Random Posts

Hey, Are You Married?

I had just crossed lazily through the intersection toward Wells Fargo Center, gently swinging my bag in the late afternoon heat. I had also decided that day to make friends with the hips I had developed over the past six months and lean into them … literally.

I saw him, 30-ish, scruffy, with a dirty T-shirt and a backward hat, leaning against the building. Our city has its contingent of panhandlers. They add a little paprika to our lives and I didn’t pay him any mind — until he called out to me as I passed by him.

“What?!” I asked, incredulously while laughing, stopped in my tracks.

‘I asked if you were married,” he answered with a crooked smile.

“Yes,” I replied and started to walk away. He wasn’t done, though. “Can I get your number and text you?” he yelled at me.

I turned around. “HAPPILY married!” I shot back and spun around on my heel and walked off, laughing.

Mystery Photos: Undeveloped Roll of Film from 2004

Duluth photographer Kip Praslowicz occasionally acquires old point-and-shoot cameras that still have a roll of film in them. In this video he shows off black-and-white images from a Samsung IBEX 3x camera.

Clues in the background of two of the mystery photos indicate the images might be from the Minnesota State High School League Region 7AA Visual Art Festival in early 2004. That’s as much as we know so far.

PDD Quiz: Duluth Laws

How well do you know the finer points of Duluth’s legislative code? Dive into this week’s trivia and test your legal smarts.

The next PDD quiz, on current events, will be coming your way on Sept. 26. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Sept. 22.

Monthly Grovel: A Decade of the PDD Calendar

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

It was 10 years ago today — Sept. 12, 2011 — when PDD officially launched its event calendar. Since then our team of PDD Calendar cruise directors have published an estimated 68,000 listings of Duluth-area happenings — from concerts and plays to blood drives and cribbage tournaments.

In recent years we’ve reached out once a month with a beggarly blog post to remind everyone that human beings and not machines are at work editing and publishing calendar events, and that’s what this anniversary edition of the Monthly Grovel is about. So if you appreciate the event calendar, drop a few bucks in the PayPal account.

Video Archive: Vietnam Protest in Duluth, 1969

On Oct. 15, 1969, a “Peace March and Moratorium” was held in Duluth to protest the Vietnam War. Participants marched from the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth to the Duluth Civic Center. This clip is raw 16mm film of the event pulled from the WDIO-TV archives.

Missing Person: Raechelle Monique Long Elk

Update: Raechelle Monique Long Elk was located in Superior.

The Duluth Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Raechelle Monique Long Elk. She was last seen in the Duluth area on Friday, Sept. 3.

Long Elk is described as a 34-year-old Native American and Hispanic woman. Her family is concerned about her well-being as she was previously experiencing homelessness and substance-abuse issues.

Anyone with information on Long Elk’s whereabouts is asked to call the Duluth Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit at 218-730-5050.

Sunday Afternoon at Brighton Beach

Sunday, August 8, Duluth

I take my grandkids to Brighton Beach once or twice a summer. It’s one of the beaches we visit every year. Today I take them because it’s the last day Brighton Beach will be open to the public for a year, maybe two. The Lakewalk will be extended, Brighton Beach Road will be relocated, and the shoreline will be restored. I wonder how much it will change. I hope “restoring the shoreline” doesn’t mean depositing wide swaths of immense jagged rocks on the beach that become a barrier which hinders kids from pitching stones in the water and from gamboling on the ancient lava formations along the shore.

Glensheen Denies Occult Rituals of Disgraced Congdon Nephew

Last year the Minnesota historian Peter S. Svenson wrote an unpublished monograph, “The Forgotten Duluth Painter, Edward Alexander Congdon.” Svenson gave me the following information in an interview conducted on Halloween as luck would have it.

Edward Alexander (a nephew of Chester Congdon) lived at Glensheen, the historic Congdon estate. He hid slightly pointy ears with clever hair styling. But, enlisting in the armed forces to fight World War I, he suffered a military haircut. At Belleau Wood a German flame-thrower splashed liquid fire into his trench, and he escaped with his life unlike some of his fellows. But much of the skin had been burned off the top of his head, including his right ear and his eyebrows. Once healed, hair grew toward the back of his head, and the scar tissue of the high forehead became less noticeable with time. However, his eyebrows remained white scars, and the right ear had burned off down to the hole. Aleister Crowley said, “The effect of that, with his one remaining devil’s-ear, was striking.”

