Saturday, October 29, 2022

Duluth Hiking and Biking Trails

31 years ago the Upper Midwest was subject to a four day winter storm that buried cars in Duluth. By way of contrast, this week we're gearing up for some unusually generous warmth, short sleeve weather for those so inclined. I decided to go for a walk, not a walk to the end of the road as I usually do, but a bit of hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail. 

I don't know what things are like elsewhere but here there's an amazing array of hiking and biking trails. It's a Northland feature that I'd never paid much attention to, but have become increasingly aware of. Hiking is a great way to disconnect from all your devices, and a tradition that goes way, way back in human history.

Here are some stats from that Halloween blizzard in Duluth:

  • At the time, the 36.9" of snow that fell at Duluth set the state record for storm total snowfall. That was surpassed in 1994.
  • Snow began in Duluth at about 1:00 pm on October 31st, and did not end until 1:00 pm on November 3rd, meaning that snow fell continuously on the city for about 72 hours.
  • Moderate to heavy snow fell in Duluth with as much as 2 inches per hour from about 11:00 am on November 1st to about 2:00 am on November 2nd - about 15 hours.
  • Blowing snow was reported in Duluth for 33 consecutive hours, starting at 2 PM on November 1st. Winds regularly gusted to between 30 and 40 MPH. Visibilities were frequently near zero across much of the region.

EdNote: Though near 37 inches fell, the gusting wind produced massive drifts. Most cars were buried in our Central Hillside neighborhood.

* * * * 

And here are some photos from my afternoon hike.

I couldn't help but think of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken as I came to a few places with forking paths. 

Are you a hiker? The bike trails here are phenomenal as well. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? A Song About Hard Times

I still like to listen to my old vinyl records and one of the songs that really sticks with me from the Peter, Paul & Mary archive is "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" The Great Depression may have been an exceptionally challenging time for Americans (25% unemployment) but it did generate some heartrending folk songs, which demonstrates how the spirit continuously strives to rise above the mud, mulch and muck, by means of creative expression. Heartbreak unites us because we all share a common humanity.

According to Wikipedia, the lyrics were written by Yip Harburg and the tune by Jay Gorney for the 1932 musical revue Americana.* The melody is actually borrowed from a Russian-Jewish lullaby.

Though most Broadway musicals feature upbeat songs, this one was composed in a minor key. The tone of the lyrics required a similar aural treatment. Over time it has be recorded by a wide swath of performers.

Bing Crosby & Rudy Vallee made it popular in 1932, essentially a song about the impact of the Great Depression upon the common man. Try to imagine what we would be seeing if we had 25% unemployment today. That's what our grandparents (or great grandparents if you're younger) dealt with. I remember my mom telling us how her dad would carry home a 100 lb. bag of navy beans on Saturdays and "that's what we would eat all week."

Others who performed or recorded this song have included Al Jolson, George Michael, Jorma Koukonan, Tom Waits, Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Dr. John, Abbey Lincoln and dozens more.

The song was quite controversial in its day. There were business leaders who saw the song as "a dangerous attack on the American economic system," so they sought to have it banned from the radio. William Zinsser, who taught writing at Yale, wrote that radio stations banned it for being "sympathetic to the unemployed".  Hmmm.

Here are the lyrics:

Once I built a railroad, made it runMade it race against timeOnce I built a rairoad, now it's doneBrother can you spare a dime?Once I built a tower to the sunBrick and rivet and limeOnce I built a tower, now it's doneBrother can you spare a dime?Once in khaki suitsGee, we looked swellFull of that yankee Doodle De DumHalf a million boots went slogging through hellI was the kid with the drumSay don't you remember, they called me AlIt was Al all the timeSay don't you remember, I'm your pal!Brother can you spare a dime?Once in khaki suitsGee, we looked swellFull of that yankee Doodle De DumHalf a million boots went slogging through hellI was the kid with the drumSay don't you remember, they called me AlIt was Al all the timeSay don't you remember, I'm your pal!Brother can you spare a dime?Buddy can you spare a dime?

