Random Posts

Reading a Record Collector 1

I haunt the resale shops looking for “records that look like books.” I’m referring to the folios of LPs that were common (a) when prepackaged by the label, as a way to sell extended plays and collections when records didn’t hold too many songs and (b) when sold blank, as a way for an individual collector to store and carry multiple, individually-purchased discs.

When I find a collection stored in the sleeves of such a folio, I snatch it, wondering who collected these masterpieces.

N is for Nostalgia: Peak Bradbury

When my father died, I had a surrogate dad waiting in the wings: the work of Ray Bradbury. I was obsessed. I felt I would devote my life to him, a feeling common to loves which last no more than a couple years, as this one did. But they were timeless years. Between my 13th and 15th birthday, with my adult future on the horizon, I was still young enough for summers to last forever.

Now in my 50s, I retain the suite of Bradbury paperbacks I collected back then. I have no use for them, although no library contains merely useful books. I quit re-reading them decades ago. But there are many reasons for books to be collected. I moved on to obsessions with writers less old-fashioned and less overly lyrical, although not before his lyricism infected my own style. Yet even for me, Bradbury is too breathless and too wordy (although not chatty like Harlan Ellison). He wrote terrible poetry. He became a cranky old man. Film and TV adaptations of his work are, by and large, bad. I now consider him (along with his contemporaries Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein) to be a branch of Young Adult (i.e., children’s) literature. But I still give his books a treasured pride of place on my shelves, which overflow with his successors. Strangely, most of my adult favorites also begin with the letter “B”: Burroughs, Ballard, Borges, Bowles … but Bradbury got to me first.

The Slice: Touring Spooky Halloween Homes

Pumpkins, witches, lights and ghouls adorn lawns and houses in the Duluth area decorated in the spirit of Halloween.

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.

Refracted

Split Rock Lighthouse stands along the western shore of Lake Superior, atop a soaring cliff. Dressed in cream-colored brick and elegant trim more fitting for a grand house in a genteel neighborhood, it once worked as a watchman holding a luminous light, warning ships about rocky shores at its feet.

It’s a crisp late-October morning. The last day of the season before the lighthouse shutters for the year. From an expansive autumn-blue sky, sunshine washes the landscape in gold. The temperature wanders just north of forty-five degrees. The air breathes softly.

My granddaughter, six, and grandson, four, are with me. It’s their first visit to the lighthouse. Because it’s a weekday and almost the last day the lighthouse will entertain visitors for the year, we are nearly alone on the grounds.

We climb the twisting steps of the lighthouse, just the three of us. We are quiet, and with nothing to arrest my attention, other than the shuffle of feet on the stairs, I travel decades back in time.

More Literary History of Duluth: Lake Superior Writers

I’m still working on my literary history of Duluth. Lake Superior Writers has published or co-published several volumes. If you were involved in some of these collections and have stories to share, message me or comment below.

The Slice: Oh My Gourdness!

Lake Superior Zoo‘s colossal pumpkin arrived Oct. 6. Danny Tanner of Duluth Township provides the zoo with the symbolic Halloween squash each year ahead of the annual Boo at the Zoo events, this year held Oct. 16, 23 and 30.

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.

Philosophy of Love, Sex and Relationships

Sarah LaChance Adams and Rob Adams and their family no longer live in Duluth, but Sarah can be heard talking about the philosophy of love, sex and relationships in the October episode of Why? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life. The episode is titled: “How do philosophers talk about sex, love, and desire?

PDD Quiz: Halloween Happenings 2021

The spooky season is upon us! Test your knowledge of local Halloween-themed happenings with this week’s quiz (and check out more Halloween hoopla on the PDD calendar).

The next PDD quiz, reviewing the month’s headlines, will be published on Oct. 31. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Oct. 27.

Halloween spookiness awaits at the Icebox Radio Theater

Recently, a post appeared on my Facebook feed announcing the Halloween season of the Icebox Radio Theater in a creepy way. Jeff Adams, artistic director of the community theatre company that records in International Falls but is heard around the world, wrote:

We’re finally ready to tell this story. Years ago when my daughter was still at home, we worked together on a photography project taking pictures of our century-old Minnesota home. When we exported the photos to a computer for editing, this image was among them.

Monthly Grovel: October 2021

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In addition to all the spooky Halloween stuff, the hunchbacks at Perfect Duluth Day are busy as usual updating the PDD Calendar with Duluth-area happenings — from concerts and Oktoberfests to kayak adventures and book launches. 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 Slice: Stairway Portage in the Boundary Waters

Stairway Portage is an 80-rod trail from Duncan Lake to Rose Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It intersects with the Border Route Trail and offers views of Rose Lake and Canada.

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.

Occultists Deny “Glensheen Denies Occult Rituals” Story

Glensheen Mansion still has not denied the story of their denial, which if you think about it, confirms its veracity. Meanwhile the occult community has found the story — perhaps through a crystal ball! — and for the most part, they ain’t havin’ it. Four examples:

Crime

When I was small, I realized a very important facet of my station as a fully-dependent human child: I was not the master of my own fate. My eating, sleeping, bathing times and locations were entirely regulated, along with the clothes I wore, the foods I ate, and the people with whom I was allowed to visit. I was basically a tiny prisoner in some posh minimum-security facility, like a diminutive swanky corporate tax evader or miniature ponzi schemer.

Nobody told me this: I just figured it out. After all, the evidence was overwhelming. For instance, I had no desire to clad my lower half in rust-brown Toughskins pants with knees so reinforced they made me look like an elementary-school robot made of corduroy.

And turtlenecks. Fucking turtlenecks. Every kid wearing a turtleneck looks like they’re being Raleigh St. Clair for Halloween, and no kid is ever being Raleigh St. Clair for Halloween, and do you know why? Because no kid has ever heard of Raleigh St. Clair. Additionally, for the whole day, it feels like maybe you are coming down with a sore throat — a sort of gentle squeezing all day long (or, as the brilliant and departed comedian Mitch Hedberg said, “like you’re being choked by a really weak guy”). I did not choose and would not have chosen that ensemble. I wanted to wear flouncy dresses and sparkly cowboy boots. Sadly, my father had determined that dressing like a Barbie would make my brain stop growing, so really, the Toughskins were for my own protection.

Meryl Streep: HACK

THIS IS A JOKE WE ACTUALLY LOVE MERYL STREEP. One night I dreamed my step-brother Martin in Kansas City called Meryl Streep a hack. When I told him about it, we both thought it was so funny, and cracked jokes about it for days. The result is this probably misguided video making fun of Meryl Streep WHOM WE ADORE

Hey, Are You Married?

I had just crossed lazily through the intersection toward Wells Fargo Center, gently swinging my bag in the late afternoon heat. I had also decided that day to make friends with the hips I had developed over the past six months and lean into them … literally.

I saw him, 30-ish, scruffy, with a dirty T-shirt and a backward hat, leaning against the building. Our city has its contingent of panhandlers. They add a little paprika to our lives and I didn’t pay him any mind — until he called out to me as I passed by him.

“What?!” I asked, incredulously while laughing, stopped in my tracks.

‘I asked if you were married,” he answered with a crooked smile.

“Yes,” I replied and started to walk away. He wasn’t done, though. “Can I get your number and text you?” he yelled at me.

I turned around. “HAPPILY married!” I shot back and spun around on my heel and walked off, laughing.

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