Northern Minnesota can take a hike

I don’t go “hiking.” I have, however, been lost in the woods for several hours. You tell me the difference. In both cases, the goal is to not die. By the end, your feet ache with every step. The feeling when you finish? Accomplishment! And a good excuse to eat something imprudent. Maybe hiking’s not… Read More →

Can you be a man without a tow hitch?

I know what you’re thinking. You see my picture here and you’re saying there’s the very image of a man’s man. A paragon of virility and masculine strength. Hey, guilty as charged. But I’ve got a confession to make. I am one of a surprisingly large number of Minnesota men who carry a shameful secret… Read More →

Beware Socially Transmitted Digitalizations

I’m going to talk about social media. It’s a risky move. Talking about social media outside of social media often makes it sound silly, petty and insignificant. A colossal waste of our collective time and resources. The killer of democracies and the destroyer of reason. And of course, it’s not all of those things. At… Read More →

Tyranny by copycats

If you walk the halls of power long enough you start to realize how closely they resemble the halls of your high school. Here we find fragile egos, self-absorption and a profound desire for good grades without homework. Our frustration with legislative bodies comes not from their wickedness, but from their mediocrity. So many people… Read More →

Everything is wet

So, let’s play some word association. Note your reaction to the following words: damp; moist; squishy; slush; sludge. What do these words have in common? Well, they’re all pretty gross, that’s for sure. They’re also associated with spring in Northern Minnesota. The Center for Disease Control doles out medical expertise every day. One of the… Read More →

Places and names

When I was 12 my grandparents took me to southern Pennsylvania and western Maryland to meet my grandmother’s family. We toured the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside, including the Sideling Hill Cut near Hancock, Maryland. Engineers gouged this 340-foot deep passageway through the heart of a sturdy Allegheny mountain more than 50 years ago… Read More →

Child care: a defining issue mired in status quo

Working people with children will tell you that child care is their biggest day-to-day challenge. The logistics are maddening and the cost is overwhelming. The stakes are no less than the well-being of the next generation. Yet, if you talk to child care providers, they’ll tell you the same thing. Frustrating logistics and high costs… Read More →

Generational payback on sleepovers

I’ve forgotten much about life between the ages of 10 and 13. I suppose there’s a psychological reason for that; something something brain development, something something puberty. A lot of it might be self-preservation. In most pictures from this time I resemble an oversized grub with greasy blond hair. I’m wearing sweat pants and Coke-bottle… Read More →

Critical thinking for automated times

I like to watch old black-and-white movies. In these films you see several scenes involving jobs that no longer exist. People appear very skilled at these jobs. We are led to believe they made a decent living off them. But practically no one makes the same living in the same jobs today. In most cases… Read More →

When the levee breaks

Tailings basins are a key part of Mesabi Iron Range mining history, but are also making headlines across the world. Balancing responsible mining with environmental risk is a critical question going forward.