Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Century of Raccoon Life: March Forth, Mighty Little Beast!

Today we cerebrate on a century of rich Raccoon heritage.

Witnesses who were present at that little speakeasy in Bismark, North Dakota, swear that when Toots Mondello and Herman Hildebrand founded the International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons on March 4, 1907, neither of them were consciously aware of the significance of the date. For March 4th is the only date of the year that is also a command, a duty, and a rallying cry that encompasses the Coon credo: March Forth into the vertical with noble tails entwined, ye mighty little beasts! Woooooo!

Of course, at first, the yearly cooniversary of our founding was mainly an occasion to hoist a few (and if the stories about brothers Herman and Toots are more than apocryphal, "stagger forth" was perhaps more accurate than "march forth"). This is why tonight at "beer o'clock," all dues-paying adult Coons everywhere in the world will raise the spirit of their choice (the "shot glazarus ceremony") and repeat the sacred mantra, "Fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes."

But subsequent generations of slightly less libationary Coons came to appreciate the bi-cosmic synchronicity of the date, especially after bylaw, sec. 2 was changed to require a public school diploma for membership. Before that, none of the members had heard of the word "synchronicity."

"Where have we been? Where are we going?" These are not just idle questions that Toots posed in the early morning hours of March 5, 1907. Think of how much things have changed in just 100 years. Today he would have mumbled those questions in the back of a squad car instead of a paddy wagon. He would have been fined and given community service instead of released into the custody of a none-too-pleased Gladys waving that formidable rolling pin. Wasn't that punishment enough? Have we become a crueler society? Or was the greater cruelty being married to Gladys? That was certainly Toots' view.

When we prophylactically reflect upon a century of Coondom, perhaps we first notice the things that have changed, including more liberal divorce laws that perhaps might have given Toots a chance at coonjugal fulfillment. Perhaps not, for whereas Herman was the more coontemplative "much loved disciple," Toots was always the more headstrong, fire-breathing Ovangelist. Both temperaments were required to accomplish the mission, for the "church of Herman" and the "church of Toots" are ultimately one.

And since "Raccoon nature" is eternal and unchanging, it is equally striking that the nature of the anti-Coon adversary is also unchanging. For example, the headline of the March 4, 1907 New York Times reads,

Peasant Leaders Tell Meeting a Great Revolution Is Impending
Mass Meeting to Aid Russian Freedom to be Held To-night

"Alexis Aladin, formerly leader of the Peasant Party in the Russian Duma, and N. W. Tchaykovsky, 'Father of the Russian Revolution,' talked of impending revolution in Russia before the Ethical Culture Society in Carnegie Hall yesterday morning. Mr. Tchaykovsky said that the Russian autocracy is 'dancing over the crater of a volcano,' and that even now it is too late to avoid violence and bloodshed. 'A reign of terror had begun in Russia,' he said, and the responsibility for it all rests justly on the Russian Government....

"It was announced that a mass meeting would be held in Carnegie Hall to-night to arouse sympathy and interest for the people of Russia in their struggle for liberty.... The meeting will be under the auspices of the Society of the Friends of Russian Freedom.... To-night's meeting is to be essentially a meeting to express indignation and encourage the fight for Russian freedom and not a meeting to raise funds."

Same old New York Times. Same upside-down moral compass. Same uncritical sympathy for the enemies of mankind. Same New York sophisticates congratulating themselves on their enlightened morality. Same blaming of the victim and siding with the aggressor. Same alliance with America's enemies. Same confusion of terrorists with freedom fighters. What else is new?

But today, of all days, is not a day for looking back with bitterness. Rather, it is a day for Marching Forth with.... with unbitterness, which I believe was one of the rejected early mottos -- not because we don't believe it, but because nothing rhymes with "unbitterness." The closest thing was "critterness," which some of our southern brothers favored, but gave the fight song too regional a vernacular. In a compromise, the final version of our marching song became,

In the West and in the East
There’s a mighty little beast
For courage there is no other.
When the chips are all at stake
We are proud to call him brother.
So with our noble tails entwined
And a spirit strong of mind
We'll have hearts that cannot melt.
In the forest, in the trees
On the land or seven seas
We're brothers under the pelt

It was felt that there was no need to specifically commemorate our founding by referencing "marching forth" in the marching song, since, after all, it is a "marching song," and no one marches backwards except for progressives. "March forth." It's what we do -- in word and in deed -- but always with "tails entwined."

