Friday, January 30, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Fame came circa 1980 when a Waukesha Freeman photographer heard of our banjo-man windmill made from my grandmother's cake pans and venetian blind slats. Shortly after installing in the front yard a high wind blew the assembly down and it came to rest a block to the east, on Arcadian Avenue.
The parts were saved and have been revered for the tokens of temporariness that they are; we all are. Yesterday's post to the sewer raccoon news shows a close-up section of the venetian blade wind-catching part, covered in hoar frost. [If interested, cross-refer. http://raccoonnews.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-comes-to-mind.html] Like the windmill itself, the ephemeral frozen fog came and went, too soon.
The banjo-man was geared so that as the wind velocity sped, the little man on the platform strummed the strings and stomped his foot faster and faster. It must have been in a frenzy when it took off and flew away. We wish we could have seen it..............?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
it is not falling from above as precipitation
the very air is freezing around the objects 'without'
and showing as though it were a fine snow
on the trees and fence,
and this delicacy
is what we choose to write about, today.............
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Sewer Raccoon News started this day of a new administration by going down to the hardware store and buying a fresh new flag to spring forth from our parapet just as soon as Barack Obama was sworn in.
Before we took the unsullied flag up to the snowy deck we took it out of its box and photographed it with a fresh amaryllis resting on top of it. The new flower, brought from its darkened and unopened carton, was already sprouted and set to shoot upward, with the greening stalk beginning to rise from the darkness.
Monday, January 19, 2009
NOW, at the confluence of President Barack Obama's inauguration, Dr. King's legacy at last comes into its own. Mice may have chewed at the margins of the old poster we've had in the basement cobwebby archives, but we brought it up and scanned part of it that would fit on our small-format scanner. It has been thumbtacked to the stairwell quarter-bath where certain treasures have reposed (see previous SRN postings). See below.
Yesterday's celebration at the Lincoln Memorial saw good old James Taylor holding forth with his guitar and his song, "Shower the People You Love With Love" and we have the link in today's rapid technology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTb7TOYey-E&eurl
In testimony of the advancement of appreciation of MLK's birthday, even Google has done a recognition in it's unique way of weaving their logo into a theme:
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
by Hendrik Hertzberg January 19, 2009
Barack Obama’s campaign for President, which was as much about old-fashioned grassroots politicking as it was about high-tech dazzle, was big on paraphernalia—lawn signs, T-shirts, baseball caps, bumper stickers, and, of course, buttons. It may have set some sort of record for campaign buttons, including at least one meta-button: tiny pictures of old buttons—“I Like Ike” and the like—with the legend “BUTTON COLLECTORS FOR OBAMA.” But where Obama enthusiasts have truly broken new ground is in the emerging field of post-campaign buttons. The polls had barely closed when the first “YES WE DID” buttons hit the streets, and since then there has been a profusion of pins—one shows the Obamas with their daughters under the words “AMERICA’S FIRST FAMILY”—that likewise seem designed to reassure their wearers that, yes, Obama’s victory really happened and, yes, his Presidency is really going to happen, too. It’s as if people haven’t wanted to let go of their amazement.
At the moment, hard-core Obamaphiles are clicking on video clips from “Check, Please!,” a Chicago public-television show that, each week, features three different local citizens sitting around a table with the host and talking about their favorite restaurants. The clips are from an early episode, taped in August of 2001, in which one local, a skinny state senator from Hyde Park, praises the comfort cuisine of the Dixie Kitchen, a neighborhood favorite. “I’m not looking for some fancy presentation or extraordinarily subtle flavors,” Barack Obama explains. “What I’m looking for is food that tastes good for a good price.” The episode will be broadcast for the first time a few days before the Inauguration; it wasn’t aired at the time, the Chicago Tribune reports, because Obama “was too good—too thoughtful, too articulate, not enough of an amateur.” For the Obama-besotted, the message is clear: This guy can do anything. He even reviews restaurants.
It has been widely said that never has so much been expected of an incoming President, but that’s only half right. The public clearly expects quick action, but the outlook for the near future is so grim that few expect quick results. Obama himself has been stressing the urgency of the first and the need for patience with regard to the second. Speaking on the economy last Thursday at George Mason University, he called for “dramatic action as soon as possible” to deal with “a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime, a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks.” Resolving that crisis, he added, “will take time—perhaps many years.” What the public does anticipate is not miracles but competence, and its confidence in Obama’s abilities has grown. In the most recent survey—a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released on December 24th—eighty-two per cent of those questioned said they approved of Obama’s performance during the transition. Of course, the esteem in which Presidents-elect are held always increases as the rancor of the campaign begins to fade, and feelings of good will are always plentiful at Christmastime. Still, Obama’s ratings are unusually high—fifteen points higher than either of his two predecessors’ at the corresponding moment in their transitions, and arguably higher than anyone’s since the modern era of polling began. “Obama walks in with nearly twice the support on the economy that President-elect Clinton had in January, 1993, and he beats Ronald Reagan as well,” Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director, said.
