Silent films rich with sound

The history of movies, like the history of the world, begins with light and shadows. At first, people recreated reality with shadows on the wall. Film made it possible to capture real images. You saw yourself, or your friend, or a famous celebrity, captured during a moment in time. The past reflected into the present… Read More →

‘Strong Towns’ fans flames of revolutionary pragmatism

Those who read “Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity” by Charles L. Marohn, Jr., a new book published by Wiley, might at first be overwhelmed by Marohn’s bad news. America’s cities are insolvent. And though he doesn’t mention them by name, his metrics would certainly implicate our own Hibbing, Chisholm, and all… Read More →

A little bit country

The misguided passions of youth run strong. It took time for me to mature into an emotionally stable adult. How old am I? About that long. Maybe longer. One of the teenage fervencies I now regret was my disdain for country music. I grew up in Cherry, which isn’t a town so much as a… Read More →

Autumn: the perfect season for our imperfect species

The stages of a year are a lot like the stages of life. Each one has something to teach you. By the end of it, you’re not the same person you were at the beginning. And that’s good. Because otherwise you would get sick of yourself. So it goes as we send the kids to… Read More →

Season finale? Great Northern Radio Show broadcasts Nov. 9 at Hibbing

Hi all — some rather big news buried in the press release for my Nov. 9 Great Northern Radio Show at the Hibbing High School auditorium. If you haven’t seen the Great Northern yet, this may be your last chance for a long while. Anywhere from two years to forever. More to come on the… 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 →

Explaining the hot idle

If you’re a regular reader of MinnesotaBrown.com you’ve probably noticed far fewer posts that usual this summer. This is what I sometimes call a “hot idle.” The term refers to what the mines do when they halt production of iron ore but keep their equipment “hot” and ready for a quick restart. It’s usually something… Read More →