Monday, August 16

Local Man Announces Comeback

Lester River resident Tom Boughlund is almost certain that 90's pop-rock band, Hootie and the Blowfish, is destined for a comeback. HATB's frontman, Darius Rucker, has been involved in a successful solo career as of late, but Boughlund is certain of the band reuniting shortly.

"I just know Hootie will be making a comeback any time now. With their smooth instrumentals, true lyrics and soulful harmonizing, there's no way that Hootie will not rejoin the musical spotlight," Boughlund stated late Saturday night. "With songs like 'Time', 'Hold My Hand' and 'Only Want to Be With You', they could at least come back to the DECC once more. I mean, Darius Rucker is my generation's James Taylor!"

Rucker's agent Jeremy Sandberg said the solo musician has no plans whatsoever for a reunion tour or album deal.

Thursday, August 5

Breaking News: Duluth Leads Nation in Unidentified Movie Critic Prodigies


An upcoming study, to be published Saturday in the University of Minnesota-Duluth Gazette, identifies Duluth as
the key location in the United States for unidentified movie critic prodigies (UMCPs). The study, penned by longtime Rotten Tomatoes iconoclast Dave Smith, calls Duluth the "mecca of movie critics, the next great location for the development of critical movie critic personalities in the country."

Smith, also associated with the UMD Department of Rare Animal Research, has located four such prodigies in the Duluth area over the past seven years. "I believe they all have potential, but I'll tell you, ten year-old Tommy Trappens will be the next Roger Ebert," he said, continuing, "He writes like a genius. His analysis of the plot points for Cyrus really hit home - the impacts of divorce melded perfectly with puns about Billy Ray and Miley. Putting important, critical thoughts together about movies is like saving your flock from a sad, pitiful death, so he is literally saving people from themselves. I wouldn't call him Jesus, personally... but I also don't know what else would fit."

Identifying UMCPs isn't easy, and that's why Duluth stands out, according to the study. Of the four phenoms located by Smith, three are now signed with major nationwide print and electronic publications. Trappens, the lone holdout, is said to be entertaining a joint offer from CBS and several media outlets in Canada. On a per-capita basis, it is estimated that Duluth sustains roughly one UMCP per 4,500 residents. Using this estimate, there are likely 20-30 UMCPs in Duluth at the present time, each representing critical words going unwritten and analysis of plots incomplete.

The reason for the large number of UMCPs in the area is unknown, though the study posits that the basis may lie in the significant number of toxic chemical spills in the Duluth harbor during the mid-90s. Other cities noted as UMCP hot spots in the report include Gallup, New Mexico, Concord, New Hampshire, and Monroe, Louisiana.

This Really Would Have Been Awesome for Me Back in 1995-97 When I Loved General Hospital

School-aged fans of daytime soap operas in the Lake Superior school district were thrilled to learn that the state approved a proposed plan to allow the district to operate on a 4-day per week calendar. In addition to some other stuff, this means that young fans of daytime dramas will not have to sit in useless classes while the Friday cliffhanger episodes of their favorite soaps are airing.

While this is great news for ABC, who is sure to see a ratings spike in northeast Minnesota, even though its shows are terrible in every way now; it's too little too late for other networks. NBC Daytime executive, Phillip Weaver, applauded the new academic calendar, but noted, "It's just a shame it didn't happen a few years ago when this might have saved Passions. It could have made all the difference. As it is, we'll always be left to wonder what hijinks Tabitha is up to, and if Theresa is still crying literally every single day."

Wednesday, August 4

Editorial: Mushy Apples Are Gross

Mushy apples are gross. What is worse than biting into an apple that should not really be mushy, and then finding that it is, in fact, mushy? Not much. The only possible worse outcomes would be finding out that the apple is actually a cleverly disguised grenade, or was full of poison, or had something to do with Twilight and you didn't know it but then when people saw you, they'd think, "oh, that person likes Twilight stuff."

Today, I bit into an apple that I bought two or three days ago. So, not super old. It's one of those green and red kind. (Not Sonya. Braeburn, maybe?) I buy them specifically because they are not mushy and I prefer my apples to be like, as close to concrete as possible. Anyway, they're supposed to be crisp. ("Crisp" is a weird word. Seriously, say it out loud. It's weird.) I even pick out the ones that are more greenish in color because I made up a fact in my head that these ones would be the most crispy. So imagine my disgust when I bit into one of these apples and it was mushy. It was mushy.

It tasted like betrayal.

This brings up an important question. Who on earth buys that really red, tall kind of apples that are always mushy. The ones where mushy is one of their natural characteristics? It's insanity.

Thursday, November 19

Pet hotel opens in Duluth to much excitement from the pet community

After months of anxious anticipation, area pets were finally able to walk through the doors of Duluth's new pet hotel. The Pet Hotel Duluth staged its grand opening last week and welcomed its first 50 guests.

Initial reactions were uniformly positive. Riley, a yellow lab from Piedmont, showed his delight upon seeing his 450 square foot suite by staring blankly into middle space and then sniffing the carpet. The suite features a king bed, a jacuzzi, a television that shows continuous footage of a squirrel running around in the woods, and an automatically self-refilling crystal bowl of Perrier.

Shadow, a cat from East Duluth, was awed from the moment she walked into the lobby. No doubt it was the elegant chandeliers and Edwardian decor that caused an impressed Shadow to lazily stretch her legs before attempting to eat one of the imported potted plants.

