Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day is done; Radio days; Very very

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know


KD cat
black panther
rests on a limb from above
seeking unsuspecting prey

fading light dims the sight
the doves are long gone from 
the sill feeder

As we go, this we know

Our sentinel will hunt
through the night

Our guardians on duty

Happy July the 4th !

a song by Irving Berlin

When you live long enough....
(DIX.Z, in 1943)


The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle

You seem to like things the most
if you can do them while you're sitting,
Father said. It doesn't seem like it's
the books you're reading that give
you pleasure, but that you read them
while you're sitting down. You
get most of your satisfaction from doing
things that require very little physical effort.
It's not that your brain needs to be filled
with new facts, but that you have grown
accustomed to being lazy. You can learn
just as much from being active. And since
that'll put you with other active people,
none of them will have the time to sit down
& read a book to prove that the information you got was wrong.

"The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle" by Hal Sirowitz from Father Said. © Soft Skull Press


First Cong. Church Waukesha
votes Opening and Affirming
- officially -

A correspondence with a raccoon reader
and old friend:

On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:24 AM, David Dix < > wrote:
Heigh-Ho Nelder, H-a  W-a-a-a-y!
Well Berry/Barry, the Open and Affirming vote took place at the Congo last Sunday.  There were 78 voting members present, and by secret ballot (!) it was 74 yea, 3 nay and one (1) abstention.  This matter has been ‘gentled in’ for over a year or more, with careful CAREFUL opportunities for dissenters to speak up before the vote was finally taken Sunday.  There has been little negative commentary I gather, and none at the vote-taking.
In our denomination – The UCC – each church is autonomous even though the nat’l UCC hdqtrs out of Cincinatti has blanketing annual synod general policy, as does the WI conference which just met and voted to go opening and affirming last week.
With the given set-up, the Waukesha UCC 1st Congo didn't have to adopt that ‘state ruling”, because we are self-governing old time Congregationists as to our constitution etc.  That goes for all the UCC individual churches.  Now it will be interesting to see how other UCC churches go?
I think the handwriting has long been on the fast changing wall, and same-sex issues are a fait accompli.
As a 78 yr old Waukeshan, I have been through this alphabet incompletely, but from A to Z.  That is, I have been the beneficiary (?) of a highly prejudiced childhood but pleased to say I never engaged in name-calling as many friends did.  Faggot, fairy, etc were never part of my lexicon. (exception:
  College underscored fair treatment, and even the US Army helped me have a broader view.  In re blacks/whites in my barracks and at my side as I played the drum on the formations. marches and parades.  Some fellows washed out before graduating from those 1st 6 weeks of basic raining at Fort Leonard Wood MO.
I, a survivor, demonstrated my drumming talent to the 1st Sergeant (a black) and got to choose who had to carry my rifle and pack on those marching days.
Then when I took a post in my step-father’s home furnishings/interior decorating business I guess a focal avenue
of realizing my equality or often lesser status with gays - were the ‘probably gay’ mdse Co. Reps/conveyors out of NY NY .  Great fashion senses, sensitive demeanors, the old creative bit I loved….
So, elderly now, I’ve had good grounding for voting Yes on the overdue churchly question.
I hope you and Jill log many happy years of matrimony, therefore.  Have said it before; will say it again.
Dix, Z.

From: Kate O'Neil [mailto: ]
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 9:00 AM
To: David Dix
Subject: Re: Very very

Great results from the vote.  I too was raised in an atmosphere where prejudice was the norm, although not meant maliciously.  The Li'l Black Sambo story was not sanitized to just Sambo, you didn't catch tigers by the toe, and interracial marriage was pretty horrifying.  But superior attitudes weren't preached in the home, in fact they were discouraged.  Coming from the "poor side of town" there wasn't a whole lot of room or time for superiority.  Still the WWII attitudes that were prevalent in my parent's generation were the norm then, and even during my last degree program I was chastised a few times for my use of incorrect "disparaging"  language.  It's hard to change the vocabulary that was in place when you learned to talk!  Specifically, one time I used the term "handicapped" rather than "disabled" in a discussion and was pounced upon by the professor for my lip slip. I did point out that if they found the term so offensive it might be wise to remove it from the drinking fountain down the hall and the parking places outside the door. Still I was sensitized to the error of my ways and eschew that word these days.  