Obviously, in his wildest beer-fueled Coon-vision reveries, Toots could not have foreseen the technological wonders of the present age, in which Coons from all over the world could coongregate and entwine their tails in cyberspace, of all things. I just checked out my site meter, and it shows me that at this moment (6:03AM) there are Coons (or possibly anti-Coons.... gee, I hope not, but I suppose it's inevitable) in ten different countries besides the U.S. including the UK, Germany ("das Kulturcoons"), Canada ("Coonucks"), Australia ("Koongaroos"), Singapore (hmm, anti-Coon?), Pakistan (hello, Osama! Your ass is ours), Netherlands ("Vikoons"), Korea ("Coonfucians"), Spain ("Coonaradas"), and "Unknown Country (probably just some other place outside the U.S. such as Manhattan or Berkeley).

When you think about it, this is remarkable, since my book has not yet been translated into most of these languages. My publisher has informed me that, in order for that to happen, they want me to first translate it into english. They've always been very supportive like that.

Yesterday we were discussing the question of whether Paul chose God or was chosen by Him, and I think we all agreed that the latter was the case. Even if he had wanted to, Paul could never have chosen, much less designed and implemented, his mission. Most people who "want" to become prophets or gurus or spiritual teachers are driven by impure motives, since it is always out of one's hands anyway. These gifts are graces from heaven, not self-willed, and God generally chooses unlikely vehicles just to emphasize the centrality of grace (although it is certainly necessary to align our will with the grace, which is where free will does come into play).

It was the same coonundrum with Toots and Herman. Did they "choose" Coonhood? Or were they merely instruments of higher forces? Knowing what we know about the early lives of Toots and Herman, I don't think anyone could make a case for the former. Coon lore euphemistically refers to the "boyish peccadilloes" and "legal entanglements" of their youth, but for one thing, since when is a 35 year old man a youth, and since when is a state penitentiary a "reform school?"

Please, I do not stand here today in judgment of the character of our founders, which speaks for itself, at least since those "lost" documents were discovered through the Freedom of Information Act. No, I think we have to be honest with ourselves, and realize that none of us deserves to be called "Coon" -- although we must never stop trying to earn the title, and we must always pay the $2 monthly dues through Petey's Sad Little Tin Cup.

For as Toots whispered in his dying breath before sloughing off the pelt, "Why do you call me Coon? There is no Coon but the Grand High Exhalted Mystic Ruler."

And Petey's term isn't up until sunset on March 4, 2010, when we name our new Exalted Ruler during the grand mystic ceremony of the Nocturnal O-mission.

Words to reflect upon and coontemplate on this sacred day:

March forth and go vertical, young Coon!

From the hallowed streets of Greenpernt,
To the shores of Sheepshead Bay,
From the Verrazano Narrows,
To Canarsie across the way...
We have come together, one and all,
In fellowship to commune,
And to glorify the Grand Exalted
Brotherhood of Raccoons.



Lisa said...

What a cooninkydink, it also happens to be Purim today.

A person is obligated to become inebriated on Purim until he doesn't know the difference between "cursed is Haman" and "blessed is Mordechai." (Talmud Megillah 7b)

God has twice commanded us to get drunk today. Have a good day! Remember, only God knows!

Smoov said...

What about the rule regarding US citizenship? Where does that leave us green card holders who live in two countries (US & Canada, in my case)?

Are we forever consigned to pressing our kit noses up against the glass, beholding the tantalizing ceremonies and festivals within, but never truly 'Coon-firmed?

How about ammending the charter to allow for international chapters? Heck, it works for the Boy Scouts...

Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Bob,

Forgive me please while I reply to a thread from yesterday that Big Possum may not receive if he doesn’t head back there again…

Big Possum,

I am sorry. You are correct – you did not write the ‘blame God’. I see it is from this Lerner guy’s site. I was in a rush this morning and reading the posts too fast.

But I think my point is still valid. If some one here read the same excerpt and that statement didn’t send their B.S detector into overdrive there’s something wrong. Now, I realize I may still be taking the excerpt from Lerner’s site out of context. I didn’t go to the site and read the whole thing. So perhaps I should shut up. :-)

I was aware/afraid my comment would come across wrong. My intent was not to come across as a ‘pounce’. I was just encouraging you to ‘step back’ and check your filter. I made a suggestion, like any good ‘mechanic’ would offer a suggestion.

