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 →

A dog’s love and loss, all in a lifetime

“It’s inevitable when you buy the pet. You’re supposed to know it in the pet store. You are purchasing a small tragedy.” ~George Carlin Every pet owner tells the story of picking out their dog. They go to the animal shelter. Walk the rows of kennels. Maybe stop at a house with puppies. “I want… Read More →

Top 10 Reasons to attend Great Northern Radio Show

Tomorrow, on June 17, my Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I wrote about the show a couple weeks ago. One of the reasons I developed such an interest in broadcasting and the variety show format was my early teenage love affair with late night shows. So, with… Read More →

The heat is on; the lawn is long

Last week a viral online image showed a man in Alberta, Canada mowing his lawn as a sizable tornado spun across the sprawling horizon behind him. “I was keeping an eye on it,” said Theunis Wessels of Three Hills, a small town on the Alberta plains. Though the picture made the tornado look close, it… Read More →

A dad’s triumphant return to baseball ignominy

Something holy emanates from the crack of a baseball bat against a stitched leather ball. Doesn’t matter if the bat is aluminum or wood. That sound represents the unlikely collision of two round objects hurled toward each other by competing athletes. Ball and bat. Pitcher and hitter. Thunder and lightning. Two forces deeply connected, yet apart…. Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show cruises home to Grand Rapids

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Mr. Rogers. If you’ve never heard of him, or seen his groundbreaking children’s show, that’d be reasonable. It’s getting a little old now. But some of you might have seen the recording of his testimony defending federal funding of public broadcasting back in 1969. Others might have seen the viral story… Read More →