Saturday, September 28, 2013

Automaton (for Wm); Halloween cat dances, cont'd; Dogs; Indian Love Call; The Yak; How it is; Cactus; Hot Damn

Convey to William R., please:



A constant amusement can be a cat
KD likes to go behind the shower curtain, that
is a game for her.  I sat
on the throne next to the tub with my camera,
put my finger to the curtain and eventually: SPLAT!
She slaps hard at the membrane, so hard
that her clipped claws show through 
the transluscence.  The old curtain is taxed
but so far has not been penetrated by the rounded nails
that we tend as assiduously as in BB's own.

Now look as this still picture bordered in Halloween
Imagine yourself holding your own fingers to the
filmy screen, not knowing just when the cat
will lunge fiercely and mightily.

It's kind of scary, that!

KD is black and a miniature (she says NO!) leopard
as is in Rudyard Disney's Jungle Book.

Another cat dance
has to do with a lead zeppelin
pull toy.

Actually it is cast iron
but 'lead' sounds better
and the persistent dance KD does
is to ceremoniously push the heavy thing
down off the bookcase, over
and over......we put it back up
and she pushes it down again
at odd times often in the middle
of the night.

We will say, "There goes the zeppelin!"



How It Is with Us, and How It Is with Them

We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
then we think about money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
     in our busyness.
We're, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.

"How It Is with Us, and How It Is with Them" by Mary Oliver, from Dog Songs. © Penguin, 2013.


The year 1953 we moved from Windsor Drive
to Hy 18 near Brandybrook in the Wales region
and my stepfather and my mother bought a dog,
a country dog, finally.

His name was Tar and we all loved him.
It was reciprocal, though he was really my
little brother Steve's dog.  He was born 17 years 
after I was, and we were from the start
in different places.

Tar became known as Tardy
and Steve was totally in love with that dog.
I was about senior in high school business
and liked Tardy, but Steve loved him
with all his heart.

John, my stepfather, was a great man
with numbers who swerved to business
and alcohol, I'm sorry to say 
on the latter.

There were some discordant moments
for Steve, and that dog took on a role for him
all the more.

John wanted am image of a country gentleman
with horses grazing on his land, 
so he bought Bill, a Golden Palomino
stallion, and built a corral and a tack room
that matched the modern house we had
on the other side of the turn-around
where we lived
in splendor.  Bill did, too.

 Bill made the mistake of kicking Steve once,
in the head, and it was a serious injury.
That ended Bill
and John's foray into horses, forever.
It was adios, Bill.

Tardy was there to muzzle Steve back to health,
but lingering unknown head injury might have been there 
in one form or another.



Somewhere in the bowels of the downtown 
sweatshop district

a made-in-America industry blossoms
like the morning glories
year after year.

A taxer might like to see 
the company balance sheet;
what are they doing with all that income
they must be making
and do they -
could they owe taxes on it?

It's for the mfgrs to know
and them to find out.
just maybe the work is given away........
as in
Money Cannot Buy.


Visible in the picture -
note RED TROUSERS custom-made
by a business partner
for a cat who insisted on owning
such a garment.

She, the cat, is gone now
but is memorialized.


In the 30s when mother and father were courting
Ruth played the saxophone in the Sun Prairie HS band.
Les, her band teacher, caught up in the romance of the day
fell in love over Indian Love Call.
Les wrote it out for Ruth in ink, five lines, music and lyric.

They all grooved, folks of that day to


The Yak

As a friend to the children, commend me the Yak;
     You will find it exactly the thing;
It will carry and fetch, you can ride on its back,
     Or lead it about with a string.

The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet
     (A desolate region of snow),
Has for centuries made it a nursery pet,
     And surely the Tartar should know!

Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got,
     And if he is awfully rich,
He will buy you the creature—or else he will not
     (I cannot be positive which).

"The Yak" by Hilaire Belloc, from Sonnets and Verse: The Collected Poems of Hilaire Belloc. © Duckworth, 1947

NOTE: As is the custom here at the Odd Fellows
I first thing opened the computer's doings
to the Writers Almanac
and found this poem of the day
written in the 1940s - a good and bad decade
about a friendly animal
which Trooper and Tar and Sally
and Mona were, and now KD Cat is.


MORE ANIMALS:  Mysteries abound in the downtown.
In a daylight walk through Cutler Park
large animal prints were found on the sidewalk
meandering backards from Wisconsin Ave to the bandshell.
Certainly not squirrels though they have been actively
pursuing the fallen acorns from the oak trees.

No, these looked more like...................bear prints.
As in Bearfoot In The Park.


Life is prickly.
This a new cactus at the Odd Fellows.
Bought at last Saturday's farmers market.
It was kindly delivered by the vendor
to our door.
We were burdened by other things we'd purchased
and it was no imposition for her, she nicely said.

