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 →

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 →

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 →