Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cocoa recipe from SRN reader

Normal American girl
sends her recipe for hot chocolate
after being open to trying it with Tabasco:

"OK, here's my personal recipe for some hot cocoa that sooths and bites in the same sip! I have played with a recipe I got at a coffee shop last year at this time in Michigan:

Real, (organic if possible) Dark cocoa
teaspoon to tablespoon (depending on your preference) cinnamon
same for nutmeg
dab of cloves and/or cardamon
pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste!)
Sometimes I use a teaspoon of instant coffee, or some that's been recently brewed

How to prepare: Use a big mug
1.heat water to boil (a cup per person) bottom of cup mix all of the above ingredients and add enough water to dissolve into a smooth paste
3. Use a hand blender or some such implement to whip/froth the milk - I use about 2 cups milk in a deepish microwaveable container
4. When the milk is good and aerated, nuke for 3 minutes and it'll get very frothy (yum)
5. Add some hot water to the cocoa paste to fill mug half way, mix well.
6. Top with frothed milk, leaving a lot of foam to ride on top of the cup.
7. I use sweetener after mixing the paste. But if you use sugar, add it along with all other dry ingredients in step #2.

This is a decadent treat that will leave you purring! It is an insult to cayenne to use instant hot chocolate!

This sounds serious. Thanks! Ed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Be a Friend to Man

The (White) House By the Side of the Road

by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the peace of their self-content;

There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,

In a fellowless firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths

Where highways never ran;

-But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a (White) house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by-

The men who are good and the men who are bad,

As good and as bad as I.

I would not sit in the scorner's seat,

Or hurl the cynic's ban;

-Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I see from my (White) house by the side of the road,

By the side of the highway of life,

The men who press with the ardor of hope,

The men who are faint with the strife.

But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears

-Both parts of an infinite plan;-

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead

And mountains of wearisome height;

That the road passes on through the long afternoon

And stretches away to the night.

But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,

And weep with the strangers that moan,

Nor live in my (White)house by the side of the road

Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

Where the race of men go by

-They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,

Wise, foolish- so am I.

Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat

Or hurl the cynic's ban?

-Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.


