures it from high winds. Otherwise, it doesn't need to be hooked. The sash weight does the job.
When Leland was little, he would forget and let the gate slam behind him sometimes. Users usually know ahead that you can't let the thing go by itself or it WILL slam. Lee's slamming gate is a thread in the texture of our recollections at this address.
Wikipedia says the following:

A pulley (also called a sheave or block) is a wheel with a groove between two flanges around its circumference. The groove normally locates a rope, cable or belt. Pulleys are used to change the direction of an applied force, transmit rotational motion, or realize a mechanical advantage in either a linear or rotational system of motion.

I'm looking through the seething and churning basement stuff for another wood pulley, for a neighbor who wants to duplicate the effect on his back gate. So far I haven't found it but I know it's there someplace.



Sunday, January 27, 2008

It costs us...........




WHEN I WAS A BOY, my dad fought with the 90th. He landed at D Day. That war had profound effects around the world, and here in Waukesha Wisconsin. In my personal life. So ancient a history for me that I cannot talk about it, even if I did remember all of it.
But I do have this treasure from Dad: When his outfit liberated towns in their drive to release Hitler's hold in France AND Germany, a grateful potter cast some steins commemorating their campaigns for the officers of Dad's regiment. He later disseminated one to each of his four children.
I took mine down to dust it recently, and remembered how one of my wives, the first, allowed the stein to be displayed in the house but only after she made a shift to cover the nude body.
Having this transcendent object puts me in mind of the chasmic differences that exist between my half-siblings and me. Les and I have differed on whether or not dad would have supported George Bush's war. I remind him, not that he needs reminding, that dad was a Democrat and an aide to LBJ in the White House, and his dispositions were of a certain kind, resulting. Dispositions some of which I read into the question, rightly or wrongly.
It is a moot question. Dad's remains are interred at Arlington. And I still despise cannonry, bombings and warfare. But thank God that Churchill's call was heard in the 40's, and the US undertook a righteous armament. I'll drink to that, from this stein! It costs us.



the question is: to fix or not to fix?




Some things should be fixed. Some should not. But which are these?

Dee knocked a gourd keychain holder and mail pouch from the back hall door a while ago, and it broke. She was crest-fallen; she knew how much work went into growing it and then the later fashioning of the finished product.

I said, "Don't worry, I can fix that." And then the dust commenced gathering when I didn't follow through.

Today is a good day to put some glue on the cleanly-broken piece. A single piece, with interlocking edges with the whole. The glue will hold, the break will almost be invisible.

But the larger object above, the Froggy the Gremlin squeeze toy, is another matter. Another casualty of Denise's, her childhood toy that first belonged to her dad when he was a tadpole (now BIG John) - that takes a little reflection. Dee played and played with it, and finally the leg ("just") came off. With the passage of time, the leg is gone, long since discarded or lost. A discard is hard to accept, given the place Froggy held. Toys were not as plentiful as they are now, and they sure aren't rubber!
Froggy was and is a real rubber toy, not plastic. And rubber, like us, dries, withers, eventually crumbles and falls off. So much for rubber and human flesh. Froggy always kept his broad smile, even when Dee's dad, then Dee or her siblings, yanked and tugged at his limbs.
And now, in 2008, look at him! He still smiles. I find something kind of flesh and blood about that.
I study the even-now always shape-recovering squeeze toy, how he can still be squoze, and I think about making him a wooden leg. Does not this venerable frog of rubber deserve one? I could and would do that. A toy who's gone through what he has?

I get no answer from him, of course. It may be that at night when he's in his room all alone, that seemingly transfixed smile relaxes. Maybe his true feelings, if any, show in his darkened solitude, except for the other old dolls of Denise's, sharing the shelf with Froggy. Their posed mutual hugs may all change at night. A lot could be going on up there.

I keep coming back to the fact that Froggy has - for all outward appearances - never complained, and has held his severed leg like a badge of honor, but for the (other) fact that the leg is missing and not holdable.

Such are the musings of your author today.

Maybe the question of what to do should be put to the sewer raccoons, and if they don't know, they could ask the blind, wise, really OLD coon king who lives in his own darkness beneath the old post office downtown.



