Sunday, March 30, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
As The News moves ahead with plans to augment its office equipment with a raccoon corporate embosser stamp to affix our official coon image on various documents, as our correspondences and awards bestowals increase, Mona the Cat, somewhat miffed of late with all the attention being given over to coons, begged an accomplished feline impressionist's audience.
"How come I can't be your coon?" she insistenty asked. "I could be a coon!"
She reminded us that she did stand still for the lion's mane costume some time back.
"Jus' gimme a chance! I can DO this!"
In the interest of domestic tranquility, we fitted her with a simple velcroed mask and a bushy raccoon tail sleeve to pull up over her slender appendage, fastenable at the base of her real tail with a drawstring.
[More on this later. Some time will be required for this matter to resolve itself.]
Thursday, March 27, 2008
~THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN RACCOON~
Hark, what blooms in yon window broke
Open in glorious hues?
Takes not many, only a fuse
Rising happy on a dis-a-mal ground
To shatter the bonds, yes, slip them sure
Of winter’s impermanent bound;
The unswayable force, the thrusting up up and up
From bulbs wakened from their
Offer again if proof need there be
That you cannot keep good tulips
(Nor should you want to)
Your verdant thirsts unslak-ed
Will witness the mowings of lawns
In your town
And then come the leav-es unrak-ed
Til snow falls again
And bulbs go deep down
Sleep again most starkedly
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
[Waukesha WI USA] In a random finding of recent easterly date, a human caught out of the corner of his eye three tittering raccoons dashing into the street sewer nearby. They had snuck up on his front porch, rung the doorbell, and ran off, he speculated.
The basket they left at his doorstep contained one large egg. He took it and cracked it in a perfect rectangle. That in itself astounded him. Any other egg he'd ever cracked had broken with jagged irregular edges. A veritable Kubrick 2001 odyssey.
Within the spherical shell he found - not an chicken or raccoon or an egg - BUT a small message. which read:
"all will be well"
visit the SEWER RACCOON NEWS
ENTERTAINING AND EDUCATIONAL
Saturday, March 22, 2008
In the interest of full disclosure, it must be mentioned at least in passing that wilderness creatures have their own way of celebrating the rebirth of the Easter season. A mother eagle may harvest an Easter bunny and his basket of treats to feed her young. And raccoons not from around here have been known to even eat the endangered eggs of loons.
These northwoods coons do not observe organizations like LoonWatch and their hard-fought preservation work, and marching to non-human drummers will relentlessly raid loons' nests for the precious eggs. We speculate that these rougher, closer to the bone raccoons neither have benefit of underground metropolitan sewer systems for higher education nor the food-gathering opportunities city gutters and yards provide.
This is the season
to think ova.
Guess I’ll have to think
And soaked in brine
With caraway seed
Will be just fine
And beet juice dyes
And waxy lines in
Purple, yellow, e’en
to blow some eggs
and make 'em light
a hole each end
& orange yokes bright
spill into a bowl
to be cook-ed later;
a He’s Risen! soufflé
Or scramblin’ sater
To be served with ‘basco
And hash-brown taters
Les whomp us up
a blue sp. plater
Impossible at Easter
When eggs rule all
In our refrig-
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Whether you head east toward or into Wheeling on either bridge, you notice the old Marsh Stogies sign on their former factory brick wall, a bold proclamation in Wheeling testifying to a bygone day, and visible at a fardistance. [The history of the "cheap cigar" is intriguing, and you can read more on this website. http://www.broadleafcigars.com/marsh.htm]
The SR News editor is in touch with, though never met, a woman with the Wheeling Symphony, who briefly corresponded with him after seeing a blurb pertaining to the suspension bridge from the SR News that was reprinted in the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper.
Finding much in common, including a love of poetry, a near daily Email exchange has been initiated. In a message outlining our captivation with the city of Wheeling we mentioned that Stogie sign painted on the factory building as a landmark to his family on frequent trips to Maryland. We have stopped in Wheeling overnight on those trips. Dawn walks across the swinging suspension bridge to Wheeling Island have ensued, photographs taken, poems written, and people interviewed.
Lo and behold, a gift box arrived at SR headquarters a couple days ago. Our correspondent sent a box of Wheeling gifts and miscellany, and tucked into the bottom of the parcel was a Marsh stogie cigar box, like a previously mentioned Cracker Jack prize. People have made guitar bases from such sturdy boxes.
This cigar box, now a collectors' item, since the Marsh company folded in 2001 after all those years, holds some non-cigar treasures now that it has reached the raccoonland shore: the life-long-carried lucky stone found in Lake Michigan at Northport, and the medal the editor's mother won for English skills at Sun Prairie high school in 1931. A clipping from this kind donor about Wheeling's days as a steamship builder is also kept in the Marsh Stogie box.
You just never know who you might meet on the internet.
