Saturday, August 31, 2013

Are we there yet?; A matriculation; Odd Fellow bloom; Quite frankly; Essay

from current New Yorker

On Aug. 30, 2013 
grandson MIKE DIX of Dousman WI, daredevil,
heads off to Carroll University.
He joins an august rank of Carroll grads:
grandmother Gina, brother Chris, and sister Melissa.
Good luck - all the way!


Odd Fellowan bloomed
the other day
Plant has lived though some said NAY
It's been alive more time than thought......

(Search these pages; in vain naught:
'Morning Glory')

(makes a great screensaver)


Quite Frankly

They got old, they got old and died. But first—

okay but first they composed plangent depictions
of how much they lost and how much cared about losing.
Meantime their hair got thin and more thin
as their shoulders went slumpy. Okay but

not before the photo albums got arranged by them,
arranged with a niftiness, not just two or three
but eighteen photo albums, yes eighteen eventually,
eighteen albums proving the beauty of them (and not someone else),
them and their relations and friends, incontrovertible

playing croquet in that Bloomington yard,
floating on those comic inflatables at Dow Lake,
giggling at the Dairy Queen, waltzing at the wedding,
building a Lego palace on the porch,
holding the baby beside the rental truck,
leaning on the Hemingway statue at Pamplona,
discussing the eternity of art in that Sardinian restaurant.

Yes! And so, quite frankly—at the end of the day—
they got old and died okay sure but quite frankly
how much does that matter in view of
the eighteen photo albums, big ones
thirteen inches by twelve inches each
full of such undeniable beauty?

"Quite Frankly" by Mark Halliday, from Thresherphobe. © The University of Chicago Press, 2013. 


Essay by D. Septix
Trip to the farmers market
Sat. 8/24/13

It was a perfect morning to step outside and go across the street to the farmers market along the Fox river, so at 8 AM I descended the back stairs of the Odd Fellows hall and stepped into the early sun on Main Street.  Crossing the Five Points intersection I strode down to the Clinton Street entrance, where the market vendors begin displaying their wares.
Already at 8,  the crowded attendance began accumulating.  Key Westconsin outdoor cafe already had lots of breakfasting or coffee-sipping table-sitters.

I pause at the cheese factory table and got some more Caraway Havarti.  I see Beth Lawson with her weekly shopping sack over here wrist.  We chat.  She has a fine shoulder tattoo of a tamarack sprig.  This is an archived picture:

I stop at the honey man's stand.  He says he thinks he knows me from his 1960s Carroll days when he was an art student there. We chat.  Yes, indeed we had common friends there:  Wis Guthrie, Dik Schwanke, John Tyson - his art professors, and some others.  I remark that probably Wis will be appearing that very day for he frequents the market from the Avalon, where he lives.  Moments later, Wis rolls up in his electric chair.  The three of us chat.  Meanwhile, Craig is selling lots of honey........

Next stop, the steaming Cup coffee canteen, right next to Craig's honey. I fill our thermos I'd brought and into which I put some vanilla ice cream before I left home, to chill the hot dark roast coffee so I can drink it comfortably while I walk through the market hordes.  It's getting crowded.

A smiling Asian vendor spreads beauty in Waukesha, setting up between the stand counter and the family van.  Agrees to pose.

The Catholic nun, another regular I recognize, approaches and I do not disappoint her by forgetting to tender my "Nice costume!" plaudit.  She passes, smiling and wordless, as her vows may dictate (one vow might be never talk to that guy), and continues her own hunting and gathering in determined efficient silence.

I eventually return home - to the Odd Fellows - by way of the stoop at the old National Bank across from the old Frideman's men's store at the Five Points near where I started.  It's such a beautiful day I decide to put down the heavy fern plant next to one of the bank columns and sit down.  In the shade at that still early hour I linger and drink my ice-creamed dark roast coffee from the thermos.

Many people, walking and driving, pass by that focal intersection.  I enjoy speaking with those going by on the sidewalk who  I know.  Mitzi and Chris Keadle stop to talk.  They're on their walk down from near Fountain Ave where they live.

And here comes Phil Runkel.

Phil won't recognize me and I greet him and say as much.  He looks quizically at me as I give him some identifying facts.  (I was at his mother's funeral not terribly long ago; she was laid to rest in a quick bio-degrading rush basket coffin; I belong to her church where her sculpture of the flying bird made of drift wood hangs over the former SS stage in the now fellowship hall; I've been in a couple of peace marches with him; have done some civil disobedience things myself which I don't specify......)

