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This quote from today's DNT ("Kozy license switch OK'd") made me laugh out loud. I love the visual!

"It's going to take more than a guy in a neon shirt and broom to sweep up an army of zombies," Marsden said.
It makes me tempted to organize a zombie flash-mob to drink at the Kozy, something like the Zombie Pub Crawl done in Minneapolis last October.


This reminds me of the only time I ever went into the Kozy. Some friends and I decided we would do a slum bar tour. We started at the round-up..not too bad. Then on to the Kozy. Smelled awful, like old cat pee. Then we went to the Apollo, anyone remember the Apollo? It was on the lower west corner of 1st avenue east. It's now apartments. Anyway, we went in, and part of the tour meant someone had to check out the bathroom. I was elected to go into the women's room. I walked in to find a woman, standing in the middle of the bathroom, pants around her ankles, peeing. Ugh. I turned around to report back to my compadres, and she follows me out of the can, pulling her pants up, and proceeds to sit down on a stool with the pissy pants and order a drink. The only good thing about going there was the bartender gave me the wrong change for a ten and I came out ten bucks ahead.


Anyone ever been upstairs at the Cozy? People live up there that otherwise would have no other place to live. For most of the residents, this is the "last leg" of their tour in life. I'm all for a clean, safe downtown - but where would these people go? Do you think anyone really gives a crap about them outside of the Cozy? They'd be kicked out into the streets. The Cozy has been as much of a service to downtown - a "catch all" for lack of better words, as it's been an eyesore for whitebread Duluth. By the way, the first time I was in the Cozy was in 1991 and I got a knife pulled on me. It was my own fault, really. I was new to this area and was all dressed up in a cheap suit and tie. I didn't get hurt, but it freaked me out. The guy put the knife away when I convinced him that I was a poor college student and only had $3 in my pocket. Since then, I haven't harbored any ill feelings toward the place - it's just not my kind of place. I'm sure a lot of people think the whole building should be torn down and miraculously all those "people who aren't like us" would just dissappear overnight without a trace. All neat and clean like. You want to see a homeless problem? Hang out downtown at the corner of Superior St & 2nd Ave. East in the summer at sunrise and see what happens. Homeless people literally seem to materialize from nowhere. They come out from bushes, alleys, buildings and wherever else they can hide for the night. It's enough to make you break down and cry. "Cleaning" the Cozy would make downtown cleaner on the surface. But those people will still be around. It'll just make them harder to see. Thus, easier to give a shit about.

"Do you think anyone really gives a crap about them outside of the Cozy?"

Does the Kozy even really care, beyond getting their hard-earned beer money?

When the fuck is having a knife pulled on you for wearing a suit ever your fault? Unbelievable. (That's the same exact thinking as that a woman wearing sexy clothes deserves to be raped.) Did you walk up to him and punch him in the face and then smooth the creases in your suit, or were you just minding your own business? Maybe you looked at him cock-eyed?

If that's a valid reason for cutting someone up, I've got a lot of catching up to do.

As far as the suit thing goes, you don't walk into a bar that smells like piss and vomit wearing a suit - then expect not to get hassled. I walked in there at 1 a.m. looking like "The Man" which I'm sure, in the eyes of 99% of the regular patrons, translates to "The Enemy". Life isn't fair. Let's move on. As far as no one caring, even the Cozy... I used to think the same way, until Charlie Parr wised me up. He said on the outside it looks like the owner is a parasite living off drunks. Quite the opposite. For however many years (20? 30??) the former owner would take residents' disability, retirement, etc., checks at the beginning of the month. Out of that, he deducted their rent. What was left, he deducted from their bar tabs. Whatever was left, he gave back to them, which, of course, they would usually use to buy more booze. Now, the residents we're talking about here are hardcore alcoholics. We're talking HARDCORE. Drinking is not an option for them, it's life. They've been through treatment and detox so many times they've lost count. These are the kind of people that drink sterno, grain alcohol, Pine-Sol or anything else they can get their hands on when the booze runs out. They've burned every bridge in their lives and there's nowhere else to go. What's more, they don't want to go anywhere. This choice wasn't made for them - they made it themselves. There is simply nothing left. Does this sound hopeless? It is. I'm not making this stuff up, it's just a sad fact of life.
What the Cozy provides is a roof over their head and a sense of community. It may not be the perfect community most of us embrace, but nevertheless, it's their community. I'm not putting the owner of the Cozy on a pedestal. I'm just saying that at least these people have somewhere warm to go when it's -20 below outside. Lastly, when they bumble down the street and catch a glimpse of our disgusted expressions, shaking heads, shouts of "drunk!" or just plain outright laughter and finger-pointing (we've ALL done this at some point in our lives)... at the end of the day, at least they have a fucking place to go and feel like a human being for christ's sake.

