Quantcast

Random Posts

PDD Quiz: Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again: the lights are twinkling, the tourists are flocking, and “Christmas City” plays on a seemingly endless loop. How well do you know your Twin Ports holiday traditions? Whip yourself up a Tom & Jerry and settle in for the quiz!

The next PDD Quiz, reviewing the events of 2017, will be published on Dec. 31. Please send question ideas to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Dec. 28.

Locker Room Talk

I have never worked a fine-dining kitchen but was a short-order fry cook for many years and absolutely loved the work. It’s the closest I have ever been to becoming a star athlete: the physical challenge, mental focus, and team effort of the average brunch service was a rush no matter how many times I got through it. I would sit eagerly after the line was clean, watching the waitress tally her tickets so I could go home with my head full of fresh stats: 200 covers, 8 hours, no walk-outs, no comps = perfect game.

And I was good. I have no idea why. I walked into the diner of my future as a 21-year-old anthropology student and applied for a part-time job I (falsely) assumed would be as low-accountability as my former pizza kitchen work, where as the only woman in the back of the house I was treated with all the novelty I deserved and none of the (usual) hostility. Like a kitten in a nursing home, my male co-workers gave me just enough to play with in that kitchen so I didn’t run away, all the while relieved to have a distraction from their own tired dynamics.

X-mas FAQ

The Christmas holiday is a joyous celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed through gift giving, wreath hanging, carol singing, tree decorating, card exchanging, egg nog drinking, fruitcake chewing, chestnut roasting and other questionable behavior. Not everyone believes in Jesus Christ, or fruitcake for that matter, but all decent human beings are expected to be just a little nicer than usual in December and tolerate all the crackpots.

For those who are unsure how to comply with society’s expectations, I’ve put together a few quick answers to some frequently asked Christmas questions.

Should my family put together a holiday photo card or just do the general Hallmark greeting card thing?

No matter how crappy a photo card is, a majority of recipients will save it their entire lives. Hallmark cards are completely pointless and will be in the recycling bin on Dec. 26 by noon.

The Trouble with Al Franken

I’m sad about Al Franken. I’ve been reading some heartfelt responses to the situation, varying in timbre from sad and resolute to forgiving and freshly devoted to the new and improved Al Franken, the one who will likely emerge from a self-imposed ethics investigation much the way he entered it: somewhat marred, but essentially a good man in the eyes of those who always thought he was a good man, and a liberal blowhard to those who always thought he was a liberal blowhard. His reputation in the court of public opinion is bent, but not really broken. He can still look most of America in the eye. Compared to Louis C.K. and the rest of them — Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore — those roiling pots of sexual dysfunction and predation, Franken is a tepid pool.

I’ll be honest — I was sadder and more surprised by the allegations against the men in my own camp: the liberals and artists, the progressive advocates who had been using their bully pulpits and mordant wits to shame and denounce the current administration and all of its gorked trappings as archaic and hateful, relics of a time before we knew that all people are people, and that other religions are equally inexplicable and sacred to the people who they are inexplicable and sacred to. So shame on me for believing that my men would be different.

Rick Steves offends his Duluth friends

The Nov. 18 episode of Travel with Rick Steves has a brief and not terribly flattering mention of Duluth … though it’s not all that insulting either. The episode is titled “Gili Islands; All-Season Australia; Open Phones: Memorable Travels.”

During the open phone segment, Steves chats with “Brad” from Portland, Ore., who has done ten “home exchanges.” That means Brad and his family have traded houses with other families while traveling. The discussion quickly turns to the notion of convincing someone from Paris to exchange a home with someone who lives in … “no offense … Duluth.”

Against Wise Advice

When I let the brown-leather Wilson basketball fly — when I ended a slow three-or-four-step run-up more elegantly than you might expect from an oafish 6’2”, 210-lb., 21-year-old boy-man by lightly springing off my left foot, driving my right knee up and out, and launching the ball into its arc with two hands — I wasn’t sure it was going to go in.

I’d taken a lot of half-court shots since my teens: before and after 10th-grade practice at Rochester John Marshall High; while skipping class to play noon ball in Romano Gym with my UMD football buddies; alone, ill-equipped for identifying anything better to do, just shooting around on various playground or gym courts. Sometimes you know, from the moment it leaves your hand, what’s going to happen. Muscle and brain memory and senses I don’t know how to name tell you everything from how you planted your foot to how your fingertips were in relationship with the ball’s seams to which snippet of which song was looping through your head add up to a swish, brick, or something else.

But in that moment in November 1993, in the College of St. Scholastica gym at halftime of a Saints’ women’s game against an opponent I can’t remember, when I sprung off my left foot from just behind the royal-blue half-court stripe laid on blonde hardwood, I didn’t know what the ball was going to do. At least I don’t think I knew. Honestly, I never know what I know or knew. I’ve been admonished a few times recently (with both warmth and contempt) for wantonly admitting what and when I don’t know. For expressing uncertainty and self-doubt and regret instead of [long pause] whatever other state of mind it would be more attractive and credible — and more comfortable to other people — for me to claim. For asking annoying questions about obvious and hypocritical contradictions.

PDD Job Opening: Assistant to the Calendar Editor

How does Perfect Duluth Day publish 800 events per month in its online events calendar? Through the hard work of Tony Bennett, Jessica Morgan and the occasional intern, that’s how. Sadly, Jessica will be leaving Duluth soon, and if someone new isn’t quickly found to help Tony he’ll collapse on his laptop and weep uncontrollably.

So here’s another rare opportunity to get inside the PDD media empire and earn slightly above minimum wage with no benefits while working in pajamas. Read the full job description on the PDD employment page.