Note: The price of Marsh cigars was at one time - per the tag on this box - up to 2 for 41 cents, a far cry from Marsh's original nickel cigar era.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The Waukesha Sewer Raccoon News was recently informed by Waukesha sewer raccoons themselves that there is an encampment of hoboes on the northeast bank above Frame Park, cooking, using a metal shopping cart as their grill. This was of sufficient interest to dispatch a photographer to get a picture, shown above.
The reporting raccoons thought this was veritable raccoon-like behavior and they were proud to tell the story. Their only complaint, they said, was that they are not of sufficient size to use a deserted shopping cart as a cooker themselves. The coons go about with much smaller gunny-sacks over their shoulders, gathering what their stature allows: bottle caps, bits of shiny glass, pieces of metal bent just so, wind-fall apples, and the occasional street-jettisoned cold pizza.
There was a feature article in this, we conjured.
Not long ago we heard of a young woman who snapped a shoe-string, and considered going on-line to order a new pair of shoes. Her roommate chided her. "Why not just go and buy a new pair of shoe-strings? It would be a lot cheaper."
The hipped woman decided that was right and sensible. She went to Walmart for the shoe-strings. A congenial geriatric gently rolled one of their cavernous carts up to her, and she took it. As she rolled the cart toward the shoe department she realized how foolish she was to push the big cart when she could easily carry the shoe-strings in one hand.
Due to her age she wasn't aware that in the 40's and 50's the great Atlantic and Pacific (A&P) stores inaugurated the shopping cart, supposedly for their customers' convenience. With the carts, shoppers could carry more stuff than what they could hold in their arms or put into their brought-in shopping bags that would just have to be emptied at the counter. That led to the proliferation of omnipresent carts, and the need of paper shopping bags.
Unbeknownst to the sheep-like customers, the store managers, who at that early time hung out in elevated cubicles behind one-way glass supposedly to keep an eye out for thievery, were really watching the buying habits of their customers, and rubbing their grasping mercantile hands together, grinning and salivating at the increased profits their checkers were ringing up.
So much for customer convenience.
Skip ahead to today's era. Now the carts are outlandishly huge. They and the bags are all one size: BIG. Because the shoppers' wants, behavior modified, are BIG. The parking lots outside the stores have designated aisles for the carts that now neatly-fold into each other; the loads of just-bought goods are hoisted into commodious SUV's and mini-vans. Or double-cab pick-ups.
The shoe-string buyer pushed her cart around shopping (shop-shop-shop) customers at the Walmart store, bent on getting her laces, and that was all. Period. OK, she thought briefly about getting some of those colorful, well-illustrated snack food sacks for her chums back at the dorm, but she resisted. And she lingered to study a rack of "On-Sale" sweaters. Then she espied some AA batteries. She could always use more of them. But she resisted everything, got to the shoe-string department and dropped the tiny parcel into the yawning and much-hungrier cart.
Keeping her eyes focused straight ahead she worked her way through other masses of alluring merchandise to the check-out counter. She passed the last-minute display of candy bars and gum( and more AA batteries) just ahead of the conveyor ramp at the cash/check/credit card register. How many tons of stuff went down those conveyors each day she did not wonder, but she dropped her teensy shoe-string packet on the gobbling rubber belt that made to effortlessly move considerably more weight than shoe-strings.
The checker peered at the shoe-strings. "Is this ALL you're buying?
The sucessful shopper victoriously answered, "YES!" YES!!!!
"Wow," the money-handler said. "This is definitely my smallest sale of the day!"
Thanks to the sewer raccoons for the news of the hobo shopping cart grill! SR News advice: Take a shopping list and stick to it. Carry a hand-basket.
Friday, March 14, 2008
"House fires--please read!!!!! Received from a friend who is in the insurance property business. It is well worth reading. This is one of those e-mails that if you don't send it, rest assured, someone on your list will suffer for not reading it. The original message was written by a lady whose brother and wife learned a hard lesson this past week.
Their house burnt down.... nothing left but ashes. They have good insurance so the house will be replaced and most of the contents. That is the good news. However, they were sick when they found out the cause of the fire. The insurance investigator sifted through the ashes for several hours. He had the cause of the fire traced to the master bathroom. He asked her sister-in-law what she had plugged in in the bathroom. She listed the normal things....curling iron, blow dryer. He kept saying to her, 'No, this would be something that would disintegrate at high temperatures'.
Then her sister-in-law remembered she had a Glade Plug-In, in the bathroom. The investigator had one of those 'Aha' moments. He said that was the cause of the fire. He said he has seen more house fires started with the plug-in type room fresheners than anything else.
He said the plastic they are made from is THIN. He also said that in every case there was nothing left to prove that it even existed. When the investigator looked in the wall plug, the two prongs left from the plug-in were still in there. Her sister-in-law had one of the plug-ins that had a small night light built in it. She said she had noticed that the light would dim and then finally go out. She would walk in to the bathroom a few hours later, and the light would be back on again. The investigator said that the unit was getting too hot, and would dim and go out rather than just blow the light bulb. Once it cooled down it would come back on. That is a warning sign.
