Archive for December 2007

LET’S PARTY!

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“What should we do tonight? I asked Linda.
“I don’t know, what do you wanna do?”
“It’s New Year’s Eve, I suppose we should celebrate somehow.”
 
For most of my adult life there was never a question about what I would be doing the last night of December. I’d be playing drums with the band at somebody else’s New Year’s Eve party or at a bar someplace.
In the early years it was something I looked forward to..not only because it was fun to play for a group of people already in the mood for celebrating, but also because it was understood that bands received double pay for  New Year’s Eve gigs and I could always use the extra money especially after Christmas.
For several years during the seventies and eighties, the band I was in worked five nights a week at “The Station Break” lounge, which was part of  Daves (that’s pronounced DAH-vays..but I don’t know how to put that little French accent line above the “s”) Italian restaurant.
It then became the Red Lantern. We always had good crowds but on New Year’s Eve, it was packed sardine tight and loud..loud..loud. The hats and horns came out at 11 and it was pretty much chaos until the last balloon popped on the small dance floor around 1:30 a.m.
It got pretty crazy at the Downtown Holiday Inn too during the time when the Hotel had three or four bands playing. It was THE place to be on New Year’s Eve. Thousands showed up.
One year, with Mogen’s Heroes, we were playing the Starlight Room on the top floor. At the end of the night the elevators malfunctioned and hordes of drunk people had to take the stairs which were packed with other drunks. The stairwell was soaked and slippery from spilled beverages and other liquids apparently deposited by those same drunks who had no access to a bathroom. It was disgusting..and the last straw for the Holiday Inn which brought a halt to the hotel mega-parties after that.
 
The trouble with New Year’s Eve is that it occurs during the winter and even though some of the best paying jobs were out of town, there was always the chance of bad weather and I’ve ushered-in many a New Year on the edge of my car seat trying to make it to or from a dance job.
There were lots of white knuckle trips in heavy snow ( Brookings, Pukwana, Mitchell) Glare ice (Huron, Watertown, Worthington) and dense fog. (Watertown, Kimball, Brookings)
 
I do have to admit, though, that I sometimes miss being up there on stage playing for all those fun-loving folks, using my watch for the midnight countdown and singing Auld Lang Syne followed by hopeful cheers and a few kisses from the ladies for the drummer.
 
These days, my drums sit quietly under a cover of blankets in the garage. My way-too-small tuxido hangs in the back of the closet.
The idea of going to a noisy smoke filled bar just doesn’t have the same appeal as it used to.
Instead, Linda and I are looking forward to having a couple friends over and hope we can make a few games of Apples to Apples stretch until midnight without falling asleep. Happy New Year!

At The Movies

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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So I went ahead and shelled out an extra $3.50 a month to Midco Cable in order to get the NFL channel back and be able to see all those important football games at home instead of the bar.
Now I find out the NFL has caved-in and will not only allow Saturday’s big game between the Patriots and Giants to be carried on network television..but both CBS and NBC will have it.
On the bright side, though, my $3.50 also frees up about 20 other digital channels that Midco has been holding out on me.
 I probably will watch the do it yourself channel..also the farm channel, RFD, which not only carries Imus in the Morning, but also the Big Joe Polka Show with Joseph Siedlik and his happy polka band from Omaha, Nebraska  seen 12 times a week.
Other than that, my extra 20 channels, including women’s entertainment, high school football, soccer, Soapnet and a couple kids’ networks, don’t hold much interest.
 
I watch too much TV anyway.  But, I spent a lot of money on our high definition set and it would be a shame to not use it, right?
I enjoy movies but on the rare occasions that Hollywood turns out one I want to see, I’m now perfectly content to wait until it comes out on video so I don’t have to go to the theater
In fact, I don’t even go to the rental place anymore.  On-Demand and Pay-Per-View carry most of the new releases. All I do is push a couple buttons on the ol’ remote and for cost of a month’s worth of 20 extra channels..$3.50, I can watch at home.
 
I used to love going to “the show,” as we called it.
Each theater had its own personality and just one screen.
It was an event…and affordable.
You could take a date, buy the tickets, popcorn, coke and maybe some milk duds, without having to cash a savings bond to pay for it.
There were actually ushers in uniforms carrying flashlights to guide you to your seats who weren’t afraid to tell talkers to shut-up or escort anyone who got out of line toward the exits.
 
