Don’t let the music die

If I missed anything this summer it was live music. I’m not one to pile into a crowded club or concert venue, but I do enjoy the sound of local musicians performing in parks and restaurants. The list of people affected by COVID-19 is long, with many legitimate claims for our collective sympathies and support…. Read More →

Tyrannosaurus Rex, are we next?

If you were a lucky dinosaur you were vaporized when the meteor hit. Most of the others died very painfully minutes later, torn to shreds by bullet-like debris falling back to earth. Within an hour, many others cooked to medium well within a super heated atmosphere. A smaller group lived long enough to starve. An… Read More →

The electric slide at Iron Range mines

History tends to repeat itself here on the Mesabi Iron Range. Whether it’s labor practices, politics, or economic cycles, the new often bears striking resemblance to the old. But I honestly did not think I’d see the word “trolley” come back. It has. And it means a lot more than a tourist jaunt around the… Read More →

Zooming in on public meetings online

Like many of you I’ve become accustomed to attending meetings using video conferencing software. The COVID-19 pandemic demands no less. Entire segments of the economy and educational system have shifted to home-based work. Right now, all of my professional meetings take place on Zoom. I collaborate on a media project via Google Hangouts. Interviews. Civic… Read More →

Warning the future about ourselves

As a species, humans expend relatively little thought on a future beyond ourselves. We’re just not wired for it. The survival instinct keeps us focused on our next meal, how we feel now, and our social relationships. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve come a long way. We now spend up to two decades of our… Read More →

Sabotaging the mail harms democracy and rural life

When you grow up in the country you form a special relationship with the mail. Back at our family’s junkyard in Zim my sisters and I would fight over who got to run up the driveway to get the mail each day. One time I almost got hit by a truck because I lurched for… Read More →

Don’t call it a mall

I once hung out in Iron Range shopping malls for fun. I didn’t even need to “get my steps.” No, I went to the mall to meet friends, buy Vanilla Ice cassettes, and sip something called “cappuccino” while surfing this new thing called “the internet” at a locally-owned mall coffee shop. It was very exciting… Read More →

Destroyer of worlds

Seventy-five years ago the world’s first atomic bomb detonated across the arid expanse of the Jornada del Muerto Desert in New Mexico. Upon witnessing the otherworldly power he had unleashed physicist Robert Oppenheimer considered a line from Hindu scripture. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” said the god Krishna. A reflective Oppenheimer quoted… Read More →

Lessons from travel ball

My parents hover near the periphery of memories of organized childhood activities. Oh, they were there. I just didn’t notice them much. Looking out the bus window of my recollections I see my dad patrolling the school parking lot in his work clothes. He smokes a Winston cigarette while sometimes emitting just a hint of… Read More →

Driving it home

When you bring your first child home from the hospital it’s like juggling a grenade with the pin pulled out. Fate entrusts this tiny, fragile creature to two dopes who will learn everything they know about parenting from experimentation on this baby. Maybe that’s why there’s such emphasis on getting the car seat installed properly…. Read More →