Caring parents


well-traveled kit
many miles on it
A group of parents took thirteen confirmands to their toe-dipping into the inner city of Milwaukee Friday and Saturday, for what has become known as the Urban Immersion. The group stayed overnight at Bethel-Bethany UCC after attending the meal program supper at St. Ben's, and then went to an evening service at a street-front church where there was much clapping, singing and demonstrativeness.
They stayed in sleeping bags at Bethel, talked excitedly all night (the kids did), and rose dutifully at 5 AM to trek to The Guest House homeless shelter, where they prepared and served breakfast for about 80 guests. Then they had their own lunch at The African Hut in the 3rd Ward, and finished their excursion with a stop at the Black Holocaust Museum.
Included in all the gear was (what I consider) the famous first aid kit (above), that has traveled to New Orleans and many, many places south, east and west of Waukesha WI. Has it ever gone north? I must ask my wife, who went to the immersion. The kit is symbolic to me of the great care taken for the of the kids, and other travelers. Much earlier put together by former parish nurse Bonnie, this accumulation of meds, ointments and band-aids has gotten around on many mission trips. Lots.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

never saw the Indian


Before my time?


Pembine is the waterfall capitol of northern Wisconsin. Just north of the eastern end of Hy 8 a couple of miles on north on HY 41 as it continues to Niagara and then over the Menomonee River and the MI border to Iron Mountain. Way up north in pastie country, but not as far north as Cornucopia WI near Bayfield as WI land lies.

I have rebuilt a cabin roof in Pembine, transplanted pine trees, paneled a living room with old outhouse boards, made an outdoor shelf case next to a back door out of a sawed-in-half waterlogged rowboat, and dug 30 feet in the wrong direction to uncover a small septic tank that was right aside the house.

I have been chased and stung by many angry bees living in a rotting log I stepped on.

I have become submerged after calling to friends to “Follow ME!” into an unplumbed creek.

I’ve seen a pileated woodpecker, had him fly along-side of my jogging back road, from tree to tree until he tired of the sport.

I’ve seen a circle-hunting wolf leap over my head on a dipping logging trail, unaware, I think, that I was running by beneath him.

I’ve heard owls calling on a crisp midnight by moonlight while I sat outside going to the bathroom on a chrome kitchen chair with the seat off, while listening too to the clicking sounds from the cooling down VW engine. In winter when the heat and water were off.

I’ve had another owl fly up behind me in the woods and snatch my fur hat from my head, then drop it on the trail in front of me - rejected as his surmised supper.

I’ve snorkeled in little Lake Lundgren, where I saw the largest and perhaps oldest lunker northern pike, swimming leisurely with a necklace of snapped fishing lures stuck in his massive breast and mouth. A boastful suit of chain mail, an indomitable you'll-never-catch-me fish.

All thes things and more I’ve seen in Pembine. But I’ve never seen an Indian like the one in the above postcard bought in the general store there.



TAKE, EAT, MY SUNFLOWER SEEDS GIVEN FOR YOU

FEEDING CHICKADEES

A thing never to be forgotten:

Filed away in my memory bank
deposited richly
gathering interest by leaps, bounds,
and flights
and even now perfectly recalled

Incredibly light landings

The memory of chickadees
in remote northern Wisconsin
feeding from my hand
on a frigidly cold but sunny day

It wasn’t just yesterday
but it could be
The man
who taught me how

to call them into my hand
is probably dead now
maybe feeding chickadees
somewhere

We were cross-country skiing
through woods near Pembine
in the remote back
of a potato farmer’s cabin

I took some lovely spills
on the then-new boards
which amused my friend

(those skiis, by the way,
were wooden skiis,
Scandinavian, extra-wide
with trail-breaking hinged steel edges
They still hang above the rafters
in the basement
because you never know
when I will need them again.....)

