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 →

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 →

It truly is robot-fighting time

There’s a lot of dumb TV out there. Thus, I hesitate to explain that one of my favorite shows is about fighting robots. But I also think there’s a lesson in this program that would reinvigorate northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range.  “Battlebots” wrapped up its tenth season on the Discovery channel recently. The New Zealand… Read More →

The passion of curiosity

There is a crisis in local education that can be plainly seen by experts and laymen alike. It is a crisis of engagement, enrollment, and learning. Fueled (though not caused) by the COVID-19 pandemic, educators wrestle with questions of critical thinking and knowledge. Meantime, the drone of standardized testing grinds away at deeply distracted students… Read More →

Seeking normalcy one year into pandemic

So, let’s not sugar coat this. I’ve been working from home for almost a year. And while I like my home and have everything I need to do my job here, I am starting to notice signs that this year has affected me in many poorly understood ways. We’ve been trying to help prevent the… Read More →

Party labels fail to capture political change

In 2021 politics projects an animated mix of theatrical despair. People seem hopelessly angry all the time, though typically without understanding exactly what’s going on or how anything works. We pick our favorite avatars and cheer them as they battle perceived enemies, hoping for a victory that, even if realized, never seems to change anything…. Read More →

At the end of a winter transformation

It’s been cold in northern Minnesota these last couple weeks. Not really record-breaking, so much as record-nearing. Kind of like running fast enough to read the number on Usain Bolt. Not the fastest, but still fast.  You might ask how it is that anyone or anything survives when the temperature hits 40 below, a cold… Read More →

Now is our only time

The other day my son Doug asked me a question. If I could live in any time in history other than our current time, when would I want to live? Doug loves starting conversations with training seminar ice breakers, even though he’s never been to a training seminar. (We suspect he’s on a management track)…. Read More →