Top MinnesotaBrown posts for 2010

Another year has come and gone. In keeping with a recent tradition I now highlight some of my top Google Analytics posts from 2010. After the list I’ll share a few favorites that never caught on.


  1. About my friend Tom Anzelc — I hate that this one came out on top but there’s no denying that my friend Tom’s court appearance to defend himself against false accusations in a civil protection order case was big news last summer and tops in the click stats. A Pawlenty-appointed judge dismissed the complaint outright as being without merit or credibility.
  2. Oberstar, Cravaack and the future of Minnesota’s Fightin’ Eighth – (Parts 1 and 2) — Taken together these two posts were the biggest traffic generators in the history of this blog, particularly in first-day hits. Chip Cravaack’s meteoric rise and Jim Oberstar’s Shakespearean fall drove a lot of traffic to this blog, one of few MN8-based sites with regular political commentary.
  3. This Iron Range blogger is done apologizing for Iron Range cronyism –I broke publicly with my DFL party and honestly things haven’t been the same for me since. I remain active in my local party unit, mostly for coordination of Tom Anzelc’s campaigns and because I have friends there. But this was a flame thrower. Things were not this summer nor are they now “right” on the Iron Range. There are systemic problems in our politics, economic development and even our culture. I’m done pretending things are OK. They aren’t. This post was well received by many. I’m sure others resented it, but only one, Rep. Loren Solberg, had the guts to say so. Solberg would go on to lose his race this November. I didn’t expect that and he was among the least deserving of that fate.
  4. Breaking: Janezich defeats Entenza — More evidence that snark rules page views. This was a poor use of time that got on the list anyway. Yay, internet!
  5. The Come Home Bob meta interview — Last spring I hosted videos for the Iron Range Tourism “Come Home Bob” campaign, highlighting Range attractions in a good-natured, humorous effort to woe Bob Dylan back to his hometown of Hibbing. The campaign ended up being kind of strange as some people thought we were dead serious, and mean. Others thought we were kidding, but then wondered. I wrote the scripts but lost creative control at some point. I should have gone Orson Welles on this deal.
  6. Come Home Bob campaign draws some wanna-Bobs — Same deal here.
  7. Parades, street dances and fireworks, oh my! — I realized a couple years back that I’m in a unique position to share parades, street dances and other celebration information for the Iron Range’s storied Fourth of July traditions, which swell our summer population for a few days each year.
  8. A modern Iron Range take on Tuesday’s election results — Post election commentary as the gravity of Chip Cravaack’s win and the erosion of DFL support in MN8 became clearer. Another single-day hit.
  9. Thank you, Jim Oberstar — A personal reflection on Oberstar after his loss. I have a special memory of Jim from when I was a kid that made a big difference in my life. I’ll always remember him fondly and thank him for what he did for northern Minnesota during his years in Congress.
  10. Tie – The new Duluth and the big problem for northern Minnesota AND Obligatory Randy Moss post, with fish — One is a short link and commentary (with an interesting discussion that ensued) about economic change in northern Minnesota. The other is literally a picture of Randy Moss holding a fish that I posted before his short, controversial tenure with the Vikings this year. The fish post was made special though as the first link I ever got from TYWKIWDBI, a great general interest blog that must be seen to be believed.

You could never tell by the preceding list, but I actually tried to reduce my political blogging in 2010. How’d that go, champ? Greeeeat.

