Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How much seeing before believing?

The SRN Editor peers at early sewer raccoons.
Many people used to pooh-pooh
 and pooh
such a thing as a sewer raccoon.

They said it was a figment
of our overactive imagination.
Who cared?

That was in Two Thousand and Seven.
But we went on writing and exclaiming
about them;

and now, 
five years later, 
we're still writing about them,
 and the 'realists'.
after seeing an article
by the Associated Press
in the Milwaukee Journal-

finally get it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Raccoons return to favored haunts; salt tattoo; bicycle races

This raccoon swims laps back and forth across the Fox River on a recent workout to exercise his limbs, cramped from habituating narrow Waukesha sewer passages.  He uses a last year's cattail as a spotting object where he makes a turning dive and paddles to the other side, and so on, back and forth, back and forth across the likewise narrow downtown Fox.


The Sewer Raccoons of Waukesha are said to be grateful for the cleaning up of the river water in this town.  They find it swimmable and potable, seemingly unaware or unconcerned that humans' usage of time-gloried deep well water is a ticking radioactive time bomb. Some say.

The Sewer Raccoons, who many ignore (including the Business Improvement Districters and about that the raccoons are also thankful)  often emerge from the depths beneath the city after a night of revelry, sometimes clustering in a meeting hall in the catacombs beneath the old post office - now known as the fancy Rotunda. That is where their squatters-rights hub in the sewer network is  sited. Allegedly.

When it rains it pours

may or may not be a credo 
of a here-protected anonymous waitress 
at Dady-Oh's Restaurant.
Maybe she just liked the design.
But we remember from childhood 
that still famous trademark.

How clever of this smiling young woman
 currently passing 
through a waitress stint
undoubtedly destined for greater 
things in her life.
She picked a fine cafe 
in which to do this act.

Shy, she hesitated 
but only briefly before 
a working arm to be photographed. 

Just as the Raccoon News is hesitant 
to recommend tradesfolk or eateries
on these 'money cannot buy' pages
in pursuit of our own quieter downtown 

we take no delay 
in citing the former Paul's Restaurant
now known as the purposefully 
mispelled but well-run Dady-Oh's
for a delicious breakfast or lunch
- or Friday Fish Fry .

IF/WHEN you go
keep your eyes out for an arm
with a Morton's salt tattoo!

Have the American fries. 


Having more eyes out:

Yesterday's bike races
were watched by us from our air-conditioned 
aerie windows
at the Odd Fellows building.

A mourning dove
hunted by a few ill-mannered Wisconsin
shotgun wielders
sought his/her usual sanctuary
on our window sill.

Due to unusual eye placement
the bird was able to warily watch us
with one eye
and with the other eye
survey the speeding bike racers
as they prepare to slant into
a sharp turn off Main Street
and up Grand.

There was a pile-up of six cyclists
at one point in the day-long excitement.
A tight cluster of side-by-side strivers
crashed into each other
making that turn.

It was an earlier in the day race
 in a learning, too-far leaning (?)
 younger classification ranking.
No serious injuries but fragile
and expensive machines might have 
been damaged.
We couldn't see.

From the outer Silurian limestone ledge
the mourning dove might have told them
they were flying too close
to synchronize that tight turn.

At the end of race day, cow bells 
and hootings silenced,
the sun set beautifully.

 to be continued

Friday, June 15, 2012

Call first

Let me set the stage

very early Friday morning
just starting to get light
street cleaner making passes beneath us
to prepare for Friday Night Live

55 degrees outside, cloudy,
mourning dove on sill
flies, startled by me,
across the street to a tree
in front of the now vacant 
recall office

I ascend a little ladder
a kitchen folding device
to get high enough to
catch the onion-skin picture
taped to the window
a likeness of Dee taken
at People's Park one recent

The way I positioned the picture
she appears to be studying
the beveled glass cross
that hangs in the window

the sun brushes through clouds
 in the breaking eastern sky;
I've flicked on our electric
window candle
to answer waitress Pam
across the street at Dave's

we too are open
at the Odd Fellows

Some may wonder what
the yellow wedge-shaped thing is
in the taped transparent picture
that from the street just looks
like a sheet of white paper

stuck to our particular pane

A glass of water sat before me
with a lemon wedge
it's Dee's water actually
and it could be said
that with me
she got a lemon.......

but she always looks up and beyond
such facts or interpretations
and the passers-by below
when they arrive in droves
tonight at dusk
and the music rushes in

from the many street bands,
and the crushing crowds
peer past that sheet
if they look up at us at all

looking down at them

 will  pay note of
our electrified
 stuffed fox 

and wonder what 
goes on up there

- so many windows
so many questions -

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When you own the newspaper you can do this:

Money cannot buy

So we say regarding the raccoon news;
it is free,
and we do not sell advertising;
that means when we recommend something
in our little blog
such a recommendation is given freely.

But if this mechanic benefits
at all from our good words
of endorsement, so much the better.........
He deserves business
which he already gets because of
his knowledge, kindness, willingness 
to explain what he's doing,
speed and high focus...............
and because his rates are more than fair.

