Sunday, March 30, 2008

Flow Gently Sweet Afton

Amphibian Raccoon escapes big sewer


milkers, not bilkers

Sewer Raccoons Start Milking Parlor
[Waukesha WI] In a move sure to relieve anxious dairy farmers tired of catching raccoons pulling at the teats of their cows, a team of sewer spelunkers recently discovered an underground milking parlor run and operated by raccoons.
The ring-tailed milkers rapidly departed when the flash went off, but it was surmised that the operation has started off with just one cow somehow herded through a sewer grate, although there could be several other cows in various parts of the labrythian system. Enterprising coons evidently want to legitimatize their private milk consumption, as a small sign hung over the mooing crypt: "All fired up, can't take grocery store milk ANYMORE!"

Friday, March 28, 2008

jealous pussy

Raccoon try-outs at the Sewer Raccoon News

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

Spacial honor awarded THE SEWER RACCOON NEWS

[Sewer Raccoon District, Waukesha, WI USA, Earth] Hurtling down through the heavens to a pinpoint landing on a manhole cover left ajar by the Waukesha Department of Public Works for the safe ingress and egress of the local sewer-habituating raccoons, a graven meteorite addressed to the sewer raccoon headquarters was delivered today.
The instructions rendered in a variation of sanskrit were as follows:
I have traveled far, traveled wide
from the land where the bong trees grow
to give these presents to YOU who may receive them &
to the advocates of the raccoonery about whom we have heard in our home far far away from you.
We wish to empower the Sewer Raccoon News publication with the

to re-dispense as you see fit to honorees at your discretion, and hereby and herewith bestow upon you
the full right and privilege of awarding GOLDEN RACCOON signets and seals, with the sole proviso
that you guard this award and do not give it out indiscriminatively.
The time will come when you will be widely known to be in possession of a spacial (non-sic) prize that will be much sought after. Therefore, it shall be incumbent upon you from the very beginning of your award service and empowerment to only, REPEAT: ONLY bestow the GOLDEN RACCOON award sparingly and after much forethought."

2008 Golden Raccoon Award

Spring's Intimation

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

Seasonal pound

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


[zep 3-27-08]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Message from lower space

Miraculous "hard-boiled egg"
left in mystery basket

[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"



Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

not the only one


JOHN LENNON had it right with his lyric Imagine...............'livin' for today.

Easter in the wild

Eagles and raccoons badly use bunnies and eggs

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.

We live in an imperfect world


EGG - centri- CITY

This is the season
to think ova.
Guess I’ll have to think
that ova;

Eggs hard-boiled
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! soufflĂ©
Or scramblin’ sater

To be served with ‘basco
And hash-brown taters
Les whomp us up
a blue sp. plater

Impossible at Easter
to under-rater!
When eggs rule all
In our refrig-


[ZEP 3-22-08]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Marsh Stogies 1840 to 2001

If you ever travel across Ohio from west to east you reach the eastern border at the Ohio River, where on interstate 70 you cross over a bridge past Wheeling West Virginia. The crossing used to be made during pioneer days in Conestoga wagons (hence the term Stogie) via the National Road that crossed the Ohio on the world's longest single span suspension bridge, a bridge which is still very much in service, as previously stated on these pages.

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.]

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

To hell in a shopping cart, never a hand-basket

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


Getting the short end.
Long before there was even a dream of a Sewer Raccoon News, the future editor
was constrained to fish with a Stubcaster(registered trade name). He begged and begged for a regular fishing rod, but there was something out then that supposedly offered the action of full-length rod, but which was break-downable into just two short and highly transportable parts. It was deemed to fill the bill for the diminutive boy who was brand new at fishing.
Other fishermen would row past sometimes and utter belittling words at the boy with The Stubcaster(Reg). There was tittering by little girls behind shoreline shrubbery. "Look at HIM, "he's got a S-T-U-B-C-A-S-T-E-R!!!!!!(Reg)
Soon he became KNOWN as Stubcaster (reg).
It was, unbeknowst to him at the time, a nick-name that would stick to him about half of his life. He stayed short for years, all because of that unresearched equippage.
But then a change came over him, and he became known - by those in the true know - as STUDCASTER (Reg)

Public service announcement from SR News reader Deanna Geiman of Pleasant Valley, MD


"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.

hoosier writes:

Dear Sewer Raccoon News:

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.


