October 2015 Posts

R.I.P. Mr. Richard H. Gastler

Richard Gastler

Longtime Denfeld High School economics teacher Dick Gastler died on Thursday, Oct. 15, at the age of 79. Among many great teachers at Denfeld, Mr. Gastler would have to be considered the most famous of his era. He was a ham. He broke into song all the time. He frequently digressed into stories about growing up in Chaska. He wore cheesy leisure suits, famously sporting the same one every day during a stretch of 1984 when he was raising money to fight hunger — a stunt that landed him on Good Morning America. The suit was burned when Mr. Gastler reached his fundraising goal. The ashes are still in a trophy case at the school.

Old Casino Signs

Casino SignsI noticed these in the alley behind Fond-du-Luth Casino yesterday. Anyone got a pickup truck and a nice loft space?

Selective Focus: Coming Home

Paul McIntyre

Paul McIntyre, untitled

The idea of “coming home” propels nearly all our endeavors, knowing we are tethered to other people, to familiar, comforting things. For anyone lacking a stable, sane place, or those exiled by circumstance, the capacity to venture is stunted while the desire to find moorings never leaves us. Emily Norton’s “Family Motto” (below) states well this simple, not easily-attained aspiration.

North Country Trail nears connection to Superior Hiking Trail

North Country Trail at MN and WI border

A new 4-mile section of the North Country National Scenic Trail, located 17 miles southwest of Superior, opens Saturday, bringing the trail another step closer to connecting to Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail.

The new segment crosses the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s MacQuarrie Wetlands in western Douglas County and features scenic overlooks of the Nemadji River Valley and the basin of Glacial Lake Duluth. It also crosses a section of Douglas County Forest and Wisconsin DNR lands.

Link to driving map

Keep your weather eye open. And use Duluth Imperial flour.

US Weather and Wind Signal Flags

Art and Literature about the Environment

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One more post about art and literature this week … some poetry readings and some paintings about the environment, in different ways.

I attended the Wolf/Flow art opening, hosted by Stephanie Johnson and Angie Arden, at the Zeitgeist Arts gallery.The work shimmers with the energy of collaboration, with passion for the natural world, and with exploration of a variety of media. And, if you contributed a line to the community poem at Wolf/Flow 2, you may be happily surprised to see what became of it.

Rink Relief: Episode 1

Video by Rawlin Kessler shot at Rip Williams Memorial Rink at Chester Park.

Lift Bridge Facelifts


Found on Tumblr, Lift Bridge Facelifts – “A study in removing Duluth’s iconic Aerial Lift Bridge out of the endless logos where it dwells.”

Duluth Arts in Perk Place and in the MIA


I got lucky today and stopped by Perk Place at the time that Naomi “Sundog” Yaeger-Bischoff was completing her exhibition of recent photographs. Naomi operates the Duluth Daily Photo blog), where some of these works first appeared. (She is also the guiding vision behind the Budgeteer.) The picture above is of the artist and the support staff (daughter) who made the exhibit possible. Swing by and take a look.

This Week: ranked-choice voting, mayoral debates and a bunch of spooky things

Untitled design
Here’s a bit of what you’ll find in this week’s PDD Calendar:

Get informed about ranked-choice voting, spit in Columbus’ eye and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, take in a Halloween-themed Nerd Nite at Teatro Zuccone, take in a mayoral debate between Emily Larson and Chuck Horton and laff it up with podcaster and noted comic David Huntsberger.

Sarah Brokke opens two art shows at once, UMD Women’s Hockey starts off their season with a game against Mankato, the Buffalo House’s Haunted Shack opens for spooky business, Bethany Crisis Center holds their 7th annual Music & Dance Party, Disney’s Aladdin Jr. opens at the Duluth Playhouse, Boo at the Zoo 2015 continues at the Zoo and the Superior Spooktacular is a full day of Halloween activities.

RoofTop Fable featuring the Spin Collective – “Fighting the Current”

Duluth rockers RoofTop Fable team up the Spin Collective fire dancers to create this unique visual experience. “Fighting the Current” is off the band’s debut album, Chapter One, which will be released Nov. 21 at R.T. Quinlan’s, where the band holds a monthly residency rocking the downtown stage every third Saturday of the month.

Fifteen-year journey on the Superior Hiking Trail complete

SHT VictoryThe champagne bottle popped shortly after noon today. In what must rank among the laziest accomplishments in endurance sports history, I completed the final stretch of my quest to hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail … 15 years after I started.

The 296-mile journey was tackled in about 45 different hikes spread out between Sept. 24, 2000, and Oct. 11, 2015. The longest single hike was about 15 miles. The shortest was today’s hike, which was less than a mile. Perhaps some day I’ll gather stories from the journey into some sort of narrative, but for today I’ll just present a simple breakdown of the mileage per year.

Halloween Banners


Time to send ’em in. Your creepy, comical, kooky Halloween banner photos, those long skinny photos at the top of the page. Click here for complete submission guidelines, but the basics are: 1135 pixels wide by 197 pixels high, e-mail them to [email protected]

David Campbell interviews Alan Sparhawk’s guitar

Boundary Waters 2015

Video by Jeremy Schendel.