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Teamwork

Five late-40s white guys, all former University of Minnesota Duluth athletes, walk into a bar:

1. War: a Sheridan, Wyoming, EMT, gunsmith, vegetable gardener, log-home builder, cancer survivor, and mead-maker who deadlifts more than 500 pounds, has a powerfully agile and bibliographic brain, and could probably still start at D-II defensive tackle;

2. E: a northern-Twin Cities-suburbs cop who moonlights for the Metro Transit Police because his adolescent boys’ college won’t pay for itself, who once worked as a guard at Minnesota Correctional Facility Stillwater, who thinks deep thoughts but keeps everyone else from getting too serious about anything, and who knows things most people will never want or have to know;

3. Big Daddy: a northern-suburbs dad, high-school ceramics teacher, and coach — football (defensive line), hockey, track and field (shot and disc throwers) — who’s also a bicycle geek, music nerd, fishing addict, and, as nearly anyone who’s met him will tell you, a supreme raconteur;

4. Tom: a southern-burbs dentist and dad who’s done the Superior Trail 100, the Death Race, and a bunch of other insane endurance events, who’s unfailingly steady and kind (unless he drinks a quick handful of beers, in which case he gets pleasantly lippy), and whose family includes a pug elder, a middle-kid bulldog, and a brand new Jack Russell terrier;

5. G: an anxious Duluth college writing teacher (a lifer toward the bottom of the academic hierarchy) who’s got no idea how to leverage his newish Ed.D. in teaching and learning, spends unwise time trying to figure out what’s wrong with him and why, finds solace in music and bicycles and physical labor, and sometimes thinks he wishes he’d had the foresight to become a full-time firefighter who travels and reads as much as possible instead of whatever he feels like and is.

First guy walks up to the bar. Looks at the bartender and says …

Duluth Patch Collection

Just for the Duluth of it, here’s a collection of embroidered patches. If you’re rockin’ a cloth badge or simply have it stored for safe keeping, add it in the comments and grow the collection.

“Seen or Heard Sasquatch? Discrete Reporting”

This ad appeared in the Sunday Duluth News Tribune; a web search shows it also appeared in the Superior Telegram. I bet there’s a story here.

SEEN OR HEARD SASQUATCH? DISCRETE REPORTING If you’ve heard or seen something similar to what is described below, we want to know. You are one of many people in this area who have had a possible encounter. You’re not crazy. This is real, and I want to hear from you. If you’ve experienced High Pitched Sustained Screams, Long Howls, much deeper then that of a Wolf or Coyote, Loud Penetrating Roars, Grunts, Growls, Wood Knocks, Yelps, Whoops, Barks, Stacked Rock Displays, Stick Shelters, Organized Tree Structures made with Uprooted Uncut Sticks, or even if you’ve seen Heard Indistinguishable Talking, found Footprints or witnessed the Animal itself, please contact me. Your name will not be used without express permission from you. As a side note, it can be quite liberating to speak to someone who knows the truth. I want nothing from you except your story. Call, Text or email me. Jeff 651-302-3800, jjs5perctr @ gmail.com

Postcard from the College of St. Scholastica

This postcard was mailed 70 years ago today — Aug. 4, 1948.

Lake Superior Wants to Kill You

Pardon the alarmist headline. Lake Superior doesn’t really want to kill you, but you should know all bodies of water are oblivious to your tiny existence and will absolutely steal you away any time you make the slightest error in judgement. So I’m not apprehensive about issuing stern warnings as if I’m your mom.

I know how seductive that big lake can be. And I know how much fun it is to dive off various bridges, rocks, swinging ropes or whatever it is you can propel yourself from into whichever refreshing river or stream awaits. I’ve done it, and I’ve lived through it. I’ve also seen it go wrong over and over and over again.

I’ll be the first to say when it goes right it’s a thing of beauty. You can’t let danger keep you off the water; we all know water absolutely gives so much more life than it takes. Just sitting on the shore looking at it, whether it’s perfectly calm or violently raging, is the easiest way to put yourself into your place on this planet. But it’s natural to want more than that. You have to at least put your toes in. And that puts you on the path to all manner of thrill seeking. Your ability to pick which point along the way to show some self control will determine whether you have the maximum good time or utterly wreck yourself.

My People

If I walk west there are mansions along my way, with lawns most green and lovely. As I cross a certain avenue things start to get shaggy, and if on a corner lot there’s a for-sale sign on a cairn of truck tires my diaphragm expands with the deep breath of belonging, and I think to myself — my people!

America, so it’s said, is the land of meritocracy, social mobility, and a playing field both level and just. Here any child can grow up to inherit a hundred million dollars, pump it through Manhattan real-estate, fluff it in the casinos of Atlantic City and Wall Street, and end up leveraged to the balls with the Russian mob.

But the most accurate predictor of where you’ll wind up socio-economically — in America more so than any other wealthy country — is where your parents wound up. Social mobility exists, and was expanded by the GI Bill after WW ll, and cheap (even free) college through the ’70s, but the ladders have been withdrawn over starter-castle walls, and rising stars belie the rule.

Urban Cabin

My spouse and I were sitting on the back porch of our big house on a small lot in south Minneapolis dreaming of buying a getaway out of the city. We are not, however, cabin people we decided. The thought of doing nothing for an entire weekend, while appealing to our parents, is depressing to us. It was then that we came up with the idea, what about an urban cabin? We have always loved Duluth, and what better lake to get a weekend place at than the largest fresh water lake in the world? So, a year ago we bought a place in Central Hillside and became part-time Duluth residents. Our companies agreed to let us work remotely on Fridays so we are able to spend half of each week in Duluth.

