Aug 20

Day hiking in the Deam

Welcome to August, the time when we all try to remind ourselves that days are inconsequential, but months matter, somehow. How are things going where you are? That sounds rhetorical, but I mean it. How are things? Parents are trying to figure out how school will work. Fans are wondering if they’ll see their sports this fall? People are trying to figure out if they can just get their mortgage or rent in on time. Some people are working through a lot, and isn’t it funny how inconsequential some of those things can seem if the big ones are up in the air?

So I hope you’ve been taking a little time for yourself here and there. Mediation. Coffee. Walks. Reading something fun. Dancing sillily to music. Exercise. Whatever it is you do, do a little more of it. You probably deserve it. And if you think you don’t, you definitely do. This is August.

And since it is also Monday, we check in on the cats. The cats are good!

Phoebe literally can’t even. Did we do this one right?

Poseidon, in a rare moment of cuteness takes his break from being a little pill.

I’m kidding. He’s about 50/50. Or 40/60. Definitely he’s 30/70, cute.

We went for a walk in the wilderness yesterday. We saw one family on the trail. They were hiking back up out of the ravine as we were just beginning to work our way down into it. We each stopped, and the mom and the dad and all of their kids put on masks. We put on our masks. And then we all made a wide berth for one another. I waved at one of the kids, and it is obviously too early for all of that for her. Maybe I should have complimented her mask.

The mother and I both worked on smiling with our eyes. It’s probably past due on that, at least for me.

We were in the Charles Deam Wilderness, which gives you 36 miles of trails for hiking, backpacking, and horse riding. I took pictures of some of the humble undergrowths.

It’s a scenic hardwood forest, and the up-and-down terrain is probably beautiful to explore in the autumn. If you’re on the right part of it you can get some really nice views of the nearby lake. We happily crossed a few streams in our four-mile hike.

This was declared a wilderness in 1982 based on some legislation from the 1960s and today makes up 12,000-plus acres of the Hoosier National Forest.

It’s yet another one of those places where we say “Native Americans lived here” and, also, “It was originally settled in 1826.” Clearly people had been there before. It’s got good game, even today, but the agriculture was a bit hardscrabble.

Finally, when the Great Depression hit and the economy turned in this area people were forced out. The government bought up the abandoned land and the Civilian Conservation Corps moved in to return it to a wilderness, control erosion and make it a recreation area.

You can still see some of the old home structures in the wilderness, though we didn’t run across any yesterday. As noted, it’s a big area, which will be nice for return visits and new discoveries.

We did see a few horseshoe prints, even on the trails were horses aren’t allowed. Silly horses, they should know better and read the signs. We only heard and saw a few other people the whole time we were out, and most of them at our turnaround point, at a little cave on the top of the ridgeline. It was a bit underwhelming, as caves go, but I’ve been spoiled by some large examples over the years.

We found this tree on our way back out.

Let’s take a closer look at that tree.

I got photobombed.

There are six other trails to try out, as well, and I’m sure they all feel different in the passing seasons.

The cleanup has been an impressive one. There were 81 farms out here, and corn and hay on the ridges. Given the topography and crops it was probably a terrific example of ten-year land.

Because of today’s special rules of the wilderness act, the only work done today is trail maintenance. So if you know what you’re looking at, it’s an interesting place to see nature making it’s slow and sudden comeback.

In some areas the growth is thicker than others. It’s a space rehabilitating itself.

The Deam Wilderness, I’ve just learned, is the biggest wilderness in the lower Great Lakes region with almost 13,000 acres. For comparison, Illinois has eight wilderness areas but they’re mostly a few thousand acres each.

And, finally, a tree we found in one of the creek beds.

When you’re down in that area with the creek beds, and the hills on either side of you, you have a great sense of being alone. Even in a socially distanced world it felt like a fine dose of quietude.

Jul 20

There’s audio here and I would be appreciative of your listening

No Phoebe and Poseidon on Monday? No. We had other cats to feature. I also had to do my work in the actual building on Monday. And the world has gone mad.

I was going to make that joke. But the local world has actually gone mad. There’s a banner on an overpass right now that says “A man was almost lynched” because a man here was almost lynched. There’s a video of the confrontation. A putrid, two minute and several seconds video of it.

