Random Posts

Video Tour of Former Finland Air Force Base

“The right amount of elbow grease” is what the narrator recommends during this video tour of the former Finland Air Force Base, located about 50 miles northeast of Duluth, which is listed for $800,000.

The catch? It’s a superfund site.

My message to FedEx about their Duluth branch

Messaged this to FedEx’s Facebook page even though I was off the clock (I am not speaking for my unnamed place of business in any capacity but only as a private concerned citizen): “Hello – I work for a Duluth MN business that is having consistent problems with your drivers being unmasked in violation of our store policy, FedEx policy, and a citywide masking ordinance.

Lake Superior Writers taking over NEMBA

The Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards have a new organizing body, Lake Superior Writers. As a fan of NEMBA, the University of Minnesota Duluth and LSW, I think this is good news for all.

The SuperiorLab-Marquette Disaster

Deep-sea explorer Ecclesia Hummingbird, August 23, 2001 on PBS: “I live and work here in SuperiorLab, a hyperbaric underwater habitat 950 feet deep, by a drowned petrified forest. Welcome to science’s first permanent presence at the bottom of Lake Superior, with our partners: the University of Minnesota, NASA, and our corporate sponsors. We are offshore between Two Harbors and Silver Bay, in a quarter-mile-wide underwater canyon whose sides slope hundreds of feet down. This scar cuts for thirty miles getting deeper and deeper. The lake’s canyons divide the bedrock like cracking skin, and this crack is one of its deepest, Bible black like space.

“SuperiorLab is manned by a rotating crew of divers and astronauts-in-training who live here for months at a time. Because of budget cuts, that is currently a crew of two. There’s myself, and there’s my half-sister Persephone Marrow, a geologist developing protocols for future Mars missions. We are the so-called ‘genius daughters’ of the university’s Professor Joseph Marrow.

Historic Floorplans

I recently bought an older home in Congdon. Nothing special, but I like it. The previous owner made many changes to the interior in a misguided attempt to modernize the home. I am thinking about restoring it to its former layout, but I’m not finding much historic information about the home. Does anyone have any ideas on where I might get some information? The home is likely an American Foursquare that had some arts and crafts touches. Thanks for any help!

Ripped at Pizza Lucé 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. Pizza Lucé opened its Duluth location in 2001 and quickly caught the attention of the Sultan of Sot, who penned his review for the Jan. 9, 2002 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. The restaurant has undergone several renovations in the past two decades, so we note here that the U-shaped semi-unisex restroom is no longer as it was. Also, the early morning openings are no longer a thing.]

As an old-fashioned Duluth rum hound, I want to dislike Pizza Lucé. When a Twin Cites enterprise expands to Duluth and sets up in a nice, clean new building, I pretty much go into auto-hate mode. But not this time. Pizza Lucé is a friend of the drinking class.

First off, there’s a decent happy hour seven days a week. Plus, there’s the extended hours — you can go there and get drunk at 7 a.m. (they actually have a list of morning-time cocktails for people who want to do just that), you can check out some live music in the evenings or you can go there for booze-soaking victuals after bar close.

Monthly Grovel: January 2022

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We urge everyone to proceed with caution while the Omicron variant works to spoil the parties, but events go on and the PDD Calendar has all the details as usual. 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.

Saturday Essay: Select Gems from 2021

Saturday Essay logo genericTypically the “select gems” feature on the last Saturday of the year has nothing to do with Google Analytics popularity contests, and instead is more of an “editor’s choice.” But 2021 wasn’t an ordinary year for Perfect Duluth Day’s “Saturday Essay” series. As reported last week, a single author swept our annual list of the five most-read essays.

So this year’s “select gems” are the five most-read essays of the year that weren’t authored by Jim Richardson. Because the rest of us aren’t exactly chopped liver.

In the past six years PDD has published 263 essays showcasing the work of 43 different writers, and we’re always looking to expand that roster. Anyone who has an original piece of literary excellence that seems to fit (or appropriately defy) the established format should email paul @ perfectduluthday.com to get involved.

