The Super Bowl is stupid and that’s what makes it great

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the most uniquely American holiday of them all. Today we celebrate millionaires committing violence upon one another for the enrichment of billionaires. And it’s not even on CNBC! What a day. Don’t get me wrong. I love Super Bowl Sunday. Always have. Most people watch it, and I love things that… Read More →

A primal howl from Wolf Island

I live in the woods. Sometime at night you can hear the wolves. I’ve heard many wolves over the years. And yet every time I hear a wolf howl I always look to the stars above the moonlit tree line, wondering if the sound is as close as it seems. My spine shutters. This same… Read More →

Northern Minnesota has what you need

What do you need to live? You need air, of course. Food and water. Shelter.  Once you have these you may think about the other things you need. You need friendship, family and love. You need a sense of purpose, to believe that your efforts matter. And finally, once you have these things, you might… Read More →

Cure for waning political power is more people

It is again time to tabulate the U.S. Census, an incredibly boring task that affects every aspect of our state and federal government.  As with most complicated topics — taxes, First Century scrolls, technology — it’s easy for people to hold outrageous, illogical views without any real consequences. After all, who really knows? That’s why… Read More →

To think or not to think

For all its horrors, the pandemic allowed many Americans to finally experience what teachers do for a living. It’s certainly useful for parents to know that teachers aren’t just babysitters. Rather, the work teachers do at all levels remains complex and important.  However, the pandemic has also taught us where modern society falls short when… Read More →

What’s done is never done in 2021

The otter’s hot breath stirs me from my slumber. I do not know how long he’s been standing there. My eyes open to see him on his hind legs, his front paws dangling expectantly in front of his tiny burlap overalls. “Is time,” he whispers.  Behind the otter stands a black bear holding an empty… Read More →

2020 defied words, but created plenty of new ones

Major events alter the way we communicate. New words enter the language when the old ones fail us. You can’t find a better example than what we’ve experienced in 2020. Language marks changes in lifestyle. For instance, when I leave the house now my wife asks, “Did you remember your face mask?” If you told… Read More →

Every year is a Brown Christmas

I often tell people from outside Minnesota that the snow and cold don’t really become unpleasant until after Christmas. Everything before then is a crisp, cool puff of snowy magic.  But here along the Mesabi Iron Range we’ve received very little snow this month. As we approach Christmas Day we might have a brown Christmas…. Read More →

The cat came back … again

Nineteen years ago I was the 21-year-old boy editor of the erstwhile Hibbing Daily Tribune. That year I wrote the most consequential article of my entire career. It wasn’t my best work. The story could have used another edit. Its journalistic veracity was thin, to say the least. But more people read this story than… Read More →

From iron to steel without emissions

Let’s start with the bad news. Climate change is actively reshaping the whole world; adding billions in property damage, rising insurance premiums, and increased human migration. Among the side effects: economic inequality, declining air quality, natural disasters, and yes, even pandemics. We may come to regard our current struggles with COVID-19 as a normal part… Read More →