The three stages of that recently passed holiday: 1. we enough candy. 2. We don’t have enough and are running out. 3. What are we going to do with all this candy.

EAT IT, you say, and yes, that option does come to mind. But I am looking at the stuff I took to the office at the moment, and it’s like a chore, a duty, and obligation. My Lord, there are Milky Way Simply Caramels. There’s a reason pure caramels come in squares. A brick of caramel is too much to bear. Caramel cannot be wider than it is taller, unless it is a layer. I thought we all understood this.

There are Peanut Butter Snickers, which exist to demonstrate how any other Snicker is insuperior.

The Flavor Fusion Dum-Dums will probably be easy to knock off, one a day, but they violate Dum-Dum’s paradigms. They are not round; they have two flavors. Do you know about the Dum-Dum Mystery Flavor? It has no set definition. It exists because they don't clean out the machinery. They make one flavor, then when the tank's empty, add the ingredients for the next. For the start of the production cycle, you get both flavors, until the new one predominates. I explained this once to the teller at the bank when they used to hand out free Dum-Dums at the skyway branch. That was before they stopped putting them out, because people were coming up to the window and grabbing the entire contents of the can, and sauntering away, unmolested. There's no privilege like criminal privilege.

After that you had to ask for one, and I felt silly asking for a sucker at the bank, being a grown-up and not a four-year-old accompanying daddy on a trip to the big downtown.

Anyway. The stick on the Flavor Fusion Dum-Dum dislodges almost immediately, leaving you with a flat disk that must be carefully managed lest you suck it down your gullet. Also, they are awful. I had one today, and it was . . . I don't know, butterscotch and pineapple. I don't think this was a mystery combo. It seems intentional, and unwise.

Well, I have set this task before me, and will do my best. At least there aren’t any Peanut Butter Cups.

Those are home, in the freezer. They are Frankencups, or something, with green dye added to make me think they are a confectionary version of the Monster, reanimated by lightning. If that was the case you'd think they'd look melted.

November came in with its usual indifference to human suffering. Grey and cold. All right, that’s quite enough lallygagging around. On your feet. Work to do. We have to get this year crated up, so let’s look lively.

When I walked outside the office today I saw the green trees through a window at the end of the corridor, and felt a note of relief. It’s as if I expected everything to be scoured down to bare branches today.

As I was standing outside the building, beneath the big STAR TRIBUNE sign, a middle-agish fellow on a bike pedaled past and yelled “YOUR NEWSPAPER SUCKS.”

“Much appreciated,” I shouted as he drove away, “and thank you for your feedback.” 

I stood there for a while thinking of all the different reasons he could have. People have lots of reasons. The right thinks we're all joyless Marxists. The actual joyles Marxists think we're establishment tools. He could be mad about the size of the Sunday comics.

Speaking of which: it has been decades since I had any detectable warm emotions towards Doonsebury. It was required reading in college, a nice daily affirmation of all the good things the good people believed, but at some point it began to grate. REMEMBER THAT PRETERNATURALLY WISE AND DECENT OLD HOMELESS LADY WHO CALLED EVERYONE “DUCKS” THAT WAS SO SWEET WE ALL LOVED HER.

This Sunday strip, which I read for some reason, is just a masterpiece of preening. Stupid old men! Stupid, useless old men.

Anyway, maybe the guy was mad at me, although I expect he would have been more specific. As in, your contributions to the newspaper suck, which also sucks in a general sense, and not just because of the size of the comics, but because of a worldview I find at odds with my own correct apprehension of human society, but he was pedaling at a good clip and had to condense.


They sold more than postcards. They also deal in paper, a broad term that means, well, just that. But also photos.

This was frustrating, at first. I know this building! But I don’t. I knew something that looked like it.

The style of the building in the foreground gives us the 20s; the building in the back, residential, is ten, 20 years older at most.

Computer, enhance.

They’re working on the streetcar tracks. King autos. No searches turn up anything useful, and while I could fuss with my search terms, ska-rew that, I’m going to the newspapers. I plug in Bartlett, and hey presto. So: Bartlett had a branch on East Lake street, the area now obliterated by highways. Doesn’t feel right. The automotive district was on the outskirts of downtown, near Loring Park, at the end of Hennepin. Refine dates. Ah hah! 1124 Harmon Place.


Let’s just pause for a moment to tip our hat to this fellow, who walked into the shot and ended up beamed around the world almost a hundred years later on a networked information distribution system.

I can almost hear his voice, and his accent.





It’s 1921, and we’re reading the American Hatter magazine, a publication for the lid trade.

There is no need to plaster this hat clip with advertising!

Apparently they did this: gave away the pins with a note explaining where it came from. People appreciated the ones that had no ads, and adjusted their trade accordingly.

Invariably correct straws:

We associate a sea of straw boaters with the 20s; we usually think they’re white. But in ’21, the vogue was brown. Were it not for this ad, I’d never have known that.

Doesn’t really matter, but it’s nice to know.


Young Straws:

Here’s the surprisingly small factory.

Made 300 dozen a day.

It’s an Ace!


Lion was a big outfit:

By World War I, the company had installed belt-driven knitting machines which were used to make woolen watchcaps for the U.S. Navy. Lion also produced its popular "Ace" winter sports cap under an exclusive patent until 1939. To utilize the skilled immigrant labor force living on the near west side, Lion moved to 3256 W. 25th St. near Meyer Ave. in 1921. Based on Lion's contribution to World War I, the company secured a contract to design and make knitted caps and sweaters for the armed forces during the Depression, and 98% of its production was for the military during World War II.

Closed in 1990; foreign competition. Here’s the factory.


It may be a hundred years ago, but it’s all familiar, isn’t it?


“Whatever he does, every other live-wire, red-blooded American boy will want to do.”

Including marrying Betty Grable? Well, that's a way off.

C’mon, American hat sellers: get behind it!

They sold piles of these. And . . .

. . . He saw not a dime.

As a child star, Coogan earned an estimated $3 to $4 million ($44 to $59 million in 2021 dollars). When he turned 21 in October 1935, his fortune was believed to be well intact. His assets had been conservatively managed by his father, who had died in the car accident five months earlier.

However, Coogan found that the entire amount had been spent by his mother and stepfather, Arthur Bernstein, on fur coats, diamonds and other jewelry, and expensive cars. Bernstein had been a financial advisor for the family and married Coogan's mother in late 1936.

Coogan's mother and stepfather claimed Jackie enjoyed himself and simply thought he was playing before the camera. She insisted, "No promises were ever made to give Jackie anything", and claimed he "was a bad boy”. Coogan sued them in 1938 but after his legal expenses, he received just $126,000 of the $250,000 remaining of his earnings. When he fell on hard times and asked Charlie Chaplin for assistance, Chaplin handed him $1,000 without hesitating.

The legal battle focused attention on child actors and resulted in the 1939 enactment of the California Child Actor's Bill, often referred to as the "Coogan Law" or the "Coogan Act". It required that a child actor's employer set aside 15% of the earnings in a trust (called a Coogan account), and specified the actor's schooling, work hours, and time off.

Good that he got a second chance.


  That'll do. Off now to the clean-up portion of this year's comic updates. I have about a hundred pages to add to the Comic Book section, set aside and forgotten. So here we go!




blog comments powered by Disqus