Archive - 2006

October 16th

Local man missing

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Charlie Gustafson of Beltrami is still missing in the wilds of southeastern Wyoming. He was elk hunting with relatives.

Cubs hire Piniella

The Chicago Cubs hired one of my all-time favorite baseball people, Lou Piniella, in an attempt to end their perpetual losing ways. The fiery Pineilla is from the Billy Martin mold. He'll throw things, scream at umpires, kick dirt, all that good entertaining stuff.

Election of 1800

Lectured today on the election of 1800, which I still don't understand myself. Jefferson and Adams were the two presidential candidates. Neither got a majority in the Electoral College, so the election was thrown into the House of Representatives.

The system in place at the time dictated that the second place finisher in the vote in the House would become Vice President. Jefferson was tied with his running mate Aaron Burr for many ballots. Finally, one state threw the election to Jefferson, who entered office without much of a mandate.

October 15th

Window washing

Since I wrote a column on window-washing a couple of weeks ago, I have gotten dozens of suggestions. Most had something to do with vinegar or dish soap, or a combination of the two. Some methods were complicated, some were simple.

Some common themes: Use newspaper or cheap paper towels, the expensive paper towels smear.

Vinegar is about as good as it gets, apparently. One lady uses dish soap, ammonia and vinegar.

So, today, I mixed up some vinegar water and did almost all of my windows. They turned out great. Must be the cool weather.

Stri vs. strid

Reader Lyndon agrees with Jim and Ingela that "strid" means conflict, and furthermore, many soldiers in the old time ended up adopting it as a surname simply to distinguish themselves from all the Mattsons and Nelsons. Thus, there are people with the surname "Streed" up in the far reaches of northwest Minnesota.

October 14th

Quite prominent

Just remembered a statement Olla made yesterday when talking about a friend of hers from the old days. Olla said her friend came from a family which was "quite prominent in Flom."

Flom is a nice town, but its population is at most 30. Not quite sure what it would take to be quite prominent there.

Another phrase of the day: "You're going to stay for lunch, aren't you?"

The nice ladies at the Cluster 4 gathering at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji, of course, asked me to stay for lunch.


One of the benefits of winter is that the sun rises late enough for me to catch it. This morning the weather is cold and clear, and I am up drinking coffee next to my sunlamp, taking little breaks to go downstairs for more coffee and check out the sunrise. All is quiet but for the ticking of the clocks.

I am speaking in Bemidji later in the morning to a group of Lutheran women. To be specific, I am speaking to "Cluster 4" for the Cluster 4 fall gathering.


Readers Irene and Ruth immediately came to the rescue: Stri (pronounced "stree" with a rolled "r") is a Norwegian word which roughly means "strife."

My grandmother, who was Swedish, used the word to describe chaotic situations. I mixed the meaning of the word up with the English "strewn," as in, "after the tornado, our whole house was strewn about. It was such a stri."

Of course, a tornado would cause strife, so it would also cause "stri," or be a stri. But due to how my grandmother used the word, I will always think it means "mess" more than "strife."

October 13th


Yesterday, I played piano at the Halstad Living Center. When I was going around before hand greeting the residents, many of them wanted to talk gardening.

One of the ladies overheard the conversation. I don't know how with it she was, but when I got to her and asked how she was doing, she said, "Gardening is just a big stree!"

She pronounced it the Norwegian way, "Stdee."

I hadn't heard that word in a long time, I believe since my grandmother passed away. I recall that she would use the word to mean a situation was chaos. It was a "stree."

October 11th


Today, the weather turned very cold, hovering around freezing for most of the day. There was a dusting of snow this morning, and more dustings throughout the day as various squalls passed over. Between the squalls came brief periods of sunshine.