It’s supply and demand, not dystopia

These days some of us fall too easily into patterns of dystopian thinking. Hurry up and get to the end of the world! Maybe it will be better that way! Every day I hear from someone who tells me that they’re glad they’ll be dead before the worst of it. It’s kind of a downer. … Read More →

Ancient crocodile needs our support

  A local fossil needs your support. No, I’m not talking about an Iron Range politician. I’m referring to an ancient crocodile. This particular crocodile died in the muck near modern day Calumet, Minnesota, about 90 million years ago.  You might think that it’s far too late to help this erstwhile reptile, but you’d be… Read More →

Labor navigates northern Minnesota political crosswinds

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. Let’s call it a Labor Day think piece. Northern Minnesota has been a wellspring of the American labor movement for more than a century. However, in more recent years, organized labor has shifted into the role of mature old power, increasingly wedded to politics and… Read More →

Technology draws new atlas for our future

Want to blow your mind? Look at the evolutionary history of whales. Whales are mammals, not fish. As such their ancestors were land animals, specifically the Pakicetus. Pakicetus was a sort of water-loving goat- or dog-looking critter that hunted alongside lakes and rivers about 50 million years ago. It had massive jaws and was probably… Read More →

The real value of a college education

Contrary to what you might think, personal growth doesn’t occur inside your head. It happens when you get outside your head.  There comes a moment when a child thinks of another before he or she thinks of themselves. A teenager makes a sacrifice for the good of others. An adult realizes that their behaviors and… Read More →

Most dangerous migrants are the ones leaving our communities

In 2010 I wrote an article entitled “Wanted: Young People.” It was about the 2010 U.S. Census and what it could tell us about the towns and counties of northeastern Minnesota.  Ten years ago, data showed that our economic problems stemmed from a lack of people to support existing business and community institutions. It wasn’t… Read More →

When the ‘Field of Dreams’ was in Hibbing

With the successful completion of Major League Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville, Iowa, I am reminded of a Northern Minnesota connection to the story. But not the one you think.  Of course you may know that the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was based on the W.P. Kinsella novella “Shoeless Joe.” Fans of… Read More →

The view from inside the meme

It all started innocently enough. Last Monday I was sitting in my comfy chair watching the Olympics on the CBC. That’s the Canadian TV channel available to many of us here in northern Minnesota. I watched Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil win Gold in the 100 meter butterfly. She didn’t realize she won because she… Read More →

‘Generational amnesia’ helps us forget a past we would do well to remember

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is out today: The piece, entitled “These Old Timers Have Nostalgia All Wrong,” takes you on another of my journeys between past, present and future. This one explores what we forget. Our boundless ability to shed the past causes us to fear the future far more than we should…. Read More →

No parallel for Olympic excellence

The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo unfold unlike any held before. Delayed until 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic, new variants of the virus surge across the globe. Thus, thousands of athletes from around the world compete in front of mostly empty stands.  It must seem deflating to work tirelessly for a young lifetime to achieve… Read More →