Friday, August 29, 2008

Be not afraid......


The wonders of nature (science) are as interesting as they are infinite:

So interesting
that a sunflower follows the sun as it traverses the sky, bending its stem to conform with the most direct exposure to its rays. This one is the vigilant sentinel on the rug-shaking deck. I'm sure the squirrel is impatiently waiting for the seeds to form so it can enjoy them.
Look at the formation of a sunflower. As it matures, the petals are like unto rays themselves, giving a zig-zagging and opening cover that gradually reveals the eventual myriad flowers that will produce the sunflower seeds. Another miracle at 517 Cicadian..................


Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama critics/detractors hew line of crock:

Here's a good Hendrik Hertzberg column from our just arrived in (advance of receipt of hard copy electronic) The New Yorker:


Yard diary cont'd 8-25-08
In Urn

A nice alliteration for zapnin outside the back door at raccoon headquarters. A cool 50 degrees upon awakening, and the first of the season morning glory blossom opened near the top of the “dead” tamarack tree, in spite of the chill. We've been patiently waiting for the heavenly blue ranks.
The Vollmer Memorial Tamarack is again supported this year in its work of being dead by an annually woven chorus of strong morning glory and gourd vines twining up, and up, year by year. The squirrels in their scampering, day by day, month by month since the tree “died” in ‘05 have loosened a few pieces of the iron-like bark. Pale green lichen grows over all of the trunk, limbs and smallest twigs. Too pretty to cut down such a tree, and we wouldn't, anyway.
Pieces of the lovely matter, as nature does it's change, are gathered in a bucket regularly. The SRN will provide a small piece of SR District BMV lichened tamarack bark to the first five people who request same, c/o >< ; or c/o Sewer Raccoon District, 517 Arcadian Ave, Waukesha, WI 53186.
It could be magical.

There was a Mexican pottery & etc. import shop called The Market Place in the 70’s through the ‘90’s (approx - maybe even the 60's) where we could go to find bargain-priced pieces brought back from their central American buying trips by the couple that owned and ran the store. It was situated in a former floral shop with greenhouse attached, at East North Ave near Prospect and the water tower.

The urn with the cosmos presently in it once stood for some years holding water for the flower gardens here at the raccoon tip-toeing district. The natural color characteristic of this style of crude hand-made pottery is such that there are random blurbs of gray, black and greens in the clay, and that has made it highly desirable here and elsewhere throughout the world. Another scampering squirrel recently knocked a piece of this pottery off the deck, breaking it. [see:]
We’ve glued it back together, but in order to get a better repair we’re thinking of pounding a piece of clay pot terra cotta (standard) with a hammer, then grinding the shards into a clay powder in a big mortar-and-pestle we have (also purchased at The Market Place, as a matter of fact), and then mixing the clay dust with Elmer’s glue to get a paste that could be fingered into the glued cracks. The repair could be finished, we think, with a fine sandpaper. (Advice?)

A Buddha sits elsewhere in the raccoon-frequented yard, holding a gourd we’d painted gold and attached with epoxy as a finial at the top of the flagpole. Time and UV rays finally loosened the globe - it fell off - so there’s another repair job, of which there are many lined up around here.
Many background opportunities for fashion photographers at the SR district hdqtrs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yes, go to Dave's!

Would know those people anywhere......
Haven't been there for a while since the long (unrelated to Dave's) health recovery
Word has it that business for Dave's Restaurant isn't good. The long construction tie-up in the being-renovated old Clarke's building across from Dave's has driven away many of Dave's circling and frustrated customers.
Downtown Waukesha's historic & struggling attempts to "get it right" may claim a 105 year old institution, hopefully not fitting a part of some investors' plans.
The SR News joins in support of Dave's ahead of any new-fangled joint that may come along.
(from the Freeman:
After 105 Years, Dave's Is Still Cooking

Restaurant ‘just part of downtown’
Dave’s restaurant manager Pam Sefton, left, and owner Jose Suarez have helped the establishment reach its 105th anniversary this year.
Former owner Peter Hronis said Dave’s existed as a bar prior to its conversion into a restaurant.

