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 →

Then and now: lessons from the forgotten past

Please excuse me. I’m suffering from the adverse effects of time travel. Disoriented and distracted, I wonder what small action 100 years ago might have created our present condition. For the past couple years, more intensely of late, I’ve researched the Hibbing of a century ago for a book. Methodically reading the newspapers of another… Read More →

Confessions of an assistant coach

The movie, “The Bad News Bears,” really set unreasonable expectations for under-qualified little league baseball coaches. For one thing, letting the children smoke and drink beer is even more taboo now than it was in 1976. For another, teaching children how to do anything requires extraordinary patience. Teaching them to lean into a pitch that,… Read More →

Lumpy and Me: a medical friendship

I don’t go to the doctor often. When I do it’s usually for checkups, strep throat or depression. Never anything cool. But this summer I suffered an honest-to-god sports injury. A manly-man wound that caused me to scowl and whine a lot, just like an old jock. Our little leaguer Doug really came on strong… Read More →

Now what do I do?

Some relatives from out of state visited us a few weeks ago. New eyes upon the world we know can show us what we miss. One cousin asked how often we used the lake by our house for swimming, fishing and boating. I had to admit that we did more of that during their visit… Read More →

‘F’ is for Fake

In 1973, Orson Welles produced a strange movie called “F is for Fake.” Loosely structured as a documentary about art forgery, the film attempts to explore the notion of what is real and what isn’t. The whole time Orson hovers through the shots, a corpulent, enigmatic shadow of his Citizen Kane days. He even satirizes… Read More →

The true story of Minnesota Nice

Sometimes you hear a certain phrase in reference to Minnesotans. It’s particularly popular among visitors to our great state, but even locals use it once in a while. I’m talking about “Minnesota Nice.” On the surface, this sounds like a good thing. If you come to Minnesota you will meet nice people. Isn’t everyone nice?… Read More →

This Land is Our Land

Every Fourth of July Americans mark our Independence Day. It’s a day for us to set aside our many difference for several nonconsecutive minutes. We celebrate what unites us.  Red, white and blue. We learn as young children that these are America’s colors. It’s a funny thing about colors. They exist in nature. But we… Read More →

Northern Minnesota’s own vampires

I’d like to start with a frank conversation about vampires. Vampires come from ancient folklore, but they’ve been a staple of pop culture for almost two centuries. You know the trope. Tall, Transylvanian type. Fangs. Allergic to sunlight. They used to be stuck-up and creepy; now they’re moody and hot. But whether you’re dealing with… Read More →

Census, redistricting will reshape Minnesota’s balance of power

I’ve seen a map that spells the end of the political balance most of us grew up knowing. Trends of the past 30 years will soon accelerate. A new future is nigh. The map details a recent state estimate of population trends within Minnesota’s legislative districts. Next year’s census will show little to no population… Read More →