Pet Hotel Duluth rates range from $190 to $875 per night, and the next four months are already completely booked. Owners who check their pets in say that the price is more than worth paying just to see the happiness on their pets' faces as they wander aimlessly around unfamiliar rooms. The looks on Riley and Shadow's faces certainly attest to this, in that they cannot be conclusively determined not to be indicative of joy and appreciation.

Wednesday, November 11

Swine Flu Fears Extend to Duluth

As the global threat of the H1N1 virus increases, the city of Duluth is also feeling its effects. Duluth area hospitals and clinics have been scrambling to get flu vaccines ready for those most in need. However, some of the most unlikely and hardest hit by the spread of the disease have been Duluth-area businesses.

Nick Swanson, an evening manager the West Duluth McDonald's, has seen quite a decrease in customers over the last few months. "People have been more afraid to come out in public, especially to a fast food restaurant," Swanson said. "The biggest loss we're facing now is slumping sales from our McRib sandwich."

The McRib, according to Swanson, is a "delicious, grilled pork sandwich, dripping with barbecue sauce, covered with onions and pickles on a hoagie-style bun." The return of the McRib, which is often a huge sale boost for local McDonalds locations, has been marred by fears of the swine flu virus.

"Normally, I love the McRib," stated local area truck-driver Tim Patulak. "It's so juicy and flavorful, I just can't get enough of them. Usually, I'll order a second, because they usually have a deal where you can add on a second McRib to your McRib Extra Value Meal for only $1. But now, what with that swine-flu, ain't no way I'm going anywhere near any bacon or ham or even sausage patties."

Swanson hopes that once the media frenzy surrounding the swine-flu dies down, business will pick up again. "Sales have been lacking quite a bit lately. Hopefully people will come to their senses and realize you CANNOT get H1N1 from eating a McRib sandwich. Even if H1N1 was transmitted through eating pigs, the McRib has such an insignificant amount of pork in it that getting the disease would prove utterly impossible."

Swanson fears business may become as bad as it was in the early 90's during the first Mad Cow outbreak when, "everyone stopped eating the McLean Burger."

Thursday, October 15

Duluthians offer differing perspectives on the economic crisis

Economic crisis. Wall Street bailouts. Stimulus legislation. Stock market crashes. Toxic assets. Record high unemployment. And now dozens of various statistics indicating an economic recovery is on the way. Every form of media is littered with "expert" analyses. But what do average Duluthians make of it all? We wanted to find out, so we asked a few passersby some open ended questions about the US economy. The results were, for the most part, nonsensical. 63% of our interviewees were functionally illiterate. But some common worries, hopes, and observations did become apparent.

A clear majority did not have a problem with bailing out large financial institutions as much as they despise US currency itself. Duluth resident Michael Duncan, 43, who actually thinks that Coke Zero and Coke taste the same, believes that the design of the US dollar is partially to blame for the financial collapse. "Who even cares about having money when it's so plain and ugly. US Dollars are totally unappealing. Do you care about having them and keeping them? They're so blah. Pale green and boring."

Former 5th grade after-school volleyball participant, Emma Gustafson, 34, agrees. "If our money was prettier, and like, maybe had some pink or peach tones, maybe people would be a little more careful with it. And seriously, can we not put cuter pictures on there?"

Semi-professional curmudgeon, Greg Olson, 29, blames the recession on materialism and a culture that glorifies excess. "It's people needin' to be so fancy that's the trouble. Everyone trying to outdo each other. Remember when everyone just wore Starter jackets. What was wrong with that? It was good enough for everybody."

Mr. Olson was not the only one to recall the halcyon days of the 1990s. When asked for his thoughts on the economic crisis and recovery, Lucas Anderson, 26, responded, "Remember that show, Dinosaurs? When the baby one would yell 'Not the mama!'?"

Perhaps there is a lesson in Mr. Anderson's musings. Dinosaurs were powerful beasts that were completely wiped out of existence. (Not the Dinosaurs dinosaurs -- they were a blue collar, working class family.) But most likely he is a crazy person.

Sunday, August 23

Woman Contemplates Ordinary Methods to Off Her Boss

"Sometimes I'd just like to bludgeon him to death."

Mrs. Erma Kroft has spent a great deal of time thinking. Lately, during down time in her position as an administrative assistant with the merchandising department at Menards, she has been day-dreaming about her boss. And not in a fashion typical to a 62 year-old woman born in the affluent Hunter's Park neighborhood of Duluth.

When she's not thinking about hitting him hard over the head with a shovel, Mrs. Kroft sometimes turns to more traditional means for murder. "Poisons are just so versatile," she explained, "and he presents me with so many opportunities. Coffee in the morning. Lemonade in the afternoon. Sometimes he even asks me to get him some lunch."

"I can just imagine him writing in agony," she said, explaining that his death would be fully visible from the sales floor. Her supervisor's office, located in an interior, second floor location, is glass-walled - it can be seen by customers and employees alike.

Mrs. Kroft is introspective about the potential consequences of her actions, although she has no imminent plans to go forward with any of her ideas. "Not that it wouldn't be worth it, mind you, but I would need something more ingenious. Stab him with an icicle, or something along the lines of a good Roald Dahl story - one where I couldn't be caught," she said, referencing the short story Lamb to the Slaughter. Written in 1953, the tale is about a wife murdering her husband with a frozen leg of lamb... and then serving it to the detectives investigating the crime.

Sheriffs Deputy Clarence Wagons believes it is important for workers to maintain a positive outlook during the workday. "Mrs. Kroft may enjoy dreaming about bringing poison darts to work with her in the morning, but too often, that's exactly what happens - and good supervisors take the fall. She should really get back to work."

