Lake Superior Aquaman on patrol.
Thanks to citizen @wiscontron for bringing this to my attention. It reads “Lake Superior Aquaman” with a picture of a trident, then someone has followed that with “<- The Admiral Nelson of Great Lakes.”
In 1861, Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was in Washington D.C. when the Confederates started the Civil War. He was in the Oval Office when Lincoln received the fateful telegram detailing the attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina — the most serious in a string of Southern aggressions, including the seizing of Federal armories across Dixie. Heeding Lincoln’s call for troops, Ramsey walked right up to the President and said, “Mr. President, let Minnesota be the first state to commit 1,000 volunteers to answer this latest outrage from the disloyal states.”
Ramsey’s commitment created the famous fighting force known as the Minnesota First Infantry Regiment. They were the Civil War’s earliest northern enlistees, and they saved the Union at Gettysburg as every Minnesota schoolchild knows. On the third day of that pivotal battle, after Pickett’s Charge, Pvt. Marshall Sherman of St. Paul emerged with the scarred battle flag of the 28th Virginia Infantry. Virginia whines about it to this day but we’re not giving it back neener neener neener.
As documented in the book Duluth: An Illustrated History: “The opening of the Duluth canal proved to have a beneficial effect which its promoters had not anticipated. Currents flowing through the channel carried away a considerable amount of rotting timber and mucky islets which had infested the harbor. In fact, one of Duluth’s original townsites — Fremont — was thus swept out into Lake Superior and lost forever.”
The Zenith City Press website confirms the account: new currents swept several floating bogs in the harbor out to sea. The largest of these islands was 1,200 feet long and 400 feet wide — larger than the largest lake vessel — and it contained the township of Fremont. It began where Rice’s Point is today, and on May 10, 1873, it passed through the canal to the open sea.
I must correct the error, often propagated, that Fremont broke up that night in rough water. The truth is, Fremont is still out there, population 299, comprised of 20 families that each own a business. I know because I have been to Fremont. I have hiked its marshes and shopped its cute, bustling downtown. I have fished off its docks. I have traded stories, dreams, and fears with Fremonters around beach campfires.
Many people have. Lake Superior is dotted with cities that Fremont has visited. I highly recommend, next time Fremont is visible on the horizon, try to get there. The Fremont music scene is a delight. And of course anyone who loves lake culture and the outdoors probably already knows about it.
I am not on heroin, I’m expressing freedom from love and sex. I’m celibate as a monk from here on out. Retire my jersey, I’m out of the game. You can leave your hat on — and all the rest of it too. Quoth the bard, “Love stinks.” If you ever wonder if I want to get in your pants: I don’t.
The title of this piece is an actual quote. I heard someone say it while they were having really remarkable romantic troubles. You can switch the genders up in this essay to suit your tastes. The sentiment works any which way. I am not advocating a lifestyle. This is not an aspirational document. It’s just that I’ve been thinking: I’ve approached love like the depraved addict in “Heroin.”
Love and sex have always been indistinguishable to me. I loved everyone I ever made it with, or I wanted to love them, or I tried to love them. Whatever it takes to pick up strangers and have casual sex, I never had it. My game was serial monogamy. I was good at that for many years, traipsing from relationship to relationship. But I started living like I needed a partner to make me whole. I am not a sex addict, but I behaved like a love addict. And isn’t that what addicts are supposed to do: quit?
New plan is to commission pieces on bronze or stone that can survive longer than paper, longer than digital, to really communicate with the future. The alien surveyors of 5000 AD will ask themselves, “WTH was going on in Duluth?” I’ve reached out to a few locals with the right skills; I hope to be able to show a nice series by Fall.
AP: University of Minnesota Duluth – The university’s Anomalies Department worked closely with the local Institute for Sideways Research to develop the space-age material necessary for hovering ships, seen lately in the skies over this Midwestern beach town. The hulls of cargo ships (called “ore boats” on the inland seas) were irradiated with strangelet particles discovered by UMD’s Dr. Mallard McPurdy in 2018. These particles were later commercialized by the Institute for Sideways Research which specializes in gravity refraction. The Institute’s founder, Dr. Horace Zontal, explained, “With this innovative particle, we were finally able to refract gravity a full 180 degrees in the hull of the revered Arthur M. Anderson.” The shipping lanes of the world are expected to be revolutionized in the coming years to take advantage of the new phenomenon. Dr. McPurdy estimated, “Costs will be slashed by two-thirds leading to cheaper commodities for all humanity.”
Since 2020 and the dawn of the Covid era, I have written ongoing chonky essay series about my obsessions: art, literature, music, my relationship with Lake Superior, and other stuff. I will keep this updated as new installments appear. Thank you to Perfect Duluth Day for the bandwidth.