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So we're very close to the official start of the holiday season here in the Twin Ports: the Christmas City of the North Parade.
So construction on the Bong Bridge is finally finished, which means Wisconsin is once again open for business. This makes me happier than a local union leader who discovers yet another line that Don Ness has crossed. ("He stepped all over my knock-knock joke punchline! Ban him for life!!!") The reason it makes me merry is that I happen to enjoy paying taxes on my clothing, which you have to do over in Wisconsin.
So the dreaded emerald ash borer finally showed up in Duluth to eat our trees and wreak more havoc than Rush Limbaugh at an all-you-can-eat waffle buffet. These trespassing pests remind me of teenage ne'er-do-wells sneaking onto Park Point late at night and preparing to destroy that precious spit of pristine sand. For this, I have just one thing to say: Thanks, Wisconsin. Yes, just like every other pain-in-the-ash-tree that shows up here in Minnesota, we can thank our cheesehead-wearing neighbors to the east for this wonderful gift of invasive bugs.
So the weather's been so nice lately, you may start to believe global warming is real and that we're seconds away from worldwide calamities like Enger Tower melting into Lake Superior or Proctor bursting into flames. Well, let me assure you that none of that is going to happen this week; we've got a couple months yet.
So you may not have heard, but it's election season and if you hadn't heard that, your ears must be plugged up with more gunk than Donald Trump's tax plan. I mean, how could you miss it? There are reminders everywhere: Doors are being knocked on. Mailboxes are being stuffed full of flyers. Front page stories in the Duluth News Tribune are being written that don't involve bears. We're bombarded every day. In fact, there are so many candidates running for so many offices with so many different issues, you might start to feel as overwhelmed as a Vikings quarterback.
So Don Ness had a bit of a kerfluffle last week and I, for one, am glad it happened, mainly because I haven't used kerfluffle in a column since 2012.
So when last we left the Matuszak Traveling Clan they were in Denver, Colo., sweating and swearing profusely. Now, I don't mean to give the impression that our entire trip was a horror-heat show. Just the parts when the sun was out. And we didn't utter curse words the entire time.
So last week I told you about about my family's summer visit to the City of Broad Bellies and Deep Dish Pizza, Chicago. But it wasn't the only excursion we attempted. We also set aside six days in August to road-trip 6,450 feet above the level of Lake Superior to Denver, Colo. You see, my wife and I foolishly promised our teenager a gift for her 17th birthday and she opted for a ticket to see her musical idol, Brandi Carlile, perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver.
So my wife and I are not travelers. For us, a day trip to Bemidji involves months of planning, palm-sweating and finding a legal guardian for the cats. We hardly ever leave the house. Pizza can be delivered to the front door with one click of a mouse (although using a computer is preferred) and sweat pants are plenty fancy for a living-room davenport party. However, our daughter Kaylee has these crazy ideas about needing to go "outside." She wants to see friends, experience life, go to school ... you know, nonsensical teenager stuff.
So there are two things you should know about me. First, I'm easily distracted. And ... um... the, uh, second ... is ... um ... heh heh, look at that. Cat videos are why the interwebs was invented ... Where was I? Oh, yeah. Setting up this week's column. In my continuing quest to provide you with more in-depth information than all the local media outlets combined, not counting WDSM (less news center, more mouth explosion factory), I recently interviewed a Twin Ports legend.