Cindy Lou's Exotic Cactus
New Berlin, WI

21855 W. Greenfield Ave


Autumn descends

and the hardy zucchini planting
that never got magnificently placed
in a home garden as was the hope
perhaps of the vendor
at the farmers market

or maybe he only cared
for the $3 I gave him

It did its thing in spades
only set on a window sill
no shoveling or scooping of soil

No tender patting of a soil bed
just watering by us
in what was apparently
the right quantity

Or maybe it wasn't fussy
it just went to town
in the Odd Fellows hall
with only northwest light

But now it too winds down
but still casts blossoms
even while its leaves
begin to wither......

Its fall time.

Photo taken 9-26-13



Behind the running lane
last night
The Hot Band set up and played
6 pm to 9
in font of the Pix
now known as the Civic Theatre
and we ducked under the tape
and found a seat for it was early.

Fred Pike of the band
greeted me with a smiling handshake.
I love this band as previous editions of the raccoon show:
Scroll down

Multi-instrumentalist Fred Pike on his mandolin

The percussionist plays on the box he sat on, customarily
and his perpetual bright smile rarely left his face

A strolling couple broke into dance behind the band.

Colorful Pix usher sports tux and sandals
Sewer Raccoon peers from storm grate
Watches doings safely
The Civic never dreamed life could be like this
The Hot Damn beat went on......

Under the canopy of the Pix (Civic Theatre)
Friday Night Live ended for another year
on the teeming closed for vehicles streets.

Inside the Pix, the great show
plays through Sept. 29th.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Haynes and the Harmonicats; Farmers m. haul; KD c. stall; Dee gets Bimbo; Just can't lose; Last up - expect nothing in return

I remember sitting around the radio
with my grandfather Haynes Bunker
in the 1940s listening to the Ink Spots
and the Hamonicats......
Grandpa drank a tonic every evening
consisting of a glass of milk with an egg
cracked into it and two tablespoons of
cod liver oil.

He would amuse me all the time,
acting like he'd taken poison and stumbled
all around the kitchen from table to sink 
to appliance, his eyes all goggled out.....
then we'd retire to the living room where 
he would take out his banjo from the case
lined in purple velvet,
and play for all of us, and sing.

To each his own

and now this in the 21st century:

Harmonica version of Beethoven's 5th


Saturday, Sept 14, 2013
    A cacophony of color dances around the lazy susan at the Odd Fellows hall this day.

The scene on the lazy susan
after Dee returned from the farmers market.

Apples, tomatoes for drying in the dehydrator
and some to eat natural,
kale, a cinnamon bun (not shown)
and some Japanese lanterns. 


We eat
"Bimbo" 100% whole wheat bread
from Panos Grocery downtown.
Mainly when it is more convenient and sensible
to dash over there from the Odd Fellows hall
than fire up the 8 cylinder 1996 Lincoln
and drive to Sunset and Tenny Pick N Save, 
our regular store.

some people say we are living in the past
by driving such a vehicle.

Living downtown puts us within walking
distance of most destinations.

It is what it conveniently is.

Note:  This picture shows the shirt Dee spot-cleaned for me to wear to church tomorrow, 9-15.
- It turned out Sir Pauly and fam. visited the Peanut Gallery that day! -
I spilled a tiny bit of Key Westconsin tartar sauce off my fork onto it last night at their fish fry.


There is a landing
between the main floor and our loft here.
KD Cat sometimes loves to tear up and down those carpeted
stairs at break-neck speed.

As I started to ascend the steps I heard KD thunderously
a-comin'. She normally does motorcycle cyclone turn
on the landing at few angles above her path.

But this time she stopped short on the landing
because she saw me coming up below.
I had the camera around my neck,
having just taken the lazy susan shot above
and so KD did her Halloween dance
- sideways approach with arched and bristled back and tail -
then dropped to glare at me wide-eyed
as I drew the camera
for a picture.  Got It!

Earlier she'd been out to her HAWS beauty salon
to have her nails done.  Once a month she goes
out in her special carrier limo for this indulgence.
Having your nails done is not uncommon
in Waukesha stratified society, we are told.

On that landing, behind KD, are the pieces of the old weathervane
wind-driven banjo-strumming lawn ornament from Arcadian
now stored here at the Odd Fellows.

As previously explained
the blades are from a found venetian blind
and the little man was cut with a tin snips
from one of my grandmother's cake pans.
Mechanism from spare parts like bent welding rods
had the man strumming furiously in a stiff breeze
or playing ballads when the breeze just lightly blew.....
until a high wind blew the whole thing
down Arcadian Avenue......


quote - unquote


zucchini again blossoms
on 9-16-13

Our zucchini, much heralded on these pages,
does another blossom today (9-15-13)
in its coiled position atop a white pot
for it's had no alternative climb
or sprawl potential here at the OF.