A little garage in a cool location
on The Strand.

The chair allowed him to pull down on the keys rather than striking them from above

Glenn Gould

I heard him that one night in Cincinnati.
The concert hall, 1960, the same day
Kennedy flew into town in perfect sunlight
and rode the route that took him
through the crowds of voters and nonvoters
who alike seemed to want to climb
into the armored convertible.
Gould did not so much play as address
the piano from a height of inches,
as if he were trying to slow the music
by holding each note separately.
Later he would say he was tired
of making public appearances,
the repetition of performing the Variations
was killing him. But that night
Bach felt like a discovery, whose repetitions
Gould had practiced in such privacy
as to bring them into being for the first time.
This was the fall, October, when Ohio,
like almost every other part of the country,
is beginning to be mortally beautiful,
the great old hardwoods letting go
their various scarlet, yellow,
and leopard-spotted leaves one by one.

"Glenn Gould" by Stanley Plumly, from Orphan Hours. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2012


and this

more info viaWikipedia  (ref. Gould, mad genius of)



Today is Flag Day

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

benighted in Waukesha, and yet.......

Our world in splendor lies

Last night as I sat peering out the Odd Fellows windows
I saw the clouds on the dusk horizon turn dark
and I rose to see if we were going to get the 
chance of rain.
The top photo was taken a few minutes before the one above.
I raised the blinds to expose the view to the maximum.

The running lights on the roof of the Clarke Hotel are at the bottom.
This sky did not care anything, I believe, of the outcome of the recall election.

The thyme seedlings on the loft ledge
under the skylight
are coming up today
regardless of the election outcome.

We will wait to see what occupies the
store which in its last incarnation
was the Recall Walker office.
Dismantled yesterday, divested of its Barrett signs,
it becomes just another view out our windows.

We attended a beautiful wedding on Lake Michigan Sunday afternoon.

A non-denominational rite, Dee was asked to give the blessing for her old friends, bride and parents of the bride.

Dee wanted to wear something special for the occasion.  She knew the dress she wanted to wear, but a shawl would help complete the ensemble.

She realized a tapestry table cloth from church was fancy enough
and would blend with the dress nicely.

One must know Dee to realize just how wise this choice was.

Spirits were uplifted all around.

Kimberly Redding, mother of Thomas, Morgan, and William
sends greetings from Germany
where she leads a group of Carroll students.

Spirits are lifted. Life goes on.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

See where strife has led our unhappy citizens? - Virgil's Eclogues


On the day after the recall fan 
got hit by the shit
- as some of my Republican friends 
would have me think -

I busied my sorrowful self
doing some gardening on the loft landing
under a skylight
where the sun streams down brightly.

We had an old Amaryllis bulb
that got lost on a high closet shelf
when we moved into the Odd Fellows
two years ago.

Would it still sprout after so long a

It was crispy 
and the firmer bulb part felt thin
but I figured it deserved a chance
so I soaked it in water for a couple hours
then planted it gently in some fresh soil.

Then I misted it and placed it in
a sunny place, here,
in a friendly environment.

Today, the very next day, I saw a tiny
thumbnail of new green pushing through
the dead brown crisp, much of which
I'd removed.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Civility; Radishes; Guthrie guitar; Church Picnic

Radishes purchased Saturday at the Farmers Market

(Still life, 6/3/12:  AT THE ODD FELLOWS, radish roots glued to Plowshares elephant  paper)


AT 76

he toasts his 94 year old friend Wis Guthrie
on the evening of  6/1/12
while Wis begins his stint
sitting once again at an art show site,
this time beneath his 3rd floor window
at the Five Points of downtown Waukesha,

exhibiting his and his sons' 
and grandsons'
(and little great-grandson's)
major accomplishment,

'Team' Guthrie's 10 foot guitar honoring Les Paul
at the Guitartown celebration
about which much has been said
in the local press.

  This Raccoon picture shows the four generations of Guthries
beneath our window on the street at the festival:  
Left to right, Ryan, Ethan, Jim and Wis
Little Ethan played his role by putting some stickers on the shipping
container where he thought they should go.......

A banner is flown over a main stage
out our windows, heralding the guitar event.

Many spectators clustered around the guitar interpreters.

 Jim's strong arm and creative hand at the right.
He says he's not an artist 'just a mechanic'
but Wis assures him he IS an artist,
and he couldn't have done this project without him.

Picture taken earlier by the Guthrie family, Prairie Home Cemetery, Waukesha
at the Les Paul burial site.
Red Hot Red's headstone was used as the schematic for the Guthries.
(Ryan, Wis and Jim)

Sunset on the Guitartown festival night
 out our O.F. window.

Church picnic on Sunday
at the Glasenapps:

1st Congregational UCC member Bill Glasenapp
had the lane up to their lovely homesite
nicely mowed for the many parked vehicles.

Hostess Cleo Glasenapp lights wind-protected candles
on the stacked hale-bales altar as worship begins.

Rev. Brittany Barber asks God's blessing
and prays for civility in the aftermath of 
tomorrow's Wisconsin gubernorial recall election.

