Random Posts

Def Leppard at the DECC Arena in 1999

In 1999 I was living in Minneapolis, listening to the Legendary Pink Dots. In Duluth, Def Leppard was playing. The audio is available on the Internet Archive.

His Body

It was his 73rd birthday. He’d been taken into inpatient psychiatric care the night before, a phone call I had received while out at a bar with a group of friends. We were watching a Minneapolite musician, Dessa, play at Pizza Lucé in downtown Duluth. I liked Dessa’s music, but I really liked her writing. She’d detailed her experience rewiring her brain to forget a dangerous, almost obsessive love affair: the mechanics of love, told in poetry and electromagnetic imaging. Before the psychological intervention, she said, she had a kind of wild and inevitable connection to this man who could not be trusted with her heart. They were incendiary together, in good ways and not: a fire started with a glance, burning down the house with everyone inside. I’ve never had a love like that, but I could feel it anyway — her despair, her passion, and the terrible realization that whatever was happening in her was above or beneath her conscious mind, scratched into her whole brain. Every thought she had about anything traversed the rough path of that scratch — removing him from her heart was reductive: she needed to remove him from the apparatus of her Self, the thing that made her her.

I didn’t understand why this was so moving to me at the time, but now I do.

The Institute for the Study of Light and Water reviews endless summer 2022

Records of Spring: Spotty

Lightbeams solid enough to climb pierce the windows of the Institute for the Study of Light and Water, rousing my eye like a hibernating bear. Dawn presents a temporal crisis. Borges said no one staying up all night welcomes the dawn. So the arrival of spring at the Institute. Records of spring are spotty. The brook babbled after a long vow of silence. The snow was gone which meant April had definitely passed. Cautious leaves popped out. Then the Institute blinked and endless summer began.

Index of the Duluth Superhero Community (the Richardsonverse)

800 entries, 250 illustrations, 50 footnotes

Co-written with Allen Richardson. Illustrations by the Richardson brothers using craiyon.com, stablediffusionweb.com, and DALL-E 2

1. Preface: I Destroyed the Universe
2. Introduction: Superhero Exegesis
3. Index of the Duluth Superhero Community
4. Footnotes

Preface: I Destroyed the Universe

From the Journal of the Morphogenetic Field Technician: I am trapped far beneath the UMD campus in the Novelty Sphere as the global catastrophe intensifies. My team’s experiments in this underground lab are directly responsible for the apocalypse overtaking the planet. The quakes grow steadily. Portions of the lab visible through the Sphere’s cyclopean porthole have caved in. Soon the roof will collapse releasing tons of basaltic bedrock. If the Sphere’s integrity holds, I will have limited air. One thing I have an unlimited supply of: claustrophobia. It is as if I am in an untethered bathysphere sinking into the mounting pressures of the deep. The Sphere’s instrumentation confirms my worst suspicions: this is no mere global extinction. We destabilized probability itself, and the vertical line on the catastrophe graph indicates structural failure of the universal constants. Like a landslide, the cosmos races toward physical destruction. Gravity will be the first to fail, centered on the Sphere. The well of the Earth is popping like an old spring.

PDD Shop Talk: Seeking a new event calendar editor

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The big news behind the scenes at Perfect Duluth Day is that our longtime calendar editor has moved on and we have launched the search for a replacement. But before we get into that, we lead with the standard reminder that the PDD Calendar is run by human beings and not machines. So if you appreciate it, drop a few bucks in the PayPal account.

Ripped at the Keyboard Lounge 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. Twenty years ago the Sultan of Sot stumbled into the Keyboard Lounge in Proctor and wrote the article below for the Sept. 18, 2002 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper.]

So I walk into the Keyboard Lounge and, although there’s a fistfight going on in the middle of the floor, I’m distracted. The violence, the hollering, even the gang of people on the karaoke stage providing the obligatory a cappella version of “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” can’t compete with … uh … well … you should sit down for this.

I don’t normally have hallucinations when I’m drinking, so I will gladly swear upon a kitchen cupboard full of barley, hops and yeast that everyone in this joint is wearing nightgowns and underwear. The female bartender is wearing pasties. The male bartender is wearing a bulletproof vest and silk boxers. There’s a guy who looks like Sonny Bono and he’s wearing assless jeans. There’s a woman wearing a black fishnet number that’s getting everyone bothered. Everywhere I look is flesh and panties and frilly stuff. A sign on the wall finally explains. It’s “Naughty Nightie Night!” Well, that’s just typical for the Keyboard Lounge. Ask for an explanation, get an exclamation.

Duluth mentioned in Washington Post article on biking

A data analysis article on the Washington Post website touts Key West, Fla., as a city with a high percentage of bike commuters, and a resident draws a comparison to Duluth.

“It’s not Duluth,” said Dane Iseman, longtime Key West resident and co-owner of Island Bicycles. “Unless there’s a hurricane whipping through here, unless there’s coconuts flying sideways around the island, you can ride pretty much anytime.”