So, last night there was a demonstration downtown about this troubling weekend event, as you might imagine. Someone chose to drive a car through some people. One or two people were hurt. One of them apparently mildly. The other was treated at a local hospital and released with a reported head injury. I’m also hopeful they’ll address arresting the driver of the car that did this terrible thing.

There’s certainly evidence. But there’s evidence of both, isn’t there? You can see it. I’m not putting any of that here, but it is out there if you want it, and it is all repugnant.

This is the thing about video: someone will always say “You don’t see what happened before the video.” And that’s a true and powerful insight you have there. What a keen legal mind you have. This is the real thing about video: no matter what happened before someone whipped out their phone and got the camera up, no action calls for what is seen before the unblinking eye.

At least one of my students was out there reporting. Apparently eye witnesses say the driver ran several red lights. So, in other words, done deliberate. And I’m really stuck on this part: one of my students was out there.

So vehicular assault in broad daylight, that ought to go somewhere, one assumes. One also assumes that state officials, the appropriate authority for where the almost-lynching confrontation happened, will figure out the threatened or attempted lynching. But they haven’t managed to do that yet, despite, you know, daylight video and plenty of incriminating evidence like work shirts, prominent tattoos and faces.


But the FBI came down to look into the first crime, too. This was announced at this evening’s demonstrations which were, seemingly, much more peaceful for everyone.

So we’re having Phoebe and Poseidon on Tuesday this week.

Poseidon should also get a name for his love of cabinets. Cardea, if I recall, figures into hinged doors in Roman mythology, but I can’t think of anything close enough in the Greek, so we’re giving it to the mighty Poe, who was surveying his kingdom with great contentment here:

Phoebe and three of her favorite pursuits: a spring, a stair landing and the pursuit of belly rubs:

And they decided to sit together on the stove cover of my own design and creation. A rare display of getting along in proximity in their sibling rivalry.

So, yet again, spending a few hours building that little thing one weekend was worth it, I guess.

You know what else is worth it?

I talked to an epidemiologist today. We discussed whether the coronavirus is airborne. We talked about looking at the data and masks and the bubonic plague. We discussed whether I should get a haircut.

We also briefly mentioned the task of getting kids to wear a mask. Of course, she said, her children wear masks. She doesn’t have too much trouble with them, she said. But they are of a certain age now. And, being someone that tracks diseases, she probably brings home terrible images and scares them to death, as would be her parental right.

I’m sure she doesn’t do that. She’s a perfectly pleasant individual and probably her children listen to reason. And if they don’t, both of their parents work in public health, which means they’ve got plenty of adult experts in their lives to scare them senseless while mom and dad are conspicuously working on backyard appetizers.

Anyway, she says wear a mask. And be willing to leave places that have people not wearing masks. Stay distance and stay in well ventilated areas she said.

It keeps coming up: we had the stay-at-home orders handed down to give hospitals a fighting chance. Supplies were needed. Beds were needed. Crush the curve. Remember that, a few months and oh so many outrages and personal inconveniences and national outrages ago? Medicine and science needed time. Well, we gave it a bit of time, and now hospitals are filling up. There are a few more supplies headlines popping back up. And the consumer knows it. Stores are limiting paper goods and cleaning products again.

Let’s say everything about your health, and the health of the people around you. Mortality rates are lower than earlier projections. Thank goodness. Hard, hard earned trial-and-error have been teaching physicians for future rounds of patients, hallelujah. One of those things we’ve learned is this isn’t just about the sniffles, and it’s not just about your lungs. There are big, and varied impacts. One of the things still to be learned is how varied those impacts. Is it your lungs? Some other organ? Your mind? Medical science is still trying to figure that out. Another thing on the board, how lasting can the problems be? You can find nightmarish stories aplenty about that, too. You’re living in a big world of uncertainty right now, friends.

What’s amazing, according to every doctor and epidemiologist I’ve interviewed and seen interviewed, your best defenses are something so exotic as washing your hands and putting a protective covering over your mouth and nose. As most of us would prefer not to have our quality of life impacted in a negative way, please and thanks.

We didn’t discuss the charts, but we should have. They now have death projections stretching out to November 1st as a status quo, wherein some restrictions are being held and many are being eased, versus mandated mask wearing. And it looks like this.

In Connecticut 4691 – 4551 = 140 lives.

In Georgia 3,856 – 3,403 = 453 lives.

In Indiana 3,400 – 2906 = 496 lives.

In Alabama 3,442 – 1,682 = 1,760 lives.

