I bought some licorice for Daughter to enjoy upon he 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.








It’s the birthplace of Julee Cruise, the chanteuse from Twin Peaks. I seem to remember an interview in which she was less than complimentary of the place; let’s see what’s there.

The Iowana Hotel.

A standard-issue 1920 hotel. The style said “modern!” And also “you probably won’t die in a fire.”

Want to guess what it is now?

There’s something about these streets that suggest the town has been living with a dark, malevolent forces for a long time, and learned to adapt, but they don’t like it. Outsiders are advised to leave, but it’s with an expression of contempt and indifference.

“They were up there all night, ripping off the protection, and I could hear their horrible leathery wings batting against the sides of the building as they worked. Daybreak came, and they scattered. I expect they’ll be back some day."



A hotel AND a movie theater. No sleep for anyone if they’re showing a Transformers film:

TELEPHONE is what it says above the door:

I assume that’s also the phone company next door, with the tell-tale windowless facade.

“Tired. So very tired. Can barely keep my eyes open


Ladies and gentlemen, the very, very rare Buckaroo’d 2nd floor window:


Another rare VNITED STATES carving:

The V for U is a Roman thing, and was probably used infrequently because it confused people.

Good LORD the shingling of America was a wretched idea:

Looks like the ground floor is turning into chickens.

A little ad-hoc work here, you suspect

A good, clean kill:



I’ll bet this fellow was the building owner’s son.

The display cases for “Neighbors Loving Neighbors” is empty, and I’m kinda glad about that


Someone decided that the upper floor should be cleaned up, but the lower floor? Too late.

This would have been modern in a way that surprised the eye; if you were used to heavy rough stone, the cleanliness of this design would have been fresh and pleasing.

Still is.

The elevator, because it’s Iowa.

All in all, it looks dead.

That'll do - see you tomorrow.





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