As I do research for my book I am reliving the "days of yore" immersing myself in the attitudes of society during the 60's and 70's and becoming more painfully aware of the inequities that existed than I was at the time I was living them.  Coming of age at what I think of as the cusp of the change from the old attitudes toward women and the new attitudes created a conflict internally for me best exemplified by the rather abrupt change from the Women's Army Corps to the Regular Army.  Everything I was brought up to believe, and trained to be was invalidated in the sweep of that change.  Mind you I'm not complaining about the result, but for a woman trained and raised to be one way then virtually overnight  told to be another way with a different set of norms and values that were politically dictated, the result was a lot of internal conflict.  Attempting to portray that conflict through the lens of living it in addition to some of the other conflicts that were going on throughout my military service is going to be quite a challenge.  Everyone has a story though, and this one is mine to tell. And that's what i'm trying to do.  

Let's see where it goes!


Excellent work here.  Permission sought to run it as is in the raccoon this Sat.

Will understand if you would rather that I not, but I hope you say yes.  You describe my own slightly earlier experience to a T…..

Dix, Z.

Wow.  Totally missed this transmission, probably due to the problematical nature of my yahoo mail.  I check it less often because it is "unable to connect" half the time.  Isn't that the way of the connected, so disconnected.  In any case, I wouldn't mind your publishing the note.  I am continuing to refine my concept for the memoir, and it is moving in the direction of addressing the overarching inequities prevalent at the time, as they were a part of my life, and the conflicts I carried both internally as well as those imposed externally.  It's sort of like whittling a redwood with a pocket knife, but with persistence I am making progress.   At the core of the message is living a lie and the conflict between personal ethics and survival.  Now that's about as clear as Missouri mud, isn't it. 

Anyway, I'm moving forward getting some episode ideas defined.  Soon I may actually write something!*/:) raised eyebrows

Nelder, a few years back
trains with US Army

Now a retired Major
and after a Masters a counsellor
of troubled vets etc

Has put her life to good use

(More later)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stayin' alive; So much depends on; Looks; And speaking of

the blonde woman who drops a potato
in the supermarket parking lot where it rolls
beneath the 89 Dodge Ram with rust patches
near the left rear fender from contact with
too much road salt during the winter of 91
which was actually one of the mildest on record
though the driver tends to remember it
as the season he was fired from his job
at the aluminum window factory where
he had worked for nearly sixteen years
without promotion as he shifts into reverse
and backs over the potato which squishes
as softly as a dream's last breath and leaves
slick asphalt for the lot boy to slip on
as he pushes a train of shopping carts
and sprains his lumbar vertebrae just
days before he is scheduled to leave
for basic training to become the cool
killing machine he's always craved
but will now have to settle for someday
making assistant produce manager
and marrying a girl he almost loves just
as the blonde woman finds herself
one potato short with dinner guests
ringing the doorbell.

"So much depends upon" by Tom Chandler from Toy Firing Squad. © Wind Publications, 2008.


I finally have the beard where I want it
after years of trying different configurations.

This selfie in the bathroom the other day
while holding the great LVD Nikon
about to be put to good use in August
at my 60th year high school reunion

shows the ultimate look attained
by (secret:) tying it together at night
while asleep
with a rubber band, then voila -

 as the day progresses and the 'scrawn guard'
opens up like a flower
 the great 'fillip' is wrought.

Earlier attempts when I didn't exactly know
what I was striving for are
still rendered an A for Effort.

I got the message on this version, though, when fellow Congo-ite
Mike Leidel (the Druid) once
told me as we filed out of service
that he really liked my GOANY-TAIL....

(Great word, but I thought, Hey you should talk...)


And speaking of the Congo
this is the weekend of their annual church camping outing.
It is there, and I've been to a few, where various degrees
of equipage are trotted out, from pup-tents to The Brian G.
aka: THE TOOL MAN's Super Trailer:

Truth be told,
the very name of this organ
- The Sewer Raccoon News -
was instilled in my mind back in high school
when I became acquainted for the first time with raccoons.

It was in Peninsula State Park up north
when my then girl-friend's family took me
on my first camping trip.

