Like a bunch of old timers stuck in some newspaper-era, schedule-oriented, deadline-consumed mindset, the brain trust at Perfect Duluth has been locked for several years in the notion that every Friday we need to publish our Selective Focus feature and every Saturday we need to publish our Saturday Essay. No more. It was fine for a while, but we’re done with that rigid scheduling.
The podcast Omnibus! with Ken Jennings and John Roderick references Duluth in the March 12 episode “Tippi Hedren’s Fingernails.”
At the beginning of the show the hosts talk about reasons to get married and note it might assure more frequent sexual intercourse. Around the 4-minute mark, Jennings refers to an unmentioned source — “what the numbers say” — and comments that “far from the stereotypes about cold marriage beds, in fact, married people are having more and better and freakier sex than all of us. Some youth pastor in Duluth is having the craziest sex.”
[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. After the Fox-Sutherland V.F.W. Post 6320 in West Duluth closed, it merged with the Lincoln Park neighborhood post. The town’s infamous drunken scribbler paid a visit in February 2009 to file this report for the weekly Transistor. Historical note: One year later, V.F.W. Post 137 was renamed the McConnell-Modeen Post. It remains open at 2023 W. Michigan St.]
It seems camaraderie among Veterans of Foreign Wars is on the decline. Duluth is down to its last V.F.W. club, the Duprey-Alexander Post 137 in the friendly West End neighborhood. There’s no sign on the front of the building, or any other visible indication the club exists, but the V.F.W. is indeed still there, open every day from 3 p.m. until the volunteer bartender decides to lock up.
Tonight, the clientele consists of a young couple at the bar playing cribbage and a small group meeting in the next room. My arrival does not excite the volunteer bartender at all, and I can’t blame her. Working on tips alone, she must be pulling in $4 an hour. It’s only 8 p.m., but she clearly wants to close up shop right now. I think I’ll try ordering a margarita just to watch her reaction.
I think I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time as a Rochester John Marshall 10th grader sometime during the 1986-87 school year. My most prominent memory of the academic experience is writing five-paragraph essays about the book for three buddies who got higher grades on the assignment (all A-minuses) than I got (solid, respectable B). I also remember watching our teacher, the white, perpetually flustered Ms. Green, have no idea what to do when Scott, the only black kid in that sophomore English section, reacted with outrage after the first time she shakily uttered the word “nigger” while reading an excerpt aloud to us.
The book is seldom far from my conscious thoughts. Partially because it’s culturally omnipresent. It’s tough to have a college degree, love reading, work in education, watch public television, or just be alive and engaged in certain aspects of dominant Baby Boomer and Generation-X zeitgeist without seeing, hearing about, or discussing the book (or the movie version of it) fairly frequently. I’m also sure I would think about it fairly often even if it weren’t ubiquitous. I don’t recall much about my actual experience of reading it that first time. I do know I immediately revered the story and many of its characters. I still do. And I’ve consciously thought about it more than usual for the past year or so, after Duluth Public Schools (Independent School District 709) administrators announced the book would be removed from ninth-graders’ English reading list. A lot of people in Duluth and a lot of other places have had a lot things to say about that decision.
A parade of local Democratic officials emphasized that grit as they took turns at the podium in the lead-up Klobuchar’s speech. That included a trio of Minnesota mayors: Jacob Frey of Minneapolis, Johnathan Judd of Moorhead and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, who described the weather conditions — temperatures in the teens under falling snow — as “a perfect Duluth day.”
Monsters are, as you doubtlessly already acutely understand, terribly frightening and dangerous. Many films have been made, detailing the paralyzingly ghastly and gory imperatives on which monsters operate, resulting in rooms fairly brimming with ichor and carnage: Soggy glumps of eyeballs, hanging from sticky ropes of optic nerves like morbid tether balls; piles and piles of viscera, settling and emitting gas like teams of farting snakes; ripped and abandoned limbs, arms and legs stacked like macabre log cabins of ruined flesh and protruding bone, still twitching and dripping the last of their darkening blood. Every shadowy corner, every looming closet, every rickety and ramshackle basement staircase adumbrates the uncanny atrocities monsters are hoping to wreak. They are eager to wreak. It’s their whole mission, in fact. (There’s a perfectly empirical reason for the word “monstrosities,” and it’s precisely what you’re thinking.)
One might reflect on this reality with floppy despondency, and in fairness, one would not be mistaken to do so. Flop and despond, if you need to get it out of your system. But as you’re able, kindly recover your wits, and devote your attention to the following introductory tutorial on the rules by which all monsters must abide, lest they be subjected to the same harrowing and disastrous fates to which they are so devoted to imposing on the human population.
In 2011 Perfect Duluth Day chose as its official slogan “Duluth’s Duluthiest Website.” It was a statement we felt pretty confident making. Maybe other Duluth websites are better, but certainly none are Duluthier.
But this week we’ve been wondering if PDD truly is Duluth’s best website. This line of thinking was prompted by the Duluth Reader weekly newspaper conducting a poll and ultimately publishing in its Jan. 31 “Best of the Northland” issue that PDD won the title of “Best Local Website.”
I think it’s been something like 10 years since I’ve blown a tire while driving and had to replace it with a spare on the side of the road. What’s weird about that is I remember having to change flat tires fairly often in previous years — like once every 20 months or something.
The most I have ever paid for a motor vehicle is $4,000. My current car cost $3,500. The seven others I’ve gone through over the years each cost about $1,500 or less. Every one of them was a bargain, but involved a bit more maintenance than newer cars. The well-worn tires on some of those clunkers used to give me my share of roadside adventures. I’m not sure why that has stopped in the past decade, but I’m certainly not complaining.
About 15 years ago, as a public service and also as a reminder to my future self, I compiled a list of advice about changing flat tires. I’m assuming all of it still applies to today’s vehicles and might be useful to the general public at some point in the future or me tomorrow. It’s not really technical advice, it’s more for emotional preparation.
Hunkered down at PDD World Headquarters, problem solving the switch to WordPress in 2009: Cory Fechner, Scott Lunt, Paul Lundgren and Barrett Chase.
Ten years ago — Jan. 30, 2009 — Perfect Duluth Day made the big leap to the WordPress publishing platform. Specifically, the upgrade was from Movable Type version 3.2 to WordPress version 2.8. These days PDD is on WordPress version 4.9.9. But enough nerdspeak.
I’ve been discovering blogs by Duluthians lately. Sister Scotland collects the observations of a Superior student as she studies abroad. Some observations, about the taste of haggis … well, I will never be okay with food cooked in a stomach. It feels like duplication of effort; we only need one stomach in this process. But others, they are just playful thoughts on life.