I drove to Wisconsin to look at fireworks. Not buy them; that would be against the law. But to look at them, for a story. Went to the same place I always go to, er, look at them.

They had 21 flags out front. This is not one of those blustery rah-rah buy our stuff operation; its owner is a fine American who loves his country. Hires teens, gives them a good job and a mission and a fun gig for the early summer. He remembered me, too - the guy who wrote for the paper who came in for Topiaries, which is the trade term for the small paper things that shoot flaming balls and sparks.

“Chicken Laying Eggs,” I said.

“Chicken Laying Eggs! Need any this year?”

I shook my head: “the kids are all out of the house.”

By which I did not mean that I'd been shooting off fireworks inside the house, and this was a family tradition that did not apply now because the kids were spending the summer in a tent, of course. And it wasn't quite right - Daughter is back. But I meant the gaggle of kids that showed up when we did the Fourth with the Giant Swede and Crazy Uke's family, and there were lots of kids oohing and ahhing and leading an actual chant of CHICKEN LAYING EGGS! CHICKEN LAYING EGGS! They're all grown up.

I'd like to think they remember it, though. Something of the backyard, the drama, the fragrant smoke, the screams as the 100-report fireball launcher tipped over and unleashed its payload on the playset where they'd all gathered. True story! No burns. Not my fault! Gravity, and that whole reaction-equal reaction deal.

I’ll save the rest of the story I’m doing, but there was something else: he said to head into downtown Hudson, because the cops were investigating a bomb left outside the GOP HQ. So I drove into town, and sure enough - road closed, traffic diverted, entire block taped off, about ten squad cars. WCCO:

As of 2:40 p.m., the Hudson Police Department determined that the package was safe. It was described as a “military-style ammunition container with several obstructions and wires protruding from the container.

An obvious non-bomb.

It was good to get out of the state. Not because the state is bad, or I felt the need to ESCAPE, but there's just something American about getting in your car and driving to another state, where things are different. Not that much different, of course - but the details are different. The license plates, the radio stations, the decals on the cars, and all the other signifiers of local culture. Just the fact that everyone considers themselves Wisconsinites as opposed to Minnesotans is something. May it ever be so.

I was home for lunch, and set about finishing a column and starting the next before I had to take Daughter to work at Target. She was on Returns again today, which is better than Pickup but not as much fun as Checkout. You get the customer at their least satisfied, which can color one’s day, I suppose; I’ve seen some dumb, irate people at Returns, but most are patient, if annoyed it had to come to this. She said that she’s still getting used to the different roles, and had a momentary lapse of purpose when she concluded the exchange, gave the customer the receipt and money, and then handed back the merchandise.

Had more, will save. I'm thinking the whole month will be a coasting-type situation there.

There's something to be said for not making your daily visit something you have to pencil on the calendar for an hour's read.




It's 1937.


You mean France is off the gold standard?

I’m kidding. WHOA - you mean there was a backup FDR?

Yes, how soon we forget. FDR Jr. He married Ethel DuPont - not a match of dynasties, uh uh, no sir - and they had 12 years in the harness. There would be four other wives. All in all he sired five kids, and they’re all alive, which means there are five people today who have FDR as their grandfather.

I’m kidding. WHOA - you mean France is off the gold standard? Yes. Bonnet was also the guy who looked around in 1937 and said “you know, we really need to cut spending on defense.” And so he did.

It’s a cliche - the hermit philosopher - but it was true, I guess.


Okay, now we're on the actual WHOA. This was a big case.


After the girls went missing, a search party was formed. “Among the adults searching for the girls was Albert Dyer himself, serving as a volunteer policemen and sporting his WPA crossing guard badge.” He was the killer.

Dyer made his first confession a few days after being arrested, saying that he strangled the girls one by one, and later prayed next to each of their bodies that he be forgiven for his sins.



He was caught carrying off his fourth victim. Arrested in 1937, and bouncing at the end of a rope in 1938: they did not play around.

This person thinks they got the wrong guy. Sure, he confessed; he confessed nine times and took it back five times. He wasn’t all there.

But before the police could track down Godsey, Albert Dyer returned to the station. He demanded to know "what you fellas want with me," baffling the police, who were no longer investigating Dyer. After this outburst, however, they were suspicious. Police officers drove him around Inglewood, interrogating him all the while. The car ride began mid-morning, and ended when Dyer was driven to the police station at 3:30. There, he was interrogated for an hour by six detectives, but he still maintained his innocence. Then he was taken to the Hall of Justice, where the interrogation continued. At 8:20, Dyer confessed. The interrogation had lasted for roughly ten hours. A partial transcript of the confession read as follows:

"They [the girls] knew you very well, didn't they?"


"And when they said they would [go with Dyer] you went almost immediately, didn't you?"


"You went first?"

"Yes, sir."

"And the three kids came out of the park and followed you?"

"Yes, sir."

Leading him on, you might say. Who’s the real suspect? Fred Godsey.

It’s an interesting thread.

One of the things that haunts me about the story, as does the skeptic, is that he lined up the little girls shoes and prayed over them.

"M," 1951. People might have remembered the lined-up shoes. Like I said, it was a big case.

Hey here’s some more murder. The Mad Sculptor:


Veronica Gedeon (1917–1937) was a 20-year-old commercial model from Long Island City whose murder (along with her mother and a boarder) during Easter Weekend in 1937 captivated New York City. It was reported widely in newspapers there. After Gedeon's murderer was apprehended there were substantial changes in the psychiatric laws in the state of New York.

Gedeon appeared at an Illustrators Society show for models which was raided by members of the New York City Police Department on November 8, 1935.[2] She posed for crime-oriented periodicals such as Inside Detective and Headquarters Detective. Her murder featured an ironic twist because of the sensational titles of the pictorials she appeared in. In Party Girl, Pretty But Cheap, and I Am A White Slave photographs showed her "flimsily clad", beaten, smothered, and tied up.

Here’s the maniac's wikipedia page.

After all that, you’ll want a drink.

Oooh, gimme some of that Pennsylvania whiskey.

That busybody Dot Dix again, telling you what you shouldn’t do.

Man, people were presumptuous back then.


It's funny when old people listen to modern music!


There you go; enjoy the midpoint of the week, with all its midpointiness.



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