A downspout at the Glasenapp's is propped by a blue glob of art glass,
a gift from friends once given to our hosts.
Even when taken by our small Z221 ATT&T cell camera
- a Lower Crustacean device -
the blue catches the light just right.

Friday, June 1, 2012


the street sweepers swept up the Five Points.  At 5 AM we stood watching from our perch behind the sparrow and Mourning Dove birdseed on the ledge.  The outside thermometer gorrilla-taped to the 137,000,000 (that's million) year old limestone read 45 degrees.  On June 1st.

Exterior lights lit the outside of the vacant Clarke restaurant.  Our little 15 watt 'We Are Present!' electric candlelight shines in our window glass and reflects just above the rear of the city truck.   This act of cleansing the streets occurs every Friday morning so it's nothing new in our constantly picked-up zone.

We are beneficiaries, and appreciative ones, of the city mothers and fathers who maintain our streets and buildings.  Berg Management plays no small role in all of that.

Sometime today there will be hammering and assembling as the performing stage for tonight's Friday Night Live is erected, we are told, right beneath us, at the Five Points. 

          Our predecessors,

 the woodland Indians who established this intersection many years ago with their trading post siting encouraging a hub of spoke-like trails from the outlying areas, would be so surprised, I think, to see WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW!

In Waukesha

We don’t think about it very much anymore
but the ghosts of native Americans might;
we walk, or alas, drive their ancient trading trails
paved many times over;
even our later inter-urban streetcar tracks
are now out of sight,

buried like their lightly-beaten paths
by time and poured concrete
and newcomers can’t get the gist of traveling downtown,
can’t figure these streets out because so many diagonals
cut through strangely, they say.

But it was all so simple then
for the woodland people
to follow their converging spoke-like paths
to the now downtown five points trading posts
No doubt

going through thick woods
from their outlying settlements,
intending to live forever in their homeland
upon which they trod so gently

Pioneers built great improvements
on their sacred burial grounds
and cannons stand in the library park
passing time’s additions, tentatively,

muddying the purer water of days
dim to us, unknown;

But not to the ghosts
who watched flowing streams
clear away many other silty stirrings
only for a moment hiding customary clarity

We are being watched by these patient spirits
these spector ‘savages’ who knew so much.
Their way to our downtown
is abiding.

[d. zep dix 1998}

The sewer raccoons, who have their reputed lodge hall beneath the old post office - currently known as The Rotunda - were rocked last night as they converged into their own hub, their central meeting place in the catacombs beneath the temporarily guitar-laden exhibit hall and fine human meeting place.

We have always been impressed by the raccoon's alleged choice of architecture and genteel ambiance beneath which to do their own hanging out.

As I wrote to a friend earlier this morning,

We are situated for the continuing guitar orgy perfectly this day.

Last evening before dark we observed the glitterati milling joyfully about in the drizzle, undampened, champagne in hand. Our site, per my inspired notion, was ABOVE the soiree going on in and outside of the old post office now rotunda-ized and en-tent-ened in the small parking area where mail delivery trucks used to line up.

  We ascended the parking structure elevator across the street from the opening night party to the open-air top 4th floor and shot our pictures and did our mingling from there. As from our church pew in the peanut gallery at the Congo, we saw it all from there.

(All we needed to be among the big ticket priced attendees was my zoom feature on the camera!)

Wearing my father's wide-brimmed straw hat with the safari hatband and my Traveler Smith dark blue long raincoat, I was mistaken for a glitteramus and treated solicitously by a stagehand-type on the street at the entrance to a parking lot. That's where we, Every Day, man, keep our car.

He didn't know that, and kindly went through his rap about the events as though we were not the lower crustacean downtown denizens we truly are.

A recognized Berg manager eyed me as I circled the steps of the Rotunda shooting pictures of 5 giant guitars set up at the base of the ascending semi-circle.  No, I was not going to crash the gate, manned among others by old friend Caroline White of the Little Swiss Clock Shop, a downtown merchant.

Leisurely rounding the corner, after scanning the gaily-decorated guitars from an appropriate distance, we passed the white-napkined, chandelier-lit celebratory tents set up in the small parking area in back of the Rotunda where the mail delivery trucks used to gather for their mail routes

Our principal interest in checking out what could be seen for free was to view old friend Wis Guthrie's interpretation of a Les Paul guitar about which I've made a point of knowing all I could learn from Wis.

That guitar was inside the post office/bank/Rotunda, as a partial picture from this mornings electronic Waukesha Freeman portrays:  (I will put my own camera to it later)

Wis's son Jim greatly helped the 94 year old artist with  artful and mechanical touches - he sawed out and fitted the electric burners that are seen glowing red (Red Hot Red-wise), for one thing.  It was a four generational Guthrie production which other local press has well-covered.

Soon I will be able to get right up to this guitar, maybe gently touch it, and will marvel at the latest incarnation of my longtime hero, Wis Guthrie.

Thanks be God
 the city of Waukesha 
the art sensitives
the downtown powers that be
for all this!