In Texas 13,449 – 6,442 = 7,007 lives.

In Florida 17,472 – 9849 = 7,623 lives.

Wear a mask. Yeah, it’s itchy, but you can be that kind of hero.

Jun 20


Here are some crinoids I picked up last weekend. I was wondering down by the creek bed enjoying myself quite nicely and it quickly became a scavenger hunt. Right there at my feet I found three of these at a glance. Why, then, I had to wonder around a bit to discover a few more.

Old seaborne fossils. Or, around these parts, definitely freshwater fossils. You can find them most anywhere that has water, seems like. Why do I still pick them up? Why do I bring them back to the house to take pictures of them?

These are, I believe, crotalocrinites. They are the sort I’ve always found. They are extinct now, but they appeared about 300 million years before the dinosaurs.

I’ve just discovered, online, there are star-shaped fossiles called pentacrinites. I want to find some of those.

Let’s jump in the time machine, though, and move up a few hundred million years. I pulled back the break lever just a bit too soon, however, and we’ve stopped 103 years before. It’s June 4, 1917. What’s going on in the world?

Oh. That. So the summer before there was a massive sabotage in New York. And two weeks after this Congress passed the Espionage Act, something Woodrow Wilson had been on them about for several years. I can’t find any details today about this person. So we’ll just have to be satisfied with these news briefs:

The next day you had to go sign up for the draft. Married men couldn’t duck it. You’ve already seen that peaceful registrations were predicted. And we now from earlier editions of the paper that several American men, even some locals, are going off to war in some capacity or another. Just down the page there’s a brief listing another handful of names. In New York, when the draft went into play, it was anything but peaceful. So, I’m sure, people were hoping for the best.

There are two creeks on either side of us that have these names.

And while people are out surveying damage, and you’re reading in another column the news that a former local who had moved to Illinois just had his house destroyed in the storms, you get this little ad:

A.H. Beldon had been a grocer. By the teens, he was doing insurance. He made it to 80 or 81 and died in 1939, the same year as his wife. Their son flew planes for the Army in World War I, in Texas, it looks like. That guy’s son served in the Army during World War II.

Enoch Hogate had some paralysis, and then he did not. Much improved was he, a relief to all it was.

Hogate had joined the law school in 1903 and served as the dean from 1906 to 1918. He also had a turn in the state senate prior to all of that.

Polio caused paralysis. I wonder if that’s what it was. He passed away in 1924.

This was the vessel, The Success. It was not built in 1790, but rather 1840. It was not a prison ship, unless it was. Sometimes Internet searches are contradictory. Anyway, it was by now a museum ship. A good fraud well executed, from the looks of things.

She was scuttled in 1891, re-floated the next year, restored and then sailed to England. In 1912 the vessel came to the U.S. and returned to cargo service in 1917, after which it sank. It was re-floated and turned into a museum in 1918, appeared at the Chicago World Fair and fell apart. The Success was to be scrapped on Lake Erie, but it sank for a third time. Someone pulled it up again in 1945 and it promptly ran ashore. In 1946 there was a fire that consumed it. The moral to that story, I guess, is don’t make up a fake history about your ship.

Get ’em a camera!

I wonder if they’re still hiring …

The second and third pages of the four-page rag were just poorly scanned photos of the graduating high school class, which is why we jump immediately to the scolding baby.

Look, baby, nobody likes a scold.

This one had a column jump, which is why it looks weird at the top. But let’s get a load of those people. George Washington Henley had graduated from the law school here three years prior. He went into private practice and got married soon after.

The well-known home boy would serve as a state lawmaker for a decade and, later, sat on the state Supreme Court bench for two months. He was a replacement until the end of a term, but he didn’t want to stay on. He needed to get back to his own clients and he just wanted, Wikipedia says, the prestige. He died in 1965 and was eulogized by the university president. His wife survived him by a dozen years, and was living in California when she passed away.

This is why you should keep Googling names. One of the attendants of their wedding was Paul Feltus. He would become a newspaper editor, witnessed and reported on the atomic bomb tests in 1946 and served as a board member for the university. He wrote four silent film scripts, served in the artillery in World War I and was a colonel in the state guard in the 1940s.

Now, a life of 81 years can’t be distilled into a paragraph, but a paragraph like that hints at an interesting life.

Because the second and third pages were poor artifacts, and because the last page was torn right through the copy, you’re getting a second wedding announcement.

