Sunday, May 31, 2009

Voluptuarian iris

Photo of an iris growing at 517 Arcadian Ave, Waukesha WI 5-30-09
Nikon P6000 digital

Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Inside the tube'

In thanks Photo sent as attachment via Email from Gina in CO, and photocopied fron PC monitor with the Les Dix P6000 digital camera. This beautiful image of wave was taken by Clark Little whom many consider the premier photographer of surf. He has dedicated his life to photographing waves and has published a selection of the best images of his career. Above, he captures magical moment "inside the tube", as surfers say.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Raccoon reader writes:


Thanks for thinking of me. Enjoyed immensely! Enclosed is a shot of me before I went full beard as now. These guys sport some SERIOUS beards! Alas, I am not fit to kiss the snippings on their hems.

RA 16

----- Original Message -----
To: David Dix sr.
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:31 AM
Subject: In Pursuit of the Hirsute
Thought of you when I saw this. Enjoy!
Bob> > In Pursuit of the Hirsute...a different competition.....>
Click here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

But soft, what (clothesline) through yonder window breaks?

Scene II Capulet's orchard.
[Enter ROMEO]
He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
[JULIET appears above at a window]
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses;
I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night. &c........
Birds have been landing on the finally discarded clothesline for years, landing and swaying to maintain balance on the arcing line. Finchs, wrens, they'd been tugging at the softer outer fabric, gathering beaks full of fluff, presumably for nest-building. Or, mayhap, for mischief?

The clothesline waned ever more threadbare, yet still supporting full loads of heavy, wet clothes, year by year, regularly aggrieved by pinching clothespins, week by week, and weaker by weaker. When wilst yon bird-beaked clothesline break? Fastidians would have replaced the 'unsightly' length of ragged rope much sooner.

It finally happened.

With a full load of sheets flapping as sails in the wind, the veteran clothesline gave up its evermore tenuous grip; a dull snap, or as a loosely-strung lute string, it was broken at last.

Yesterday the surrender to fate brought all down. Oh Woe! Consigned to the trash container is it; but stay! What of the mortal coil?

Immortalized by this organ, it will live in memory on the ether of the interenet, forevermore.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Waukesha SOUTH High School Marching Band
takes to the streets, once again offering spirited music for the Memorial Day parade. Raccoon District alums Erin and Lee were members of that august body.
(Photo courtesy of Waukesha Freeman electronic edition 5-26-09)
A dozen brats were done on the famed Dick Dietrich-augmented cooker. See:
The home-made charcoal was ignited using the notched stove pipe method. A gust of non-chemical smoke roared through the signal column like a skyrocket. When the furious frenzy subsided, the stove pipe was removed with a pliers, laid aside in its glowing red state, and the charcoal fire, confined to the small-radius base - seen at the center of the grill under the brats - was covered by the lid, and the roasting was done slowly, over a period of 30 minutes.

Result, fabulous!

Monday, May 25, 2009


On Memorial Day 2009 my thoughts turn to my father, because the focus customarily is on our war dead. I turn the beer stein over in my hand that a superb and grateful potter and 'liberatee' cast for Dad and the officers of his company. Dad got four of the remarkable steins, which he eventually divided one to each of his four children.

The lovely lady on the handle is graceful in her classic pose, more suited to a pedestal than a mere transporter of beer to one's maw. I've always handled this stein with respect. It is sturdy. It bears no blemishes, chips or discolorment. In those days of revelry surrounding the surrender of Hitler and the recovery of freedom, it is understandable that the drinking song, one of them the men in the 90th lustily sang was:

"Come landlord, fill the flowing bowl/ til the cup runs over, come landlord fill the flowing bowl/ til the cup runs over/ for tonight we'll merry merry be/ for tonight we'll merry merry be/ for tonight we'll merry merry b-e-e-e-e!

Tomorrow, we'll be sober."

The campaigns Dad's 90th Infantry Division fought in are noted on the back of the stein.

Dad survived all this action, including the invasion on D-Day. He was decorated for battlefield achievements and was given the Purple Heart. He returned safely to the US along with his three brothers who were in various branches of the service, allowing our grandmother and grandfather in Cedar Falls Iowa to finally remove the service banner hanging in their middle front window, bearing four proud stars: standing for their four sons away in service.

