Sunday, July 29, 2012

The just exchange their messages; Cameras unobscura; A muscled beam; Farmers market revisited; Keys found

l'attention de mes amis:

This little light of mine

In 2006 our brother Les sent us a planter of hardy greens
following our year's hospitalization with heart trouble.
Since then we have kept some of those plants alive
including this Peace Plant which here at 
the Odd Fellows hall
continues to thrive and occasionally show its
appreciation by throwing out blossoms.

It is in bloom at present.  The flowers
resemble little Jack-In-The-Pulpits.
Once there, they last for weeks.
The full-leaved house-ified plamt
requires little direct light to thrive.

We don't know if Les researched
just how much of a good omen this
green growth really is. But
we certainly appreciate the thought.

The pictures of it herein were taken
by the Nikon F6000 digital camera
Les also gave us for a not un-recent birthday,
and the SRN archival photo records show that.

The two pictures immediately above were taken with the LC cell cam.





Per a recent article in the local newspaper, the Huelsmans of Berg Management Co.. major owners of numerous downtown properties including the  now vacated antiques stores and their parking spaces adjacent to the Riverwalk, are acclimating farmers market shoppers to the awareness that the property has parking value, this ahead perhaps of a convention center proposed for the site.

Berg is allowing charitable organizations such as high school cheerleaders to collect the reasonable sum of one dollar for the right to park near the river market, and keep the money.

Die-hard shoppers, a few, have had trouble swallowing this tiny pill.  Remarks like"Hey, we've never had to pay to park there before!" will fade, as realizations hit home that $1 is not much when bags of produce at the end of a spree total much more in cost.

The Raccoon hears a distant Chinese saying:



has splendid apple turnovers and dumplings.  The flaky pastry Is evidenced above.
Their walnut sticky buns are also highly recommended by the Raccoon.  Find their booth at the intersection of Friedman Dr. and the River parking lot.  Lots of great baked goods!

Set up across from them today was singer Becca Richter of Waukesha.  A lovely voice, a comely young lady stood at a mike and serenaded the passing and often lingering market shoppers and people watchers.

While Becca sang,

a portly man sat next to me, studying Becca and eating bakery from the Apple Hollow booth next to where we were.  All of this happens in a trice; the scene changes before one's eyes like flowing magic.

A nun got some cheese curds at another stand near songstress. Becca.  A guitar case near Becca was open for donations, with a note that Becca was earning funds for college in Mobile, Alabama.  Her card is attached for more info:

We venture we'll be hearing more of her. We think it might have been her proud parents sitting at a distance behind her.  They had her back.


Here's a little something we saw at the market near the Asian food booth that we would have bought in a trice, in a former day.  $40, the price, would have been nothing.  
"Ce n'est nien." 

Two fried eggs and 'cross-bones' of bacon, a glass plate creation by one of the many market artist exhibitors.

Coming back over the Love Memorial bridge we placed our ghost walking stick over the railing and shot the river and some of the new booths expanding on the north side of the Riverwalk.

The stick was crafted in the hills of Kentucky years ago and bought at Berea College.  The ghost's arms are truncated natural protrusions from the wood shaft.

In walking home to our loft in the Odd Fellow hall, one block from the market, we noted that the downtown churning, swiftly-flowing vortex of commerce is continuing  its dynamic.  Three of the Five Points are presently vacant, leading us to reflect:

if the Five Points sites, three of them, are vacant,
is the cup 3/5 empty, or 2/5 full?

Fear not, everyone knows the downtown is vibrantly changing for the better, oasis mirages in a desert, and there are determined people striving nearly 24/7 to find suitable tenants for the bank building, above left, and the vacated boutique across from there, and the long-dormant Clark Hotel Restaurant across from that.

  One's but to stand by! It is a matter of time!




Backtracking, they were to be found nowhere.  Fortunately, we had the Roundys key-ring attachment.  The kind where if somebody finds your keys they are to just drop them in a mailbox
and Roundys, for whom you are carrying advertising, promises to return them.

This very day a small manila envelope came from Roundys, and in it were the lost keys!
Thanks to the honest person who took the time to mail them.
And thanks to Roundys Pick n Save!

