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Waltzes and Such: Classical and Pops Records from Gabriel’s

Some of the records left at Gabriel’s Books in Lakeside were 45s with classical music, or pops classical music, at least. It occurs to me that some readers will not know what a single is. The 45 is an interesting medium; its history is traced here.

Indecent Exposure

Walking from the car to the beach, it suddenly occurred to me that in the hustle to leave the house I neglected to take off my underwear. It’s not even clear to me why I was wearing boxer shorts under swimming trunks to begin with, but it didn’t matter until I was on the verge of jumping into Lake Superior.

The whole idea of a swimsuit itself is pretty asinine, really. It’s a small layer of clothing people wear while submerged in water, so no one can look at their delicate body parts as they enter and exit the lake. Once out of the water, the swimsuit dries faster than a pair of jeans, but still … to prevent people from seeing my Lake Superior-shriveled wiener I’m supposed to walk around for a half hour in wet shorts. Wetter yet if I’m a dimwit wearing boxer shorts under his trunks.

Still, I understand why society frowns on exposed penises. They are unsightly. But I can go to the beach with a giant oozing scab on my face and not be arrested, so let’s say there’s room for argument here.

Clearly, it’s not because genitals are ugly that society frowns on their public display. It’s because clothing is a perceived barrier to sexual thoughts.

The Good Ship Ridiculous

Last spring, a friend texted a picture of a plywood shanty boat to my husband, Jason. A tiny craft, its 13 feet sat trailered on a Superior side street. And at 5-feet wide, it gave off a garage-built, “I made this myself!” feel with outlandish colors and faux iron scrollwork screwed into the side. It also had balloons and a “For Sale” sign.

Squinting into my cell phone, I said, “That’s ridiculous!” Another friend, looking over my shoulder, suggested it looked like a floating puppet show. I laughed, I mean, it was meant as a joke — all of it.

That text was a response to a conversation with other middle-aged parents. Around a bonfire, we gave bold lip service to the idea of living on the water. Late into the evening, we chatted about houseboats and travel — big talk from people made of obligation, staked to mortgages and children and pets. Then, as the embers died down, we wiped the counters, fed the cat and went to bed. There would be work tomorrow because … there is always work tomorrow.

Quitter

Just about a year ago, I wrote an essay detailing my own reasons for abstaining from alcohol. (If you’re also a stickler for reading a series in order, you can find “1,186 Days” in the archive. Don’t rush. We’ll try not to get too far ahead before you rejoin us.) It was a relief to talk about it, frankly, having stewed it over for a few years. It was also surprisingly cathartic to put it on paper, since it was substantially more chaotic swirling about my brain box than it was organized and detailed in that essay. Ah, the curious, inscrutable liberation of constraint.

Before I published it, I labored for months over the implications of my admissions: would friends judge me? Would they rewrite the stories of our relationships with this new information, indelibly staining our shared moments with my arrival at this murky end? Would they see evidence in my behavior, view our debaucherous moments with hindsight bias, convinced they could see now the unfortunate trajectory that would lead me to quit drinking? Would they feel weird around me? Would they glumph me into the world of addicts, a ticking time bomb that might dive headlong into a vat of gin and tonics and never resurface? Would I lose friends? Job opportunities? And did any of this matter to me, really? Because in this case, the truth was the truth. The only variable was other people seeing me as I actually was. So I published it.

Monthly Grovel: August 2019 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from August 2018 through July 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 7,883 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, seminars and stilt-walking classes. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Gallery of Defunct Duluth-area News ’Zines and Random Publications

From muckraking journalism to neighborhood fluff, sports and hobby content to political and spiritual propaganda, Duluth has seen its share of short-lived, themed newspapers and magazines. Previous posts on Perfect Duluth Day have delved into music ’zines and literary/arts ’zines; this post features the less (or bizarrely more) artsy publications.

Chris Godsey on Pressroom Podcast

Episode #186 of the Duluth News Tribune’s Pressroom Podcast features Chris Godsey, whose recent essay on Perfect Duluth Day, “Why Some Men Kill Women,” examined men’s violence against women.

Duluth author part of Jeopardy! clue

What is Lake Superior? According to the television game show Jeopardy! and host Alex Trebek, it’s the place where “the lives of 3 women centuries apart intertwine upon the shores” in Duluth author Danielle Sosin‘s The Long-Shining Waters. The answer/question was part of episode #8030, which aired Friday, July 5, on the CBS network.