Another memento of my father's WW II service is a heavy brass boar's-head letter opener I have, given to Dad by the wife of Field Marshall Herman Goering as a token of her appreciation at the time of his "gentlemanly" removal of the vast estate when he commanded the Army team that 'liberated' the stolen art treasures, and the grounds in total.
Dad went on to live a full and fruitful life and died at 91. His remains are interred at Arlington National Cemetery. We remember his service and are grateful for it. That includes the now late three brothers, Leland, Maynard and Meredith Dix. Dad was Leslie. (Replay yesterday's SRN posting.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Did someone say 'golden years' ?

An old couple walked into the lobby of the Mayo Clinic and spotted a piano. They've been married for 62 years and he'll be 90 this year.
Sent to the SRN by Matt Noffke, yet another reader we've never met. Thanks!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A study in H's

"It's not the high hurdle
that hurts
the horse's hooves;
it's the hammer,
on the
hard highway!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saintly men

(from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 5-20-09)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Irrepressible art, speaking of bird replicas

This MI 24 helicopter is reportedly flown by US soldiers in Afganistan.
Causing quite a stir, no doubt.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Poe's crows

I heard a crow outside this morning early,
a harsh noise
and dreary,
maybe come down from Rest Haven hill,
one of a murder of crows
that descend on gliding wings
and sit on the telephone poles
thence to survey the terrain
near the sewer grate
here in the raccoon district.

A nesting blue jay must have had its nest attacked
one day last week.
A crow flew in circles beside a tree outside the window
avoiding an angry jay, chasing it away.
There must have been eggs in a nest
my guess
and the blue jay stood guard in a tree branch
surveying its terrain

for a long time.

( Wooden raven carved long ago by SRN editor, photographed after hearing the crow today, to smile at you from your computer screen as a friendly backgrounder. Has map-tack eyes, painted copper beak and legs; usually sits atop a kitchen chair, but broke off.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ole merry-go-round horse's got me..............

Senior citizens

On an island in the Ohio River
where flood waters sometimes inundate the town
the houses are all built up high above ground level
with lots of steps leading up to risen front porches

and the senior citizens, some of them,
ride merry-go-round horses
when the waters gain too much purchase,
and pretend they're galloping across the waves

(Photo on Wheeling Ialand taken for the SRN by Laurie Leonard of the Wheeling Symphony Society,
Wheeling WVA)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Let them eat flowers

A reader wrote after seeing yesterday's shower stall posting:
'Remind me never to have you do any plumbing at my house!'
Alas and alack.
The upgrade from electrical tape (for garden-hose binding) to copper (wire) wouldn't be his Standard Operating Procedure? But he forgets that we live in a sewer raccoon district, where things are done differently.
Here's an example just from today: We eat flowers in our salads, too. That may be raccoonly, too!
A salad at lunch set before me by basement shower-preferring Denise contained what was available.
Lettuce, spinach, cheese, chives, apple, walnuts and grapes ............. + violets.
It's what's there, man!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is how life can be if you live in a sewer raccoon district

Some years ago I fashioned a basement shower stall over the floor drain. It has been my favorite bathing facility at this address. Although the plumbing is rudimentary, it works. A stat d'art shower head offers (or as we used to say in real estate: 'BOASTS') many settings and only requires that the water supply gets to it somehow. Any way will do, and does.

Of course the shower curtain may eventually require a fresh replacement, but so far, after 22 years, the old NY Times replica in plastic will do, and does.
The beauty of a basement shower stall like this is that you don't have to wipe down the walls. The water goes down the floor drain; the water beads on the plastic curtain and evaporates in time. The hose is connected at the laundry tubs and runs along the radiator pipes at the ceiling.
Denise informed me the other day that something was wrong with the shower. "Maybe it's rusted through? Water is splashing all over." She finished her shower upstairs.
Today, needing a shower myself, I went down and reconnected the hose clamp where the garden hose goes over the brass fitting screwed into the shower head. I soaked the head in vinegar as long as it was down, to remove the lime. Nothing rusted. Being out of the improvished electrical tape which held the plumbing to the pipes overhead originally, I simply used a few twists of strong gauge copper wire that I now have.
This is how life can be..............and is.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It was getting dark in those woods

Owl warning light is off during the day

Cat Ass Trophy?

