Apologies for yesterday - technical difficulties. It's up now, and you might enjoy an account of "Toy Story 4," which was not what I thought it was going to be. Except that it was.

I bought some licorice for Daughter to enjoy upon her return, since something told me there wasn’t a lot of it in Brazil. Perhaps there was, but she might not have been with a family that incorporated licorice into their lives. Some don’t. Some, like ours, will go for years at a time without consuming any licorice, until an opportunity presents itself - and then you think why don’t I eat more licorice? This is delicious.

You may disagree; takes all kinds, de gustibus, etc. But I have found some I really like: Wiley Wallaby. You think: authentic Australian licorice! They really know how to make it there. But no. It’s from Perham MN. Once it was called “Australian style,” but no more; I guess that didn’t have the cachet they expected.

The company also makes dog food. Tuffy’s! I remember those sacks from years ago; a tough-looking dog, winking. It was the nick of one of the founders, I gather. I also expect that the two lines are kept separate for manufacturing purposes, although there are some common ingredients. What would you guess is the #1 ingredient in licorice?

Wheat flour.

Huh. Somehow you thought it was . . . something stiffer? More rubbery? Somehow you thought the the licorice itself was a viscous substance, formed into ropes or chunks?

No. When I was growing up, licorice could be had in three forms:

Whips. The classic six-inch stick, with twisty ridges

Laces. Very thin, strawberry flavored, eaten in clumps. Note: the problem with “strawberry licorice” or “red licorice” will be death with in a minute.

  Nibs. From memory, the package was Egyptian in style, with a clear window that let you observe the Nibs. They were underwhelming, but they were different than the other candies in their flavors, so this set them apart.

(There was a licorice representative in the Chuckles package, but the sugar overwhelmed the flavor.)

We had Nibs before Twizzlers, I seem to recall - but they’re both made by the same company, Y & S, a confectioner since 1840. Nabisco owns it now, of course. A 1975 NYT interview with the president said he was trying to raise his brands’ profiles, so people would say “black Twizzler” for black licorice and “Red Twizzler” for a strawberry whip, but the end result was the horror of RED LICORICE, which had no licorice profile at all.

Red Nibs were introduced, and tasted like cough syrup.

Anyway: if no one had ever saved the Nibs wrapper, I’d have to rely on memory, and since I can’t draw it, my description would be all the evidence we had. And then I die and everyone in my generation dies, and the evidence is never first-hand again.

But someone did save it, for some reason. And someone who collected a lot of packaging, for some reason, bequeathed it to someone else, who put up a ton of pictures on Flickr. I’m not crazy about Flickr sets anymore, when it comes to vintage collections; the images just float in the black, often without stories or contexts. But at least someone took the time and work to put them up, where they will provide a humble testament to their era . . .

Until Flickr goes the way of all websites.








One thousand, one hundred souls, more or less. From its Wikipedia page: "In the mid-1860s, George Archer had a sod tavern on the north banks of what was then Lake Manyaska located just south of Sherburn. Marked by a lone Cedar tree, pioneer travelers used it as a rest stop as they traveled from Fairmont to Jackson. Soon there were pioneer settlers and a post office. As stage coaches from Fairmont to Jackson and St. James to Estherville crossed the area, it was concluded that there was a definite need for a settlement."

The article is dinged for its lack of sources. Maybe it's the recollections of an immortal man who lives there still. Ever think about that, Wikipedia? Huh?

From their application for the National Registry of Historic Places:

Many of the buildings in the district are second generation brick buildings which replaced earlier woodframe structures which were more modest in size and design and dangerously susceptible to fire. The fifteen buildings in the historic district were constructed during a relatively brief, approximately ten year period and represent efforts to construct substantial, handsome, and permanent structures in architectural styles popular at the time.

The buildings attest to the optimism which infused new communities established along Minnesota's frontier rail lines, communities which looked to a future of sustained economic growth

I’m not saying there’s something odd going on here; the screen is standard, the part of the screen falling off to reveal the old building is standard. No, I’m not saying there’s something odd going on here.

Not saying that at all.


A tidy main street with a grain elevator at the end: perfect little nice Minnesota small town


That color - sort of fever-beets - was popular for facade overhauls, and I’d bet it has a limited time frame. '62 - '67.



I don’t know what the architect was thinking when he added that rustication above the middle windows.

Buckaroo’d citizen that proved brick is an effective and economical source for making the facade slightly interesting. Bonus: pressed tin cornice.

The Chard Building, if you’re curious.

“We tried the wooden gravity press on all the windows, and two failed right away”

Those panels can be pried off by a kitten with a crowbar at this point, I'll bet.

Lamentable window rehab.

It's as if the sign imitates a glitch, or a defective CRT.

Another name time is erasing:

“No, don’t put it on the roof. When it gets full of snow I don’t want to have to climb stairs to clear the dish.”


I can’t imagine why it went out of business. Sunlight’s so overrated.

“Okay, I’ll take your sister on, but I’m not changing the name of the business.”


“No, I won’t”


Technically, OSHA will sometimes let you count the length of the safety ladder’s shadow


“The winning entry for the Sherburne Community Building name is here in my hand! Drum roll, please.”


If you’re literally a club for odd fellows, it stands to reason you’d have a variety of door shapes.


Here we end: almost original. If I had to guess, I’d say it was covered for years, then uncovered in hopes of a better third act.


That'll do - see you tomorrow.





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