It’s a different story in today’s megaplexes.
 
This week, my six year old granddaughter, Zoey, wanted to see the film, Alvin and the Chipmunks and my daughters Suzan and Patty thought it would be fun for me to go with them.
So off we went and before long, most of the reasons I don’t go out to movies anymore materialized.
With 14 theaters under one roof and a bunch of popular films playing, the huge parking lot was full.
Buying tickets not only sets you back the average annual income in Somalia, but you have to shuffle like mice through a maze getting to the counter. At least they’ve removed that glass barrier that made you feel like you were placing a bet at Churchill Downs.
The sticker shock continues over at the snack bar..or whatever it’s now called.
The confused looking young man at the cash register doesn’t bat an eye when he says $16.75 for a big bag of popcorn and three drinks.
 
The previews have already started when we enter the stadium. There are four seats available on the main level and four teenagers directly behind using them to rest their dirty feet. They gave “us” a dirty look when we chose to sit there.
During the endless previews and the movie itself, they never stopped talking..or EATING.
They must have held up a casino earlier because they were loaded down with expensive movie-house groceries and the noise of them digging into the bags to feed their faces never stopped for two hours.
Ah, the smell of popcorn breath coming from directly behind your head.
After about the tenth time the kid behind me banged into the back of my seat I was wishing there was an usher like the old days to finally shut him up or show him out.
 
But then, I noticed something else. My granddaughter laughing out loud when Theodore passed gas in Simon’s face or when Alvin was taking a shower in the dishwasher.
 
She was having a great time and because of that..so did I.

The Kings and I

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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1959 was perhaps the most interesting year of my life.
I was 13 and it was a year of discovery..if you know what I mean.
 
It got off to a rough start when less than two weeks after my birthday, we heard on the radio that Buddy Holly had been killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
Buddy Holly, along with the Everly Brothers and Elvis were the main reasons my cousin, Grouse and I learned to play guitar and start a rock and roll band. Grouse could sound just like Buddy..still can.
He had that Holly hiccup down pat. (ah-weh-ah-heh-ah-hell-ah) He managed to wow the girls and many a talent show judge with it.Grouse (Lawrence Gruseth,on the left) and yours truly wowing our classmates in song 1960We loved singing that kind of stuff and had absolutely no trouble finding an audience or hitting the high notes.
But on Sunday mornings as we sat in the 1st Lutheran Church kids’ choir loft looking like  little cherubs in our purple robes and heavily-starched white collars in the shape of a cross, we didn’t feel so musically gifted as we had the night before with our electric guitars strapped on and cranked high..then singing into the microphone..‘Oh, Oh, Claudette..pretty little pet, Claudette.”
For some reason, the old hymn writers like Dykes, Watts, Gerhardt and even Martin Luther, himself, did not have kids in mind when they were coming up with all those complicated hard to sing melodies and lyrics for the hymnals.
There certainly was no Ah-weh-ah-heh-ah-hell-a mighty fortress is our God.
Or.. oh-ha-ho-ah-holy night.
 
Somehow, though, word got around to the choir director, Mrs. Nelson, that Grouse and I were getting pretty well known for our singing prowess at birthday parties and Farmers Union meetings.
She decided that the two of us, along with John Bjerke and his perfect little fluty choir voice would be this year’s wise men in the Christmas program.
We tried to explain that we were rock and roll singers. What she wanted were George Beverly Shea-type singers.
“Oh, you’ll do just fine,” said Mrs. Nelson and we knew that was going to be her final word on the matter.
So there we were, the day of the Christmas pageant. The sanctuary shook as Alma Brendsel,  the church organist,  pumped out “We three kings of Orient are” and we kind of schlumped  along toward the front in our shiny Magi outfits, wearing gold crowns and carrying gifts for the Baby Jesus.
When we got to the baptismal font, the organ stopped and we turned around to face a sea of Lutherans all anticipating this year’s interpretation of the only Christmas carol written in that awful gloomy minor key.
Mrs. Nelson sat there at the piano with a hopeful smile as she struck the opening chord.
 
“I don’t want to do this..the notes are too high,” I thought to myself. But there was no turning back now.
 