Not Quite Dead White House Occupant

Rushes to Enact Environmentally Unfriendly Rules

By ROBERT PEAR New York Times
Published: November 29, 2008
WASHINGTON — The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.
The rule, which has strong support from business groups, says that in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze “industry-by-industry evidence” of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives. The proposal would, in many cases, add a step to the lengthy process of developing standards to protect workers’ health.
Public health officials and labor unions said the rule would delay needed protections for workers, resulting in additional deaths and illnesses.
With the economy tumbling and American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush has promised to cooperate with Mr. Obama to make the transition “as smooth as possible.” But that has not stopped his administration from trying, in its final days, to cement in place a diverse array of new regulations.
The Labor Department proposal is one of about 20 highly contentious rules the Bush administration is planning to issue in its final weeks. The rules deal with issues as diverse as abortion, auto safety and the environment. One rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. Another would reduce the role of federal wildlife scientists in deciding whether dams, highways and other projects pose a threat to endangered species.
Mr. Obama and his advisers have already signaled their wariness of last-minute efforts by the Bush administration to embed its policies into the Code of Federal Regulations, a collection of rules having the force of law. The advisers have also said that Mr. Obama plans to look at a number of executive orders issued by Mr. Bush.
A new president can unilaterally reverse executive orders issued by his predecessors, as Mr. Bush and President Bill Clinton did in selected cases. But it is much more difficult for a new president to revoke or alter final regulations put in place by a predecessor. A new administration must solicit public comment and supply “a reasoned analysis” for such changes, as if it were issuing a new rule, the Supreme Court has said.
As a senator and a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama sharply criticized the regulation of workplace hazards by the Bush administration.
In September, Mr. Obama and four other senators introduced a bill that would prohibit the Labor Department from issuing the rule it is now rushing to complete. He also signed a letter urging the department to scrap the proposal, saying it would “create serious obstacles to protecting workers from health hazards on the job.”
Administration officials said such concerns were based on a misunderstanding of the proposal.
“This proposal does not affect the substance or methodology of risk assessments, and it does not weaken any health standard,” said Leon R. Sequeira, the assistant secretary of labor for policy. The proposal, Mr. Sequeira said, would allow the department to “cast a wide net for the best available data before proposing a health standard.”
The Labor Department regulates occupational health hazards posed by a wide variety of substances like asbestos, benzene, cotton dust, formaldehyde, lead, vinyl chloride and blood-borne pathogens, including the virus that causes AIDS.
The department is constantly considering whether to take steps to protect workers against hazardous substances. Currently, it is assessing substances like silica, beryllium and diacetyl, a chemical that adds the buttery flavor to some types of microwave popcorn.
The proposal applies to two agencies in the Labor Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Under the proposal, they would have to publish “advance notice of proposed rule-making,” soliciting public comment on studies, scientific information and data to be used in drafting a new rule. In some cases, OSHA has done that, but it is not required to do so.
The Bush administration and business groups said the rule would codify “best practices,” ensuring that health standards were based on the best available data and scientific information.
Randel K. Johnson, a vice president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, said his group “unequivocally supports” the proposal because it would give the public a better opportunity to comment on the science and data used by the government.
After a regulation is drafted and formally proposed, Mr. Johnson said, it is “all but impossible” to get OSHA to make significant changes.
“Risk assessment drives the entire process of regulation,” he said, and “courts almost always defer” to the agency’s assessments.
But critics say the additional step does nothing to protect workers.
“This rule is being pushed through by an administration that, for the last seven and a half years, has failed to set any new OSHA health rules to protect workers, except for one issued pursuant to a court order,” said Margaret M. Seminario, director of occupational safety and health for the A.F.L.-C.I.O.
Now, Ms. Seminario said, “the administration is rushing to lock in place requirements that would make it more difficult for the next administration to protect workers.”
She said the proposal could add two years to a rule-making process that often took eight years or more.
Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said the proposal would “weaken future workplace safety regulations and slow their adoption.”
The proposal says that risk assessments should include industry-by-industry data on exposure to workplace substances. Administration officials acknowledged that such data did not always exist.
In their letter, Mr. Obama and other lawmakers said the Labor Department, instead of tinkering with risk-assessment procedures, should issue standards to protect workers against known hazards like silica and beryllium. The government has been working on a silica standard since 1997 and has listed it as a priority since 2002.
The timing of the proposal appears to violate a memorandum issued in early May by Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff.
“Except in extraordinary circumstances,” Mr. Bolten wrote, “regulations to be finalized in this administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008, and final regulations should be issued no later than Nov. 1, 2008.”
The Labor Department has not cited any extraordinary circumstances for its proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29. Administration officials confirmed last week that the proposal was still on their regulatory agenda.
The Labor Department said the proposal affected “only internal agency procedures” for developing health standards. It cited one source of authority for the proposal: a general “housekeeping statute” that allows the head of a department to prescribe rules for the performance of its business.
The statute is derived from a law passed in 1789 to help George Washington get the government up and running.
The Labor Department rule is among many that federal agencies are poised to issue before Mr. Bush turns over the White House to Mr. Obama.
One rule would allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. Another, issued last week by the Health and Human Services Department, gives states sweeping authority to charge higher co-payments for doctor’s visits, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid. The department is working on another rule to protect health care workers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on religious or moral grounds.

2nd public service item, this date:

Yesterday we had breakfast with an earnest - albeit cyclopian-eyed -friend. Mr. Kwiecien ordered, after coffee and repast, a cup of cocoa and some Tabasco sauce.

What's this, the SRN editor inquired?

"Haven't you tried it? You should, sometime!"

The Tabasco greatly amplifies the chocolate flavor, while, depending on the dabs of hot sauce dropped in, adds a bite. He recommended just one drop or two in a cup. We know it works, because we tried it later in the day, and

it IS wonderful !

Another public service announcement:

To the manor,
(of the silver spoon,)

We have found after years of analysis that consuming oatmeal is best done with a small and dainty Sterling silver teaspoon. Inhabiting a raccoon aerie, atop a terrace above the storm grate below, has raised our sights in several ways. Ex: For many years we hastily consumed oatmeal from regular, everyday spoons and thought nothing of it. It was an unfelt ho-hum consumption.

Now, we raised the bar and went to a lone real silver spoon from our otherwise stainless-populated bin. The spoon, jewelry-like, is small, it tarnishes, but how it does engender a special - if imagined - taste!