He loosens and begins to converse at length.  He tells me of a recent demo he was on in Wash. DC, protesting drones.  He tells me of a good picture I might find in the internet.  I do find it.

Eventually I stand up and ask if he would mind if I take his picture myself.  He acquiesces kindly;

I get to thinking as I continue to linger at that focal locus that I am sitting beneath the 360 degree Opti-Cam mounted
on a high pole atop the Friedman's store.  I know it is there and I think nothing of it because I have no plans to commit any crimes currently.  But there it is up there, the spy camera:

And a couple days later, I'm coming out of Dave's Cafe near there with my brother Steve. We had breakfast together. As we stand chatting (MORE chat!), four (4) squad cars pull up to the five-way stop. The first squad cop looks at me and smiles and waves.  Then the second car pulls up, and the same thing happens - a smiling wave.  The 3rd one, the same,  the 4h one the same.  Why are all these cops waving at me?

Then after a couple of regular cars go by, a sheriff's deputy car comes even with us, and this guy does the smiling wave bit, as well.  Steve and I laugh at all the apparent friendliness the local constabulary are paying little old me.

Then later I get to thinking of that spy cam. 

And I say, WTF?


vis-a-vis drones

'The Strip'
NY Times Op-Ed

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jockey; Belly dancer; American cheese; The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys; Cucumber sandwich spread; Myrtle


There was a great read in last Sunday's New York Times
Sports section, a part of my weekly delivery here at the
Odd Fellows I usually do not pour over for I am not a
sport fan.  But in looking through the sheaf, I could not miss 
the front full page of the usually ignored sports section.

The picture was of a jockey on his race horse at Golden
Gate Fields racetrack.  Where but in the Times might
an eager reader find that sort of lengthy devotion to good
journalism?  A full page given to a picture of an aged and
successful  jockey, speaking, hollering ? into the back-turned ears
of his charging mount.  This was a time that I would
dig into the Sports section and see what it was all about.

Nowhere but the Times.  They devoted 6 (six) full pages
to this story, with pictures.  


Belly dancer

KD shows her white v-shaped patch
while performing an exotic routine.


American Cheese

At department parties, I eat cheeses
my parents never heard of—gooey
pale cheeses speaking garbled tongues.
I have acquired a taste, yes, and that's
okay, I tell myself. I grew up in a house
shaded by the factory's clank and clamor.
A house built like a square of sixty-four
American Singles, the ones my mother made lunches
With—for the hungry man who disappeared
into that factory, and five hungry kids.
American Singles. Yellow mustard. Day-old
Wonder Bread. Not even Swiss, with its mysterious
holes. We were sparrows and starlings
still learning how the blue jay stole our eggs,
our nest eggs. Sixty-four Singles wrapped in wax—
dig your nails in to separate them.

When I come home, I crave—more than any home
cooking—those thin slices in the fridge. I fold
one in half, drop it in my mouth. My mother
can't understand. Doesn't remember me
being a cheese eater, plain like that.

"American Cheese" by Jim Daniels, from In Line for the Exterminator. © Wayne State University Press, 2007

See Spamwich, below

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
sent here by Bob Sellars



Cucumber sandwiches
ala Ruth Hale

Take some good sized cucumbers
peel with one of these:

(or a plain tool, optional)

After peeling, slice cukes in half
and then into quarters;
 cut seeds easily in that form, and discard;

Place in blender (food processor)
the cucumbers, sectioned;
blend to a mash;
put pulp into a cheesecloth 
and squeeze most of the water out;
return cucumber mash to blender;
add about half a medium onion (to taste);
- a few green onions are much better -

add two dollops of mayo (to taste);
sand and pepper (to taste);

re-blend to a nice sandwich spread consistency.

Ideally, use thin white bread with the crusts cut off
to be tea-time proper;
If I don't have that, I use Rosen's rye bread.
Crusts always OK here

We find using green onions and experimenting
with the amount of them is vital to the end result.
(See brother Steve on this.  Also, he says, be sure to get
all the seeds out.  He gets gas, otherwise...)

This is a food that our mother made for us each summer.

Another lunch dish she was in the habit of providing
us boys was Spam sandwiches. 

I had some of those recently.  I think they hark back
to WW II days when Spam was big as an inexpensive meat.
But for an unhealthy but good tasting sandwich,
try one or two of these:

Ingredients:  Spam, onions, tomatoes (Amela-pay's [Pam's] best), Kraft American single-slices


Ruth Hale
- late -
as a great-grandmother
still lookin' good.


