Showing posts from April, 2024

The Long Way Home 4.12.24

Anyone who knows me knows that driving much west of Lutsen sends quivers through a particular sphincter. For months, I knew I’d be driving to Rochester last week. I’d cancel, though, if the winter weather were threatened. Last fall, I was in Duluth for a PET scan. The reader of the scans called the results equivocal and recommended another scan in six months. The doc who referred me was alarmed, as the equivocal spot was near a vital organ. Since I was once again more “complicated” than his practice wanted, he strongly referred me to Mayo for treatment options.  Mayo called in November and offered appointments for lab work and a PET scan on April 2, and a consultation on the morning of April 3. I hate winter driving, so I figured the weather would be good in April.  Book it. As the last weekend in March dragged on, weather reports were positive for the drive. I didn’t even pack long underwear or a winter jacket. On April Fools Day, I left Cook County and headed to Carlton for a night w

The Long Way Home 4.5.24

I’ve decided to “pee in my Cheerios” today.  If you’ve been following the saga of billionairess Kathy Cargill, who has purchased some 20 properties on Duluth’s Park Point over the past year, you already know this quote was attributed to her.  The new mayor of Duluth, Roger Reinert, had sent Mrs. Cargill a letter asking to meet and discuss her plans for developing the properties. She declined. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Cargill stated that the excellent things she planned won’t happen now that the City of Duluth had proved to be “a small-minded community.” In these days of instant outrage, public comments on news reports and social media reflect a vast chasm between her supporters and opponents. On one side, libertarian-leaning folks write that people are free to do what they want when they buy property. They often wrote that the mayor or any other government authority shouldn’t ask about her plans as long as they don’t violate current zoning laws.  Some of those sam

The Long Way Home 3.29.24

Respect and privacy complement each other. That’s why the classic door to our bathroom at home displays two signs. Respect and privacy are fundamental to the Bohunk and me.  Whatever your gender or preference, it does not matter who uses our bathroom or which public restroom you choose. With aging comes an urgency for certain toilet functions, and if one of the two public restrooms is locked where I need to go when I need to go, I will use the other. Respectfully. So, show some respect for the privacy of others and stop the angry tossing of political footballs about who uses what restroom. Regarding respect, Kristie Rogers's 2018 article in the Harvard Business Review states that workplace respect is a top priority for workers. She writes, “When you ask workers what matters to them, respect from superiors often tops the list. Yet employees report more disrespectful and uncivil behavior each year.” That’s not good for business. More than 80% of workers treated in an uncivil manner s

The Long Way Home 3.22.24

Early in my business career, I heard, “Pigs get fat (fed), and Hogs get slaughtered.” Profound advice from wise, older mentors. Later, I’d listen to it from wise, solvent gamblers.  It’s hard to slow down when the money comes in fast and furious—in a business or across the felt—but pacing yourself keeps you in the game.  I’ve written that I’m ambivalent about capitalism. It has fed and fattened many pigs, even me.  It revealed the hogs and exacted some retribution. There is not enough justice to prove the system can regulate itself, but enough to make honest people think.  Capitalism, like the economy of a region or nation, requires ever more people, customers, vendors, and raw materials and values perpetual growth; the more aggressive, the better. Forgive the metaphor, but the only thing that needs aggressive perpetual growth is cancer.  Two areas of the economy state the case--real estate and private equity, and in recent years, they have combined. After World War II, the real estate

The Long Way Home 3.15.24

If you’ve ever worked a job where tips were part of your income, you probably heard the loudmouth who intends to stiff you say as the pompous ass walks away laughing with the insensitive clods surrounding him, “Wanna tip kid? Buy low and sell high,”  We moved from Minnesota Nice, where tipping was for restaurant servers and barbers, to Nevada just before Armageddon--the year 2000 when computers would rebel. If HAL took over, we’d spend our final days in a sun-filled tourist trap where tipping was part of every economic transaction.  Cash was King in Nevada. Every transaction required a tip because people believed TIP meant “To Insure Promptness.” A few Georges or a Lincoln made one a valued customer. In “old” Las Vegas, slipping a couple of bucks to the roving cashiers who sold you two rolls of quarters could get a nod towards the “hottest” machine. Those “hot” machines didn’t always pay, but the cashiers would remember you. And they earned a comfortable and safe middle-class living of