Wasn't hunting her; seen

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gentle People


A friend gave a talk to a women’s church circle yesterday

(see below date)
And I went to hear him;
His subject was his Quaker minister father
And being brought up in rural Iowa and Wisconsin

There were nine children born to this family
and my friend was the middle child
which gave him a perspective of up and down
from the ideal place, sandwiched by six other boys and two girls

When they would go riding in a wagon or a Model A
Sometimes people would stare and silently count
With their fingers, one, two, three, four………
And one of the brothers once leaned out and said,

“There’s NINE of us!”
The parents loved their children greatly;
Times were hard, and struggle to make ends meet
Was a fact of life for the well-knit family

Although the children thought it was just the way life was
Because making do was how everyone else
In their impoverished communities lived too
And their parents did not show much concern;

The father when someone broke a solemn tenet
Sent the child out to cut a switch
And he applied the discipline generously
Which seemed to break his heart

And after awhile it wore on him so hard
That he was doing all this switching
He said to them,
“You ALL go out and cut switches!”

When they came in, puzzled and worried,
The father said, “Now I want you all to
Switch ME! I must be doing something wrong.”
The children complied, though astounded at this turn;

It was uniquely educational for most of them
To apply the lash to their beloved father
Which may have been behind
The creative idea;

Time went along and he still was unable to
Bring about right behaviour from his tribe;
Naughtiness prevailed, it seemed to him,
Too much, so he called the children to formation;

Forlorn, the tender father, caught
In a parenting vortex,
Looked up after holding his head in his hands
For a long silence, searched his nine children’s faces

And asked them, beseechingly,
“Something is wrong here, I can’t seem
To get you to be good! What are we to do?” Whereupon
One little boy said, “We could try whipping you again?”

All those children somehow got college educations
Though the father, who had the gift or oratory,
Only went through eighth grade before having to quit
School and work to support his ailing father’s family

He worked hard at several jobs beside what he got
As a small stipend from his ministry work
And he never complained or let the children
Know how close to the edge he was

My friend in his talk to the church ladies and me yesterday guessed
His father frequently asked the Lord how he was going to make it;
Anecdotal evidence pointed to that: One time the father,
Sometimes given to depression, trudged home through the field

Where he’d been farm-handing - he told his son
Much later in life - and he was anguishing how he was to
Be able to keep going, praying for strength, when all of a sudden,

A rabbit fell from the sky at his feet.
The father looked at it incredulously; then gazed
Upward, and there, circling above him,
Was a hawk.

[David Dix 10-9-2002]


Reply to anonymous commenter on Hunting the White Deer posting:


From SRN editor - who is in fact a simple man with a computer:

This comment begs a reply.

Your arguments are some of the traditional defenses for hunting.

Stopping hunting, by my reading, is for some (many) a gradual process of elevating one's awareness. Seasoned hunters laying down their guns or bows and arrows, hanging up their "kit" in favor of simple observation and appreciation of nature's (God's) creatures, those events are pleasant ones to learn of, and to learn from.

Witness this from our last night's reading, Henry David Thoreau's words in his 1864 book, - The Maine Woods.

Traveling by batteaux and birch canoe through wilderness timberland in then wilder Maine, the trees being only slightly diminished by rugged timbermen, and in the company of a moose hunter, he penned:
"There is a higher law affecting relation to pines as well as to men. A pine cut down, a dead pine, is no more a pine than a dead human carcass is a man. Can he who has discovered only some values of whalebone and whale oil be said to have discovered the true use of the whale?

Can he who slays the elephant for his ivory be said to have "seen the elephant"? These are petty and accidental uses; just as if a stronger race were to kill us in order to make buttons and flageolets or our bones; for everything may serve a lower as well as a higher purpose.


This appreciator of your words, sir or madam, is quick to allow that he imperfectly eats an occasional hamburger, wears leather shoes, and as recently as a week ago was at the Pick N Save counter securing a jar of Ma Baensch's herring.

Thanks for writing.

The killing of the white deer kindled an age-old argument.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hey nonny nonny!


Sigh no more, ladies,

sigh nor more;

Men were deceivers ever;

One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never;

Then sigh not so,

But let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny;

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,

Of dumps so dull and heavy;

The fraud of men was ever so,

Since summer first was leafy.

Then sigh not so,

But let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into Hey nonny nonny!

Wm Shakespeare




A recent news wire announcement indicated that reviled spewer of hate, Ann Coulter, (columnist on Mondays in our local Republican newspaper, THE WAUKESHA FREEMAN,) has had her notoriously and viciously unaligned jaw wired shut.


