Saturday, December 31, 2011

Foreign Lands: Beaver Pelts During Typhoon?

Once again, this isn't technically a ghost, as the business is still in operation, but as I just got back from China, I thought I should try to bring you something from overseas, and this is as close as I got.

This sign is in Hong Kong, near the intersection of Des Voeux Central and Chiu Lung Street, or, more parochially, between the China-like part of Hong Kong and the New York-like part.  I was a little surprised that there would be much of a market for fur in Hong Kong's humid subtropical climate, and yet it's apparently one of the world's biggest exporters of fine fur.  Apparently status trumps common sense and morality.  I guess that shouldn't be a surprise.

See a product label here and a related sign here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can We Get Some Swiss Cake Rolls?

You probably wouldn't notice as it's not going to be a major change from the recent pace, but I'm going to be away for a bit, so you'll just have to wait awhile for the next post (which I think will be #90).  Hopefully this one will be sufficiently satisfying to hold you over.  If you really want to do it up first-class-prison-style, get yourself some water to enjoy while you read.

So, yeah, this is a sign a long abandoned Holsum Bakery Thrift Store on 5th Street North.  This is a pretty desolate bit of town these days, as the area is surrounded by a few major roadways and the county incinerator.  I have vague recollections of one of these stores from growing up, but I'm pretty sure it was somewhere in the north suburbs and not here in industrial downtown.

You can see this sign with a different set of tags here.  You can see in my shot that those tags were painted over some time before what now looks like "River Silk" came about.  Actually, as I look at that older shot more closely it says, "Riv" in large letters and "river" in smaller ones too.  I have no idea whether that's a gang thing or just a street artist thing, but this isn't the only tag in the Twin Cities with those words.  The Google streetview truck apparently came by in between tags. Check out some more shots here and here.

At some point, I think I read something about the role of a thrift shop like this, which sold discounted day old bread and bakery products, for the poor of the city.  Unfortunately, I can't find that source right now.  So I will leave you with a link to a less moving but still interesting (in a very different way) article about the history of the Holsum brand.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Now I'm Starving

This one's not really a ghost, as Kramarczuk's is a going concern, but I like the sign and it's a Nordeast institution.  If you live in the Twin Cities and have you haven't heard of it, well, you must be under a rock or something.  If you haven't been there, your taste buds, at least the ones that like things like Polish sausage and cabbage and potatoes and things, should be waging a silent war on your heathen soul.

What I didn't know is that Wasyl and Anna Kramarczuk were from Ukraine and came to America in the late 1940s.  Their "about" page is a bit vague on the details as to when they opened the deli, but let's just go with "a long time ago."  Here's Walter and Horace K., and a good amount of their fine product in 1998.

Somehow I didn't know that it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Guy Fieri says the sausage making started in 1954 with Anna and Wasyl, but the cafeteria was added in 1976 (a good year) by their son.  Hopefully none of the various generations of Kramarczuk's caused Guy to freak out on account teh gay.

I really should not have posted this just before lunch.