Monthly Grovel: July 2019 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from July 2018 through June 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 8,045 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, seminars and cornhole tournaments. That’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Lake Superior Aquaman on Patrol

Why Some Men Kill Women

This essay speaks graphically and honestly about men’s violence against women. Please take care.

The house I live in sits about three blocks up Chester Park Drive from the one where Ryan Jazdzewski stabbed the life out of his wife, Nicole, as at least one of their daughters watched, a bit after 8:00 on the evening of Sunday, June 2. While he was doing that, then when he stopped because the daughter asked him not to kill her mom, and while he called his own mom to say, “Mom, I think I just killed my wife,” while an across-the-alley neighbor called 911 after encountering the blood-covered seven-year-old behind their houses, as cops showed up and the girl ran back to her dad and asked cops not to kill him, while officers entered the house to find Nicole dying on the kitchen floor, and while Nicole was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s, my wife, Shannon, and I were watching TV. We live at 1126. They lived at 818.

From our couch, looking northwest through living-room windows to the right of our TV, Shannon and I can see into a neighbor’s front yard and up a 40-meter stretch of Chester Park Drive two houses before it dead-ends. Chester Bowl hiking and mountain biking trails begin just past a barrier of big rocks. Every now and then that Sunday night, a cyclist or two chugged up or flowed down the hill, or a dog with a couple humans strolled by. Fading sunlight was beginning to glow golden in cedars on the edge of the neighbor’s front yard, where two or three rambunctious grey squirrels and a couple tiny rabbits bounced around looking for snacks. A frenetic chipmunk zoomed by every so often. The pleasant, almost-too-chilly breeze coming through the windows could have been from late September instead of early June. We had a small fire going. The combination of cool, fresh air and a warm woodstove felt nice. I might have been sipping a Glendalough Irish whiskey, neat. All seemed lovely and serene on our part of the street.

Dividing Duluth: The Abandoned Car Test

I’ve lived in West Duluth for the vast majority of my life. The most significant exceptions are the year I lived in the Endion neighborhood near the Duluth Armory and the three-and-a-half years I lived in the Central Hillside at Washington Studios Artist Cooperative.

Though my experiences are largely seen through western Duluth eyes, I like to think of myself as a somewhat impartial observer. I bleed the maroon and gold of a Denfeld Hunter, but I have empathy for Trojans, Cakes, Hilltoppers and those funny little home-schoolers and international magnet arsty-fartsies or whatever they are. We’re all Duluthians, Americans and humans. But we’re also part of many tribes, and our neighborhoods can define us in ways we don’t often think about.

Around the time I graduated from high school, a popular pastime among my friends was to pile into a car and simply drive around with no purpose. We were young, full of enthusiasm, and generally unfamiliar with the world outside of West Duluth. Simply driving east of Lake Avenue at that time seemed like a minor adventure, and if we were creative or lucky enough we could turn it into a significant adventure. At the time, the young women of Duluth had very different hairstyles on each side of town, so there was a visible sense of exploring a new culture in just an eight-minute drive.

The Slice: Superior Street Reconstruction Phase II

In this video, City of Duluth Senior Engineer Duncan Schwensohn talks about the reconstruction of East Superior Street, including a brief mention of the basement extensions of some buildings, which run under the sidewalks.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

Monthly Grovel: June 2019 Edition

(Enter the amount of your choice.)

In the past year — from June 2018 through May 2019 — the PDD Calendar published 8,016 Duluth-area events. Each one was edited by a human being before the “publish” button was pushed. We intend to keep up the good work, but (believe it or not) we could do better. There are still events we are missing. And we have a few assistants standing by who jump into action when donations roll in to pay for their future carpal tunnel surgeries.

So that’s why once a month we set our dignity aside and remind readers how much we appreciate their financial support.

Duluth Trivia Deck Sampler #12

A few years ago, I bought a Duluth Trivia game at Savers. Here are some more questions.

1. Where is the Chambers Grove picnic area?
2. What is the name of the annual dog sled race that begins in Duluth?
3. What is the name of the longest fresh-water sandspit in the world?
4. How many stars are in the cluster of stars in the official seal of the city of Duluth? What do they represent?
5. Who was William T Boutwell?
6. When was Fond du Lac annexed by the city of Duluth?