Friday, April 29, 2011

Dee's do and Estenik's eggs

Dee's hair now long enough for a french braid...

and two decorated eggs by Mary and Sid Estenik.
Wrapped in celery, boiled in onion skin inside nylon hose.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

and I lived to see her

Ethel Merman


............Girl Crazy opened on October 14, 1930 at the Alvin Theatre, where it ran for 272 performances.[11] The New York Times noted Merman sang "with dash, authority, good voice and just the right knowing style," while The New Yorker called her "imitative of no one."[12] Merman was fairly blasé about her notices, prompting George Gershwin to ask her mother, "Have you ever seen a person so unconcerned as Ethel?", and he made her promise never to work with a singing teacher. (Wikipedia)

And much more of Merman on UTube.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Incredible world (beyond six strings)


it's like this
when you get to heaven
you just walk up
and get your harp.....

Devilish bunny

Partially repaired Easter rabbit
probably made in China
or Taiwan
which is allegedly
the same place:

he had an ear break off
in our move
and we fixed it with glue
but the ear needs some putty
and paint
to cover the crack

and we may never get around to that.
It goes with the crazed patina anyway.
And note that the eye
without the smiling mouth
appears Satanic
and the ears could be horns,
close up.

You've got to watch those Chinese
every minute.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Horoscopes for the Dead

Horoscopes For the Dead

Every morning since you fell down on the face of the earth,
I read about you in the newspaper
along with the box scores, the weather, and all the bad news.

Sometimes I am reminded that today
will not be a wildly romantic time for you,
nor will you be challenged by educational goals
nor will you need to be circumspect at the workplace.

Another day, I learn that you will miss
an opportunity to travel and make new friends
though you never cared much about either.

I can’t imagine you ever facing a new problem
with a positive attitude, but you will definitely not
be doing that or anything like that on this weekday in March.
And the same goes for the fun
you might have gotten from group activities,
a likelihood attributed to everyone under your sign.

A dramatic rise in income may be a reason
to treat yourself, but that would apply
more to all the Pisces who are still alive today,
still swimming up and down the stream of life
or suspended in a pool in the shade of an overhanging tree.

But it will come as a relief to learn
that you don’t need to reflect carefully before acting
nor do you have to think more of others,
and never again will creative work take a back seat
to the business responsibilities that you never really had.

And don’t worry today or any other day
about unwanted problems caused by your failure
to interact rationally with your many associates.
No more goals for you, no more pressing matters,
no more money or children, jobs or important tasks,
but then again, you were never thus encumbered.

So leave it to me now
to plan carefully for success and the wealth it brings,
to counsel the dear ones close to my heart
and to welcome any intellectual stimulation that comes my way
though that sounds like a lot to get done on a Tuesday.

I am better off closing the newspaper,
putting on the clothes I wore yesterday
(when I read that your financial prospects were looking up)
then pushing off on my copper-colored bicycle
and pedaling along the road by the shore of the bay.

And you go on being perfect just where you are,
lying there in your beautiful blue suit,
your hands crossed upon your chest
like the wings of a bird who has flown
in its strange migration straight up from earth
and pierced the enormous circle of the zodiac.

Copyright © 2010 by Billy Collins. All rights reserved.

'Salve caput cruentatum' circa 1200

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory
What bliss ’til now was Thine
Yet though despised and gory
I joy to call Thee mine

2. What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe me to Thy grace.

3. The joy can never be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
My Lord of Life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

4. What language shall I borrow
To praise Thee, heavenly friend,
For this my dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Lord make me Thine forever,
Nor let me faithless prove
Oh let me never, never
Abuse such dying love

5. Forbid that I should leave Thee
O Jesus leave not me!
By faith I would receive Thee
Thy blood can make me free
When strength and comfort languish
And I must hence depart
Release me then from anguish
By Thine own wounded heart

6. Be near when I am dying
Oh show Thy cross to me
And for my succor flying
Come Lord and set me free
These eyes new faith receiving
From Jesus shall not move
For he who dies believing
Dies safely, through Thy love

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On and on, and a foot

Ref: Triangles, Circles are Pleasing Shapes
That hasn't changed any.
we caught our Buddha stand in the living room
a simple triangle - step -
and beneath it, within it,
another ladder - library -
and on that
a triangular metronome
and left, a hanging glass window
made up of circles
and triangles
and beneath that
a round glass seal
of the City of Waukesha.
Integral, pleasing.......

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

From WRITERS ALMANAC, free daily on net from G. Keillor:

The Best Year of Her Life

by Gerald Locklin

When my two-year-old daughter
sees someone come through the door
whom she loves, and hasn't seen for a while,
and has been anticipating
she literally shrieks with joy.

I have to go into the other room
so that no one will notice the tears in my eyes.

Later, after my daughter has gone to bed,
I say to my wife,

"She will never be this happy again,"
and my wife gets angry and snaps,
"Don't you dare communicate your negativism to her!"
And, of course, I won't, if I can possibly help it,
and of course I fully expect her
to have much joy in her life,
and, of course, I hope to be able
to contribute to that joy —
I hope, in other words, that she'll always
be happy to see me come through the door—

but why kid ourselves — she, like every child,
has a life of great suffering ahead of her,
and while joy will not go out of her life,
she will one of these days cease to actually,
literally, jump and shriek for joy.