Deputy Wagons also cautions about being too clever. "A big part of my job is to keep workers working. And except for the Sheriff's backlog of unsolved cases, we always get our man. And 60 year old secretaries."

Saturday, August 16


The Raging Spade has now been defunct for some time. I would anticipate that continuing indefinitely.

Thanks to all readers for their unwavering support, financial contributions, and wry comments.

Screw you, World's Finest Chocolates. Your product is disgusting.

Staff writer Leif Magnusson leaves us with a final comment: "For all you guys who are finding this site after googling the Duluth Sauna, I just want to let you know that I've put together a tracking algorithm for this blog. And you've just automatically sent an email to your wife. It's about time she found out. I just hope you aren't one of those two-faced republicans. Oh, and have a good time at the Sauna!"

Tuesday, December 11

Angry Woman Launches Tirade

In an emotional Canal Park speech before tens of surprised Christmastime consumers, Myra Jeffery today complained loudly about problems in downtown Duluth. Jeffery complained about many issues. Chief among them were the shape of Duluth's buildings, the disrepair along Michigan Street, and Duluth's lascivious sauna industry.

According to bystanders, Jeffery walked over the Aerial Lift Bridge and into Canal Park. It was then that her tirade began. "I am a devout feminist!" yelled Jeffery. She explained that the basis for her feminism was predominately her love of Danielle Steele novels. "I became a feminist after reading her 1995 classic, Five Days in Paris. I may have picked it up because Fabio was on the cover, but after reading it I knew that the females of our species had been kept down!" Jeffery was extremely enthusiastic in everything she said.

Many in the frigid audience were sure of what was coming next. "I've seen her type before," said grandmother Heloise Bretton, "and they always have one thing to say about buildings. They always complain that they're designed by men, that they're tall, and shaped in a certain way. Men who are trying to compensate for things. So was I surprised at what came next? You betcha!" Jeffery had no complaints about the phallic nature of the Medical Arts building. Instead, she was angry that none of the buildings were constructed to replicate a geodesic dome.

"I know of at least five downtowns around that have at least one geodesic dome. Why don't we have one? It's absurd. It's insane! As a feminist, I really resent that!" Jeffery's other passion was Duluth's Michigan Street. "It isn't like Michigan Avenue asked to be the armpit of the City. Let's make it a new Las Vegas!"

Jeffery's complaints about buildings and Michigan Avenue took up most of her speech. In a very angry way, she went into great detail about how to construct a geodesic dome as an office building. Before Jeffery concluded, she brought up her desire for a nice hot sauna. "You know, I've been a feminist for nearly a decade. And let me tell ya, there's a real lack of girly activities here in town. I could go for a nice hot sauna! It always seems like the saunas are filled with like minded men, and women just don't fit in. It's time for a change! I want a sauna!"

Krell Butterfly, owner of Butterfly Books on Park Point, was the last person to see Jeffery before she began her tirade. Krell Butterfly believed that "Jeffery might have been reading some L. Ron Hubbard before she left," and she was definitely muttering something about "thetans and engrams." According to Krell Butterfly, nothing good has ever happened after someone picked up one of those Hubbard books.

Thursday, December 6

Better to Talk Than to Shoot?

Canadians Swarm Duluth; Many Vow Revenge

Duluth may be located almost 200 miles from Thunder Bay, but over the past several weeks it has felt to many as though those damnably rich Canadians are only minutes away. As the dollar has plunged in value, the loonie has soared - making Minnesotan products cheaper to purchase than a beer in Superior. The pestilent Canadians have come mostly from Ontario, although there is speculation that there are some in the area from as far away as the Nunavut Territories.

Scores of Duluthians are losing their minds over the number of Canadians in the area. "I've never been so angry," commented Peg Thatcher of Lakeside. "I counted, and there were 13 Canadian cars in my parking row at Target yesterday. They're everywhere. I had to park at least 100 feet further from the door than I would've if these Canucks weren't ruining my life."

Others have more pointed concerns: contamination of Duluth's beer supply. "The rumors are true," explained Fitger's owner Gabriel Vukonich, "that Canadians really have fallen into our beer vats. I don't know why they've been lurking around the production area, but they've spoiled two batches of lager in the past 10 days." Speculators believe that the predilection toward leaning over vats is the fault of Labatt's. Sipping directly from the vats is encouraged during factory tours at their London, Ontario brewery.

Kevin Aho, who witnessed one fall, claims he heard a yell just as it happened. "His buddy yelled, 'Ah! La rondelle ne roule pas pour lui!' I don't even know what that means. I think it's French. Duluth wants nothing to do with the French. We hate the French. I'll get them for this." Raging Spade Reporter Leif Magnusson, who is part French, found Aho's statement ironic. "First of all," said Magnusson, "he yelled 'The puck isn't going his way!' which seems like a totally appropriate, if unusual, statement in a city that loves hockey. Also, wasn't Duluth founded by a guy from France?"

Outgoing Mayor Herb Bergson believes that many of the Canadians would leave if we just asked them to, "but frankly," droned Bergson, "we want them here. Open the borders, I always say. I like Canada. In fact, perhaps I could use this opportunity to announce my 2009 candidacy for mayor of Thunder Bay."