* * * *  
EdNote: Information about this song's history came from a Wikipedia entry about the song.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Bruce Cockburn's "Pacing the Cage": I Hear Rilke Echoes

Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash
Driving home from the pharmacy last night I was listening to The North 103.3 when a song came on that compelled me to listen. Each verse ended with the line "pacing the cage." The accompaniment was haunting and, for me, it brought to mind Rilke's The Panther. As the song was ending I was just pulling into my driveway. The radio host, thankfully, shared the title of the song and its creator, Bruce Cockburn.

As soon as I got in the house I looked to see if the song were on YouTube. After finding it I listened again while looking online for the lyrics. Then I listened yet again.

* * * * *

The power of Rainer Maria Rilke's The Panther is that it becomes a metaphor that most of us can relate toIt is a poignant portrait of something magnificent that has become impotent after being caged. There are all manner of ways in which we can become caged. How that affects us may not readily be recognized. When the loss of freedom becomes the loss of hope, we are doomed.

The Panther

His vision from the passing of the bars
is grown so weary that it holds no more.
To him it seems there are a thousand bars
and behind a thousand bars no world.

The padding gait of flexibly strong strides,
that in the very smallest circle turns,
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which stupefied a great will stands.

Only sometimes the curtain of the pupil
soundless parts--. Then an image enters,
goes through the tensioned stillness of the limbs
--and in the heart ceases to be.

* * * * 

It is against this backdrop, Rilke's Panther, that I share Bruce Cockburn's poignant piece.

Pacing the Cage

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you live too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

I've proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip's worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Powers chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage

I never knew what you all wanted
So I gave you everything
All that I could pillage
All the spells that I could sing
It's as if the thing were written
In the constitution of the age
Sooner or later you'll wind up
Pacing the cage

Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage
Pacing the cage

© Rotten Kiddies Music Llc, Bro N Sis Music Inc

* * * * 

Here's the song on YouTube so you can appreciate the mood it creates.


According to Wikipedia, Bruce Cockburn was born three days after Bob Dylan's fourth birthday, May 27, 1945. Like Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, Cockburn is a Canadian-born singer/songwriter and guitarist. He's written more than 350 songs for 34 albums.

For poetry lovers, here's a web page that has assembled a variety of alternative translations for Rilke's Der Panther. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Wordless Wednesday: Miscellaneous Photos Related to Memorable People


Legend: (top to bottom) Joy, BB King, the Lorraine Motel where MLK was shot, MLK church in Montgomery, Beale Street, Will-Hay Nelson, House where Bonnie & Clyde once stayed, Birthplace of Nat King Cole, Little Richard's grave, statue honoring Rosa Parks.

All photos courtesy Gary Firstenberg.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

This Coming Saturday: Goin Postal Fall Music Festival and Poltergeist Pub Crawl in Superior’s North End

All Money Raised goes to benefit the Bluebird Foundation

* * * * *

Superior is seeking to establish itself as "Halloween Town" again.

If you measure holidays by the revenue they generate Halloween appears determined to catch up to Christmas, at least in the U.S.

Goin' Postal's Andy and Becky Perfetti are at it again. They thrive on pulling people and businesses together to create memorable events. It's that time of year again... and here's the rundown. 

* * * * * 

The Goin' Postal Fall Music Festival and Poltergeist Pub Crawl is back this Saturday, October 29th in Superior. Here's the announcement I received earlier today.

Join in the many festivities taking place throughout Superior's North End. The Music Festival will feature 15 bands at five venues and 11 taverns will be participating in the Pub Crawl. (see complete schedule below) .

Wear your costume and tour the North End of Superior! Stop in participating taverns and have your favorite cocktail! Celebrate Halloween in style with your friends, or come and make new ones!


The Pub Crawl starts at 5pm and ends at Top Hat Tavern for the Costume contest! Enjoy Live Music along the way at multiple venues! Win big prizes at the Top Hat Costume Contest!