Obama’s transition has unspooled in much the same way his campaign did: smoothly, calmly, and on time. His choices for Cabinet and White House staff positions have been impressive overall, some of them—that of Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for example—inspired. With his appointments, Obama has demonstrated, among other things, self-confidence (he picked his most formidable rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, to be Secretary of State), a determination to unify his own party (ditto), a willingness to recruit from the other one (he is keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense), and a healthy regard for the prerogatives and sensitivities of Congress (his choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services, the former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, will also head a White House office on health-care reform). If his selections for the top legal, intelligence, science, and environmental jobs are any guide, he is serious about ending the American government’s sickening embrace of torture, its hostility to science, its subservience to polluters, and its suicide-bomber approach to global warming. As the day of the transfer of power comes closer, Obama has run into some choppy weather—most recently, crosswinds over the size and composition of an economic-stimulus package—but the effect on his popularity has been minimal.
The President-elect’s performance can’t fully explain the public’s welcoming view of him. Part of it, surely, reflects an eagerness to be rid of the incumbent. A gangly Illinois politician whom “the base” would today label a RINo—a Republican in Name Only—once pointed out that you can fool some of the people all of the time. We now know how many “some” is: twenty-seven per cent. That’s the proportion of Americans who, according to CNN, cling to the belief that George W. Bush has done a good job. The wonder is that this number is still in the double digits, given his comprehensively disastrous record. During the eight years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all-time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by six million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined. What role the Bush Administration’s downgrading of terrorism as a foreign-policy priority played in the success of the 9/11 attacks cannot be known, but there is no doubting its responsibility for the launching and mismanagement of the unprovoked war in Iraq, with all its attendant suffering; for allowing the justified war in Afghanistan to slide to the edge of defeat; and for the vertiginous worldwide decline of America’s influence, prestige, power, and moral standing.
The televised “legacy interviews” that Bush has granted have been notable for the interviewee’s shruggings-off of responsibility for what he has wrought, abroad and at home. He’s sorry about the inartfulness of “dead or alive” and “bring ’em on” and “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED,” but not about the war or its conduct. And in a discussion of the economic catastrophe he is about to bequeath to his successor, there is this exchange, with ABC’s Charles Gibson:GIBSOn: Do you feel in any way responsible for what’s happening? BUSh: You know, I’ve been the President during this period of time. But I think when the history of this period is written people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over, you know, a decade or so before I arrived as President, during I arrived as President. I’m sorry it’s happening, of course. Obviously, I don’t like the idea of people losing jobs or being worried about their 401(k)s.
A nice epitaph for “compassionate conservatism”—feckless to the end. And the end, at long last, is nigh. ♦
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Several have asked where the 1987 name YIBAWE (Society) came from. It came from the teaching of Leo Buscaglia, that whenever one is learning about someone else, the all-important series of questions should be:
It is so important not to pigeon-hole people with just one or very few descriptors, Prof. Buscaglia maintained. There should always be a quest for “tell me more.” Many have assumed that when the Yibawean Society speaks of BALDNESS in its name – when they see the word on our official license plates – we are focusing on Baldness alone, but that is only one feature about us, If you wish to know more, merely ask.
Baldness is our random metaphor. With all people, there are many ingredients in the mix of personhood.
And what else? Indeed.
This thought and its symbolism has occupied my mind.
By day in the brightness of the sun, we get W to E splashes of rainbow colors on the ceiling via those flat prisms I once got from the American Science Center on the south side of Milw. I used to habituate that place with a friend now living in Sequim WA. We bought things like the sex organs of small 0rganisms held in blocks of plastic, interesting lab beakers etc. Tom once bought a cluster bomb that he gave me for Christmas. Weapons of semi-mass destruction, cluster bombs are really and very ironically quite lovely in appearance. I will send you a picture, attached. Inscribed "To DD, Merry Christmas" We had a weird friendship. He got the sex organs from a 3rd friend in the group.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Mood: Picture the Roman legion returning home on the Appian Way, victorious from a campaign. In the distance, first the beat of the drums and attention turns to the road and the horizon. They come!