This was Melvin’s second wife. His first died young after just six months of marriage. She was ill most of that time. They had 17 years of unalloyed happiness, I hope. His second wife had a child and died in her 40s, in 1934. Fender kept on farming, retired, and passed away in 1958 at 74.

OK, “Bobby.”

I spent a lot of time looking into this ad. I’m not sure Bobby was a real person.

May 20

Just some old stuff

We’ve come to it, finally, a day of nothing but filler. It was cold and dreary and I didn’t go outside much and inside I probably reflected the same mood and so maybe it is for the best if we just jump to this stuff and then see how we feel about tomorrow. Don’t worry, this is quick and informative and fun!

So we go back 103 years to see what was in the local paper on May 14, 1917. Because it’s worth it to remember our struggles are not our own, seldom unique, and they’re going to get looked at like this one day. So be mindful.

The Bloomington Evening-World, imagine picking up this big smeared piece of ink in the morning and wondering what they’re going to be preaching to you about today. Food juggling:

Jugglers most harmed.

Oh, they’re preaching at me about food. How exciting. How things never change. Thankfully things did change in newspaper technology, photograph and layout software. But the didn’t any better in 1917, so this was the standard look. All that writing. So many words. So much of it vague as to be useless, or at least that’s the read from our far remove.

When I started looking for a paper to study today I considered fish wraps from all of the places I’d care about. I wanted it to be something at or on this date. And I didn’t want to look at a 25 page paper. But I didn’t want it to be dense, either. So, naturally, I chose a dense four-pager. Anyway, let’s dive in.

They were going to be a part of the famed ambulance service:

Remember, this is 1917, so the AEF wasn’t there yet. But ambulances, which were state-of-the-art in medicine, were.

Stella Belmont appears in a couple of different newspapers in the teens, but then she disappears. I assume it means she married, or retired to a quieter life, and didn’t have some horrible aeronaut accident. Surely that would have been covered. Nevertheless, this sounds fun. Watch for it:

We got this war on, stop making things!

And now for your straw hat.

You think those could make a comeback this year? I figure if we keep asking for enough years we’ll eventually get it right.

Page two has your reminder that the same people have been making the same argument for more than a century. And it’s always the same sort of vague and ill-formed argument. The construction peters out after the premise: You shouldn’t. Why? Well, that’s not really important. What’s important is you shouldn’t!

The reasons are pretty simple, really, someone doesn’t want you to have what you have, or what they have, or what they can’t have. And then they try to couch it in some moralistic terms. I wonder if it was as tiresome then as it is today.

In the column right next to that:

On page three, while you’re still rolling your eyes from that bit on page two, there’s something else I’m sure they don’t want you to have. But the advertisers certainly do, and so does every woman or man who was remembering how they heated water the old way:

Corn substitutes work for feed in a pinch, at least through the war. And better for you to eat the corn than your livestock. Life has always been about compromises in the moment, I guess. It’s easy to forget that when things are going well.

Western Union by now was doing lifestyle advertisements. Gone were the days of telling you about how telegrams delivered the news from here to there as a miracle:

And, on page four, a lot of briefs. It’s always nice to see the local campus doing it’s part:

Jordan Field was said to be where the Union’s parking lot is today. And I’ve put that lot on the bottom of the frame, so that would have been right in here. They planted corn and spuds. Look at all of the things that have sprouted up:

Arbutus is the campus yearbook, by the way. I guess everyone in town knew that. It’s interesting that the town’s paper felt the need to include the applications in their copy.

Kenyon Stevenson would leave school, go to the war as a lieutenant in an artillery unit, the 21st Field Artillery and Fifth Division. He fired his guns in France and Luxembourg, in heavy fighting near the end of the war. He came home, got married, finished school, raised a family, wrote two army unity histories and some other books. He worked as a copywriter in Pennsylvania, a director of advertising, got caught up in the Great Depression and went into sales in Ohio. His last child just passed away in 2018.

I found an Edwin Sellers, but the dates don’t quite add up, so I believe it’s the wrong man. Ditto Margaret Munier, who probably married and had a fine Roaring Twenties. Joseph A. Wright, now there’s another individual from here by that same name in the 19th century. The older one has some things named after him around here. (Indeed, it seems he was one of the first 10 students at Indiana Seminary, the first iteration of IU.) He became a governor and he, understandably, sucks up all the search engine oxygen. No idea if they are related.