Today's Almanac


How funny your name would be
if you could follow it back to where
the first person thought of saying it,
naming himself that, or maybe
some other persons thought of it
and named that person. It would
be like following a river to its source,
which would be impossible. Rivers have no source.
They just automatically appear at a place
where they get wider, and soon a real
river comes along, with fish and debris,
regal as you please, and someone
has already given it a name: St. Benno
(saints are popular for this purpose) or, or
some other name, the name of his
long-lost girlfriend, who comes
at long last to impersonate that river,
on a stage, her voice clanking
like its bed, her clothing of sand
and pasted paper, a piece of real technology,
while all along she is thinking, I can
do what I want to do. But I want to stay here.

"Myrtle" by John Ashbery, from Notes from the Air. © Ecco, 2007

 Myrtle Dix with her boys
husband Ray (search him in the SRN),
Roderick Leland (search him in the SRN)
Leslie (search him in the SRN)
Maynard (search him in the SRN)
and Meredith (search him in the SRN)


The Mighty Fox
(wants to stay here; ibid)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

These eyes; May you grow and bloom forever;.....Firebird

These eyes





The Death of Santa Claus

He's had the chest pains for weeks,
but doctors don't make house
calls to the North Pole,

he's let his Blue Cross lapse,
blood tests make him faint,
hospital gown always flap

open, waiting rooms upset
his stomach, and it's only
indigestion anyway, he thinks,

until, feeding the reindeer,
he feels as if a monster fist
has grabbed his heart and won't

stop squeezing. He can't
breathe, and the beautiful white
world he loves goes black,

and he drops on his jelly belly
in the snow and Mrs. Claus
tears out of the toy factory

wailing, and the elves wring
their little hands, and Rudolph's
nose blinks like a sad ambulance

light, and in a tract house
in Houston, Texas, I'm 8,
telling my mom that stupid

kids at school say Santa's a big
fake, and she sits with me
on our purple-flowered couch,

and takes my hand, tears
in her throat, the terrible
news rising in her eyes.

The Death of Santa Claus" by Charles Harper Webb, from Reading the Water. © Northeastern University Press, 1997

(Thanks once again, once again, to Bonnie Camp for introducing me
way back when to the G. Keillor WRITERS ALMANAC)




Airship race around the world
May pass over Alaska or Hawaii
Details forthcoming,0,3187084.story?track=rss

The doctor says he sees a dark mass on the X-ray
Could it be........
a zeppelin?

Trouble in River City US of A?
'Z' and that rhymes with P
and that stands for POOL!

Ya Got Trouble by 
Well, either you're closing your eyes 
To a situation you do now wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a pool table in your community.
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, 
I say, trouble right here in River City. 
Why sure I'm a billiard player,
Certainly mighty proud I say 
I'm always mighty proud to say it. 
I consider that the hours I spend 
With a cue in my hand are golden. 
Help you cultivate horse sense
And a cool head and a keen eye. 
Never take and try to give
An iron-clad leave to yourself 
From a three-reail billiard shot?
But just as I say, 
It takes judgement, brains, and maturity to score
In a balkline game, 
I say that any boob kin take
And shove a ball in a pocket. 
And they call that sloth. 
The first big step on the road
To the depths of deg-ra-Day--
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle. 
An' the next thing ya know, 
Your son is playin' for money
In a pinch-back suit. 
And list'nin to some big out-a-town Jasper
Hearin' him tell about horse-race gamblin'. 
Not a wholesome trottin' race, no!
But a race where they set down right on the horse! 
Like to see some stuck-up jockey'boy 
Sittin' on Dan Patch? Make your blood boil? 
Well, I should say. 
Friends, lemme tell you what I mean.
Ya got one, two, three, four, five, six pockets in a table. 
Pockets that mark the diff'rence
Between a gentlemen and a bum, 
With a capital "B," 
And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool! 
And all week long your River City
Youth'll be frittern away, 
I say your young men'll be frittern!
Frittern away their noontime, suppertime, choretime too!
Get the ball in the pocket,
Never mind gittin' Dandelions pulled
Or the screen door patched or the beefsteak pounded.
Never mind pumpin' any water 
'Til your parents are caught with the Cistern empty
On a Saturday night and that's trouble,
Oh, yes we got lots and lots a' trouble.
I'm thinkin' of the kids in the knickerbockers, 
Shirt-tail young ones, peekin' in the pool 
Hall window after school, look, folks! 
Right here in River City. 
Trouble with a capital "T"
And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
Now, I know all you folks are the right kinda parents. 
I'm gonna be perfectly frank.
Would ya like to know what kinda conversation goes
On while they're loafin' around that Hall? 
They're tryin' out Bevo, tryin' out cubebs,
Tryin' out Tailor Mades like Cigarette Feends!
And braggin' all about
How they're gonna cover up a tell-tale breath with Sen-Sen.
One fine night, they leave the pool hall,
Headin' for the dance at the Arm'ry!
Libertine men and Scarlet women! 
And Rag-time, shameless music
That'll grab your son and your daughter
With the arms of a jungle animal instink!
Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground!