Louder and louder. The excitement builds!
Now the horns can be heard! Now the soldiers can be seen approaching on the ancient road, marching, marching, marching. Louder and louder, the music builds in crescendo.........
All hail conductor Herbert von Karajan, ancient warrior wielding just a baton.
Hear the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oqasTguizM
From the internet:
Pini di Roma (English "Pines of Rome") is a 1924 work by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi, and is considered one of the masterpieces of the Roman Trilogy of symphonic poems along with Feste Romane and Fontane di Roma. Each movement portrays the location of pine trees in the city during different parts of the day.
The first movement, called "I pini di Villa Borghese", portrays children playing in the pine groves of the Borghese gardens. The music depicts children marching and playing. There are no bass instruments in this movement. It is very light. The second movement, "Pini presso una catacomba" has a more melancholic tune, representing pine trees close to a catacomb in Campagna. Lower orchestral instruments, plus the organ pedal at 16' and 32' pitch represent the subterranean feature of the catacombs. The three tenor trombones and the bass trombone chant like priests. The third part, a nocturne, "I pini del Gianicolo" is set at night, near a temple of the Roman god Janus on the Janiculum hill. Double-faced gods open large doors and gates, marking the beginning of a new year. A nightingale is heard, giving Respighi the opportunity to include real life bird sounds in his work, a feat unachieved before (the score mentions a specific recording that can be played on a phonograph: the Brunswick Panatrope). The final movement, "I pini della Via Appia", portrays pine trees along the great Appian Way. Misty dawn, A legion advances along the Via Appia in the brilliance of the newly-risen sun. Respighi wanted the ground to tremble under the footsteps of his army and he instructs the organ to play bottom B flat on 8', 16' and 32' organ pedal. Not all domestic hi-fi systems will reproduce this sound. Trumpets peal and the consular army rises in triumph to the capitol. The organ pedal part is very important.
The first performance was given under conductor Bernardino Molinari in the Augusteo, Rome, on December 14, 1924
One of our favorite pastimes back then was to go up in the attic and play with the old toys of Dad and his brothers when they were boys. Grandma was a saver. One of the items from that dusty era is an erector set truck the four brothers crafted, now reposing at raccoon headquarters.
This antique recently turned up during our basement archaeologic dig, ongoing. Money could not buy a truck like this one now. Not from us, anyway............We might dust it, though.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Cold steel with jagged teeth awaits any intruder at the raccoon headquarters, which is also our hallowed home:
At the bedside-ready is - not a shotgun, not an Uzi, not an AK-47. A warning to any malicious readers into whose eyesight these presents may come:
Thursday, January 8, 2009
As it happens, her current topic on her blog, Midriff Muse, is body hair, a subject near and dear to our Yibawean heart and attached UNpopulated follicles. Terry battles a surfeit of black hairs that keep cropping up, in spite of her careful maintenance, Her battle to be bald, at least in certain areas of her body - and that's a start! - intrigues us.
Below is a reprint of her latest post on Midriff Muse. If you like her writing she has a fine book which you can obtain through her website:
Midlife Musings #2008z - Going to Greater Lengths
Okay, I am going to be expounding on the topic of hair again. The fact is that my midriff and my body hair are my two biggest growth industries, so they provide a lot of material. What follows here was written as an addendum to the “Exceeding Hairline” piece. And since I have previously connected hair and politics, let me just say here and now that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has made it very difficult for me to wear my hair with my customary “sweeping bang” style without feeling a little silly.
Without further ado…
Exceeding Hairline Extensions
The bathroom in our little 1950’s Ranch Home Master Suite has a shower stall that is so enclosed, getting into it is like stepping into a vertical coffin only with less room for a body and it has about as much light as a bomb shelter, so the aerobics of shaving body hair elude me when I am in there. In these middle years, I have resorted to standing at the sink and shaving by the light over the mirror to defoliate my armpits. I have in previous writing discussed the difficulty of achieving a clean shave in the armpit area at this time of life. It becomes increasingly impossible because the skin now hangs so loose that it pleats itself when I run the razor over it, enfolding much of the hair into the flesh making it impossible for the blade to reach it. Do you remember when the first home office paper shredders came out and you got one so you could shred all the personal information that you used to just throw in the trash and you thought that you were really on top of things and taking care of business and then a couple of years later you learned that your shredder was only slicing everything vertically and that to really have your documents perfectly shredded enough to protect your identity that you needed to get a new one that shredded both vertically and crosswise? The same thing is true when it comes to shaving the armpits on my new body model. It requires a number of strokes in every possible direction followed by a thorough inspection, especially now that the border of the hairline is creeping down into the breastage area. If one of these creepers gets missed, it doesn’t take long for a 1 or 2 inch single hair length to appear over the top of the bra cup and become visible when wearing a tank top or a sleeveless anything. I don’t know what I would do without a teenage son in my life to point these matters out to me. (In fact, he has filed a grievance with the BDFMB – Better Dressing for Moms Bureau – that I should never be allowed to wear any garment with sleeves shorter than elbow length or with a neckline lower than a turtleneck.)