Downside, it may only be temporary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hunting the white deer

News item:
A recent front page feature photo and article in the local newspaper showed a beautiful white deer – pride of many neighboring Waukesha County rural residents for its presence, its stateliness and beauty - slain by a self-aggrandizing deer-hunting young man. It doesn’t matter who he was, but THAT he was. In the late deer’s path at the wrong time.
Yes, shrinking habitat.

It is not necessary for the sewer raccoon news to take up an overkill cudgel protesting this event. A vast number of readers wrote or called anonymously to the Sound Off column to complain about the placement of the bloody picture on the front page, and more to the point, that the killing happened at all.
We put that Freeman article aside to save the defining picture, but now it is lost in the churning vortex of stuff around here, being frequently but never successfully culled in attempts to straighten things up. (Found it!)

Native Americans wrote or called the Sound Off line to say that killing a white animal is bad medicine, should never, ever BE - and is not done. Others said they had been feeding that deer and silently admiring it on the hushed QT, fearing that just such a killing might take place in this deer-happy hunting ground.

The heart-stopped killer rested, one presumes, on the fact that his deed was done in a DNR-sanctioned chronic brain disease deer-culling area. He stated that he was thunderstruck by the uniqueness of his kill. At first he couldn’t believe it, he said. And then he killed it. He said he wants to have the carcass stuffed to be admired, maybe in a sporting goods store, or a museum.

Many reacted that it would have been much better to allow the creature to live, to enrapture and amaze, in animus.

One writer said that it was a wonder why the hunter did not lower his weapon when he saw it. Did not a higher calling speak to him? Many protests appeared in the reporting newspaper and I guess it’s a credit to the paper that the remarks were given space. Newspaper interest; mission accomplished?

This writer has historically been against hunting in his day and age, though he has close friends and relatives who do hunt. A few, for sustenance. They will perhaps read this and shrug. Ho-hum, they'll murmur: “there he goes again.”
As a frequent traveler to northern Wisconsin in deer-hunting season it has annually intensely bugged (him) to see the dead deer tied to fenders or protruding ostentatiously from the tail gates of pick-up trucks, sometimes in a multiple "success." One of the best cartoons he ever saw was a car being driven by deer, with human hunters lashed to the roof and fenders.
The annual carnage; the ancient bringing in of the kill; the over-powering imbalance of human sporting machinery.... the automatic rifles, the 4 wheel vehicles, the even chemically or battery-powered mitts, the folding deer tree stands, esoteric jam and jelly baits; yes, in our book, the horror. Our subject slayer used bow and arrow; same result.

Real men (and women) will say this writer is a pussy. But what is real pussy-hood, anyway?

“Hey, didja git y’r deer?” Answer: “Yah, I got MY deer. Yah-hey.”

You real pussy, you!

In the case of the benighted white deer spoiler, there it is in the paper. See the blood? Wow, this time he got HIS deer, and it was a white one!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Star(ry night)s fell on Alabama...and on Milwaukee

Revisiting The Three Brothers Restaurant

again, and again...........

The Three Bros. came up again today at these headquarters when raccoonoitering on the internet for some boxer shorts to augment the dwindling supply. We found a pair with the Schlitz logo and ordered them. But the ancient Schlitz emblem of the globe and belt reminded me once again of the Serbian restaurant in Bayview (Milwaukee) where that three-dimensional globe form is magnificent, surmounting a high turret on the Lake Michigan skyline. Go south of the downtown & over the Hoan bridge. It just shows how one tunnel leads to another in the sewer raccoon synapsery.

That caromed our thoughts to the many happy times we've had at the Three Brothers with a variety of unusual friends and partners over the years. Most recently we were there with librarians Roxane and Steve following their marriage in April '08. (There is a posting in the SRN covering that event: It is way past time to go again.

We had some pictures to go with that night in the SR News, yes,


we found this unusual photo (lower-above) on the web in 'restaurant reviews' that excells anything we've ever seen. It is presently serving as screensaver-desktop material on this computer.

The picture puts us in mind of Van Gogh's Starry Night, minus the swirling stars.

Imagine the fortuity of finding that moon right over the Schlitz turret, and that perfect corresponding night scene with street-light illumination! Was the photographer waited for just such a night - and just such a juxtaposition of moon and turret - or was it was a magical moment? The best actual photography, granted, involves waiting and planning, and the masterful knowledge of light. That must have been the case here. OR, some (and we know who the types are) might say it was fakery, computer-generated.

