Seeking hygge in harsh environs

Something changed after the last act of “Hamlet.” The Danes became so mellow that they don’t even mind stepping on all the LEGO blocks they produce each year. If we’re to believe media reports, hygge is both the cause and the solution.

These last few years we’ve heard the word “hygge” a lot more. Looks like “higgy” but rhymes with beluga. It’s a Danish word with no direct translation. “Hygge” is often passed off as a high-end term for “cozy” in fashion and interior design. That’s not exactly what it means, but that’s what makes the most money for people who sell throw pillows.

The moment words took new meaning

Each year I like to write about the top words for the previous year as determined by the Global Language Monitor, an organization that tracks actual word usage in global English. It’s important to note that global English is a broader topic than American English. In fact, for the first time this year the Global Language Monitor broke its 2018 top word distinction in two, identifying one for the world and one that stood out in America.

On “The Moment” and “Weaponize,” the past year’s top words.

Oracle projects some otter fate in 2019

Pssh. Sploink. Pssh. Sploink. Pssh. Sploink. Pssh. This is unlike any steam boat I’ve ever been on. Come to think of it, I’ve never been on a steam boat. So this is a first. For one thing, the vessel appears to be homemade. Milk jugs keep it afloat. Twine holds it together. And the paddle… Read More →

New Year’s Eve in Northern Minnesota

Can I tell you a secret? I’ve always really wanted to host a live New Year’s Eve show. It has to do with how I typically spend New Year’s Eve. That is, sitting inside of my home watching television. All those years Dick Clark performed a vital community service. He brought the energy and excitement… Read More →

The day the sun stopped rolling away

As a young radio reporter for KUWS in Superior, Wisconsin, my news director Mike Simonson sent me to cover the Hump Day Club across the bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. At the time the Hump Day Club met once a year for lunch at the Pickwick the day after the winter solstice. The premise was simple…. Read More →

Local ownership critical to Range success

Locally owned and operated. These words represent more than just a good tagline for area businesses. They’re the ticket to success in our changing economy. Encouraging and expanding local ownership is a sure-fire way to bring economic strength to Minnesota’s Iron Range and beyond. Not surprisingly, it’s also a vexing challenge amid current conditions. After… Read More →

The fallacy of sunk costs on the Iron Range

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away, and when to run. ~Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler” Observe the haphazard dashes of spray paint on plywood signs along the roads of the Iron Range. They tell you what people think their stuff is worth. “$2,000 or… Read More →

Holiday spirit can be overinflated

It’s time for the holidays. Christmas, yes, and all that comes with it. It’s not really a holiday anymore so much as an economic and cultural event. Like the Roaring 20s, but for our credit card bill. Or like the Great Depression, but in reference to our actual depression. It’s not like the good old… Read More →

Your turn Player Two

Right about now parents across Christendom receive handwritten notes from their children explaining what they’d like for Christmas. Ostensibly these lists are for Santa Claus, but everybody knows Santa has helpers. Most of them are clerks at a store within driving distance. I’m kidding, of course. Santa’s real helpers are faceless Amazon drones that document… Read More →

Architecture that holds up

Last night I hosted my radio show at the newly restored Hibbing High School auditorium. Workers spent months renovating this town’s “castle in the woods. Now it looks as resplendent as when it first opened nearly a century ago. I can assure you that words did the scene no justice. Some high school auditoriums are… Read More →