Seeing a clearing ahead that broke the woods
- it was the nearest neighbor’s hermitage -
we saw the gruff old man calling birds
in a falsetto voice

Sliding nearer
on the much-too-good-for-me Bonnas
we saw a flock of Chickadees
taking turns flying into his hand
one at a time
perched in cues on nearby branches

The air was cold
He had no gloves or mittens
as he encouraged the birds
into his outreached hand

They arced back and forth
flying away with a sunflower seed
to crack it against its branch
and take another turn

The man asked me if I wanted to try

Giving me some seeds while he held some, too
he called the high sound of the chickadee:
chick-a-dee, chick-a-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee

Two birds came
into both our hands
Then I tried it by myself
and it worked

This is what I remember:

When a bird landed surely on my finger
I could feel the warmth of his feet
as he trusted me for his food
on that bitterly cold day

and I could see
the tiny bursts of air
emerging from his small nostrils
so frail a creature

An indelible enactment
with a hermit friend years ago

[dd 1-24-08]
photo taken by my friend; it's my hand
She wasn't falling so could carry her camera



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Real Woman and El Dayo replicas, for the originals cannot be copied!

Zepata and El Dayo Inst. 5
With the music of the creek-ets'
farewell songs
fading in their ears
Zepata and Irena
and their mounts El Dayo and Mare
began their coil-spring descent

They had passed from the settlement
pickets after disarming and rearming
the trip wires to their early warning detonators
and Zepata took his lariat from its saddle loop
and gently but firmly tied an end around
Irena's slender waist

The other end around his own
for Mare was not as sure-footed
as Dayo
Zepata not want to lose Irena
if Mare should begin a slide

The first day's ride would be high risk
Zepata never feels comfortable
conveying dynamite on such a ride
but the aerie was the place to store it
The compadres like to play with it

Too much
A rougher band of ferocious rectifiers
of wrong there never was
They have shooting matches using their
own upright fingers as targets

These men many of them have missing
fingers
that were shot away because of tequila
and boolets
but never the index fingers
the trigger fingers they never hold up
for sport

Those fingers are for the Federalis
and serious business
They only allow themselves to lose
two fingers per hand
and then they quit because
they have a job to do

For May He Ko's exploited
these grimy warriors live and die
They may have had one child too many
run over by a landowner's wagon

Or maybe they were cheated in their
meager crop payments once too often
and heard their hungry babies cry
so painful you can nevair know

Something clicks in such a man's brain
after villianies like that
when they happen over and over
they finally say No More
Forkeen A no more

We're going to kick some ass, mon
You theenk we some kind of outhouse
you can dump awn us lak dat?
Give me that bottle of wheesky, Donaldo
Bang bang bang bang bang
Shoot off THIS finger

He holds the middle finger upright
but none of the compadres shoot to hit it
the middle finger needed to express
his outrage
Only the fourth and little fingers
so deep runs the lawv and understanding
of the muchachas

Renata is up in a tree with her spyglass
watching for Zepata and his real woman
She patterns herself after Irena
Uses the razor never
Ties her hair up with catgut
from her own guitar case and oils
herself everywhere

Renata scans the high mountain peak
for the signal mirror's flash
Strains her ears for the sound of falling rocks
but it is to soon this day for such signs
Manana maybe

Fires burn low
slip cawmz
even for those with recently cauterized
finger stumps
becawz theez are sawm tough
sonufabitch'n hombres
Forkeen A, mon

First night camp-out for Zepata
in the hidden escarpment
Again El Dayo turned loose
with Mare disappears
but some serious whinnying gives
evidence of their whereabouts
all night long

Irena removes her leather bandoliers
and all clothing as she must oil
Zepata puts a tarp over their bedsite
for it will rain this night
Already there are no stars
but there are creek-ets

Wait just one forkeen minute
says Zepata
There are no creek-ets at this altitude
He listens and sawn of a gawn
Mariachi creek-ets, 12 of zem
Stowed away in a saddle bag

Zepata becomes festive at their singing
and pulls out his gourd medicine rattles
given to him by an Apache woman
once, north of the border
up America way

Soon Zepata and Irena are laughing
at these brave and foolish insects
for the creek-ets are dancing around the
campfire tossing their little sombreros
into the air and singing their gawts out

Zepata and Irena dance together
they are both without garments
and when they touch the creek-ets
make mock sizzling sounds
Such a merry band there never was


[dzd 6-15-98]

……………………………………………………

compass key-chain, revisited



How long have I had this thing, anyway?
In the pursuit of accuracy, since I devoted an entry to the device, I must disclose that I had only part of the story right.