Joseph Piercy retired in 1938, and passed away in 1943. His wife and daughter both taught at IU.

A congressman, and a judge, and he respected a man’s gardening needs:

Can’t let the university’s potato and corn crop outpace the local bar!

May 20

Keep reading ’til the part about biscuits and ducks

One of our god-nieces will soon celebrate her birthday. Her big sister — and I think they have the dynamic where they work and play well together, while also each delighting in pushing the other’s buttons, but if one of them gets picked on by someone else there will be H- E- double-hockey-sticks to pay — asked us to make a video. It was a sweet thought by an older sister, and so we made a little video.

We would have made the video anyway, because the kid can’t have a proper birthday party under stay-at-home orders, but mostly I want to point out how awesome the pre-teen is in all of this. They’re both swell, really. Cool kids, except for the pushing-each-others-buttons part, but I understand that’s part of the sibling deal.

Anyway, all of that to say there were multiple takes of this video. And there were outtakes. Here is one clip, and to honor the motif of multiple takes, I have uploaded and deleted and re-uploaded several different versions of this, which is brilliant in a meta-sort of way.

Right after this The Yankee says “I didn’t know which key to start in.”

Kazoos, y’all.

And then she asks if I want to start the video over again, because she’s considerate like that. I got to use one of my most recent trusty throwaway lines. I can handle it; I’m a professional.

It was funny and we’re still giggling about it and I could watch her laugh all day.

Besides, if you don’t emerge from their stay-at-home orders without at least a half-dozen new stories and three traditions and 15 new inside jokes then you’re just not enjoying your time.

Let’s look at the paper. We’re falling through a rift in the Internet’s space-time continuum, which intersects with so many rabbit holes, and we’re falling out, oddly enough, in this same town, on this same date, 111 years ago, 1909.

Yes, friends, people read the newspaper, even when it looked like this. And, for 1909, and for a very basic rag such as the Evening World, this has a lot of design elements on the front page. And front page ads! ¡Qué horror!

People were starved for information, as you’ll see, or they just wanted to take a break from whatever else they had to do, so they pored over every word. Like … the only sports story, and one of the few news pieces in the whole paper.

It goes on like that for a while. Coach Roach didn’t say the victors, in-state rival Purdue, were better at baseball. His players were just distracted, see. Wommins. Perfume. Fluffy clothes. Have you seen their corseted figures? And also the fans, including the “girls,” which are fine enough for a university, should have been there to cheer his men on the diamond. His lovestruck, distracted men.

Skel Roach played professional baseball for 10 years, including one game in the bigs, for the Chicago Orphans, which was three years prior to a newspaper re-nicknamed them the Cubs. And, you know, baseball is wild about statistics … let’s see if we can take a quick detour … Orphans beat the Washington Senators 6-3 in his one game. Roach was the winning pitcher. He threw a complete game, which didn’t even merit mention back then, he allowed three runs on 13 hits and was never seen again. Couldn’t agree on a salary with the club. He got shipped to the Orphans because their star pitcher was hurt. He was 27 at the time, and he played for six more years, but that was his high water mark as a player, a career that tallied 133 wins in the minors and across the prairie leagues. He coached throughout the midwest, studied the law and practiced in Chicago.

He got married just two months after this story about lovey dovey players not being hardened enough for matters of sport was published. It was his first year on campus, and he’d stay for three seasons, practicing law in Chicago around the demands of baseball. Apparently his time at IU marked the Hoosiers’ first success on the diamond, this criticism notwithstanding. He’d go on to practice law for 35 years and serve several terms as a judge in Illinois. He died in 1958.

Edwin Shelmadine was fighting for himself, and everyone like him. And he wasn’t going to give up.

Congress approved the increase for Shelmadine the previous March alongside a host of other veterans and widows. He was upgraded to $30 a month. His obituary talks about how he was hanging on to sign that first pension check, taking medicine he didn’t like to live for that happy moment, and he did, but only just. He went out for a buggy ride that same day with a friend and died.

His unit, the 48th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry, fought at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, was a part of Sherman’s March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. I wonder how many of those he was a part of.

Curious thing: the roster for the unit lists an Edward Shishmadine, who mustered in as a private in December 1861 and left as a sergeant in 1865. His obit, where he’s Edwin Shilmade, (just like the paper and the Congressional record) says he mustered into the service in October 1861. What’s a few months and a completely different name at a remove of 58 years?

