Unwanted fish ready for the ‘gauntlet’

ANNOUNCER: … in other news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its plan to block the advance of invasive Asian carp through the locks and dams of American rivers to the Great Lakes. The plan combines new lock engineering, complex noise, water jets, and electric barriers to turn back the carp. The scheme also… Read More →

Fear itself: a backyard tragedy

During a storm last winter, a pine bough fell on the chain link fence in our backyard. The tree mangled the fence, but failed to knock it down. Bending it back together as best we could we figured we’d get to fixing the fence sometime next summer. Summer came, but the fence remained broken. Projects… Read More →

Pinning hopes to billions we don’t have

Let us, for a moment, suspend the old debate about mining projects in Northern Minnesota. You know the one. Jobs vs. the Environment. “Twin Citiots don’t care about us” vs. “Dumb Rangers don’t know what’s good for them.” I’ve long argued this as a false choice. It distracts from the real problem in Northern Minnesota’s… Read More →

My life of unintentional slapstick comedy

When I was 5, I tripped off the “motor skills” balance beam at kindergarten roundup like a sack of turds. My life took a certain direction from that point. Books, not basketball. College, not CrossFit. The question became not if, but when I would expose myself as a near constant threat to anything breakable, myself… Read More →

Road deconstruction season in northern Minnesota

People seem testy this summer. Is it the news? The local economy? Or is it because our drive to work has become infested with dump trucks and the oily smell of steaming asphalt. It’s road construction season. Nothing unusual there. In Northern Minnesota, summer stands as the only time for street, road and highway work…. Read More →

Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

The generational trials of an ‘Xennial’ life

Generational labels, such as baby boomer or millennial, can mislead. Nevertheless, they identify common experiences shared by people your age. Consider the living generations today. The “Greatest” generation grew up during the Depression. They fought WWII and the Korean War and wore high waisted pants and hats that I envy. The Baby Boomers, born 1945-1965,… Read More →

Scandinavian power in Minnesota politics

The Fourth of July is a big deal in Minnesota’s Iron Range region. Really big. Even the smallest towns here throw a parade or fireworks celebration. See, Northern Minnesota exemplified the quintessential “melting pot” of American industrialization and immigrants. July 4 became not just something to celebrate, but a shared cultural experience that brought together… Read More →

Community, cars, ticks highlight June 2017 Great Northern Radio Show

On June 17, 2017 my Great Northern Radio Show broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We had more than 500 people packed into the Wilcox Theater to hear our brand of music, comedy and storytelling in what we dub the “big, big show from your hometown.” This show ended up sounding… Read More →

Car wash confidential

For me, one of the big realizations of summer is that my car is filthy. I don’t just mean dirty. No, I mean that I can grow potatoes in my undercarriage. I live at the end of a long dirt road in Itasca County, a place where the miles of dirt road exceed the number… Read More →