The investigator said he personally wouldn't have any type of plug in fragrance device anywhere in his house. He has seen too many places that have been burned down due to them. PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ALL THE PEOPLE (YOU CAN); NOT ONLY COULD IT SAVE SOMEONE'S HOUSE, BUT IT COULD SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE."
Ed. note: we are most desirous of passing your warning around. We must note, however, that our clientele live in sewers and are not accustomed to stink-reducers. We would not have one of those for anything, and we're above grade. Thanks for passing this along, where it is now destined to reach many more than mere names on Email addresses.
Thought you'd be interested to know that a family of Chinese raccoons have a fine restaurant in Hoosierland that you might want to try sometime. The industrious family of coons runs the entire operation, mom cooking, dad cashiering and maitre'd-ing, the children bussing and waiting on tables. A brother-in-law serves as bouncer and manager of their basement wardrobe of miniature human-being costumes, for these enterprising raccoons, though making their exit after closing unfrocked down a nearby sewer, suit up again in the morning topside (except Sunday) for their popular noon buffet. The "Koons" want to appear in this coon hunting region as non-coons.
Patrons think their burglar masks are merely a clever schtick, not unlike the "flare" worn by McDonald's employees.
They have adopted a Chinese/American spelling of their business name, using the letter K to minimize their chances of being discovered as actual raccoons, and possibly being shot, or at the least, treed by Indiana dogs.
The caveat, SR News and readers, is to be careful of the crackerjack-like gutter prizes these raccoons sometimes hide in their food plates, to double-put-one-over on their customers. Not unknown are bits of broken glass, tin foil and bottle caps.
How do they do it? Pushing up through frozen ground, encouraged by just a little thaw and waning but still present ice, the earliest pre-spring flowers can't wait to get going, do their thing, and get gone. Snowdrops are the first ones, and if medals were given they would get them. We think this photo taken by the SR News editor's son is absolutely stellar, and we are pleased to print it, in a manner of speaking.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The battering winds of winter 2007-08
took bad care of our earth flag;
we had it proudly flying from our highest turret;
I happened to look up
the other day
and saw the damage
Maybe I should not have
flown the flag through thick and thin
day and night
Maybe I should have brought it down
in inclement weather
and folded it safely away
This flag that represented
the whole world
not just some piece of planetary patchwork
Now the least I can do
is glorify it herewith
rather than ring it curtain-like down
I’ll belatedly gather it in my arms
after a memorializing photo op
think of the symbolism
this weather-beaten fabric,
formerly beautiful, tenders;
due to disrespect
like the real world at man’s magnificent disposal
icebergs fall / dry earth cracks / polar bears dwindle
We have the daily news
- not just the sewer raccoon news - to
~~~~~Extra! / Extra! ~~~~~ READ ALL ABOUT IT
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
We remember, too, blind Harry Smith, who tickled the wild ivories to the sound of the queued patrons at the ringing cash register. Other volunteers at the yearly affair smilingly performed such duties as called upon. As customary, members of the church bought many additional tickets to be given to less advantaged good supper-anticipating community guests. A bake sale by the women of the church provided the icing on many cakes, in the fellowship hall.
At top, we picture Cecil, who regularly oiled the steeple bell bearings. Many times he climbed the aged heights of the creaky and crispy, wide-spaced wooden stairs to keep the church's clarion voice swinging freely; a giant bell made ringable by a sturdy rope from the mechanical-advantage-providing big bell wheel to the vestry far below, even handleable by small and wide-eyed rope-pulling Sunday Schoolers. This was thanks to Cecil Cox, a man who did innumerable faithful tasks for his church, great and small, throughout his many years there. And, including organizing well the annual pancake supper. (Belch'n Congo is a joke from the SR News, not Cecil's
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
In the days before ultra-sound, the poet's certainty of having a boy puts a heavyload to deliver the male goods on the mother's womb, and heart. So life has gone. (And, there' an epitaph for you........)
To enlarge the poem, click on it.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Inside it reads: Do you know how fast you were going over that hill?
Then "Ho Ho Ho
362 days early"
That seems worthy of inclusion in the News. The very first birthday card of 2009.
Therefore, Mona insists on our keeping the old toilet plunger at the side of her radiator repose. Her world, we surmise, consists of the experiences she has garnered at this address. Thus her prayers reflect life as she has known it.
..............Thy rod and thy distressed toilet plunger
shall comfort me;
Shirley the push-reel lawn mover,
M-m-m-m Good-ness and, yea
When not in use
Will stay in the garage
Otherwise will follow me
All the days of my life
And I shall dwell
Atop the The Big Bathroom Radiator
[Mona stic 3-4-08]
A Declaration of Dependence
from John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America:
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell- checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline)-roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God save the Queen.