Fiddling with it the other night, attached by way of a fine swivel clasp to my Eddie Bauer goose-down vest zipper-pull, as I myopically tryed to read the temperature guage, I discovered yet another tool within the black plastic.

Yes, folks, folded within the precise design of this shock-resistant item is a beautifully engineered magnifier. So well-fitted that it didn't get my attention after many casual manipulations over the years!

Now, with this, I can not only (1) know the direction of my setting, and (2) whistle away invading grizzlies, and (3) summon sewer raccoons, and (4) know what the temperature is:

I am also able, due to my discovery of the hidden lense, (5) remove splinters or start eventually raging campfires, merely with the assistance of the sun.

This puts me in mind of a 30-ish boy scout friend who boasts of being able to survive in the wilderness with only a piece of flint, an ax, and a piece of plastic for shelter. He would not, I think, cherish this LL Bean-style doo-dad. Yet, purism takes many forms over time.................

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

plain brown wrapper




Plain BROWN wrapper:
I've been reading a 1237 page book for some time now. It is an ambitious and brilliant attempt to write the history of the world by Columbia university professors, published in 1980. You may say that's quite a lot of time to go by since it was compiled, but consider this: that the scope of the undertaking, from the beginning of time thru 1980, is immense.
I got self-conscious having my curious eyes glued to the pages of this book for so long. So I took it upon myself to read it sparingly but intensely, and I put a grocery bag cover over it to keep friends and acquaintances from knowing just what it was I was reading and devoting so much of my time to.
I marked the bag cover "PLAIN BROWN WRAPPER." Talk about hiding one's light under a bushel! My children in their rovings through the house I'm pretty sure never peeled the cover back to see what I was reading. Or if they did, they likely closed the book forthwith, though they are good students with inquiring minds.
Now that I am curtailed in my pursuits as a high-iron worker, or even radish-buncher, I am going to finish this excellent tome at last.
And daughter Erin is a senior majoring in history at Lawrence. I hope she reads this entry to find out what my intentions are, and what this plain brown wrapper business has been all about.



Tattoo "decal" washes right off!


CHECK THIS OUT!
NO BAD RE-PERCUSSIONS
DIRECTIONS:
Type in your name and the name of your special friend
and then your Email address. Will not harm you!
Hit the Spanish for SEND
another of those fine Mexican beer commercials, SI!

<><><>without a prayer<><><>

I should say: Without a prayer flag.

I sit by the back window surveying the fresh snow (which my wife Denise shoveled per her custom), and I noticed that the Tibetan prayer flag that hangs suspended from the diagonal walking stick that is C-clamped to the yard light has blown down. Yesterday it was hanging from one piton; today it's buried in the snow, one presumes.

In the Himalayan way, a prayer flag blows and blows in the winds until it is unraveled, thread-by-thread, dissipating its written prayers for the welfare of all into the mountain cosmos, and beyond. Thus they are delivered. I wonder if it counts that our prayer flag just blew down after months of trying its best to plain unravel. Is this a prayerus interruptus?

Beyond the back fence, the neighbor's red white and blue bunting still hangs from his front door, but behind his storm door. I think our sewer raccoonous prayers, though blown down temporarily, are perhaps more likely to be delivered than his.


Somehow during the clattering night
at the quonset
Zepata and Irena in their cabin found sleep
the devoted creek-ets too slept
but only after hearing the snores of Zepata
did they stop rubbing their own parts together
all very long songs over

The bedclothing on the bed
of tree trunks and 1000 lb test
lariat rope
the bedclothing oh my
Again
Irena chose to soak them for starters
in Zepata's unemptied bath water
til a return

Irena built up the fire for coffee
and shaved soap chips for clean-up
with the large blade she always wore
at the back of her neck
hidden within her long black hair
the sheath strappage appearing to be a choker
necklace ah yes she was clev-oor

She checked her kit:
twin balanced 45 calibre pistolas;
over her shoulders went
the holstered dual bandoliers
crossing between her taut breasts;
all cartridge loops full
and leather thongs tied around each
of her muscular thighs

