The way we were

About 13 months ago I packed a bag from my office to teach and work from home. It would prove to be one of the most challenging years of my whole career as a college teacher and writer, but I really didn’t need most of what I put in that bag. A few notebooks, maybe…. Read More →

Power in the Wilderness on Almanac

Each day I write like a madman. My book deadline fast approaches. But, you might enjoy another check-in on the Power in the Wilderness project. You know I’m working on the book, but you should also know that the limited-run podcast I’m working on with filmmaker Karl Jacob is about to re-launch. The first two… Read More →

Gearing for a century in spin

In recent weeks my wife and I have been thinking about buying a car. We haven’t decided on one, nor are we in a hurry, but it’s been fascinating to research different vehicles.  Being from the Iron Range I always think about where cars are made before buying one. In the case of modern cars,… Read More →

Weighing the effects of a year at home

Early in the pandemic I decided that I wasn’t going to obsess about body weight. Someone I know tweeted that they’re not a cow, so there is no need to keep a scale near their sleeping quarters. That made sense to me at the time.  Then over the next several months I ate an entire… Read More →

Legislative ‘bluff and bunk’ no different after 100 years

Just when did politics get so … weird? When did politicians become sociopathic performance artists, huffing their own vapors long past the point of inebriation? Of course, we begin by blaming the other party, whoever they may be. But then, upon sober analysis, we might conclude that it’s the internet’s fault. The answer, however, is… Read More →

It truly is robot-fighting time

There’s a lot of dumb TV out there. Thus, I hesitate to explain that one of my favorite shows is about fighting robots. But I also think there’s a lesson in this program that would reinvigorate northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range.  “Battlebots” wrapped up its tenth season on the Discovery channel recently. The New Zealand… Read More →

The passion of curiosity

There is a crisis in local education that can be plainly seen by experts and laymen alike. It is a crisis of engagement, enrollment, and learning. Fueled (though not caused) by the COVID-19 pandemic, educators wrestle with questions of critical thinking and knowledge. Meantime, the drone of standardized testing grinds away at deeply distracted students… Read More →

Power in the Wilderness project nearing completion

Longtime readers know that I’ve eased up production here at MinnesotaBrown while I toil on several big projects. Here’s how it’s going. I’ve been working on a book for the University of Minnesota Press about Victor Power, called “Power in the Wilderness,” with a first draft due early this summer. I’m past 2/3 done now,… Read More →

Seeking normalcy one year into pandemic

So, let’s not sugar coat this. I’ve been working from home for almost a year. And while I like my home and have everything I need to do my job here, I am starting to notice signs that this year has affected me in many poorly understood ways. We’ve been trying to help prevent the… Read More →

Party labels fail to capture political change

In 2021 politics projects an animated mix of theatrical despair. People seem hopelessly angry all the time, though typically without understanding exactly what’s going on or how anything works. We pick our favorite avatars and cheer them as they battle perceived enemies, hoping for a victory that, even if realized, never seems to change anything…. Read More →