I highly recommend shopping while listening to music. Yes, yes, it’s anti-social, the earbuds shut out the world, but the world doesn’t always make a great case for itself in the aisles of a grocery store. I really don’t want to listen to Guns ’n’ Roses while I’m selecting bananas. Okay, okay, you want to go down to Paradise City. Got it. Call a cab.


Listening to Gershwin piano pieces while texting with Daughter in Brazil. showing her the seasonal sights she no doubt misses so very much, like egg-shaped Oreos - because He is Risen!

She texted back one word:


Yes. It is the time of the purple. We have passed out of that strange, confused era between the Holidays and Spring, a time when Oreos just throws one desperate "innovation" after another into the stores, hoping something sticks. Red Velvet! Carrot cake! Beer! Hookah Residue! Spiced Lithium! When you see the Easter ones show up, you know it's only a matter of weeks before the Red White and Blue ones show up to announce that the end of summer ought to be contemplated, at least on a subconscious level. Oreos are always pushing us into the future. Momento mori.

It was nice to text while I was at Target. Like the old days when she'd come with. Not that she had any choice.

She’d sent something more for the thank-you, and an entry for the Google Doodle competition that’s quite good. Quite great, if you ask me, but I would say that. I'll post it in the BleatPlus when that's ready.

Are you going to high school or college I texted, adding this was something no good father would ever ask. She was considering auditing some college classes instead of the pointlessness of repeating high school in a foreign language.

This is the shank end of the experience, and I can’t imagine there’s a jot of learning en route, at least in the classroom. She’d learn more in the grocery store.

Speaking of which: the picture above is one of my favorites. Whenever I find a good fridge pic for a banner, I'm happy. As happy as the people in fridge ads. It's the bounty of society, the astonishing variety of items, the convenience, the brands jostling for your dollar. Of course, no Mom would stand there with the doors open like that. The ice cream's going to get soft! The salisbury steaks may thaw!

Perhaps she's trying to air it out, because man, when these things showed up they smelled like a fire in a Tupperware factory - a toxic aroma of outgassing plastic that made you wonder if your Velveeta would taste like a tire.

Update on the French Toast: it's still gone. It's never coming back.

I found this in the freezer. I don't know how old it is. I don't trust it. I threw it out. It's still on their website, but it's not available. Same with Krusteaz.

If it wasn't for this box, I might wonder if I'd crossed over again. Iowa Me has Target Frozen French Toast. We never had it in this iteration of the multiverse.








A few weeks ago I mentioned I’d been watching Laurel & Hardy shorts, in prep for seeing “Stan & Ollie.” Even if I wasn’t an admirer of L & H, I would have wanted to see the movie for Steve Coogan - you know the thinking man’s Ricky Gervais.

Wait a minute isn’t Gervais a thinking man he certainly seems to believe so himself.

Yes, yes. But he’s ten times the actor Gervais is, does not exude boundless self-regard. We can argue whether Alan Partridge is a better comic character than David Brent, but I don’t they’re comparable. Brent becomes less interesting the more his story went on and the character . . . sort of . . . evolved, whereas Partridge is Partridge from start to finish, and was more reliably amusing.

Anyway. It was a slight film, at first, enjoyable but not spectacular, aside from the performances. A strange thing to say, I know. There just wasn’t a lot there, but you stayed with it, watching this uncanny resurrection of the two characters. Then it got predictable, and much better. By the end you know exactly where it’s going, and how there’s not a surprise to be found, and your eyes are brimming.

There was a quality to it all - to the original comedians as well - that seems rare and bygone. In order to explain, I need to bring up a story I saw on digg the other day.

Nah. America, in general and for most of the specific examples, doesn’t care.

He was so young, so raw, so angry, so hungry, so irresistibly crass. But at first, almost everyone managed to resist Marshall Mathers. “You bitches get a hysterectomy disrespectin’ me,” boasted the Detroit rapper known semi-professionally as Eminem on his very independent 1996 debut album, Infinite. “You wanna feel the full effect of me, hand a TEC to me / Intellectually superior, I’ll make the wack wearier / Inferior, deteriorate, like bacteria.”

It didn’t sell. He came up with a new persona.

