100 years later, the Power of stories

Lately I’ve been imagining the cadence of Victor Power’s overshoes across the sidewalks of North Hibbing in 1915, the boom of his voice across the street to the people he knew. I’ve been picturing the smooth motion of his oratory gestures, the quick, sly smile that set him apart from other politicians. We can’t hear… Read More →

Summer’s labor lost

This was the summer that never happened. Oh, sure, the sun warmed our backs. The days stretched long. We ate a watermelon and dipped our toes in the lake. The summer “happened”; we just weren’t *relaxed* for more than a few hours of it. It was like waiting for a repairman to arrive at any… Read More →

Good girl, Daisy

People blame many problems on the internet. Email scams. A lack of civility in political discourse. Naughty naked people and bad medical advice. But for me the biggest way the internet affected my life is the fact that my wife Christina can view dogs available for adoption anywhere in the country, all day long. She… Read More →

Unwanted fish ready for the ‘gauntlet’

ANNOUNCER: … in other news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its plan to block the advance of invasive Asian carp through the locks and dams of American rivers to the Great Lakes. The plan combines new lock engineering, complex noise, water jets, and electric barriers to turn back the carp. The scheme also… Read More →

Fear itself: a backyard tragedy

During a storm last winter, a pine bough fell on the chain link fence in our backyard. The tree mangled the fence, but failed to knock it down. Bending it back together as best we could we figured we’d get to fixing the fence sometime next summer. Summer came, but the fence remained broken. Projects… Read More →

Pinning hopes to billions we don’t have

Let us, for a moment, suspend the old debate about mining projects in Northern Minnesota. You know the one. Jobs vs. the Environment. “Twin Citiots don’t care about us” vs. “Dumb Rangers don’t know what’s good for them.” I’ve long argued this as a false choice. It distracts from the real problem in Northern Minnesota’s… Read More →

My life of unintentional slapstick comedy

When I was 5, I tripped off the “motor skills” balance beam at kindergarten roundup like a sack of turds. My life took a certain direction from that point. Books, not basketball. College, not CrossFit. The question became not if, but when I would expose myself as a near constant threat to anything breakable, myself… Read More →

Road deconstruction season in northern Minnesota

People seem testy this summer. Is it the news? The local economy? Or is it because our drive to work has become infested with dump trucks and the oily smell of steaming asphalt. It’s road construction season. Nothing unusual there. In Northern Minnesota, summer stands as the only time for street, road and highway work…. Read More →

Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

The generational trials of an ‘Xennial’ life

Generational labels, such as baby boomer or millennial, can mislead. Nevertheless, they identify common experiences shared by people your age. Consider the living generations today. The “Greatest” generation grew up during the Depression. They fought WWII and the Korean War and wore high waisted pants and hats that I envy. The Baby Boomers, born 1945-1965,… Read More →