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar (I’m sure we sang “travelers”afar)
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
(Chorus)
 
Then it was Bjerke’s turn to sing his solo:
 
Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold, I bring to crown him again.
 
John hit every high note right on the money and triumphantly stepped back.
Grouse was next.
 
Frankincense to offer have I.
Incense owns a deity nigh.
 
He got through it fine too..resisting the urge to do the Holly hiccup at the end.
 
I’m next. Oh God, I’m next. What’s my line again?
Myrrh!? What the hell is myrrh anyway?
I felt a strange rush of heat to my cheeks and little bumps began to protrude from my forehead.
Without even thinking, I began to screech out my morbid verse:
 
Myrrh is mine its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom
 
And that’s when I dropped the ball.
Two of them, actually.
 
God had chosen that very moment to turn me from a boy to a man..from an alto to a baritone and I believe I finished singing that song a full octave lower than I began.
 
Did it really happen that way, you ask?
Well, wondrous things can occur when you sing
Star of wonder, Star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light.
 
Merry Christmas!

Ralphie and Me..Good Chemistry

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I see TBS is going to run one of my favorite movies of all time, A Christmas Story, 24 hours straight again..that’s 12 times non-stop beginning Christmas Eve.
 
I was one of those who actually went to see the film when it first came out in theaters in 1983 and have seen it at least once every year since.
 
From the opening scene to the closing credits, the movie takes me back to my own childhood..especially when I was ten.
But instead of the Red Ryder carbon action 200 shot range model air rifle that Ralphie wanted for Christmas,  I had my heart set on  a Gilbert chemistry lab with 561 exciting experiments for years of fun and adventure.
 I don’t know if my desire for that chemistry set was based on a healthy scientific curiosity or the early warning signs of becoming a terrorist but the thought of mixing chemicals together really sounded like fun.
I pulled out all the stops to try convincing my mom that this wasn’t a toy but an educational tool that could one day lead to my finding a cure for cancer or at very least a formula for removing corns.
But just like Ralphie Parker was repeatedly admonished by his mother, teacher and even Santa himself…”you’ll shoot your eye out”.. my mom’s response to the chemistry set argument was “you’ll blow the house up.”So I wasn’t expecting much that Christmas Eve in 1956 when after supper, my parents along with several of my aunts and uncles found seats in the living room around the Christmas tree (provided free each year from Haas & Wolfe Lumber Yard) then called us kids in to open presents.
After going through a few packages containing socks, some new jeans and a couple other gifts parents think kids really want and appreciate, it was over. There were no more presents with my name on them.
Then, just like Ralphie’s old man, my dad couldn’t stand looking at the disappointment on my face any longer and motioned for me to check under the davenport. (couch)
And there it was!
I tore off the wrapping and let out a whoop when I saw the name Gilbert on the front of the orange metal box.
We weren’t huggers in my family so my appreciation amounted to a loud “thanks!”
Somehow, just like in “A Christmas Story,” dad had overruled mom on the danger factor and had gotten me the absolute perfect Christmas gift.
 
Of course he and mom both had second thoughts when later that evening, my cousin and I cooked up a batch of chemicals in a test tube on the Bunsen burner that the book called “kitty gas.”
It was as if a skunk had sprayed his load directly into the heat vents of the house with an odor so foul that our company left for home early.
It sure was a great gift, though!
I still have it sitting on a shelf in my computer room to remind me of that fabulous Christmas 51 years ago.
Sadly, kids today will likely never know the thrill of owning a chemistry set.
Even if companies still make them, it’s hard to imagine parents, who won’t let their kids ride a bike unless they’re padded-up like a hockey goalie, would ever allow them to hold a spoonful of powdered iron over an open flame to see the sparks fly or let them shake-up a test tube mixture of strontium chloride and aluminum sulphate just to find out what happens.
Nope..they’ll have be content with listening to grandpas, like me, tell stories of how we somehow managed to survive those dangerous life-threatening toys we got for Christmas back in the olden days.
 
P.S. Have a favorite Christmas toy story you’d care to share? Click the comments below.

The 12 Pounds of Christmas

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m just dreading the next trip to the doctor for my two to five year annual check-up.
 
It’s not the snap of the latex glove and instructions to bend over that has me worried.
It’s the look on his face when he checks my chart and says, “Do you know how much weight you’ve gained since you were last here? Didn’t I prescribe a diet of fruits and vegetables along with a daily exercise routine? What part of that didn’t you understand?”
 