There I saw the nocturnal creatures up close
in our campsite on Nicolet Bay, Door County,
 at that early time part of a rustic gravel-roaded state park.
No fancy bathrooms back then...oh no.

The raccoons were above ground dwellers then,
and they loved to hop onto that family's antique folding
camp table, scrounging after dark for something to eat.
Any missed smidgeon unstowed would do.

That very table is pictured below, for it reposes
to this day here at the Odd Fellows hall.

My custodianship will cease when I croak
and it is designated to pass to the children I had with that girlfriend
who became wife number one.

I've spent many golden hours in immediate proximity with this table
both here at the OF, in other homes, and mainly in the intended-for woods.
It harks to the day when camping gear was tied to running boards
and camping meant something much different than it does today.

The Congo campers with their varied gear captures the communal intent of group camping.
We have not joined then since my health bout but I would be up for it now
were it not for my 3rd and final wife's lack of camping disposition.  She has unpleasant
memories of camping from before we became acqainted.

So each year for the past circa nine years we (I) muse about the Congo-ites frolicing
in the great outdoors with their assorted shelters.  A small few go on the outings 
but opt to hole up in nearby motels.

Those maybe (?) lucky few have no gear to set up and tear down, and if it rains
as it always may,
have only to enter their vehicles and quickly retreat
to their dry rooms or at the end time, home.

Meanwhile for those friends who lament our not going with them
I say: "Don't cry young [campers], wherever you are...."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What long claws you have; Gramma put it all in jars; Trees/Brooklyn/Waukesha; Color match-up; Poetry; Heltian coda

Nail trim needed

KD Cat is overdue at the humane society clinic
to have her monthly nail job.
But it's going to happen tomorrow
maybe as you read this
Saturday June 14th

This trip, KD will ride in a more secure cat carrier.
Brand new from Fleet Farm the nicely-appointed cage
will assure that she does not leap out as she's been able
to do with the old cardboard carrying box inherited from Mona.


'Canned goods' by Greg Brown

We heard deep-voiced Greg Brown the other night
on Prairie Home Companion radio.
We first got into him in the 70s.
A few miles further down the road he still 
sings a mean tune.
Voice is even deeper.

This one is an early recording.

Here's another: 


At Quarter to Five

I was feeling lonely so
I went outside to the wind
swept yard and beyond
that to the wind-tousled outer
yard and found where last
night in the moonlight we left
two sets of boot prints, when
you stopped on your way
through the darkness to bring a
lemon bar and a movie, and
beside ours the tracks of the
smallest thing with claws, which
must have followed sometime
later. And I chased its tiny prints
and our mud-wash indents to
the far back gate and through
the gate out to where the
land is still dirt and brush
and bushes and cow
pies, my hair pinned
to my head but still blowing,
blowing, and finally a hard
breath, and I could see
through lonely to the wide
open, long blue lines of sunset,
moonlit night, the airplanes
trailing one another
down to tarmac, all those
people landing home.

(Parenthetic:  As I proof this edition of the SRN
son Leland is winging his way to Calgary from Newark
 where he will catch a flight to Japan.

It's a mission trip.

He will study Japanese math techniques
for his teaching job at Harlem Village Academies

Here's a picture of an earlier mission trip 
to St Louis out of The Wauk. Cong. Church UCC
during which Lee re-confirmed his love of children.


"At Quarter to Five" by Angela Janda from Small Rooms with Gods. © Finishing Line Press, 2014. 


Writers Almanac cont'd

It's the birthday of the man who wrote the songs "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," and "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love": Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana (1891). Most of his great songs were written within a 10-year period: between his first popular Broadway musical, Paris (1928)—his first musicals had been complete flops—and a terrible riding accident in 1937. Porter was at a party at the New York home of the Countess Edith di Zoppola when his horse rolled and crushed his legs. He claimed that he didn't realize how badly he was hurt and that while someone ran for help he finished up the lyrics to "You Never Know." But he was in fact seriously injured—the doctors insisted that his right leg be amputated, maybe his left as well. Porter refused. He preferred to be in intense pain than be missing a leg.
He lived with the pain for more than 20 years, and he continued to write songs, but never at the same rate of success as he had before his accident. In 1958, after 34 operations on his leg, he finally agreed to have the leg amputated. Porter never recovered from the trauma of the operation. He told friends, "I am only half a man now," and never wrote another song. He died in 1964 at the age of 73.