How many times must one say no
To a cat begging to go out
After hours

My reckoning of how many
Times I’ve leaned down to advise her

My disposition; for heaven’s sake
Do you want to hear those mighty descending wings
From the nocturnal sky? She glowers,

Having no imagination, I guess
And continues her pitiful begging to go out
And take her chances during the darkened hours

An owl will, believe me, WILL swoop down
And pick you, you tasty morsel, as if
You were nothing heftier than one of our flowers

Growing outside the door, in whose midst you slink and creep.
These owls are big with talons sinking deep,
They’ll carry you to a treetop; disembowelers

These owls are; your nemeses;
You don’t want to find yourself with great ease flying upward
By surprise, my pussy, to be sliced, diced, and devoured!

Like talking to a catter -wall;
At night a different creature;
She persists! “ Mee-ow, Mee-OW, MEE-OW!” Hers

To learn the hard beak way, but not on this watch!
Her bones and parts shant be reduced to pellets, trophies
Dropped under the Tamarack’s peacable bowers!

No is NO, my furry friend, reckon thyself lucky;
Yea, and compose and confine thyself;
Not to be an owl’s, your howls and bowels are ours!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Famed food critic does it all

Food critic Mimi Sheraton
author of above take from EAT MY WORDS

A welcome event

Hadfield Elementary
distributes Mayflower baskets

Supervised schoolchildren were seen hanging construction paper and crayoned Mayflower baskets on the many doorsteps and doorknobs of their neighborhood on the first of May. A call to the school office determined that these giggling children were first, second and third-graders who made the rounds distributing cheer and spring blessings to all, as the schoolchildren done traditionally, for many years. This spring rite is observed by other grade schools in the town as well.

The raccoon news wishes to profoundly thank these boys and girls! This kind of silent and almost surreptitious deed should not go unrecognized, and it shall not at this particular corner of the raccoon district.

As we understand, the celebration of May Day is centuries-old. It is international and conforms to the beginning of summer around the northern hemisphere. Known as Beltane, Walpurgisnacht, Roodmas and other regional and cultural names, 'May Day' predates Christianity and has pagan rootage. Above all, it is a time of joy, and as is not often enough the case, we rightly let the little children lead us.

The Waukesha Raccoon District, which includes the Hadfield school district - our own alma mater - thanks the boys and girls!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dawn is just around the corner from Dave's

At Dave's Restaurant again today at 7:30 AM. The sun sharply in the east cast long shadows off the downtown lamp posts. Jack hammers broke up the sidewalks across the street from Dave's, as workers got ready to install another serious outbreak of cobblestone sidewalks, this time around the newly-vamped Clarke Hotel. But it was quiet inside Dave's except for the friendly banter of regular customers inside this 105 year old cafe, folks who have been coming to Dave's for their hearty and down-to-earth breakfasts for years, some of whom live in the walk-up apartments downtown.

For $8.88 total, my wife and I secured two huge breakfasts of X large chicken eggs, shredded and nicely-crisped porcinity, American segments of potato, deliciously browned and Wisconsin-buttered sourdough toast, and continuously refilled excellent coffee. It was served with a smile by veteran waitress and now manager of Dave's, Pam Sefton. Directly behind the counter, owner Jose Suarez did the cooking and swiftly handed over customers' plates from a small grill area that should be worn through to the basement after all the years that tiny space has been trod.

This is the place anyone wanting to take a true reading of Everyman & Woman Waukesha should come. It has been nicely upgraded, hence a bit lamentably lessening the charming grundge of many yesteryears. You can breath in there now without holding a cloth to your face because the smoke from cigarettes is sucked up by a high-powered ventilating system, and, let's face it, smoking just isn't that cool anymore. Sweats, windbreakers and baseball caps are still good form at Dave's.

The raccoon news recently ran a reprint of a New York Times Sunday travel feature on fine dining around the world. It was authored by food critic octogenarian, NY Greenwich Villager, Mimi Sheraton, who, as she says, is still going strong (and counting). In the credits for this now free-lance-written piece (she used to be the food critic for the NYT) was a plug for a book that Sheraton has written, a memoir of her long career as an enarmoring and then international food expert and public speaker.

This winning book is titled Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life. We just received it and have taken the liberty of ordering another copy for a good friend who just returned from sampling the fare in Italy. She is a graduate with us of the Waukesha High School class of 1954.

The point is, the raccoon news would bet a bottom dollar - the kind you spend at Dave's -that Mimi Sheraton, with her broad brush, would paint a lovely picture of Dave's Restaurant in Waukesha WI.


It's Dave's in historic downtown Waukesha!