Beleaguered reporter Christopher Ingraham, he who managed to make an enemy out of the entire state of Minnesota last month when he blogged that it was the worst place to live, has some new thoughts on the North Star State after a visit here last week.

The short version: it's a place of rugged beauty and some fairly forgiving people.

Ingraham wrote about his change of heart today in his Washington Post blog, a few days after returning from a trip to Red Lake County. That was the county that ranked worst for liveability in some 15-year-old federal data Ingraham unearthed for his blog last month. His story was met with a storm of gentle Minnesota protest, and a Red Lake County official told Ingraham he could kiss his butt

Ingraham, in today's post, said he initially had some concerns about coming to Minnesota to see Red Lake County. Would the people forgive him, he wondered. Or would he be "flogged with a hotdish?" 

No one would waste a perfectly good hotdish on you, Christopher. If a true Minnesotan wanted to inflict pain, they'd probably just call you "interesting," and then say nothing at all as the silence crushed your spirit.

Ingraham's post is worth a look, especially for the picture of diplomat-in-the-making Matt Weiss, a Red Lake County teenager who presented Ingraham with a cake in the shape of Red Lake County. As for the "ugly" label, it might stick. Proud locals in Red Lake County think it's funny that someone would miss the beauty of it all, and have begun talking about hosting a tongue-in-cheek "Ugly Festival," Ingraham reports.

Picture: Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham snaps a photo while visiting Red Lake County farmer Carl Schindler, who's holding his son, Isaac. Photo: Matt McKinney