‘The Ocho’ lives, but numbers can lie

Most folks get the idea behind the state legislature or Congress. We are all drawn into districts based on population. Each district elects representatives to make laws and speak on our behalf. If we don’t like the representative we vote them out for a new one. Most of the time, we pay little attention to… Read More →

Deadline or bust

“Deadline” is such a harsh word. “Line” seems to imply a fixed point after which some consequence is realized. And “dead” suggests that the consequence is death. You know, pass away, croak, kick the bucket, go to heaven, expire, breathe one’s last, succumb, bite the dust, trip the light fantastic. Depart, transcend, buy the farm,… Read More →

The early swing for spring

They shouldn’t even schedule youth baseball games until it’s safe to plant your garden outside. Aren’t they pretty much the same thing?  Yeah, your kid can put on a sweatshirt, but so can your vegetables. That doesn’t make it a good use of our time. If you wait long enough the frost will let up…. Read More →

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 →

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 →

How titans scooped up the Range

When I was a kid one of my favorite pieces of playground equipment was the excavator in the sandbox. You could sit on a little stool to control a shovel with two levers. Dig a hole over here, make a pile over there. I could do that all day.  To grow up on the Mesabi… 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 →

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 →