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David Beard Posts

The Only Right that is too Often Exercised Alone

The most diverse workplace I have ever known was a nursing home kitchen with workers from age 18 to 82 of many races and genders.

Kitchens breed a complex affection. We saw each other every day, taking two or more meals together. I developed favorite coworkers — the washers who will plow through the dishes quickly, not the washers who realize they are paid the same no matter how many plates they wash in an hour.  We celebrated each other’s joys. The cook might bake a small cake to celebrate a staff wedding, or streamers might appear outside the dietitian’s office on her birthday. On Friday we might go drinking — it was a special challenge to pressure the people working the dinner shift on Friday and the breakfast shift on Saturday to do a “turn and burn.”

It was on one of those Fridays that my coworker Erin told us she was pregnant, that it was unplanned and unwanted, and that she didn’t know what to do. She was likely, she said, to have an abortion.

On another Friday, in my home, maybe a week or so later, I had friends over — friends from both the kitchen and from college. I was 21, I was broke, and I was teased mercilessly for serving Milwaukee’s Best beer. Erin drank three of them in an hour, which I know wouldn’t make a koala bear tipsy. Nonetheless, I was young, I was stupid, and so I said to her: “You’re drinking?” I wasn’t sure she was 21 even, but I was sure she was pregnant.

A Cool Resource: Digital Collections in Veterans Hall

I’m preparing to teach a class that integrates literature and games about Vietnam into writing, and my excellent colleague Carl introduced me to Veterans Memorial Hall

Veterans Memorial Hall is a joint program of the St. Louis County Historical Society and the United States Military service veterans of northeastern Minnesota, with a mission to gather, preserve, interpret, and promote the rich and diverse human experiences of veterans, their families, and communities through museum, archival, and educational programs

Veterans Memorial Hall has moved to the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center (the Depot) and is maintained by the St. Louis County Historical Society and the military service veterans from the Arrowhead region. The speakers at the original dedication ceremony promised, “Your services to the country will be remembered so long as liberty is prized and the patriotic valor is remembered.”

Veterans Memorial Hall aims to honor that statement. We have collected more than 1,500 artifacts and 6,000 veteran stories. Today, we have one of the largest collections of military items and veterans’ stories in the state of Minnesota.

Stories can be found here.  If you know more local resources about Veterans, I’d love to hear them.

Former Coffee Shop (now vending area) Artists Salute

This is a small salute to the artists who created the art on the walls of what used to be a coffee shop in the St. Louis County Courthouse, now a vending machine area with beautiful walls.

If the creators of these clever paintings want to take a bow by offering their names, please do.

Duluth Foreign Trade Zone

I had no idea there was land in Duluth that was (kind of) not part of the United States.

The comic book Threadbare, collecting comics from truth-out.org, talks about Foreign Trade Zones in the garment industry. But many industries use FTZs. According to mnftz.com:

Products moving through U.S. FTZs include electronics, computers, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, food products, office equipment, sporting goods, manufacturing components and more. Manufacturers, distributors and suppliers are all candidates for FTZ Subzones.

Goodbye, Peter Pestalozzi

Peter Pestalozzi lived outside Ely, but his art was often seen in the Duluth Art Institute and in local galleries. Peter passed away, and I lost someone who was distant but important to me.

A Certain Kind of Nerd: Wrestling, Art, Politics, Nerds, Games

It’s Nerd High Culture in Duluth this week.

Duluth Trivia Board Game

Savers is a wonderful thing. For $1.99, I picked up a Duluth Trivia board game.

Some doozies:

1. What was on the roof of the former Goldfines building on Garfield Avenue?
2. What business is located there now? (It’s still there, I think.)
3. What movie starring Patty Duke was filmed at Glensheen?
4. For many years, the Duluth Zoo had the only living specimen in the US of one animal. Name that animal.

Where in Duluth?

“Let’s head over there. There’s a spectacular view from that bench.”

(David moves to bench. Squints. Not very much view. Takes photo from bench, straight ahead.)

Where were we?

Appreciating a Recent Movie at Zinema 2

I forget how lucky we are to have the locally operated Zinema, especially on its $5 days. Last night I saw Colossal, a movie starring and co-produced by Anne Hathaway. (Spoilers)

I’ve seen nearly every Godzilla movie, so the idea that every morning, when Gloria (Hathaway) is hung over, a Kaiju Monster attacks Seoul seemed interesting — a metaphor for the unintended consequences of alcoholism, I figured. Pretty straightforward, low-brain energy attempt to be deep, but with Kaiju!

The opening scene shows Gloria’s boyfriend throwing her out, telling her he can’t be with her when she’s out of control like this. It’s designed to communicate to the audience: Gloria’s addiction is the problem.

Tribe Games at the Minnecade at GlitchCon

While at GlitchCon, a gaming convention bringing experts in video game design, educational theory, and inclusivity, I ran into one of Duluth’s video game designers. Charles McGregor runs Tribe Games, and as Charles says on his website …

I am the programmer, musician, and artist for the all of in house games. I am also the guy in charge of the social media and marketing. I have always wanted to make games and feel like I can express myself the most through this medium. I have loved games since the first time that I played them.

I want to make games that I personally would play and feel passionate about. I have been given the opportunity to work with very talented people in the past and hope that I can continue collaborating with others as well as work on my own creations.

The con was at the Soap Factory, a long-standing vacant hulk of a building used for art and alternative culture events in Minneapolis. It was cool to be 175 miles away and still see one of Duluth’s own represented.

30 Years of Comics, Sports Cards, and Games

Today is Tim Broman’s 30th anniversary at Collector’s Connection. In honor of this anniversary, a number of local small businesspeople and professionals nominated the shop for a Labovitz Award, in the “mature entrepreneur” category. I tease him so hard about the category. But really, what Tim does is more that sell things, more than run a business.

Now/Here: Poetry and Music

Jim Perlman Crystal Gibbins

Gary Boelhower Duluth Sara Thomsen

A few snapshots from Sunday’s event at Peace United Church. Jim Perlman of Holy Cow Press organized the poetry reading, which featured Crystal Gibbins, author of Now/Here, and Gary Boelhower, author of Naming Rites. The event included musical interludes by Sara Thomsen.

Language opens one to understanding the self and the world: The Minnesota Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium

The Minnesota Undergraduate Linguistics Symposium was a reminder of the ways today’s young people are preparing for the world. Undergraduates from all over the state came together to share their research and learn about the research of faculty at UMD and CSS.

Trails, trails, trails.

Let me open with: I’m an overweight man who wonders whether he’s being dishonest when he clicks “stocky” on dating websites. I’m not a hiker. I’m an occasional walker-off-pavement.

A story about paving the Minnesota River Bottoms trail in the Twin Cities makes me think about trails in Duluth and about trails in general. Apparently, paving a trail is very expensive, and for that reason, people don’t want to do it.

Egg rolls and Empanadas and More, Down a Long Highway

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I went down a long highway with a friend to the Gnesen Convenience Store, 6049 Rice Lake Road in the Gnesen Township. It wasn’t much on the outside, and at first glance, the inside made me smile gently.

It’s the kind of store you see in a small town, with three times the square feet it needs but that is okay because the land is cheap, compared at least to shops in the city limits. There are five boxes of cereal, each box pushed right up to the edge of the shelf (inviting you to grab one), where in a city shop, they would be stacked five deep into the shelf.