"As far as the suit thing goes, you don't walk into a bar that smells like piss and vomit wearing a suit - then expect not to get hassled...These are the kind of people that drink sterno, grain alcohol, Pine-Sol or anything else they can get their hands on when the booze runs out...At the end of the day, at least they have a fucking place to go and feel like a human being for christ's sake."

You must be the most miserable person on Earth with this hopless, violent outlook on life. You'd fit right in at the Kozy. Well, if you took off your suit first I guess.

gwanto's comments are spot on. i don't think we should let the kozy apartments remain as they are though. they need to be rehabbed so they're actually safe and quality places to live in. everyone deserves a safe place to live whether they drink, use, etc. also i will point out that there are people who live at the kozy who are not chronic alcoholics; for some people with bad rental history, criminal background, or other issues that is the only place they can get an apartment.

gwanto's outlook on life is not miserable and hopeless. it is compassionate and realistic.

No one ever deserves to be attacked in any manner, but there is the mitigation of risks. Like Kitsune said, a woman doesn't deserve to be raped, no matter what she's wearing (which I totally believe). But I still would't dress up in a halter top and mini skirt and get wasted at a frat party.
I also would not hang out in a cemetary after the explosion of a satelite holding a few extra brains...

Thank you, Maria, that is the point I was hoping someone would make... which is why it is so important that the San Marco wet house project be successful, to give people some shred of dignity.

ZB, gwanto's outlook on life is not miserable and hopeless, it is based upon close observation and critical thinking about the actual reality of some people's lives. Were they forced at gunpoint to take that first drink or pop that vein or hit that pipe? In most cases, no. Did they, at some point, make bad decisions that have changed the course of their lives. Possibly. Were they born into a situation from which it would be almost impossible to see another realistic option for their lives. Prrobably. Regardless of how they got to where they are, we, as a civilized society, need to look out for their welfare. If that means looking at the Kozy with a little more respect, then so be it. But really, can't we do a little better than that, doesn't everyone, as a human being deserve better?

Viva San Marco!

Okay, my soapbox is starting to break, time to get down.

ZB looks down at anyone who drinks, whether socially or medicinally.

so do i

right on, Gwanto.

having worked down near that corner for 8 yrs of my life, and having helped my share of folks to detox, and dealt with many desperate wanderers, i can only agree 100%. i've talked with lots of those folks who literally believe that they will die if they quit drinking. (and of course will, if they don't, either way.)

the thing that pisses me off most about the whole Kozy conversation is the idea that if the place weren't there, then the people would disappear as well. it really irritates me that people complain about the location of the memorial (why there? why in the "worst" part of town?) because they might have to talk to/look at someone who scares them.

maria, i'm all for fixing up the Kozy Apts., but don't think for a moment that if that happened they wouldn't roust out every last one of those people. happens in the projects everywhere: hey, we're just going to fix up the joint, right? and next thing you know, the costs are up and oh, sorry, we have to have "mixed income" and they'll all end up living above the Western in its next incarnation.

Hi, I am a 34 year old musician Alcoholic (Non Practicing) and x-drug addict. I have been in depths of most people only read about. I've drank mouthwash for breakfast, to keep from going into withdrawalls. I've been on the street filthy dirty stinking for months at a time. I've been beaten by the cops like an animal. Mostly just for being drunk.
Finally i had enough pain, I don't know if vanity brought me out of this or the want for more but I had been drinking 17 years through rehab more times than I care to count,
Jail over 100 times and beaten down by the street
daily. Now I own my own home and I'm playing in a popular band The DIRTY WORKS.
In a way this gives me sympathy and empathy for the homeless and in a way I think I got off my ass why don't you.
There's no question the homeless problem is an epidemic that's getting worse. Hobo's are gangstas now. Younger and stronger all the time. it's pretty scary as well as depressing.

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