The structure of the Three Brothers' 100 year old building is a fine example of the Schlitz-tied working- man taverns most notable in greatest number in Milwaukee and Chicago, if they haven't been razed in the developers' mad race to redo and redo the landscape. Some illustrations are attached here of the Schlitz motif found on building facades, in relief and in stained glass. We think the turret globe in Bayview is rare.

We scanned a Schlitz squib from Wikipedia:

"In Milwaukee, (Joseph) Schlitz was hired as a bookkeeper in a tavern brewery owned by August Krug. In 1856, he took over management of the brewery following the death of Krug. Two years later he married Krug's widow and changed the name of the brewery to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co.
The company began to succeed after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when Schlitz donated thousands of barrels of beer to that city, which had lost most of its breweries. He quickly opened a distribution point there, beginning a national expansion. Schlitz built dozens of tied houses in Chicago, most with a concrete relief of the company logo embedded in the brickwork; several of these buildings survive today, including Schuba's Tavern at the corner of Belmont and Southport.
Schlitz died May 7, 1875, when on a return visit to Germany; his ship hit a rock near Land's End, Cornwall, and sank.
The company flourished through the 1970s, being ranked as the No. 2 brewery in America as late as 1976. But problems with its production, specifically its attempt to cut costs in the brewing process by using a high-temperature fermentation, which produced a product that the public deemed inferior, combined with a crippling 1981 strike by workers at the Milwaukee plant, led to serious financial difficulties. On June 10, 1982, the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. was acquired by Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit, Michigan. The regular beer is still produced, though in relatively small quantities, by the Pabst Brewing Company, along with four malt liquors (Schlitz Malt Liquor, Schlitz Red Bull, Schlitz Bull Ice and Schlitz Very Smooth Lager).
What remains of the historic Schlitz Brewery complex has been transformed into a business park called "Schlitz Park." The buildings, including the Keg House, Bottle House and Malt House, have been turned to other uses, including office space, a school, and a restaurant. [2].
[edit] Recent history, miscellany
Schlitz reintroduced the original 1960s formula, along with a new television advertising campaign in 2008, relaunching it in Chicago, Florida, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and more recently Milwaukee and New York.[3][4] The beer has also become available in Ontario, Canada brewed by Stroh's Brewing, a subsidiary of Sleeman Breweries. On October 1, 2008 the original Schlitz was introduced into liquor stores and taverns in Madison, WI.[5]
U.S. Rep. John G. Schmitz paraphrased the famous advertising slogan in his quixotic 1972 presidential campaign by declaring, "When you're out of Schmitz, you're out of beer!"[citation needed]"


Schlitz beer played a large role in my life, which dates back to 1936. Never a big beer drinker, I lived among parents and relatives who quaffed vast quantities of the brown-bottled liquid.

I remember fishing in row boats with a step-father who took along many cans of Schlitz, and then jettisoned them in the lake when empty. They would collect in one spot of the lake bottom if the fishing was good there. Those cans, are still down there? - and, the stepfather, is he still in the grave? More synapses.

"The Kiss of the Hops."

"The beer that made Milwaukee famous!"

Schlitz, after phasing out, lives again, being produced from the original recipe (?)by Pabst Brewing Co. and a Chicago brewer named Glunz Brewing Co. See:

As to to The Three Brothers Restaurant, here are comments from a Serbian customer that tell just a small part of the story. To experience it in full, you must go there!

Food like home for a Serbian girl
07/01/2008 Posted by Lynardo
"This place is a gem. I am half Serbian and really miss my mother's great Serbian cooking. So going to Three Brothers is, for me, as close as I can get to sitting at my mother's table. The sarma and stuffed peppers are my favorite entrees. I know everybody raves about the burek, and it is really fabulous (especially if you take new people there - it really is impressive!!!!), but I think the one item not to miss is the Serbian salad. I have always gotten very helpful and friendly servers, and almost always the owner stops by the table. All in all, this place is a very special gem, far above the average for a business traveler like me. Make sure to order a glass of Slivovitz to end your very special meal at Three Brothers. Nazdravlje!
Pros: The Serbian food is awesome!
Cons: A little hard to find the first time. "


Not being much for wearing company advertising on my person,

I sometimes make exceptions:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Imagine that

with our diver's bell
coffee maker:
So easy to see it as the diver's bell it is
and to imagine a treasure at the bottom of the sea
and neon fish swimming about
a cup of golden coffee
and the vital air coming down through hoses
providing the breaths extraordinaire in an airless world
and the juice powering the venture;
the connexions
gaskets sealed,
a spring to keep the cord from
being disconnected with too sharp a twist
how like our daily need from heaven
the ship floating above us
we need the electrics and airs
to reach us and unscathed
We pray.