Wednesday, December 5

Notes From the Underground

Though the Raging Spade had, up until now, maintained a policy of silence regarding our captivity, today we would like to send a dispatch to the outside word. First of all, the writing and editorial staff sends its thanks to the dozens of people who have expressed concern for our safety. For the most part, the 100 ninjas holding us captive treat us humanely. There have been relatively few injuries, and no fatalities. Steven R Auro suffered a grave injury when one of the ninjas severed his hand with a karate chop. However, thanks to quick action and the creative use of fishing line and a sewing needle on the part of Ray Bundren, Sean Freising, and Antonio Chavez, Mr. Auro will be able to write articles again when the swelling goes down.

Our captors have not seen fit to tell us where we are being held. We do know that it is a cave of some sort. For a few hours a day, there is a small beam of sunlight that reaches us. The bats mostly fly several feet above our heads, for which we are very thankful. Thew has fashioned a power generator that allows us to use our satellite uplink for 12 minutes every 3 days. The food that the ninjas provide us is of excellent quality. We are operating under the assumption that at least one, and possibly 8, of the ninjas has attended some sort of culinary institute.

We remain in good spirits, and will endeavor to continue providing our readers with Duluth's breaking news.

Thursday, November 29

Astronomists Discover Runaway Star, Lack of Interest

Scientists at Duluth's Institute of Astronomy have discovered something very unique in the world of celestial bodies: a runaway star. The star, RX J0822-4300 began careening through space after a supernova explosion. As astronomist Peter Romero explains, "Basically, this star is racing away from the Milky Way Galaxy at 3 million miles per hour. That speed is truly shocking. The astronomical world hasn't really ever seen anything like this. It's an astonishing discovery."

Dr. Romero set up a town hall style meeting at the Duluth Convention Center on Tuesday to address questions and concerns from the public about the phenomenon. The meeting was not attended. As he was walking back to his laboratory, Dr. Romero stopped several passers-by to educate them about RX J0822-4300 and what it means to the scientific community. Most of these citizens found the discovery to be quite alarming.

Upon hearing Dr. Romero's analysis, one man responded, "Huh. That's interesting," before hurrying into a nearby building. A woman taking a smoke break out on the sidewalk before returning to work commented on the difficulty of finding the singing Hannah Montana doll that her granddaughter asked for for Christmas. Six others walked away from Dr. Romero without acknowledging him in any way.

Dr. Romero hopes that the excitement over this discovery will inspire more children and young adults to study astronomy.

Tuesday, October 30

Theory Frustrates Mustached People

Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth today submitted a white paper on the negative effects of wearing a mustache for both men and women. Handlebar mustaches were the most detrimental, resulting in frequent, psychologically damaging encounters with members of the "porcine" family of mammals.

These "hairs or bristles growing near the mouth of an animal," as mustaches are more commonly known, result in immediate problems. When the hairs are groomed and cultivated, the results can be deadly: the study cites two attacks on people with trimmed mustaches in the Duluth neighborhood of "Gary-New Duluth" during the past four months. In those attacks, the assailant was never identified; it appears unlikely that it was a member of the "porcine" family of mammals, but it remains possible that the attacks could've been perpetrated by a related mammal.

"There ain't no way I'm givin' up my moustaki," said an old greek logger, fond of using the language of the old country to describe the excessive facial hair found on his upper lip. "No question, she's a sign of the times," he continued, "when you're dealin' with them uppity big-wigs at the college. They don't know a pinch." The logger was vague about whether he'd ever experienced any trauma due to his "moustaki," but cautioned that women with substantial hair should be avoided. "It ain't right, no. Why, I've seen them women comin' outta bars in Tofte with more hair on their upper lip than I grown my whole life."

The paper will be published in the December edition of the Journal of Follicle Science. To help inform the public, the research team will give free presentations on the subject at various Duluth locations after publication.

Sunday, October 7

Weird Sales Clerk Admits: I do read the Tabloids

The tabloid weeklies are known far and wide for their sordid tales of Britney's missing underpants, Bat Boy, and Brangelina's newest adoptee. Some are even known for stooping to a political level, wreaking havoc through claims of Laura Bush's roboticness and George Bush's tippling and extramarital affairs. The most popular, The National Examiner and The Sun, are both for sale at the West Duluth Super America.

Ken Hutchins, an employee at Super America for over 2 years, used to claim he never touched them. Cup Morris, manager at Super America, believed him: "Ken always claimed he never read them, and I believed him."

Hutchins explains it differently, saying that "I never meant any harm. But when the headline read 'DiCaprio Poses Nude,' I had to pick it up. After that, I was hooked, even though it was a one-time thing. I only read them that once at work."

Customers have a different take. Beth Quentin gets her coffee from Super America every morning. "Ken was reading those things all the time. Every morning he gorged himself on another one. I think sometimes he might've read them more than once, even. And he was definitely reading them well before Leonardo DiCaprio posed nude. I mean, that was just two months ago. The first time I remember Ken reading one was when The Weekly World News did an expose on Bat Boy's genealogy, which had to be back in '05."

Manager Cup Morris believes the integrity of news publications are important to Super America. "We like to deliver to our customers a genuine new product. We don't want to go around selling used newspapers, even if they are weeklies." Morris has a strategy for determining which employees are reading the weeklies, now that it has come to light. "Now that this has come to light, I'm going to do more - dust for fingerprints, if need be." Hutchins, however, will escape discipline for the time being. His only punishment? He will be required to refill the beer and soda cooler daily.

"I don't mind that sort of work," said Hutchins gleefully, "it gives me more opportunities to stare at the customers."

Monday, October 1

Local Farmers Hold Cow Tipping Contest

Keeping with the spirit of harvest time, several local farmers have banded together to start a cow tipping contest at Hanover Ranch in Cotton. Joe Darter, owner of 200 head, was the winner at the inaugural contest.