And now, links to a few select gems from season six …

Investigations into the Literary History of Duluth, Continued: Duluth Benedictine Books

It looks like (from the Online Computer Library Center records and the books I found at Gabriel’s) Duluth Benedictine Books was a brief experiment in recording the lives and institutions of sisters who live at St. Scholastica. (I just finished a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam I purchased at their most recent jam sale — so yummy.)

I wonder whether this was a project fueled by one of the sisters? By someone determined to write down history or by someone who recognized that telling these stories could also help recruit for the sisterhood (whose numbers are dwindling)?

The Last of the (I Think) Futter Collection

So, this is the last batch of records purchased at a $5 bag sale at Gabriel’s Books in Lakeside.

The Most Read Saturday Essays of 2021

Saturday Essay logo genericNever before has one author landed more than two works on Perfect Duluth Day’s list of the top-five most read Saturday Essays. And now, like some literary Muhammad Ali, Jim Richardson landed not three, not four, but all five. Total domination. He also had the sixth-most-read essay of the year, just to rub his popularity in the noses of every other writer in town.

How did he do it? Well, for starters he wrote more essays than everyone else. But ultimately it was the quality of the goods that made him PDD’s click hog in 2021. Many of his works fell into a genre we might describe as “Duluth fan fiction,” but at least one in the top five is about something that really happened. And another one could be fact based, but we can’t prove whether the author wants to see naked women or not.

Closer to the Core: Helen A. Futter’s Records

Yesterday was a “snow day,” meaning things were open, but my Kia Soul was not equipped to get me there while the snow fell on the ice. So I took a break from grading some excellent papers by my students to go over my next stack of records from Gabriels’s Used Bookstore in Lakeside.

Filling Up at the ‘Coldest Gas Station in America’

Back in January of 1997, my friend Keith and I took a drive across Wiscosota and Minnesconsin with my cousin Matt, a California beach boy searching for a real northland winter. Our road trip launched on the eve of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XXXIII appearance. A handmade Packer flag crafted from a pillow case was taped to the bumper of Keith’s sedan as we drove 300 miles across frozen farm fields and snow-covered forest to Title Town. The idea was to celebrate an inevitable Packer victory in the shadows of Lambeau Field.

I’ll save our tales of mischief and revelry for another time. This essay is about gas stations – very cold gas stations.

Gas is needed to get from St. Paul to Green Bay in a V-8 Chevrolet. Somewhere in the middle of Wiscosota we stopped at a convenience store and pulled up to a service island. A snowmobile was parked at an adjacent pump and its driver was filling a tank under the seat. Matt’s jaw dropped like he had just spotted Bigfoot munching on a cheeseburger.

“Whaaaaatttt????” he said, as he grabbed a cheap point-and-shoot camera and jumped out of the car.

“Duluth on Duluth”

Back in 2000 George Killough, then an English professor at the College of St. Scholastica, edited the book “Minnesota Diary, 1942-46” the journal of Sinclair Lewis during the time he lived in Duluth.

Project SULTAN: A 13-Year-Old’s Plan to Take Over the World

At age thirteen in 1981, I made plans to take over the world. I would form a military organization with a network of secret bases, to destabilize the nations of the globe so I could seize power. The Reagan administration had me scared of nuclear annihilation — a civilization gone mad. The only moral response was to end war by taking over the world. So I wrote a manifesto, detailed my plans, and designed superweapons. I kept these in folders in a three-ring binder in my top dresser drawer. Today, four decades later, one of those folders survives. It is titled “SULTAN: Bases, Robots, Missiles.” It contains my megalomaniacal manifesto, my plan’s diabolical steps, and some blueprints. The other folders are missing. I have a good idea what happened to them, or should I say, who happened to them.

The opening page reads: “This is a highly-classified, top secret notebook, full of my plans for world conquest, and absolute domination of the planet. Anyone (without whom I have first given specific directions) reading this book shall be dealt with accordingly. – Jim Richardson, Future Earth Emperor.”

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