Random Posts

Happy 19th birthday to us!

Perfect Duluth Day has been Duluth’s Duluthiest website for 19 years. Yes, it was June 29, 2003 when PDD’s first blog post was published … back when people didn’t know what a blog was.

Ripped at Burn’s Bar in 2002

[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. The Sultan of Sot drove out to Rice Lake Township for this article, which appeared in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. Burn’s Bar, by the way, closed in 2013.]

Throughout my long history of drunken escapades, I’ve seen quite a bit. I’ve seen prostitutes working their trade right out in the open. I’ve seen barroom floors covered with blood. I’ve had white-trash women sic their mongoloid husbands on me. I’ve never seen a gunfight, but I have sipped suds right next to fresh bullet holes. One time, a guy seriously tried to sell me on the idea of pimping out young girls. “You don’t have any ambition,” he told me. “Where are you going to be in five years?”

But at no point during any of this have I seen anything like what I see when I pull into the parking lot at Burn’s Bar. Burn’s Bar is awesome.

If you need simple evidence, then judge the place by its patrons’ appreciation of great poetry, which is scribbled on the men’s room wall.

Monthly Grovel: June 2022

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Ticket prices have been on the rise, but the cost to find out that events exist hasn’t gone up at all. The PDD Calendar remains free. However, each month we reach out with one beggarly blog post to remind everyone that human beings and not machines are at work editing and publishing calendar items. So if you appreciate it, drop a few bucks in the PayPal account.

Johnny Depp – Amber Heard Trial vs. Ukraine War: A Mashup

Judge Azcarate agrees to a last-minute venue change and the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial moves to Ukraine. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard get in Russian T-90 tanks spray-painted with “Z”s to fight each other. One is in a Russian tank, and the other one is in a Russian tank appropriated by Ukraine. No one knows which is which. The celebrities pursue each other shooting high explosive rounds from the 125 mm smooth-bore tank guns. Their “cope cages” and reactive armor spectacularly fail. The roads clog with burned-out tanks as the battle takes longer than legal analysts expected.

Bogged down in the countryside by the infamous Ukrainian mud, the venue changes again. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard pursue each other through the bowels of the sprawling steel plant complex at Mariupol, on the north coast of the Sea of Azov. Miles of tunnels under the plant conceal what really happened in the fog of war. All we know is they are both actors on the destabilizing world stage, cogs in a grinding apocalypse.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard level each other’s cities in a great humanitarian crisis. Threats of a Johnny Depp chemical weapons attack haunt Amber Heard who puts on an aging gas mask and thinks, “This might be it” as she rushes into the fight. But the threats were a bluff: Johnny Depp has snorted all the nerve gas.

PDD Quiz Delayed

Greetings, PDD quizzers!

The PDD quiz will be delayed by one week; the next installment of the Duluth parks quiz will be published on May 22.

See you then!

A Weird Experience Writing About Great Lakes Shipwrecks

I got spooked by a coincidence while researching Great Lakes shipwrecks for a story. The coincidence involved a shipwreck so terrifying I decided not to write my story at all.

I had planned to write about each category of maritime disaster: shipwrecks, ghost ships, and disappearances. With a proper shipwreck, the fact of the sinking is undisputed, but the wreck itself may or may not ever be found. A ghost ship has been abandoned but doesn’t immediately sink, sometimes not for years, resulting in haunting sighting reports. I had written a story about a ghost ship already. Now I wanted to write about a ship disappearing. With such missing ships, a sinking is often assumed, but the ship is simply gone; it may as well have sailed into a black hole.

My disappearance tale remains unwritten. The story I was going to write was of a ship vanishing in plain sight as it sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge. The mystery would be where did it go, and how — was it all an illusion/what is reality anyway, etc. The ship’s possible fates would include “what if the lift bridge acted like a teleporter.” The end would reveal a document recording an encounter with the ship in the distant past, describing the crew as phased half into the deck — a nod to the Philadelphia Experiment. The story would end with this horror image of the still-alive crew, instead of with an explanation. Dude this story was going to rock. All I needed was the name of this doomed hell ship and I could start writing.

Monthly Grovel: May 2022

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Homegrown is over, but the music festivals keep coming. There’s the Festival of Nordic Music, Duluth Dylan Festival, Bayfront Country Jam, Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival and on and on. The only reliable tool to help weigh the options is the PDD Calendar.

Each month we reach out with one beggarly blog post to remind everyone that human beings and not machines are at work editing and publishing calendar events. So if you appreciate it, drop a few bucks in the PayPal account.

Zeppelins Over Duluth

From the book The First Time Germany Invaded Duluth, Minnesota by Peter S. Svenson:

“July 1, 1917: The Weltanshauung, a German hydrogen war-zeppelin, lost power over Bavaria. Captured by the wind, for the next two weeks it blew north across Europe and then the Arctic Circle. The furious crew tried fixing the engines but never succeeded. Technically, they set the World Record for the first arctic crossing by air, a feat later repeated by Shackleton.”

