Archive for September 2007

Hear the Big News Boys on Radio

Posted: Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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A couple weeks ago, Grant Peterson interviewed Dave Dedrick, Steve Hemmingsen and me for his radio program. We had a great time talking about our years together in broadcasting at Keloland TV.Grant has made audio of the program available on his Brookings Radio website.Here’s the address:
Click here to listen in.
If you sure and click part 2 first. That’s the beginning and part 1 is the second hour.

The Plane Truth

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I try to understand other people’s point of view..I really do.
But this latest attempt at creating an uproar over the state’s 2 million dollar purchase of an 8 year old airplane to replace a 29 year old airplane really has me scratching my increasingly grey-haired head.
Many, including a political poster on this very website are saying there goes “flyin’ Mike Rounds again..adding to his personal air secret..not even telling every member of the legislature.”
Oh, yeah…don’t forget the line that never fails to get people all riled up, AT TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE.
Come on, really?
The state aeronautics commission, I believe, unanimously agreed that the old plane, built when Jimmy Carter was president, was a bit risky for passenger service any longer.
They okayed the deal, using money from the 6 million in the aeronautics fund.
From what I understand, money for that fund comes from airplane fuel taxes, airplane registration fees and airplane dealer licenses. It seems a bit of a stretch to say it came right out of taxpayer’s pockets unless you fly..own..or sell planes.
So, let’s see, the money was there….that’s what it is supposed to be used for…and that’s what a used King Air costs.
I’m all for open government but does every legislator have to be informed about every state purchase over a certain amount of money? If so, how do you take a vote? Call a lot of special sessions?
 “Ah..yeah, Senator, we’re going to need you in Pierre to vote on buying a dozen new highway patrol cars..”
Try that one at harvest time.
I do recall the governor once saying he’d like to see the state’s fleet of airplanes upgraded.. I thought, well he IS a pilot and is rightly concerned about safety.
The idea that he just wanted some to fly around in never occurred to me.
What “did” occur to both Linda and me this week after reading about the “secret” airplane purchase..was what short memories we seem to have.
How can we ever forget that dreary April day in 1993 when word was received that the state airplane carrying Governor George Mickelson and 7 others had crashed in Iowa killing all aboard?
A faulty hub caused a propeller blade to come off in flight sending the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 out of control and into a concrete farm silo.
After that, how can anyone in South Dakota not want the governor to have the best and safest airplane possible?
I’d be asking that same question even if Jack Billion had beaten Mike Rounds in last year’s election.

The Price of Gas

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Vegetarian is an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.” Red Green vegetarians don’t get your rutabagas in a stew, it’s  only a joke.
Here’s another joke that I read the other day and thought was pretty funny:
“Eating less meat could help slow global warming by reducing the number of livestock and thereby decreasing the number of methane flatulence from the animals.”
Farm animals, especially cattle, pass so much methane through belching and *arting-fay that they contribute more to the greenhouse effect than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world COMBINED!
Well, I thought it was a joke but believe it or not, lots of so-called experts are saying these things and are dead serious.
They’re citing research that finds gases from animals destined for dinner plates account for nearly a quarter of all emissions worldwide..and that methane is much worse for mother earth than even carbon monoxide.
So, they figure, it’s time to let these dangerous (but delicious) highly volatile creatures die a natural death and become extinct so that we may live a few more years before global warming gets us all.Holy *ap-cray!
You know, maybe it wasn’t a comet that killed all the dinosaurs millions of years ago after all.
Perhaps it was their own giant blasts of methane gas that poisoned the atmosphere and did them in; their decayed bodies eventually becoming the oil we now use to run our fossil-fuel burning SUV’s.
I don’t want you angry at me for making light of the situation. But if you’re buying-in to all of these theories and are thiniking about or have already decided to save the planet by giving up meat for a diet of tofu and celery, just do a little research right here on the internet.
There’s a lot of propaganda out there on this subject that’s designed to get you frightened into agreeing with certain points of view about this world of ours.
Much of it comes from the usual suspects with familiar environmental and animal cruelty agendas.
They are not concerned about the good people who raise livestock for a living or for those of us who enjoy what they produce.
They would have us believe that you can’t be a friend of the environment and be a meat eater too and that’s just a pile of *anure-may.
*ask someone who speaks pig-Latin to translate

Dan, We’d Rather You Just Shut Up

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Okay, I admit it from the start..I’ve never been a fan of Dan Rather..even before he decided to bite the CBS hands that fed him with a 70 million dollar lawsuit claiming he was made a “scapegoat” in the news story that led to his departure from the network.
I never felt he was the guy to replaceWalter Cronkite in the anchor chair in 1981.
He always seemed too stiff on the air…and too phony in his attempts to overcome it.
Somebody eventually got him to wear sweater vests hoping it would soften his image. It didn’t work. The ratings for the prestigious number 1 network evening newscast went into the tank on his watch and stayed there.
(I used to wear sweater vests on the air too..but it wasn’t to soften my image but an attempt to hide my soft stomach.)Good buddies, Doug &Dan, sweater-free, in 1982No one can argue that Dan Rather was and is an extremely hard worker and would go anywhere and do most anything for a story.
He loved to demonstrate his bravado and report live from the middle of a hurricane. He’d hang onto a lamp post to keep from blowing away. In the meantime, the camera guy, sound man and other members of the technical crew were forced to risk injury and dodge flying debris so the boss could have his moment.
Who can forget during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Rather doing his on-air reports from the front lines all decked-out in the headdress and garments of the Mujahadeen..a word he loved to say over and over because, apparently, he knew how to pronounce it correctly.
I guess the viewers thought it was cool for him to be in the thick of it like that but most people in the business saw it as shameless grandstanding and stuck Rather with the nickname “Gunga Dan.”
A lot of people felt sorry for Dan during the 1968 Democratic National Convention when he was slugged in the stomach by someone from, according to Dan, Mayor Daly’s political machine. It was all timed perfectly for viewers to witness live.
Some insiders think Rather was provoking the incident for some dramatic face-time and just asking for it.
While White House correspondent during the height of Watergate in 1974, Rather had a verbal exchange with President Nixon during a news conference that got him a lot of “atta-boys” from the public..but Rather forgot the basic rule of journalism; reporters should “report” the news not become a part of it.
CBS came close to firing him over the stunt.
He was also on the network hot seat after a live confrontational interview with then Vice President, George H.W.Bush who was running for president and later won.
Bush never forgave Rather for his bullying tactics and never granted a one-on-one interview. Neither has George W. Bush since he’s been in office.
There’s nothing wrong with asking tough questions but you’d better ask them of “all” the candidates.
The interview led to more allegations of Rather’s liberal bias..which he has always denied.
Rather was, himself, ambushed by a New York City reporter asking questions about the infamous “Kenneth, what’s the frequency?” mugging incident.
Rather wasn’t about to talk to this guy and used an old trick of swearing so they couldn’t air his response. Remember, this was in 1986..before stations would bleep-out bad words.
Anyway, Rather stepped right up to the reporter’s face and said “fudge you.”
Only he didn’t say fudge.Nobody realized then that the entire incident would one day be available for all to see on "YouTube."
I was personally caught up in one of Dan Rather’s temper tantrums. It was in 1987 when he angrily walked off the news set because it looked like U.S. Open Tennis coverage was going to cut into his Evening News broadcast.
Instead the match ended early and Rather had to be persuaded to come back to the desk.
Meanwhile, anchors at affiliate stations, like Keloland TV, were stuck trying to fill six minutes of dead air while Dan Rather’s feelings were soothed enough for him to come back on.
Walter Cronkite said later that Rather should have been fired right then and there.
Even Rather’s closest associates fear that he’s gone over the edge with this lawsuit business.
Once again, they say, he doesn’t seem to have a grip on reality..nor does he realize that, while he may believe he needs to do this to preserve his journalistic reputation, it’s destroying what little integrity he has left.
The evidence clearly shows that over the years CBS bent over backwards many, many times to save Rather’s butt…not only for conduct unbecoming..but by keeping him on as anchor when he should have been fired for dragging the CBS Evening News into the ratings cellar and keeping it there.
Will he win the suit?
Well, to quote a couple of Dan’s corny “Ratherisms”..don’t bet  the trailer money on it yet..and his chances are shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.

