February 21, 2002

ihduhapi, news idiots, microfilm


Hoo boy, this one is gonna be a doozy. Hopefully I can stick with it until the bitter end. If the words cut off and are are suddenly replaced with static, it means I got bored.

Outdoor Career Day was yesterday in the Commons. As I was perusing potential summer employment a fiery-haired fellow grabbed my attention… asked if I was Dane. “But of course,” I replied, and immediately recognised Michael Shea, an upperclassman from Hopkins High.

Actually, I didn’t really recognise him… the table he was working at was for YMCA Camp Ihduhapi, and I remembered that he became camp director a few years ago. Ihduhapi is a summer camp that I attended during my wee grade school years, and is home to some of my fondest childhood memories. Playing campwide capture the flag, dressing up as Billy Idol or a pirate or something, swimming in deep pools of stinky bog, blowing up stoves on island campouts, high ropes courses, and some of the coolest kids I’ve ever met in my life. As an aside, I first met Tim Levindusky at Ihduhapi. He was in the same cabin as me, and brought along his AD&D Monster Dictionary. Nerd.

So Mike and I chatted a bit, and I think I have a good idea what I’m going to do this summer. Read Kentucky essays, baby! Well, no. Ihduhapi needs a high ropes instructor, a position I could fill with my vast knowledge of climbing. Lesson 1: How to do crack without freebasing. Failing that I could always be a counselor, and rule over a troupe of screaming kids. That’d be fun, too.

So, this brings us to the latest Statesman flounderings. They printed my article on UMDStudents.com but it was ousted from the front page by a poorly written story about Tuesday’s terrorism forum at UMD. This story included such vital front page information as how long the discussion lasted and the names of all people in attendance. Not just their names, really, but a cluttered minefield of long and confusing titles. The story told in chronological order what issues were discussed at the meeting.

Of course, I should be happy that my story ran at all. Yesterday they were telling me there wasn’t any room for it, and I couldn’t track down any editors to convince them otherwise. To make room they cut out two constructive comments from the class evaluation section of the website, while leaving the “Freshman Comp blows,” quote.

They also screwed up Don Harriss’ quote, which really pisses me off because Harriss and I discussed the word in question. He said ‘boon’, I recited ‘boom’ back to him, and he said that was incorrect. We chatted about the definition of ‘boon’, and I changed the word to reflect what he actually said. The Statesman changed it back. Now I look like a foolish, sloppy reporter that can’t get quotes right, even when direct attention is called to my mistakes.

But please, please, please spell my name right. It’s becoming epidemic. I’m getting sick of cornering every Statesman editor individually and telling them how to spell my name. I mean, to their credit they never made the same mistake twice when I call them on it, but then the editors that know the spelling never correct those that don’t. I take the spelling of my last name very personally. It has a wonderful visual symmetry with the three e’s, and when you toss in an o it gets thrown out of whack. The word becomes horribly imbalanced, and reading it makes me feel like I’m stuck on a puke-crusted Tilt-a-Whirl for the 30th time in a row.

PetersEn PetersEn PetersEn!

In other news, Ted Schoen’s ex-boy scout son read my Humor story about scouting, and he couldn’t breathe he was laughing so hard. I almost killed the poor kid.

Spent more time with a microfilm reader and dug up Duluth News Tribunes from 1918 and 1925. The big news in ’18 was the mandatory draft, and after the deadline for application was passed the big news was draft dodgers; so called “slackers.” The DNT was vicious when it came to local slackers, and fell just short of providing a map to the boys’ homes to aid the lynch mob. Cars in 1925 got an average of 12.5 miles per gallon, which has increased to 13 mpg in 2002.

There was also a fascinating series of articles on a grisly murder in Canyon, where parts of a person were found floating around in a bog. A mother soon identified the body as that of her son, but after her son was confirmed very much alive at an American armed forces base, the body went anonymous again. They never found the skull, which they figured was buried in muck at the bottom of the swamp. So far as I read there were no leads and the police had finally given up. A nameless corpse, killed by a nameless murderer.

In other news (and it’s possible I have this wrong, because I was busy scanning a month of old news in 15 minutes), Duluth was kicking around the idea of an Aerial Lift Bridge in 1925. They said it would help link the town of Superior to Duluth, which makes no sense because Park Point and Wisconsin Point aren’t connected at all. Maybe they were talking about a different area, but the proposal was for a lift bridge… and I know of only one lift bridge in the area.

Which raises another interesting question. Why does Duluth have a lift bridge in the first place? I read a current article the other day on how expensive and difficult it is to paint the bridge, so imagine what went into building the darn thing. It would have been a huge effort… for what? To link to a narrow sandbar? I doubt people were already living out there…

Oh wait. Duluth Shipping News has the answer. The bridge was actually an upgrade to the Aerial Transfer Bridge. People were living on Minnesota Point before the canal was even made. The demand was there, apparently.

Maybe the article wasn’t about linking Duluth and Superior at all. Maybe Duluth was trying to sucker Wisconsin into fronting some cash for the bridge. “Yeah, it’ll help you guys. [snicker snicker]”

And now that I want to look the story up again, I can’t remember whether I was reading the July 1925 or 1928 Duluth News Tribune.