Trouble, oh we got trouble, 
Right here in River City! 
With a capital "T" 
That rhymes with "P"
And that stands for Pool,
That stands for pool.
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City, 
Right here!
Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble...

Mothers of River City!
Heed the warning before it's too late!
Watch for the tell-tale sign of corruption!
The moment your son leaves the house,
Does he rebuckle his knickerbockers below the knee? 
Is there a nicotine stain on his index finger?
A dime novel hidden in the corn crib?
Is he starting to memorize jokes from Capt.
Billy's Whiz Bang?
Are certain words creeping into his conversation?
Words like 'swell?"
And 'so's your old man?" 
Well, if so my friends,
Ya got trouble,
Right here in River city!
With a capital "T"
And that rhymes with "P"
And that stands for Pool.
We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City!
Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and the Golden Rule!
Oh, we've got trouble. 
We're in terrible, terrible trouble. 
That game with the fifteen numbered balls is a devil's tool! 
Oh yes we got trouble, trouble, trouble!
With a "T"! Gotta rhyme it with "P"! 
And that stands for Pool!!!


'Z' and that rhymes with T
and that stands for pool



Morning pills on the day
Of my daughter’s 53rd birthday
Rest on a crumby napkin
But not just any crumbs
Were they today.  And never are.

They were crumbs of home-made
Granola pancakes served
By a wife not this daughter’s mother
With blackberry sauce
From Mike and Bonnie Camp’s patch.

Then Dee ate her own pancakes
then she asked if I’d taken my pills.
I plopped them on the crumbed napkin
In a rainbow array; all was good.

DZD 8-13-13 @ de septics


Igor Stravinsky 
directs his own Firebird Suite
at age 82, in 1965

he urges emphases
with only his turned wrists
and the knowing musicians respond.
He is read like a favorite book.

When, at 26 minutes and 34 seconds in,
Stravinsky points at his French hornman
to begin the concluding phrases
it is ecstasy for the listener.


If this were to be the last entry
in a Sewer Raccoon News
it would be alright.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

To start with a good picture or two; The lead: "The Horror"; Part II; How to tell

A zucchini blossom bought from the farmers market a month ago
thrives on the NW window of the Odd Fellows hall
where we live.

It heralded the dawn yesterday.

These blossoms - there have been more than this one -
bloom pre-dawn and last until late morning, then fold and die.

Unpollenated, the plant full of energy, keeps trying.
What it needs is a good bug.


To Rev. Dr. Tom Bentz (a SRN friend):

Thank you, sir, for sharing this with a subterranean dweller, a sewer raccoon.  We may be able to run (for a little while, underground), but we cannot hide………

This objective (this speaker) at the general synod of the UCC affirms the significance of our affiliation, and much much more.  It is a matter of LIFE…………or…………..death.

D. Zep Dix

 See this link:   

 (Current Events part II)

