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Fierce loyalty, initial aloofness. »

This article reminded me of several posts on PDD over the years about newcomers having a difficult time establishing social circles in Duluth…

Minnesota Nice, explained

A lot of it hit close to home for me (even though I grew up & live across the border in Wisconsin, so I guess I’m not technically “Minnesota nice”), like the following:

In a nutshell, the state’s settlers from northern or central Europe — primarily Germany and Scandinavia — had a profound impact on how the social culture here developed, McKnight contends.

“The traditional culture of Norway/Sweden was for centuries based on the concept of One People, One Language, One Religion,” McKnight writes. “Swedes’ lifelong friends were chosen from among people they went to school with and their kinship group. An individual made friends slowly, but they were friends for life — in the true sense of the term ‘for life.’”

Anyone who has lived in Scandinavia, as McKnight did for years, knows that “it’s somewhat hard to get an ‘in’ there,” he said. But once the friendship is established, “all barriers to communication break down and there results a torrent of friendship, expressions of sincerity, and even personal confidences.”

The article’s part of an MPR series which you can read over here.
(more…)

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Am I the only one… »

icechunk

…who spends most of the winter fighting the urge to sneak through parking lots, compulsively kicking ice chunks off of other people’s cars?

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“I’ll give you a medal if you get out alive.” »

“You’ll never see another town like Duluth.  It’s not a tourist destination, but it probably should be.  Depends what season you’re in there, though.  There are only two seasons:  damp and cold.  I like the way the hills tumble to the waterfront and the way the wind blows around the grain elevators. The train yards go on forever, too.  It’s old-age industrial, that’s what it is.  You’ll see it from the top of the hill for miles and miles before you get there.  You won’t believe your eyes.  I’ll give you a medal if you get out alive.”

Bob Dylan,
Rolling Stone #1078, May 14, 2009

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Whacko Yard Art: Stickin’ It To The Man Edition. »

Now, I don’t know if this counts, because I took these pictures back in September and I don’t know if it’s still standing (it looks like parts of it were made out of papier-mâché, so I’m not sure how it would’ve fared through the winter months), but it was definitely in a yard and it was definitely art.

And yeah, definitely a little whacko, too.

(East Superior Street, near the Northland Country Club, 9/21/08.)

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Whacko Yard Art: Here Comes Santa Claus Edition. »

I love Christmas trim!   The more, the merrier, I always say.   Fortunately, that’s not an uncommon sentiment in the Ashland area, so around Christmastime there’s plenty to enjoy.

One shining jewel in the Garland City’s crown?   This fabulous yard display on the east end of town:

I love it!   There’s so much, it’s hard to find an angle to get it all in the frame at once!

Now, heaps of Christmas trim alone don’t make this whacko yard art.   I get that.   The devil’s in the details on this one:

1.  This picture was taken on Tuesday.  This week.

2.  The people who own this house are known around town as “The Cowboy and Mrs. Cowboy.”    (They run the local Subway franchise, and like all local fast food franchise operators, they are local celebrities.)  Also: The Cowboy sidelines as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator every February.

3.  While the majority of this display is store-bought and/or inflatable, there are some fabulous homespun touches throughout that really shouldn’t be missed.  My favorite:  the Santas up front…especially Patriot Santa.


Oh, yeah, and they squeezed a little Jesus in there, too.

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