Thighs which could cause Zepata
to yell ouch Ai yai yai;
a grenade in the usual place;
sewing needles and thread;
pemmican;
iodine, cotton sheeting for
bandages or sling;

silver bicep bracelets with
hinged turquoise cabechons
behind which - check - the
cyanide capsules in event of capture;
for the Federalis meant to kill them
for a long time with many inhumanities
on sight ha ha

Saddle bags filled with flour, salt
bacon
canteens (8) filled with
mountain stream water;
flintrock; several changes of socks;
her spiked wrist bands;
signal mirror, binoculars,
sack of gold coinage;

fish hooks; high-cuff leather gloves;
two large rolls adhesive tape;
medicinal and recreational whisky;
20 feet leather thonging;
sighted-in rifle; 35 yards fusing
and sulphur matches, large box of same

Zepata rolled away the stone next
to Dayo's quonset and put 24 sticks of
seized RR blasting dynamite
into a long leather hide and rolled
it so that it made a double compartment
one for each of Dayo's haunches

We becawm one with May He Ko
he chuckles to El Dayo
if a boolet hits here
he slaps the double bag arrangement
as he secures it to the saddle
Dayo snorts defiantly his
No Way amigo

Dayo stomps his hooves
and shows the whites of his eyes
his head tossing up and down
in anticipation of new battle
He will stride just a little ahead of Mare
There will be enemy fire

As always Mare will try to achieve
the lead position
and as always
Irene will say
I not doing that, my greatest love
Mare she always wants to lead
I cannot help

Mare also carries hidden grenadage
No freighting opportunity
is ever overlooked by Irena
or Goddess of the Sun as the
peasants call after her
when they pass the poor villages

All this preparation took place in
the first light of day
El Dayo and Mare stand only a yard apart
and the spurs on both Zepata's and Irena's
boots jing-jing in concert as the two
fighters for the downtrodden
march in step to their mounts

Hep Hep
shouts Zepata
Two sinewy legs simultaneously
attain socketage in stirrups
Two sinewy legs simultaneously
arc over the horses' hind quarters

And they are off
A more splendid sight there never was
Sigh the creek-ets
Waving tiny bandanas from the window
Where they will watch a very long time

[6-3-98]



succcinct to a fault

Abbreviated (abvtd: lol)


Encsriven
inscribed
at length:

vs
today’s texted
messages
w/o text

on microscopic
hand-helds
giving the very bare
essentials

if’n you know the
lingo;

an embarkation mark
where I am decidedly
in the rear flank
making my keyboarded
marks

but much preferring
a manual typewriter
or reams of hand-written
legal pad sheets

upon which to say
with nuance
everything on my
mind

e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g

Vs v.Z



Encsriven
inscribed
at length:

vs
today’s texted
messages
w/o text

on microscopic
hand-helds
giving the very bare
essentials

if’n you know the
lingo;

an embarkation mark
where I am decidedly
in the rear flank
making my keyboarded
marks

but much preferring
a manual typewriter
or reams of hand-written
legal pad sheets

