Silent films rich with sound

The history of movies, like the history of the world, begins with light and shadows. At first, people recreated reality with shadows on the wall. Film made it possible to capture real images. You saw yourself, or your friend, or a famous celebrity, captured during a moment in time. The past reflected into the present… Read More →

‘Strong Towns’ fans flames of revolutionary pragmatism

Those who read “Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity” by Charles L. Marohn, Jr., a new book published by Wiley, might at first be overwhelmed by Marohn’s bad news. America’s cities are insolvent. And though he doesn’t mention them by name, his metrics would certainly implicate our own Hibbing, Chisholm, and all… Read More →

A little bit country

The misguided passions of youth run strong. It took time for me to mature into an emotionally stable adult. How old am I? About that long. Maybe longer. One of the teenage fervencies I now regret was my disdain for country music. I grew up in Cherry, which isn’t a town so much as a… Read More →

Autumn: the perfect season for our imperfect species

The stages of a year are a lot like the stages of life. Each one has something to teach you. By the end of it, you’re not the same person you were at the beginning. And that’s good. Because otherwise you would get sick of yourself. So it goes as we send the kids to… Read More →

Adding value where it counts

We hear it all the time. The abundant rocks and dirt found on the edges of our Mesabi Range towns became the steel that powered modern American manufacturing and infrastructure. And they still do! We also hear that all of the modern technology and conveniences we’ve come to enjoy also come from mined minerals. We… Read More →

Late but great, hear the most recent Great Northern Radio Show

I don’t know what it is about summer, but it always seems to delay the release of our Great Northern Radio Show online audio. At long last you can hear Sarah Morris, Thomas X, Katie and the Occasionals, the Great Northern Radio Players and yours truly in the show we broadcast June 22 at the… Read More →

Michigan’s U.P. offers glimpse at past & future of Mesabi Range

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for research on my book about Victor Power. Power was born in Calumet, Michigan, and raised in Escanaba before moving to Hibbing, Minnesota, as a young man. He became a consequential figure here on the Mesabi Iron Range. More on that to come. But the… Read More →

Labor faces unresolved peril in new mine deals

It’s Labor Day weekend on the Mesabi Iron Range. So let’s talk about labor. You might have noticed a burst of media attention for a project labor agreement between the proposed Twin Metals mine in Ely and local construction trade unions. It was a front page story in this and most regional newspapers and a… Read More →

Nothing like an original

There’s nothing quite like going to the movies. I know people watch more films through television and streaming services now. But the shared experience of gathering around a big screen for an all-new experience still excites me long after I spent the summer of 1997 seeing every movie that came to town. This summer, for… Read More →

Look for influences, not adoration, in Dylan’s hometown

Can’t Bob Dylan just answer a straight question? Why must his rare public utterances be so cryptic? Why can’t he sing the way they they teach at Hibbing High School? Gosh darn it, why did he say he was from New Mexico when he went on Ed Sullivan? And why can’t Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing,… Read More →