“I can’t help it, Doc. It’s Christmas and people keep settin’ stuff in front of me that they just baked or whipped up out of butter, sugar, chocolate, cream, nuts or potatoes. In this season of giving and good will toward men, how can I say, no thanks, I’m perfectly happy with this banana and dish of green beans.”
 
It usually starts right around Thanksgiving when my friend, John Mogen calls to say he’s on his way over with a fresh batch of lefse hot off the griddle. His tastes remarkably close to the lefse my mother made and no matter how hard I try to resist, I usually will have eaten it all with ample amounts of butter and sugar in just a couple days.
 
When Keloland TV news director, Mark Millage invited several of us longtime employees to a Christmas party at his house a few years ago, his wife, Joan and her mom had whipped up a huge banquet of hordevours with various hot and cold meats, cheeses and rows of desserts, candies and bars.
I think it was on my second plate-filling trip through this bountiful buffet when I took a small piece of peanut brittle.
Now, I’ve never had much luck with peanut brittle. I like the taste but it’s usually too dentally dangerous.
 
It goes way back to Santa Claus Day in Volga during the fifties when all the kids in and around town were invited to a free movie at the auditorium (usually a Walt Disney true life adventure and an Abbott and Costello short) followed by the appearance of Santa passing out bags of treats. (We had the world’s skinniest Santa, Norman Lund, (no relation) who never bothered to even stuff a few pillows in the suit for effect.)
Inside the paper bag were a few peanuts in the shell (unsalted) an apple (small and mushy) a peppermint candy cane, a couple of those awful ribbon candies and some peanut brittle that barely had any peanuts and was so hard that if you did manage to bite off a chunk without breaking a molar, it would stick in your teeth for several weeks.
Doc Shefte, the local dentist, was always on stand-by for Santa Claus Day.
 
So I was careful when I tasted the peanut brittle at Millage’s house. But to my surprise and delight it was “not” like biting down on a hunk of ceramic tile. Instead, it was sweet, buttery, full of peanuts and, best of all, crunchy as if it had been pulled like taffy to fill it with air.
“Oh man, I said, who made this peanut brittle? It’s the best I’ve ever had.”
It turns out that Joan Millage and her mom spend a lot of quality kitchen time together each holiday season making batches and batches of this delicious confection and because I begged to put me on their list, I’ve been getting a special package every Christmas since.
I always intend to share it with others but like Scrooge over a stack of gold sovereigns, I wrap my arms around the treasure..give a sort of Snidley Whiplash laugh, say a quick bah humbug and consume every sweet morsel myself.
 
Then there is that afternoon, usually in mid-December, when I walk into our house and am almost overcome by the intoxicating aroma of Chex party mix Linda has baking in the oven. I stand over her like a vulture eying a dying wildebeest waiting for her to stir the mixture of Chex cereal, Honeynut Cheereos, butter, mixed nuts, and seasoned salt.
Then at the risk of getting burned or my hand rapped by a wooden spoon, I reach for a sample of this familiar but fantastic concoction.
The temptations are just too much to resist this time of year.
 
I wonder if I can switch my doctor’s appointment until after we get back from Arizona.
I’m sure I’ll have lost weight by then.

Springing off to Springdale

Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Linda and I have a mixed marriage.
 
She was raised Catholic and I, of course, grew up in the one true faith..Lutheranism.
 
Alright, don’t get your choir robes all in a bunch..I’m just kidding.
 
I appreciate the traditions of all denominations but some of them can get pretty tight which, among other things,  has kept the two of us from attending any church on a regular basis since we got married 23 years ago.
 
I know Linda still loves the Catholic Church but hasn’t felt quite as welcome since she chose not to have an annulment following her divorce.
 
I’m still a card-carrying Lutheran and Linda has been fine with our attending a Lutheran church.
And why not?
Lutherans now have about the same liturgical responses as Catholics, “and also with you…Lord in your mercy” etc.
Heck, the confession of faith even says “I believe in the Holy Catholic church” which must make ol’ Martin Luther dizzy from spinning in his grave each time we say it.
 
I think the deal maker for Linda, though, has been the decision by most Lutheran churches to not only allow but actually welcome and encourage all believers to share in communion..not just those who’ve been confirmed.
 
So, we’ve been talking about finding a church home for a long time but promised to intensify the search after Mother Mary’s miraculous recovery from a seizure last summer.
 
It was during Mary’s hospital stay that I ran into Reverend Marlin Haugrud, longtime pastor at Canton Lutheran Church. Rev.Marlin Haugrud
Linda and I had visited Canton a few times to hear him preach because we remembered the sermons he gave during the funerals of two family members when he was pastor at Sinai Lutheran many years earlier.
One was for my cousin, Shirley, who had Down syndrome but lived a pretty fulfilling and long life in spite of her limitations.
Through regular visits, Reverend Haugrud had gotten to know Shirley and as he shared his impressions of her during the funeral, there was no mention of the stuttering that made her difficult  to understand. He also didn’t point any fingers at those of us who shamefully avoided spending much time with her.
Instead, Pastor Haugrud gently talked about what a precious, loving soul she was and the value of her life in the eyes of God and her family.
It takes someone special to turn a church full of stoic Lutherans into mush but there wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation as he spoke that day..or at the funeral of Shirley’s dad..my uncle, Abe.
 
Linda and I both said it’s too bad he doesn’t have a church in Sioux Falls..we’d go.
Then, last fall, Pastor Haugrud announced that he was leaving Canton after 13 years to  become pastor at Springdale Lutheran..a little country church southeast of Sioux Falls.
So we’ve been making regular appearances there and have found that it’s not like a big congregation where you can just slip in and out unnoticed. The Springdale folks will jump over pews to offer welcome and insist you stay for coffee and a visit after the service.
We’re slowly learning that certain areas of  the sanctuary were staked out by families a century ago and it’s where their descendants still feel most comfortable sitting.
It’s all good, though, especially when Pastor Marlin steps into the pulpit.
He still has the gift of making everyone feel special, important and worth saving a spot for in the hereafter.
Now if someone would just help us find the right spot to sit on Sunday mornings it would be heavenly.

I Remember 1968, Too, Tom

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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There have been two times in my life that I was truly afraid this country was done for.
The first was in October of 1962 when President Kennedy had ordered a naval blockade to stop Soviet ships that were carrying nuclear weapons into Cuba.
The two great superpowers had finally brought the world to the brink of nuclear war and there was nothing a 16 year old kid from Volga, South Dakota could do about it except cry as I walked around town delivering the awful news to everyone on my Argus Leader paper route.
I kept thinking that if I closed my eyes for awhile..then opened them..I’d wake up and it would all be a bad dream.
I remember praying over and over..please, Lord, make the Russians stop and turn around. In Jesus name, amen.
And I’ll be darned if that’s not exactly what they did.
Me, my family and the rest of the people in the world were NOT going to perish in a swirl of wind and fire after all.
 
The other time I figured that it was all over for America was pretty much during the entire year of 1968.
Memories of that turbulent time came flooding back as I watched Tom Brokaw’s 2 hour special on the History Channel last night documenting 1968 and all of the earth-shaking events of that year that nearly tore this country apart.
It was the bloodiest year of the Vietnam War and even though I was married with two small children, I still lived every day with a knot in my stomach expecting a “greetings” letter to show up in the mail from Uncle Sam.
The North Vietnamese had launched a huge offensive and after visiting the war zone, the most trusted man in America, CBS news anchor, Walter Cronkite, went on the air saying there was no way to win in Vietnam.
That changed a lot of minds about the war and likely had a significant effect on President Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to run for re-election.
It also fueled the anti-war protesters’ fire.
 
I hated the whole hippy-yippie flag-burning, foul-mouth, screamin’ and yellin’ crowd as much as I disliked the free-love, marijuana-suckin’ LSD-trippin’ flower-power bunch getting a free ride on the backs of those of us who had to work for a living.
But I also despised the expansion of the war and the arrogance of Richard Nixon who, after saying he was through with politics, jumped into the race for president.
 
Growing up, I didn’t know any black people personally and never gave the Civil Rights Movement much thought until I watched Dr. Martin Luther King deliver his “I have a dream” speech during the huge march on Washington in 1963.
It opened a lot of eyes.
But in April of 1968 this brilliant man who demonstrated how objectives could be achieved through non-violence was violently shot in the head and killed in Memphis.
Then, as if his words meant nothing, rioters took to the streets in cities all across the country burning, looting and destroying.
 