Darter, 29, owns Mulberry Acres farm in Allouez, Wisconsin. "I've been having the most dull time as a farmer," Darter explained over a coffee at Starvin' Marvin's. "There's just not a lot going on. I spend some time tending to the cows, and sure, there's some needin' a little extra care. But most just eat their grass, regurgitate it, and eat it again - that's about all there is to it. Never said raisin' cattle was tricky."

Typical of most cows, Darter's have four stomachs. Each of the stomachs acts as a holding tank with grasses of different consistencies, not dissimilar from what is found at a typical Starvin' Marvin's salad bar. Darter believes that "the cow tippin' process has a beneficial effect on 'em. First, it gets me more one-on-one time with the cows. So I practice a lot. And second, it helps their movin' abilities, which makes for better eatin' in the winter. Most farmers know that."

The prize this year was an honorary bronzed cow, which Darter plans to mount as a hood ornament on his barn. "No sense havin' a barn if it don't have an ornament," he explained. Darter believes competition next year will be tough. After besting 34 competitors at this year's contest, he will spend the winter preparing. "I've got a lot of cows to tip, and they ain't tippin' themselves."

Now that's good eatin'.

Monday, September 24

Man Seeks Equatorial Bliss

I had the privledge of speaking with Max Underwall, the renowned Duluthian, at last week's DECC Gun Expo. Below, the interview.

SF: Mr. Underwall, how are you today?
MU: I'm fine. I wish I were at the equator.
SF: What's at the equator?
MU: I prefer the equator. Time is more equal there.
SF: Is time less equal here?
MU: Obviously. Here, it's sometimes dark, sometimes light. Today, for example, we have something like 13 hours of light and 11 hours of dark. That's just absurd. No, for me it's the equator, all the way. I don't have the slightest need for any place that's anything other than 12 hours light, 12 hours dark.
SF: So, you're considering relocating?
MU: Would if I could. I can't figure out where I could go, along the equator, where we'd have decent temperatures.
SF: I understand it is quite warm at the equator.
MU: It is if you stay at sean, that is, sea, level. I'm sorry. I've had quite a bit to drink.
SF: I see. You're looking for a place that's somewhat mountainous.
MU: Exactly. I can't stand the heat. I want some R and R from the damned heat.
SF: Did you have success at the gun show?
MU: I unloaded four glocks I bought off an Icelandic guy outside the airport, so if you call that success, then I guess I've got it made. You?
SF: I usually just come to these things for the ambiance.
MU: I see.
SF: And what of your latest screenplay? Do you feel like it will meet with success over at Miramax?
MU: No. It wasn't good. I had to write most of it without the slightest expectation of whether it would be light, or dark. It's always changing. I've got to get out of this town.
SF: Have you considered renting a vacation cottage in Quito, Equador? I understand it is quite mountainous, and on the equator.
MU: No. I'm not allowed into Equador anymore.

Sunday, September 23

Unfinished PhD Blamed on Washing Machine

When Betsy Wright is asked about her PhD dissertation, she gets angry. "There's only so much I can take," professed Wright, "without blowing a fuse." The fuse in question? A 15 amp running directly to the circuit feeding the washing machine.

Wright is in year 6 of her dissertation, entitled "Invertebrate Growth in a Sub-Temperate Amorphic Aquatic Environment." Wright has specialized in microbiology and had expected to be awarded her PhD from the College of St. Scholastica in May, until her washing machine again began acting out. "This is the 11th time in four years. Year two of the project was going great. My data was clean. And then I realized that my clothes weren't."

"Lately it's begun smoking from somewhere underneath, followed by a general throttling," explained Wright. "It keeps going for maybe ten minutes or so, and by this point it's almost through the cycle. I'm not about to interrupt. Then, just as it's about to spit out the final dirty water, the fuse blows. And I'm not about to start going to a laundromat."

Repair man George Lippert of Ready Wash believes the problem is simple. "All I need to do is get a look up in there," explained Lippert. "Looks like a five dollar part needs replacing. Pro'lly be the ball bearing socket. What I can't reckon is how she keeps paying $5 per fuse, with it going out every load, well that's got to add up."

Wright has no interest in having the machine repaired, exhorting that, "I'm about to get my PhD. I don't need a repairman to fix my machine. And it's always fixed itself before!" Wright, who has no children, did not explain why doing laundry took so much time that she could not finish the dissertation or why her house, built in 1996, came with a fuse panel from 1960.

"I've never heard of a house with still having fuses," stated Lippert, "I thought they stopped sellin' those in the 80s."

Friday, September 21

Man Proposes in Ordinary Way


Woman, Waitstaff Sorely Disappointed

At Hermantown's Tejas Bar and Grill, the stage was perfectly set today when John Price, 31, proposed to his girlfriend of 4 years, Lisa Wadhwani. Just as Wadhwani was about to take her first bite of her steaming enchiladas verdes, Price bent down beside her on one knee and softly said, "Lisa, will you marry me?"

The proposal came as something of a surprise to Wadhwani, although Price had asked her to go 'jewelry shopping' just two days prior. "I thought he was narcissistic or something. He kept asking which rings I thought would look good on him. I never meant for him to buy me this ugly wide-band gold ring with a 3-carat piece of bixbite."

Bixbite, a common gem found in Utah, is of a reddish hue and is generally used in lasers. "I really thought it was her favorite stone," a sheepish Price admitted later, explaining, "I would've bought the return policy if I had known. It was $10,000!"