You Are, In Fact, Being Watched

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 00:00By William Rivers PittTruthout | Op-Ed
You Are Being Watched(Image: James Montgomery Flagg; Edited: JR / TO)At a bit past 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday evening, the top stories on happened to include the following:
A-Rod Suspended, Can Keep Playing During Appeal
Sources: Al Qaeda Attack Plan Nearly Set
11 Jailbreaks Linked to Al Qaeda Plot?
50 Cent Enters Not Guilty Plea
Johnny Football's Offseason Craziness
Beauty Queen Arrested in Bomb Case
Spelling Error Costs Boy on "Jeopardy"
Neil Patrick Harris: "I Was Goosed"
You Should Swim With Sharks Here
CNN, always calm and even-handed in matters of national security and terrorism, was kind enough to pad their reports of imminent national annihilation between enough syrupy goo to send the Fluffernutter people running for their therapists...but there it is all the same: The End Of The World, Again.
It has been like this for days, on all the networks and above the fold of every newspaper: ZOMG SKY FALLING TAKE APPROPRIATE PRECAUTIONS NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE ZOMG.
And it is all very familiar, actually. Take this short, vapid bit from the Associated Press, also delivered on Monday evening:
Two officials say a secret message that was intercepted between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen led to the shutdown of U.S. embassies.
A U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat said al-Zawahri's message was picked up several weeks ago and appeared to initially target Yemeni interests.
The intelligence official said the message was sent to Nasir al Wuhayshi, the head of the terror network's organization, based in Yemen, that is known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive issue publicly.
Two officials, names not provided, and a message from al-Zawahri, details not provided. Never mind the fact that I've lost count of the number of times we were told al-Zawahri was dead; it was certain in 2006 until it wasn't, and again in 2008, and in the years before and since, I'm pretty sure he died more times than The Cat That Came Back.
So we're back to this crap again.
Forgive my crashing cynicism, but I still have a huge hangover from the days when Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or even George Dubya himself would sling impending-doom terror alerts whenever a friend of the administration got indicted, the stock market dropped more than a few points, or anything else happened that required a big, juicy CNN banner (accompanied by appropriately dramatic music) to make everyone look away...and here we are, right in the middle of a national conversation about whether we're all comfortable about the degree to which the government can track us like tagged whales.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but seriously, folks: talk about timing, right? Thank goodness we have the NSA, the CIA, and this massive surveillance state working to protect us all from threats just like this! Why, if they weren't doing whatever it is they do, there could be a terrorist under my bed right now! Or yours! Or your children's!
And for sure, getting the "mainstream" news media all geeked up over a terror alert is a dead-bang guaranteed way to make sure almost nobody hears about the Reutersreport that also broke on Monday. To wit:
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.
Today, much of the SOD's work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked "Law Enforcement Sensitive," a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.
"Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function," a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD."
A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.
I'll bet they declined to comment. This report confirms, after all the denials and the push-back and the baloney, that the national security apparatus is, in fact, being deployed against American citizens, and for the specific purpose of putting American citizens in prison.
The cat has fled the bag, folks. The American government is spying on you comprehensively, is using the information they gather on you to jail you if they choose to, and is doing so by laundering secretly-gathered information from one alphabet-soup agency through another and another, to make that information nice and clean for the courts.
Harken to the vacillators: "But it's just terrorists and drug dealers, and it's been going on for 20 years. Why do you care about terrorists and drug dealers, and why are you surprised?"
Sure, yeah, terrorists suck and drug dealers suck, and I'm sure this massive thing that has been unleashed upon the American system of law, and the American people, is totally benign and awesome and only doing good things and stuff.
Let's pretend for a second that we even believe that.
What about tomorrow?
And next year?
And four years from now?
And ten years from now?
How much do you trust the future?
The poet Yeats told us that the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. I pray his judgment of the best is wrong, but I know for a stone fact that his understanding of the worst is ruthlessly correct...which means, sure as sunrise, another Dick Cheney will someday hold a seat of power that allows him to direct the incredible weapon of our massive national surveillance state against anyone not properly bathed in the blood of the Lamb.
If they can jail someone based on surveillance-gathered data forwarded surreptitiously to the DEA, why not you? Who knows what "crime" will come to mean in the world our American Taliban Christians would like to create? They already control a third of the federal government, and are gunning - pardon the pun - for the rest, from the counties to the states and on up the line. Imagine if they got another one of their candidates into the White House, or took over the Senate, or managed both in one fell swoop.
If you think it can't happen, you're a damned fool.
So forgive me for being leery of this latest ZOMG ANY MINUTE NOW terror alert. I've been badly used by the people tasked to "keep us safe," as have you. That Reuters report submarined any argument that claims we aren't being comprehensively watched and recorded for the express purpose of punishing us. They are building a future I want no part of, and I would not put it past them to puff up a threat to distract us.
...and, P.S., if by dark chance a bomb does go off somewhere, it begs the question: would the American surveillance state be better able to thwart bombers if it didn't spend its resources surveilling the American people?


How To Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids in Her Future

       Don't enter conversations
about generations. Use the art
of misdirection. Tell her the rain
is falling. Tell her today
you saw a cardinal,
her favorite bird, and it was
feeding its young seeds.
No. Better not mention
the young. Tell her,
instead, the garden is coming in
thick this spring,
and the tulips have multiplied,
their buds like hands in prayer.
Better yet,
tell her about the work
crying in your briefcase.
Tell her you wish
you had three lives:
one for work, one for your dreams,
and one for her. That one
will have as many Siamese warriors
as she wants, swinging on a tree
as wide as an ocean,
its limbs twisting and turning.
In that life,
they listen, those warriors,
for the sound of her voice.
They wait for her to emerge
from the jeweled temple.

"How To Tell Your Mother There Will Be No Grandkids in Her Future" by Ira Sukrungruang, from In Thailand It Is Night. © University of Tampa Press, 2013.