Later that spring, I was among the hundreds of people lining Main Street in Brookings to see Robert Kennedy who had brought his presidential campaign to South Dakota.
Watching the motorcade slowly pass by,  I remember his toothy smile and how he brushed his hair back in place much as he did a couple weeks later after giving his speech celebrating victory in the California presidential primary only to be shot dead by an assassin moments later.
It couldn’t happen again..another Kennedy brother gunned down?!
But, no matter how much I closed my eyes and tried to wake up, it was another nightmare that was all too real.
 
Tear gas filled the air in Chicago in August when demonstrators from all over the country kept their promise to raise hell and awareness at the Democratic National Convention.
It was about a sickening to watch as the smug look on Mayor Richard Daly’s face while trying to explain away the police brutality we all saw occur on live TV.
 
Nobody was cracked over the head with night sticks in Atlantic City when women’s liberation groups decided to use the Miss America Pageant as an example of everything that’s degrading to women. Their sex-discrimination protests included the ritual disposal of undergarments in the “freedom ashcan.”
I remember their theatrics didn’t play very well out here in the Midwest.
 
A late surge in the Presidential race by native South Dakotan, Hubert Humphrey, wasn’t enough to beat Republican Richard Nixon in the November election. Thus began an era that President Ford would later call, “our great American nightmare.”
 
There were a few positive things about 1968 that I “would” like to remember..especially the joy of being around my two little girls.. ages one and three.  
 
And, of course, the Christmas present the whole world was given on that December 24th when the U.S. astronauts orbiting the moon for the first time spoke of the grey, lifeless lunar surface and then compared it to the beautiful, colorful sphere that is earth.
 
I’d like to believe that as the astronauts read the Genesis story of creation, the protests ceased..the shooting stopped and all was quiet for a few moments.
Everyone suddenly realized that  we’re all residents of a fragile planet.
A planet that is unique in the universe and, as humans, we must do everything within our power to live in peace and not destroy it.
 
Of course, that was a dream I “did” wake up from.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Posted: Friday, December 7, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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"December 7th, 1941. A date which will live in infamy."

An Offer the Vikings Can’t Refuse

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Just when I think I’m out they pull me back in.”
*Michael Corleone, Godfather III
 
It’s probably not a good idea to compare myself to a mobster..even if it’s a movie mafia mobster… but I know exactly how Michael Corleone felt when, in spite of his best efforts at going straight, he just couldn’t shake his past and like a mosquito to a bug zapper, the Godfather was helplessly drawn back into the light of evil that made him and would eventually kill him.
 
And so it is that for the umpteenth time in 45 years of agonizing disappointments, I have been lured out of complacency and back into the bright lights of the Metrodome where, like La Cosa Nostra recruits, the Grandfather (me) has allowed the purple flame of hope to be ceremoniously burned in the palms of my outstretched hands.
(Too dramatic?)
 
After losing four Superbowls..then blowing the 1998 NFC championship game when the Minnesota Vikings were clearly the best team in the league..then getting our hopes up again with years of good starts followed by horrible collapses, I was done with the Vikings. Well, maybe not done but certainly not planning my Sundays around watching their games.
 
I really don’t follow college football that much or the NFL draft either so I didn’t know anything about Adrian Peterson when the Vikings picked him up.
I figured it was kind of appropriate, though, that a team called the Vikings should have as many Norwegian players on it as possible.
The little we saw of Travaris Jackson at the end of last season and start of this one, didn’t give fans much to cheer about and after he got hurt, the two back-ups looked like wide-eyed high school quarterbacks just trying to keep from getting whacked. 
The only reason I watched at all was to see Peterson (who I guess isn’t Norwegian) run the ball.
The Vikings have never had anyone as great as him..including Chuck Foreman.
Then Peterson goes and gets his knee messed up and those of us used to having our dreams crushed by this bunch, naturally assume that its all over…AGAIN.
But wait, suddenly Chester Taylor picks up the slack at running back..slamming through holes in the line or scampering for first downs on end-around plays.
The Vikings pass defense, worst in the league, has come to life and is earning respect making plays and interceptions.
Jackson, with a much improved offensive line, is demonstrating the kind of skills, poise and good judgment that Brad Childress (who I no longer want Luca Brasi to put on his “to do’ list) has been saying all along that he had.
Then Peterson comes back as good as ever.
 
So now, here they are..three wins in a row. They’re 6 and 6 with a good shot at making the playoffs.
And here I am like the mythical sailor Odysseus being lured by the enchanting song of the sirens.(Skol Vikings let’s win this game, Skol Vikings honor your name)
Yes, I believe in you again oh great purple ones.
I will no longer throw my Vikings foam brick at the television set while watching your games.
I will loyaly wear my Vikings sweatshirt with pride and confidence each Sunday as you pummel all opponents that dare stand in your way.Then, together, we shall finally achieve the ultimate reward which has eluded us for so long: that silver trophy named after Don Vito Lombardi.
 
But fail me again..and you can sleep with the fishes.

The News Blues

Posted: Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I feel like an ostrich lately: burying my head in the sand to shut out the world.
I know, I know, ostriches really don’t stick their head in the ground to escape things but..they do sometimes duck into the bushes to hide or just lie down and wrap their useless wings around their body..apparently trying to fool any hungry dingoes in the area into believing they are no longer lunch but a big rock or clump of dirt.
 
That’s more like what I’ve been doing these days..laying around like a lump totally disinterested in most of what goes on outside the confines of my little computer room with a lovely window.
That may sound strange coming from someone whose career involved reporting and reading the news.
But unlike my longtime colleague and fellow Keloland blogger, Steve Hemmingsen, I do “not” get up each morning to check out various news sites on the computer.
He digests it all, forms an opinion and within a few minutes can and often does have a compelling observation posted on the web site stirring up reader’s emotions.
 
I’ll glance at the headlines in the paper, on TV or the web…but usually get depressed or disgusted and move on to something else.
 
What has happened to bring about this ambivalence?
 
Well, I’m troubled when I hear stories about how  the South Dakota legislature needs a “code of ethics” posted around the capitol pointing out to lawmakers that they should know better than to sleep in the same bed as a legislative page and not expect repercussions.
Or worse..betray a trust..not only as an elected policy maker..but as a foster parent, for God’s sake,  by exploting and abusing young girls in your care.
 
I don’t understand how mothers, fathers, babysitters or boyfriends can get so angry that they kill or severely injure an infant.
 
I don’t understand how a four inch snowfall is considered a winter storm.
 
I don’t understand how the list of candidates for president of the United States has come down to the current bunch that’s out there.
Are they really the best this country can come up with?
Hillary Clinton?
Do we really, really want  Bill and Hillary back in the White House?
I kind of like Barack Obama..but don’t know much about him other than his name sounds way too much like Osama.
John Edwards seems sincere but how can he concentrate on much of anything while his wife is courageously fighting what appears to be a losing battle with cancer? I sure couldn’t.
I used to like listening to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson when he appeared on the Imus in the Morning radio show..but he doesn’t have a chance.
Nor, in my opinion, does Hollywood actor, Fred Thompson on the Republican side..or Mitt Romney..the slick Mormon from Massachusetts..or Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee.
Rudy Giuliani is okay, I guess, and so is John McCain but I just don’t think after 8 years of the current occupant, this country is going to elect another Republican to the White House no matter who it is.
 
Alright, Lund, who do you think would make a good president?
Well, I just haven’t really thought much about it..and it’s probably a good thing because a few weeks ago I was watching an interview with a guy named Gavin Newsom. He’s the young mayor of San Francisco.
As I listened I was amazed at his innovative ideas on issues ranging from cutting wasteful spending to homelessness, the environment, healthcare and education.
Now there, I said to myself, is a guy that should run for president.
But then, after googling his name to find out more I learned that Newsom had an affair with the wife of his top aide..plus he raised more than a few eyebrows when he ordered that marriage licenses be issued to same sex couples. He was still reelected to another four year term in San Francisco, but, I doubt that American voters have reached that point of tolerance yet.
 
So, I continue to glaze over the news..not paying as much attention as I probably should. But I really have to wonder when I see stuff like South Dakotans, according to some scientific survey,  are the least depressed people in the country.
 
I’m a pretty happy guy but those poll-takers sure never came anywhere near my house on a Monday morning.