The fallacy of sunk costs on the Iron Range

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, and when to run. ~Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler” Observe the haphazard dashes of spray paint on plywood signs along the roads of the Iron Range. They tell you what people think their stuff is worth. “$2,000 or… Read More →

Therapist with Hibbing roots highlighted for suicide prevention efforts

For the fourth straight year, human life expectancy in the United States declined. This has relatively little to do with longevity. After all, more people are living longer. But rather it has everything to do with how many people we lose to depression and addiction each year. The Huffington Post published a long form essay… Read More →

Holiday spirit can be overinflated

It’s time for the holidays. Christmas, yes, and all that comes with it. It’s not really a holiday anymore so much as an economic and cultural event. Like the Roaring 20s, but for our credit card bill. Or like the Great Depression, but in reference to our actual depression. It’s not like the good old… Read More →

Jim and Silent Bob pitch whiskey on Tonight Show

Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, marks the changes in his sprawling career with bemused resignation. Nevertheless, some folks still wonder what the boy they knew as Robert Zimmerman is up to. Earlier this year Dylan announced his new whiskey label, dubbed Heaven’s Door. And while his “never-ending” concern tour keeps rolling, Dylan has adopted the… Read More →

Architecture that holds up

Last night I hosted my radio show at the newly restored Hibbing High School auditorium. Workers spent months renovating this town’s “castle in the woods. Now it looks as resplendent as when it first opened nearly a century ago. I can assure you that words did the scene no justice. Some high school auditoriums are… Read More →

Celebrate with the Great Northern Radio Show

It’s been a wild fall here at MinnesotaBrown. An unexpected research trip to San Francisco. Election coverage that culminated with a live appearance on National Public Radio. And now I’m getting ready for Saturday’s Great Northern Radio Show at the historic Hibbing High School auditorium. It’s been a banner year for this mid-level regional writer…. Read More →

More smoke than fire: Election 2018 on the Iron Range

For much of 2018, we labored under the premise that Northern Minnesota’s 8th District might be the pivotal race in all of the nation. This would be the place that single-handedly decided whether Democrats or Republicans would control the U.S. House of Representatives. In visions of late night counting and recounting, the eyes of America… Read More →

Oral history of this blog with notes

Earlier this week I appeared on the Duluth News Tribune Pressroom Podcast with co-hosts Christa Lawler and Brady Slater, produced by Samantha Erkkila. The podcast team and I had been trying for years to figure out when I’d be in Duluth on a weekday with time to spare. We finally found a moment after my appearance… Read More →

Vote local; it matters most of all

Every day the children board the school bus. Begrudgingly, perhaps, but they go. We drive to work, quickly or slowly, depending on our enthusiasm and/or punctuality. People walk the streets, gathering in coffee shops and gas stations to jaw over the day’s news. At dusk, the parks and trails. By night we find the theaters,… Read More →

Whirling West on a metal bird

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad” I live in the woods of Northern… Read More →