This Week in Vikings Playoff Anxiety, Vol. 2 Miracle Edition

When I began this series I had no firm belief it would be a series at all. Generations of bad luck, boneheaded plays and inexplicable mental collapse conditioned me for the seemingly inevitable disappointment of any Minnesota Vikings trip to the playoffs. Indeed, that was the joke. And while I certainly wanted the Vikings to… Read More →

On the Cuyuna Range, the culmination of a plan

Last fall I had to go to Brainerd for a speaking engagement. My fellow presenter and I were chatting on the way down. We decided it might be fun to drive through Crosby and Ironton instead of bypassing them the way many motorists have for decades. Why? Well, there’s stuff going on in Crosby now…. Read More →

‘Making It Up North’ features Great Northern Radio Show

This year WDSE-WIRT Channel 8, the PBS station in Duluth, announced a new show. Karen Sunderman hosts and Steve Ash films the program called “Making It Up North.” They profile creative people across Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. I was honored that they chose to highlight my Great Northern Radio Show in one of their early… Read More →

This Week in Minnesota Vikings Playoff Anxiety

Picture, if you well, an envelope. It might have come in the mail. It might have been hand delivered by a Great Horned Owl. That is irrelevant. Inside the envelope is an answer to a question that has endured many generations. Will you forever be trapped in a repeating hell, or will you be eternally… Read More →

Minnesotans to world: Ope! Sneak right by ya’

If there’s one thing that’s definitively Minnesotan it’s our dialect. Studied by linguists and fodder for pop culture, the way we talk developed uniquely among our immigrant farmers and laborer ancestors on the cold prairies and forests of our lake-festooned northern land. Howard Mohr wrote the definitive text, “How To Talk Minnesotan,” which he also… Read More →

Christmas Bird Count adds meaning to season

I grew up in the Northern Minnesota birding mecca of the Sax-Zim Bog. Nevertheless, I learned surprisingly little about birds. I knew the basics — robins, chickadees and crows — but not much more. It took me a long time to finally appreciate the immense nuance of the natural world, the complex systems of life… Read More →

Diary of a Thanksgiving Turkey

[FREEZE FRAME] *record scratch* Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here. It started the Friday before Thanksgiving. I was just chilling in my containment pen with a few dozen of my genetically selected pals. All of a sudden, one of the Grabby No Beaks yanks me up by the neck and drags… Read More →

Don’t cry for me, Bloomington: MN loses World’s Fair to Argentina

The World’s Fair. One quickly imagines the art deco poster of the touchstone 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Heck, that poster hangs in my home office. Or maybe we recall the fact that Montreal named a professional baseball team after the fact that they had the World Expo in 1967. An American delegation from… Read More →

New project seeks the meaning of ‘Grace’ in Bovey

You’ve seen the photo. An elderly man bows his head in prayer before a modest meal of bread and oatmeal. A large Bible rests on the table, perhaps read after dinner. Eric Enstrom took this picture in Bovey, Minnesota, in 1918. The subject, a local peddler named Charles Wilden. Wilden was better known locally as… Read More →

Northern Minnesota already firing up the SAD bus

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but Northern Minnesotans already grow weary with an early winter. In fact, stories about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD” appear on the news, seemingly months ahead of schedule. SAD generates depression-like symptoms in people, primarily during short, dark winter days. The lack of daylight is one of the leading causes…. Read More →