Tyrannosaurus Rex, are we next?

If you were a lucky dinosaur you were vaporized when the meteor hit. Most of the others died very painfully minutes later, torn to shreds by bullet-like debris falling back to earth. Within an hour, many others cooked to medium well within a super heated atmosphere. A smaller group lived long enough to starve. An… Read More →

The electric slide at Iron Range mines

History tends to repeat itself here on the Mesabi Iron Range. Whether it’s labor practices, politics, or economic cycles, the new often bears striking resemblance to the old. But I honestly did not think I’d see the word “trolley” come back. It has. And it means a lot more than a tourist jaunt around the… Read More →

Labor Daze on the Iron Range

I feel bad that I’m not posting more often about what’s going on around the Iron Range these days. Hip deep in writing my book and teaching remotely I just don’t have time to whip up posts like I once did. As a result these events keep happening and the social arbiter of it all… Read More →

Zooming in on public meetings online

Like many of you I’ve become accustomed to attending meetings using video conferencing software. The COVID-19 pandemic demands no less. Entire segments of the economy and educational system have shifted to home-based work. Right now, all of my professional meetings take place on Zoom. I collaborate on a media project via Google Hangouts. Interviews. Civic… Read More →

Warning the future about ourselves

As a species, humans expend relatively little thought on a future beyond ourselves. We’re just not wired for it. The survival instinct keeps us focused on our next meal, how we feel now, and our social relationships. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve come a long way. We now spend up to two decades of our… Read More →

Sabotaging the mail harms democracy and rural life

When you grow up in the country you form a special relationship with the mail. Back at our family’s junkyard in Zim my sisters and I would fight over who got to run up the driveway to get the mail each day. One time I almost got hit by a truck because I lurched for… Read More →

Don’t call it a mall

I once hung out in Iron Range shopping malls for fun. I didn’t even need to “get my steps.” No, I went to the mall to meet friends, buy Vanilla Ice cassettes, and sip something called “cappuccino” while surfing this new thing called “the internet” at a locally-owned mall coffee shop. It was very exciting… Read More →

The politics of unemployment

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is up. Here’s a taste: The extension of mining unemployment benefits is an ever-present Iron Range campaign issue and legislative priority. Now it could prove to be the biggest national campaign issue in the entire 2020 race.  Welcome to Thunderdome! I’m afraid to report the real winners are in… Read More →

Lessons from travel ball

My parents hover near the periphery of memories of organized childhood activities. Oh, they were there. I just didn’t notice them much. Looking out the bus window of my recollections I see my dad patrolling the school parking lot in his work clothes. He smokes a Winston cigarette while sometimes emitting just a hint of… Read More →

Latest Power podcast episode connects desert car chase with Minnesota mines

The second episode of our podcast “Power in the Wilderness” dropped over the weekend. You can listen online now if you missed it. The episode is entitled “El Pulpo,” Spanish for “The Octopus.” Our show is a special production of KAXE-Northern Community Radio. It’s funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund…. Read More →