Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Should a horse be made to ring bells for Salvation?

However you want to answer that,
the picture of the miniature horse
with a bell in his mouth is
tres charmant.

Credit is due the photographer.


A few weeks ago, Walt Lohman called.
He was watching a zeppelin-type aircraft near his farm
south of town. I went up on the roof of the parking structure
where we keep our car with my camera.

Nothing seen in my scan of the skies.

Walt took a picture for me and gave it to me today at breakfast
at Dave's. By now we knew it had been a 'pretend' zeppelin. A large balloon, with advertising, but without
the interior super-structure of a true zeppelin.


Eat your heart out, Lee


Dee enjoys a leisurely day
- Blessed Wednesdays -
with a root beer float
a real root beer float
not just any root beer float
no, a real root beer float
from John's stand on Arcadian

This representation of Dee's day
was taken (editor's idea) to send
to our son Leland, who, as 'Mr. D',
holds forth as a T. f. America
5th grade teacher in Houston TX.

Lee loves the root beer from John's
When he comes home.
One of the first things he does
is to go to John's for root beer.
He will be there when he gets
home for Christmas.
Then he will come here.

In this picture
Dee traditionally lays back
with blankets, note-cards and books,
including 'the old Jerusalem'
she reads daily,
so worn now that the gilt has
come off the edges
and the binding is
about ready for taping.

A bible, inscribed
"Happy birthday, David
from Mom 1981"
I wanted that particular version.

But you already know
most of that story
because you read the SRN
don't you?

Little Susie was not the best student in Catholic School . Usually she
slept through the class.
One day her teacher, a Nun, called on her while she was sleeping.
'Tell me Susie, who created the universe?'
When Susie didn't stir, little Johnny who was her friend sitting behind
her, took his pencil and jabbed her in the rear.
'God Almighty!' shouted Susie.
The Nun said, 'Very good' and continued teaching her class..
A little later the Nun asked Susie, 'Who is our Lord and Savior?'
But Susie didn't stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to her
rescue and stuck her in the butt.
'Jesus Christ!!!' shouted Susie.
And the Nun once again said, 'Very good,' and Susie fell back asleep.
The Nun asked her a third question...'What did Eve say to Adam after she
had her twenty-third child?'
Again, Johnny came to the rescue. This time Susie jumped up and shouted,
'If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in

Monday, November 28, 2011

Naturally: Round; Groin feeling; Solar / + Tenderly 1954


Is it a sign of being civilized

To live in spaces that always have an angle

Squares and rectangles

Cornering us in the dust

When all uncivilized simple creatures

Around the globe

- Under the dome of heaven -

Live in tepees, igloos, round or oval nests

Without reservation

The choice is automatically made

Make it round;

:"We'll have what nature's having."

Why our angular fixation then when

Our own preliminarily-cultured children

Given their first crayon will draw

Instinctive curves and ovals

Nothing in nature is straight

We use our squares, plumbs, transits,

And snapped chalk lines to get it straight

We need straight to build high; but not nature

Nature is round

Even a squirrel outside my window

Chewed a near-perfect circle enlargement

In a gourd filled with bird-feed

He'd squeezed through my smaller

Bird-sized hole but it was a tight fit

So while I secretly watched him

He went around my circle all the way

So I wouldn't notice what he'd done?

He could have hacked a jagged opening

Any shape to gain access to the seed

But he carefully widened my circle

I think this wasn't really a squirrel squirrel

It was an Indian squirrel

Or an Esquimaux squirrel

A spirit squirrel from another world

Following an instinctive blueprint

And I sat in my square room

Looking out my square window, amazed

And roundly amused

[Zep 6-11-00]


On Wheeling Island

If you ever drive east and want a good place

To stay and rest overnight at the base of the Alleghenies

Before ascending possibly the oldest mountain range

In the world

Stop in Wheeling, West Virginia

I can recommend the Best Western Motor Lodge

On the east bank of the Ohio River

Where the oldest suspension bridge in the US is

In fact the eastern vertical of this suspended marvel

Is almost touchable from the veranda of the lodge

Gigantic cables run from the support and are

Buried deep in tons of concrete beneath the street in front

Built 150 years ago, pre-Civil War, this bridge

Is not the main artery across the Ohio anymore

Interstate Route 70 runs across a newer bridge

About 200 yards north

But the old bridge is a difference of night and day

As the way to cross the big river to Wheeling Island

And I like to walk over it at dawn

From my room in the Best Western

It has been repaired and repainted in 1999

And was disappointingly closed my last trip east

So I took my morning walk across to Wheeling Island

On the newer bridge, a sterile experience

The new bridge, even with the pounding of

Many cars coming down from the mountains

Or going up into them

Is motionless under the weight

Whereas the old one, even with one car

Coming across while you're walking it

Sways slightly, flexing on its ancient cables

And gives you to understand the tenuousness

Of a span that fell once when Union soldiers

Marched across in a heavy cadence

Too martial for the peacable lazy structure

It's something to feel in your groin

And think about on the way across


Wheeling Island is loaded with pre-turn-of-the-century

Mansions and a panoply of lesser-degreed dwellings

All in a state of ill-repair except for scattered

Restorations going on, and I'm sure,more are to come

An economic page is yet to be turned there

But I love the crumbling age of it all

The brick sidewalks disheveled by tree roots

And the high porches and built-up homes to beat

Ohio River flooding that has washed over the island

Devastatingly from time to time

One commercial building has a gradient of high water marks

Recorded like a thermometer on its front façade

I have made the acquaintance of a few hunting cats

In those early morning hours

One golden one that I've seen there in an alley

Three years now in a row

I have taken my late father to Wheeling Island

And my fellow revolutionary Juan as well

And I would like to take you there to see all this

Quiet decaying charm

And one simple frame house is a highlight

Only an awninged window graces the front

The door is on the side

And it's all on top of a 5-foot flood foundation

A tiny and unprepossessing dwelling

Out of scale with the larger former-day homes

In its vicinity, but one thing arrests the eye

In passing on my walk

I see a small oval hand-painted sign

Hanging beneath the one front window on a rope

Tied to the window sill at a slight angle

Rakishly but proclaiming lovingly:

"An old fisher-man

lives here

with the catch of his life."

That is so touching to me I shudder

……Like the bridge

[David Zep Dix ã2-14-00

This news crossed our wires this very morning.

St. Pauls UCC in OK, COLGATE (I like to say Hubertus), got some nice news coverage in the local paper on their solar panels in back of their cemetery.

The article sheds additional light on the project:


Lastly, a tune for my 1954 classmates:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ragtime, Cont'd


We had a cat who was a male

Whose habits and wants none could assail

Except in his dotage he’d flagrantly pee

In places inside where we’d smell, and then see

The vet said of that he could be easily fixed

By neutering him that scourge would be nixed

So I took him in and had the job done

And I told the vet I had a request, only one

That he save the testes in a small glass jar

For me to take home; would not carry’t too far

They were to be sure Ragtime’s prized possessions

And I thought that to save them might stay any questions

Thus I placed in the ice box Ragtime’s yellow-gray orbs

In a small screw-top jar midst the food of all sorts

And with time in the way of fridges everywhere galore

The little jar got forgotten; I knew it no more

I married Dee later, and she liked to clean

She tackled my icebox, threw out many things mean

But my sauces and condiments if questioned got left

For me to not lose so I’d be not bereft

Besides, the mystery jar took so little room

And didn’t look mouldy, formelahyded safely from gloom

The contents looked like something that I might want to keep

So Dee, a good saver, said not a peep

Years later my father visited and in accord with his habit

Required a martini; he’d make it and have it

The gin and the vermouth were there in plain sight

But no garnishments, like olives, cheered him that terrible night

He made do through searching, built a drink I’d have banned

And joined us in the living room, bare toothpicks in hand

And his brow it was furrowed as his lips he did smack

Saying, “Boy, your cocktail onions a wallop do pack!”

“They have a certain gristle I’m not used to having,

And the flavour, though pungent, I’d probably be halving;

How long have you had them?” Though with dawning great dread

I said not “The cat that they came from is dead!”

[David Dix 4-18-2004]

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Lee cooks a turkey
in Houston;
sends Mom demo picture asking if its done;
(knows it is)
watches Packer game

Erin sits opposite the Ruth Hale
cut glass cranberry bowl
(formerly the Mona Memorial water bowl)
in Waukesha

Dee makes Belgian waffles
Saturday AM

Erin drives back to Appleton
snow forecast.
Dee goes back to church
to prepare SS, Advent Workshop
potluck table arrangements & etc.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Out of the vortex of a mind today
spins a vivid recollection of our first cat, Mr. Coon,
so named for the raccoon-like rings
running down the length of
his tail.

It was the first indelible raccoon inspiration
via this noble beast,
the initial placement of
the raccoon notion
that grew to transfer one day
the affection of Mr. Coon the cat
after he was run over by a car
on Arcadian Avenue
to the raccoons of the sewer
coming and going from the storm grate
at our corner,
mostly nocturnal animals who knew
how to bear, no, flaunt true tail rings
AND dodge speeding cars

The rest is history in the making.

Yes, a car finally got Mr. Coon,
but not until he hitched many a ride
around the basement on his mother
Denise's back.....
and logged many happy years
with us.

His nickname was 'Ragtime'.


besides taking rides on Dee he loved to walk around on
piano keys. (Like above)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Total recall

'Twas the Night Before Recall'

‘Twas the night before Recall, and all through the state
Of Wisconsin were voters who scarcely could wait

The papers were Xeroxed and readied with care
In fond hopes of the signatures soon to be there

The children were slumbering, home safely from schools
Which were gutted and cut by Republican “tools“

With our “Recall Scott Walker” sign sunk in our lawn
My wife and I planned to arise with the dawn

And set out, door to door, to those neighbors we knew
Who were just as disgusted at Scooter and Crew

When down from the street there arose such a blast
I thought, Lord, what new hell has the GOP passed?

The November air, once so chilly and quiet
Was filled with excitement; could it be a riot?

A storm, it was breaking; not one from the sky
But a groundswell that rose with a hue and a cry

When what to my wondering eye appear’d thence
But a figure in black from a century hence

He marched with a fist raised in manner defiant
While his workers upon ev’ry word were reliant

“On Wausau! On Oshkosh! On Point and Milwaukee!
On Kenosha and Ashland! Yes, you too, Pewaukee!

To each office and home, till you reach one and all.
Now sign away, sign away, sign to Recall!”

They came from their neighborhoods, came from their jobs,
They came, though reviled as thugs and as slobs

They came from Menasha, Monona and Merrill
They came, for they knew that their state was in peril

There were Waukesha folk, not a lot, it was plain
But they worked with resolve like their county was Dane

Now who was their leader, this fiery speaker
Who roused them when they should grow sullen or weaker?

His clothes were familiar, his stance, it was steel’d
But the night kept his features from being revealed

I awaited the point when mayhap we would meet
As he solemnly marched up my once-sleepy street

Then…a turn! Now a streetlamp! Epiphany in light!
And we saw Bob La Follette returned for the fight!

This was no fragile ghost, but substantial in power
That grew from his minions, was fed by the hour

And at last I could see, and with joy understand
That the Progressive Spirit returned to our land

Then our gaze finally met, dear old Bob’s and my own
And for one beat in time, we were two souls alone

He gave me a smile, I returned it in kind
Though one living, one not, we were of the same mind

As I saw tears a-forming from tired old lids
I held my wife close, and we thought of our kids

For this task to be done wasn’t for here and now
But for those to come after, so they would see how

We must always be wary and watchful and wise
For greed and corruption takes any disguise

And when given the chance, shapes the world to its wishes
But Wisconsin’s not open to those avaricious

Bob La Follette, he knew it, and now we do too
Though the task is historic, we must see it through

Then Bob gave me a nod, and the night closed around
As he slipped from my view, making nary a sound

But I heard him exclaim as he marched out of sight,
“Happy Recall to all! Never give up the fight!”