PDD Job Opening: Sell square boxes for fun and profit

Two seasoned professionals are about to leave the Perfect Duluth Day Media Empire. Brianna Hall-Nelson is moving to Denver to further her education; Brian Timm is giving up his PDD side-hustle to focus more on his work as a kitchen and bath designer.

That means Duluth’s Duluthiest website is looking for a new person to join its crew selling the advertisements that so handsomely stack on the right column of pages on this website (or in between the content if you are looking at PDD on a smartphone).

Click here to read the full job description and find out how to apply.

Brianna has been with PDD for three years, and Brian for eight. We’ll miss having them on the precipice of our tabernacle, tickling our 50 and sharing in other inside jokes that make no sense outside the PDD siblinghood. And we look forward to meeting the newbie and developing a whole new “slanguage.”

Saving the Brays

This past weekend I met Kym Garvey, who has been rescuing donkeys for about 10 years, now as part of the larger mission of Save the Brays Donkey Rescue.

Squirrels

There are squirrels near downtown Duluth sitting cross-legged on alleyway tree limbs, picking their teeth with plastic shards carved out of trash bins.

There are squirrels in my neighborhood, Chester Park, who sit atop my garage roof and blithely stare below. Then they climb to the peak and play patty-cake.

I am seeing distinct packs of squirrels in the city as I walk from pocket to pocket. Those downtown squirrels are nothing to mess with. I imagine them waiting to pounce on any passive east side brethren that get lost and wind up sniffing around trash bins clearly marked for toughs. Each one has a squirrel-sized hole gnawed out of it. You don’t see that in the less dense, leafier neighborhoods.

And it’s not just the squirrels in alleyways from Fourth on down to Superior Street. Crows dive-bomb. Chipmunks clatter with menace. Skunk smells waft. Pigeons cluck disapprovingly. Even the flies are stickier.

Looking for a French tutor in Duluth

A group of Duluth-area senior women is looking for a fluent French speaker to help with language sessions. Two-hour sessions; twice monthly. The six ladies have advanced-beginner to intermediate levels of French. Willing to pay tutor. Merci bien!

A Smiter Smote a Sinner While Smitten with Smiting

Smite is a funny word.

My husband Jesse and I were talking about Leviticus (the Quentin Tarantino chapter of the Bible) last night. We don’t spend much time musing about Leviticus (lest you think we are piouser than we are) but were discussing this letter from a gentleman sardonically applauding Dr. Laura’s use of Leviticus 18:22 to rebuke homosexuality. Naturally, we began inquiring into other modern applications of less referenced lines of the book.

After discussing our own Leviticus reflections (scariest band name, ever), we started re-imagining the Christian adage, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Jesse suggested, to comply with Leviticus, that we change it to, “Hate the sin, scorn the sinner?” We agreed this was too far from the spirit of the book. Leviticus is very specific (e.g., “How to Build an Altar in 1,347 Easy Steps”). And the truth is, it’s tough to read cubits allegorically, no matter how stoned you are.

I suggested, if we were going Full Monty, that we just go straight to “Love the sinner, hate the sin. Then smite the sinner. Usually to death.” Jesse piled on, “If a sinning sinner smites a loving sinner, that sinner should be smitten, also.”

The fuck?

Ripped at Baja Billy’s in 2008

[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve pulled out another relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who served as Duluth’s connoisseur of drinking establishments from 1999 to 2009. In this article we travel back ten years to the time of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 — before Duluth’s Mexico Lindo restaurant existed — when the ol’ “sultan of sot” paid a visit to Baha Billy’s at the Fitger’s Brewery Complex. The article was originally published in the June 30, 2008 issue of the Transistor.]

Have all you motherfucking patriotic cheesedicks got your economic stimulus checks from the IRS yet? That’s valuable drinking money, you know. While a few misguided Duluthians might use that free cashola to pay down their massive credit-card debt or save up to fix their sewer lines, the rest of us know what it’s really for: top-shelf liquor.

And so I walk into the Fitger’s Brewery Complex with three crispy hundos in my pocket, which is pretty much the only way you can walk into a shopping mall on Grandma’s Marathon weekend. My destination is Baja Billy’s Cantina & Grill, the tourist trappiest of the four drinking establishments in the building. Sure, my money would go a lot further at, for example, the Rustic in West Duluth, but I’m not dealing with real money today. I’m going to sit outside on Duluth’s best deck, look out at the full moon over Lake Superior, and slowly get hammered, all on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime.

Ore Classification Yards in Proctor

This undated photo, attributed to photographer John Vachon, comes with the following caption:

View of the ore classification yards of the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad. Here cars are made up in train loads according to quality specification and hauled by powerful mallet engines down the six-mile grade to the Duluth ore dock.

Smokehaus Scavenger Hunt


 
Northern Waters Smokehaus has  been selling smoked fish, meats, salumi, and sandwiches out of its little DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace location for so long that some regulars call it an institution.

To celebrate 20 years of smoking, slinging sandwiches and stumbling through the seasons with various levels of success, Northern Waters is offering discounts, sales and giveaways all year long. For the month of July the business is conducting a Duluth-wide (within its delivery range) Scavenger Hunt.