Baby formula is the canary

Empty shelves

For months we have been warned about food shortages. Right now at least where I live there is plenty of food but not as much variety. We have also seen shortages of N95-type face masks and there have been shortages of various cleaning supplies. There have been shortages of this and that for the last few years. “supply chain” is the excuse or reason for some of the shortages but I think the problem is larger than that.

The current shortage of baby formula seems like a wake-up call. There are just a few large companies that make the stuff and it needs to be shipped to stores. We rely on fewer larger companies for just about everything.

If baby formula was made by smaller companies located all over the country there probably wouldn’t be a shortage.

Providing food for our young seems like the minimum that a functioning society and economic system should provide. The baby formula shortage is the canary in the coal mine and will likely get worse instead of better.

Memorial day 2022

On Memorial Day we honor the military men and women who died while serving in the US military.

Fort Snelling National Cemetery

Not to be confused with Veteran’s Day which is in honor of all Veterans.  My father-in-law is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetary. He served in World war ll.

Two years ago in the Twin Cities

pictures from the week
The week of May 29 to June 5 2020

So many things have happened since George Floyd was murdered by a cop in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Mr. Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, was convicted of murder in April 2021 and was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. The three other officers involved were all fired from the Minneapolis PD and are working their way through the court system.

Let’s not forget George Floyd or the black men and women who have died of gunshot wounds at the hands of police in the Twin Cities.

The true cost of automobiles

Cars are expensive. I am not just talking about gasoline, maintenance, parking, insurance, repairs, and the cost of the car itself. Not to mention the cost to the

Rambler with tuck under garage

environment. We don’t even have to own a car to share in the high cost.

As a Realtor, I can tell you that houses with garages are more expensive than houses without garages. Where I live we also pay for a permit to park on the street. Condos with parking garages ramps or outdoor parking spaces are more expensive than those without.

People who do not own an automobile or drive at all also pay for them through taxes and higher housing costs that are related to including parking. If. you look around next time you are out you will see many parked cars and parking lots everywhere.

Also, notice how much land is dedicated to parking lots, that rarely fill up and imagine other uses for that land.

If cars were living organisms we night call them an invasive species because so much of our landscape has been changed or built to accommodate cars.  Auto emissions have wiped out other species. People live in places where cars are a necessity.

A few years ago my household went from two cars to one car for two drivers. It was an adjustment. We learned to plan ahead and to combine errands when possible. I enjoy biking and walking and am able to complete errands without a car. Living in the city helps.

The picture shows a rambler built in the late 1950s with a one-car garage. Homes built today usually have at least two garage stalls and three-car garages are very popular.

We take cars for granted. Sometimes it is hard to imagine life without the. I am not sure my business could exist without a car to use when showing houses. A car makes it possible to cram a lot of appointments into a day and to easily work in nearby suburbs.

We need to consider the cost of reliance on oil and what it means to the world economy.

The move away from crime

People honestly believe that the only way to deal with crime is to move away from it. Sometimes people believe that the police can make crime go away and keep us all safe. That isn’t going to work, it never has.


When I was young I lived in a high crime area. I helped form a crime watch. I got to know my neighbors and I got active in a couple of community organizations.

We actually believed that if we wanted to live in an area with less crime we had to help make it so.  Moving is expensive and houses in crime-free gated communities are out of reach for many home buyers.

We learned to pay attention to our neighbor’s houses. There have been many times when I have challenged people that I saw entering a neighbor’s yard.  Cameras are nice too but having pictures of getting ripped off is of limited value.

We also locked everything up and we still do. It is wrong to steal and it is still a crime even if valuables are left unlocked and easily accessible but we found that once something is stolen even if the thief is caught stolen items are never recovered.

As a country, we lock a lot of people up and the police shoot people but neither is a deterrent. People keep committing crimes. Crime rates are higher in some neighborhoods.

This summer I a going to be working extra hard in my neighborhood. We have had some turnover and I don’t have a phone number for everyone on my block. I won’t wait until August and the national night out . . which should be held in May.  I am convinced that if we work together block by block we can lower the crime rate in our neighborhoods so that no one has to move.