Those British

look on the bright side of life...........

Friday, November 21, 2008


Behold, another method of fastening a packet of soda crackers:

In the right upper section of the below photo, taken today, you will see the way we fasten crackers after eating some but not all of a packet. For years we've been re-tieing the twisties each time we're finished partaking. But one day we raccoonnoitered the situation after fumbling with a twistie, as it happened, for the last time.

If we have closures for our potato chip bags involving spring clips, we reckoned, why in the hell can't we use a simple pinch clothes pin for other smaller packages? (The same method works great for plastic bread loaf wrappers that also come with those pesky twisties.) So, here's yet another public service announcement from the SR News.

Oh, you ask, what's on that plate that looks so scrumpuous? Just a little lunch Denise fixed up. A stuffed tomato with tuna, peas, mayo, green and orange peppers, and finely-chopped lettuce. The soup course is Campbell's bean and bacon. Sparkling Roundy's ginger ale in the Ball jar.

Simple fare for simple folks.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

"I'm not dead yet!" M. Python


I'd given up the sentinel weathervane on the 6" x 6" post in front when the storm blew it over. Fungus got it at its base though it was mounted in a deep bed of I thought protective cement. It was 2006 and I was getting back on my feet after an overhaul of my heart. I'd been flattened by that for a year and I thought the death of the tamarack tree in the back yard while I was down and the felling of this decorative post or totem, weakened, ready to topple were symptoms of my own brush with a terminus. The magical lichen on the dead tree, previously reported, (pieces of which were offered) covers the boney branches, beautifully. I will not be cutting it ruinously down as long as it can stand as an iron skeleton on its own. But it's been OK to have the painted weathervane post mouldering right where it fell, in a ground-cover bed of myrtle. [Lodge members, take note.]

But I've been looking at it from time to time and since I've been living (weathering) now for a surprising while, I thought I should bring the post inside out of the elements and into the living room. It's now here where the sewer raccoon news is written on my old Singer sewing machine desktop.

As of today, the fallen post stands propped up in a nearby alcove, proclaiming its willingness to continue making a vertical and now sheltered contribution to my esthetics. This standing addition is largely due to my son's willingness to lend me a hand cutting it down with his chain saw to 87 inches where the post fits into this recess, regally.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


from H. D. Thoreau's The Maine Woods


Man, this coffee is great!

In the editorial pressroom here at the sewer raccoon news, we have set up what we now call the diving-bell 1940's electric coffee maker from Ms Midriff Musing. She presented us with the form as a silver anniversary gift, because her budget dictated chromium instead of silver. Well, she couldn't have chosen a finer gift!

Bought from E-Bay, it in excellent working shape, and as my old first sergeant back in '58 would say, "Your Shoes and Brass WILL be Highly PO-lished!" Terry collects these things, and I thought she was slightly off in her admiration for them. Until the advent of the diving-bell maker, I thought a grind of coffee was a grind of coffee regardless of the intentional device used to brew it. Now I know different! (Um..."Do you have any coffee made in CHROME, please?")

Ever since prehistoric times, earth-perusers have studied and admired naturally-formed rain drops and globules. There has been a latent tendency to appreciate the bubble. I must have known that. As a wee one, now that I think of it, I was always fascinated by the bubbles that came to the surface in my baths.

Hail to globs, globes, and diving bells! (Alls we c'n say.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008


OK, maybe we were wrong

Dear Sewer Raccoon Editor,

We read your posting on leaf removal yesterday, and we must, pardon the expression, Sound Off about it:

You may've lept to a false “raccoon”clusion regarding the motivation of the angry and vocal newspaper expressionists. One reads in the SRN that your cited complainers about the city leaf removal program are too narrow in the mind to notice that elsewhere the entire sky is falling, live leaves, and falling all around them.

We wish to offer an alternative:

It may well be that the seemingly leaf-obsessed are fully aware of their hell-in-a-hand-basketness, and are flailing out against something, however insignificant, such as leaf removal, pot-holes, and snow-plowing complaints to "small-wise" surmount their otherwise abject powerlessness. Life, they may reason, isn't supposed to be like that in upscale Waukesha.

And sir, your imaginings about raccoons having sentient lives of their own are wacky.

S/ Griping anonymously