upon which to say
with nuance
everything on my
mind

e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g

Vs v.Z

there is paper, and there is PAPER




PIZZA CARDBOARD
EXCEPTIONALLY VALUABLE CODE
Last evening, the raccoons were up for a pizza. Up from the sewers. I cooked one for them but was advised by Denise that I had forgotten to take the cardboard off before placing it in the oven. Still, it heated alright and it tasted good, the thin crust was correctly crispy. The coons did not complain. However, I felt I should scan the cardboard to remind myself of this error. And, the scan might turn into a pallete for some kind of computer art, with bent tonalities.
What one sets down on cardboard or paper especially in its thinnest form can be important. This was the case in 1987 when, pre-Sewer Raccoon News, this author established another of his candidly willy-nilly (?) feats: The YIBAWEAN Society. Yes I'm Bald, And What Else? Maybe the most mileage I ever got from that was from people at gas stations who still ask me unfailingly what YIBAWE stands for on my license plate.
That's the modest spin, however, for it remains that the society has brought much comfort and encouragement to the world of the Bald. And we're not just talking progressive hereditary baldness, we're also addressing those who are losing their follicles through chemotherapy. The Yibaweans number into the many many, internationally. We have lost track of just how many members there are now.
The name of the organization came from a lecture I heard by Leo Buscaglia one upon a time. His point was that when we learn something about a person, that is only one thing. One. Bucaglia said we should ALWAYS be asking the question, over and over: Yes, and what else? What else is there to know about that person (or event or view) ?????
So, YIBAWE becomes a very good question, and certainly deserving of a license plate, and more.
The Yibawean Code above reads as follows: (You don't have to squint)
"Many people have asked if reading YIBAWE (there was a newsletter) makes one a YIBAWEAN. Unfortunately not. A YIBAWEAN subscribes to a simple but rather strict Code, stated below. If you are able to live up to it, write to us about becoming a CERTIFIED Yibawean.
THE YIBAWEAN CODE
I am a (man/woman) who is Bald. I would not have it any other way. Others of the hairless segment may choose to wear wigs, have hair transplants, or may purchase treatments in order to retain cranial foliage that is ultimately destined through evolution to be obsolete. They may devise wind-spoiled methods of combing their hair up and over as though they are ashamed not to have hair. They may buy potions to grow hair. I Will Go Bald Forever.
As a YIBAWEAN, I struggle against the Ego and therefore will not exhibit pride over my Baldness, but will merely go about knowing nothing is wrong with the outside of my head.
As a YIBAWEAN, I pledge to help my fellows who have not arisen to Bald Consciousness, showing by example that every human is beautiful in his/her own way.
As a YIBAWEAN, I observe the right of others to hold different beliefs.
As a YIBAWEAN, I respect weathered wood, patinas, rust, and the cyclical phenomena of birth and rebirth, new things and old things, every manifestation of the Oneness of the Universe, which is ALL.
[Do not be discouraged if you are not at the YIBAWEAN level of Baldness yet. You may be there tomorrow or you may never get there. You are our friend regardless, and YIBAWE is for you, wherever you are.]"
..................
Thus read and still reads The Code.

King and Reagan reviewed by atheist












NY Times 1-21-08 by Sarah Vowell



Op-Ed Contributor






RADICAL LOVE GETS A HOLIDAY
In 1983, Ronald Reagan signed a bill honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal holiday. Reagan opposed it, but back then, in the olden times of checks and balances, the vote by 338 representatives and 78 senators establishing the holiday threatened certain veto override.
So there was the president in the White House Rose Garden pretending to enjoy turning this drain on the Gross National Product into law. Perhaps he comforted himself that the American people, who can turn something as dead serious as Memorial Day into a clambake, would somehow find a way to use a football season Monday venerating a murder victim to sleep off their beer and nachos hangovers of the preceding afternoon.

Still, there’s a pleasing symmetry in Reagan forking over a day to Dr. King. Both men owe their reputations to the Sermon on the Mount. The president’s most enduring bequest might be a city-smiting drug war, but thanks to a nice smile and a biblical sound bite that’s not how he’s remembered. Reagan cribbed from the Gospel of Matthew via the Puritan John Winthrop to dream up his “shining city on a hill” legacy. And Americans in general and Republican presidential candidates in particular still believe in it, probably because they’re not watching “The Wire.”

Here’s what Dr. King got out of the Sermon on the Mount. On Nov. 17, 1957, in Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he concluded the learned discourse that came to be known as the “loving your enemies” sermon this way: “So this morning, as I look into your eyes and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you: ‘I love you. I would rather die than hate you.’ ”

Go ahead and re-read that. That is hands down the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical thing a human being can say. And it comes from reading the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical civics lesson ever taught, when Jesus of Nazareth went to a hill in Galilee and told his disciples, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”

The Bible is a big long book and Lord knows within its many mansions of eccentricity finding justification for literal and figurative witch hunts is as simple as pretending “enhanced investigation technique” is not a synonym for torture. I happen to be with Dr. King in proclaiming the Sermon on the Mount’s call for love to be at the heart of Christian behavior, and one of us got a Ph.D in systematic theology.

