To continue our fascinating account of “the hard form of water that came from the sky,” there was more. Lots. Had to gun through a glacier to get out of the driveway. Parking downtown looked grim, on first pass. Most of the cars in the area where I park looked as though they’d been there all night, which is odd for metered parking - but perhaps they figured that the city had other priorities. The occasional open spot had a mountain range of hard snow piled up by the plow. You might get in. Getting out was something else. I finally found a spot at the end of a block, recently vacated, and backed into it, matching my tires with the ruts. Mission accomplished. I popped my umbrella and walked to the office, marveling at the sights. The odd thing about hating winter is the part where you also love it.

The view from Jasperwood tonight.


What is this?

It's an account of an Internet Peregrination, of course! Drawing a connection from one thing to the other. You know how you click on a link, read a Wikipedia page, find something else, and carom off in another direction? That's this feature. This is the first one I wrote, before I started to refine the idea. Not to oversell it, of course. The problem with these is their occasional lack of a point. But in the process of going from here to there . . . we learn things.

I was going through 1930s newspaper ads, and found something that seemed amusing.

  SISSY BREAKFAST. Real boys don’t eat sissy breakfasts. Take the example of this sissy guy who thinks he can go on the radio after consuming sissy food.

The wife sets him straight, and soon enough his voice gets the rich, mellow tones you associate with REAL MEN who are consuming industrially-prepared oat derivatives.

The wife sets him straight, and soon enough his voice gets the rich, mellow tones you associate with REAL MEN who are consuming industrially-prepared oat derivatives. The effects are apparently immediate:

If you're not interested in impressing your wife, be assured that her friends will feel differently about you.

The ad appears at the bottom of a full-page ad, the rest of which has nothing to do with radio:

Babe wouldn’t eat a sissy breakfast, either.

You could send away for things, if you were a fan, and of course you were, weren’t you? Real boys were big Babe fans. Here’s what you get for one box top.

I wonder. I . . . wonder. Googling . . . well, there it is.

  This etsy page wants $125 for it. An ebay page wants $200.

Well, if that one survived, what of this?

  Three box tops got you this authentic Babe-approved Watch Fob Score Indicator!



Found here. Some kid hung on to it. Passed it along.



This seems remarkable, no? It does to me.


According to the flying tigers antique website (where I could spend a lot of money) it was made by PARISIAN NOVELTY CO., CHICAGO.

They have a website! That gives us an address . . .

Looks as if they've been in the same spot since the start.

Nice off-the-shelf medallions to class the joint up.

I looked down the block to see what else was there, and it’s an interesting neighborhood. This stuck out right away:

Look at that gorgeous old remnant:

Why the painting over the posters? It's a mystery.

Hey - that's a historical plaque. Computer, enhance:

  Guess I don't have Blade-Runner grade enhancement. Well, searching around yields a webpage for this particular Schlitz landmark. It was a company-owned saloon.

Let’s go back to the Parisian Novelty company, because there was a house adjoining the place that looked well-preserved.

Once it had neighbors on either side that looked the same. Perhaps the owner of the Novelty factory lived in one of these.

Say, what's upstairs? Computer, enhance

Maybe it's the ghost of the kid who sent away for the Babe Ruth pin.

Wonder what it looked like the last time car drove past.

You can go back years and the curtain is never not knotted.

What went on in the room, and whose hand knotted the curtain - well, that's where it all dead-ends, and we're left to imagine the rest.

See? This doesn't go anywhere in particular, like most web rabbit-holes, it just wanders off a million miles from our starting point of Sissy Breakfast.

We'll refine the wanderings as the weeks go on.












A long time ago I found an ancient fax photo of the streets of a city, converted into a pedestrian mall. There weren’t any notes on the picture to tell me where this might be. It was only much, much later that I learned it was Danville, Illinois.

What happened to all this? What became of downtown Danville? I was eager to see if the ill-advised experiment had lasted, and what effect it might have had. I was not prepared for what I found. Looks like Urban Renewal hit, and hit hard.

We’ll start here, at the end of a formerly important commercial street.

Strange 70s renovation in the middle. See the ledge on the left?

Leftover from its demolished neighbor.

Across the street, a late Spaceship-Modern church. You know it’s a church. Even though it doesn’t look churchy, you know what it is.

Fabulous old commercial structure, now trashed and awaiting a kind renewal.

The lower-floor rehab of the building above was part of a late-60s / early 70s new construction. Not very attractive.

From 2007: a nice commercial structure with classical motifs.

Annnnd today.

Well, surely that's an anomaly . . .



A few teeth in an otherwise empty jaw:

This Is It Furniture! Maybe they mean that this is, in fact, the home of It Furniture.

Again, signs of prosperity - once upon a time. The entire stretch has the forlorn look NP Avenue used to have in Fargo; evidence everywhere of completely occupied blocks, the survivors marooned in emptiness.

No one home.

You wonder what it sold over the years, and who was the guy who was making enough to spiff it up with the name-display area over the windows. Whether he was the guy to turn out the lights for good. Hope not.

Oh good, an enclosed downtown shopping center on the left. Nothing like a big empty street-facing parking lot to give you that ol’ hustle & bustle.

Another corner you know was once much more.

Back in 2007 . . .

And then  . . .


At least the OUMB survived urban renewal - or possibly was intended as the Shining Example of the new downtown.

That’s if this was all part of a broad program, which I’m starting to doubt.

And just like that, we reach the main intersection, and see something old and nice.

Classical buildings in this shape aren’t rare, but they’re not exactly common. It’s always a nice look.

Down the block a bit, something new and dull.

But what’s that to the left? That’ll be next week’s installment, as we search for Old Danville.



That'll do, and it should! That was a lot.

But there's more! The Main Street feature produced a lot of pictures from places that didn't earn a look and detailed look, but are interesting for other reasons. Composition, decay, improvement, the occasional person who wanders into posterity. Usually I start with Main Street postcards, but I'm a bit low this year. Restaurants follow, as is the holy order of things.




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