Just three months ago, however, a Washington Post article referred to Duluth as a “mountain biking paradise.”

Lean into Your Fear: Whitewater Rafting on the St. Louis River

This story is from my personal blog, “Marie’s Meanderings.” When I write a travel post, because my blog’s name has the word “meander” in it, I usually open by saying I “meandered” here and there.

Well, I can’t use that term this time. It’s more accurate to say I reluctantly agreed to go on a whitewater rafting trip down the St. Louis River and promised to scream all the way!

It all started when my friend Russ, who is an experienced kayaker, won a silent auction item at a fundraiser for the St. Louis River Alliance in 2018. He won two tickets for whitewater rafting through Minnesota Whitewater Rafting, a local company that operates out of Scanlon.

Upon my insistence, we agreed to wait for the trip until the water was warm, to make it a more comfortable experience. Now it was August, month of warm weather and water, and I was out of excuses not to go. We gathered everything the company’s information sheet instructed rafters to bring: a dry change of clothes, snug-fitting footwear, windbreaker, towel, etc. And off we went.

Monthly Grovel: Final Edition

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With the state of independent publishing being what it is, Perfect Duluth Day will no doubt continue groveling for donations for years to come. We’re going to start doing it in different ways, however, so this is the final “Monthly Grovel” post. Basically we’re just going to stop calling our grovel a grovel, but we’re also going to start providing a little more behind-the-curtain information.

Five Movies that Almost Reference Duluth

Among the many silly obsessions on Perfect Duluth Day is the practice of noting whenever Duluth is mentioned in a mainstream film — which by our count has happened at least 26 times. But what about when the script calls for a Duluth namedrop and the director or editor nixes it? Well, there are at least five examples of that.

Here’s PDD’s look at movies that were supposed to reference Duluth but ultimately didn’t.

A New Duluth Podcast

There’s a new podcast floating about that might be an enjoyable listen: Getting Bridged. What happens on the podcast? Gar and Kelli, lifelong Duluth residents, chat over the places in the city with stories that need to be told. It’s light on history and heavy on nostalgia, and when you’re waiting in line for the Arial Lift Bridge to come back down as a Laker is heading through, this might be just what you need.

There are nine episodes available, with topics like the old Bryant Elementary School, shopping downtown back in the day, and, most recently, serving in the 148th Fighter Wing. Check it out on rss.com.

Alternate Duluths

Co-written with Allen Richardson

Dr. Mallard McPurdy disappeared in 2005 while surveying regional probability for the University of Minnesota Duluth’s short-lived Anomalies Department. A team led by Dr. Leon Oswald recovered McPurdy’s yellow pressure suit on Skyline Boulevard, but McPurdy remains at large. His suit contained video files from which the following transcriptions were made; we obtained these with a Freedom of Information Act request.

Duluth 1. Air analysis complete: Bacteria Spore, Origin Unknown. I hope these cheap-ass containment suits actually contain.

The dim, overcast light coming through my smeared faceplate told me little about season or time of day. “Dr. Oswald!” I screamed, weeping as the dread and isolation overwhelmed me. I put on a brave face, clenching my fists, unimpressed by the amount of courage I could muster.

Guide to Duluth-related Blogs in 2022

Birding, broadcasting, micro-agriculture, astronomy and motherhood are just some of the topics Duluth-area writers are blogging about. Every two years or so, Perfect Duluth Day scans the web to see who’s active in the local blogosphere, compiling a comprehensive-as-possible guide to the region’s active web logs.

My Psychic Powers

Keeping in mind that I have no credibility, this is the true story of my psychic powers, which I don’t believe in. The reader may decide if I have psychic powers or not. I’ve already told you I don’t believe in them. I used to but not anymore. However, even though I quit believing, psychic things keep happening, which is profoundly irritating.

In chronological order:

Porky Pig Clairvoyance, 1st-2nd Grade (?)

Family Florida trip. A full-page ad in the back of a comic book transfixed me. I read it on my hotel room bed in a block of sunlight, sounds of the ocean in the distance. The ad was for a book about developing psychic and magic powers. It had fine print about the powers, psychic ways to make money, etc. I read every word, thinking it was real or could be.

Then I remember Dad driving and I was in the front seat with him. It was the just the two of us. Florida seemed particularly packed with road signage. A random thought flitted through my head as stores and restaurants flowed by: a line of Porky Pig dialog. No surprise there. It was fleeting and I paid it no mind. Within a couple minutes we drove past a barbecue place with a Porky Pig knock-off on its signage. I said, “Hey, I just thought about Porky Pig and here we are driving past this sign! That’s psychic!”

“Do you think so?” Dad asked, humoring me.

I did think so. Now I knew: I had psychic powers.

Exploring Buckingham Creek

The latest look at Duluth’s underworld from Duluth Urbex explores Buckingham Creek, which flows through Enger Park and down Observation Hill into the St. Louis River.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!