PDD Quiz: Gales of November

November is a treacherous time on the Great Lakes. This past month, the “gales of November came early,” devastating the Lake Superior shoreline. This quiz looks back at Lake Superior storms and shipwrecks (as well as some marginally-related local singers and songwriters).

The next PDD Quiz, reviewing stuff that happened in November, will be published on Sunday, Nov. 26. Send question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Nov. 23.

Weak-willed Duluthian changes opinion

For the 14th time (by Perfect Duluth Day’s count) The Onion has published a story with a Duluth dateline.

The headline reads: Weak-willed coward changes opinion after learning he was wrong

According to the story, “33-year-old coward Benjamin Dyer gave in and changed his opinion … instead of doubling down on his previously held belief like a real man.”

How much ship traffic goes through Superior Entry?

It seems most ship traffic going onto the lake from Duluth-Superior goes through the canal under the Aerial Lift Bridge. How much ship traffic uses the Superior Entry, which is between Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point? Only the ships going to and from Allouez?

We Just Left Her There to Die Alone

When I was a little idiot West Duluth kid in the early 1980s there were many constructive things for juvenile brats to do. Fighting or just generally acting tough was probably the number one pastime, followed by hanging out on the railroad tracks and throwing taconite pellets at each other. When that got boring there were always guns and wrist rockets to load with those pellets.

We also enjoyed riding our bikes to the market, stealing things and breaking them, listening to satanic heavy-metal music and verbally assaulting each other with complete insensitivity. You know, normal kid stuff.

There were also a few wholesome American activities weaved into the fabric of our youth. My friends and I liked to play sports and various chasing games like “Capture the Flag” and “Tin-can Alley.”

All of it really just falls into the category of fighting, though. Strength, speed, agility or physical force-of-will would generally determine the victor in any contest, and if it didn’t there would be an argument about it so the tougher kid could still come out on top. Since the element of strategy was always loosely involved, however, the winner could claim both physical and intellectual dominance. It was a pretty good way to establish and constantly reinforce a pecking order among the boys, but more than that it was an excellent way for the boys to prove how much better they were than the girls. Or so it seemed.

The Crunchy Bunch DJ collective made a podcast highlighting local DJs, artists and musicians

As the Crunchy Bunch, we’ve been DJing for almost nine years now, and we decided it was time to try something a little different. We started making a podcast that would feature new beats that we discover, as well as a sit-down, relaxed chat with a local face.

So far we’ve had DJ Kevin Craig, DJ Walt Dizzo, and the newest episode with Chad Lyons in the studio.

Check it out at thecrunchybunch.info! We’re still exploring ideas and trying to make it better and better each episode.

Enjoy 😀

Not Bluegrass

Old-time music is better than it sounds. Old-time, not bluegrass. Of course it’s futile to argue tastes in music. Foolish to judge the listening choices of another. Folly to debate ones’s aesthetic preferences. But having said that, may I add: bluegrass sucks.

Ha! Just kidding, bluegrass. You know we only tease you out of envy for your fancy shirts, and amazing chops, displayed in those talent attacks had most every solo. And you’ve got as many virtuosos per capita as any genre out there, though they be virtuosos with the souls of bean counters. Ha! Did I say that? Just kidding, bluegrass.

Of course there’s some overlap between the styles, bluegrass having “evolved” out of old-time, around WW II. It’s not like there’s a tidy trench between the two, over which we lob our slurs and brickbats. But for the most part bluegrass emerged around 1945 as Earl Scruggs (forgive him Lord) invented his 3-finger style of banjo picking that, along with fairly specific instrumentation, defines the style. Still, the term “bluegrass” is often misused to label anyone playing that assortment of stringed instruments. There’s a local pop band most always labeled “bluegrass” because of the instruments they play, but it ain’t so. How do I know? They don’t suck.

Sorry. I really should see a shrink about this hot-lick envy. Treat these deep-seated fears of Stetsons and bolo ties. Having spent so much of my life high and lonesome you’d think I’d better appreciate those mountain harmonies.

It’s not Mars; it’s my streets.

On Facebook, I saw a picture that could have been from Mars, or from Hibbing (where the earth has been gutted by mines in a monstrously, sublimely beautiful way).

But it wasn’t. It was a Duluth street.

(On Facebook the photo is cropped without the yellow line. This makes it look even more out-of scale Martian.)

In the next election, I understand, there is something to be done about it.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

I will do almost anything to avoid ironing. It’s the truth — I will. I don’t know what it is about ironing that is so abhorrent to me, but I will consider almost any other method of getting wrinkles out of my clothes.

Maybe it’s the ironing board. It’s all big and squeaky, and inexplicably hard to operate. Mine has not one, but two security features — you have to compress this metal … thing … while applying downward pressure on the legs to get it to close. Then, it catches on the second security contraption, which requires that you, maintaining aforementioned downward pressure, and compressing the first metal thing, also compress a second metal thing. It’s next to impossible. It’s actually easier to remove a Volvo 850 engine or a human heart. I know irons are hot and dangerous. But a double lock? There are nuclear silos with less integrity.

As an added feature, or possibly as evidence of the degradation of the ironing board over time, this security feature also activates while you are opening the ironing board, locking the board halfway open, approximately three feet off the ground. Three feet off the ground is too far below my natural waist for me to comfortably iron there, and slightly too high for me to iron at from a kneeling position (ask me how I know) so I must begin a reverse version of the closing the board/security catch deactivation process: I clench both metal doobobbies like I am falling off a cliff, and vigorously shake the whole thing up and down until the legs finally release, like a huge metal crane, and snap into ironing board, full-height position.