Monday, November 30, 2009

Mixed messages


Let there be light,
more light:

Word came today with the above shopping craze newspaper photo that Mr. William Olson of Washington Island WI has passed away. He is shown in a photo by his son polishing the brass light at the restored Rock Island lighthouse. Mr. Olson was a writer and poet. This news came today via Norb Blei's blog:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Archival bath aid

In readying for the return of Lee and Erin for Thanksgiving, Mother Denise created a little nest of bathing aids for them.
Central to the nesting was their childhood duckie that turned up in the ongoing
basement sifting. A subtle reminder of days gone by,
it has so far gone uncommented upon by them. It could be that they attribute the duckie to the continual seething vortex of objets d'art that are part of this place from which they have escaped.

Well, I may use it. Another valuable 'find'.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Having cat for Thanksgiving

Mona Thanksgiving

Seeking shelter from the storm of returning brother and sister

to the little house,

Mona retreats to a dresser drawer out of traffic's way,

ostensibly to check on the kittens she's said are stowed there,

and about which we wink,

for we know she's never had real kittens;

she makes these glaring escapes

representing childcare duties;

Dear Mona, 20 years old

and counting.

We're thankful for you

on Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas advisory

click image to enlarge

Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

Few consider the story behind a product for sale. But few could ignore the story behind Berea College Crafts. Berea College charges no tuition, and the sale of the student-made crafts featured here provides scholarships for Berea students. But long before a product is sold, the student craftsman delves into Appalachian artistic heritage, learns about materials and design, experiences the joy of creativity, and identifies the dignity of work well done. Click here to go to the Berea College homepage

For a lovely time,the raccoon news recommends a visit to Berea. You can stay in the famed Boone Tavern Hotel. You can suport the college by buying craft items made by the students.

Monday, November 23, 2009


"The value of hair,
like the commodity itself,
will continue to fall."

Waukesha WI/ An artifact believed of local origin, a gourd rattle loaded with small circa 1995 AD ball-bearings according to X-Ray, was uncovered during an archaeologial excavation at a dig beneath a local house. The rattler, even in its antiquated state, reportedly struck as if it had been toyed with "only yesterday." So said our anonymous shoveler source.

Faintly etched on the gourd were the words:

Souvenir of Waukesha Wisconsin, the Yibawean Society. 1995, The value of hair, like the commodity itself, will continue to fall. David ZEP Dix, PFL, YS

Within 3 cms of the Yibawean rattle artifact was uncovered a Yibawean Air Comb. "Teeth still knocked out and functioning," the brush-wielding diggers said.

(Interested historical readers may search 'Yibawean" or "Yibawe")


Erin Henas of Mediapolis, right, holds her 2-year-old daughter, Emma, while being helped by Don Lutz of Burlington and Margaret Helt of Burlington as she shops at the Zion United Church of Christ Angel Food program Saturday in Burlington.
See link:
John Helt's mother, Margaret, 92, was recently featured in a photo in the Iowa Hawkeye working in her church's food program. We've known this amazing lady since 1980 when she visited her son Rev. John in Milwaukee after John graduated from seminary and took his first assignment, a dual one at struggling central city churches Friedens and New Hope UCCs. (Search the SRN under 'Friedens'.)
Margaret kept active per her wholesome life's pattern as a farmer on the same homestead acreage her late husband tilled with son John's youthful help, for many years. When the US Government commandeered part of the farm for the Burlington Ordnance Depot during WW II, the Helts kept working the remainder, and it is still under the plow via tenants. John's father is buried in a small cemetery now within the chain-linked, satellite-patrolled Army Depot spread, so that when his grave is visited by John, Margaret and loved ones, a guard shack at the Depot perimeter must first grant clearance.
This alone is enough to give one a peaceful orientation.
In the smaller picture, Margaret is shown giving a young man instruction riding his motorcycle with a leaned-back, rear ballast. Bravely dealing with resistance and gravity: Margaret Helt's specialities.
She gives a hand wherever necessary.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be not ungourded

Thanksgiving approacheth
Prepare to shake your rattle and roll
With our bird rattle filled with shot
(attn hunters -not shotten)
it will be shaken
when we prepare to partaken
of turkey bird
then ate'n
Tom Bentz is thankful, he writes in a comment to the SRN, for his rattle.
See preceding posting:

click to enlarge

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Whole lotta shakin' goin' awn"

