Random Posts

The Duluth Psychedelic Sermon – UPDATE with Video

Sentient Duluth awakens! Praise it!

When did I come to consciousness? Its bars and venues the wombs I gestated in, the booths and stages framed my embryogenesis. Birthing me to myself, I walk between trees. Light and water conspire mysteriously. My shadow stretches to the lake and covers it in the setting sun. Praise it!

I am bridges staring down into darkness and depth. I am mirrored streams carving the hillside like molten silver from a furnace pour, the lake a great ingot. More than anything, I am the lake. Gleaming as if the sun has transferred its powers to Lake Superior in guardianship, Lucifer abandoning hell to an angel of water. The lake is a tectonic plate of fire subducting at the shoreline, trapping the light in water like amber, a bowl of liquid light. Golden honeyed light, silver light like photographic emulsion, sepia light. Ore boats sailing the surface of white stars, red giants, blue neutron stars. Ore boats sailing out of faded, flaking photographs. The lake like Io, blinding bright, sea planet of perpetual ice cover, Jupiter blots out the sky rising over Superior. The lake a reflecting mirror like a planetary laser defense system, peering into every south-facing window on the hillside, light pouring into every home as the lake searches them with its blazing eye. Praise it!

Social Connection in a Time of Social Distancing

As we’re facing social distancing for the next little while, it’s looking more and more like social media will be important to many of us for remaining socially connected. As a technology ethicist focusing on social technology and interpersonal relationships, this falls under my area of research. What follows isn’t everything that could be said about relationships and social media, of course, but might be of use as we strive to maintain connection in spite of physical distance. And in case you’re interested in following this up with some of your own research, I’ve included plenty of links to further work on this subject.

First, while it might not be everyone’s first choice as a way to connect with others, reject the narrative that interactions mediated by social technologies aren’t “real.” You can really talk and share and tell jokes and play games together remotely as well as in person. Yes, some things about these interactions will be different, but context is going to color any of your interactions. And don’t think of this as just substituting for “real” interaction: comparing, say, Skype to having lunch with a friend might be frustrating, but there are things you can do in computer-mediated communication that have no in-person equivalent: playing with filters and goofy overlays, daily “roll call” with a bunch of friends all sharing pictures of their pets, Your imagination is the limit. These can be enjoyed on their own merits.

Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Unnecessary Quotation Marks: COVID-19 Edition

Another one for the collection of unnecessary quotation marks in Duluth.

So, are we limited to 2 or “2”?

Please Stay Home

Creator unknown, found on social media

Minnesota All Hockey Hair Team 2020: The Flow Must Go On

Like a great hair band, John King keeps on goin’ with another edition of the Minnesota All Hockey Hair team.

Ripped at the Kom-on-Inn in 2000

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s “booze connoisseur” from 1999 to 2009. Twenty years ago he visited the Kom-on-Inn in West Duluth and published this report for the April 5, 2000 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

Granted, it does not take much to amaze me, but when I entered the Kom-on-Inn my spine just about shot out of the top of my head. I had always been under the impression that the Kom-on-Inn was a boring bar that was empty most of the time. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was … I don’t even know where to begin, so let me just walk you through the place.

First of all, it is important to know that everyone—every last person in the bar—was smoking a cigarette. I am not exaggerating when I say it was difficult to see across the room. At the very back of the bar, where I came in, a bunch of Tommy Boys talked on cellular telephones and shot pool with heavily hair-sprayed and lip-linered girls drinking bottles of Mountain Dew. Apparently they were stationed there to give newcomers like me the wrong impression of the place, for just past them, everything became drastically different.

Monthly Grovel: March 2020 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from March 2019 through February 2020 — the PDD Calendar published 8,064 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 classes and lutefisk dinners. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Painting Moments with Words

I’m driving north on Interstate 35 after a day spent in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. The sun is gone. Winter clouds have parted, exposing a well-missed speckled dome. White lights from vehicles traveling south dart passed on my left. Amber tail lights and yellow blinkers dot the lanes in front of me. The rear-view mirror reflects what is behind. From above the treeline north of the Finlayson/Askov exit, radio antenna towers flash red warning lights while others remain constant. My direction is a meandering north-by-northeast heading, but my aim is home, my aim is to return the woods.

I look to the sky, and poised stoically in the Northern hemisphere is the Big Dipper. The constellation is tipped so perfectly I can’t help but send a smile back. A small smile with a slight nod that says, “Yes, I agree.” I lean forward in the seat, wrap my arms around the top of the steering wheel, and lay one hand over the other, the common driving pose one assumes for meditative and ponderous thought. My eyes trace the stars that make up the handle of the constellation, and maybe I’m projecting, or want a physical message from the grand galaxy, but the handle, low and clear arched toward the earth, points directly at home.

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.