(more advertising than they bargained for)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Here's lookin' at you, kid; Dawn landings; Come rain or come shine

This is what Dee and I see when we open our eyes in bed.

In the current heat wave
the unshaded skylight high over
our bed throws a bit too much warm sunlight
 upon us

so we strung a small rope 
between the painted ladder
and the loft landing shelf
and suspended the beach umbrella
with the carved Yibawean handle
over the bed, thus shading us.

"Hey, Dee,
hey David,
What's Up?  Zapnin?"

The umbrella hails from another incarnation
when the YIBAWEAN SOCIETY was born
in 1987
on Arcadian Ave, Waukesha
Yes, I'm Bald And What Else?
(Prof. Leo Buscaglia: "Always ask What Else?"


The scene in our office this morning at 4:30 AM
when the computer goes on for another day's work
creating this organ & etc.

The flashing lights from our router and wireless
internet connexion boxes
in the early gloaming
resemble an outer spacial
rectangular saucer coming in
for a landing.
(Another day, another dollar;
another landing, another dirty shirt.)


The recent break in the heat wave
came in the form of a weather front
and a much needed rain. 
The blue sky in the east gave way
to the gray incoming western sky
out our Odd Fellows windows
and the rain came down.

Not having our better camera handy
and knowing how quickly the sky changes
we took out the pocketed inexpensive
Lower Crustacean cell phone camera
and stopping it down luckily captured
this image.

The tune goes with it:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jingling Bojangles; Hot Dam Band; Stolen images; Walking sticks; Handwriting, unpopular pencil sharpener

Attn:  Leland and Erin

Today, 7-12-12, I finally repaired your toy drum-tambourine.
I know it's taken me a while,
but here's how it happened, at last:

I have been thinking maybe the missing jinglers
would turn up, maybe down at church
in the lost and found.

that's the

The instrument, purchased years ago
at Plowshares, originally
 had only three sets of jinglers

from the get-go
and being down one pair
rendered the percussion-picce

33 percent muted
but kids in Sunday School
'enactments' over the years

in addition to your own
 heavy playing -
 everybody kept shaking it

in time to the music that
you kids heard
regardless of the partial mutering.

TODAY, years later,
the toy has been gathering dust
unused in a basket in the corner

I rinsed it off before
I did the dishes
and took two fifty cent pieces

from the wooden turtle
where they've been saved-up, and
saw that they fit the wooden opening,

drilled tiny holes
- one each -
and fastened the coins

by a piece of copper wire
material usually reserved for
my bookmark business and

glued each end of the wire
with Gorilla Glue (Reg.);
 now the next time

you come home
you can play it
                              again, full-force!

Something accomplished
like this might just
enhance our chances

of seeing you again,
but if not, the tambourine
has taken on added value.


On that musical note,

last Saturday we happened upon this new orchestral group
at the Waukesha Farmers Market.

It is called the

We tarried a long while to listen to their (free) lovely and hot renditions, and the number we loved the most of a long string of pleasing tunes was old favorite, Caravan, featuring Maddie Dietrich on Mandolin solos.  An open guitar case accepted free will offerings.

Look for the Hot Dam Band again at an undetermined date in their assigned slot adjacent to the Waukesha Civic Theatre, formerly the Pix.  Their presence at the farmers market was arranged by the Civic to increase the theatre's presence at the teeming market venue.

We were frankly deeply moved by this band.  We have told a number of friends about it and many are waiting to hear when it will be at the market next.

Notes on the band sent to the SRN by Fred Pike:

"Brief history of the band: I've known of Jay Kummer for years, as we are both active pit musicians, but had not met him until Spring of 2011 when we did a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" together.  Since then we've done about five or six other shows together.

Maddie moved to Milwaukee a couple of years ago for graduate studies at UW-M.  She got my name from a mutual acquaintance and sent me an e-mail introducing herself, saying she was looking for musical gigs and had also done a lot of pit work.  We e-mailed back and forth a few times, and I was impressed with her musical background and figured I'd be able to send  some gigs her way at some point.

I was briefly in a rock band last year with Brian Carter, who is our percussionist and who played drums for that band.