Prior to the proposal, Gordo Houston, general manager at Tejas, approached Price with an offer to make the evening special. "We've done all kinds of things here. Two guys in the kitchen play violin - we've done that before. They don't mind. We put things in food all the time - she almost never swallows it. One time, we even brought in a donkey. It held the ring in its mouth. That was one well-trained donkey!"

Price doesn't regret his approach. "If there's one thing Lisa hates, it's excitement. She just can't stand things that are out of the ordinary." For her part, Wadhwani did just get back from a mountain climbing expedition where she reached the summit of Mount Everest, a feat now performed by thousands of regular people each year. She believes, however, that it was fate. "John and I met in the most regular way - at a bar, where I was dancing on his table while he did shots. So even though he could've proposed when we went hang gliding in the Poconos last month, I'm glad he saved it. It was less memorable this way."

Wadhwani did not offer Price an immediate response to his proposal, and it was with some trepidation that they both retired to their shared Duluth apartment.

Wednesday, September 19

Activists Seek to Halt Time

Armed with little more than erroneous facts and pocket knives, local activists today attempted to halt time. With cries of "We require permanence," and "Down with change," the group known as "Halt Time Duluth" (HTD) broke into the major yearly performance of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra.

The DSSO had just started their rendition of "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" by John Tesh when the melee broke out. The activists first directed their anger at the strings section, focusing mostly on the unfortunate cellos, who were closest to the rear entry. After finishing off the cellos, the activists turned on the flutes and quickly turned the instruments on the audience. The Duluth Police, unable to put a stop to the situation, called in the Duluth National Guard. The DNG had the situation under control by 9:30 PM, with ample time for the audience members who had stayed above the fray in the balcony section to have a post-melee beverage.

A spokesperson for HTD bellowed "We won't stand for this! No more Tesh!" It appears that HTD is mostly interested in renditions of songs by more popular actor/songwriters, like Kevin Bacon. "We liked his songs in Footloose! We can stand for that." Members of the Duluth PD were found snikering near the site of the statement, and responded that "those HTDs are real idiots. Don't they know that Kevin Bacon can't sing? He sounds like a leprechaun when he does!"

It is not clear at this time what either John Tesh or Kevin Bacon have to do with stopping time. Perhaps, in an error in judgment, the HTDs believed that time should be stopped with "Footloose." This, indeed, would be a tragedy.

Monday, September 17

Ceiling Fan Attacks Woman

"It just came down at me, like someone dropped it off the Empire State Building!"

Heloise Humphrey, age 52, was attacked by her ceiling fan early Monday morning while enjoying a delicious breakfast of grits. "And grits aren't easy to come by in these parts, either, y'know," explained Humphrey from her bed at St. Mary's.

According to her police report, the fan "jumped off the ceiling like it was possessed, like it wanted blood," and after severely maiming Humphrey, it "flew right out the window - there wasn't anything that was going to stop it then!" The fan landed somewhere below the window on 3rd Street West. It was discovered by several passers-by who commented that "it just keeps spinning.. never seen that before."

Humphrey does not believe the ceiling fan sought her in particular. However, in her panic, eyewitnesses reported hearing her scream "just leave me be! It's not my time!" The police, who arrived on the scene just minutes after the disaster, believe the fan may have been improperly wired. Officer Jeffers, senior investigator, explained that "there have been some reports of a haunting. That doesn't seem likely at this point. More likely, a solar flare caused a power surge, and it was too much for the old fan to handle."

The fan has been removed to Zenith Terrace, where it will find a second home.

Saturday, September 15

Local Cop Makes Huge Bust

(Babbitt, Mn)

Late on Friday night, local officer Thomas Necedah made an astounding discovery: "People were driving through Babbitt. Just driving through!" Necedah needed to enforce the law, so he parked and waited. As the silver jaguar passed him, he realized something was very, very awry. "The car was going pretty fast. At least 15 miles over the speed limit!"

Speed limits in Babbitt have been controversial over the past year. The City Council, in an attempt to keep people who would otherwise drive straight through Babbitt inside the City, has changed the speed limit in some locations, varying from a maximum of 15 MPH to an actual minimum on a city street of 55 MPH! Council President Todd Brewbaker believes "the new speeds have people slowing down. And speeding up! Tourism revenues are up at least $55.25. The result? We've been able to buy the whole Council new umbrellas!"

After making a safe traffic stop, Necedah approached the vehicle. "These people looked nuts - definately wired on something." And that's when he noticed the back seat. "They had several items of illegal contraband. I was able to determine that several of their "musical instruments" were actually purpose-bought for use at cockfights. And I happen to also be aware that they were attempting to illegally transport several incandescent lightbulbs across state lines. I know those are illegal somewhere, anyway. Maybe New York City."

The car, registered to one Teak Yolksnob, has been taken to the Babbitt impound lot. The prisoners are scheduled for a hearing before an administrative judge in International Falls on October 8. Necedah will be awarded a medal of honor for his actions by the Mayor at an evening ceremony on September 15.

Wednesday, September 12

New College in Town?

A former Lake Superior College Provost will start a new online university known as "University of Proctorknott," named for the City of Proctor's namesake, James Proctor Knott. The College offices will be located in the former Yahoo! advertising building, on the courtyard of Proctor's famous beer gardens.

Diane Beauvais, Provost at LSC from 1992 until 2004, believes "the time is right for a new online university. Next generation technology is really making it even more possible." Beauvais aims to have over 60,000 students by 2nd semester, 2008. "What you may not know is that the phone companies just came out with some new techology: video screens associated with telephone calls. We can do whole classes via these video-telephones." Beauvais had an example of the technology present during the interview. It appeared to be some kind of digital telephone where one could see the caller's face.

