Are we safe from Dumbo ads on TV and the internet? I hope so.

When I recovered from the flu many years ago I was home with Toddler (TM) and got out the DVD of “Dumbo.” Hadn’t played it for her. I was still weak and addled, and susceptible to odd swings of emotion; I remember feeling this odd old nostalgic joy for the opening song, the cheer and purpose in the melody, the visit back to a gone-away time of circus trains chuffing across the land. The parenthood stuff was affecting - that big trunk coming through the bars. The crows - well, that took some explaining. The nightmare sequence gave her the jimmies, as it should. It was short and affecting and I’ve always loved it.

I see the trailers and clips for the Tim Burton Dumbo and wonder why a modern parent would take a kid to something that looks so dark and grim and frightening. Yes yes circuses are all of that, underneath, I know, the sawdust covers the puke and the blood and the tears, and the clowns are all alcoholics and the freaks are outcasts who’ve made their own society that both mocks and surpasses the “normal” world outside, etc etc.

But it all looks fake. Everyone knows it’s fake. Everyone knows it was born in a computer and nothing is real and the actors are reacting to objects on a stick.

What I wonder is this, now that I think about it: when I was growing up cartoons were obviously not real, but we enjoyed them and believed in the stories. Will children growing up on near-perfect CGI remember their movies the same way? Will they price in the unreality and remember the stories and characters?

At the grocery store tonight I beeped some yogurt over the scanner. The scanner did not like this. It never likes anything; the self-checkout machines are twitchy and temperamental, and anal-retentive in a way that makes Wally Cox look like Oscar Madison, to make references from the era when Jack Davis did every other movie poster or TV Guide cover.

Just separated the men from the boys with that one, eh?

Anyway. If you have an edge of the bag hanging off the scale, it shuts down and yells at you and demands that mommy or daddy come over and wave their card and sooth it with numbers. It also gets mad if you rebalance a bag, because it thinks you ran out the door with everything giggling like a Batman villain. The problem here was basic: I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS

I tried it again, and it said the same thing. Stop doing that! I don’t know! You’re making me anxious!

I called over a clerk and said lo, this item does not scan. (I was dressed like Thor.) She looked at it, looked at me as if to see if I was one of those Olds baffled by tech, and decided hey maybe I had something here, let’s see. She beeped it. The system, perhaps relieved that someone in charge had come around, said the same thing. No idea what this is.

The clerk picked up the other flavor of yogurt, beeped it. The machine knew what that was, alright. Banana Cream.

So the clerk beeped all four containers of different flavors with the one that worked, and that was that!

Except . . . that’s not the way SKUs and inventory systems work.

Question: why the holy hell does it matter to me?

She started it, really. She said “if one doesn’t work you can just scan the others,” and I said “they’ll hate that inventory, ha ha”

“No, it’s all the same.”

“It is?”

“All goes in as yogurt.”

“But it’s different flavors; don’t they track that?”


I didn’t believe her. I asked to speak to a manager. KIDDING. I wouldn’t do that. Like I said, why in the world would I care? It’s like the most uselessly stupid version of the impulse that keeps you from running a red light at 3:30 AM in an absolutely deserted small town after you’ve stopped and waited for a minute, wondering if it’s broken.

I’m sure it happens all the time, and there are all sorts of formulas and codes they apply to make the yogurt-flavor balance sheets even out. There has to be. If the number of banana-cream yogurts stocked and the number sold balance exactly, someone sits back and looks at the number and says “that can’t be right.” And then they find that someone’s cooking the books, manipulating the data from the scanners, and bust a ring of employees who’ve been scamming the system seven cents at a time for years. Maybe that was it. The Yogurt is the key to it all. There are no SKUs for flavors, and that allows them to bill for a nonexistent flavor that’s never delivered and never sold.

Has to be kiwi. There was a time everyone was excited about kiwi - wow, they discovered a new fruit! - but the moment has passed.



It’s 1919 in Princeton, a city in southwest Minnesota.

The visual appeal of the paper was not robust.

Unless those SEXTETTE gals got your motor racing.

Let’s examine some stories. It’s as if everyone knew his name, and what he did:

The rest of the story:

I wonder if the phrase “Puttied soap,” used to describe the stuff that blows off safe doors, turned into “soup,” the yegg’s words for the explosive.

Four minutes of googling later: nope

I hope Snookums got home.

The first item is interesting. Grace Dunn? A clear abuse of power!

In 1917, Robert Dunn purchased the Princeton News, combining its assets with those of the Princeton Union, and discontinuing the acquired title. On October 28, 1918, Robert Dunn died, and his wife, Lydia, managed the newspaper until February 9, 1922. Their daughter, Grace, appeared as publisher and co-editor in the following issue, having been associate editor since September 1920. Grace A. Dunn continued in both positions for 39 years, incorporating the Milaca Tribune and discontinuing the Milaca newspaper in 1928. She sold the Princeton Union in August 1959 to Glenn and Norma Hage.

She lived and died in the house where she was born.

What the smart set wore:

That would be the Percival Palmer Garment - the "Quality First Line," out of Chicago. Available for the upper-class women to wear to church, bridge games, and the social club.

Questions no one asks today:

How much of your coal is clinkers and slate? That's another question never raised.

How lovely it must have been when the wind whipped up.

Do not worry about your money. We have an unfailing reservoir.


I don't know how the bank fared when the hard times hit, but . . .

The sign for its current occupant doesn't look new.

That'll do; enjoy the update, and I'll see you around.



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