The cold comfort of adulthood

Everything is easy until you open the door. That’s true of life, but especially winter in Northern Minnesota. After Christmas, winter becomes an extended stay in a Residence Inn. We already know what keeps in the hotel fridge, how long to microwave the popcorn, the cost of every item in the vending machine. Our only enemy… Read More →

The necessary drama of transition

As divisive as these times may be, at least Donald Trump won’t be sneaking into Washington, D.C., on a midnight train like Abraham Lincoln. After the election of 1860 Lincoln became the most anti-slavery president since John Quincy Adams a generation earlier. Six slave states immediately seceded from the Union, while others threatened to join… Read More →

Building faith in free people

As 2016 rolled to a close, the musician George Michael died — one of many celebrity deaths that turned social media into a sea of crocodile tears. I wasn’t particularly connected to Michael or his music, but I grew up in the generation that watched his butt wiggle on TV as he sang “gotta’ have… Read More →

Oracle of Sax-Zim Bog warns of 2017 dangers

The beaver wears a pinstriped suit. That’s how I know things have changed in the swamp. This year’s visit to the Oracle of the Sax-Zim Bog will be unlike any before. Until now, my New Year’s journey to the Oracle had wound through the frozen marsh like the familiar bends of Stony Creek. The Oracle’s… Read More →

On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas

Hail, hail Christmas morning! The family gathers around the tree to behold the fruits of Santa Claus’s labor. The stockings spew forth troves of sugar and plenty. The spirit of giving crescendos as we exchange gifts selected with care, or that were perhaps on sale. RIP RIP WOW RIP RIP AHHHH RIP RIP THANK YOU!… Read More →

Evergreen with envy

Even in the distant North Woods of Minnesota you can’t avoid our long cultural obsession with “the holidays.” By now, those of you who celebrate have likely put up your Christmas trees. The Noel tradition of decorating an evergreen tree inside the home dates backs centuries, even before Christianity itself. To discuss this tradition, today… Read More →

Trusting the wolves, hastening our fate

May 25, 2000: The morning after LTV Steel announced it would close its Hoyt Lakes taconite plant, miners lined up outside the Workforce Center in Virginia, Minnesota. Each wanted to be first to submit a job application to another mine on the Mesabi Iron Range, none of which were hiring. Though employed to monitor youth… Read More →

The nation’s rural reckoning of 2016

When the founders crafted our Constitution more than two centuries ago, they enshrined the rural agrarian roots of the United States. Country gentlemen trusted city folk about as much then as they do now, and for largely the same reason: power. For who would rule this nation? The farmers and loggers of the country, or… Read More →

Flawed Obamacare bridge to better system

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, supporters celebrated the first major victory in a century of fruitless struggle to create a universal health care system in the United States of America. For liberals, the ACA was a triumph over what had seemed an impossible political barrier. To conservatives, “Obamacare” represented a… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show hits Zenith City

That second week in November was a doozy. It started with a wild election result that left the nation speechless (for a few minutes, anyway). Then the Great Northern Radio Show made its Duluth debut on Saturday, Nov. 12. You now have a chance to hear this broadcast again. Northern Community Radio will rebroadcast both… Read More →