Asked how she will achieve such high enrollment figures, Beauvais explained that "we will be placing placards throughout the greater Duluth area, and we will also target Michigan's UP. With a population of over 200,000, it seems very plausible that we will get just over 1/4 of them to sign up." When it was pointed out that the corporate success of "University of Phoenix" led to only 30,000 students after ten years of operation, Beauvais pointed out a simple fact: "They aren't located over a beer garden."

The City of Proctor, in anticipation of the many professors and instructors moving to the City, has preemptively begun construction on three new condominium towers with over 2,200 units of housing. Proctor officials stated that "We need to get out ahead of the housing rush. With ample public funds available, and with our sidewalks in perfect condition, we thought this was a perfect opportunity for economic development."

Monday, September 10

Gourds on The Water


A large container ship spilled 200 tons of gourds into the waters of St. Louis Bay today. The largest gourds, gigantic pumpkins destined for the Indiana State Fair, have clumped together in the Duluth shipping canal, blocking the canal and halting all shipping traffic. Officials estimate that gourd removal will begin at 4:00 AM Thursday.

"Gourd removal is really no easy task," according to Chip Kosmas, director of port security. "You have to be extra careful removing a gourd. I know some port directors take a more agressive approach, like just shooting the gourds. That's a risky approach. Gourd explosion is a major killer on the great lakes."

The Chinese ship Wu Tang, in port collecting grain and coal, had intended to leave at 6:25 on Monday. Due to the blocked canal, the Wu Tang won't leave port until Friday. "We will lose many days at sea due to these gourds," the captain stated in anger.

Gourd removal will involve gourd isolation and gourd sinking. To guarantee no gourd-related oily residue atop the Bay, the gourds must be filled with hard water in a precise manner. The hard water must be 25% lead to ensure they remain at the bottom of the Bay. The massive pumpkins blocking the canal will be lifted onto a barge and transported back to the Superior Gourd Transport Facility. It is likely that they will be again shipped to Indiana after gourd processing and cleanup.

Saturday, September 8

Vanishing Vistas Exploding at the Seams

Vanishing Vistas, Duluth's most popular nursing home, is preparing for a major expansion. General Manager Milt Nutong estimates they will be under construction by October. "We've never seen such demand for our services. And when I say services, I mean it - we have a lot of services to offer."

Aside from just offering basic nursing home services such as assistance with daily activities, Vanishing Vistas goes above and beyond to ensure that all its resident's needs are met. Long time resident Juniper Total, 89, emphasizes the benefits of living there, saying "I've been here since I was 45. And it's not just for the massages and regular sun tanning on the roof. I really rely on the day to day environment - from the marching bands that visit every Tuesday to the scientific lectures all the way to the regular male reviews held on Friday and Saturday nights. Oh, I just love those handsome young men!" Ms. Total declined to explain the reason she was in the nursing home, although she did appear to have some sort of nervous tick that caused her to regularly swing her arms like a bird.

The Vistas will expand by 90 beds, bringing the total number of patients at the facility to 250. Nutong estimates that most of the residents at his facility live longer lives, and that is the primary reason the expansion is needed. Nutong also deflects criticism: "I know many people say we're fleecing the system. But we're totally legit. The amount we are spending to provide these elderly patients with nude entertainment is a minimal percentage in comparison to their total cost of care. And there's nowhere that it states that MediCare can't be used to pay for entertainment. Nowhere does it say nudity is forbidden."

Tuesday, September 4

Controversy Strikes NE Regional Little League World Series


Anger and bitterness followed the completion of the Virginia vs. Silver Bay today in Duluth, where Silver Bay routed the Bluegills 17-1. In the unsuprising final, Jose Nunez hit eight home runs, driving in 16 of the Pellets' runs. Rather than the typical post-game handshake, the angry Bluegills attacked the Pellets, bats in hand. The Minnesota National Guard was able to break up the melee after two hours. Three Pellets are in the hospital today, including Nunez.

A major part of the angst arose over the age of Nunez. According to league documents, Nunez is 13 years old, which has been substantiated by his parents through a verifiable birth certificate. The Bluegill coach, Glen Hongisto, believes them. "If they have a birth certificate, I've got to believe them. What choice do I have? It's a legal document. Who cares if it's from Panama, a country known for falsifying birth certificates world-wide to further the likelihood of their talented youth atheletes acheiving success in the United States. I have to trust it. A document is a document."

The Raging Spade thought otherwise. Through illegal means, we have acquired Nunez's dental records. They reveal that there is likely more to him than what meets the eye. Jim Nelson, Duluth's local barber/dentist, has examined the records on behalf of The Raging Spade. Nelson thinks that "without seeing him in person, it is impossible to know. But I would say there is a 40-50% chance that he is at least 23 years old."

What is the benefit of an aged Little Leaguer? It is clear that an ability to hit pitches out of the park would follow with age. Hongisto, hearing the news, was incredulous. "Where did they get that document, if he's so old? He probably isn't that old, because you can't just get a document from anywhere. But if he was, it would pose a problem. He would probably be able to hit a few more home runs than the typical player."

The Raging Spade would like to thank the Duluth-Gary Jail Services Division for granting us access to Glen Hongisto for this interview. As this article goes to the internet, Hongisto remains jailed on charges of child endangerment and engaging in a riot.

