Column night; good thing I did lots of stuff earlier. Except, of course, for the column! Leave that for the last minute, letting ideas assemble in my head like a damp wad of wax. Nothing to report. Birch ate a bunny rabbit. It had at least three minutes to run while he stalked it, but duhhhh, and that was it.

No news from Arizona; wife is having lots of good time with her dad.

A little glimpse into bygone Minneapolis, since Thursday is the Old Cities day, I guess. In a reddit threat someone posted this picture:

The view isn’t that different today.

The corner’s been empty for decades. But what interests me is the building on the corner.


It looked like a White Castle or a White Tower. We’ve talked about the latter here before, right? The competitor to the Castle, the one that, er, borrowed the style of the restaurants and built their own thriving White chain. In 1934, the date of this picture, a long-running lawsuit concluded, and White Tower - the loser - puled out of the area. I consulted a database of the White Castle locations in Minneapolis, and this address didn’t come back. I looked at my book of White Tower history, and found it - up on a truckbed, moved to this location from elsewhere. It’s copyrighted, so I can’t include it, but it’s the same; the distinctive dome, which was not used frequently, is the same.

So Blue House was what they renamed the White Tower. Color + structure. It was later renamed the Green Bottle. It’s possible I saw it when I came. There’s no record of its loss.

There you go.




It’s not often I buy something just for the label, but this one really jumped out. That’s what I told the clerk to explain all the glass and whiskey on the store floor! Ha ha

All of the Compass Box whiskys have great labels.


The website has the ingredients, if you're curious. It’s a mixture of Grain Whisky from Cameron-Bridge, which I wish meant something to me, and Malt Whisky from Clynelish. Really? Again, I’m out of my league. Wikipedia:

In the 1960s, more and more of Clynelish's spirit was going into the blends, and in the 1960s there was a boom and people were buying more luxury items such as cars and whisky. So they needed to up their production levels.

You just know there’s a warning at the top of the piece saying it has Multiple Issues, don’t you.

Street-view of the little Scottish village where it’s made.

It also has a Sherry Butt, but after a month of lockdown, who doesn’t. It’s Malt Whisky from Linkwood, a Speyside distillery owned by Diagio, because what isn’t. I like looking at the small grey overcast towns, and imagining the quaint lives in those small villages, the overwhelming sense of history, the lack of color, the mashed foods, the regular beating of the town’s designated scapegoat with a shillelagh, the annual immolation of the sins in a ritualistic ceremony, and how there’s probably some old man in a pub right now who got off work at the distillery and is sitting down for a Budweiser, because he has ordinary tastes.

I mean, just becomse he's in a picturesque place doesn't mean he has good taste. And it's not even that picturesque.

Anyway, it's good, and I plan to work my way through all their medium-priced offerings. That's the thing about expensive whiskeys: there's no guarantee you'll like it, and you feel really stupid paying a lot of money for something you should have sampled.

That concludes this week's installment of our ongoing expert's tour of fine spirits.








The unlikely-named town of Paragould. My notes when I bookmarked the site for some reason:

Strange place, no real center, no hotels, no big office buildings

Let's see why I stuck around.

Let’s start with the theater:

Originally the Capitol; restored and still open. A good sign!

Then again . . .

Wonder what it was. Dealership, perhaps?

THAT is a substantial OUMB; it seems to dominate the entire block.

Why banks went from Roman grandeur to hydraulic-press people-masher I've no idea.

You know this is a gummint building without checking the name, don't you?

The black glazed blocks pin it to a particular time in the 60s, and I still regret the passing of the style.

Perhaps the owners thought: it's this, or a metal screen.

The screens were less destructive. The screens you could take down.

Same here, perhaps.

It’s modern, but it has the effect of erasing the town’s history - which, in the post-war era, was often the point. Let’s move to the future!

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this wasn't original construction.

Umm. . .

Perhaps the town was closed off for “quarantine” for a few years until people stopped wondering about it, and then reopened with buildings like these, and inordinately polite residents who spoke without contractions and often seemed to look up at the stars at night, as if collection messages?

That’s a raw bit of business.

Scar of a staircase on the left?


The worst of the late 60s early 70s - the semi-cycle windows, the big huge awnings, and Buckaroo’d to boot.

Scar of a dearly departed:


This was done with the confidence that no one would build anything next door for a long time.


f I had to guess, I’d say . . . train station? No, too new. Post Office?

Hope they’ve fixed it up by now.

Shame if it's lost.



Wholesale only, and even if the sign didn’t say it . . .

. . . the loading dock would tell you what they did.




It’s as if they wanted to wall up the door that led to the apartments, but had a fit of conscience at the last moment.


It’s a rare thing, a second-floor porch - why weren’t there more of these?

Because it cut down on rentable space.

Yes, main floor rehab, if you wondering if I’d mention it.

“I ain’t payin’ for no damned carved letters, I don’t see the point. Just don’t."

"But Mister, it's gonna look -"


It’s an odd bank that literally seems to say “reach for it.”


A bygone furniture store.

Late 40s, if I had to judge from the color scheme.

I’m 94% certain that’s original, but you know, it could be a clever new sign. It’s the INC that nags at me.

Anyone else laying claim to the name?

Later known as the Missouri Pacific. As for that fellow, well, there’s the story I mentioned.

The name evolved by combining syllables from the names of the two railroad presidents- joining together the two protagonists. "Para" for Paramore and "Gould" for Mr. Gould, thus making Paragould a truly original name for an unusual town.

Legend says Mr. Gould, who considered himself first in railroading, objected to having his name consigned as the last syllable. For a time, he refused to use the name on his schedules and used instead a local name of Parmley. There was finally a compromise to use the name "Para-Gould". As time passed, the hyphen was dropped and the one word, Paragould, without a capital "G," became the name.

Jay Gould, aout whom Wikipedia says: His sharp and often unscrupulous business practices made him one of the wealthiest men of the late nineteenth century. A highly controversial and unpopular figure during his life; Gould is widely regarded as one of the great villains of his era.

Citation needed? Apparently not.



That will suffice for the moment. Brace yourself for imminent Friday!




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