Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman) Posts

The “Sorry” Bowl

 

Following up on my project to communicate with the far future using stone or metal, I have produced the first piece: The “Sorry” Bowl. This was a collaboration with Sean MacManus/MacManus Stoneworks. Thinking of likely futures, I chose the word “sorry” because it’s what I really wanted to say. The rest of the story:

A Weird Experience Writing About Great Lakes Shipwrecks

I got spooked by a coincidence while researching Great Lakes shipwrecks for a story. The coincidence involved a shipwreck so terrifying I decided not to write my story at all.

I had planned to write about each category of maritime disaster: shipwrecks, ghost ships, and disappearances. With a proper shipwreck, the fact of the sinking is undisputed, but the wreck itself may or may not ever be found. A ghost ship has been abandoned but doesn’t immediately sink, sometimes not for years, resulting in haunting sighting reports. I had written a story about a ghost ship already. Now I wanted to write about a ship disappearing. With such missing ships, a sinking is often assumed, but the ship is simply gone; it may as well have sailed into a black hole.

My disappearance tale remains unwritten. The story I was going to write was of a ship vanishing in plain sight as it sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge. The mystery would be where did it go, and how — was it all an illusion/what is reality anyway, etc. The ship’s possible fates would include “what if the lift bridge acted like a teleporter.” The end would reveal a document recording an encounter with the ship in the distant past, describing the crew as phased half into the deck — a nod to the Philadelphia Experiment. The story would end with this horror image of the still-alive crew, instead of with an explanation. Dude this story was going to rock. All I needed was the name of this doomed hell ship and I could start writing.

Zeppelins Over Duluth

From the book The First Time Germany Invaded Duluth, Minnesota by Peter S. Svenson:

“July 1, 1917: The Weltanshauung, a German hydrogen war-zeppelin, lost power over Bavaria. Captured by the wind, for the next two weeks it blew north across Europe and then the Arctic Circle. The furious crew tried fixing the engines but never succeeded. Technically, they set the World Record for the first arctic crossing by air, a feat later repeated by Shackleton.”

From “Zeppelins Over Duluth!” Duluth Herald, July 16, 1917:

“The Weltanshauung contained an internal airplane hangar with six black tri-planes that emerged from the nose of the craft like hornets. A Canadian fighter squadron looked for the zeppelin over Lake Erie and almost collided with it in the dark. It was a cliff face hanging in the sky, dwarfing them with the black-cross-on-white symbol of the German Air Force. But the Canadians lost it in confusion and fear. Soon a lake steamer spotted it drifting within sight of the North Shore of Lake Superior, toward Duluth. The authorities mobilized the American helium zeppelin, the Federalist, from its floating hangar in the Duluth harbor.

Great Lakes Now episode “Mushrooms and Mobsters”

Regional news from Great Lakes Now, an initiative of Detroit Public Television. At 21:00 there is a blurb about a proposal in Congress for a Federal Great Lakes Authority, envisioned as a “one-stop shop” for Great Lakes promotion, education, and environmental restoration.

Bury Me in Hot Sauce

There is a Medieval legend of the honey mummy: holy men consuming nothing but honey until their excreta and fluids turn to honey, whereupon they die and are sealed in honey-filled stone caskets for a hundred years. Bites of their candied flesh are said to have curative powers, mystically evading definitions of cannibalism.

When I am 75, I will stop eating and drinking anything except hot sauce. After a month, my bodily fluids will become hot sauce. I will poop fiery chili paste like a sambal. The endorphins released with every bowel movement will keep me high as a kite. I will pee siracha sauce squirting like a squeeze bottle. My seminal fluid will be an organic salsa verde. My salivary glands will secrete tabasco. Weeping serrano tears from cayenne eyes, everything I see will have an apocalyptic tint. The interstitial fluid between my cells will run with fermented habanero. Since an all-out hot sauce diet is unsustainable, I will die. Fill a stone coffin with artisan ghost peppers, pureed scotch bonnets, Trinidad scorpions, jalapenos aged in wooden casks, vinegar, salt, lime, onions, and garlic. Place my body inside. Then seal it for 100 years.