"The Best Year of Her Life" by Gerald Locklin, from Men of Our Time. © University of Georgia Press, 1992.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ref: 'Right now in Decorah Iowa'

Eagle chicks are hatched
on live camera
hear mother squawk, chicks peep, wind blow
from nest in treetop.....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I was like

What She Said

by Billy Collins

When he told me he expected me to pay for dinner,
I was like give me a break.

I was not the exact equivalent of give me a break.
I was just similar to give me a break.

As I said, I was like give me a break.

I would love to tell you
how I was able to resemble give me a break
without actually being identical to give me a break,

but all I can say is that I sensed
a similarity between me and give me a break.

And that was close enough
at that point in the evening

even if it meant I would fall short
of standing up from the table and screaming
give me a break,

for God's sake will you please give me a break?!

No, for that moment
with the rain streaking the restaurant windows
and the waiter approaching,

I felt the most I could be was like

to a certain degree

give me a break.

"What She Said" by Billy Collins, from Horoscopes for the Dead. © Random House, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

(Caught Billy Collins on WPR the other day. Have ordered book, splendid program!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Let there be flowers

Dee passed by the Rotunda hall on her way to church yesterday, on foot. There must have been a gala celebration Saturday night for there were tulips scattered around in the bushes and on the sidewalk. They appeared deserted, as though a surfeit of frivolity, left to wither.

She made a note to check on her way back home to see if they were still there. They were. So she gathered up a bouquet, and here they are on a windowsill overlooking our view of Dave's Cafe.


On Sunday, April 3rd, Minister Deb Howland preached her sermon from behind the communion table at the foot of the pulpit. Here at the raccoon news we have seen a metaphor of Rev Deb's pulpitry as being like Elton John's Pinball Wizard.

With her hands firmly but supplely on imaginary flippers on the sides of the antique pulpit, she has steered the silver balls with a scriptural majesty we feel fortunate to have witnessed, 'lucky' to have had her at the old and beloved First Congregational United Church of Christ in Waukesha WI.

Sadly, Rev. Deb is an interim minister. A search is underway for a called pastor which will culminate sometime this fall. But with guns blazing, when necessary, she has striven to do a Paladin number for this weary group of churchgoers. She has had little to lose, for she is, by her own choice and UCC policy, a temporary employee. That gives her license to untangle knots, and she, in 'blind' faith, has done so, just like Elton John's Wizard. She's become one with the machine.

The raccoon news feels it is important to go over that again. The Utube link we used for the song in late March doesn't seem to work well. Try again, please.


Ever since I was a young boy
I've played the silver ball
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all
I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

He stands like a statue
Becomes part of the machine
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean
He plays by intuition
The digit counters fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

He's a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard's got such a supple wrist

(How do you think he does it?)
I don't know
(What makes him so good?)
Well... He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see lights a-flashin'
Plays by sense of smell
Always has a replay
Never tilts at all
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

He can't beat me now
I've always been the champ
I know every trick
No freak's gonna beat my hand

Even at my usual table
He can beat the best
His disciples lead him in
An' he just does the rest
He's got crazy flipper fingers
I've never seen him fall
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

He's a pinball wizard,
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard's got such a supple wrist

He's a pinball wizard
He scores a trillion more
A pinball wizard
The world's new pinball lord
He's scoring more
He's scoring more

I thought I was
The Bally Table king
But I just handed my Pinball crown to him
To him
To hi-i-i-m

Rev. Deb's message yesterday was aimed at preparing us to become truly Open and Affirming (O & A) of the lesbian, gay, etc. community. Officially, not just by the tacit policy we thought we had. We have had discussion groups aimed at the goal, which should be a slam-dunk.

By bringing her O & A sermon to the communion table, the message resonated more strongly than ever!


If you are in Wisconsin, don't forget to vote tomorrow!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Smilin Ed sings Yes, Jesus Loves Me

From SRN archives:

Thursday, May 8, 2008


THE TWANGER WAS FIRST HEARD circa 1945, when on a radio program called Smilin' Ed and His Friends, the sewer raccoon editor-to-be clung to the radio to hear the funny childrens' program. On the show, a frog known as Froggy The Gremlin would hold forth with what was mysteriously called his magic twanger. Smilin' Ed would say at a critical time in the script, "PLUNK YOUR MAGIC TWANGER, FROGGY." (Ed's voice would rise when he pronounced the last syllable of Froggy.)

Then the listening children would hear the sound of a large spring, going B-o-i-n-n-g-g!!!!
Something magical would happen. Someone or something would appear or disappear. Flour would drop on someone's head? Raccoon readers qualified by age will know what is being talked about.
still holds forth
like a fading flower
it was never shown
could not have been on radio
and to our knowledge
was never shown on television either
but the sound
oh, the sound......
we could never quite capture it
but we tried

Friday, April 1, 2011

Right now in Decorah Iowa

If you tune right in
you may see this eagle's nest
graced by offspring.

A live camera is affixed near the nest.
Expected birth sometime today.

Submitted to the raccoonage by John Helt
rec'd here 12 noon 4-1-11
(not April Fools trick)

Play this link: