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Local writer wins national audience

Jayson Iwen, associate professor of writing at UW–Superior, has landed a piece in Tikkun magazine. His story “Night Running,” was also a Glimmer Train “very short fiction” honorable mention.

PDD Quiz: Northland Beer and Breweries

In honor of Oktoberfest, this edition of the quiz features … beer. Each question is the name of a craft beer produced in the region. Can you match the beer with the name of the brewery or brewpub that markets it? Belly up to the quiz and test your skill!

Selective Focus: Reggie Asplund

Reggie Asplund recently moved his business out of his basement and into a new studio. But it’s not like moving any business, he’s working with hundred-year-old printing presses. He’s one of a handful of people in town bringing the huge heavy manual presses back to life and making unique art with them.

R.A.: Middle school was most likely the first time I worked with printmaking, somehow a traced woodpecker comes to mind, but that was about it for a good six years. While I found art interesting and an occasional hobby, my interests and education lead me to end up as an undergraduate studying civil engineering. While a sophomore in undergrad I was approached by an old friend to apply as an intern to her aunt’s letterpress studio in Minneapolis. Desperate for a break from thermodynamics and load-bearing structures, I hastily applied and was offered a position. It didn’t take long to realize how much more I enjoyed the process of printmaking and as a blend of art, mechanical troubleshooting, and hands-on labor, it kept all sides of my brain content. After moving to Duluth to finish up my degree I acquired my first printing press and under the guidance of the stellar Kenspeckle Letterpress crew began the plunge into the addiction to ink, metal and paper.

The Amazing Story of the One Man Gang Middle Finger Photo

Thirty years ago I attended a World Wrestling Federation card at the Duluth Arena … because that’s something teenage boys did in 1987. I went with a group of friends that included Barrett Chase, who co-founded Perfect Duluth Day 16 years later. Seated directly behind us was a complete stranger. Eventually, the three of us ended up in business together … if you count goofing off on the internet as “business.” I certainly do.

As far as wrestling cards go, this one was pretty mediocre. “Macho Man” Randy Savage was in the main event, which was enough to make it worth the twelve bucks or whatever it cost to get in. A number of other well-known wrestling names were on the bill — Honky Tonk Man, Killer Khan, Junkyard Dog, Sherri Martel, Koko B. Ware, Dan Spivey — but the Macho Man was unequivocally the legend in the room.

Years later, all memory of who won or lost those wrestling matches faded. Barrett and I would end up going to five WWF cards in Duluth during a one-year timeframe spanning May 1987 to May 1988. Those events became mostly mashed together in our brains, but we could somewhat distinguish them by remembering main event matches or which other friends came with us to the shows.

Duluth Broadcast Television Station Guide 2017

The number of broadcast television stations in Duluth has reached 14. Keeping track of them started getting confusing in 2016, when reorganizing at KBJR/KDLH led to “CBS 3” broadcasting on channel 6.2. In an effort to prevent the whole thing from turning into an Abbott & Costello routine, Perfect Duluth Day periodically provides an updated list of channels.

There have been two changes since the 2016 KDLH/KBJR shuffling. In early 2017 WDSE-TV dropped its “2nd Chance” programming on channel 8.2 and adopted a new broadcasting stream, PBS Explore, which is focused heavily on programs for children. On Sept. 27, WDIO-TV added subchannel 10.3, broadcasting the Ion television network. An updated list is below.

PDD Quiz Update

Update Graphic
We plan to launch the next PDD Quiz, on Northland beers and breweries, on Oct. 15. Thank you for your patience!

Ripped Smoke-free in 2007

[Editor’s note: It’s been a decade since smoking cigarettes was permitted in Duluth bars. The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act was expanded by the 2007 state legislature to include “Freedom to Breathe” amendments intended “to protect employees and the public from the health hazards of secondhand smoke.”

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. Ten years ago he went out on the first smoke-free night at Duluth bars and published this report for Duluth’s weekly Transistor.]

There’s something strange in the air tonight at R.T. Quinlan’s Saloon. It’s called oxygen. Minnesota’s statewide ban on smoking in workplaces took effect on Oct. 1, and now people like me, who indeed consider bars to be “workplaces,” can breathe easier. As a result, I intend to work even harder now, starting with this gin and tonic.

Although I’m likely to live longer and need to spend less money on laundry thanks to the smoking ban — both of which will allow me to drink more — there are a few negative side effects. For one, the air is now so clear in here that’s it’s possible to see all the way across the room, increasing the odds that my landlord will find me.

Trail City: The Bikers, Builders and Believers of Duluth, MN

Filmed and edited by Kyle Ilenda and Spencer Johnson for Freehub Magazine.

Positive Thinking Meets Bad Car-ma

I had one simple objective that fateful day in December 2016. I just wanted to walk my dog before the sun went down. It seemed like a realistic goal.

After a morning spent working, I had a quick lunch, resumed working and before I knew it the clock read 2:30 p.m. So much for my realistic plan.

I had a dental appointment at 3 p.m. and that was a 20-minute drive away, so it was already time to leave. Since the sun sets around 4:30 in Duluth during December, my opportunity to walk in the daylight had pretty much already passed. Still, I clung to hope.

I actually had two dental appointments back to back that day — a scheduled cleaning and a checkup on the progress of a recent implant, which replaced a molar that had collapsed a few months earlier due to the incredible bite-resistance of a simple graham cracker. Stories of dental calamity aside, by the time I got out of the reclining chair and removed my slobber bib the sun was disappearing. I no longer clung to hope, but I had intentions of making the most of the dusk.

Minnesota Clothing Sales Tax Exemption Appreciation

I was almost, almost charged sales tax at a second-hand shop near the Miller Hill Mall a few weeks ago, on the purchase of socks. I was disappointed … because this is the law:

Clothing is exempt from Minnesota sales and use tax. Clothing means all human wearing apparel suitable for general use. The exemption for clothing does not apply to fur clothing, clothing accessories or equipment, sports or recreational equipment, and protective equipment, which are taxable.

(From Minnesota Department of Revenue Clothing Sales Tax Fact Sheet)

Duluth reference on “The Deuce”

According to Perfect Duluth Day’s highly reputable sources, the HBO series The Deuce recently made a reference to Duluth.

In episode #2 a prostitute named Lori, who is a new arrival in New York City via Minnesota, is about to be arrested when her pimp stabs the cop and explains the guy is not really a cop. He searches the guy and finds rope and other torture instruments, then says, “We ain’t in Duluth no more, Dorothy.”

Find a clip of the scene to win the internet for a day.

PDD Quiz Postponed

Due to changes to Qzzr’s terms of service, this week’s PDD Quiz on Twin Ports beer and breweries is postponed. We will resume PDD Quizzes after exploring our options for a new quiz platform. Stay tuned!

My Fancy Foreign Car is a Symbol of American Freedom

When the transmission went haywire on my rusty 1993 van on the day after Thanksgiving 2015, it marked the end of a beautiful seven-year relationship. The ol’ GMC Vandura cost me $1,400 to buy, and while it needed some work here and there, it was a major-league transportation bargain. My average annual cost of driving during those years was $2,200.

To clarify: From mid-2008 to the near-end of 2015 I drove wherever I wanted at an annual cost of $2,200. That number includes fuel, insurance, purchase price, repair and maintenance costs and all other fees. Six bucks a day to go anywhere – basically the same price as a daily pint of craft beer at the trendiest joint in town.

For many months after the tranny crapped out on the van, I continued to drive it short distances on flat roads, shifting into neutral when it fell out of gear, then shifting back into drive. If I needed to go somewhere involving hills or highways, I took a bus or arranged to use my wife’s vehicle. I just wasn’t eager to go car shopping. I figured I’d wait for a car to come to me.

And then a car came to me.

“Restoring” Chester Creek?

This afternoon I went running in Chester Park for the first time in a while. I parked at the Chalet and immediately noticed this posting on a light pole:

Apparently the city and the Soil and Water Conservation District will be removing the old dams at the foot of the ski hill, revegetating the stream banks, and building a pedestrian footbridge. My first reaction to this was, “Cool! It’ll be great to have a restored stream habitat.” But as I thought about it a little more, I started wondering what it was exactly that needs restoring here.

Notes from the Wayback Machine

Most of us emerge from infantile amnesia around the age of three. Until then our memories are catch and release. After that some stick, some don’t, until, alas, we come full circle. Unsettlingly, what we do recall is not the original event, but our last memory of that event, not something etched in stone or set in amber, but fuzzing at the edges and swapping facts like stage props, our solo game of “Telephone” played across time.

My first memory, as far as I can remember, is being held on my mother’s hip as she stood in the water at a public beach on the south shore of Lake Superior. I was looking down her one-piece suit at her breasts. Having never been suckled, this may have seemed a novel and compelling sight. Something worth remembering.

Decades fly by and summers pass like weekends. But between the ages of three and thirteen time was much-expanded. Time lost, but if the trigger’s found it’s not for sure forgotten.

My family moved when I finished kindergarten so there’s a clear line defining before and after. Subtract my amnesiac beginnings and it hardly seems possible a home could hold so much. Here we lived in a frame house with a dirt cellar, damp and spidery. There was a big garden, a half a dozen apple trees and a play house near the garage. This was the center of a universe measured in a few city blocks. Occasionally the quiet would be broken by distant explosions at the Dupont plant, where, I was told, they were testing dynamite.