fearless weight-lifter

A Snowdrop
Dousman WI March 12, 2008

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

torn, tattered

rough winter

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

motes and beams

Rabbi Michael Lerner's Essay on Morality 3-12-08
The cross-the-political-spectrum attacks on Elliot Spitzer and the intensity of the demands that he resign his office show just how far the Right-wing sexual moralizing has been able to trump any other kind of ethical reasoning in American society. Going to a prostitute is legal in some states and some countries around the world, and is often the very arrangement that saves families from splitting up whose sexual energies have diminished but whose love is intact. It's not uncommon for men (and now increasingly women as well) who have achieved great power in our society by adopting an outer show of ruthless pursuit of power and influence (even, as in Spitzer's case, if the power is aimed at pursuing laudable ends) to feel a deep emptiness and loneliness that is not addressed by friends or spouse, and hence to seek some kind of outside connection no matter how superficial that is not bound by previous rules and roles. Nevertheless, I and many others in the religious and spiritual world oppose that practice when it involves adultery or prostitution, because it depends on the objectification of another human being, so that sex is disconnected in ways that it should not be from a significant encounter with the spirit of God in the other or a deep recognition that is the only real way to overcome existential or situational alienation. Moreover, the trade in women for sexual purposes has frequently led to rape and abuse and the kidnapping of young women who are sold into sexual slavery. All of these outrageous practices are abhorrent and should be challenged. The flaunting of sexuality in the media, and the implicit message that the only real satisfaction comes from having the most physically attractive people as sexual partners, not only generates huge dissatisfaction even as it allows corporate advertise to become predators manipulating our personal sense of inadequacy to sell their products, but also generates desires that feed the sexual trade in women. Given this larger social context, until sexual satisfaction is so broadly available in our society that no one has to pay for it and so deeply tied to love that no one is objectified in the process, this kind of exploitation of women and degradation of sex is likely to continue. All of these practices foster the sexual predators of the contemporary world. So Elliot Spitzer deserves to be critiqued and ought to be doing deep atonement for what he did. His previous moral arrogance and willingness when he had power to do so to prosecute others for their participation in creating prostitution rings makes him an easy target. We, in turn, might practice the forgiveness that our religious and spiritual traditions preach, particularly those of us who have been willing to honeslty face how flawed we ourselves are, and how at times we ourselves fail to embody in our actual practice with others the values that we publicly espouse. Humility and compassion are also part of the path of a spiritual progressive. But the intensity of the critique of the N.Y. governor, tied with the demand that he resign, shows more about American society's ethical perversity than about Spitzer. The President of the U.S. and the Vice President, working in concert with several other high ranking officers of our government, lied and distorted to get us involved in a war that has led to the death of over a million Iraqis, the displacement of 3 million more, the death of 4,000 Americans and the wounding of tens of thousands more. After token opposition in Congress, our elected representatives have overwhelmingly passed budgets funding this war, rather than refuse to fund any military projects until the President stopped the war and withdrew the troops. Meanwhile, our government has overtly engaged in torture, wiretapping of our phones, and violation of our human rights and the rights of people around the world. Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Charles Schumer votes to confirm as Attonrey General a right-wing judge who refused to repudiate these crimes. The U.S. government has rejected every attempt to implement the Kyoto environmental agreements or to work out new agreements sufficiently strong to reverse environmental destruction that is certain to lead to new levels of flooding particularly in several poor countries around the world. The consequence: tens of millions of deaths. The Clinton Administration pushed, along with corporate support, a set of trade agreements that have devastated the farmers of many developing countries, forcing many off their farms and into city slums where their daughters and sons are often sold into sexual slavery. The global economic system we have fostered has led to increasing gaps between the rich and the poor, so that over one out of every three people on the planet lives on less than $2 a day, 1.5 billion live on less than one dollar a day, and over 15,000 children die every day from malnutrition-related diseases and inadequate availability of medicine that is hoarded by the rich countries who can afford the prices made to ensure huge profits to the pharmaceutical industry. Health insurance companies and private medical profiteers are doing all they can to ensure that there will be no health care for tens of millions of Americans, unless that is provided in ways that guarantee corporate super-profits and thereby guarantee that the cost of health care paid through taxes will be huge and create anger at all government social welfare and well-being programs, leading to their likely de-funding. People in the US have faced severe economic crises on a regional and soon on a national level because corporations move their centers of production to countries in Asia where they can exploit workers with less government or union interference and where they can destroy the environment with less societal restraints. Wild to achieve greater profits, corporations and the rich have managed to support politicians who lower the taxes on the rich, in the process bankrupting the public sector or severely reducing its ability to provide enough funds for quality education, health care, libraries, public transportation, and social welfare. That there is no outcry for these government officials and corporate leaders to resign immediately or be impeached, that there is no moral outrage at the entire system that produces this impact, is America's ethical perversity. Instead, the only crime against humanity that the media takes seriously and the politicians fear is being exposed for personal sexual immorality. While everyone basks in their own self-righteous demands on Spitzer, we all allow media and elected officials to fundamentally distort our ethical vision and play out our morality on the smallest of possible stages while ignoring the global and personal consequences of our larger ethical failures.
Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine , Chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives , rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue-without-walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, and author of The Left Hand of God. He welcomes comments at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Annual pancake supper

March 11, 2008.