Once again we are shown
as in the case of the Judith Williams
memorial morning glory plant
on the next window sill:

even in an ostensibly un-ideal environ.

Yes, that's snow out there -
last winter's.
The fighting seed that volunteered
in Judith's gifted cactus
is still going, then over a year later.
It's blossomed now three times
with multiple blossoms and heart-shaped leaves
in this ostensibly un-ideal

re-run after re-run after rerun..........
nature tries to tell us something?

and at dawn today 9-18-13

the zucchini blooms....again!


I'm a dancin' man, I just can't lose
(dedicated to all those trying to staying alive....)
-a re-run -


2nd to Last up
From daughter Laurie 
director of a homeless shelter in Alaska
who wondered if I'd seen this:


[from Thailand]


last up:

keep in touch

Comments to

or preferred snail
c/o David Zep Dix
308 South St. No 311
Waukesha WI 53186

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bob's Greyhound; Meaning of life; Mr. R.(huta) Bagy; Son Lee drums; Suffering; Bear these arms; Pussycat and owl revisited

Bob's Greyhound
an Email exchange with my old friend


From Bob:

She is about 60 pounds, almost two years old and VERY strong.  So far she lets us do anything we want to her and has had no strong reaction other than planting  her feet.  She did chew through a leash that was hanging on a door knob yesterday when left alone for over four hours.  But basically she has been good.

And it is fun to have a hound around again.

Bob Heeschen


Subject: FW: The dog
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 10:04:23 -0500


The first pic he looks huge!
The second, well, I see folks going A-w-w-w-w-w-w in such instances.

Congratulations on providing a home for an animal I think is bred mainly for man’s entertainment, wagering……a breed that you know is companionable to beat the band, not necessarily in races.

I hope I sent you the owl-cat thing earlier today.  It went out to several……Let me know if not rec’d.

D. Septix

Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:03 AM
Subject: The dog

My new Greyhound, as of last night.  She will be two years old on Halloween.

Bob Heeschen  

an old newsclip:



I am Mr. Rhuta Bagy
but you must call me SIR
 I ask: please do

as I am in no position to make demands
at this late stage
in the gardening game

I was picked on Lois Lane
in the watery town of Waukesha
and brought to Bible Study city

by a gardener named Mr. Short
who gardened me with a rootem
and a way

(+ see Lee Dix drums, below:  for us this goes with)


Grew my brains out, he did,
then plucked me, yay
while I was short, like him

I rode to the city in a bag
to be divvied up by biblical scholars
who would know what to do with me

Would know the right thing
once my identity was known
- what is that thing? -

I am not your usual rhutabagy
or rhutabaga
and I hope to take my place in a pasty.

Jumpeth not to any wrongheadedness there
we are talking miner's baked goods
like they used to sell in Iron Mt. MI

 Be sure to put some of these in


Son Lee
drums in a rented studio
in New York City
keeps up his art
while teaching in a Harlem elementary

Video was just on Facebook.
It reminds of the hand, wrist and arm motions 
of the great Gene Krupa, drummer/dancer:

video rec'd 9-13

(A screen grab photo.)

Watch me drum. 2 cameras, 1 take. — at The Sweatshop.

click on 'shuffle drumming'
Take it, Gene!

From The New York Times Op-Ed section 9-8-13

"Nara, Japan: Hundreds of Syrians are apparently killed by chemical weapons, 
and the attempt to protect others from that fate threatens to kill many more.  A child
perishes with her mother in a tornado in Oklahoma, the month after an 8-year-old
is slain by a bomb in Boston.  Runaway trains claim dozens of lives in otherwise
placid Canada and Spain...........(read more:


Looking on the Heart

A reflection by John Tamilio III
of last week's Daily Devotional, UCC
'God is Still Speaking'

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7

At the gas station recently, a pickup truck pulled up next to me at the pumps. The man who emerged from the black Ford looked like a thrash-metal guitarist.  He was bald and covered with tattoos.  They climbed his arms and swarmed around his neck, face, and skull, which was also littered with piercings.  His leather clothes were grimy.  His hands were greasy and scarred.  He looked like an ominous villain from some horror movie.

He looked at me and said, "Hello," in a clear, articulate, tenor voice — and over the next five minutes we had an amazing conversation.  Out of what looked like an angry face came kind words and the sort of small talk you would expect to have with a frail grandmother while waiting at the checkout line.  Once we were both finished pumping gas, he said "nice to meet you" and "have a great day" before we parted.  As I got back into the car I felt gratitude and shame: gratitude for having met this man who made me all the richer; and shame over the prejudices that almost prevented me from having a conversation with him.

The phrase "never judge a book by its cover" came to mind, but even more the words from 1 Samuel: "for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

So often we judge others on their appearances, but God judges the heart.  May we learn to do the same.

John Tamilio III is the Pastor of the United Church of Christ in Canton (Massachusetts). He can be reached at