The Slim Shady EP, released in December 1997, was a massive, disquieting improvement, deep and dark and concussive, a horrorcore funhouse ride to Actual Hell, from the Black Flag–style mirror-smash cover art to the song called “Just Don’t Give a Fuck” to the other song, then called “Just the Two of Us,” in which Em and a cooing baby girl hit the beach to dispose of the murdered corpse of that baby’s mother. A star, and a scourge, and an intergalactic bogeyman was on the verge of being born.


(A prominent industry figure) loosely tied the album to a recent spree of violent crimes committed against teenage girls in Los Angeles, describing at appalled length the song “Guilty Conscience,” a flippant back-and-forth between Dre and Em wherein they debate the pros and cons of armed robbery, assault, the rape of a passed-out 15-year-old girl, and murder, complete with a Dee Barnes shout-out.

Dee Barnes was a woman Dre beat up. From her description of the event:

He picked me up by my hair and my ear and smashed my face and body into the wall...Next thing I know, I’m down on the ground and he’s kicking me in the ribs and stamping on my fingers. I ran into the women’s bathroom to hide, but he burst through the door and started bashing me in the back of the head.

Eminem responded with the sneering dismissiveness you’d expect from a guy whose debut album includes an EP-holdover song called “Just Don’t Give a Fuck,”

And so forth. It seems that was his high-water mark, and subsequent efforts have disappointed.

Which brings me back to Laurel & Hardy. It's not that humanity was better back then; there were Eminems and Dres galore. Always have been. But they weren't heroes, and there wasn't an army of reviewers who were certain that ugliness equated with authenticity, and this quality gave it authority. But it's empty, vulgar, selfish, and misanthropic, while it may give the listener a certain ruse, so does sniffing amyl nitrate before you dive into an outhouse pit.

Although that one song's kinda catchy.


Remember this feature? We never met Bela Lanan himself. We never will.

This was a daily feature, with the solution on Saturday. We'll do it the way they did it then - one entry per day, with the expectation that you'll be following the story.

Every day, with the solution on Friday.




It’s August, 1926.

Once again, I note that newspapers looked different before photos were easily available in abundance:

I mean, that’s work. You can’t really tell what is why, either; there’s vast swaths of the page that don’t correspond to a headline, at first. The smaller stories get disproportionately smaller headlines.

Some details on the fair: there will be radio!

And the Jacks are back, if you’re wondering.

Front page news: the Jacks are back, and they didn’t see any evidence of the fires. The Jacks had been to Yellowstone earlier in the summer. The Jacks, it seems, have time and money to spare.


  Life imitates Warner Brothers cartoons

Social notes from all over included the doings of District Three social mavens Grace Gerth and Gladys Gustofson



What the Makes and the Falks did, we'll never know. But it was Sunday, so we presume it was all decent.

This has something to do with Fascists. But not what you might think.


Between 1917 and 1922, the Fordson was for tractors somewhat like the Ford Model T was for automobiles—it captured the public's imagination and widely popularized the machine, with a reliable design, a low price affordable for workers and farmers, a widespread dealership network, and a production capacity for large numbers. Just as the Model T helped the public to appreciate how soon cars and trucks might replace most horses in transport, the Fordson helped people to appreciate how soon tractors might replace most horses in farming (advancing the mechanisation of agriculture). As with cars, Ford never had the market to itself, but it dominated the market for a time (for cars, roughly 1910–1925; for tractors, roughly 1917–1925). Ford was the only automotive firm to sell cars, trucks and tractors simultaneously from 1917 to 1928.

Love the implement dealer’s name; that’s so Minnesota.

This is him.


He was a young man when he got into the business - early 20s. Well, young by today’s standards. I believe the son is this fellow.

Odin got into potatoes, as well. And therein hangs a tale.

On July 23, 1943, Odin Odegard submitted a request for 100 Axis POW to help with the potato farming He got them, too. Odegard was the former secretary of the National Potato Advisory Board, so he might have had some pull.

The war had drained away the able-bodied men, and farmers needed hands to plant and harvest. The US government supplied the POWS to Odegard’s Princeton-area farm, stipulating a wage of $3 a day. Not that the men could head into town to spend it, of course - they were confined to a camp, where they were allowed to do their own cooking. The guards were so impressed by their culinary skills they preferred to eat the prisoners’ fare, rather than sup the local grub.

The prisoners, it should be noted, were Italian.

So the locals were thinking oh, that's what the sauce and the meatballs should taste like!


  The Fair was coming! Well, it was getting close to Fair time. It wasn’t coming to Princeton.

Lillian Boyer:


That'll do; see you around.





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