Steven P. Senski
Submitted to the SRN by Tom Bentz)

Resistance, with technology

The People's Surveillance State

by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Police pepper spray students at a UC Davis demonstration on Friday, November 18. (Screengrab: OperationLeakS - Click here for video)

All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.

- George Orwell

In the aftermath of September 11, there was a big push to create anational surveillance systemin the name of national security. Cameras were installed at traffic lights, ostensibly to catch people running red lights and stop signs, but those cameras came with a nifty side benefit: they recorded everyone within reach of the lens in their comings and goings. Cameras were installed at street corners, ostensibly to provide security against crime, but again, you were recorded wherever you went. Bank machines all come with security cameras, and those added to the ever-broadening web of national surveillance. Finally, almost every cell phone now comes with software that, so long as the thing is turned on, can track your every step by triangulating your position via GPS and the cell towers your phone signal bounces off of.

Those with a fealty to the quaint ideals of American civil liberties had, to no great surprise, a big problem with putting this system in place. Combine the concern over having millions of innocent people on camera with the fact that the Bush administration decided to spy on pretty much everyone by way of the NSA because no one had the guts to stop them, and what you had - and have to this day - is a pretty damned paranoid situation where everyone is being watched by The Man. Today, it is almost impossible to be anywhere in America without something tracking you. After this technology had been in place for a few years, it even became fodder for cop shows; half the episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" after 2008 involve catching criminals using this web of eyes and ears. As you can imagine, the bad guys almost never got away.

The basic idea behind setting up this incredibly invasive system, if you listen to its advocates, is that security is paramount in the aftermath of 9/11. There were plenty of people, after the Towers came down, who were very happy to surrender their liberties in the name of security, despite Benjamin Franklin's warning about deserving neither and losing both. Nowadays, the existence of such a system is established fact, leading to yet another bout of cognitive dissonance: those in favor of such a system a few years ago, because it meant the state was looking out for their safety, are now in all likelihood the same people railing against the state with guns on their hips at Tea Party rallies...but that's a brain cramp to be dealt with another day.

The advent of the Occupy movement, the length of time that movement has been able to hang fire, and the vast number of cities in which it is taking place, has led to an astonishingly violent reaction from the very state we are supposedly trusting to watch over our every move. There have been a dozen incidents of gruesome official violence against peaceful, non-violent protesters, including the near-murder of an Iraq war veteran by police in Oakland...violence the likes of which has not been seen in America since the dogs and firehoses days of Birmingham, Alabama.

Last Friday, students at UC Davis in California were subjected to an attack by police that beggars likeness. Here's the thing, though: this time, it's all on film.

If you haven't seen it yet, what you're looking at is a dozen or so protesters seated with their heads down, arms linked, in peaceful non-violent resistance. An armored UC Davis police officer calmly pulls out a can of pepper spray the size of a fire extinguisher, shakes it up, and hoses these seated students down from one side to the other and then back again. Several of the students subjected to this attack required hospitalization, and there is an unconfirmed report that one of the protesters had a UC Davis cop shove the nozzle of his pepper spray canister into her mouth and then pulled the trigger.

It is all on film.

It is all on film.

It is all on film.

The chancellor of UC Davis is under intense pressure to resign her post. The officers involved in this unprovoked attack have been suspended, and an official investigation is underway.

None of which would be true if the incident was not all on film. The video of the attack on YouTube, at the time of this writing, has almost 1,400,000 views, and similar attacks by police have been captured on film from one side of the country to the other.

Memo to the police and the surveillance state you represent: you are not working in the dark anymore. You may have your own system of surveillance, but We The People are watching you just as closely, and we have our own system of surveillance. It's called exposing your vicious, anti-American and thoroughly unnecessary strong-arm tactics for all to see. It is really very easy, takes no time, and we will make you famous in all the wrong ways before you take your shoes off at bedtime. The name, telephone number and email address of the cop who attacked those UC Davis protesters is now common knowledge on the internet, and while I will not publish it here, that cop should know down to his cowardly little bones that he is right out there under the bright lights, thanks to the People's Surveillance State.