When I was in art school (and I still do this today) I would find I would get ‘too close’ to what I working on. Got ‘lost in it’. Easy to do. You have to stop, put down your brush, chisel, pencil, brain, etc., walk away and come back to it later. For an hour, a day… It does wonders. I find I have to ‘live with’ a piece for awhile before I know quite what to make of it…whether I think it’s finished or if it needs more ‘work’ or if it “belongs in the garbage.” (as Hemingway said).
Sometimes when you’re working too close you can’t see something right under your nose. I come back and there’s the problem I couldn’t see.

Anyway, I didn’t mean at all to pounce. Honestly it was the opposite. It is a failing on my part if it came across that way. I was trying to encourage you to consider reassessing this Lerner guy in case he may have something ‘not quite right’. Something core. Really that’s all.

As I said, I may be taking the comment he made out of context – as your statement here suggests - which I agree with:
“This blame is among the greatest obstacles to the trust of God that is required as enabler of the new experiences that usher in the realization.”

In this context, I admit now that I see this type of ‘blame’ first hand an awful lot lately – with members within my own family. Something I’m finally taking an active role to trying to assist them with.

I hope you stay. I’m looking forward to more of what you have to say. On your first post above it seemed you were trying to encourage Bob and Lerner to meet with compromise in some way. I know what Dr Bob has to say well enough to know his core concepts can’t be compromised. They don’t belong to him - even if he wanted to compromise them.

One more thing on filters… I use it all the time. I even send all of Dr Bob’s stuff through it (sorry Dr. – I wouldn’t be a good student if I didn’t). I can’t turn it off. Ever. I hit the ‘Permanently On’ button a long time ago. I simply can’t go wrong by leaving it on all the time. This doesn’t suggest I can’t go wrong ever. It just means that everything has to talk to the filter first. It’s the only way in. If the good stuff doesn’t pass through the first time, it will eventually.

joan of argghh! said...

...the grand mystic ceremony of the Nocturnal O-mission.

As the kits say, "OMG!! LOL!!"

Anyway, the alma mater has a scripted howl in it, and I find that to be a horizontal-check-and- balance, lest any Raccoon forgets his pelted and primordial underpinnings in this mortal coil.


Alan said...

Smoov: Shhh! Us undocumented coons have it good here. If our we ever have a life-threatening health problem and we don't have coonsurance, we can always run back across the border and wait 9 months only to get sent to Buffalo for treatment. Remember our mantra - there are no illegal coons. If you would like, I can get my cousin in Red Deer to make you up an immateria coonsilar card. Heck, since you appear to be another green-card Canadian in the startup biz, I'll even pay his fee of a two-four of Molson. Now I have to go back to practicing saying Wooo! without adding the 'eh'.

joan of argghh! said... his wildest beer-fueled Coon-vision reveries,

Ah. That's what's missing...

Some days, I wonder, Brother Bob, if you're not self-prescribing some really fun mood adjusters.


Ricky Raccoon said...

RE Dr Bob's:
“and no one marches backwards except for progressives”


“they want me to first translate it into english”

Spwaaaaathh!! Those are 'coffee-sprayers' if ever I saw them. The former a priceless keeper, Doc.

Smoov said...


Ah yes, the perils of public health care. One of the many reason I maintain residences in both countries.

Soon I will be back to full-time US residency again. Our new Boston office is opening next month, and I've hired all the management I need to keep the Canadian R&D operation in fine fettle.

I'm a real dual-citizen in the sense that I have extended family from Canada's east coast right down into New England and as far south as Louisiana. My clan tended to hop prolifically back and forth across the border over the centuries (not least as rum-runners in the first half of the last century).

Living in both countries allows me to understand and appreciate America in a way that many Americans themselves do not. I can honestly say that I love America more than any Kos kid or DU dummy. Canada has her charms as well, but the big urban centers are very inhospitable habitat for 'Coonkind.

I may apply for citizenship this time around. Having an American parent makes that fairly straightforward.

But then there is the little matter of the $1.50...

Also, if you have a university degree does that cancel out the public school diploma? Are there specific 'Coon programs to deprogram those who were subjected to wackademia?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Smoov asks:
"Are there specific 'Coon programs to deprogram those who were subjected to wackademia?"

Well, there is a coontroversial method I like, called "getting skunkfaced".

The "getting skunkfaced" method erases all vestiges of wackademia,
by helping the afflicted Coon 'forget' the venomous diatribe while purifying the liver.

For severe cases, it may take several 'treatments' before permanent Coonpletion is realized.

There is a faster method which includes reading One Cosmos Under God while breaking chicken bones and running the Coontlet, followed by making a special gift to Petey's tin cup to receive the Coonultimate dispensation for Coonfoolery.