Monday, September 3

Improvements Sought at Thompson Hill Rest Stop

At a routine stop over Labor Day weekend, Molly Pulowski left the Thompson Hill rest stop angry. "Why the hell can't they find time to add an additional toilet? And the Information Desk lady - don't get me started. She didn't even have the first idea where I could take my dog for a full-body grooming on a Sunday."

Critics lately have called on the Thompson Hill rest stop for improvements. The rest stop, located at Mile 249 of I-35 in Duluth, is operated by the State of Minnesota in cooperation with local rest stop activist groups. Included in the requested upgrades are new and additional toilets in both the men's and women's rooms, where the number of toilets stands currently at 10.

"I don't know where these tourists are coming from," explained State employee Keith Noble, "they must be from Iowa or something. The Thompson Hill stop has a higher per-visitor toilet number than all the other state rest stops combined. And they're even flush toilets! The rest are generally not."

For her part, Pulowski had additional suggestions. "I don't know where they got this outdated sculpture in the overlook area. It's completely tacky - probably from the 70s. They really need to get some new art. Something up to date, at least. And the view? Why even bother. If you can't see the lift bridge, I don't see the point."

Noble believes, based on state records, that the Thompson Hill rest stop is the only area in the state where such a massive piece of art has been installed. And the view? Off the record, Noble suggested that tourists like Pulowski might as well throw themselves from the rest area. "Bitch," he said.

Thursday, August 30

Dancing with the Lakers


Duluth's NBC affiliate, KBJR, announced today it would run a local spoof of FOX's hit, "Dancing with the Stars." The twist is that there won't be any so-called stars. In their place, popular ship captains will dance with local unknowns. The name "lakers" comes from the fact that all of the most popular ship captains in Duluth come from the 1000-foot ore-hauling boats commonly referred to by the same name.

In KBJR's announcement it was proclaimed that Ms. Kelly Pope, age 25, will be dancing in the 5-week competition with Captain Paul Jungbauer of Cornucopia, Wisconsin. Pope, a relative unknown even on local dance circuits, is considered a potential underdog. She appeared last year in the Duluth Playhouse's unpopular take on Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure." To those who know her, she's something of a phenom. In her statement, however, she is simply "excited beyond belief to be dancing with Captain Jungbauer!" Since the announcement, Pope has also been seen exclaiming that "Captain Jungbauer is so competent! The way he pilots those lakers through the canal, I just can't help but know he will be graceful on the dance floor!"

Captain Hugo Mayorga will be spending the season with Ms. Barbara Reyelts. Reyelts' career actually began at KBJR, making this something of a homecoming for her. Mayorga, hailing from the landlocked city of Queretaro, Mexico, has actually never danced before. "Back home, I was asked to come work in the family business - food transportation. But we used donkeys. Somehow, I was eventually traded to a ship building company, and then to work on this boat. I was only voted captain by the crew two weeks ago after the original captain was thrown overboard by a large stowaway." Though Mayorga may seem like a strange choice for the competition, it is well known that his zany antics will draw viewers. Reyelts, for her part, is a two time dance champion at the Head of the Lakes Fair.

Dancing with the Lakers will air at 5 and 8 PM on KBJR, local channel 6, starting on September 8. KBJR is reportedly in talks with TV stations from St. Paul to air the show throughout the state.

Wednesday, August 29

Bergson Proposes Alternative Fair

No, it's not what you're thinking. Mayor Bergson is not proposing a gay fair. But his proposal would result in a gay old time!

Bergson has proposed that Duluth hold a "State Fair of the North." For fairgrounds, Bergson is proposing to use the ancient US Steel site. In his words, "A more than adequate location for a good time."

Bergson issued the following statement:

"For too long, we have sent our hard earned dollars to the fair in St. Paul. No more! I propose a new, alternative fair. My fair would feature the best of the St. Paul fair - I will have a 'largest pig' and 'faces made of butter.' And my fair would go beyond the St. Paul fair. To the typical fair fare of 'footlong' pronto pups, I will propose a TWO FOOT pronto pup. To best the walleye on a stick, a paltry morsel, I will propose a LAKE TROUT on a stick. And the trout will be cooked WHOLE!"

Bergson went on to explain the rest of his concept. Unquestionably, it is unique. But who would pay the start-up costs of acquiring the land and building the infrastructure? Not to mention the marketing and parking lots required to attract the patrons. In Bergson's eyes, those costs should be borne by the Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The DCVB issued the following short press release after hearing about Bergson's proposal: "We have not heard of or endorsed in any way this proposal."

Tuesday, August 28

Central Entrance Psychic Incorrectly Predicts Ore Ship's Arrival

Duluth psychic Eunice O'Toole incorrectly predicted the arrival of the Edmund Fitzgerald Monday from her Central Entrance reading room. O'Toole, performing readings in the Duluth area since arriving from suburban Chicago in 1998, stated, "it has become clear to me that the ship [the Edmund Fitzgerald] will arrive at 10:19 AM on Friday, August 31."

Questioning by reporters revealed that O'Toole was completely unaware that the Edmund Fitzgerald was shipwrecked in 1976. When asked whether she thought The Duluth Shipping News would not also be a good source for ship arrivals and departures, O'Toole responded that "the words of Nostradomus ring true in all print articles," and "the news of ships reflects the permissions of Davy Jones."

Scuba divers discovered the wreck of the Fitzgerald in 1992. At the time, it appeared that the ship had sunk as a result of extensive gales of November. In 1994, however, the Canadian government released documents showing how the Fitzgerald was accidentally targeted as a renegade ship bringing supplies to secessionist parties in the province of Quebec. At the time, the Canadians were regularly firing on American vessels suspected of acting as illegal supply ships.