The sad state of monoculture and its particular effects on arts and crafts.

Just as with agriculture, in which you don't want the same variety of a plant grown everywhere so that one disease wipes out everything, you don't want a monoculture.

Yes, we're a melting pot, but there are distinct cultures in different regions of the nation, and within those regions, a kind of adherence to even older culture.

For example, the Norsk HostFest.

But we have a monoculture. I talked about it in a recent post on a measure that was on the ballot, and I found myself talking about it with a friend from D.C. who commented on the name of the recently elected Rep. Armstrong.

"I just noticed that his wife's name is Kjersti Høiby.  That's awesøme."

That led to a conversation about Scandinavian and German culture here in North Dakota, the unsurprising commonality of names with -skj and other variants, common foods you'll find in different pockets of the state (lefse! lutefisk. fleischkuekle! kuchen!), and so on.

I mentioned the different arts and c…

There is no such thing as a private moment.

This isn't some blog post about the Deep State or the NSA.

This is about the false idea that we can do things in "private" that don't hurt anyone.

In a recent Randy Alcorn blog post, he made a bold statement that served as an excellent reminder to me about the reality of how we can't hide from God.

There is no such thing as a private moment.
Alcorn points the reader to Luke 12:3, in which Jesus said “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in broad daylight, and whatever you have whispered in private in a closed room will be shouted from the housetops”

The next verse Alcorn used I'm very familiar with. My mom would quote it when we were caught after doing something wrong, as kids. It still applies today: Moses warned, “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

If you're lucky, your wrongdoing will be revealed in this life time so you have a chance to stop doing it, turn away from it, and change your life. When we do wrong…

A meeting I could get behind.

I've been in a reading group, a writing group, Bible studies, community organizations--your basics.

"Back when I was on the farm, I really enjoyed the writing group," I told my friend. "It was an excuse to go to town, spend some time in a coffee shop, that kind of thing. Now I go to so many coffee shops and see people and everyone is so busy getting together and making and creating that it doesn't seem all that special anymore."

It clearly wasn't about the writing, though I did enjoy the people in the group, most of whom were elderly. It was a chance to shake up a solitary routine.

This discussion came about because I was bemoaning my lack of interest in being involved in anything. I pretty much just want to hole up in the house for days on end and work alone. That's not particularly good on a variety of levels. While I don't buy into the need for doing everything as "community" as is popular with the maker movement, it is good to hav…

ND xPlains and mansPlains and also, truthfulness in advertising.

I figured I'd borrow from the rant and rave femimob world, and use "mansplains" in a post!


I'd seen a post on Facebook about a new media company and I was intrigued. You can see why, if you visit the home page:

"Title is kind of arrogant," I thought, as if I needed someone to explain North Dakota to me, though I could get the play on the word "plains" because we can't be reminded enough that we're on the northern plains.

I'm interested in getting the real scoop on North Dakota politics from trusted sources--that's sources, plural, i.e. more than one--delivered right to me!

Oh, wait. The Facebook page only shows this one guy.

"Who's that dude?" I wondered. "I thought there would be multiple sources and views provided?"

Tyler Axness. You don't say.


I fully expect a "unique perspective" on "current topics" and "breaking news" and a chance to "elevate" my…

The impossibility of being legendary with sans serif fonts.

I didn't blog about the revamped North Dakota license plates that came out a few years ago, doggy though they were, because it seemed too easy. Many other bloggers did write about them, so there was no shortage of things said. I did devote a short essay to the monstrosities in my first book, however.
I'm gonna write about this one, though.

So someone shared a link with me today announcing that the 15-year North Dakota brand of "Legendary" has been changed to "Be Legendary."

What, did a room full of drunk bros come up with that?

"Dude, you're a legend!"

A legend is a truly special, unique, and standout thing. As a state, the brand of Legendary was a great fit, particularly for those who remember the commercials from years ago, before the millennial generation and their adventure sports and Instagramming of it thereof took over the world and made it seem like if you weren't ripping it out on the trails or in the water, you didn't exist.

Obedience to God vs. my motivation.

My mom, sisters, and I have a tendency to try to make and sell things. None of us have gotten rich, but we've sure made lots of stuff.

I'm pretty sure, after working three or so years in online marketing, that the world has some tips for us. Market more, market better, gather data, hone in on your audience, tighten up your branding, stay on message, etc. etc. etc. I have a friend who owns a business who loathes the game privately--the fakey upbeat and motivational Instagram stuff, the requirement to play nice in the local startup/young business scene and spout the same platitudes (bootstrapping! intentional! dogfooding! long-tail! venture capital! growth! community! puke!), the local speaker circuit and participation at highly branded events--but play the game the business owner does, because that's how you sell, how you succeed, how you get mentioned in magazines, how you get more business, and how you succeed some more.

It's the oldest occupation, for the digital mar…

So Delta Airlines asked for my opinion...

I'm not sure why Delta Airlines sends out surveys to their economy class passengers, but they do. I usually ignore them, but after a recent trip, one arrived in my inbox on a feisty night. So.

The first question was some kind of generic "tell us your thoughts" about whatever. So I did.

Traveling with linked tickets with friend who is Zone 1 and I'm Zone 3 -- why? And really, do you need to have 15 different boarding levels? As I joked with my friend, who was zone 1 and boarded and I stood out and waited 10 minutes or so to go sit by him, the levels should be renamed King, Queen, Princes, Squires, Jokers, and Serfs. I mean, come on. There was basically one Zone 4 guy left standing at one point, and it was like the scene from "Meet the Fokkers." Treat people more humanely. You show all the perks and luxuries rich or business people get to experience, as if that's the general experience, and then cram the rest of humanity knee-to-seat Zone 30 cattle car and…