Smoov said...


Funny you should say that because I just dropped some fish-heads, grubs and other 'Coon delicacies in the cup this morning. No checken bones, though. I'll have to stock up before attempting the 'Coontlet.

As to the time-tested if controversial skunk-faced method, I'm well aware of the ability of spirits to bolster the spirit, however I'm afraid my constitution isn't quite as forgiving of libatory punishment as it once was :-)

ms. e said...

I'm amazed! Art Carney was born on the same day as my Dad 11/04 and died on the same day as my Dad 11/09. (different years).

As a tiny kit, after I wore out my ballet slippers and the vinyl of The Nutcracker Suite, I moved onto wearing out the livingroom carpet marching to the tunes on my Grand High Exhalted Mystic Ruler's Marching Songs LP; the minute I got into high school I joined the Drill Team.

The Marine Hymn was my favorite, so the tune and marching steps came back easily when I read the Club Song. Later in life I developed a reputation for serving fine beer. Yawl give a holler if you're ever close to Austin, Texas. Ya hear?

Thanks for the return to the thrilling days of yesteryear.


Van said...

"This is why tonight at "beer o'clock," all dues-paying adult Coons everywhere in the world will raise the spirit of their choice (the "shot glazarus ceremony") and repeat the sacred mantra, "Fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes."

;-) woooooo-boy did I ever need that one today!

River Cocytus said...

it nears. Wait, with this whole round earth thing, I guess we can all just have Beer O'clock when we want...

Skully said...

Arrrhhh! Runnin' rum you say? Now yer talkin' my language mister Smoov!

robinstarfish said...

put the coon books down
it's our day for marching forth
right down to the pub

ms. e said...

robinstarfish said...

put the coon books down
it's our day for marching forth
right down to the pub

Yow weeeeeeeeeeee

NoMo said...

On this most auspicious day in the coondom (that doesn't sound right), in coonmemoration of our illustrious furbearors, the NoMo household has opened its ears for the first time, on the most high recommendation of Pastor GB, to The Carpenters (purchased today at Best Buy). With the accompaniment of some nice Zinfandel, we celebrate the occasion and lift a glass to coons everywherewhen!


River Cocytus said...

Of music: Bought some Bill Evans. Haven't regretted in the least!

Gagdad Bob said...

Bill Evans pretty much towers over post WWII jazz piano., although he's got a huge catalogue, and some things are naturally much better than others. The albums he made with the La Faro / Motian trio in the early 60's are the apex, in particular, live at the Village Vanguard.

Gagdad Bob said...

Decent bio of Evans on AMG.

cosanostradamus said...


But hold on now, down here at the Waddle and Squat we've moved on to the D's! Dylan's on the pub juke, and the Guinness is disappearing far too fast... :~)

Bill Evans, oh yeah, what an explorer. I'm partial to his "Conversations" series, which I still have on vinyl (just dug them out of the closet). We should take a good d"E"tour once we get to the E's.

Weird - Ralph Kramden just popped up on an ad in the middle of "Amazing Race". Synchronicity...?

NoMo said...

Doh! I'm always a letter or two behind.

wv - ozlank? Close.

Gagdad Bob said...

Youtube is amazing. Great Bill Evans video.

Gagdad Bob said...

Wo. Check it out: The Universal Mind of Bill Evans.

cosanostradamus said...

Wow. What a treasure chest.

Jacob C. said...

He's high on my hit list as well:
2. Bill Evans
3. Keith Jarrett
4. Dave Brubeck
(This list changes at a moment's notice, I should warn you - I rearranged it five times while I was typing it out.)

And just to balance out the contemplative yin with a little aggressive yang, I balance out this hit list with one glaring omission from my previous s__t list:

Maynard James Keenan

River Cocytus said...

sweet. I was at Narnes & Bobles, and was listening through his stuff they had... didn't like the 'recent' album (or, not to my ears at the time...) so I picked up a 'jazz showcase' album that had like 12 tracks from 1954-1962 or so. Very, very good stuff.

With Evans, it seems like he is playing more or less the same notes as some of the other guys, but the touch is completely different.

I have a recording of Gershwin himself playing Rhapsody. Excellent stuff.

River Cocytus said...

Bob, on 'The Universal Mind of Bill Evans' -- WOW. I'd ask where you found it, but it obviously was found on YouTube....

River Cocytus said...

Haha, Bill's got it, or maybe, I figured out what he did without asking him...

IF you want to know what I think about music, just listen to him...