I live in Lower Manhattan. In my seriously secular neck of the woods, Christians are often dismissed as those homophobes on the news hell-bent on keeping half the population of Chelsea out of the wedding pages. Once, I told a member of the fabled East Coast Media Elite that I was raised Pentecostal and he asked if that meant I grew up “fondling snakes in trailers.”
I replied: “You know that book club you’re in? Well, my church was a lot like that, except that we actually read the book.”

Until my heathen Damascene moment during a ninth grade unit on Greek mythology — my disbelief that a great civilization could actually believe in such far-fetched malarkey made me take a hard look at the virgin birth — I was one of the meek majority of Christians who never make the news, who would never dream of judging or hating others because the primary occupation of a true Christian is self-loathing. (All that wretch-like-me, original sin talk meant I spent my entire childhood believing I was as depraved as Charles Manson when in reality I might have been the best-behaved 9-year-old of the 20th century.)

Because I am a culturally Christian atheist the same way my atheist Reform friends are culturally Jewish, I look forward to Martin Luther King’s Birthday — when the news momentarily replaces the rants of the faith-based spitfires with clips of what an actually Christlike Christian sounds like — with the kind of fondness with which my pal Ben looks back on the decent, affectionate ideal that was his summer camp.

have become just another citizen whose only religion is the freedom of religion and as such I patrol the wall of separation between church and state like some jumpy East German guarding Checkpoint Charlie back before Ronald Reagan single-handedly tore it down.
Which is why I am relieved that journalists and voters keep asking Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate, what he meant 10 years ago when he told a meeting of his fellow Baptists, “I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ.” That is a curiously unconstitutional opinion for someone seeking the job of defending the Constitution, not to mention historically inaccurate considering the mostly deist founders were about as spiritual as the original cast of “Hair.”

But I am also relieved when Mr. Huckabee occasionally blurts out some Sunday School sentiment about how he doesn’t think a poor child should have to sleep in a car. Of course, this whiff of Jesus makes some of his fellow Republicans turn on him as if he’s Michael Dukakis. Because they fear that trying to find the homeless homes translates into raising the taxes they must render unto Caesar.

Whoever wins the presidential election this year will be a Christian. (Unless of course it’s that one guy who is a member of a Muslim sleeper cell. Just when you think the electoral process couldn’t get any more stupid....) So the rest of us might as well suck it up and see if we can pick the Christian who is, if incapable of loving his or her enemies, the one who seems least likely to drum up a bunch of extra, new enemies to hate.

In this age of a slower, grubbier mutually assured destruction, when no one’s typed the word “nonviolence” since the typewriter, it’s worth reading Dr. King’s quarrel with the cold war’s MAD ploy. In the “loving your enemies” text he tells a pretty little parable about how one night his brother A. D. drove him to Tennessee. Infuriated by all the other cars’ brights, A. D. vowed to crank his lights and blind the next driver passing by. Dr. King told him not to, that it would just get everybody killed. “Somebody got to have some sense on this highway,” he said.

- end -

Sarah Vowell is the author of “Assassination Vacation” and the forthcoming “The Wordy Shipmates,” about the New England Puritans.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just a little squib


from a friend.
*******************************************************************************************************************************

quonset fixer-upper





For the next several days
Zepata and Dayo only hear each other's
Sounds as they shout encouragement
To each other, Zepata with Irena
In the cabin, and Dayo and his mare
In the hastily-constructed quonset
A barn of sorts

For Zepata the amigos will do anything
And Zepata wants Dayo to have a roof over his head
For when they’re are at rest
So the amigos dragged corrugated steel
Sections up the mountain for Dayo’s
Shelter

It had to be steel because Dayo when he
Is with his mare destroys wood
Structures
Beats them to the ground
So intensely as with all things
Approaches and executes El Dayo
So great a hoe-worse there never was

Now this is the thing for Zepata and El Dayo:
Irena and the mare are not playthings
For the two stallions’ rest and relaxation
Oh yes, they are that
But when there is liberation work to be done
Against the Federalis and wealthy land-owners
In the lower lands
They ride together at random times as a foursome
To keep Irena’s and Mare’s
Blood up

And in the same way
To keep Zepata’s and Dayo’s blood up
For in MayHee Ko blood is everything