By SHELLY JANKE Freeman Staff (Shelly Janke can be reached at
WAUKESHA – Maybe it’s the mini boxes of cereal available for breakfast, or how longtime waitress Pam Sefton never lets a cup of coffee go unfilled and always knows which customers will want extra butter with their toast. To repeat customer Al Roberts, the key to Dave’s Restaurant’s longevity is simply that it’s a friendly place to get “great service and excellent food at a great price.” “The first thing I hear when I walk in the door is, ‘The usual, Al?’” Roberts said. Harley-Davidson enthusiasts will be in good company next week, as community favorite Dave’s Restaurant is also celebrating the establishment’s 105th anniversary this summer.
Owner Jose Suarez, who took over the restaurant one year ago after he spent about 15 years cooking behind the counter, is excited to see a business boost when thousands of riders descend on Waukesha next week. Lately, business is down about 50 percent because customers, some of which are disabled, can’t find parking in the near vicinity. Suarez said renovations at the Clarke Hotel have monopolized street parking and left few spots available for customers. “Customers say to me that they don’t come here much because they make circles around and can’t park,” Suarez said.
He thinks business will pick up once the construction ends, however. Peter Hronis, who owned Dave’s Restaurant from 1983 until 2007 and now owns and operates Spring City Restaurant, 2820 N. Grandview Blvd., said the establishment has existed in the form of either a restaurant or a bar throughout its history, and took the Dave’s name in 1969. Hronis said the approximately 55-seat restaurant on West Broadway is successful because customers don’t want to wait long for a hardy breakfast.
“It has a very fast, hot breakfast,” he said. “When they see the bacon sizzling, in a smaller place, you’re sitting behind the counter and you got it in two seconds. From 150 feet away, it tends to get cold.”
Hronis said that like Suarez, he went through a tough time in the early 1980s , when city street improvements and work on a new sewer system kept customers away for six months. “Another month and I would have probably never made it,” he said. Roberts doesn’t mind parking in the distance, especially after his usual two eggs over medium with toast and extra butter, which he enjoys at Dave’s about three times a week. “The walk is good because then I can walk the breakfast off,” he said.
Eric Evans, who is originally from Waukesha and now lives in Washington, D.C., is in town to attend next week’s Harley-Davidson celebration. He stopped by Dave’s for a late-morning breakfast Thursday with his family. “It’s been here a while, so it’s just part of downtown,” Evans said.


Let's get behind Dave's. We're going back down there again.

In by-gone days when we would travel through foreign towns we would always look for the intimate downtown cafes to catch a good breakfast and drink in some of the true local atmosphere.

Not mcdonalds, not black swannery; places like Dave's Restaurant.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

517 circumscription

visiting Cicada

with growing gourd
& undead tamarack trunk;
ephemerosity reigns

front porch

worships at John Tyson pot

If I hear "MY FRIENDS" one more time.................

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Published, at last!


Arising at 517 Arcadian Ave
Sameness and accustomedness
Illumine my closed-eyes and waking mind:

A sitting up, involving the same
Counterweighted move with my left heel
Using the box spring for purchase

An allowing of pooled blood
To re-arrange itself as I open the
Blinds near me for a peer at the weather

And a look, if it’s light out,
At the thermometer on the garage
Then a standing up

And a U-path around the bed
Letting my hand trace the edge
Of the footboard I’ve had since 1950

To the bedroom doorknob
On which one must pull down a bit
To ease the sticking of the door on top

- that could be fixed but I never have -

The squeaking hinge, ibid
And then to the stairs with the big railing
Put there in 1914 when the house was built

My hand links with the railing’s fancy curvature
That would cost a lot to shape these days
And this sliding connection

To a piece of wood that has guided
And supported so many children and grown-ups
On their way up and on their way down

Taken for granted in its unique feel
To a human hand
And its never-loosened

Attachment to the wall;
All the many occupants at this address
Over all these years

Including the roomers my grandma
Took in when times were tough
We all grasped for this railing

And it has always been there
To firmly but graciously serve
And it has never loosened from the wall!

