Random Posts

Duluth Brand Parodies: Derogatory Wordplay in Dull-youth

It probably happens everywhere just as much as it happens in Duluth. Someone intentionally replaces the name of a well-known person, place or thing with a similar sounding word or words, almost always in a belittling way, and other people think it’s funny and repeat it.

There should be a list of those, right? Well, here it is.

Garbage, Dog Turds and Polyethylene Owls

When I’m out walking and I see a plastic bag stuck in a tree, I always point it out to anyone who might be around and say, “Hey look, a West Duluth owl.” It’s a stupid joke that doesn’t get much of a reaction, but hey, so am I.

Making cheesy remarks might be the best action in that situation. There’s a clump of ugly garbage stuck in a beautiful tree, and my options for how to deal with it are to climb the tree or use a long device of some kind to somehow remove the bag, ignore the situation altogether, or pretend like I wanted that bag to be there all along to support the comedy of life.

I have similar statements I repeat all the time. If my childhood friend is telling me about her cancer diagnosis, for example, I’ll say, “I told you not to go swimming downstream of the steel plant.”

The tragedy behind the comedy boils down to something pretty simple: I want a clean environment, but I know that’s unrealistic. It’s also confusing, because a clean environment contains a lot of dirt. And seriously, a clean planet and a polluted planet are made up of the same things; the difference is how those things are arranged.

The Vintage Hideaway flips the script on antiquing

Nichol and Tony Hommerding, owners of The Vintage Hideaway. (Submitted photo)

A thrift and antique store in Hermantown has brought a fresh take on antiquing and thrifting in the Twin Ports. The Vintage Hideaway focuses on uniquely staging items, restoring pieces looking for a little bit of love and creating a welcoming environment by offering coffee and snacks in its pantry.

Jesus Christ Meets Bob Dylan in a Hotel Room in Tucson, 1978

Bob: I’m ready to accept you, Lord.

Jesus: Not so fast there Bob. I need you to do something first.

Bob: Name it Lord.

Jesus: I need you to rub out Jimmy Gravante.

Bob (stunned): The hitman?

Jesus: Your successor in the Duluth family, after you got out and became — this (gestures around). You know Jimmy — the sniper who blew you off your motorcycle in 1966 in Woodstock.

Bob: He hit the bike, man, not me. Sniper my ass.

Jesus: I’m going to need you to check your tone.

Bob: I’m sorry Lord. It’s just that he wasn’t even at 200 yards. He’s more like a potshot expert than a sniper. And my divorce is killing me. I just got off a world tour and my adrenal glands feel squeezed dry like little raisins. Think I’m coming down with something (sniffles).

Duluth authors Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence return to UMD to share insights with students

University of Minnesota Duluth alumni Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence spoke to students in the Writing Studies major in April. Hafdahl and Florence offered tips, tricks and profound insights into the publishing process.

Remember Watson

Goob, Fozz, and I hiked down around another switchback in the trail. We saw a family that passed us higher up on the mountain. A dad, his three kids, and a dog. I saw the dad standing there, blocking the trail. His son sat on a rock with his two sisters standing beside him.

As we got closer Dad said, “He’s not doing so good.” I assumed he meant his son.

I walked up and then saw the dog. Their golden retriever was lying on its side in the trail and panting. I thought: We’re part of this now.

Dad said, “His stomach is super hard, too.” I reached down and felt the dog’s stomach which had swollen up bigger than his ribcage. It was firm.

The Dad explained that the dog chased something and got all riled up. I can’t remember if he said it was a squirrel or another dog. But it was after the dog’s frantic chase and barking that he started to swell up.

“I think his stomach has flipped over,” I said.


Duluth’s NorShor Theatre is a bit of a copyeditor’s headache. People often misspell NorShor as “NorShore” or they fail to render the S as a capital letter. And since its proper name uses the British version of “theatre” and Americans prefer “theater,” we end up with numerous ways to screw up two words.

Apparently NorShor was being spelled wrong right from the start — or “NorShore” might have even been what was planned for the original spelling before someone decided to shorten it up — because an old sketch of the building, shown above, includes an E that never made it to the building’s tower or marquee.

“Stalked by My Stepsister” shot in Duluth

Local author Phil Sher sent me a note asking me to share that the Lifetime cable channel original movie Stalked by My Stepsister was shot in Duluth. It was released in October.

I think I can see the Lakewalk and Leif Erikson Park. I think I can see the interior of Glensheen. IMDB confirms the Duluth shooting sites.

Has anyone watched it, or know anyone involved in the shooting?

PDD Shop Talk: The Usual Spiel

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

You know the spiel. All of the content on Perfect Duluth Day can be read for free. It is produced by people who are paid either poorly or not at all. Advertising revenue keeps the operation going; donations help us do more and do it better.

So if you appreciate the thorough listings of hoopla on the PDD Calendar and/or the features on the PDD Blog, kindly drop a few bucks in the PayPal account. Follow this link for more info about our fundraising.

Is the Postal Service OK?

It recently snowed about thirteen inches here on the hill in the very middle of Duluth. Right here, in the urban middle.

That thirteen inches took three days to fall. It stopped snowing three days ago. The roads in my neighborhood have been entirely passable the whole time. Slick, perhaps, at times, but entirely passable.

Neighbors have been coming and going. School buses. Fed X, UPS.

But no Postal Service. No mail. Not a single truck since last Saturday.

Are they OK? Should we check on them?

Attention Billionaires: Get Bent

“And, for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human.”

― William Gibson, Count Zero

Attention billionaires: get bent. As the recent “Cheerios” kerfuffle illustrates, Minnesota billionaire Karen Kathy Cargill is acting like a terrible neighbor in Duluth. Google her name to see the universally bad press she has unleashed upon herself. Basically, Mayor Roger Reinert had the temerity to point out that Cargill was not actually being helpful, and she ran crying to the Wall Street Journal, like ya do. It was there Cargill laid bare her toxic billionaire’s view of the world: “The good plans that I have down there […] forget it […] I think an expression that we all know — don’t pee in your Cheerios — well, [Reinert] kind of peed in his Cheerios right there, and definitely I’m not going to do anything to benefit that community.” Imperious much? Get bent.

Park Point Land Grab

This Duluth News Tribune article talks about Kathy Cargill’s comments about Duluthians in the Wall St Journal.

Said a billionaire Heiress named Kathy
“The locals are yokels
Their houses are crappy”

No accounting for taste
She bulldozed in haste
And wonders why the neighbors aren’t happy

Do I own this star now?

I picked this up in a thrift store. The frame is worth as much as I paid for it — the certificate is a bonus.

Saturday in Canal Park

Some kids appeared to be having fun in Canal Park Saturday.

The Nerd Habit of Collecting Signatures

As I mentioned in a previous post, at MarsCon in Bloomington last weekend the son of a nerd who had died was selling his father’s collection of media, books, games and ephemera.

I picked up the Doctor Who cookbook from the previous century, some trading cards, all for pennies on the dollar. Perhaps the best find, or at least the one I can’t ever imagine finding again, was the single by the actor who played the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, “Who is the Doctor?”