You may be watching us, but by God and sonny Jesus, we are watching you.

From the ground up

A group of passers-by, minstrels, decide to see if their music
will hold the attention of a herd of cows.

Dixieland does.


At 4:15 pm I am to put a frozen Reynold's pastie in the oven where it will bake for a hour, ready to eat when Dee gets home.
Out here in Waukesha where we get our pasties, they have not been available with........


Maybe the old shop near 35th and Buleigh in Milwaukee still carries them with RUTAGABAS. Our favorite pasties - with RUTABAGAS - came from a little bakery in Iron Mountain MI where they were originally baked for the miners to carry down into the mines.The dough specialities, wrapped in newspaper, would still be warm for the miners at lunch-time.

Rutabagas: A Love Poem

by James Silas Rogers,

Rutabagas were new to me
when I first paired with Jean.
At Thanksgiving and Easter dinners
her grandpa Frank, her spinster cousin,
mom, dad, and a tribe of handsome
brothers dined in near silence
at a great green table
with fierce griffins underneath.
I would wonder if their quiet
was about secrets or something wrong
but now I think it was
just how they gathered.

Rutabagas were on the table.
I had to ask Jean what they were.
My first mouthful tasted
like something in a gunny sack;
nothing like a wine
from which an epicure, or would-be epicure,
might claim to read the soils
in which the grapes were grown.
She said she loved their dug-up texture,
the hint of dirt
that couldn't be baked away,
how they left the tongue
with a rumor of something
underground and dark.

Autumn vegetables suit her,
I think, and none more than rutabagas,
so reluctant to have left the ground.

"Rutabagas: A Love Poem" by James Silas Rogers, from Sundogs. © Parallel Press, 2006.


Photos taken Oct 23, 2009
at Means Rest, Pleasant Valley, MD
Species: Amanita


Christmas Parade, Waukesha WI 2011

An hour and a half before the parade was to start, people found their seats or put their place-keeping folding chairs at the ready for a long wait.

A woman and two children, determined to have good seats, huddled under a pile of blankets,waiting.
Thanksgiving was still five days off but in these trying times merchants want to garner the few cash register rings of some extra marketing days.

It wasn't always like that. Thanksgiving was allowed to happen, and THEN Xmas.
The closed Clarke Hotel restaurant (last incarnation - D-Mo's)awaits a brighter day,too.

Monday, November 21, 2011



by Mary Mackey,

One November
a week before Thanksgiving
the Ohio river froze
and my great uncles
put on their coats
and drove the turkeys
across the ice
to Rosiclare
where they sold them
for enough to buy
my grandmother
a Christmas doll
with blue china eyes

I like to think
of the sound of
two hundred turkey feet
running across to Illinois
on their way
to the platter
the scrape of their nails
and my great uncles
in their homespun leggings
calling out gee and haw and git
to them as if they
were mules

I like to think of the Ohio
at that moment
the clear cold sky
the green river sleeping
under the ice
before the land got stripped
and the farm got sold
and the water turned the color
of whiskey
and all the uncles
lay down
and never got up again

I like to think of the world
before some genius invented
turkeys with pop-up plastic
in their breasts
idiot birds
with no wildness left in them
turkeys that couldn't run the river
to save their souls

"Turkeys" by Mary Mackey, from Breaking the Fever. © Marsh Hawk Press, 2006.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Hands of a magical Grandma


with whom we met last Wednesday at the Steaming Cup
- meeting ground for area notables and not so notables -
unintentionally drew attention to her grandchildren's
favorite instruments,

Though until Wednesday
we have not seen her since 1954
when we graduated together from
Waukesha High School

we have read of the many amusements
those hands have arranged for all those
wee ones. Some not so wee anymore.

Sally has kept in touch for the past
few years via Email
which is the SRN's favorite instrument.

Sally and Dee hit it off instantly.
We would not have thought differently.
Once again, the raccoon editor
proved his singular value
- a go-between conduit.

Our children
and two before them
were born because of that.
I'M happy.

Now it is soon time for Sally and us
to visit the 3 Bros. Serbian Restaurant

And make sure Branco is still OK.