Too Deep, Too Dark, Too Cold

The gales of November still rage with controversy and treachery, as shipwrecks and their grisly cargo become the hot new tourist attraction. A beacon of light shines out from the tip of an eighty-mile stretch of shoreline known as Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. It shines from the lighthouse at Whitefish Point, Michigan, over an area […]

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The Big Blow of 1913

November is readily acknowledged as the stormiest month on the Great Lakes. Each year around the beginning of this steely month, over the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, two storm tracks converge. From the north bear down the Alberta Clippers, full of freezing polar air. From the lee slopes of the Rockies […]

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

When the Edmund Fitzgerald was launched in 1958, it was the largest ship to sail the Great Lakes. At 729 feet and able to haul more than 25,000 tons of iron ore, the freighter was dubbed “The Pride of the American Flag.” Year after year, the Fitzgerald hauled iron ore and taconite out of the […]

The Wreck of the Madeira

In late November 1905, one of the worst storms still on record overtook Lake Superior in what became known as the “Mataafa Blow.” Just north of Split Rock, the steamer William Edenborn struggled along the North Shore on its way to Duluth, towing behind it the Madeira, a massive 436-foot schooner-barge. As the winds swelled […]

Sole Survivor

Back in 1966, Dennis Hale had been sailing for three years, all of them on the 580-foot freighter Daniel J. Morrell. The Morrell was in its sixtieth year, one of the oldest of the many freighters plying the Great Lakes. The ship had just finished its already long season, but when another freighter developed engine […]

Soundtrack to Mary

I’m a renter, not an owner, baby, so why don’t you kill me? I realize that this may be the final stumbling block delaying my actual adulthood. I certainly know scads of people my age and younger who’ve taken the plunge. As Bob Smith would say, “Why can’t I be you?”Is it the dough? Nah. […]

Desert Island Duffel

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing, as the saying goes, and Leslie Johnson’s Mississippi Rag has devoted thirty years to keeping the swing alive. Her Bloomington-based newspaper is a torchbearer for early-twentieth-century ragtime and jazz. It may not have Rolling Stone’s circulation numbers, but it has worldwide reach; the Rag […]

Straight Talk

In the mid-nineties, the Hang Ups were the most prominent purveyors of what was sometimes called ’Sota Pop. Lead singer Brian Tighe and his bandmates eschewed bar-scene three-chord punk for heart-on-sleeve harmonies and shimmering layers of melody, best exemplified on songs like “Runway,” “Top of Morning,” and “Jump Start,” the latter two of which you […]

for the heart

Of all the places I have ever lived, Minneapolis is the most confusing. One might have thought it would be otherwise. It was meant to be laid out, after all, on a Jeffersonian grid. Yet one cycles down the street, blithely confident that the 3800 block of Sheridan Avenue South will lead ineluctably into the […]

Good Real Food

The Twin Cities have recently been through a golden Age of fine dining, but times are tough. From Heartland to Pickled Parrot, Minnesota struggles with its identity by way of its appetite.AS chef de cuisine and proprietor of Heartland, Lenny Russo has say over every ingredient, every wine selection, and every hire, but what he […]

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