  • The end is near and the prices are unbelievable — a Twin Ports jeweler advertised a “Second Coming” sale during the Christmas season, celebrating the imminent return of the savior by offering half off all diamonds in stock.
  • Mining vs. the environment: a debate not centered in reality — My Hamlet-style position on nonferrous mining in northern Minnesota isn’t making anyone happy. But I play the long game and this is not a simple story.
  • Trainspotting on the Iron Range — a photo post of some canisters on the Canadian National Line. Visual evidence of globalization and its influence on our unique, regional economy.
  • The Floodwood student uprising of ’72 — a look back at an archived story from the Duluth News Tribune. This was notable because after posting this I learned my dad was there when it happened and I got a great story. Other readers also chimed in.
  • Cravaack reaches across the crevasse — Chip Cravaack just cold called me one day when he was nobody way back before he was even endorsed by the GOP. I like to think I could tell then that he’d be the most competitive Republican candidate in MN8 in a long time. I’m trying to arrange another interview with Cravaack to do a follow up now that he’s a Congressman and I’m the chump doing the same old stuff.
  • This is a post about carp — I made an effort to become the official blog of Asian carp infiltration news with mixed results. Also see More carping and Carp Czar risks assassination by bullhead-sheviks. After a couple of these the lady stopped sending me press releases. And that’s the important part of the story.
  • At DFL convention the Range yells a mighty ‘yalp!’ — My analysis of the state DFL convention in Duluth. Can anyone imagine a more retroactively irrelevant use of time and money? I mean, knowing what we know now. You can read my tone in this post and see me reach a sad conclusion of my own.
  • The giant Mesabi places a bet — Over at Minnesota Public Radio I wrote my first guest piece for their commentary page. 
  • In praise of the Iron Range — a slightly snarky post written in response to a conservative blogger’s impassioned advocacy for the suburbs. Just good clean fun. 
  • The Case of the Missing Medallion — The Hibbing Winter Frolic committee gave me a trial as the author of the official “clues” for the 2010 medallion hunt, quite the local tradition. I took the approach of a Sam Spade/Guy Noir mystery story spoof. It was a hit. I’ll be back in 2011, so stay tuned.
  • Wanted: Young People — My news analysis piece about the changing demographics of the Iron Range region and how it’s affecting our politics, culture and economy. Probably the best actual work I did all year.
  • State of Superior sees political unrest — I predicted (accurately) some of the political changes and upsets that would befall the once solidly-Democratic Lake Superior Region, which I sometimes call the State of Superior in honor of its alt-history possibilities.
  • Planes, trains and automobiles: the true story — I detail my trip to Chicago, which isn’t that special but is the only time I left the state this year (excepting Superior, WI, of course, which is really more of a stateless trade zone).
  • What is clout worth? — A standalone question about the loss of Range political clout and what it really means.
  • A new legion for old stories and values — My annual trip to the Sons of the Legion spaghetti feed got me thinking about the Iron Range’s history and future.

I posted almost 400 times in 2010, less than 2009 but at a higher pace than my ill-conceived blog hiatus from late that year. I’ll be revisiting my novel in 2011 and am still mapping out how to do a radio show/podcast without killing myself and/or alienating my loved ones, but I’ll keep some fires going here as well.

Did I miss any of your favorites? What would you like to see in 2011? Thanks for reading MinnesotaBrown and best wishes for a happy new year!


  1. This kinda sums up why the Oberstar posts set records…

  2. Hi Aaron:

    Thanks for telling people about here and why it’s a neat place to live. Everyplace has it’s issues and problems, but overall, we’re pretty darn lucky to be rangers : )

    Best wishes and Happy New Year.


  3. “My analysis of the state DFL convention in Duluth. Can anyone imagine a more retroactively irrelevant use of time and money? I mean, knowing what we know now.”

    I think the DFL endorsements in ’98 and 2000 were more useless. (Sorry, Jerry.) The endorsees in those races got slaughtered. Kelliher at least managed to make it a lot closer than people were expecting. And sometimes conventions are relevant because of who they eliminate from the race as much as for who they endorse. In 2000, I’m not sure any of the candidates who withdrew after the convention could have beaten Dayton in the Senate primary anyways. But in 2010, another candidate might have been able to pull that task off.

  4. Nice work and Happy 2011 to you and your family. You’ve always got something interesting to read. Thanks

  5. @Anon – I don’t know what’s funnier, the fact that people are still using the “Hitler reacts” meme 18 months past its humor peak or how the author of this version misspells Chip Cravaack’s name.
    @Amy, thanks! It’s a cool place, full of stories. Who cares what the new year will bring. It will be interesting.
    @Chris – We could descend into an argument over which DFL convention was most useless, but I’ll pass. I think Dayton would have won regardless of who won the DFL endorsement, but perhaps for Rybak who is better at retail … but he may well have ended up in the same spot as Margaret.
    @Carla – Thank you! Happy New Year to you as well!

  6. They’re both pretty funny Aaron, let’s call it a draw. I tend to agree with you though…Oberstar getting beat by a no-one-ever-heard-of-can’t spell-his-name guy is probably funnier though. It better represents just how far he’d fallen.

    A happy new year to all it is!

  7. Oops, I see MDE has posted copies of the Oberstar residency documents referred to by Grams in their debate..

    Man, we need term limits..

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