From “Zeppelins Over Duluth!” Duluth Herald, July 16, 1917:

“The Weltanshauung contained an internal airplane hangar with six black tri-planes that emerged from the nose of the craft like hornets. A Canadian fighter squadron looked for the zeppelin over Lake Erie and almost collided with it in the dark. It was a cliff face hanging in the sky, dwarfing them with the black-cross-on-white symbol of the German Air Force. But the Canadians lost it in confusion and fear. Soon a lake steamer spotted it drifting within sight of the North Shore of Lake Superior, toward Duluth. The authorities mobilized the American helium zeppelin, the Federalist, from its floating hangar in the Duluth harbor.

Bury Me in Hot Sauce

There is a Medieval legend of the honey mummy: holy men consuming nothing but honey until their excreta and fluids turn to honey, whereupon they die and are sealed in honey-filled stone caskets for a hundred years. Bites of their candied flesh are said to have curative powers, mystically evading definitions of cannibalism.

When I am 75, I will stop eating and drinking anything except hot sauce. After a month, my bodily fluids will become hot sauce. I will poop fiery chili paste like a sambal. The endorphins released with every bowel movement will keep me high as a kite. I will pee siracha sauce squirting like a squeeze bottle. My seminal fluid will be an organic salsa verde. My salivary glands will secrete tabasco. Weeping serrano tears from cayenne eyes, everything I see will have an apocalyptic tint. The interstitial fluid between my cells will run with fermented habanero. Since an all-out hot sauce diet is unsustainable, I will die. Fill a stone coffin with artisan ghost peppers, pureed scotch bonnets, Trinidad scorpions, jalapenos aged in wooden casks, vinegar, salt, lime, onions, and garlic. Place my body inside. Then seal it for 100 years.

Monthly Grovel: April 2022

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Zlata Chochieva? 311? Trampled by Turtles? Weird Al? The only reliable tool to help weigh the upcoming concert options is the PDD Calendar.

Each month we reach out with one beggarly blog post to remind everyone that human beings and not machines are at work editing and publishing calendar events. So if you appreciate it, drop a few bucks in the PayPal account.

The Return of the Handshake

There was a brief minute at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when I thought I might never shake another person’s hand again. And I was fine with that. If we could take just one positive thing out of the widespread death, illness and cultural disturbance that began in 2020, it might be ridding ourselves once and for all of the compulsion to rub our palms together.

But even when I was in the middle of a long no-handshake stretch, full of wishful thinking about the future, I knew deep down that the germ clutch would soon return. And of course it did.

My prejudicial prediction was that most people wouldn’t want to return to handshaking, but a bunch of insistent jackasses would refuse to let it die. Then it would slowly become normal again and we’d all live with it. I was wrong. Pretty much everyone started extending their hands the moment lockdowns and mandates were eased. There was no resistance.

Surf and Slide – Great Lakes Now

Detroit Public TV produces Great Lakes Now. The show speaks to me of what we share with other Great Lakes residents and how we should quit fighting about whether or not Lake Superior is the Greatest Lake. This episode focuses on ice sailing, and lake surfing (specifically the Surfistas): “It’s about stoke.”

Stock Lake Superior with Seals and Orca Whales: A Modest Proposal

To the Mayor of Duluth and the City Council: I propose that the city stock Lake Superior with seals, and a community of orcas to keep the seals in check. This plan increases annual tourist revenue by $300,000,000. I outline my proposal below with expenditures.

Seals can live in freshwater. The only population of exclusively-freshwater seals is native to the ratchet Lake Baikal in Russia, the Baikal seals. But geopolitical issues preclude obtaining breeding pairs. Therefore we need to look closer to home: Quebec has harbor seals in a couple lakes, a subspecies of the common seal called the Ungava seal. But, the Ungava is endangered so if we import them, we should establish a breeding program, increasing expenses.

Fortunately, Iliamna Lake in Alaska has a population of common seals trapped there. I suggest we capture and import specimens from that population to get ours started. Technically saltwater seals, the common seals’ adaptability to freshwater has been proven which will give them a head start in Lake Superior. I’ll throw in a couple Ungavas on the house to increase genetic diversity. Estimated cost of capturing and importing 100 breeding pairs of seals from Lake Iliamna: $3,500,000.

Chaotic Good

All names have been changed in this essay, not for each person’s privacy — just for fun.

I’m under the impression, based on the stunning aggregate of books, songs, poems, movies, and even body sprays about the subject, that I’m not the only person who truly was at a crossroads at age 17. By way of possible explanation, for many more years of my life than I’d like to admit, I labored under the very firm and very erroneous impression that I needed to be perfect in order to deserve love. What is even more absurd is the fact that, to preserve this external façade of imperturbable perfection, I believed I had to hide, disguise, or elaborately lie about most of who I was.

But by 17 years old, this had reached something of a fever pitch, the world having grown so much more complex and rife with nefarious but terribly desirable options. For example, I was a newly-minted cigarette smoker, having discovered that cigarettes were the missing piece in my anxiety repertoire. They created a self-reinforcing feedback loop in my neuronal network in which I smoked to relieve anxiety, and then smoking made me more anxious — a glorious oscillation that kept me jangly and on the edge of my seat, but also hiding episodically in the Harbormaster’s bathroom during school lunch to smoke, so no one would know I was a smoker.

UMD Ombudsperson Position

The University of Minnesota Duluth is seeking an ombudsperson who is a designated neutral or impartial practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to UMD faculty and staff.

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