He wrote "I Hate Men" for his musical Kiss Me Kate (1948):

Of all the types of men I've met in our democracy,
I hate the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy.
He may have hair upon his chest, but sister, so has Lassie!
Oh, I hate men!




I am currently rereading this retained 1943 novel from my mother's book collection.

The cover, from much handling, is a bit ragged as shown in the above scan.

This story is - among other things - a tear jerker.  Of it's era coming out in the middle of WW II

it spoke to the privations of struggling people, and became a best-seller

made into a movie in 1945, which at age 9 I saw after my soldier father

returned from Europe's indelible story of the Second war.

The metaphor of its title is of a junk tree that grows out of cracks in concrete

in Brooklyn and in other urban unlikely sites - even Waukesha WI - persisting against difficult odds.

It was known as THE TREE OF HEAVEN.

It was the perfect war-time reliever/escape, I remember.

Around year 2000 our then middle-school daughter took the book down and read it

as she did other books on our shelves...


It puts me in mind of

the foxglove plant currently thriving here at the Odd Fellows

planted at the whim of the resident Berg Mgmt gardener right where the courtyard

sidewalk meets the South Street main sidewalk.

It was put in the ground when this gardener and maintenance woman,

an Ireland expat named Fiona, a diminutive young lady with hell bent

in her eyes at times, a fast mover, decorated this corner of the downtown 

forcefully, as her will dictated.

So far nobody has plucked the pretty flower, and they better hadn't


The beautifiers, whether in downtown Waukesha or elsewhere
will not be deterred.   Break their windows, vomit in their doorways, etc.,

Bottom line, it matters not what...


CO LOR Match-up

for photo subjects
this opportunity presented itself:

Snapping pix about the house I laid my camera down
and had a sip of iced coffee from my very old BP gas station
 dashboard thermos.

There was a new Miracle Gro plant fertiizer box behind the cup
also on the equally old painted peach crate table.

I noted the green and gold colors on the fertiizer box
and the thermos cup were identical.  But as I also wanted
the P520 Nikon camera in the composition
I shot the picture on the very cheap cell camera in my pocket.

We've termed that tool the Lower Crustacean camera/phone.
Works fine enough for us. The picture quality comes out
via that downgraded means even sort of arty, unfocused.

The random (unplanned, unarranged) juxtapose
of the matching gold and green colors

Over the years and numerous 'michael-wavings'
the BP advertising on the cup has pretty much worn off.
I was able to scratch my name on the BP logo with my thumbnail.

The book behind the Nikon is Love in the Time of Cholera, GG Marquez.
Am about finished with the read, a good one.
Next will be an in-depth study guide for that book.

More photography

Exciting new cactus from the farmers market
seller, Cindy Lou, thrives in our NW light.

Baseball cap resembles a fish from the back.
The two rear vent eyelets rimmed in white.

Little finger clicker from the old downtown Milw. Puzzlebox.
Am anxious to show it to pew-mate William.
Push bottom and it clicks (croaks) and mouth opens and closes.


(Again, from Garrison Keillor's WRITERS ALMANAC)

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
"Crossing the Bar" by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Public Domain. 

It's the birthday of the playwright Ben Jonson (books by this author), born on this day in London, probably in 1572. His plays include Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone (1606), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614). A contemporary, friend, and rival of Shakespeare's, Jonson was a heavy drinker and a fighter, no "Gentle Will."