The colors of water

 

 

Red: Whiteface Reservoir. Orange: French River. Yellow: French River. Green: Lake Superior. Blue: Lake Superior

Surf and Slide – Great Lakes Now

Detroit Public TV produces Great Lakes Now. The show speaks to me of what we share with other Great Lakes residents and how we should quit fighting about whether or not Lake Superior is the Greatest Lake. This episode focuses on ice sailing, and lake surfing (specifically the Surfistas): “It’s about stoke.”

Stock Lake Superior with Seals and Orca Whales: A Modest Proposal

To the Mayor of Duluth and the City Council: I propose that the city stock Lake Superior with seals, and a community of orcas to keep the seals in check. This plan increases annual tourist revenue by $300,000,000. I outline my proposal below with expenditures.

Seals can live in freshwater. The only population of exclusively-freshwater seals is native to the ratchet Lake Baikal in Russia, the Baikal seals. But geopolitical issues preclude obtaining breeding pairs. Therefore we need to look closer to home: Quebec has harbor seals in a couple lakes, a subspecies of the common seal called the Ungava seal. But, the Ungava is endangered so if we import them, we should establish a breeding program, increasing expenses.

Fortunately, Iliamna Lake in Alaska has a population of common seals trapped there. I suggest we capture and import specimens from that population to get ours started. Technically saltwater seals, the common seals’ adaptability to freshwater has been proven which will give them a head start in Lake Superior. I’ll throw in a couple Ungavas on the house to increase genetic diversity. Estimated cost of capturing and importing 100 breeding pairs of seals from Lake Iliamna: $3,500,000.

This Tugboat Just Sank at the Slip

Picture from last winter skating at the Slip by the tugboat Lake Superior. Paul Scinocca broke the story with a photo of the wreck on his social media. The boat had been out of service for some time, and will be so yet, I reckon.

Wild ice conditions perfect on Lake Superior (a couple days ago)

It was wild ice for a minute.

Winter of Discontent: Lake Superior Wild Ice Report 2021-22

The Wildest Wild Ice

This winter I operated as a lake observer from my hillside fortress of solitude. I dug my binoculars out and pegged them by the window to study the lake’s changes. Obsessed with the wildest wild ice — skating the big lake — I track everything to do with Lake Superior freezing. I track wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and preciptiation daily. In summer this helps me predict local water temps and clarity related to underwater video. In winter this relates to skateable ice on the biggest lake in the world.

Nat Harvie and Adelyn Strei ice sheet jam sesh

The Institute for the Study of Light and Water

I am the founder and only member of the Institute for the Study of Light and Water. In truth its membership includes all who live. Data-gathering continues from my top-floor hillside apartment, the observatory. Generous windows on every side provide views of the lake and the sky. I must complete the Institute’s studies.

PDD Headshot Backstory

When joining Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” roster, I was asked for a headshot and I submitted this which accompanies my essays. It is a video still from an old GoPro on a stick. The camera has broken through the water, and my face is about to break the surface. Water depth @ 20-30 feet, off the sand beaches of Park Point. It was late summer and I wanted one more batch of diving photos in my Aquaman colors.

Lake Superior Eats Lesser Bodies of Water for Breakfast

Lake Superior is the biggest lake on Earth. And it’s the best. Want to fight about it?

If you’re like me, sometimes you mention Lake Superior in conversation, and you find yourself saying, “Lake Superior is the biggest lake in the world — by surface area! But if you’re judging by volume, the biggest lake is Lake Baikal!” But screw that. It’s time to take a stand. Now I say, “Lake Superior is the biggest lake in the world and those other janky lakes can suck it.”

What is a Lake?

The issue is nuanced, which triggers me. The definitions we use for lakes are arbitrary. I looked it up on Wikipedia and it just made me angry: “Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean.” Is it not obvious that oceans also lie on land? What is an ocean on, if not land? The ocean is not bottomless. The bottom of the ocean is land — they checked. Another irritating part of the definition is that lakes are “surrounded by land.” Now, don’t tell me oceans are not surrounded by land. There is no difference between oceans and lakes. The definition of a lake as “laying on/surrounded by the land” means oceans are, in fact, lakes.

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