Last April I was asked to put the pit band together for AIDA at Shorewood HS.  Among the 14 people I hired were Jay, Maddie, and Brian.

Shortly after that, Katie Danner from Waukesha Civic Theater sent out an e-mail request to friends of WCT asking if anybody would be interested to help spread WCT's name at the Waukesha Farmer's Market.  I'd been thinking it would be fun to get together with Maddie, Jay, and Brian.  I realized that actually having a gig would be a way to force us to get together.  So I told Katie we'd be interested and we did our first gig on June 2, with about one hour of music (and one practice).

We had so much fun at that first gig that we decided to do it some more.  That first gig was just Maddie, Jay, and me, but Brian joined us at our second gig at WFF, on June 16.

As it turned out, we all share a lot of similar musical interests / background: jazz, western swing, gypsy jazz, dawg music, blues.  It's also a lot of fun that we're all multi-instrumentalists, so we have quite a range of timbres to play with on the different songs.

And there you have it!  My first love is playing in the pit, but this band is a hoot and I hope we keep it going for a long time.  Earlier this year I played guitar / banjolele for "To Kill a Mockingbird" at Milwaukee Rep, and that was a life-changing experience, but I think this band may be similar!

In the meantime, Jay and I are playing for DSHA's summer community musical, "High School Musical - the spoof" this coming weekend.  And then Jay, Maddie, and I are in Greendale's AIDA, which I know will be a superior show.  They always do a great job., July 19,20,21, 26, 27, 28; all shows at 7:30pm


Obviously, these are experienced musicians with established musical track records.  As a newly-formed group, they have a nymph-stage website started:

 (No CDs cut by Hot Dam yet....)

Mandolinist Maddie was under some duress in the first set which we stood by and watched..  We were there as they tuned up and then began to play.

Maddie was swabbing her face and nose with a towel.  It was hot, and we thought heat reaction might be part of the act.  Fred Pike, soul man and guitarist, checked on her frequently via concerned glances but she kept nodding that she was OK. The show went on.

Then we noticed the band was set up right next to a flower bed of tiger lilies.  Maddie's nose was practically amidst all that pollen.  Was she bothered by that, we wondered?

In later Email correspondence with Fred - their E address was posted on an overhead awning post -  we learned that Maddie was just plain over-heated with the weather. It did not deter her or the band one bit, though!  They played hot.  The drummer plays fast brushes on a wooden box.

We will get advance notice of their next appearance at the farmers market and post the date in the Raccoon.

(Note:  Unfortunately the only camera we had with us at the farmers market that day was our inexpensive Lower Crustacean cell phone camera.  Hence the quality of these two Hot Dam Band photos is therfore less than we'd wish.  Next time they appear we will have our LVD II Memorial P-6000 Nikon along.  Better pictures are ahead!)

Our old 1920s Roy Smeck Vita Uke,
and our new Fathers Day Steaming Cup
mug hang side-by-side.

"The Cup" has gotten to be a regular place for us.
And now owner Kerry McKay has stolen our likeness for his denizenry wall.
It is fair play, for we have had him in this organ a couple of times
without any particular permission.

Presumed friendliness prevails in well-policed downtown Waukesha.

This picture was taken as Kerry snuck up on us outside the Cup, shot and ran during a Friday Night Live fandango.  The hat is courtesy of our dad, once a trombonist and high school band teacher in Sun Prairie, WI.

See Raccoon for other history of Les Dix, search 'Leslie Dix' in the SRN search window and see what you get.
Among many things, you will get this: ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED......


Walking stick collection

Sticks stand at the ready against a wall at the Odd Fellows hall.

This one was a small tree that was growing at 90 degrees out of the eroding surf-line north of MIlwaukee.  We rescued it before it was dislodged and floated out into the sea of Lake Michigan.  It was about to go down and out.

Imperfectly eschewing 'down and out', we dislodged it with our folding boy scout saw and brought it home to Waukesha.  After it dried out, we removed the dirt and roots from the ball - now the head of the walking stick -  and with a small belt-sander partially smoothed off, evened-out, the rough jaggedness.

A small compass was set in the top which can be seen in the photo.

The paint job took some time.