What tree gave it to us?
Was it the only artful member of it
That made a mark as trustworthy as this?

This railing so touched
By so many, in just a single-family residence
Not as though it were a court house railing

But only in this one private location,
Where it never will be famous;
Except now, after all the years

I’ve briefly tried to make it so

[David Dix 11-9-2002]


Our poor battered country

Will we survive the rants of Ann Coulter, John McCain & etc.?

Our perspective here, which spans from World War II to current sewer raccoonage, begs continued circumspection - to look above and beyond, past the errors and stupidities and mires through which we as a country have slogged so many times before, and somehow pulled ourselves from the slime, up and out on the other side. Struggling to walk upright, like peacable and balanced men and women. Like conscientious land animals.

In the continuum of human history, the US is yet wet behind our dirty ears, comparatively young and not-thoroughly-washed, a gun-bearing phenomenon. Some mothers don't want us appearing in public like this. It doesn't help to have lurking snakes and latter day Nazis in our struggling bloodstream.

Yesterday Ms. Vulture penned an astonishing - yes, even for her- diatribe against the cancer-struggling Ted Kennedy, another regular column, a calumny mis-treatise, that the local sneeze, The Waukesha Freeman, had the super-conservative gumption (?) to run.

My ex-sister-in-law thinks Ann Coulter rocks.
............................................................................. ^.^

The dottering John McCain continues to breach sense chasms, reaching new lows.

Enough said. Maybe MORE than enough said.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fruit of various loinage

Denise and Leland
head back to school 8-16-08

Utilizing his girlfriend's van and his own car just back from a summer book-selling stint in Pennsylvania, Dee takes Lee back to Madison for his junior year at UW. Lee is feeling rather tough in his new frosted hairy visor from Dad and has a bit of trouble containing himself.

A recent completion of a parachute jump from 2.5 miles up adds to his debonair............... air.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lawn parking considered

Red-tennied ambassador to the raccoon king comes in for coffee and raccoon crackers this morning. He bore a message from his liege: we are to feel at liberty to retire to the sewer at Arcadian and Colton in order to travel about unencumbered by the circa forty (40) trains that pass by daily.

Like the raccoons of the sewer, we must go automobile-less, but we will come up safely on the other side of the Arcadian crossing at Caroline St. and likewise at the several other ham-strung be-tracked streets via the underpasses in place. No waiting for the endless railroad commerce to pass.

The King suggested that the raccoon district might want to charge for parking cars on lawns, as people do at the state fair in West Allis. The sewer raccoons will clean up the sewers in appropriate sections for a lawn parking surcharge of 25% of all parking revenue.

This win-win is being looked into. It may also be a way of providing spectators traveling to the city with adequate parking when the Bullfrog baseball league takes over Frame Park.

That mis-use of the tranquil park is a travesty, by the way. And although such an entertainment with its resulting concession debris would please ditched hotdog- munching coons, the raccoon population opts instead for the peaceful use of the park as it was. Like is was w-a-y back, when camping hobos shared their meager fare.

That was the other part of the King's message. A certain and only right streak of Conservatism obtains, apparently, even among Waukesha raccoons.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I have learned:


As to now:
[Right about Now]
Now being what it is -

Time rolls around
Like a droplet of mercury
And it is never where it was
It rolls around

Trying to catch it is
To level the playing field
And make it stay where it is or was

Is or was
What happens when
You start something
Is Now
But darn-near instantly

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Some good stories never die:

for rest of story contact the SR News
[Original property ot John W. Means, Pleasant Valley, Maryland
& published 1932, in Racine WI]

Monday, August 11, 2008

eternal quest for beauty

ribs removed Step One
but still it isn't quite right

Little by little, one goes far.......

All hidden

Theodore Roethke, poet
May 1961

Meditation at Oyster River


Over the low, barnacled, elephant-coloured rocks

Come the first tide ripples, moving, almost without sound, toward me,

Running along the narrow furrows of the shore, the rows of dead


Then a runnel behind me, creeping closer,

Alive with tiny striped fish, and young crabs climbing in and out of the


No sound from the bay. No violence.