Edward Alexander remained overseas for a time after the war. He wandered the world using his unsettling appearance as currency in mediumistic parlors and spiritualist circles. He joined the Ordo Templi Orientis in England, and enjoyed esotericists he met in France. Then he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, mingling with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and W.B. Yeats. He painted, climbed the Eiger, and had lucid dreams of the dead. Returning stateside in 1923, he lived in the Glensheen attic, “like a bat,” Mrs. Congdon used to say.

Mystery Photo #141: Mr. & Mrs. Burchell

From the back of this cabinet card photo we know the subjects are Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Burchell or Burehell, married Aug. 26, 1891. They were also presumably residents of West Duluth. The photo is from the Downtown Duluth studio of John R. Zweifel.

Terry Carnation, fresh off the boat from Duluth

The podcast Dark Air with Terry Carnation dropped a reference to Duluth in episode 9, titled “The Haunting of Emily’s Hair.”

Rainn Wilson plays the part of Terry Carnation, host of a fictional late-night AM radio talk show on the paranormal. In the episode he meets director Jason Reitman, who wants to make his screenplay, but ultimately Carnation ends up being “splooged in the face by the cynical abuse of shallow corrupt patriarchy that is show business.” You know, “like many a would-be ingénue fresh off the boat from Duluth, Minnesota.”

PDD Quiz: Duluth Movie Mentions

Calling all film buffs and trivia nerds: this quiz is for you! Test your knowledge of movies that name drop Duluth (a perusal of the PDD tag References to Duluth in Film/TV or Other Media might help you cheat study).

The next PDD quiz will review the month’s headlines; it will be published on Aug. 29. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Aug. 24.

Lake Superior Sea Monster: Three Fatal Encounters

Mouth of the Presque Isle River, Sept. 9, 1987

The cute falls and river here empty into Lake Superior like so many sites along the South Shore: sandy beach, smooth stones, jumbles of fallen half-drowned trees. Depth off shore reaches thirty feet with a sand lake floor that quickly turns to a rock shelf plunging 200 feet straight down.

Statement of first responder on presumed drowning death of Matthew Bruin, 19: “This is not the first drowning victim of the Presque Isle River. It’s important to remember while splashing around in this shallow area by the mouth, that the seabed quickly descends to a couple hundred feet. The warm river water flows over top of the colder lake water, making a conveyor belt to the deep. As the river water cools and sinks, it pulls people down. Sadly I think the victim’s body will never be recovered. People say, ‘It’s the Presque Isle monster’ or ‘it’s a sea serpent,’ but it is the lake itself, an impersonal force of nature that does not care if we live or die.”

Victim’s friend and witness, J.R. Sandvik: “I’m telling you he was pulled under by a large animal … I miss him … I miss you buddy.”

Guide to Duluth-area Podcasts in 2021

About half of Duluth-area podcasts are a repackaging of radio content, but there are still plenty of independent programs covering everything from politics, history and sports to paranormal encounters and general geekery.

Time of Waiting

I remember her waiting up for my father
To come home from God knows where
In a yellow cab at 2:00 A.M.
And waiting for me in the school parking lot
In our old blue station wagon
When whatever it was I was practicing for
Ran late …

And I remember her waiting for me
At the airport when I got back from Japan,
Waiting for everything to be all right,
Waiting for her biopsy results.
Waiting.

— George Bilgere, “Waiting”
 

Waiting for Cancer

In 1956, in On the Origin of Cancer Cells, Otto Warburg tried to pin down the causes for the “mysterious latency period of the production of cancer.” Fifty years later, in Genetic Progression and the Waiting Time to Cancer, Niko Beerenwinkel, Tibor Antal, David Dingli, Arne Traulsen, Kenneth W Kinzler, Victor E Velculescu, Bert Vogelstein, and Martin A Nowak replace the “mysterious latency period” with talk about a waiting period: they set out to “derive an analytical formula for the expected waiting time for the progression from benign to malignant tumor.” They started with a “normal” cell and predicted the number of mutations the cell will undergo. Based on the number of mutations, they could calculate how long it will take for a normal cell to produce a benign tumor and how long before those mutations produce a tumor that becomes malignant.

Straight Outta Congdon

A caller identifying as “Jebadiah from Duluth, Minn.” made it onto the Aug. 4 episode of the podcast Yo, is this Racist? The show, hosted by Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome, answers questions from listeners about whether given subjects are an example of racism or not.

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