Iron Range in isolation: talking COVID-19

Last week I appeared on KAXE with Heidi Holtan talking about the COVID-19 situation on the Mesabi Iron Range. Check it out. This was my first radio appearance since being sheltered in place with my family here in the woods of northern Minnesota. We make a couple trips to town each week for groceries and… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2019

We’re closing a momentous year and a momentous decade here at MinnesotaBrown. For most of you 2019 probably did not provide the most riveting year of material from yours truly. You saw 1-2 posts per week. Much less political coverage. Fewer posts about Northern Minnesota arts and culture. It would have appeared to you that… Read More →

When a boy becomes a snowman

One of the most obvious rules of parenting is not to put your baby in a snowbank. But what happens when your baby grows up to be a survivalist?

On cold times in cold places

We risk our bodies and minds to the effects of the deepest freeze of the year, a time when people sort themselves by coping language and poor decisions.

Oral history of this blog with notes

Earlier this week I appeared on the Duluth News Tribune Pressroom Podcast with co-hosts Christa Lawler and Brady Slater, produced by Samantha Erkkila. The podcast team and I had been trying for years to figure out when I’d be in Duluth on a weekday with time to spare. We finally found a moment after my appearance… Read More →

Northern Minnesota’s legislative linchpins

One of the prevailing trends during the Trump Administration is the ease with which we ignore other politicians or, really, political topics of any substance. For instance, two years ago I was the campaign manager for a DFL incumbent in a critical rural swing race in the Minnesota House of Representatives. We lost. Two years… Read More →

Further North: Back in the U. S. of A.

I’m back in the U.S.A. My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We had a wonderful time in Canada. You know what’s on the news in Canada? Wildfires. Public policy (not politics … policy). Bears. Every day, the bears do something different. Sometimes they sneak into an old lady’s kitchen… Read More →

Sweet summer’s last act, a pause

Sweet Summer’s Last Act Basswood leaves hang like dinner plates, flags drooping on the pole. The animals grow brazen now, I think that one’s a mole. Brown and white skinned road workers can no longer be distinguished. Last night’s maple log has yet to be extinguished. Biting flies rule the day; mosquitos rule the night…. Read More →

Spring brings a new world on foot

And suddenly the road is clear enough to walk. A little mud but less than usual. Spring came late to Northern Minnesota, but like the prodigal son we welcome it into our hearts. Last month’s winter lamentations hang like deflated balloons in faraway trees. Fresh spruce fingers reach beyond last year’s grasp. Small dumb flies… 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 →