Showing posts from September, 2023

The Long Way Home 9.22.23

Management is like parenting. Both are nearly impossible to teach, and many of us reach management and parenthood with little or no practical training. Since moving back to the North Shore, I have never wished I was back in management. It ranks up there with officiating youth sports and having a colonoscopy. I am still an observer of business and government, as a consumer of both. The success or failure of those ventures is a direct result of management, and too much of management seems wanting.  Management comes with little training, despite the vast armies of consultants scooping up gobs of cash and time from entrepreneurs and government agencies. My long-suffering wife, who I fondly call the Bohunk, had an experience recently at a local retail business. Neither of us has gotten out in the world of shops and restaurants much in recent years, so when we do, it often leads to the big question, "What were they thinking of at ___ ?" I know most of you ask that question sometime

The Long Way Home 9.15.23

As America’s political evolution moves from campaigns to courtrooms, I recall these lyrics from the late Jimmy Buffett’s song “Son of a Son of a Sailor.” As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin' man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles I too have read dozens of books about heroes and crooks. I’ve also known my share of both, and I’ve seen how the system works to make heroes out of crooks. The media has an unending source of titillating stories with a former US President, a hero to many, and his advisors under criminal indictment in various venues. Many of my fellow citizens are channeling their inner constitutional and legal brains to tout whatever BS they heard on the latest podcast.  Let my channeling begin. Americans love to ignore, stretch, and even break the law. We drive five mph or more over the speed limit. We fudge the numbers on expense reports to our employers and, as often as possible, on o

The Long Way Home 9.8.23

Word of the week is Ambivalent.  A few decades ago, I thought that ambivalent meant “I couldn’t care less.”  A wise man put me right and pointed out that it describes when you have conflicting and strong feelings about something. It’s how you love and hate an alcoholic father or abusive mother. One thing I’m ambivalent about is tourism. Other things, too, like winter and capitalism, but that can wait for another column. Some of you know that I’ve been inspecting boats at a few of the public boat landings that have aquatic invasive species. I’ve met more than a few tourists, enjoying almost every encounter. I like people generally, despite not wanting to be around them much. I meet people who just stop to look at the lake at each of the three boat landings on my route. At the Lake Superior landing in Grand Marais, a friendly couple of Baby Boomer vintage approached to ask some questions. With my official-looking hi-vis vest and a placard on the car, I guess they thought I might be helpf

The Long Way Home 9.1.23

It seems like politics, a thing necessary for civil society, is all-pervasive. Whether social media, cable television, podcasts (whatever those are) or family dinners, we can’t escape it.  I live in fear that I sometimes get too personal in this column, worried I might offend the three people who read it every week. And now, I’m jumping into politics.  No wonder I wake up in the middle of the night. Half my lifetime ago, I decided to participate in politics. I’d witnessed the unintended consequences of federal deregulation of trucking. I’d even testified before two Congressional committees on behalf of the trade association representing my industry.  Having met and spoken with electeds and their staff, I was confident that this dumb freight broker from Minnesota could take action. Grassroots politics in Minnesota starts with partisan precinct caucuses in the winter before national elections. People who live in a precinct show up, sign up to receive propaganda, and volunteer for activit