There is a $20 entry fee. Purchase your pub crawl pass at either Top Hat Tavern, Tower Avenue Tavern or Lost in the 50's. All proceeds from the pub crawl go to support the Bluebird Foundation in their mission to provide grants and scholarships to local kids in the arts!


The Bluebird Foundation is a 501(c)(3) founded in 2014 dedicated to supporting regional youth in the performing arts.



Goin Postal Fall Music Festival Presented at 5 Venues--15 bands

Music at:

Born Too Late... These kids are steppin' out.
Top Hat Tavern

    • Israel Malachi Orchestra
    • The Fractals
    • Born Too Late
    • Virgil Caine
    • BoomSTick
    • Costume Contest at 11pm
  • Tower Avenue Tavern
    • Boogeymen
    • Vehahsa
    • Spider Penis
    • Theft By Swindle
    • Costume Contest At Midnight
  • Thirsty Pagan Brewing
    • The Mackie Bros
    • Steve Solkela
  • VIP Pizza
    • John Seguin
    • Adam Herman
    • Woodblind
    • The Jane Gang
  • The Superior Tavern
    • High Maintenance

The Poltergeist Pub Crawl participating taverns are:

·         Lost in the 50s

·         Whiskeys Last Resort

·         Tower Avenue Tavern

·         The Boardroom

·         Top Hat Tavern

·         Thirsty Pagan Brewing

·         Strikers

·         Mikes Place

·         VIP Pizza

·         Superior Tavern

* * * 

My very first "live painting" event took place at the now defunct Norm's in Superior. Here are a couple posts about or inspired by that event.

Related Links

Last Night at Norm's

Aiming High In Art


Monday, October 24, 2022

Alarming Tesla Incident Reminds Us of Tomorrow's New Challenges

Here's a funny story someone sent me recently. (Thanks, Kent.) It's not entirely funny, as you will see in a moment.

This is not a Tesla.

For years we've been reading and hearing bout the IoT (Internet of Things) in which everything is connected via technology. If you have car trouble, you call tech support and, because "they" are connected to the brain box in your car via satellites and whatever else. From their ivory IT tower they can diagnose and fix are your troubles in a flash. 

In an ideal world the IoT will all supposedly make life easier, at least for the haves. This story, however, shows how we have not yet arrived at the utopian future yet. The humorous aspect of this story is that the "victim" in this case is a podcaster who is also famously upbeat.  In fact, his cheerful podcast is titled, "Always Sunny In Philadelphia."

So what happened?

Well, actor Glenn Howerton owns a Tesla Model X. Evidently he was parked way underground beneath a Los Angeles parking garage when his key fob broke. Fortunately, the Tesla has a nice feature in which you can contact tech support and they can let you into the car and start it for you.

Except, the car was too far below the ground that there was no internet access. 


Well, he called the tow truck folks, but then there was another problem. Where he parked had too low of a ceiling and the truck couldn't get there. PLUS, to tow him out would require unlocking the wheels so they would roll. But this was not going to work either because--yep, that's right--no internet access.

While I was reading this story last night, we had a major storm with rolling thunder and I lost my internet connection as well. I'm a little concerned about the future of transportation as we continue to become more embedded into the grid.

You can read the full account here at

Friday, October 21, 2022

Flashback Friday: Everything Is Easy...


Sometimes it's handy to keep a handful of pithy sayings in the billfold of your mind. You never know when they might come in handy.

Here are a couple that I've used more than a few times over the years, primarily because they are a little less common than "it is what it is" (which I do use a bit frequently, because it is what it is.)

Everything is easy for the one who doesn't have to do it.

This one is readily available for any number of situations, especially in the world of work. People often give advice to others and wonder why it isn't immediately jumped on and appreciated. Well, that's because everything is easy for the one who doesn't have to do it. Whether it's meeting deadlines, managing multiple projects, overcoming addictions, or saving for retirement, everything's easy for the one who doesn't have to do it.

This doesn't mean we can't ever give advice, but we ought be sensitive when we're dishing it out. As Eleanor Roosevelt put it, “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”

The butler who folds his hands spills no tea. 

This one is fun because it takes a moment to process. Bosses generally do not like mistakes, though generally they readily admit that mistakes come with the territory, especially when you're attempting to accomplish something big. Being overly critical of mistakes will leave employees in a position where they never take any risks. The safest act in that environment is to do nothing.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." 

My mom frequently recited this and I know why. She's from Scots heritage and this statement's origin is Sir Walter Scott from one of his novels. With a handful of words it says plenty.

Life is complicated enough without trying to cover our tracks and be deceptive. Sooner or later, it's going to get you. How many times we read stories about people caught embezzling or evading paying taxes.

* * * 

If you need to arm yourself with some new quip material, there are plenty of websites devoted to collecting these kinds of pearls. Here are a few from a website called Quips, Quotes and Pithy Sayings.

Experience enables you to recognize a mistake every time you repeat it.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.

America is one of the few places you can say what you speak without thinking.

Unless you have never been tempted, don't pass judgment on someone who has yielded.

Don't mistake activity for achievement.

Or you can simply quote lines from Dylan, like I do.

"Meantime life goes on all around you."

 * * * 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Nevada Bob in Nashville: Sharing Experiences from His Storied Life

Nevada Bob with Eric Dahl on set of
Nashville's Rock & Review
Yesterday morning singer/songwriter/rancher/author Nevada Bob Gordon was on Nashville's Rock & Review show to discuss his new book 50 Years with the Wrong Woman. Hosted by Eric Dahl, the program was filmed when Nevada Bob was in Nashville this summer recording his sixth studio album/CD, backed by Charlie McCoy and some of Nashville's finest. 

One aim of a show host is to make guests feel comfortable in front of the camera, and you can tell Nevada Bob is precisely that. He looks right at home.

A second goal of an interviewer is to get the interviewee to talk by asking open-ended questions. No producer likes dead air during a show. 

A third aim is to produce a show that viewers will enjoy and tell their friends about. That's why Eric Dahl enjoyed sharing Nevada Bob Gordon with his Rock & Review viewers.

Nevada Bob loves telling stories and as anyone will attest he has a massive warehouse of stories inside of him. Mr. Dahl was clearly having a good time. (Or else he's an exceptionally talented actor.)

I had to laugh when Bob talked about his age. When this segment was filmed he was nearing 83 but he often hears people say, "I can't believe you're a day over 80." 

I'll add here that Nevada Bob still has the spirit of a youngster and the innocence of a child in some respects. Yes, he's seen a lot of life--both the sunshine and the storms--but he continues to be remarkably curious about new things and has become neither cynical nor jaded. 

For the record, this is just a fragment from a longer interview which is slated to air on Saturday. 

Here's the link to yesterday's interview on YouTube:

You can follow Eric Dahl on Twitter @ericrocksnash   
You can follow me as well: @ennyman3

Purchase 50 Years with the Wrong Woman HERE

Purchase the Audiobook HERE

Related Links
Nevada Bob Meets the Beatles 

Singer/Songwriter Nevada Bob is a Storyteller Too
Nevada Bob Finishes Album Six in Nashville

Nevada Bob Gordon in Nashville.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Amazon Offers Proof Again That Print Is Not Dead

It's interesting how at the very same time that Facebook is investing in virtual worlds where most people will never go, Amazon is reaching out to people in the tangible real world where we live and breathe and have our being. 

I don't believe Amazon is doing this just to spend tons of money on paper and printing. They've tested the waters and know the power of print, including catalogs and direct mail.

Catalogs have a certain nostalgic appeal for a lot of us, I believe. When I was a kid my dad would bring home a Sears catalog (which seemed like it was two inches thick) and mark the section featuring children's toys. This was Santa's way of learning what we might want.

The photo on this page is of two Amazon catalogs I've received this fall. One is the Amazon equivalent of that kids section of the Sears catalog. The other is a fashion gifts guide. 