Jonson's father died before he was born, and his stepfather was a bricklayer, so after a good education, young Ben spent some time laying bricks and then went off and joined the army. The story goes that he ran to the front of the lines and challenged a random soldier to single combat, then killed him. He went back to London, where he got work as an actor. Apparently he wasn't a very good actor, but he was a good playwright. In 1597, he co-wrote a play called The Isle of Dogs, which got him in trouble with the government—it was too subversive, and he was thrown in jail for "leude and mutynous behavior." He was let out after a few months, but a year later, he killed a fellow actor named Gabriel Spenscer in a duel. He was arrested and he should have been hanged, but he pulled out a legal defense called "benefit of clergy"—since he could read the Bible in Latin, he got to go in front of a more lenient court, which rarely sentenced well-educated men. Instead, he got another stint in jail, and was branded on his thumb to remind him that he had almost been executed. In 1604, he co-wrote a play called Eastward Ho! that mocked Scotland—since James VI of Scotland had taken over the throne from Elizabeth, making fun of Scotland was not tolerated, and Jonson was once more thrown in jail and informed that his ears and nose would be cut off. This threat never materialized, and when he was released, he hosted a banquet with friends to celebrate yet another narrow escape.
Jonson's plays were more classically inspired than Shakespeare's, less dependent on bawdy jokes and flashy duels. Jonson made plenty of disparaging comments about Shakespeare. He complained that his fellow playwright had "small Latine, and less Greeke." And Jonson was probably alluding to Shakespeare, who did have a tendency to rip off plots from other people, when he wrote:

"Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own :
And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
The sluggish gaping auditor devours ;
He marks not whose 'twas first : and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool! as if half eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?"

Unlike Shakespeare, Jonson was known as a slow, meticulous writer. After Shakespeare's death, Jonson wrote: "I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, would he had blotted a thousand. [...] I loved the man and do honor his memory on this side of idolatry, as much as any: he was indeed honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions; wherein he flowed with that facility, that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped."

Ben Jonson was famous for his ability to drink—it is said that when he converted from the Catholic Church to the Anglican Church in 1610, he downed the entire chalice of wine during his first communion. His bar of choice was the Mermaid Tavern in Cheapside, where he was the ringleader of a group of literary men. There are stories about the great debates and battles of wit that Jonson and Shakespeare had over their pints at the Mermaid, surrounded by the likes John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Fletcher, Sir Francis Bacon, and Francis Beaumont—but this is probably not true. More likely it was Jonson and some younger literary disciples who were regular patrons. After Jonson's death, the playwright Jasper Mayne wrote an ode, "To the Memory of Ben Jonson," and he wrote: "Such thy drought was, and so great thy thirst, / That all thy Playes were drawne at th' Mermaid first."


(Submitted by the Retired Rev. Helt)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Berg; Delicious + Jim Backus + Utube - "...I knew you'd never miss a reunion, put 'er there!"; Dogs of the farmers market; Soul man


On Thursday, June 5th, Berg Management sent two men
over to the Odd fellows to measure for a new skylight shade
over the landing up to our office

and to remount our summer air conditioner
in the center front window.

The unit is so large that it takes two men to lift it
into the window.  A special bracket is custom-built
for the 137 million year old limestone sill
to fit the machine at proper position.

As the windows were put in in 1882 (the Putney bldg)
it is necessary to be innovative, which the Berg folk are.

KD Cat awaits return of the furniture to it's proper arrangement.


Now with the air conditioner in we will no longer be subject to the
noise of the traffic - foot and vehicular - below on the street.

Most bothersome are the motorcycles such as the several
that vroom-VROOM-VROOM! around down there.
The riders are either of low intelligence or not-caring -unmindful? -
of the folks that live in these upper downtown apartments.

Sometimes - often - I've seen cycle-riding customers of the cigar bar diagonally
below us revving their engines seemingly to impress their fellows or passersby.

Wait'll the guests of the finally sold and coming upscale boutique hotel
get a load of the cacophony down there right outside their windows.

When people such as we choose to live downtown in a mixed environment
like this, we elect to accept both the joys and aggravations.
 Friday Night Live starts tonight (6/6). Annually it can be fun to look down at the
celebrants flocking the streets, listening to the conficting bands competing for the air,
and sometimes joining it all, down on the street.

(Last night - it's Sat. 6/7 today- we got a call from our son who had our baby great
grand-daughter Emmalee down there...a rendezvous was prompted.)

Double joy comes to us on summer Friday nights because the streets
are closed to traffic.  That means the motorcycling bar customers cannot reach
their nearby libation destinations via roaring bikes.

I would no more BB shoot exceptionally noisy cyclists
than I would 'sever in twain' grafitti artistes, or the 2 AM bar closer-downers
who hoot and holler at the top of their lungs awakening us, or the vomiteers
over-served at the too many downtown bars...but the worst spoilers are the blasting motorcyclists!




and this tribute:


The dogs of the farmers market