This stick could be a formidable club when carried like a shillelagh.  Most suitable for late nigh strolls within our circumscribed commercial radius.
From the Writers almanac

Handwriting Analysis

On the first day of fourth grade, Mrs. Hunter
collected our penmanship samples to save

until June; by then, she said, we'd write
in the handwriting we would have all our lives.

Though she probably read that in a book
on child development, I was so excited

I could hardly stand it. In nine months
my adult self would be born, she would

send me a letter; in the ways she swooped,
careened, and crossed her t's, I could

read everything I would need to know.
We were writing ourselves into the future.

We came closer each time we turned
the silver gears in the sharpener near the door,

the wood shavings tumbling inside,
smelling as if a house were being built.


"Handwriting Analysis" by Katrina Vandenberg,
from The Alphabet Not Unlike the World. © Milkweed Editions, 2012

A patent-pending Oct. 15, 1907 
U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener
never popular, never captured consumers
now housed at the Odd Fellows hall
 works fine

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Waukesha elephant; Moon rise; Armstrong & Teagarden; Waiting

Same elephant grass, really chives from last Saturday's farmers market,
though (because of ?) struggling in the reduced light on our NW window sills, throws a blossom!
I've focused on the bloom.  See the little pistils and stamens!
Photoed 7-5-12
Next, Hydration:  water out, water in.
Heat wave means drink more H2O

The kitchen clock at the Odd Fellows
was rescued and repaired from a dungeon trash bin
not long ago.

(Anything Man)

It was restored by Mel Stark
famed clock and can fix-it-anything man.
When asked,
Mel wondered if I had another old electric clock
that he could borrow parts from.

 I did have.
Mel exchanged mechanisms,
 soldered extensions onto 
the smaller clock hands
and painted the renewed ones
 fresh black.
It works fine

and is lit up at night by two correctly-sized
low wattage light bulbs I was able to find
from Whistling Art Olson at Ace Hardware.

The clock serves as a night light
in the kitchen.

That it says 'Estbergs Jewelers' on the face
is fitting since that famous and landmark
store was for years the corner anchor 
 here at the Putney (Odd Fellows) building.


Life goes on, and GREEN

An Amaryllis bulb set in fresh soil after a two year dormancy
sprouted slightly on the day of the recall defeat.
It is now at a height of 20 + inches and still growing.
(24 inches on 7-6-12 now)
It reaches for the skylight, high and bright above.
Sometimes the two leaves lay horizontal
for maximum sun absorption
and sometimes then on their own
they will raise themselves vertical
as shown here.

It may not flower this time;
it may use it's stored energy
within the bulb to bloom
next time 
coinciding we hope
with an election victory.


Old heroes
Louie and Jack

Old rockin' chair's got me



I Am Waiting

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Second Coming
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find
the right channel
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did
to Tom Sawyer
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder
I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder
[ from A Coney Island of the Mind. Copyright © 1958 New Directions, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti]


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Captains; staying in touch; happiness; pruning rosemary

Is it a week yet?



Out of the night that covers me,
       Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
       For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
       I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
       My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
       Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
       Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
       How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
       I am the captain of my soul.

"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. © Public domain

For a major part of my life
I believed this.
But it was never quite right
for me.

Now I see
that without my friends
including my striving wife
- a sustaining cloud all,
over all - uber alles -
The One who assembled them
for me
I would be captain of nothing.

 June 29th

I sit at my computer screen
and turn the camera at myself
and pick up this image.
It shows the cross of 
cement nails I once (1970s) brazed together
hanging backwards on my
healed sawed-up chest.

I wear it backwards
because I  lately like to see the backside
of things pertaining to me

Me, me, me

I wear an old red shirt
I slept in last night

on it a loose tie is painted
in quick blue strokes

the dull beaded chain
harks to 1958, US Army -
my dog-tag chain.

It still holds;
the tag is in my desk drawer,
not jammed into a battlefield jaw
quite yet


with ex-US Marine Stu Tolbert

A New Yorker Cartoon


from ZAN


[FOR LT et al]

Many batches of rosemary
coming right up
(OK, maybe not RIGHT up)
Editorial comment by Thomas Friedman
from Sunday NY Times 7-1-12: