Archive for October 2007

Goodbye Jack

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was a pretty good shoe salesman in my day.
Yes, for those who don’t know, I was the real Al Bundy for about three years prior to worming my way into broadcasting.
 
I actually enjoyed it because I had a good product to sell, a good selection from which to choose and a fairly good gift of gab.
Most of the time my customers were won-over by a comfortable fit and a little flattery.
 
When I left the shoe business to try selling radio advertising I figured it would be a snap too..but I figured wrong.
Instead of customers coming to me..I had to go find customers.
Instead of having something tangible to show off and slip-on and smooth-talk about..all I had to offer was commercial time on the air waves with no guarantee that listeners would respond to the ads I was trying to peddle.
I stunk at selling blue-sky.
 
So it’s a bit ironic that I would wind-up working at Keloland Television (not in sales, thank God)  along side two of the finest blue-sky salesmen the country has ever known; Joe L. Floyd and Jack Townsend.
 
      Jack TownsendFloyd used all his skills as an imaginative and highly successful movie theater promoter to convince local businessmen to stock and sell TV sets even before he had put the first television “signal” on the air in 1953.
Jack Townsend was Floyd’s bright young “idea” man who was brought aboard to promote KELO during those challenging early years.
 
As promotion director, Jack won all kinds of national awards, including a new car for his local campaign in 1958 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ed Sullivan Show.
 
Joe Floyd may have dreamed up the Keloland Gold Rush concept but it was Jack who sweat blood and lost sleep working out all the details and logistics of that huge 2-day event that brought over 150 thousand people to tiny Manchester, South Dakota in 1961.
 
By the time Jack was named local and regional sales manager in 1971, he had already played a major role in creating the quality product Keloland Television had become…and continues to be today.
 
Now, he, like Joe L. Floyd, Evans Nord, Tom Sheeley, Jim Burt, Russ and Marge Artis, Jerry and Jackie Lofgren and the other broadcasting pioneers who built Keloland TV from nothing, has died at the age of 79.
 
In our 19 years working together, I always admired Jack’s creative genius and ability to keep cool under pressure.
Jack Townsend was a class act and helped make Keloland the classy place it was and is to work.
 
 
 
 

#$@!% Cancer

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve never been influenced much by national month designations.
Oh, I might eat a little more ice cream in June because it’s dairy month..or at least that’s my excuse for eating more ice cream.
But I don’t spend a lot of time in March contemplating women because it’s women’s history month.
I don’t need alcohol awareness month in April to make me be more aware of alcohol or National Picnic Month in July as an incentive to experience more open-air dining.
Before I quit smoking, I used to have a few “extra” cigarettes during the Great American Smokeout  in November as my way of rebelling against those trying to get me to give ‘em up for just a day.
 
But I’ve changed..especially about this month of October which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I was reminded this week of a personal connection to that awful disease.
I’ve written here before about my double cousin, Marty.
She’s the one who makes me laugh and makes me think.
She has, with limited success, tried to enlighten me about issues and authors and all sorts of causes that are important to her.
On Monday, Marty sent me an e-mail telling about a story on KARE TV in which her wonderful fun-loving daughter,  Amy Erickson, was featured.
Unfortunately, my family really didn’t get a chance to know Amy as well as we’d have liked. We usually only saw each other at weddings, funerals or our annual reunion of double cousins.Among all her sisters and cousins, Amy was always the life of the party.
I can still hear the laughter.
We knew Amy worked at a small Minnesota company called “Caribou Coffee.”
What we didn’t realize is how important she was to that company and its employees.
Amy’s passion for quality coffee led her to become Caribou’s first roastmaster. She traveled the world in search of the finest beans and then, using her special tasting skills, she would experiment with various blends in search of that perfect cup of coffee.
It was Amy, more than anyone, her co-workers say, who made Caribou Coffee the huge nationwide success it is today.
Sadly, she didn’t live to see the scope of that success.
Amy Erickson                Amy’s Blend from Caribou It was at one of those cousin reunions that we first noticed Amy wearing a handkerchief wrapped around her head and learned she was undergoing chemotherapy.
At the tender age of 28, Amy had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Knowing her time was limited, she focused even more intently at Caibou.. blending and tasting and promoting the finest coffees. Her enthusiasm, dedication and good humor never wavered throughout her long ordeal which ended in 1995.
To honor her memory, Caibou Coffee has tied itself to breast cancer research and each year, donates 100 thousand dollars from the sale of “Amy’s Blend” which was Amy’s favorite combination of coffee beans.
It’s sold for a limited time at all Caibou coffee shops across the country including Sioux Falls.
I’ll be picking up a couple packages of Amy’s Blend this afternoon and probably leave a few extra dollars as a remembrance to the cousin I wish I’d have known better.
Afterall, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
 
National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month was in September but I don’t think I’ll wait until next September to have the exam..especially after learning last week that two of my best friends recently had the test and it’s a good thing they did.
Jim Woster and Myron Lee will each be undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.
The good news is it was caught early thanks to regular screenings..embarrassing as they might be.
I hope you’ll keep them both in your thoughts and prayers.

Your Neighbor Lady

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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My favorite neighbor has died.
 
“The Neighbor Lady,” Wynn Speece, never lived within 100 miles of my house in Volga but she showed up every day anyway …on the radio.. and was a constant companion to my mom and thousands of other homemakers and farm wives.
 “Hello good friends” was her on-air greeting for 64 years as she opened a program filled with helpful household hints, stories about her family, recipes, listener letters and commercials that she would read live.
Advertisers would line-up trying to get on her show because products endorsed by “The Neighbor Lady” sold like hotcakes… hotcakes made from “Martha Gooch” flour, of course.
 
She first signed-on the air in 1941 over WNAX radio in Yankton which had one of the most powerful signals in the world reaching into at least five states.
 
During the forties and fifties, The Neighbor Lady’s audience numbered into the hundreds of thousands..mostly women listening as they went about their household chores.
The program was such a big hit that the radio station had people whose only job was to open and answer bags and bags of mail which averaged a quarter million letters a year.
 
During an interview for Keloland News years ago, I asked The Neighbor Lady about her amazing popularity.
“Back then,” she said, mine would often be the only woman’s voice many of these ladies would hear all day..especially during the winter.”
It was that same sweet gentle voice that was so comforting and reassuring to those whose husbands or sons were off fighting in the war.
 
When I was little I just remember her as the nice lady on the radio every morning; a white plastic Philco radio that sat on the kitchen cabinet next to a drawer filled with Neighbor Lady recipes.
 
When Wynn Speece made personal appearances, huge crowds would turn out to see her demonstrate kitchen appliances, prepare a favorite hot dish or dessert or sign a copy of the annual WNAX Neighbor Lady cook book.
But mostly, people just wanted to see her..the woman behind the voice.
 
Wynn Speece "The Neighbor Lady" and husband, HarryShe was a big star… and even though it wasn’t shining as brightly by the mid 80’s when we did our interview, I was awe-struck.
After saying how great it was to meet her, Wynn said she and her husband, Harry, were longtime fans of Keloland and never missed watching Steve and ME on the news.
How about that?
We’ve had lots of good visits in the years since. I just loved hearing about her lifetime of experiences on the radio.
She was an icon to so many and as genuine as the love she had for Harry who passed away a couple years ago.
 
Now we must talk about the Neighbor Lady in the past tense too.
Even though she lived until the age of 90, it’s hard for those of us who knew and admired her, personally and professionally, to say
“Goodbye good friend.”

Some Abstract Thoughts

Posted: Friday, October 19, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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In all my years at Keloland, I only got royally chewed-out by my bosses a couple of times..and both had to do with comments I made on the air about so-called works of art.
The first was after I had been sent to cover the unveiling of a new water fountain in the center court at one of the malls.
Water came trickling down a 25 foot tall hexagon shaped metal structure into a pool below.
The mayor and other dignitaries were on hand  to dedicate the thing which I said in my story looked kind of like a big Shell No-Pest Strip. (An insect killing device containing a strip of poison that was hung-up in rooms. It was banned in 1979 when it was found to be poisonous to more than bugs.)
 
Well, after taking lots of angry calls from mall officials and art lovers, our vice president of operations, Tom Sheeley, called me into his office and let me have it.
When he was through and I got up to leave..he winked and said, “I was thinking the same thing when I first saw it.”
 
It happened again when I reported on the unveiling of Sea Dream, a metal sculpture by Steve Thomas from Augustana College.
It now stands in the park across the street west from the statue of David.
I actually like the looks of it but at the time I said it reminded me of the severed cover of a golf ball.
 
Back to Sheeley’s office.
 
With my track record as an insensitive clod, it’s surprising that I would wind up doing so many stories over the years about art and artists.
I don’t think I’m really all that insensitive but I always have had trouble accepting works of art at face value…especially abstract stuff…where the artist says it is meant to convey a feeling and it’s up to you to decide what that feeling is.
 Ugh..
 I’ve seen people at galleries nodding their heads in approval as they stare at a Jackson Pollock type painting or an Andy Warhol silkscreen of soup cans and I wonder to myself..what the hell am I missing?  
I want to understand Picasso and Mark Rothko, I really do but, I just don’t get it.
 
One of my favorite songs is “Vincent” by Don McLean in which he describes the tormented life of abstract impressionest Vincent Van Gogh who was so frustrated over not being understood by the public..he once cut off a chunk of his ear..and in 1890 he killed himself.Van Gogh sold one painting in his lifetime. Today they bring millions.
One of several self-portraits by Vincent                Starry Night by Vincent Van GoghMcLean writes of Vincent, “This world was not meant for one as beautiful as you.”
I like the song, but I don’t think that not understanding everything Van Gogh “tried to say to me” makes me unworthy to live in this world.
 
Every time I look at a far-out abstract painting, sculpture or gem like this thing from Joy Crane of Sioux Falls called “Chastity Belt” I can’t help but think the artist is standing behind a screen laughing at my gullibility.

So, I usually put abstract art to the Cheeta/Congo test. 
Paintings by Cheeta..star of the Tarzan movies who turned 75 this year..sell for 150 dollars.
Three paintings by the chimp, Congo..who died 40 years ago, recently sold for 25 thousand dollars to a guy from Pasadena who says “humans don’t have a monopoly on the ability to concept abstractly.” 
 
Two masterpieces by "Congo" Sorry, I’ve just gotta stick with art that I do understand…from the realism of  a Michelangelo, Terry Redlin or Mark Anderson to the gentle impressionism of a Mary Cassatt, Harvey Dunn or Mary Groth.  
  Mary Groth                    Mary Cassatt
I’m sure that I’ve ticked-off some of you who appreciate or create abstract art and If Tom Sheeley were still alive I’ll bet he’d be calling me back into his office for a good butt chewin’.
Followed, perhaps, by a wink.   Harvey Dunn

Another Cat Tale

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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When my bosses at Keloland decided to allow me the opportunity to write this blog, I hadn’t planned on letting it get as personal as it has occasionally become.
But I’ve found that telling you stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with my years on Keloland news is not only enjoyable for me but, on days like today, pretty good therapy too.
 
It was just about a year ago that I shared the story of a late night phone call we received from our daughter Christy in Phoenix. She was in tears because her beloved cat Felix had just died in her arms.
It was especially devastating for Christy who was still reeling from a break-up with her long-time boyfriend.
 
Christy had gotten Felix shortly after she moved out to San Francisco 17 years ago to be close to her big brother James who was already living there.
James took another black cat from the same litter..a female he named Gigi.
 
Over the weekend, time finally caught up with Gigi too.
Christy & James at my retirement partyJim was already in college when his mom and I got married in 1984.
I’d known him long before that, though. In fact, he used to babysit my daughters when we first moved into the neighborhood. They still remember all the fun things he would come up with to keep them entertained.
 
Jim has always been a joy to be around..funny, clever, artistic, brilliant (especially with technical things like computers)  and..oh, yeah…gay.
 
Attitudes may have now changed in this part of the world but in Sioux Falls in the 80’s being homosexual wasn’t something you openly discussed in casual conversation or at family gatherings.
I know James wondered how I… a conservative Norwegian Lutheran now married to his mother..was going to take the news.
The trouble is, I’d already gotten to know and love him like a son. Old homophobic attitudes I might have had just didn’t apply.
 
But I think James felt he had to move to San Francisco for the same reason Germans settled in Freeman or the Czechs in Tabor; to feel understood, comfortable and accepted.
 
He’s done well in California..now living in a neat loft across the bay in Oakland.
When Linda and I went to visit last winter, he gave us a tour of the Chevron headquarters where he works and is the computer guru for all the company bigwigs in the executive office building.
His co-workers all rave about James’ wonderful personality and amazing ability to solve difficult problems.
 
Still, there hasn’t been a significant relationship in his life for a long while and it’s hard not to worry about his spending so much time at home alone..except for his old pal and confidant, Gigi.
His friends and co-workers have been concerned too and recently coaxed him into taking a trip to Africa with them. They also helped convince him to start drawing and painting again.
 
A couple examples of James’ art..memories of Africa and his great niece, Ella age 2Things have been going along great until last weekend when he called to say that Gigi..who had been at the brink a few times before only to somehow recover..was in trouble.
She wouldn’t eat or drink and could hardly walk across the floor. She just lay there in her basket looking at him as if to say, it’s time to say goodbye.
 
James made one last trip to the veterinarian on Monday in hopes the inevitable might be avoided for awhile longer..but it was not to be.
As he was gently petting his old friend..who never once judged him or his lifestyle..the vet’s drug did it’s job and she peacefully slipped away.
 
I may not understand such love for a pet anymore than I understand why some people are gay.
What I do understand, though, is how frustrating it is to be half a continent away and unable to comfort a son who is alone again and whose heart is breaking.

Coming Out Of The Closet

Posted: Monday, October 15, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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There’s something about three days of cold rainy weather that can really put you in a bad mood. So bad that even a surprise victory by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday can’t shake it entirely.
Linda got up this morning..took one look out the window..muttered something about building a big boat and then decided to tear into her closets for the bi-annual winter/summer clothing shuffle.
I should have gotten the heck out of the house because I know how ticked-off  she gets doing this and I will likely suffer collateral damage when she erupts.
.
Not only does she put summer clothes away and bring out the sweaters..but everything has to be sorted by what still fits..what might fit..and what will never fit again.
It’s that last one that sets her off.
“That’s it,” I can hear her say as she yanks all of her size 6 pants from the hangers and angrily throws them into the Goodwill box.
“I’m never eating again. How the hell did I ever let myself go this far?”
“You’re next,” she hollers in my direction.
“What, you’re giving me to Goodwill too?”
“This isn’t funny, Doug. You have clothes in both closets that you haven’t worn since 1991. Either you go through them or I will. We need the room!”
She’s absolutely right, of course.
It’s just that I have a hard time accepting reality when it comes to how my body has changed for the larger over the years.
I prefer instead to believe that all those nice shirts, pants and jackets that I once wore on the news, somehow shrunk behind closed closet doors and had nothing to do with me.
 
“We’ve got to talk,” she’ll say.
Now, I’ve heard that from wives a couple times before and it meant that I was about to clean out my closet PERMANENTLY.
Thankfully, though, when Linda says it she doesn’t mean I have to leave..but that we both have to lose..as in lose weight."I’m sick and tired of our both being upset and irritated everytime we look at our wardrobe and not finding anything to wear" she says.
Linda certainly doesn’t look fat and can easily conceal any midriff paunch with a jacket or sweatshirt. But she hates that and  really wants to take off 25-30 pounds.
There is nothing I can wear anymore to conceal my girth and need to see her 25 and raise that 75 pounds more.
The trouble is I just can’t ever muster up the will-power to do it.
 
(Here’s how the “let’s talk” conversation usually goes)
 
LINDA:“Here’s the plan. No more second helpings..no more ice cream and no more eating late at night..okay? And we’re going to start walking again..alright?”
 
DOUG:  “Fine..I’ll try. But do we have to give up wine too? I mean the kids spent a lot of money at Christmas for our membership in the California wine of the month club.”
“Oh and what about that freezer full of meat that we just bought from your brother-in-law?”
LINDA: “Well, I suppose some wine is okay but we don’t have to drink both bottles. And, we could ease up on eating red meat.”
 
