Well-crafted boats keep souls afloat

We are what we make. That’s been true of every culture that ever walked the earth. Think of the Sphinx of Giza, the heads on Easter Island or the arrowheads we sometimes find while sifting through the dirt of northern Minnesota. Each object grew from a ritual that brought people together to create something that… Read More →

Rethinking small town goals on the Iron Range

Time to time, someone tells me that their Iron Range town is boring. Nothing much happens here. Everything is old. But, historically speaking, the towns of northern Minnesota’s Mesabi, Vermilion and Cuyuna ranges are young. Only about a century has passed since their creation. They were borne of cultural chaos and political intrigue that still… Read More →

Speaking of the robot uprising

Are you ready for when the metal ones come for you? And they will. My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. Ostensibly, “Um, Like, the Humans Are Speaking,” is about public speaking and artificial intelligence. But, like all commentary about A.I., it’s really about humanity.  Here’s a taste: Many of the analytical… Read More →

A season of rejuvenation and low expectations

Amazingly, I’ve managed to make it through most of March still believing it’s winter. This is a first for me. Usually I dupe myself into believing that spring will arrive early. Then, northern Minnesota’s most sadistic season again crushes my hopes. As the Buddhists say, desire is the root of all suffering. I’m learning. People… Read More →

Pork: the other fight meat

Whenever I see classmates move to Florida or former co-workers relocated to Texas, they always go on about the weather. Isn’t it nice to be warm? And I suppose “warm” is better than 25 below, but at what cost? American author Truman Capote once said, “It’s a scientific fact that if you stay in California… Read More →

When past meets future

I was on the Wednesday, March 15 KAXE Morning Show with my friend Heidi Holtan talking about my most recent column for the Mesabi Tribune, “Saving our energy for the future.”  You can hear the interview at KAXE’s webpage. We talked about skepticism over electric cars, historical comparisons to the advent of automobiles 100 years… Read More →

Saving our energy for the future

The other day actor Will Ferrell appeared on my television screen to say that General Motors is going electric. You don’t have to be a business expert to realize that by the time a company hires Buddy the Elf to star in a Super Bowl ad, a large strategic move is already well underway.  Within… Read More →

Beaver dams inspire bad ideas

Setting off an explosion that floods your neighbors’ property sounds bad. I guess it is bad. But I see how it might happen. Last month in northern Michigan’s Montmorency County, a man shoved a large block of Tannerite into a beaver dam near his property. Tannerite is a kind of explosive used in firearm targets…. Read More →

Rich town, poor town

  A century ago, Iron Range communities like Hibbing, Virginia and Eveleth drew the ire of conservative business and political minds for their lavish spending on public works and education. Hibbing even boasted the nickname “the Richest Village on Earth” for its ability to levy enormous tax revenues off of the unfathomable wealth of nearby… Read More →

For peat’s sake

Today, I share my latest column for the Minnesota Reformer, “Bog is Dead: The waning defense of Minnesota wetlands.”  When most people think about northern Minnesota, they picture forests and lakes. That’s understandable. We have a lot of trees and lakes up here, to be sure. But many overlook the vast peatlands that span the… Read More →