‘The Ocho’ lives, but numbers can lie

Most folks get the idea behind the state legislature or Congress. We are all drawn into districts based on population. Each district elects representatives to make laws and speak on our behalf. If we don’t like the representative we vote them out for a new one. Most of the time, we pay little attention to… Read More →

Deadline or bust

“Deadline” is such a harsh word. “Line” seems to imply a fixed point after which some consequence is realized. And “dead” suggests that the consequence is death. You know, pass away, croak, kick the bucket, go to heaven, expire, breathe one’s last, succumb, bite the dust, trip the light fantastic. Depart, transcend, buy the farm,… Read More →

Drawing lines won’t solve problems

This week we learned that Minnesota would keep all eight of its Congressional seats after the federal government released the results of the 2020 Census. Good news for our state. We almost lost a seat. Nevertheless, this political analysis will now fixate on maps and lines as demographic change shapes new maps. Political districts are… Read More →

Part History, Part Mystery

Longtime readers at MinnesotaBrown might wonder where I am or why I only post my weekly newspaper column these days. The answer is found in this story by Kristen Vake at CBS 3 in Duluth. This weekend the radio show and podcast “Power in the Wilderness” by Karl Jacob and myself will re-launch on Northern… Read More →

The early swing for spring

They shouldn’t even schedule youth baseball games until it’s safe to plant your garden outside. Aren’t they pretty much the same thing?  Yeah, your kid can put on a sweatshirt, but so can your vegetables. That doesn’t make it a good use of our time. If you wait long enough the frost will let up…. Read More →

The way we were

About 13 months ago I packed a bag from my office to teach and work from home. It would prove to be one of the most challenging years of my whole career as a college teacher and writer, but I really didn’t need most of what I put in that bag. A few notebooks, maybe…. Read More →

Power in the Wilderness on Almanac

Each day I write like a madman. My book deadline fast approaches. But, you might enjoy another check-in on the Power in the Wilderness project. You know I’m working on the book, but you should also know that the limited-run podcast I’m working on with filmmaker Karl Jacob is about to re-launch. The first two… Read More →

Gearing for a century in spin

In recent weeks my wife and I have been thinking about buying a car. We haven’t decided on one, nor are we in a hurry, but it’s been fascinating to research different vehicles.  Being from the Iron Range I always think about where cars are made before buying one. In the case of modern cars,… Read More →

Weighing the effects of a year at home

Early in the pandemic I decided that I wasn’t going to obsess about body weight. Someone I know tweeted that they’re not a cow, so there is no need to keep a scale near their sleeping quarters. That made sense to me at the time.  Then over the next several months I ate an entire… Read More →

How titans scooped up the Range

When I was a kid one of my favorite pieces of playground equipment was the excavator in the sandbox. You could sit on a little stool to control a shovel with two levers. Dig a hole over here, make a pile over there. I could do that all day.  To grow up on the Mesabi… Read More →