MAGIC, Wholly
^.^ ^.^ ^.^
We have learned that there is another use for the ubiquitous St. Joseph statue. Of course, it has long been known that burying a St. Joseph effigy can result in quick real estate sales. Many Realtors and their satisfied clients know that. But, as far as the SRN and this former Realtor knows, it has never been discovered, uncovered, just how that works. We know, though, from experience that it can. Witness the quick sale of Rev. David Hansen's abode upon interring such a statue in the Hansen front yard. There were other examples.
We are informed that the burying of St. Joseph's statue doesn't work quite as well in the current real estate market. But remembering the ancient rite, and having lots of unused St. Joseph plastic statues from the Holy Hill Chinese gift shop, we decided in a 'waste not, want not' mode to resurrect one of those statues from the dusty, overflowing basement bins where we've been foraging.
Shaking rattles made from home-grown gourds has helped immensely here as a rite before meditating, (see illustration below), and for some other things. So, this writer with far too much time on his hands, coupled with the onus of performing charity, gave a super-powerful rattle to his friend Tom Bentzedrine as they parted in the parking lot after yesterday's visit.
Powerful if for no other reason that the wimpy light gourd seeds were removed in the hollowintg-out process and replaced with heavy steel shot, like small ball bearings. Actually, they are deadly sling-shot ammo. Recycled items; we do not kill.
Yet, be advised: anyone shaking this rattle is definitely serious.
It is believed (here) that Rev. Bentzedrine's new rattle will help him in his quest for employment, and he may want this kind of magic. Written on the lower 'barrel' of the loud rattle is HI, MY NAME IS TOM, AND I'LL BE YOUR (COMMUNION) SERVER TODAY!
Music can help to get psyched:

NOTE: all our rattles come with steel shot

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three amigos

Emelio Zepata
meets Bentzedrine El Inhaler
Two outlaw types met today at a New Berlin restaurant for a couple of beers, some bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and prolonged conversation, not having seen each other for nearly four years, though the Email has flown back and forth hot and heavy. At the time of that earlier in-person visit, Bentzedrine came to pay a call on the future SRN editor in a convalescent facility where he wasn't expected to leave the place. Not vertically, anyway.
Bentzedrine was then making a pastoral call and brought a book.
Matthew 25 City!
Today he brought a Zapata T shirt.
See how short Zapata appears compared to El Inhaler. Tom was stsanding on a box that he carries around with him to gain advantages where needed.

That shirt and Tom's good offices will probably keep Zepata going another four years, Lord willing. After the three hour visit, we drove up the lonely lane in back of the restaurant to see a recluse friend, Uncle Norman, ( And as Bentzedrine was auditioning third amigo Norm, they hit it off instantly, so we stayed another hour talking about surgical operations, train hoists and Ramona CA where Tom just finished an interim pastorate.
Back in WI, Tom is seeking employment based once more upon his doctorate in divinity. His shattered left wrist well enough healed from his daring Mexican vault over a cliff without benefit of wings or horse, El Inhaler is also considering an option in bank robbing (Dismounted,).

Gathering dust over the ice box?

I rest me in the thought

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

.....relishing the brown bubbles on top,

from The New Yorker

Extremism in defense of your (welding) is a good vise

to paraphrase Barry Goldwater.

Archival review, cont'd

Something else surfaces, this time in the garage. A heavy-duty vise we mounted to a welded stand for use in our weathervane business. Early 1980s. A truck tire rim is the base, notches cut into angle iron, all very poundable and strong. Note the anvil end at top. Many objects were formed on this defendable vise. Some people would pay good money just to have this device as a piece of sculpture in itself. NFS.

Behind us stands a flying unicorn for a Victorian turret job we had. Cutting scrap iron gathered in junk yards was a powerful experience.............