The method used for shaving under my arms does not work for shaving my legs; an entirely different posture is required. I accomplish this particular maintenance by placing a towel on the lowered toilet lid, and my rear upon that, and lastly, another towel on the floor where I place my feet. The proximity to the sink allows me to soap my legs and wet and rinse my razor with minimal reaching around and the seated position gives me a head start on bending down to start the shaving stroke at my ankle. It would not be exaggerating or punning in any way to describe the amount of space between the toilet and the sink as “butting up against each other”, thus the maneuverability factor is very low. Thankfully there does not seem to be much hair to shave off the legs anymore. And that is a good thing because, even though I know I have not grown any taller, my legs still keep getting farther and farther away somehow. This whole thing of becoming a person of much greater substance as one grows older is vastly overrated. And thank goodness there’s less to shave on the legs, because the advantage is not even proportionate to the difficulty of doing so, and the now “requisite” thorough inspection post shave of the entire acreage would be absolutely impossible if the leg hair still grew in all the places it used to. Besides which, I need to reserve energy for new inspection areas. It has become necessary these days to conduct a routine scouting mission for early detection of all border defectors everywhere: not just the armpit and legs, but above, around, to the side, and underneath the eyebrows, as well as, perform an entire face scan due to the dandelion-like propagation of dark hairs all over the those surfaces. My little black hairs have no respect for my boundaries. All of a sudden – right in the middle of the cheek – one springs out, seemingly before my eyes. I purposely keep a separate pair of tweezers gummed up with a little hair removal wax to pluck these vagrants because I have found that they can be like little mirages, disappearing right as I close in around them and I find myself pulling an empty tweezers. Then as soon as I set the tweezers down, they say “nah, nah, boo, boo”, and pop right up again. So having that little gumminess on the end of the instrument seems to catch them off guard and they are trapped in a firm grip and I can pull them out before they can even react. These are small victories that I like to celebrate. One person’s minor efficiency can be another person’s tremendous time-saver, as anyone who has ever whiled away valuable hours clamping at little hair mirages will tell you.
And by the way, where have my eyelashes gone? – to all the rest of my face? I wonder! Even in my prime years, I never had long, luscious eyelashes; I never could make use of an eyelash curler because the shortness of my eyelashes caused it to pinch the skin of my eyelids. Thankfully, that particular beauty flaw was offset by my bustline. These days, however, the ample cleavage is full of middle age droop and is a real backsore, if you know what I mean, and adding insult to injury is the fact that my short, sparse eyelashes are half of their former length and thickness. In more robust times, a little mascara would work a little magic, but like so many things that have snuck up on me these recent decades, I noticed one day that the mascara wasn’t having an effect any more. At first, I thought I just needed to get some fresh mascara and when that didn’t make a dent, the reality slowly permeated my fog – oh! – there are no eyelashes for it to attach itself to – just these little stubs of bristle – Come ooonnnn! – Really? – that too? – Is there no end? It’s a good thing I haven’t got a huge amount of vanity about my looks, the blessing of middle age being that one lacks the energy to self traumatize overly much.
So having said what I needed to say here, I’m going to put some facial wax in the microwave and set about clearing the brush from my chin and try to look as respectable as I can for the day. I suspect there are a few others things worthy of my time and attention too.
January 8th, 2009 Tags: Body Image, Facial Hair, hair removal, hair removal wax, midlife hair growth, midriff, Politics, Rod Blagojevich, teenage son Category: Body Image, Midlife Musings, Politics Comments (3)
If and when we kick off this little gem will be worth a fortune.
The gem being a random diary - which is what this raccoon thing really is - was kept here from 1995 to 1997. It is where the yoga-doing old man drawing came from, a diary that was excavated during our current archaeological dig under a stairwell. (Click on image to enlarge)
When you have a son who turns 50, you have to do something rather special to commemorate it. It ain't easy. When he comes this afternoon - soon - he will collect this ornament made for him from the most recent gourd crop at SRN hdqtrs; + a few other affects........one way up, and
one way down