It’s supply and demand, not dystopia

These days some of us fall too easily into patterns of dystopian thinking. Hurry up and get to the end of the world! Maybe it will be better that way! Every day I hear from someone who tells me that they’re glad they’ll be dead before the worst of it. It’s kind of a downer. … Read More →

When the ‘Field of Dreams’ was in Hibbing

With the successful completion of Major League Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville, Iowa, I am reminded of a Northern Minnesota connection to the story. But not the one you think.  Of course you may know that the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was based on the W.P. Kinsella novella “Shoeless Joe.” Fans of… Read More →

Return of the company town

A typical early 20th Century Iron Range miner worked long hours before retiring to a home and bed owned by his employer. He returned his wages to the company in exchange for just enough food, clothing and tools to survive. If the miner had a wife she possessed even fewer choices. Her very survival, and… Read More →

‘Power in the Wilderness’ podcast Q&A July 20 in Hibbing

I’m writing a new book, “Power in the Wilderness.” At almost five years, this represents the biggest individual project I’ve ever attempted. During the process, filmmaker Karl Jacob and I decided to co-produce and host a podcast of the same name. We sought to drum up interest in my book and his film project about… Read More →

Reassurances on the longest day

Today has long day written all over it. This is my favorite contextual joke of all time, one I proudly deliver each year on the summer solstice. My Facebook memories record each year’s entry, always the same.  You might think I tell this joke because I am a dad. But I’ve been doing this long… Read More →

The world changed and it’s not changing back

The iron mines run hot. Houses sell fast. Cars and trucks fly off the dealership lots, to the point where some customers must wait to buy one at all. Anyone raised amid the booms and busts of the Mesabi Iron Range would recognize this as a boom. And yet, dissatisfaction oozes from local dialogue. The… Read More →

Love, hate, and a year of Bob Dylan

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote another piece about Dylan’s 80th Birthday for the Minnesota Reformer a few days ago. That piece was designed for a broader audience, while I aimed this one at a more local readership for the Mesabi Tribune. It was a surprisingly fun exercise to approach the same subject with a different goal… Read More →

Deadline or bust

“Deadline” is such a harsh word. “Line” seems to imply a fixed point after which some consequence is realized. And “dead” suggests that the consequence is death. You know, pass away, croak, kick the bucket, go to heaven, expire, breathe one’s last, succumb, bite the dust, trip the light fantastic. Depart, transcend, buy the farm,… Read More →

Part History, Part Mystery

Longtime readers at MinnesotaBrown might wonder where I am or why I only post my weekly newspaper column these days. The answer is found in this story by Kristen Vake at CBS 3 in Duluth. This weekend the radio show and podcast “Power in the Wilderness” by Karl Jacob and myself will re-launch on Northern… Read More →

The early swing for spring

They shouldn’t even schedule youth baseball games until it’s safe to plant your garden outside. Aren’t they pretty much the same thing?  Yeah, your kid can put on a sweatshirt, but so can your vegetables. That doesn’t make it a good use of our time. If you wait long enough the frost will let up…. Read More →