Recent Posts

Roof Rake is Probably A Regional Term, Eh?

Ha! Based on my most recent posts, everybody keeps telling me to get a roof rake. Dude, I’m from Wisconsin, I have an ASSORTMENT of roof rakes. But our main shed is gigantic, roof rake won’t touch it. It was built back when the place was a full-size operational farm. Plus it’s tucked into a hillside in such a way that it’s basically a drift magnet. Last time we had snow like this, hired two fellows who clear roofs on a regular basis and they gave up on it. I’m also aware of the amazing rope-saw trick, but I fear size, logistics and pitch preclude it. Anyways, the shed’s still standing. I got the roof half-clear with the torpedo heater trick, should be able to finish the job during window of above-freezing temps in the next 48 hours before we get MORE DANG SNOW. P.S. some of the advice I get is priceless: “If you end up climbing the roof to shovel it off don’t forget about the skylight panels like I did years ago, they will not hold 24 inches of snow AND a human.”

“Roughneck Grace” Crowdsourced truck repairs

Every week the Wisconsin State Journal runs “Roughneck Grace,” a weekly column written by Mike (many of the columns will be adapted from Mike’s Tent Show Radio monologues). This week’s column, titled, “Crowdsourced truck repairs” can be seen online here.

New Tent Show Radio Tonight: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

If you’re within range of (or can stream) one of these stations tonight (Saturday, Feb. 16th) we hope you’ll join Mike as he hosts another edition of Tent Show Radio from Big Top Chautauqua.

This week’s show features musical guests Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In between all the music, Mike explains why sometimes the wrong word is the perfect word. Information on streaming the show here.

You can join the Tent Show Radio Facebook page here, and many previous Tent Show Radio episodes available for streaming anytime – just click here. 



Pre-order: Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology

Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology, including the piece “Prince of the Midwest” by Michael Perry, is now available for pre-order here.

NOTE FROM MIKE: I was invited by our neighbors across the St. Croix to write about my changing perceptions of Minneapolis over time, specifically by expanding on some previous paragraphs I’d written about Prince Rogers Nelson and the effect he had on even a clodhopper kid from Chippewa County, Wisconsin. It’s a privilege–especially as a country cheesehead–to share pages with such powerful, artful voices (see author list below–expanded list at link).


In recent years, Minneapolis has become a literary powerhouse. In Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology, we collect some of the most exciting work being done in, or about, Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area, with narrative threads that stretch back not just to Scandinavia, but across the world. The writers here have won, or been shortlisted for, the Newbery Award, the Man Booker prize, the Pulitzer, the Caldecott Award, the National Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award and many others. They included Kelly Barnhill, Marlon James, Kao Kalia Yang, Michael Perry, Bao Phi, Danez Smith, Shannon Gibney, and many more, alongside new and first-time writers.