The prodigal Turtles have returned

  When the Minnesota contemporary bluegrass band Trampled by Turtles went on hiatus last year their departing shells cast a pall over these North Woods. How long would they be hibernating? Would we have to “Wait So Long?” Or could this truly be the end? Lead singer Dave Simonett’s side project “Dead Man Winter” was… Read More →

March 3 Great Northern Radio Show set for Bemidji

Hello, reader. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you. Somehow I’ve managed to keep a brisk output of posts here at this year while still working on my other projects. That’s something to celebrate as I bring my Great Northern Radio Show to Bemidji State University on Saturday, March 3. My… Read More →

200 miles north of the Super Bowl

The fighter jets patrolling the skies above Super Bowl LII also maneuver above my home 200 miles north of Minneapolis. Roaring ghosts chasing the horizon. I think this is where they turn around or refuel. Safe. Remote. Nothing down here but trees, lakes and us. In this way living 200 miles from the Super Bowl… Read More →

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 →