Shelmadine was a shoemaker. His obit tells us he had three wives. His first died during the war, then came a separation and his last wife survived him. Apparently he met all three in the same house. Presumably not at the same time.

I wonder what people from 1909 would think about the steps you have to undertake to offload a house these days:

Here’s that spot in the summer of 2014:

I wonder if it is any of those houses. Probably not.

Anyway, more from this paper after an advertisement from … the same paper …

Royal merged with Fleischmann’s and a few others to create the giant Standard Brands on the way to becoming the modern version of Nabisco in 1981. Royal is still marketed today.

Those are the most interesting things on the front page. Told you it was a rag. Well, there was a criminal conviction. A gentleman found his wife and another man in a hotel, which probably means a rough shack just off the road in 1909. He killed the other guy and pleaded insanity. Six of the jurors agreed, but the other three weren’t buying it and manslaughter was listed as a compromise conviction. His name was Good, even if neither he nor his wife particularly were at the fateful moment. But I don’t know what happened to him after his conviction and his wife isn’t name. No story, no clipping. And, really, that completes the interesting portion of the front page.

Let’s go inside!

Page two is a serial part of a feature following Theodore Roosevelt’s African safari. It’s literally history in the sense that, if you’ve read Roosevelt, or about him, you know that material. (If you haven’t, I recommend Edmund Morris’ Roosevelt trilogy. There aren’t many people, even presidents, who deserve that much copy from one author, but Roosevelt may, and Morris is the man for the job. Terrific work.) Moving on!

Page two also had a piece about a princess of Prussia who had to soon decide on a husband. Her family was going to be out of power soon anyway and she spent the rest of her days making socialite-style appearances and I’m sure it was all very lovely and worthwhile to the people in this area as there were a fair amount of German immigrants, but it seems a bit odd and gossipy, today, to speculate on a 16-year-old girl’s marital ambitions.

But this … There must have been some story here.

There’s just something so precise about this little brief. Not just the chairs, but the 114 of them. And there’s something so declaratively stern about that. It’s almost like the paper is saying “We’re too chuffed to bring it up again, but you know what happened, dear reader.” Surely people read about this in a previous issue.

It’d be a fool’s errand to try to figure out what happened, or whatever became of the chairs.

I’m not that foolish.

Page three had a serial installment of a book that was published in 1902. Why people are reading about it here, in the paper, in 1909 escapes me. They could just as easily order it from Amazon. The chapter in this edition of the paper is about a guy loading up a board of directors. And the book is called The Minority, so I just assume it goes on and on for pages about proxy votes and what not. None of the dialog is particularly interesting, so I won’t quote it. But, if you’re intrigued by my description

The back page of the paper has a lot of those society listings which just seem to grow more odd to our modern eyes with every passing year. This note was one of them.

No idea what became of St. John, but I am sure she was a proud mother. Regester graduated from law school in 1905, ran for judge a few times and finally sat on the bench late in his career. He was also a state lawmaker and just had the look of an important man.

I wonder if you had to pay extra for all of that stuff around your ad:

Several new stores had recently opened. Most of the proprietors only shelled out for the brief text mentions. Not these guys.

No idea how long their store lasted. They had a great spot though, two blocks from the courthouse at the center of it all. There’s an auto parts place there now.

Did someone say biscuits?

If that illustration makes you uncomfortable, welcome to the precursor of General Mills! Gold Brand started after they won some big flour awards in 1880, so the label still had a meaning, perhaps. So grand is General Mills’ reach that on Wikipedia the subhead “Aeronautical Research Division and Electronics Division” comes before the diversification subhead.

All of it started with a guy who was a soldier and a businessman and a politician and had a great name, Cadwallader Colden Washburn, who worked alongside a businessman with a very regular-sounding name, John Crosby. They built something big. One of their successors, a Minnesota man named James Ford Bell, got the job the old-fashioned way, nepotism. Bell started working there in 1901. When his old man died in 1915 he became the vice president. In 1928 Bell started General Mills. He’d also play a part in Herbert Hoover’s European Hunger Relief Mission in 1918, worked in the FDA and perfected the look of a gangster. There’s a library and a museum at his university named after him. Big duck hunter too.

You know what sounds like a duck call, if you work at it a great deal? Kazoos.