Something of Zepata and Dayo
Has gotten inside of Irena and Mare
Making the latter as furious fighters
Fierce and likewise indefatiguable
In all ways and everywhere
As the former

After six days of jousting retreat
A mirror flashed from down below
Tomorrow signaled the compadres
Come tomorrow
Bring the dynamite
Bring the women

Saw-dight comforts Zepata
We have one more night here
Irena pours red wine and uncovers
The leetle creek-et cages she made
During Zepata’s absence

And the creek-ets, from down below where
Irena gather them
Good and true Mexican bawgs
Begin to sing
Begin to lull Zepata
The music of them so much he did love
And Irena in the dusk lights a candle
And oils her lithe body with a concoction
Of her own:

Rosewater for a base, then added equal measures
Honeysuckle nectar, axle lubricant blended
With saddle mink oil and Witchhazel heated over
Candle flame to bring out the scent
To flood the cabin with the scent
Her long and slick black mane wound
Into a wreath and secured with catgut
From her guitar case

Already Dayo’s hooves were punishing
The Quonset
A primeval sequence which incited
Zepata’s pituitary
Incited Zepata to shout encouragement
To his faithful steed from their distance:

Oh-lay, Dayo, Old Hoe-worse
Ah-ha-ha ha-ha
Ah-ha-ha ha-ha
Rejoins Dayo
They think alike these two
In so many different ways.

[6-1-98]

old bonists never die.....

They just play away

Hello central give me doctor jazz

Hes got what I need, I'll say he has

When the world goes wrong and Ive got the blues

Hes the guy who makes me put on both my dancin shoes

The more I get, the more I want it soon

I see doctor jazz in all my dreams

When Im in trouble bounds are mixed

Hes the guy who gets me fixed

Hello central give me doctor jazz


by gones

cat suns

Dog gone gone dog

Radar spelled backwards
Spells Radar
That’s a palindrome
He was a pal alright
a pal at home and everywhere
a palindrome

Spatz
Spelled backwards
Was Ztaps
I think she was German
Or maybe Dutch
She didn’t look like much
By the time I met her, but ch’

-a better know her heart was
golden too
just like the dog’s
she may have appeared stuffed
but now they’re in elysian fields
together, smooth, unroughed
and not unluffed

RIP

[David Dix 8-17-2002]



Sunday, January 20, 2008


all on time borrowed



Inscribed on edge: borrowed
LEISTER'S STORE
Several years ago I bought a dollar watch from Leister's Store in Pleasant Valley, Maryland. They used to be called "dollar watches" in the old days. When I bought this one from Miss Jane (Leister) I was surprised to find a place that still sold them, and still a bargain at $9.95!

I knew it would be a souvenir for me, so I painted an inscription on the back: "Souvenir of Leister's Store, Pleasant Valley MD." Then to make sure it didn't scratch off in my pocket rubbing against coins or whatever, ( I still carry it; it still runs) I painted several coats of colorless nail polish over it.

Leister's Store is no longer an operating general store. It's days were numbered as all things are. It was grandfathered that the store could remain so close to the road, when the small town thoroughfare was widened little by little. When Mr. Paul died several years ago, his wife Miss Jane kept the store running, selling the same mix of miscellany, including penny candy for the children and milk and eggs and the like as a convenience for the small town residents of (sneeze and you're past it!) Pleasant Valley. I have some rolls of old-fashioned fly paper from Leister's.

The kindly nature of the Leisters brought people like that fly paper from many parts. Their clientele remained solid until Miss Jane's time ran down and she too passed. She had a little dog that was her great and beloved companion.

Now some thoughtful parties in Pleasant Valley have in mind to make the old store a community memories museum. Funds and donations are being sought, I noticed during our Christmas 2007 visit.
I want to offer my pocket dollar watch if there is an interest for it. I guess you could still find these watches, but in very few places, I think. The maker, Westclox, is still in business. But, the Leisters' sold them, and that made all the difference.

The interest, if any, might come from the fact that the buyer recognized then (2o years ago?)that it would be a collector's item. Bless the beloved Leisters, and may they rest in peace up on the hill.
a delightful link on Pleasant Valley: