100 years of fascism, here and abroad

My latest essay for the Minnesota Reformer is out today: “Fascism from Italy to Hibbing and back again.” In recent years I’ve avoided the hyperbole and repetition of our national political debate. My thinking has been that you don’t really need another Trump/Biden screed that only reinforces what you already believe. I seek instead to… Read More →

The woman who lifted up those who were low

When I was 21 years old I was named the editor of the erstwhile Hibbing Daily Tribune, which has since merged into the Mesabi Tribune newspaper you read today. How does a 21-year old get to be a daily newspaper editor? That’s a good question that lots of people had at the time. After the… Read More →

Snacks, dogs and rock ‘n’ roll

Music festivals are to the music-loving introvert what a seed catalogue is to the over-enthusiastic gardener. They seem like a good idea months in advance of what will actually become hard work. And, like any hard work, the results are worth it. (Though, usually, not until well after the fact). Last weekend, my wife Christina… Read More →

Subterranean home septic system blues

Guess what, everyone? We put in a poo.  That’s not a typo. Indeed, we did *not* install a heated in-ground pool. That is, unless you consider an underground reservoir where you should never, ever swim to be the same thing. No, we put in a new septic system. People like to use the term “adulting”… Read More →

Carp 2.0: Mmm, they’re palatable

Technically speaking, you’re not supposed to eat pets. But there are work-arounds. For instance, you can reclassify your pet. That’s not my pet. That’s a chicken. I know I’ve been talking cute to the chicken for some time now. But it’s NOT a pet. It’s food. Cultural taboos prevent us from eating cats and dogs…. Read More →

The labor movement strikes back

Last week, my oldest son and I were camping in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota. It was an important trip for us; a rite of passage. It’s his last year in Scouting and he’s starting college today. More on that trip later. While I was gone, my latest essay for the Minnesota… Read More →

The old ways are over

Everybody gets a little older each day. String a few days together and you get a lot older. As I begin my trot through middle age I’m breaking all sorts of promises I once made to myself. “Who cares about watching birds?”  Well, now I do. I love birds. Can’t get enough birds.  “Don’t talk… Read More →

A ghost in the woods

  I have a friend who’s into mushrooms. Not those mushrooms. Well, sometimes those mushrooms. But mostly the kind you eat. This is how we ended up going for a hike that became a walk that became a slow meander off the trail while scanning the underbrush for fungi.  I learned about some mushrooms you… Read More →

Primary colors in late summer hues

This Tuesday, Aug. 9, voters head to the polls for Minnesota’s primary election. The results will winnow down several races so that we have an easier time picking the least objectionable candidates come Nov. 8. Though there are a few interesting partisan races I’ll talk about in a moment, I’d first like to acknowledge what… Read More →

The best and worst of times on the Range

It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. And, if you’re reading northern Minnesota news these days, both times seem to be happening at once. The unemployment rate hovers around historic lows. Gas prices, which spiked to record highs earlier this summer, are coming back down. Some were heartened by a new partnership… Read More →