Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman) Posts

Obituary of Peter S. Svenson, Minnesota’s Rogue Historian

August 23rd 1947-January 24th(?) 2022. The historian Peter Sven Svenson died without heirs sometime last week according to his autopsy. He will be buried in Forest Hills cemetery in Duluth after the spring thaw. Speaking as one of his only friends, I have penned this obituary.

A document hoarder, Svenson was practically the state’s analog back-up brain for decades, and its conscience.

He was a popular history professor at UMD from 1973-2002. However, he tussled with the university over the legitimacy of his sources. Then they disavowed his work altogether when issues arose about his statistical analyses. Under pressure, he took early retirement, but sued the university for defamation. He lost.

Svenson went on to self-publish books, monographs, and articles, but struggled to find a paying audience. His most important work was produced during this period. Being his friend enabled my access to his research and unpublished manuscripts.

“What About the Legend of the Underwater Lake?”

This informative article refers to the “legend” of Lake Inferior, which originated here at Perfect Duluth Day with my 5/8/21 Saturday Essay, “Lake Inferior: the Underground Lake Beneath Lake Superior.” From a blog post to legend in less than two years — oh, internet! The informative article summarizes the “legend,” linking to the PDD Saturday Essay as the source, which is repeated in a second article seemingly plagiarizing the first:

Avant-Garde Women: Review of the novel “Branded” by founding Dadaist Emmy Hennings

Contents
-Introduction
-The Key to Dada
-Hennings on Language
-Hennings and Expressionism
-Hennings as a Burroughsian Beat
-Technology in Branded
-Fashion/Style Notes from 1908-1910
-The Branded Playlist

Introduction

Just last year I pointedly wondered why the books of founding Dadaist Emmy Hennings remain untranslated into English after more than 100 years. I threatened to translate them myself even though I don’t know German. Thankfully, I caught wind of a forthcoming English edition of Hennings’ autobiographical novel, Branded (edited and translated by Katharine Rout). Since I demanded translations and one appeared, now I demand this book become a film. It is Hennings’ origin story, the often hilarious tale of a proto-Dadaist navigating contradiction, absurdity, and lies.

Duluth View Checklist

From the Institute for the Study of Light and Water. There are three main components to your scenic view from Duluth, Minnesota: the sky, the lake, and in between those, whatever Wisconsin is doing. These components have been sorted below into color and texture for your convenience. Using the provided ingredients, you should be able to record and/or recreate any Duluth view. Print out and carry with you. Circle all that apply.

Date/time: __________

Sky Color: Sky blue. Teal. Blueberry. White. Pink. Lavender. Burgundy. Violet. Subdued sunrise/set like a natural gas flame. Blazing sunrise/set like an atomic bomb. Black. Gray. Red. Magenta. Periwinkle. Pastels. Peach. Indigo. Orange. Layer cake of colors.

Sky Texture: Cloudless. Partial cloud cover. Full cloud cover. Full cloud cover allowing sliver of sky at horizon. Fog. Partial fog. Brooding twisty clouds. Washboard/fishbone clouds. Cigar-shaped clouds. Strips of clouds like filets. Pulled cotton clouds. Clouds underlit by sun or city. Towering cloudbanks like Southwestern mesas pregnant with lightning. Two or more unique cloud layers moving independently. Crisscrossing white contrails (gold/pink at sunrise/set). Single contrail (gold/pink at sunrise/set). Aircraft. Laced with birds. Single bird. Gulls making a racket. Gulls in great gyres. Raptor/s. Sheets of rain. Sprinkles. Sun shower. Mists (glowing/not glowing). Rainbow/s. Snow flurry. Blizzardous. Big fat snowflakes practically hovering in the still air. Sleety. Full moon. Middling moon. Sliver of a moon like God’s fingernail clipping. Moonlight coming from somewhere but you’re not sure where. Full of stars. Intermittent stars. Single star. Electrifying auroras. Auroras so faint you’re not sure if it’s a thing, but maybe. Antenna farm. Antenna farm in fog. Antenna farm in deep winter frosted white against blue sky. Layer cake of textures.

Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth MN

AI illustrator Stable Diffusion from the prompt “Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, MN”

“Joel in Duluth” on “Structural Weaknesses in the Democratic Campaign Apparatus”

Joel in Duluth” currently has an essay on the front page of Dailykos.com, a hive of fightin’ mad progressives. The essay is a cogent analysis of the recent Santos scandal in New York, where a Dem candidate’s oppo research was so underwhelming, he lost to Santos (above) who immediately became embroiled in a scandal about whether his bio is full of lies. Joel in Duluth diagnoses the problem using his own campaign experiences.

I tested ChatGPT’s morals and things escalated quickly

I asked the AI illustrator craiyon.com “Are you sentient?” Its cagey reply was the pantheistic picture above. So I was eager to see how ChatGPT would reply to the question. I also wanted to test its AI morals. Here’s how it went.

Great Lakes Now episode: “Great Lakes Wildlife”

This contains several segments including one about Enbridge Line 3 (@17:15), and a mention of Duluth’s “Water is Life” festival (@24:58).

A Psychogeographical Map of Duluth, 2004

I drew this conceptual map of Duluth’s arts-and-music-scene in 2004, then filed it away for 18 years. The details may only interest old-school scenester hipsters, but the broad strokes reflect my thinking on what makes Duluth cool, and the nature of scenes as social units. The word “psychogeographical” refers here to the artistic arrangement of my little sociological analysis.

Local rocker Nat Harvie once observed to me that old-school Duluthians gush about these bygone days with little provocation. True. I moved to Duluth in 1998 in what is widely regarded as its heyday, its coming-to-awareness-of-itself as a music-and-arts scene. This can be roughly correlated with the formation of the Ripsaw News, now long defunct. That storied rag began in opposition to the Reader as the premier alternative newsweekly and we were off to the races. I remember an early Ripsaw meeting with Brad Nelson and Cord Dada and a room of creatives, and the question was, “Who can do what?” I said, “I am a writer and cartoonist,” and I was in.

Duluth had everything I wanted in its vital percolations. I graphed the scene as I saw it, below:

Duluth Canal/Lift Bridge stock footage in ghost ship doc

I was watching this YouTube documentary on the Big Old Boats channel, like ya do. It is about the Carroll Deering, which wrecked on Cape Hatteras without her crew in a nautical mystery. But a lot of the footage used is stock footage from other sources, for seaside vibes. So when I saw Ol’ Lifty on screen @17:30-17:46, I wasn’t too surprised.  Duluth as generic sea location, thrown into amateur doc about unrelated East Coast disaster.

The Institute for the Study of Light and Water: Another psychedelic weather report

Sunset a silent H-bomb

Now a burning Saturn, now an apricot pastel dab on slate. Sun zips the sky closed behind it as it goes, now dying, now resurrecting in orange creamsicle. Color cosmologies. Gold birch leaves rattle like paper coins. Leaves crunch, clatter, gather against curbs.

The Bass Players of Low

The paper said the eulogy began: “Friends, family, and bass players, welcome.”

Developing Story

Cruising the Great Lakes with Dan Kraker, MPR

Minnesota Public Radio’s Dan Kraker talks about the Great Lakes cruise ship industry.

Remembering the Fitzgerald

Great Lakes Now is a production of Detroit Public Television.

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