Even the gulls quiet on the far rocks,

Silent, in the deepening light,

Their cat-mewing over,

Their child-wimpering.

At last one long undulant ripple,

Blue black from where I am sitting,

Makes almost a wave over a barrier of small stones,

Slapping lightly against a sunken log.

I dabble my toes in the brackish foam sliding forward,

Then retire to a rock higher up on the cliffside.

The wind slackens, light as a moth fanning a stone —

A twilight wind, light as a child’s breath,

Turning not a leaf, not a ripple.

The dew revives on the beach grass;

The salt-soaked wood of a fire crackles;

A fish raven turns on its perch (a dead tree in the river mouth),

Its wings catching a last glint of the reflected sunlight.


The self persists like a dying star,

In sleep, afraid. Death’s face rises afresh,

Among the shy beasts — the deer at the salt lick,

The doe, with its sloped shoulders, loping across the highway,

The young snake, poised in green leaves, waiting for its fly,

The hummingbird, whirring from quince blossom to morning-glory —

With these I would be.

And with water: the waves coming forward without cessation,

The waves, altered by sandbars, beds of kelp, miscellaneous driftwood,

Topped by cross-winds, tugged at by sinuous undercurrents,

The tide rustling in, sliding between the ridges of stone,

The tongues of water creeping in quietly.


In this hour,

In this first heaven of knowing,

The flesh takes on the pure poise of the spirit,

Acquires, for a time, the sandpiper’s insouciance,

The hummingbird’s surety, the kingfisher’s cunning.

I shift on my rock, and I think:

Of the first trembling of a Michigan brook in April.

Over a lip of stone, the tiny rivulet;

And the wrist-thick cascade tumbling from a cleft rock,

Its spray holding a double rainbow in the early morning,

Small enough to be taken in, embraced, by two arms;

Or the Tittabawasee, in the time between winter and spring,

When the ice melts along the edges in early afternoon

And the mid-channel begins cracking and heaving from the pressure beneath,

The ice piling high against the ironbound spiles,

Gleaming, freezing hard again, creaking at midnight,

And I long for the blast of dynamite,

The sudden sucking roar as the culvert loosens its debris of branches and

sticks —

Welter of tin cans, pails, old birds’ nests, a child’s shoe riding a log—

As the piled ice breaks away from the battered spiles

And the whole river begins to move forward, its bridges shaking.


Now, in this waning of light,

I rock with the motion of morning;

In the cradle of all that is,

I’m lulled into half sleep

By the lapping of waves,

The cries of the sandpiper.

Water’s my will and my way,

And the spirit runs, intermittently,

In and out of the small waves,

Runs with the intrepid shore birds —

How graceful the small before danger!

In the first of the moon,

All’s a scattering,

A shining.

(click on text to enlarge)
Much more on Roethke on the internet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The party of stupid

Paul Krugman Speaks:

Know-Nothing Politics


Published: August 7, 2008

So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don’t count on it.

Remember how the Iraq war was sold. The stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds was just window dressing. The main political argument was, “They attacked us, and we’re going to strike back” — and anyone who tried to point out that Saddam and Osama weren’t the same person was an effete snob who hated America, and probably looked French.

Let’s also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. “Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man,” declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. “He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.”

It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina — when the heckuva job done by the man of whom Ms. Noonan said, “if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help” revealed the true costs of obliviousness — that the cult began to fade.

What’s more, the politics of stupidity didn’t just appeal to the poorly informed. Bear in mind that members of the political and media elites were more pro-war than the public at large in the fall of 2002, even though the flimsiness of the case for invading Iraq should have been even more obvious to those paying close attention to the issue than it was to the average voter.

Why were the elite so hawkish? Well, I heard a number of people express privately the argument that some influential commentators made publicly — that the war was a good idea, not because Iraq posed a real threat, but because beating up someone in the Middle East, never mind who, would show Muslims that we mean business. In other words, even alleged wise men bought into the idea of macho posturing as policy.

All this is in the past. But the state of the energy debate shows that Republicans, despite Mr. Bush’s plunge into record unpopularity and their defeat in 2006, still think that know-nothing politics works. And they may be right.

Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling — and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year.

The headway Republicans are making on this issue won’t prevent Democrats from expanding their majority in Congress, but it might limit their gains — and could conceivably swing the presidential election, where the polls show a much closer race.

In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In our haste to go to press,

we inadvertently failed to include this exposure, where Dee did turn around to smile at the camera I'd poked through the bathroom window.

When this old world starts getting you down,

raccoon districters
go up on the roof.....
Well, up on the deck, a second floor elevation that was originally nothing more than a rug-shaking porch. Years ago we built a semi-privatizing wood slat railing around it. Oh, this is not a state of the art, whuzappnin' NOW, 2008 sort of wrap around affair.
This is a 1914-vintage raccoon district - near the whistle-blowing RR tracks - manifestation. A rug-shaking, tin-floored porch we can sit on.

By standing up, we can look down on all the raccoon comings and goings, call to them, toss treats to them, and avoid rabies.
Yes, we are in the process of scraping off a lot of peeling paint up on that "roof."
But we take heart in the knowledge that fashion photographers like to pose their opulent subjects before shaggy backgrounds, as a means of great contrast. Peeling paint and silk go well together. Armed with that, we deign to encourage the cotton-clothed resident minx-vixen to turn around and smile for the lowly 2 pixel camera.
The gourds, outfitted with that C-clamped trellis (see: are growing well, as well they should in the duly-watered, daylong sun on their deck. The ground-level gardens are shaded now, due to the now large and ever-tallening trees planted on the east curbing by the city.
In an understandable development, a small gnome is riding a frog under the canopy of broad gourd leaves.

and a merry sort he seems, even the frog looks happy....................

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Let there be Light

"Volunteer" Corn
Sewer raccoon corn farmers have had to step a teensy bit further into the domain of above-ground Waukeshans in order to grow their corn. It seems that their crops need sunlight also.
An alert newspaper photographer snapped the above picture of corn growing out of the sewer, but the editors evidently chose to keep the lid on the lurking activities of our vast subteranean population - which is kind of the often wrong emphasis-placers - by terming the protruding growth as "volunteer."
Instead of calling unwanted-by-coon corn farmers attention to their peeking cornstalks, the local deciders have gone with a weed interpretation.
There is some "fair"ness in our fair city after all. Now if only the up-in-arms gripers could leave Mayor Larry alone about the color of shoes he chooses to lay on the above-grade surface of this commonly-held ground, all might be better off. The intended harmony of Providence will, in any case, prevail.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Indeed, how far does the human heart have to travel for peace?

And, why do many people wink at this congressman?

How to get to the crossroads:

In Waukesha

We don’t think about it very much anymore
but the ghosts of native Indians might
We walk, or alas, drive their ancient trading trails
paved many times over;
even our later inter-urban streetcar tracks
are now out of sight,

buried like their lightly-beaten paths
by time and poured concrete
and newcomers can’t get the gist of traveling downtown
can’t figure these streets out because so many diagonals
cut through strangely, they say

But it was all so simple then
for the woodland people
to follow their spoke-like paths
to the five points trading posts
No doubt

going through thick woods
from their outlying settlements,
intending to live forever in their homeland
upon which they trod so gently

Pioneers built great improvements
upon their sacred burial grounds
and cannons stand in our library park
passing time’s additions, tentatively

muddying the purer water of days
dim to us, unknown
But not to the ghosts
who watched flowing streams
clear away many other silty stirrings
only for a moment hiding customary clarity

We are being watched by these patient spirits
these spector ‘savages’ who knew so much
their way to our downtown

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bat, Fickle, 1 ea

Still Fickle Bat

A bat I thought was you
Fluttered around my head
Last night after the lights
were turned off

I opened the door
To let you find your way out
But you stayed
Would not go
Winging around my sought repose

Nibbling my ear lobes
The way you used to do
I went out myself
And you followed me

Joining another bat
Zig-zagging in the darkness
Both of you exchanged squeaks
And left

I lay awake a long time
Wondering if you’d be back
The only way to keep you
Is to set you free

[DD 2004]
really happened, in Pembine WI, circa 1972