Random Posts

Electric Fetus, Juice Pharm and More

I visited the Juice Pharm in the last days of its Skywalk location yesterday.  It is moving to 208 E. First St., the former Red Herring Lounge location. The beverages are always tasty, and feel more like a meal than a drink. I will miss the Skywalk location, though I admit I don’t get there as often as I would like.

PDD Quiz: Dear John

Ascend the trivia throne with this week’s quiz on notable Northland bathrooms!

The next PDD quiz, reviewing February headlines and happenings, will be published on Feb. 23. Please submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Feb. 20.

I Demand a Lakewalk

I demand a Lakewalk.

Retired engineer and geologist David Hoag wrote in a Jan. 22 Duluth News Tribune op-ed piece that he feels, “It would be much better to retreat,” than to “shore up, harden, and improve the lakeshore in areas near the Lakewalk and Brighton Beach that were battered by recent storms.”

Retreat to where? Are we going to let the lake have the rail line, and Fitger’s? Are we going to cede Canal Park to the lake? Are we going to abandon all infrastructure because it needs fixing? Are we going to tear down the bridge and the canal and move them to higher ground? Set fire to the ports? Should we flood the highway and designate it “boats only”? Is Leif Erikson Park to be abandoned to the waves, and we’ll just watch as it crumbles? Should we watch as Lake Superior undermines and claims the Rose Garden? Are our Park Point citizens to be forgotten?

Monthly Grovel: February 2020 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from February 2019 through January 2020 — the PDD Calendar published 8,040 Duluth-area events. Each one was edited by a human being before the “publish” button was pushed.

It’s a tremendous amount of work to keep up with all the submissions from the more than 1,000 organizations that have sent us info about their concerts, plays, cooking classes and snowball fights. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Mud

The mud in Southeast Alaska is everywhere. From Vancouver to Skagway a lush, near-ostentatiously green forest covers every conceivable surface with a teeming, tumbling, vulgarity of foliage. The Tongass National Forest is like a skunky Eden, ancient pine and spruce trees standing clustered tight as hair on a head, their verdance made that much more outstanding by the complement of thick, gray sky. It’s a North American rainforest. It rains 300 days a year, in one fashion or another, in my hometown. If the Inuit people have more than 200 words for the various elegant permutations of snow, the fishermen in Southeast Alaska have half again as many swear words for rain.

There is the putative rain that everyone knows, a tumbling shower from amassed clouds, a mixed blessing of ruined hairstyles and refreshed lawns. Then, there is the torrential downpour, bending fat blossoms under the combined weight of nectar and water, cracking peony stems and laying ferns flat against the ground like splayed bodies clinging to the surface of the earth. Drizzle — the most onomatopoeic word for a weather phenomenon, that half-hearted report from the heaven that everything, everywhere is gray and dull — is the meteorological equivalent of “meh,” spelled in water. But there is another type of rain, a sort of surreptitious precipitation that starts as gentle and refreshing as the misty spray from a waterfall, tiny cool droplets tickling the skin and seemingly innocuously disappearing. But there, along your eyebrows, a heavy bead of water leans ominously toward your eye, the ponderous descent changing its trajectory to head it straight along your nasal fold into your mouth. And there, along your temple, droplets as sure and regular as cold, portly beads of sweat begin to accumulate and race down your face into the neckline of your inadequate sweater. And your sweater! Wool and practical, has suddenly gone from misted with tiny, fruit-fly-sized droplets to saturated, impregnated on the very molecular level with water. Water fills your boots this way. Water drips from your nose like a dysfunctional faucet. Water drips between your teenaged breasts and makes the underwire of your bra cold and wretched. By the time you get to school, just a 30-minute walk — you are as wet as a newborn calf, and every bit as disoriented and gangly.

Writers share time with students at UMD


 

Every year, regional writers spend time with my students. Last semester, Julie Gard, Linda Grover, Lucie Amundsen, Terrance Griep, Michael Fedo and Roy Booth made the trip. This year, Katya Gordon will be visiting on April 22. Maybe you can join us?

Above are photos of one of the author visits by Paying Thao, journalist for the UMD Bark and student in Introduction to Writing Studies.

Vomit Detective

When partially digested nourishment is involuntarily ejected through the mouth, one of the first reactions is to wonder what caused it to happen. Was rancid meat recently consumed? Is there a norovirus going around?

Sometimes excessive alcohol is to blame and there isn’t a lot of detective work necessary. When that isn’t the case, however, the cause of a sudden retching can be difficult to track.

I have some recent experience as a vomit detective, following an incident that preceded the Christmas holiday. After a full month on the case, I can confidently state that the evidence points toward the culprit being either a cookie, a bowl of chili, or really just about anything else I encountered around that time.

That’s right, I’m getting ready to wrap up my investigation and file it as a cold case.

What’s worse is that information gathered in my latest probe has called into question a case from 2015. I might have wrongfully convicted a local fast-food chain restaurant of food poisoning.

Monthly Grovel: January 2020 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from January through December 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 7,937 Duluth-area events. Each one was edited by a human being before the “publish” button was pushed.

It’s a tremendous amount of work to keep up with all the submissions from the more than 1,000 organizations that have sent us info about their concerts, plays, improv nights and snowshoe hikes. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Saturday Essay: Select gems from 2019

Saturday Essay logo genericLast week we highlighted the five most-read pieces from the fourth year of Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” series. This week we ignore the numbers and look back at a few select essays of similar quality that might have been missed by non-compulsive followers.

In the past four years PDD has published 185 essays showcasing the work of 29 different writers, and we’re always looking to expand that roster. Anyone who has an original piece of literary excellence that seems to fit (or appropriately defy) the established format should email paul @ perfectduluthday.com to get involved.

And now, links to a few select gems from season four …

Selective Focus: Sid Boyum

Sid Boyum was born in Duluth in 1914, and lived most of his life in Madison, WI. He was an industrial photographer, graphic artist, folk artist, and sculptor.

Another rare find at the CSS Book Sale

I have invited Michael Fedo to talk to my classes several times. He is in some ways an old-fashioned freelancer, following the story where the market will take him. He is, in some ways, an old fashioned humorist.

Parking Structure, Michigan Avenue, US Bank

What did I miss? Why is the US Bank-labeled parking structure on Michigan Avenue in Duluth closed?

The Most Read Saturday Essays of 2019

Saturday Essay logo genericIt’s an annual tradition at Perfect Duluth Day to wrap up each year of the “Saturday Essay” series with lazy top-five lists instead of arduously prepared compositions. Here we go again.

This week is part one, highlighting the essays that were read the most times according to Google Analytics. Next week is less of a popularity contest; we’ll showcase five underappreciated gems.

St. Lutgarde of Aywières at the CSS Book Sale

Annually, the College of St. Scholastica sells books, records, and other media — in part, it looks like, to clear shelves of material that does not circulate, and in part, I think, to offload donations.

I managed to snag a few items worth thinking about. The first was a biography of St. Lutgarde by Thomas Merton.

Ticket to Ride Boardgame

My instructor just made a comment about Duluth being set in “Mid Minnesota” on the Ticket to Ride board game. He’s right. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?