akjuneau Posts

It’s an emergency! Sound the bugle!

I live within earshot of ALL the noise going on around the airport this week as the 148th Fighter Wing conducts some training exercises.

I’m used to all the military fighters and other planes overhead, and I still enjoy looking up into the sky to see them.

But sometime last night, I groggily woke up to what sounded like bugles playing over a tornado siren. I wasn’t sure if I had been dreaming until just now, when (in a fully awake state) I heard it again – and it was clearly coming from over by the airport. I’d never heard it before last night.

The sound is a constant tornado siren noise, with a few overriding bursts of what sound like bugles playing a melody of 8-12 notes. The whole thing lasts maybe 45 seconds. I’d like to know what that sound signals to the military personnel. Does anyone out there know?

How others see us


A travel article / narrative about Duluth was posted today on the Chicago Tribune website; it looks like it might be slated to run in Sunday’s paper.

The writer includes lots of local businesses and sights. There are some factual errors, but those aside it’s fun to see how others see us. Unfortunately, it appears there are no photos with the article (the picture with this post was taken by me from Enger Tower in late summer 2006).

‘Honking Tree’ on CBC Radio

The sad story of the “Honking Tree” got national media play in Canada last night on CBC Radio’s “As It Happens.” I’m not sure if the segment was included in the edited-down version of the show that airs on MPR.

The tree segment is a few minutes in; you have to wait through a couple of other segments.

Takk for Maten & Kippis update


Takk for Maten, the Scandinavian cafe, is tentatively set to reopen May 15 in the former DAC deli space in the Tech Village, on Superior Street next to Pizza Luce. The cafe used to be on Lake Avenue just above Superior Street, until an unfortunate steam pipe incident in January.

Takk for Maten (Norwegian for “thanks for the food”) will occupy the space during the day. At night, tentatively starting in June, it will be home to Kippis (Finnish for “cheers”), a full-service tapas bar.

Vote Spud!


I spotted this sign along Wisconsin Highway 13 between Ashland and Mellen a few weeks ago, right before the spring elections in Wisconsin.

I got a kick out of so many things about the sign – the use of “Spud” as the primary name, the (afterthought?) addition of “AKA Ryan Collins,” the use of scrap wood and (probably) leftover purple paint, nailing the sign right on a tree trunk… Small-town, north woods campaigning at its best. Well, except for that whole nailing to a tree trunk thing. I’m not a big fan of that.

Apparently Spud won a seat on the town board (scroll to the bottom). Godspeed, Spud – I hope you serve the Town of White River well.

Classic Duluth TV: Mr. Toot and Captain Q

For your enjoyment, clips of the Mr. Toot and Captain Q kids’ shows from — I’m guessing — the early 1960s on what was then WDSM, now KBJR.

Best parts: The starstruck kids introducing themselves to Mr. Toot at the beginning (Peggy, we heard you already!), and Captain Q’s parrot (Angus Mc—–?) helping him pitch Arrowhead milk.

Thanks to YouTube user NorthlandSports, who has posted a number of other vintage Duluth TV clips, including the 1975 KBJR newscast that was featured a few weeks back on the Attic.

Our world, encapsulated

This weekend I’ll be hanging drywall in my humble home, and there is a little compartment upstairs that will be sealed up for good (or, at least until the house is remodeled again or demolished. It was closed up for about 40 years before I got to it).

I’m going to get a shoebox-sized plastic container and create a time capsule to place in that little compartment.

Already slated for the capsule: a newspaper, a few coins, and some photos of the house and neighborhood.

Any suggestions on some small things to add that would be cool to find a few decades from now?

Spooky Menards


I ventured out to the brand-spanking-new Menards in Hermantown today. I wandered through about half the store, and around every corner the same thought crossed my mind: Holy cow, this is so spookily identical to the West Duluth Menards, I’m expecting to see the I-35 viaduct in front of me when I walk out the door.

Now, I know big chains have cookie-cutter stores, but if you go from, say, one Target to another, there generally are some pretty significant differences in layout, displays, etc. The big, new Menards in my Wisconsin hometown is very different from the West Duluth store. But that’s not the case in Hermantown. It’s eerie. Everything I saw – pet supplies, seeds, insulation, garage-door openers, checkout lanes – was in exactly the same proximity to each other as in the West Duluth store. There are a few cosmetic differences – but not much.

What makes this even more odd is that – correct me if I’m wrong – the West Duluth store was adapted to fit the old Shoppers City structure, so conceivably that should have been kind of a unique setup in the Menards chain. Maybe the company really liked it and wanted to duplicate it. In any case, go see the identical twin Menards for yourself.

Where can I get kerosene?

I just acquired a nifty little kerosene heater to use when working out in the garage, or – maybe starting this week – to use when the power goes out at my house.

But, I’m not sure where the best place is to get kerosene to fuel the thing.

Hardware stores have kerosene in little metal jugs, but the price is almost $10 a gallon. It has to be available for cheaper than that, right?

The only gas station listed under “kerosene” in the phone book said they don’t carry it anymore.

So, does anyone know where I can get kerosene in Duluth? (Time is running out before the freezing rain starts)

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