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David Beard Posts

Thoughts on Anchorage: Community makes self-reliance possible

In the late 1990s, before it reorganized in bankruptcy, Sun Country Airlines flew out of the Humphrey Terminal at Minneapolis/St. Paul. It ran specials on undersold planes, and I received an email alert, I think, about round-trip tickets to Alaska for $300. It seemed so far away for so little money. I was a graduate student in the College of Agriculture on the Twin Cities campus; I was making $12,000 a year. This was cheap, it was an extravagance, an adventure, a story to tell.

I boarded the plane in Bloomington and disembarked in Anchorage. (It was the first time I had been to an airport with signage instructing passengers how to check and reclaim your gun.) The bus took me downtown, and I looked for a hotel. In the years before travel websites and mobile phones, this was hard — I had to walk toward hotel signs and hope for vacancies. There were few; the flight was cheap, but the hotels were booked; I spent twice what I spent on my ticket on my hotel, at what felt like a dive for the price.

I was young and weighed less than half what I weigh now, so I started walking. I walked to Cook’s Inlet, which was muddy. “Captain Cook” was not a real person to me, and so his inlet meant little. So, too, did Mt. McKinley mean little to me — Mt. McKinley, also called Dinale or Denali or Bolshaya Gora/Большая Гора, Densmore’s Mountain. The history of its naming means more to me than the mountain. I was more interested in a business dedicated solely to pull tabs.

“Anyone’s life is smooth from far away. Anyone’s life close up is cracked.”

Julie Gard’s new poetry is awesome.

“This piece consists of 51 texts I sent to myself first thing in the morning during the 2016 presidential election season. Hopefully some of them will speak to you,” says Gard, describing her work in Superstition Review.

Holiday Traditions next to Red Kettles

The Red Kettles are out, and the adorable man next to the adorable eagle is my friend.

The teddy bear on the left is Tim Broman; “Earnie” the eagle on the right is Cara Ellis. As you might guess from the fairly cheesy pun in “Earnie,” Cara is a mortgage specialist at Northern Communities Credit Union, where Tim is a customer service representative.

They are standing outside Cub Foods, where I bought some tasty sushi yesterday, inspired by the PDD post about Wasabi.

I didn’t realize that local businesses partnered with the Salvation Army in this way. I appreciate the generosity of NCCU, I shame my friend Tim for making the lady wear the costume (a gentleman would have worn the scratchy sweaty suit) and I wonder whether any other businesses and organizations partner in this way in the holidays. Post below if you will be ringing this season, please?

(Former) local author Michael Fedo, Well-Reviewed

Former Duluthian Michael Fedo’s new book is reviewed on the arts and literature website Open Letters Review:

For all readers interested in the workaday writing life, it’s fascinating to follow Fedo through his many adventures, from writing an authorized biography of Garrison Keillor vehemently opposed by its subject to interviewing Cloris Leachman about starring in a play about Grandma Moses (which flopped).

I enjoy this book well enough, it inspired my Spring syllabus for Writing Studies majors.

Duluth Trivia

Below are more items from an old trivia deck I bought at Savers.

1. How far out onto Lake Superior can the light atop Enger Tower be seen?

2. Who was the first postmaster for the Duluth region?

3. How man grain elevators were on Duluth’s waterfront at the turn of the twentieth century?

4. When was the Duluth Peony and Iris Society founded?

5. In what building did JFK speak in Duluth?

6. Who began conducting the DSSO in ‘seventy-seven?

Nominations for Arrowhead Arts Awards

Help the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council celebrate the best artists and arts advocates in the region. Many of us know an artist or arts advocate who deserves a little more recognition. Nominate that special artist for the Arrowhead Arts Awards. ARAC wants to recognize those who contribute to the arts in the region with two prestigious awards, which include cash awards. The deadline to nominate an individual is Dec. 7.

Fall 2018 issue of Split Rock Review released

From Split Rock Review

A new issue of local literary magazine Split Rock Review has been released. Visit splitrockreview.org to check it out.

Summary of Make Canal Park Pop! and 2001: A Space Odyssey

I spent part of Friday at Make Canal Park Pop! and Saturday at 2001: A Space Odyssey. The events felt oddly similar, and my experience of both was disjointed if not entirely cynical.

Coldsnap of the Harbor

Coldsnap

John Gregor of Coldsnap Photography takes a picture. I melt.

The Realistic Joneses

I left Panera for the Realistic Joneses at the Zeitgeist while, it seemed to me, a woman was in a tree. I’m not entirely sure about the tree part — I know she was in the woods, alongside the creek behind the parking lot separating the Panera from the Aldi complex, and I know that the police and EMTs were looking upward as one of the pines was shaking. I didn’t see her. I could only hear her voice, sadly crying that people believed that something was wrong with her. I felt a sadness that mirrored hers. There was no way for this story to end which didn’t fulfill her words.  I wished there were a way for people to just turn their backs and let her leave, if that would be what she wanted.

Free Range Trials of Cecilia Ramon and Kathy McTavish

 

“In farming terms, field trials are an opportunity to determine effectiveness of experimental techniques in agriculture.” 

On Sunday I went to the Free Range Trials at the Food Farm in Wrenshall. Free Range Trials is a lab for artistic process and creative experimentation through the exhibition of work by Kathy McTavish and Cecila Ramon. The lab will be open daily between 2 and 5 p.m. through Sept. 3. To learn about Ramon, you can listen to KUMD here.

Conflicted Feelings: Moose Lake

Moose Lake is close enough to Duluth, I feel like I should have an opinion about the recent court decision that lets the Minnesota Sex Offender Program continue operating as it has been, despite the fact that as of two years ago, “nobody has ever been fully released. More than 40 have died while in commitment. The oldest man here is 94, and several are older than 70” [via PBS].

I don’t know anyone in the facility. I don’t know anyone who works for the facility. I believe in rehabilitation but I might be naive. I believe life sentences should be part of the court’s sentencing, not a civil commitment after, but that might be splitting hairs.

I don’t want to imagine that someone in the government could decide I could never walk free again without recourse to a trial by my peers. But I would not commit the kind of crime these men have.

I could stand some help thinking this through.

Human Fabric, continued

This week’s Human Fabric story gives me the feels.

Ice Cream Delicacy in West Duluth by Denfeld

I tasted T-Icy Roll Ice Cream yesterday at 4602 Grand Ave., next to an old favorite, Zhong Hua.

“Seen or Heard Sasquatch? Report Discreetly.”

This ad appeared in the Sunday Duluth News Tribune and other Forum Communications publications. I bet there’s a story here.

SEEN OR HEARD SASQUATCH? REPORT DISCREETLY.
If you’ve heard or seen something similar to what is described below, we want to know. You are one of many people in this area who have had a possible encounter. You’re not crazy. This is real, and I want to hear from you. If you’ve experienced High Pitched Sustained Screams, Long Howls, much deeper then that of a Wolf or Coyote, Loud Penetrating Roars, Grunts, Growls, Wood Knocks, Yelps, Whoops, Barks, Stacked Rock Displays, Stick Shelters, Organized Tree Structures made with Uprooted Uncut Sticks, or even if you’ve seen Heard Indistinguishable Talking, found Footprints or witnessed the Animal itself, please contact me. Your name will not be used without express permission from you. As a side note, it can be quite liberating to speak to someone who knows the truth. I want nothing from you except your story. Call, Text or email me. Jeff 651-302-3800, jjs5perctr @ gmail.com