Yes, magazines and newspapers have taken a hit these last 25 years since the advent of the Internet. This doesn't mean print media has been abandoned altogether. 

Here's the beginning of my 2018 article Why Print Still Matters for Marketers.

Whereas it’s true that magazine and newspaper publishing has taken a hit these past fifteen years, it would be wrongheaded to assume these forms of connecting with readers-–that is, consumers — would disappear altogether. In fact, a recent study indicates that print continues to be among the most effective media for reaching customers with your marketing messages.

A new study by the marketing analytics group Ebiquity, conducted in October 2017 and January 2018, has provided numerous insights to help businesses evaluate their marketing mix. One of the study’s aims was to not only determine the most effective marketing channels, but to discover how much the facts align with what agencies are telling (or selling to) their clients.

Get the facts. You can read the rest of the article here

In the meantime, the seasons are in transition. Are you ready?

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Thought Food: Ludwig von Mises

"Contemplation" -- ink on paper
According to the Brittanica, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was an Austrian-American libertarian economist known for his contribution to liberalism in economic theory and his belief in the power of the consumer.  (EdNote: Liberalism had a very different meaning 100 years ago than it does today,) 

He is as relevant today as when he penned his ideas 50 to 100 years in the past. 

“He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy 

“Every socialist is a disguised dictator.”
― Ludwig von Mises

“Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

“The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.”
― Ludwig von Mises

“It is vain to fight totalitarianism by adopting totalitarian methods. Freedom can only be won by men unconditionally committed to the principles of freedom. The first requisite for a better social order is the return to unrestricted freedom of thought and speech.”
― Ludwig Von Mises, Omnipotent Government  

“Every step which leads from capitalism toward planning is necessarily a step nearer to absolutism and dictatorship.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government   

“The market system is the basis of our civilization. Its only alternative is the Führer principle.”
― Ludwig von Mises

“Doctrines which can stand the trial of logic and reason can do without persecuting skeptics.”
― Ludwig von Mises, 
Omnipotent Government 

“The issue is always the same: the government or the market. There is no third solution.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Planned Chaos  

“If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.”
― Ludwig von Mises, Planning for Freedom, and Sixteen Other Essays and Addresses

“The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says “state” means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force.”
― Ludwig von Mises, 
Omnipotent Government 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Would Your Life Be Different If You Could Start Over Again @18

Photo on my college I.D. card, first day  @OU
Within a week I was 18.
I just finished reading an article on Medium titled "7 things I wish I had known when I was 18."

Naturally, when I think of being 18 I can't help but think of Alice Cooper's song by that name with the refrain, "I'm eighteen and I don't know what I want." 

Lines form on my face and handsLines form from the ups and downsI'm in the middle without any plansI'm a boy and I'm a man -- I'm eighteen

Having come of age in the Sixties, I also think of Barry Maguire's Eve of Destruction and the line "You're old enough to kill but not for voting," which summed up eighteen-hood. Yes, you can go to Vietnam and fight (and die) for your country, but you have no say in who rules the roost in Washington DC.

* * * 

Before you read the story, maybe you can think back on where you were at emotionally/psychologically when you were 18. The author (Bite-size Life) has chosen to obfuscate his or her identity, but the content is thought provoking. We've all been there.

Here are his or her first points:
1. You are not fixed; you are always evolving.
2. You don’t look for meaning; you make it.
3. Buy experiences, not things.

Here's where you can find the rest of the list with examples and explanations:

7 Things I wish I Had Known When I Was 18.

FWIW, I suspect that people unfamiliar with Medium don't realize that you can clap as many as 50 times for stories you like. Let me know if this has changed. (Medium has undergone some rules changes over the years.)

* * * 

The best part of being 18 is that the worst teen years (for most, I'm guessing) are behind you at that point.

* * * 

OK, so here is your homework. If you were to make a list of 7 things you wished you knew when your were eighteen, what would they be? This is a good project if you wish to tussle and tangle with it. Please feel free to leave your thought (on this) in the Comments. 

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