I’m Not One of the Giants

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Every time I see my proudly Norwegian cousin Marty Gruseth Erickson, she asks if I’ve read “Giants in the Earth” yet and gets a little frustrated every time I have to tell her “No I haven’t.”
It’s the famous novel written in the late 20’s by Ole Rolvaag about Norwegians coming to America and enduring all kinds of unimaginable hardships trying to carve out an existence on the bare prairies of Southeastern Dakota Territory in the 1870’s..the same area we live in now.
Rolvaag wrote much of his book in S.D. The house where he stayed is at Augustana College.I’ve always found history fascinating, especially history about my Nordic ancestors from the Vikings to the homesteaders. It’s just that I’ll usually rent a movie about it rather than read the book.
But when my brother from New Jersey brought “Giants in the Earth” along with him during a visit last month and left it here insisting I read it..well, I relented.
I was finished in two days and still can’t get it out of my mind.
What stays with me is not so much the struggles of the main characters, Per Hansa, his wife Beret and their children..but the fact that the book proves that I was ADOPTED!
Yup, I believe that instead of being full-blown Norwegian like I’ve been led to believe all my life, there’s not a drop of Scandinavian blood in me. Can’t be.
How do I know?
Well, other than liking lefse, I possess absolutely none of the noble characteristics that are so typical with those of true Norse ancestry like Per Hansa or even the Vikings.
For example, in order to be a Viking, men had to have a beard.
That was their ticket to adventure aboard the long boats on missions of discovery, plundering and pillaging.
I’ve never been able to grow facial hair which would have meant, I suppose, a life back in camp decorating mud huts or designing the horned helmets “real” Viking men wore.
Unlike typical Norwegians, I have always looked for ways to avoid manual labor.
The book tells of how Per Hansa would arise before dawn, hook up the oxen and have twenty acres plowed before breakfast..then finally call it a day when it was too dark to go on.
When he finally sat down to eat supper it was usually the same porridge they had three times a day. But he never complained.
Sometimes, along with their porridge, on special occasions like Christmas, they’d have boiled dried fish that he’d caught in Split Rock Creek. It was a wonderful treat for them.
I hate most kinds of fish..whether it’s fresh, dried or soaked in lye.
If I spend 45 minutes mowing the yard, I figure there should be a three course roast beef dinner waiting when I’m done.
Prairie "soddy." The inside dirt walls were sometimes whitewashed to brighten things up a bit.Like most of the Norwegian homesteaders, Per Hansa had to build his house out of prairie sod because there was no lumber.
He decided to save on heating costs by making his soddy big enough to serve as a barn…using only a bed sheet for a wall separating the family from the animals.
Can you imagine what having three cows and a horse living in the next room would smell like?
I gross-out when Linda cooks tuna and noodles or makes egg salad.
I go into panic mode if the air conditioner breaks down in July.
I freak at the thought of bugs in the house or dirt on the floor much less a floor out of dirt.
I won’t give away exactly how the book ends, but Per Hansa was willing to pay the ultimate price to get away from his crazy wife’s nagging even though he knew she was wrong.
No, I don’t have the right stuff to have come from stubborn Norwegian stock like that.
I wonder if that’s what cousin Marty was trying to tell me all along.

O.G. O.J.

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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                         Does the long arm of the law finally have a head lock on O.J. Simpson?
It would appear so after the former football star’s latest demonstration of his belief that the law doesn’t apply to him.
This time, O.J. got caught on audio tape as he and a couple of other thugs went to retrieve some O.J. sports memorabilia..apparently at gun point…in a Las Vegas hotel room.
He’s now facing six felony counts..including armed robbery..that could put him away for a very long time.  (Emphasis on the world “could.”)
It’s been 13 years since Simpson’s wife, Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman were found in pools of blood at Simpson’s home. They’d been viciously stabbed to death.
O.J. was arrested after the infamous slow chase from police in his Ford Bronco. We watched it all on live television as O.J. threatened to kill himself in the backseat.
A year later in the so-called trial of the century, a team of crafty defense lawyers got him off..despite all kinds of evidence both physical and circumstantial, that pointed to him as the killer.
In 1997, O.J. was found liable for their deaths in civil court and ordered to pay over 33 million dollars to the victim’s families but hasn’t.
Last year he actually wrote a book entitled “If I Did It” which is his first person fictional account of the murders.
But, under public pressure,  the publisher decided to back-out the deal before its release.
So now, O.J. is back in jail and once again facing a seemingly air-tight case against him.
Geraldo, on his Fox News program last night, was already so excited that I thought he was going to explode.
He had had an exclusive interview with the guy who taped O.J. yelling and swearing in the Vegas hotel room.
He had Mark Fuhrman, the former L.A. detective whose testimony in the O.J. murder trial was later tainted when the defense played an audio tape showing Fuhrman to be a racist.
Plus he interviewed a judge who said there’s no way Simpson can wiggle out of this one.
We’ll see.
This is what you’re going to be seeing and hearing in the news for a long..long time. It will likely put the war in Iraq, the political campaigns and other national issues on the back burner because we just can’t seem to get enough of this 60 year old former jock  who doesn’t have the brains God gave geese.
I can already see the headlines: Who will O.J. get for lawyers this time? Who can he afford to hire?  Who will prosecute the O.J. case? Jury selection drags on in O.J. trial.
I wonder which legal analysts for TV will become celebrities like Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack did..or will they be back for O.J. part deux?
There’s a reason O.J. Simpson is smiling on his latest mug shot.
He’s back in the spotlight and has the attention he apparently craves.
Plus, based on past experience, his slick attorneys will somehow convince the jurors that the voice on the tape was an O.J. impersonator, the witnesses are liars or suffered from temporary hysterical blindness and… the clincher…they’ll play the race card. They might even have O.J. slip on a tight glove for old time’s sake.