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


From the basement, a cancelled stamp, 1939, commemorating 300 years of the printing press.
As we watch newspapers founder, cut back drastically, or all-in fold, we live in sharp awareness of our ongoing fortune in receiving the Sunday New York Times delivered to our door. In hard form, a real newspaper. Hold it your hands, smell the ink....
Staff layoffs, fallen advertising revenue, struggles to compete with this internet medium we use here are repeated from print newspaper to print newspaper, city to city, town to town, burg to burg. Individual local flavor and true what's- really-happening-here information vanish in the blanding wake of corporate buyouts.
Continuity for the printing press is a MUST, including the small locally owned publications, staffed by local people.
In seventh grade we took printing as a shop course at Lincoln Jr. high school. We set print in 'sticks' by hand, letter by letter, spacers by spacers, and we felt we were possibly learning a trade at that youthful commencement. The presses then were a few steps up from the one in the colonial America stamp above. But never did we dream there would be such a thing as a personal computer, blogs, or instant messaging.
That progress would lead from to linotype machines to this? Woe.

Ruth Elies, prom queen, Sun Prairie WI high school, 1930 (basement archaeology cont'd)

Eventual mother of the raccoon editor, she was also winner of the graduating class English Award, 1931

Junior Prom, 1930, + many more pictures, and I'm savin' them all.

Wait just a minute!

For years, this has been a chickadee feeder!

Now, halloo, what have we here?
A woodpecker! He figured out how to land his toes on the gourd edge and rest his belly on the down-turned perch, which is a curved piece of the gourd we cut out for the opening. Sparrows have eyed this feeder, and nuthatches and other small birds have tried, but maybe the clinging required discouraged them.
Squirrels have been thwarted by the large unpurchaseable glass window pane. Leaps have been made from sills, failed leaps of faith at the too-smooth gourd. Hungry leaps of faith, yielding, so far in these dozen or more years of that feeder's life, negative squirrel results.
But now one woodpecker has cracked the safe. Adaptation. Will the chickadees learn to share? Will the woodpecker be back, with friends? Such are the things of moment in a raccoon editor's agenda.

"Hanging on in quiet desperation

is the English way"

Pink Floyd

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who says porcupines aren't beautiful?

Decidedly unprickly Bev Badfjord displays a look that is close enough to raccoonage to merit 'snapshot of the day' visibility in the News.

"Why is he taking my picture?" her expression seems to say.......

(Before; beautiful but plainer)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

John Helt and I wear the orange dove arm-bands, 1981

On the steps of the US Federal Building, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, we gathered to demonstrate against US support of the El Salvador junta and to observe the one year anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.
This was a signal occasion for the SRN editor, for it was my first of many subsequent peace participations over the ensuing years.

Ironic, in that the feds were photographing the participants from a distance, a duty that I myself performed as a CIC (federal) agent and photographer when I was a plain-clothesman in Chicago, in the US Army, 1958 to 1962. Doubly ironic that the site of my first demonstration was the Milw. Federal Bldg where I first went to begin the long application process of admittance into the Counter Intelligence Corps in '58. Times change and with them their demands.

These pieces of memorabilia turned up in my ongoing basement sorting-out today. The band and clipping were entered in a scrapbook that my late mother maintained of my 'achievements' and general press, whether she agreed with it or not.

click on image to enlarge and read John and I are on either side of the baby stroller, I on the left at center in the standard hat.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Some of my best friends........


The New Yorker 11-16-09

100 great movie lines

This composite video is from a Raccoon reader:
'They call me MR. Tibbs!'

'Play it, Sam....'

'Bond...JAMES Bond......'

'I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.'

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More old stuff, click to enlarge

Good old Louise Bunker, David, Mom, Dad


Sheet music in the basement

Play this:
The subject of aviation came up the other day when Bob Sellars sent me an Email telling of the Russian cargo plane, the Antonov 225, that is currently the world's largest (cargo) airplane.
Brother Les in Johnstown PA elucidated on the theme with this link:
The advent and progress of aviation, as reflected in these early and later pictures is really something!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Old New Yorker raccoon cover, Jan. 24, 1994

13 years before the birth of the raccoon news, we tore this cover off our New Yorker magazine and saved it. At the time we had no idea at the front of our mind about devoting our life to raccoonage, but you never know. Times change, as we say, and with them their demands.

We are ashamed to admit that in our unenlightened high school years we flew a racccon tail from our radio antenna. Later we very briefly belonged to the Fraternal Order of Raccoons on TV...........but then we got well. And here, now, is the Raccoon News!