DOUG:“And what about the walking. Shall we go now?
LINDA: “Well, we can’t go now..it’s still raining and blowing outside.”
 
DOUG: “When the weather gets nicer then, okay?”
LINDA: “Fine.”
DOUG:  “Fine.”
Sorry Goodwill..maybe next spring.

True Confessions

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“How are ya doin’ sonnybuck?”
 
That was the usual greeting I’d get every time my first father-in-law saw me..which was quite often in my  years of marriage to his step-daughter from 1965 to 1972.
 
Byron was one of the best-natured people I ever knew. He had a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear, not unlike that of Jack Nicholson as “The Joker” in Batman.
Byron’s laugh was loud and contagious.
 
He met and married Verna, my wife’s mom,  later in life.
Not only did he willingly accept her 9 children, but they soon added one more to the mix; all living in a modest two-story house in Brookings.
He was a wonderful father to those kids, whose real dad was an abusive jerk.
They had nothing but love and respect for Byron.
 
Crazy as it may sound, I used to really enjoy going over there. It was a mad house to be sure but it’s where I learned to play card games like rummy, hearts and whist.
It’s where Bryon taught me how to throw horseshoes..a decision he may have later regretted when I got good enough to beat him once in a while.
 
When my wife and I were broke and stuck in North Dakota waiting for my paycheck to show up, Byron wired us 50 dollars from their own emergency fund so we could get by.
When we couldn’t find a house to rent in Brookings, Byron and Verna found room in their already over-crowded home for us and our new baby for a few weeks.
 
Thanks to an abundance of wooden leaves, their old oak table could always be stretched out a few more inches to accommodate all of us for dinner.
And what dinners they were.
The food was some of the best I’ve ever tasted thanks to a huge garden that provided lots of work for the kids and more than enough vegetables to last all year.   (It’s where I learned to love parsnips.)
Plus there never seemed to be a shortage of roast beef.
 
I often wondered how they managed on just his mechanic’s salary.
It wasn’t until I’d been part of the family for an acceptable length of time that I was let-in on the family secret.
Byron didn’t always pay the strictest attention to hunting laws.
When the freezer was near empty..it was harvest time.
Now, I know some of you are shocked..but wait, there’s more.
On one occasion, I was his accomplice!
One night, Byron and I were driving to his brother-in-law’s farm near Madison.
When we reached a certain spot on a gravel road, he stopped the car..opened the trunk and brought out a spotlight and a rifle.
He asked me to shine it out in the field and before long you could see dozens of deer eyes reflecting in the light.
"Crack" went his gun and before I knew what had happened we were out in the dirt dragging a months worth of meals back to the car.
 
“I don’t do this for the sport of it, Sonnybuck,” he said as we drove off.
“But there are an awful lot of deer and we have an awful lot of mouths to feed.”
 
So… that delicious roast beef wasn’t beef at all!
I loved venison before I knew what it was but haven’t cared for..or eaten much of it since.
 
I hope the statute of limitations on this night of crime has passed for me.
I know it has for Byron and I ask that you not to judge him too harshly.
He died a few years ago, shortly after his 80th birthday at their little house in the mountains of Montana. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Verna, and many of the well-fed children who adored him.

A Man For All Seasons..Except Fall

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I know a lot of you fall in love with fall…but not me.
 
You can romanticize all you want about this time of year calling it “Autumn” but it’s still Fall and plants are dying, birds are leaving, it’s getting cold out and I find it all depressing.
 
While others point to the trees in awe of God’s colorful handiwork, I foresee weeks of dealing with dead brown leaves piled knee-high over my entire yard from the four big trees on our corner lot.
It’s a big job to rake them up each year. A job complicated by the fact that each tree is on its own discombobulated time-release program.
The cottonwood, which is actually on my neighbor’s property, hangs mostly over my yard and it’s the first to shed. This year, leaves started dropping in late August and with the exception of a few hangers-on, it’s now empty.
 
The maple in the front is just starting to turn yellow and will be letting go any day now.
The crabapple is next..usually casting off its red leaves by Halloween.
But the Silver Maple in our back yard is as stubborn as a Lutheran on stewardship Sunday.
This giant tree is like a shy bride on her wedding night refusing to disrobe and expose her bare branches until the last possible minute…sometime in late November.
Then it’s a race to get them raked up before the first snow flies.
 
Fall also means the end of my love\hate relationship with golf.
It means squirting some Sta-bil fuel stabilizer in the gas tank of my motorcycle and leaving it parked under a blanket in the garage until next May.
It’s the end of sitting on our back deck on a warm evening with a glass of wine listening to the sometimes annoying buzz of cicadas in the trees and the neighbor kids laughing as they spray each other with the garden hose.
 
I used to look forward to hunting pheasants in the fall but that was when I had cousins who lived on farms that were loaded with birds.
Getting permission to hunt wasn’t an issue and you didn’t have to pay for the privilege.  
 
You could sometimes get your limit by road hunting and not have to worry about being shot yourself by an angry farmer if you crossed his fence to retrieve a kill.
 
Speaking of getting shot, my cousin Robert once came close to blasting me into oblivion on a hunting expedition.
 
Pheasants don’t like to fly if they don’t have to and will often just run on the ground of an unpicked cornfield ahead of the hunters walking behind.
They’ll only take flight when they reach the clearing at the end and that’s where I..as the self-appointed blocker..would be waiting to nail them with my dad’s 16 gauge Remington pump action shotgun.
 
Robert wasn’t too thrilled about doing all the hard work of walking the fields without ever getting a shot off so, in frustration, he forgot or disregarded all the hunter safety rules..lowered his 4-10 and opened fire at a rooster running just ahead of him.
A split second later I could feel bb’s whizzing around my head and making a “tick-tick-tick” sound as they sprayed into the dry corn stalks all around me.
When he emerged from the field and saw me standing there white with fear..he apologized and that’s when I believe I actually said, “ you idiot, you coulda shot my eye out!”

Off to the Races

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I know where I get my love for cars..from my dad.
 
After retiring from a career in construction, dad shocked a lot of us when he started scouring shelterbelts and attending auctions to find parts for Model T Fords.
Then in our tiny garage, he spent hours and hours restoring and reassembling them.
Everybody knew Dad was a wiz at woodworking but nobody, including me, realized he was so mechanically inclined.
He eventually built two cars from scratch and had the greatest fun driving them around town and in parades all over the Midwest.
It was Dad who got me hooked on auto racing too.
There was a little dirt track near Estelline where we’d watch local guys in their home-made jalopies roar around in circles..banging into each other.
The races were also a must-see on our annual trips to the state fair in Huron where professional drivers like Ramo Stott and Ernie Derr..the hot shots from Keokuk, Iowa, carried out their rivalry at breakneck speeds in late model stock cars.
 That’s Ramo Stott number 0, on the left. Ernie Derr right on his bumper..as usual
While living in Pierre during the late 60’s, I never missed a Sunday night in the stands at  Oahe Speedway.
But I wanted to do more than watch the races; I wanted to drive in the races.
I could see myself,  Parnelli Lund, climbing out of my winning machine  being kissed by the Riggs High School homecoming queen serving as that evening’s trophy girl.
 
I actually did get a chance to live out that fantasy when Doyle, a guy I worked with, and fellow racing enthusiast, told me about a 1949 Ford race car that was for sale.
It had done okay in its day but was outdated by the newer cars with bigger engines now racing at the speedway.
Well, we bought the thing for 70 dollars, brush-painted it white and hauled it to the track.
I had even painted our names in black above the doors just like Petty and Pearson.
I was to drive the heat race and he’d get behind the wheel for the feature.
 
As soon as I buckled-up and cautiously inched on to the track with all the other cars for warm-up laps,  I knew I was in trouble.
The noise coming through the ear holes of my borrowed helmet was deafening.
When I shifted into second gear and headed for the first turn I was flying..or so I thought.
 “Shoooom..shoooom..shooom.
The other cars sped by me so fast I thought mine had quit running.
“Oh my God, I thought, what have I gotten myself in to?”
I was scared spitless and hadn’t raced anybody yet.
 
Back then at Oahe Speedway..to create a little excitement for the fans and challenge the racers, the faster cars started at the rear of the field and had to work their way to the front.
But apparently some official saw me struggling during the practice session and for my own safety and apparently crowd amusement, mercifully put our old Ford at the back of the pack for the heat race.
“Oh, Lord, I have to go out there again!”
I remember the track champion rumbling along beside me in the back row as we headed toward the green flag and five laps of terror.
He looked at me..smiled and shook his head.
That was the last I saw of him..or any of the other cars for that matter.
Although I mashed the accelerator to the floor, the whole bunch of them with their souped-up overhead cam high-power motors were gone faster than a pack of wild dogs on a three-legged cat.
By the time we reached the second turn, they were gone and I was all alone.
I finally started getting the hang of it, though, and eventually managed to pick up enough straightaway speed to do a sort of feeble slide around the corners. But I’d lost all track of time..and still couldn’t see any of the other cars.
Then it dawned on me.
What if the race is over and I’m out here running around all by myself while the crowd roars with laughter?!
“Oh Lord, how embarrassing!”
As I pulled into the pits, my partner says, “What’s wrong? There are two laps to go!”
“She’s gettin’ hot,” I said, lying through my teeth afraid to admit the truth.
Later that evening, he got cured of the racing bug himself when he barrel-rolled in turn two during the feature and wound up with a broken arm.
 
The “Doug & Doyle” special never ran again.
 
Don’t tell Linda, but every once in a while.. I still dream about being kissed by that pretty young girl as she hands me the winning trophy in victory lane.

Curing Cancer & Burning Water

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve had a couple of seemingly sure-bet investment opportunities in my lifetime..opportunities that could have taken a lot of the financial stress out of early retirement had I found the money to follow through on them.
 
The first was about 11 years ago when our daughter Christy first moved to Phoenix. She along with lots of snowbirds we know from Keloland, who have places there, strongly advised us to put every dime we could into Phoenix-area real estate.
At the time, we could have bought a spiffy two bedroom condo in Scottsdale for less than 150 thousand dollars. The same places are bringing 300 thousand or more today.
 
The other was when my brother-in-law suggested I join him and get rich by putting cash into the fast growing ethanol industry. (which I read is now facing closer profit margins with higher corn prices)
In both cases, we would have had to borrow money to do it….so we passed and settled for the security of the stock market which at the time was bringing an average return on investments of over 20 percent. Then in 2000, the market pretty much tanked and we’ve been lucky to get an 8% return ever since.
 
Now, it seems that opportunity is knocking one more time and I’m going to let you in on it.
Remember in “The Graduate” when Benjamin got one word of advice for his future?
“Plastics.”
Well, I have two words for you; “John Kanzius.”
 
In case you haven’t heard, this former television executive, TV and radio engineer and inventor from Ohio,  has been doing some experimenting with radio waves and come up with some startling discoveries.
A cancer survivor himself, Kanzius (sounds like Kansas) has been looking at new ways to treat the disease and came up with a process by which cancer cells are tagged with microscopic pieces of metal. (nanoparticles)
When the cells are exposed to a certain radio frequency, they heat up and are destroyed without any damage to nearby healthy cells. Some scientists are actually saying it shows promise and are looking into it. Others say it’s a bunch of balony.
 John Kanzius..genius or crackpot?
But wait..there’s more. A LOT more!
In another experiment aimed at removing salt from sea water, Kanzius was surprised to discover that exposing salt water to those same radio frequencies caused it to ignite in a test tube and burn with a very hot flame.
Can you imagine the energy possibilities if we could use the world’s oceans for fuel and tell OPEC to go spin?
A couple of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania are calling it the most important water discovery in a hundred years.
But (and you knew there had to be a “but”) other experts are saying whoa..it’s all a whole lot of hooey. Water is NOT a fuel and does not burn..period! Then they go on to scientifically explain that what clearly appears to be happening in Kanzius’ test tube is impossible.
 
Dang.. I was set this time to invest a few bucks in a tank for water, a few pounds of Morton salt and a radio transmitter….light ‘er up and leave the furnace shut off this winter.
If you’d like to know a bit more about Kanzius and his inventions click here.