Named after longtime member of the 1st Congregational United Church of Christ, the late Cecil Cox, the affair was held as usual in the all-purpose basement. Habitual pancake batter-mixers and flippers held their posts effectively. Good old times were had by all. Ample service provided by other steady members and several youth, seasoned regulars and apprentae.

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
terminology.) RIP!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Three degrees of divinity

Here, we see three photographs in order of upscaling natural change:
First, the man/beast wolf, legendary creature of sometimes evil and sometimes good.
Second, a beast/woman, exhibiting a transitional stage of going from blatant wolfhood to surreal feminity. Also given to evil or good, some think according to lunar cycles.
We at the Sewer Raccoon News accept these images and what they stand for.
But then,
THIRD, in the bottom image, we have a good old "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" fishing raccoon. The closest thing to a snarl you'll see from him is when his mouth holds a squirming trout. A raccoon is not evil at any time. True, he approaches mischievousness when goaded. But left to his own hunting and gathering, he will not leap at human creatures and tear their throats out, ever.
That is an unfortunately too common misconception.

Friday, March 7, 2008

always something

This is a birthday card that playsLouis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. Sent to the SR editor
by John and Cindy Helt. They even had the foresight that he might want to share the card with another birthday celebrator later, so they signed it with a removeable stick-on note.
But unintentionally, the Helts gave the News a moral dilemma. The stamps were not cancelled by the US Postal Dep't. So two vexing questions come to mind:
1. Was this the act of a disgruntled postal employee, and does the editor have the responsibity as a loyal US citizen to report this act of either flamboyancy - or, much worse, sabotage?
2. Does the raccoonteur have the duty to go down and have these stamps cancelled? What Would a
Jackaroon Do?
I shall leave it to the readers of the Sewer Raccoon News.

the music man

Gourd of elephant horn
From the hornery:
Oh, so hornily
From only one gourd(ery)
came trunk and ears
with maker's hair
It's coolness is
it can play
sort of
with recaps
...............................................most heartily
...............................................and Very windily

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

everybody can make a mistake

Spring approaches, disclosing flaws

SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a (wall), or a delaminating plywood table-top

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.”

..........but, what if it's a................GIRL?

Having received a book of poetry copy-written in fateful 1936, I turned at random to this ode entitled TO MY UNBORN SON. The certainty of the pending child being a boy reminded me of Gordon MacRae's character in the musical Carousel, who sang the briefly famous Rogers and Hammerstein's song, My Boy, Bill. As the song progresses, MacRae comes to the sudden realization that the baby might be.........a girl!

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

another cat makes the news today

Brother Steve (actual and fellow-Pythian)
presents the SRN Ed. with the above birthday card on the way to lodge last night.

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.

Chapterless and verseless with MONA

Mona the cat is now 17 years of age, and has gotten in the habit of uttering poems that appear above her head in wispy cartoon balloons, like fog. [The News could not catch her in such a moment in time for our press deadline.] It is known that many creatures become more religious, in a foxhole, or sewer sort of way if they're raccoons, as they face the otherwise vague prospect of curtain-city.

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.

Raccoondite Prayer (abstruse)

..............Thy rod and thy distressed toilet plunger

shall comfort me;

Shirley the push-reel lawn mover,

M-m-m-m Good-ness and, yea

Mousey Mercy

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]

Learn to resolve issues without guns..............(no. 5)

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.

Monday, March 3, 2008

FRENZY-ed birthday with Erin

Over the past weekend, the birthday-celebrating Sewer Raccoon News editor was feted by daughter Erin to a wind ensemble concert at Lawrence University's Memorial Chapel, where Erin is a senior, a clarinetist. Under the brilliant direction of Dr. Andrew Mast, (pictured) it had to be the best concert the normally peacable raccoon booster ever attended! The finale was Andrew Boysen Jr.'s Frenzy, an intricate blur of head re-arranging percussion and complex instrumentation artistry. If the chapel could have lifted its roof in a hat-doffing gesture to the conductor and players, it surely would have. It was a hurricane of sound. Your choicely-seated, balconied editor nearly beat his head against a nearby pillar, and had no recourse but to get out his Indian drum and beat that mercilessly the next day when he got home. Something like that needs to be kept going with whatever is at hand, for long and long.
Before the concert, Erin presented her birthday card with a twinkle in her eye, I think because she knew what the very old drummer & raccoonteur was in for, and very shortly. Afterwards, when the players were off-stage packing up their instruments, Erin said she asked the conductor if he could still hear ? (after FRENZY)
His reply: "Yes, I'm still here."
The wind ensemble plans to offer that same concert soon in Omaha. Look out! They're in for a thrill!