A Smorgasbord of Memories

Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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No matter what Brookings Radio host, Grant Peterson says, I do not put myself in the category of “legend” in the broadcasting business..but I know and worked with a few people who are and on Friday we got a chance to sit together in the sunshine sharing stories, laughter and all the Nick’s hamburgers we wanted.
Grant, who has been in broadcasting since at least 1959, now hosts his own talk show on Brookings Radio called the Great Afternoon Smorgasbord. He’s been after Dave Dedrick, Steve Hemmingsen and me to come on the program and just visit about our years at KELOLAND TV. 
From l to r, Me, Grant Peterson, Steve Hemmingsen, Dave DedrickSo, for two hours, without commercial interruption (how do you pay the bills?) that’s just what we did.
I can’t speak for the listeners but we had a ball!
 I got a chance to recite the familiar open to the Captain 11 show from memory.(One man in each century etc.)
The Captain himself played the “wave one hand..wave both hands..both hands and one both feet” and freezeburg game with the folks that had gathered in the little park on Brookings’ Main Street and they joyfully played along like they did as kids on his TV show.
It’s been ten years since the Captain signed off for the last time but no one has forgotten him.
Steve has always had a steel-trap memory and he used it freely to tell embarrassing but funny stories about both Dave and I and our years working together.
I was telling Grant about how Bert Getz was a hero of mine on KBRK radio.
Bert retired quite a while ago and I was stunned when Grant said, “I believe that’s Bert standing right over there.” Sure enough there he was wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat riding a restored vintage Schwin bicycle.
Bert came over and joined us at the microphone for a chat and he is as witty and wonderful as ever.
Even Lavonne Fuller who worked 25 years at KBRK both on and off the air..stopped by.
Grant claims the program was recorded and that he’d be sending us a CD of it which I hope we can share with you on our KELOLAND website.
Oh, even though they were free, we only had two Nick’s hamburgers apiece.
They’re still great, of course, but we were too busy yakking to eat which is unusual because as you can see by the picture, we all do more eating than yakking these days.

Big News Team on Radio

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Look out world, the Big News Team is on the loose and on the more time!
Ever since I retired..gosh, nearly a year ago already, Grant Peterson, a longtime broadcaster himself, has been after Steve Hemmingsen, Dave Dedrick and me to come on his radio program and reminisce about our years together at Keloland Television..sharing stories about the business and each other.
Well, we’re going to do just that on Friday from 3 to 5 PM on Brookings Radio A.M.910, Grant’s Great Afternoon Smorgasbord show.
Unless it’s raining or snowing, we’ll be broadcasting live from the little park right next to Nick’s Hamburger Shop on Brookings Main Street. 
We’re not getting paid but will be treated to all the Nick’s Hamburgers we can eat.
That’s a big mistake on Grant’s part.
I grew up on Nick Burgers. Steve drives over from Hendricks a couple times a week and buys enough to make Nick’s owner, Dick Fergen rub his hands together and smile. And Dave is known throughout Sioux Falls eateries as “Mr. Tuesday Night” always showing up for two for the price of one burger specials.
Nick Burgers are like potato chips to us and to get them free?
Well, Grant will be wishing he’d given us cash when the burger bill comes.
If you like, you can catch us between bites either in person or on the radio.
You can also hear it on your computer at 3pm Friday.
Now, let’s see. I gotta start writing down some funny stories about those guys.
Oh, yeah, there was the time Dave started coughing during his weather show but couldn’t find the microphone kill button because his pack of cigarettes was sitting on top of it. (I used that as an example whenever Jaine Andrews asked me to define “irony.”)
Oh, and when normally steady Steve turned red as a radish while trying to read a story on the air about the David Frost interviews with former president Nixon.
This is going to be easy.
Thank goodness I never did anything embarrassing or particularly memorable.

Patriot Day

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, here it is another Patriot Day.
What does the government think I should I be doing to commemorate 9-11..the reason Patriot Day was created? 
Should I pause a moment to remember the three thousand killed by terrorists six years ago?
I don’t need anybody to tell me to do that.
Should I make sure to fly the American flag outside my house?
I probably would but it’s already ripped and tattered from years of exposure to the elements.
My biggest flag dilemma right now has been how to dispose of it.
Do I need to take it to the VFW for a formal burning ceremony or can Linda and I have a private little fire here at the house? Or can I just throw it away and buy a new one?
I suspect now that someone will be telling me what I can do with it..pole and all.
In my long career on television, people asked me many times if I would wear an emblem on my jacket lapel to show support for various causes..a red ribbon for the fight against aids..a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness or an American flag pin..especially after 9-11.. to show all the viewers how patriotic I am and how much I love my country.
I never wore any of them.
Not because I’m opposed to those causes or am unpatriotic but the old journalist in me said my job was to deliver the news without opinion or distraction and that’s what I tried to do.
I certainly have no problem with people who do wear them…or decorate their vehicles with bumper stickers or magnetic ribbons..It’s just not for me.
Here’s an idea.
If you really want to commemorate Patriot Day why not find a veteran that has fought for this country and thank him..or her…especially those who served during World War II.
Time is running out for them and I know from personal experience how much they appreciate being appreciated.
I’m going to make it my patriotic duty to watch PBS later this month for the long awaited Ken Burns documentary, “The War.”
It should be required viewing for every young person in this country so they might see for themselves the incredible sacrifices that were made, both on the battlefields and the home front so that they and future generations could continue to live free.
Last June, on the anniversary of D-Day, I wrote about my uncle, Ray Lund, who was part of the Normandy invasion and paid the price with a chunk of his hand. I knew I had a photo of him when he got home from months in the hospital but couldn’t find it. Now I have and wanted to share it with you.
I wish he was still around so I could tell him “thanks” in person.
That would be the patriotic thing to do.

Perry Nature Area

Posted: Monday, September 10, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Can you keep a secret?
There’s a beautiful little out-of-the way spot just east of Sioux Falls where you can go for a picnic, a quiet walk, or do some historic exploration.
The best part? It’s free and hardly anybody goes there or even knows it exists!
You’ll have the place pretty much to yourself.
Linda and I discovered the Perry Nature Area last summer while out for a ride on the motorcycle. We couldn’t get over how peaceful and quiet it was even though it’s only a short distance from busy highway 42.
A single gravel road winds down a small hill and into a lovely shaded park complete with an old bridge that crosses a babbling brook. No kidding, you can actually hear it babble.
It’s located about a mile east of Willow Run golf course across the road from Arrowhead Park..another gem of a place.
Perry Nature Area was once the site of East Sioux Falls..a small town made up mostly of families who worked in the nearby Sioux quartzite quarries during the late 1800’s. The pink granite, some of the hardest stone in the world, was in high demand all over the country for use as a building material and street pavers.
The town thrived for awhile. There was a general store, a school, hotel, post office, grain elevator and, of course, a couple saloons. 
East Sioux Falls, late 1800’s before the treesBut by the early 1900’s, demand for Sioux quartzite fizzled-out and most of the 600 people who lived in East Sioux Falls moved on.
A man named George Perry was the last one to own the site.  
A century later, his descendants still owned the property and decided to donate it to Minnehaha County which has spent the last 8 years transforming the area into the lovely tranquil spot it is today.
That was no small task because a lot of the early East Sioux Falls residents had used it as a dump ground.
Most just rented their houses from the mining company so there wasn’t a whole lot of pride in ownership.
They apparently thought nothing of just tossing their trash and junk out the back door and down the hill.
The biggest challenge to making Perry Nature Area safe and presentable has been cleaning up 100 years of discarded rusty old cans, broken glass and other refuse.
Although most of the antique garbage has been removed, it’s still a good idea to wear shoes while exploring the 23 acre former town.
But a few folks who lived in East Sioux Falls did leave something else for us to remember them by besides trash…trees and FLOWERS.
A bellflower probably planted by a quarry worker’s wifePerennials still pop-up each spring throughout the park.
I’m told they were likely planted in backyards by the wives of the miners in order to bring a little color into their drab lives.
I’m also told that Perry Nature Area is great for bird watching although I’ve not seen any ornithologists out there taking notes and photos but I have seen a great variety of feathered creatures.
Many of them fill the branches of a huge Burr Oak tree that’s reported to be the second oldest Burr Oak in the state.
Well, I’ve probably said enough about this fascinating place but if you go there, remember don’t tell anybody.
We’ll keep it our little secret.